The celestial toymaker (1966)
About this serial
This was a four-part serial, first broadcast between 2nd April - 23rd April 1966. The serial was written by Bryan Hayles and Donald Tosh, produced by Innes Lloyd and directed by Bill Sellars. The script editor was Gerry Davis.
What I've seen:
Part four. The other three episodes are missing.
The Doctor, Dodo and Steven find themselves in the realm of the Toymaker, an omnipotent being who plays games in order to relieve his boredom. To regain their freedom, the Tardis crew must play against the Toymaker and win - though winning may not be enough to save their lives.
The good bits:
The not so good bits:
- The one remaining episode of this serial is surprisingly dull. We spend most of the episode watching Dodo and Steven play a life-size but less-than-exciting board game with one of the Toymaker's minions, while the Doctor solves a logic puzzle and has a less-than-exciting conversation with the Toymaker.
- Apart from the story idea there's no wit or whimsy here, and although we know that the Toymaker can destroy the Tardis crew or keep them prisoner forever, there's very little real sense of danger. (The latter remark may be a bit unfair since I've only seen part four. The experience of someone seeing this episode after having listened to the audio versions of the first three episodes may be different.)
- Hartnell tries to make the most of it but everybody else's performance is mediocre, not helped by the script.
- This isn't a great story for the companions. Dodo seems feather-brained, while Steven comes across as one of those well-meaning incompetents in a P.G. Wodehouse novel.
The bottom line
Seen in isolation, the one surviving episode of 'The celestial toymaker' is disappointing. Listening to the audio versions of the first three episodes first, might improve the experience.