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17x3. The Creature from the Pit
Writer: David Fisher
Director: Christopher Barry
Script Editor: Douglas Adams
Producer: Graham Williams

Synopsis: The Doctor and Romana arrive on the planet Chloris, where the ruler, the dictatorial Lady Adrasta, is involved in a scheme to preserve her monopoly over metal (a rarity on the planet) by imprisoning Erato, an ambassador from a planet that sought to establish a metal trading pact, in a pit, where he is now feared as a dangerous monster.

Review: "The Creature from the Pit" is never exactly boring, and there are a few elements that stand out as particularly creative or amusing. There is, of course, the moment where the Doctor, having been thrown into the pit, pulls out a rock climbing manual, discovers that it's written in Tibetan, and then quickly pulls out "Teach Yourself Tibetan" as well. (One wonders if his pockets are bigger on the inside than on the outside too.) The best among the guest characters is probably Organon, a soothsayer who's trapped in the pit with the Doctor and who, despite having his heart in the right place, is aware of the suspect authenticity of his profession. However, Adrasta and the bandits that occasionally wander into this situation are all pretty conventional stock characters, and it's a little hard to believe that Erato has been accidentally killing people in the process of trying to communicate without realizing that something about his methods is amiss. And while it's hard to pinpoint exactly why, the whole thing seems oddly underplayed: the characters' reactions don't seem to match the alleged gravity of the situation at times. (Let me emphasize, as I know this is a sore point when discussing the Graham Williams era, that I'm not saying the characters' reactions are too silly - I'm saying they're too bland.) While one could do worse, "The Creature from the Pit" is far from Doctor Who
at its best.

Rating: **1/2 (out of four)

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