Doctor Who: Dragonfire (Story #150)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Gets rid of Mel, introduces Ace

Ace is way over-the-top, some stupid plot points


The Dragon…a friend to all!

The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Mel Bush (Bonnie Langford) have arrived at Iceworld on Svartos where a ruler named Kane (Edward Peel) controls the city and rules by slavery.  The Doctor and Mel encounter their old ally Sabalom Glitz (Tony Selby) and a waitress named Ace (Sophie Aldred) who join the Doctor and Mel in a search for the legendary dragon of Svartos.  Kane is searching for the dragon as well, and the Doctor and his companion Mel may not leave Svartos together.

Doctor Who:  Dragonfire was the final serial of the twenty-fourth season of the long-running BBC series.  It aired in three parts from November 23, 1987 to December 7, 1987 and served as the final appearance of the Doctor’s companion Mel Bush along with the first appearance of his new companion Ace.  Following Doctor Who:  Delta and the Bannermen, the serial has been collected as part of The Sylvester McCoy Years as Story #151 (or Story #150 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Baker serial Doctor Who:  Shada).


So I’m thinking of ducking out…want to fly around in a blue box with a crazy man?

The plot for the story feels very much like a classic Doctor Who story with a misunderstood monster and a maniacal leader.  It is a little long (even though it is only three episodes) and the dragon part of the story is far more interesting than story of Kane which is tied to the dragon (plus the little girl story is unnecessary).  There is some criticism of this story which has a part where the Doctor seems to put himself in danger by hanging himself for no apparent reason over a cliff edge (a supposed reason was cut from the story).

Doctor Who:  Dragonfire presents the final companion change in the original series.  Mel randomly decides to go off with Glitz and she is replaced by the explosive Ace at the end of the episode.  I don’t really like Mel (who never actually had her last name revealed in the series), and the actress Bonnie Langford wanted out.  Sophie Aldred had tried out for Ray in Doctor Who:  Delta and the Bannerman and is a fun replacement…though I do hate her constant shouting of “aces” to force her nickname (it is revealed her real name is Dorothy).  It would be the problem with Ace in general is that she tries too hard.


I’m melting (badly)!

The special effects for this special are entertaining as well as laughable.  The dragon/alien has a body a lot like the alien from the film Alien but a really goofy head.  At the end of the story, Kane is exposed to the heat of space and melts in a very Raiders of the Lost Ark scene…if Raiders of the Lost Ark had a little budget.

Doctor Who:  Dragonfire falls during one of the weak periods of Doctor Who.  It is the start of a new direction with a change up in companions, but like much of the last few seasons of Doctor Who, it is too little, too late to really get the iconic show back to its level.  Fans will still enjoy Doctor Who:  Dragonfire, but it pales in comparison to earlier season.  Doctor Who:  Dragonfire was followed by Doctor Who:  Remembrance of the Daleks.

Preceded By:

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

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Remembrance of the Daleks (Story #151)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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