Yes it returns!
I was planning on watching Caves of Androzani with Mum. I asked Twitter for suggestions and Alun Harris, co-author of rather awesome book 'Justyce Served', suggested 'Nightmare of Eden', 'Earthshock' and 'Kinda'. Turned out it'd be too awkward finding Nightmare online (I don't have the DVD yet), and mum turned down Kinda. I let mum pick some DVDs (which included Dragonfire, The Leisure Hive and Mawdryn Undead, all of which she hasn't seen) and I also suggested some. Once we'd narrowed it down, we dismissed 'Earthshock' and some others I'd suggested, and ended up with Dragonfire and Vengeance on Varos (because I said it was 'controversial' and worth a watch). In the end, I gave in, and let her watch Dragonfire.
Mum: Is Ian Briggs good?
Me: He is when he writes Curse of Fenric.
Mum: Is this an ice planet? I guessed by the smoke.
Mum: Aren't they a bit German in that uniform?
Mum: He's um, I know him. He was in London's Burning I think.
Me: I've only ever seen this twice all the way through.
Mum: Cool. Pretty colours. (gasps) He's just dropped his gun in the Liquid Nitrogen. You cant get it out of there. Ooh but he can.
Kane kills someone.
I've informed mum Mel leaves and Ace joins here.
Mum: Does Mel go back home? Or does she fall in the liquid nitrogen?
Mum: Ok the children are wearing weird clothes. Very weird child.
They arrive in the cafe.
Mum: That's Ace. No it isn't. Yes it is. But she's from the 80s. Shes quite a typical teenager. Does she come from here then? Well clearly she does.
Mum debates with herself for a while about where Ace comes from. She's very confused.
Me: Wait and see.
She recognises Glitz as well. I describe him as a 'Del Boy' in space.
Mum: Definitely Del Boy.
Then a sensible question.
Mum: Is it quite unusual for an existing companion to meet the new one?
I explain how it used to be more common, so it isn't that strange.
Mum: Ace, that's why she gets her name. Hang on she knows the Doctor already?
We rewind it. Ace sits down again.
Mum: Why does she call him Professor?
Me: Wait and see if you guess it by the end of the episode.
I'll explain the whole Wizard of Oz thing later.
Mum: Is there a reason why they're talking very posh?
Me: *mock accent* I don't know.
Mum: Very badly.
Kane: As long as you wear my mark, I own you.
Mum: (quietly) Not very nice.
Mel and Ace are kicked out.
Me: Probably the first time Mel's been kicked out of anywhere.
They go to Mel's room after mum comments "Ooh, he [Kane's] built a statue".
Mel: You're from Earth?
Ace: Used to be.
I turn to Mum. She gets it now.
Mum: She didn't think it was odd she was swept up by a time storm and ended up on a different planet? She's ok with that is she, is that normal?
Me: Apparently so.
Glitz's ship is not to be destroyed. Mum oohs.
Mum tells me she likes Ace, Mel and McCoy. Shame we didn't watch Varos. That would've been interesting.
Mum: I guess that's the Singing Gardens.
Me: Or Van Hages at Christmas.
Mum: The sets are..
Me: I was waiting for this.
Mum: Shocking. That snow is rubbish. And that's just plastic hanging down pretending to be ice.
Kane offers his golden sovereign.
Mum: Don't do it Ace!
Mel: Don't do it Ace!
Mum: No, they're gonna freeze her!
Mum: I bet they freeze Mel and she loses her memory. Cos he said they lose their memory when they freeze them.
If only she knew...
The cliffhanger arrives. My hands go over my mouth.
Mum: That's quite rubbish.
The dragon appears. Mum laughs.
Mum: And we get a Mel scream. Lovely. Been waiting for that one.
The Doctor descends.
Mum: *sigh* Why?
She's just laughing now.
Mum: Am I supposed to be laughing? That's pretty bad acting and dreadful CGI.
Me: The greatest mystery in all of Doctor Who. Why the hell does he climb down?!
Mum: I thought why is he climbing down when he could've just gone under. Is he trying to get down to another level? Then they show underneath. I was just putting it down to bad Doctor Who classicness, with bits missing.
Me: Yeah they meant to show him going to another level.
Mum: Doctor Who was a bit naff, that's why people liked it.
Well.... Not sure I agree there. After talking about wobbly sets, I ask for a rating.
Mum: A generous six.
And to think she liked Time and the Rani more.
Mum: Mostly because the sets let it down. And because Mel screamed.
Mum: Doesn't even look like a dragon.
They repeat the umbrella-scene.
Mum: Oh they're repeating that. There is a lower level.
Glitz saves the Doctor.
Mum: It's a bit slapstick isn't it?
Me: Welcome to Season 24.
Mum: It's a bit like, comedic.
Mum: It wasn't written for children really.
Me: That's an interesting debate.
Mum: The modern ones are very grown up but do appeal to children. The conversations in this one aren't really childlike.
Me: They make it like it's a childrens show but it isn't.
Mum: But that's kinda like today, only better. Yeah it is written for children, but not...
Ace has a rope ladder.
Mum: (laughs) Of course she's got a ladder.
The Doctor discusses philosophy. Me and mum both laugh at this.
They later try and push a cardboard door open.
Mum: Really heavy.
The dragon appears. She laughs. The door closes easily. She laughs louder.
Ace explains leaving school... and Earth.
Mum: Is she really an alien then?
Mum: Where did he get Mel from?
Me: It's a long story.
Ace reveals her real name. Mum still doesn't get the Oz/time storm thing.
The dragon appears again.
Mum: Is there someone inside the suit?
Me: No it just looks like that.
Mum: Friendly dragon.
Mel: It's friendly.
This is getting spooky now.
Mum: I bet it was the dragon's world before they took it over or something.
The statue melts.
Mum: Looks like a soggy plastic bag now.
Kracauer is killed.
Mum: Well what did he stand there for?
Mum: Ooh - I'd give that four.
Mum's noticing lots of links to School Reunion. I don't know.
The new Belazs and Kracauer take their artillery.
Mum: Plastic guns. Brilliant.
Mum: I love the way the Doctor tries to look like he's walking on a slippery surface.
The two ANT-hunters carry on.
Mum: That's awful.
The two ANT-hunters dramatically turn a corner to check for ANTs. That's Agressive Non-Terrestrials by the way. Mum laughs.
I appreciate the model work's really good. Mum doesn't. Oh well.
Mum: Why did he put all the people in there? He's not in there is he?
Mum: So why did he send them all off?
Then he blows it up.
Mum: Oh. That wasn't very nice. So what was the point in that? He's got an empty planet.
The dragon finally gets shot.
Mum: Aww, she shot the friendly ANT.
The little girl's still wandering. "Is she not bothered about where her mum is?"
Mum: That little girl's gonna do something.
Kane falls apart.
Mum: Ugh. Bit graphic. Was that pre-watershed, they showed that man melting? Bit graphic.
Mel leaves. Mum stays silent.
Mum: Why does she randomly decide to go with del boy? She hasn't packed a suitcase.
The ending comes.
Mum: What was the point of having a little girl in it?
Mum: That was the feeblest exit for a companion I've ever seen. Why? I don't get it.
Mum: Overall I give it... *sigh* 5/10. Ish. I think if you'd sat through three weeks of that in the 1980s you'd have been disappointed.
And she preferred Time and the Rani to this. Dragonfire was a "non-story".
Me: So why does she call him Professor?
Mum: I have no idea.
I explain. Mum's unconvinced.
Mum: That has no link to the story.
Me: It's her character.
Mum: Are we meant to get that layer? That's feeble.
Definitely watching Varos next time.
Next Time - I've actually no idea what we'll end up watching, but it shouldn't be McCoy. The next blog update will be the revelation of the 1st Unbound Doctor, and I've got a couple of articles planned for after that.
Thanks for reading!