This is easily my favorite installment of The Oliver Harper Trilogy. I love that it's educational in a way that services the plot and is never boring. I also really like how the story builds so well on previous stories while setting up the next chapter in the installment. Oliver and Steven's backgrounds are used to good effect. Oliver's secret is given just enough room to make its point without collapsing the plot. Steven's fatalistic attitude after living through The Myth Makers and The Daleks Master Plan also makes perfect sense and is handled really well. The pacing and atmosphere are all great and help to tell the story. My only minor issue with it is that everything that the Cahlians pick up seem to be something that Steven and Oliver can identify even though they're so far in the future that there ought to be all kinds of things from beyond both of their times. So what did everyone else think?
If you want to read more of my thoughts on this check out my review:
Synopsis In the remnant of a shattered satellite, far above the ruined planet Earth, Steven Taylor and Oliver Harper are dying. As time runs out, they face their pasts… and a secret long kept is revealed.
The borrowed time is elapsing, and they realize they are facing an enemy that cannot be defeated. The cold, hard facts of science.
Written By: Simon Guerrier Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
CAST Peter Purves (Steven Taylor), Tom Allen (Oliver Harper)
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A thrilling and compelling story, with Steven and Oliver not up against an alien menace or other dimensional forces, but hard science. It makes their situation more perilous, and when the Doctor saves them it's all the more heartwarming.
I love the opening scene of the TARDIS arriving in a jungle room, it's a bit like The Ark. There's a spark between the Doctor, Steven and Oliver, and that's impressive when there's two actors involved.
The MVP has to go to Peter Purves, who gets a lot of technical material and it never sounds dry and boring. This story is an incredible display of how brilliant Steven can be, and allows him to stand out. I love how Newton's Laws are instinctive for Steven, showing a depth for his character and a real grasp on what a space pilot would be like. When you do something often enough it becomes second nature, and this story shows that in a zero-g environment Steven is someone you want on your side.
The concept of the impassable sky is brilliant. It's another scientifically sound and real life concept that presents a strong antagonistic force for the characters to have to work around. It can't be tackled head on, that's how insurmountable it is.
I forget who recommended this trilogy to me but it was a very good tip - the first two stories especially are outstanding CCs and Peter Purves and Tom Allen are excellent. I liked Oliver as a 'guest companion' and (as usual in a Steven story), the spirit of William Hartnell's Doctor is strong in this one, thanks to brilliant Peter Purves.
There was a lot of atmosphere (artistic) built around the 'hungry vacuum' waiting just beyond the walls, the Cold Equations that govern movement in orbit and the slow-motion drama that unfolds because of them - with a gripping halftime cliffhanger. A great combination of hard science and hard vacuum plus human (and alien) drama and I briefly understood a bit about orbital elements after hearing a 'crash course' (is that a double pun) from Steven!
Steven gets to show his full talents as a natural space pilot for once (great sequences) and more surprisingly Oliver the city trader finds his talents come in handy too. I remember I guessed right about Oliver's 'secret' from the Sixties after hearing 'The Perpetual Bond' - and Steven's reaction on learning it here is priceless and speaks volumes about human progress between the 60s and his time - Steven simply finds it funny that anyone would ever have cared!
Superb 5* story and the interview tracks are very good too, chatty and informative.
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