WHO 50: 1990:
Search Out Space.

TV Even with my everything is canon attitude to Doctor Who, which is quite willing to accept the Doctor Who Quiz Book of Dinosaurs as a perfectly reasonable example of one of those interregnum stories which are just about sight seeing, has difficulty dealing with Search Out Space.

Almost the last vestige of broadcast Doctor Who before Dimensions in Time came along and destroyed all hope for at least a year, Search Out Space is an episode of the school science programme, Search Out Science in which for some unknown reason the Doctor presents an intergalactic gameshow with Ace and some hitherto unseen companion called Cedric as contestants. The Doctor offers his posers to camera while floating in a platform in a void and each of the questions is given a going over with his friends utilising props and stock footage.

It's available to watch in the special features of the Survival dvd.

Packed with information, K9 and a redesigned TARDIS interior (if you like) it’s nevertheless unfortunate that this was Doctor Who’s sole representative on television in 1990, and curiously so since if the show’s stock was so low, and apparently so little watched by a non-fan audience it’s bonkers that the education department thought this lot would be the perfect way to impart that information.

A similar device was employed a couple of decades earlier in Exploration Earth, in which the Fourth Doctor and Sarah explored the processes which formed the formation of the Earth. That had the distinction of being Doctor Who’s first radio drama, and actually being a real drama.

This, well this, well, in truth this is a bit sad. Both Sylv and Sophie are doing their best with the script, but it’s a presenting job, more akin to Corners, neither of them really allowed to bring much of their actual characters into it.

Which wouldn’t be as much of a problem during the run of the series perhaps but I can imagine what it must have been like for fans turning in whenever this was broadcast, desperate for whatever they can of the show only to be faced with what is just a schools programme.

Two sets of people entirely passionate about Doctor Who investing all they can emotionally into something which may well its last gasp. No wonder it can’t bare the responsibility.

There are some good elements. The special effects, provided by Mat Irvine are some of the best Doctor Who’s seen up until that point notably K9 floating in space, an image which would be repeated later in The Sarah Jane Adventures. Plus Leeson’s performance is pitch perfect, especially considering the length of time which had passed since he’d last played the role.

Nevertheless, oh dear, oh dear and oh dear. As you can see I’m slightly techy about it, and I didn’t even discover its existence until Mike Tucker and Robert Perry wrote a prequel, Storm in a Tikka, for the Short Trips and Side Steps anthology.

Now, what about Attack of the Graske? Does that count?

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