Watching episode one with no knowledge of the (very large) problematic monster to come, this is more than decent fare. The jungle filming at Ealing is glossy and well mounted (that Tom is made to look a little sweaty heightens the illusion that we’re in a lush, tropical environment).
Adrasta might be a rather one-note villain, but Myra Frances does her best with the material and the fact she’s rather easy on the eye doesn’t hurt. There’s also a gang of comedy bandits lurking about, led by Torvin (John Bryans). Torvin is the least subtle Jewish stereotype (“my lovely boys”) you’re ever likely to see, for all the world he seems to be playing Fagin from Oliver Twist.
I have to confess it was only recently that I connected him to his Blakes 7 roles (Bercol and Shrinker) which just goes to show what a beard and a broad accent can do. Romana is captured by Torvin and his associates, although she’s not terribly impressed by them. “I’m a traveller. I’m a Time Lord. And I am not used to being assaulted by a collection of hairy, grubby little men”. Few actresses could do haughty like Lalla Ward, it just seems to come naturally ….
As an actor, Terry Walsh was a great stuntman. Bless him. But it makes sense to give him a speaking part, since his character, Doran, would be the next victim to be thrown into the pit to be consumed by the mysterious creature. And the sight of Walsh’s terror stricken face as he spies something off-camera, glowing green, is another well-mounted moment. At present, with the creature still unseen, the imagination can work overtime to create an impression of what it could possibly look like.
I wonder if the reality will match our imaginations? Next time we’ll find out.