Doctor Who: Delta and the Bannermen (Story #149)

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5.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 6/10

Like the Delta and Bannermen part of the story

Uneven plots and too many unrelated characters

 
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Aww…she’s beautiful

The Bannermen are hunting down the last of the Chimeron and the Chimeron Queen Delta (Belinda Mayne) and her egg have escaped.  Stowing away on an excursion to Earth in 1959, Queen Delta befriends Mel (Bonnie Langford) but the excursion is forced to land in Wales when it crashes into a satellite.  The Bannermen are coming for Delta, and the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), Mel, and a girl named Ray (Sara Griffiths) must save Delta and her child as Delta finds love with a greaser Earthling named Billy (David Kinder).

Doctor Who:  Delta and the Bannermen aired in the twenty-fourth season of the long running BBC series.  The serial aired in three episodes from November 2, 1987 to November 16, 1987.  Following Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers, Doctor Who:  Delta and the Bannermen was collected as part of The Sylvester McCoy Years as Story #150 (or Story #149 depending how you count the unaired Tom Baker serial Doctor Who:  Shada).

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We’re going to whip ’em…whip ’em good!

This is a bit of an odd serial.  It has a strange balance between humor and a genocide occurring.  The title is an allusion to English rock band Echo & the Bunnymen.  The story also demonstrates a new three episode format that many following stories adopted.

The story of the Bannermen and Delta is quite good, but it doesn’t mesh well with the tour bus storyline which really goes nowhere…it seems like a really extreme way to get the Doctor, Mel, and Delta back to 1959.  The Bannermen are quite ruthless and cold, and I have to say that the blowing up of the tour bus was odd and a bit callous for Doctor Who.

The story is also loaded with guest stars that don’t fit into the story.  In addition to the bus operators (who just get wasted), you get Ray Defwydd played by Sara Griffiths who was meant to be Bonnie Langford’s replacement, but indecision on Langford’s decision to leave led to a change in plans.  The story also has a very odd almost comic pairing of American actor Stubby Kaye and Morgan Deare who are tracking the missing satellite…there is just too much going on here.

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Scream if you think Mel’s annoying!

A lot of the serial was shot on location which is always a plus for Doctor Who since the sets are often rather cheap looking.  By this point, Doctor Who had gotten past the generic rock quarry that they always resorted to for location shots and had some nice scenery.  I also love the Chimeron alien baby (which rapidly ages into a screaming child) and the Bannermen who looks like they fell out of a Devo video.

Doctor Who:  Delta and the Bannermen is part of Doctor Who’s last gasps.  The series was really going down the tubes at the time and struggling for an audience.  In its defense, Doctor Who has always been an uneven serial where very few serials were “perfect”…here the problem is a so-so Doctor and a poor companion in addition to the uneven writing.  Doctor Who:  Delta and the Bannermen was followed by Doctor Who:  Dragonfire.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Paradise Towers (Story #148)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Dragonfire (Story #150)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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