Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Having now worked my way through most of the reconstructions of Doctor Who's 108 missing episodes, The Space Pirates represented the very last serial to star the late Patrick Troughton that I had never seen.

In other words, I will never again watch moving images of the second Doctor without any idea what's going to happen next, unless it's a flashback. (until they re-create him using CGI, and knowing Doctor Who they'll probably try to do that a few years before the technology is quite able to)(oh wait, they did that already in Dimensions In Time...)


Sure, they may yet find further missing episodes of his, but having seen all the reconstructions of them, they won't be unknown to me. The same goes for the last televised story of his era - The War Games - which I watched in full some years ago.

This, then, has been officially my last second Doctor story, and it was rubbish! :)

Well, that's obviously not fair. It's six episodes long, only episode two of which is known to exist, joined by reconstructions of the five others using a muddy soundtrack and pitifully few surviving photographs. I know the reconstructors done their best, and I'm very grateful to them, but it's still been an uphill viewing experience.

In fact, I have to confess that I even gave up following the plot quite early on. I never quite got my head around all the different factions chasing across space after the parts of the stolen space station, but then, I do think that some of the responsibility for that still lies with the original script.

In this story, more than any other except The Trial Of A Time Lord, the Doctor and friends seem to get held captive extensively, while a bunch of new characters get to have an adventure without them. In fairness, every so often the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe do escape, but never for very long.

The flip side of this is that the three leads do get quite a lot of time to exchange some good old-fashioned banter between them, but even then, these scenes seem to be far outweighed in screen-time by everything happening outside.

Towards the end they do escape (once again) and get split-up, and the Doctor gets to take centre-stage for a bit at last, but on the whole I found this to be one of my least-favourite Robert Holmes scripts, taking into account that I couldn't clearly hear a lot of it.

Sadly, this is also, unmistakably, the story during which I have glanced down at the clock the most often, to see how long was left.

The final minutes approached. It was time to bid farewell to one of my favourite Doctors, (probably joint-favourite with the sixth) as I have encountered him on TV.

The bad guys had been defeated (I assume), everything was all right again (I assume), and, for I think the only time in the show's immense 30-season history, the story actually closed on the main cast all laughing together at a joke.

A crass ending? No. That's actually how I'd like to think of them.

Thank you so much Patrick Troughton - I will enjoy remembering, and rewatching, you.

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