Thursday, November 28

The Celestial Toymaker Part 3/4: The Dancing Floor

Ohhhh boy so I watched An Adventure in Space and Time, the special about Hartnell the BBC did as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. I think I love Hartnell now. I take back everything bad I ever said about him. I love him a lot and I highly recommend you check out the special if you can. Gosh. Hartnell. Anyway.

The last episode ended with the Toymaker giving Steven and Dodo the following riddle:

"Hunt the key to fit the door 
that leads out on the dancing floor; 
Then escape the rhythmic beat, 
or you'll forever tap your feet."

So I guess this episode is a dance-off? I mean yeah I'm eager to see what this is going to turn out to be so let's get to it.

Steven and Dodo are in the tunnel that was through the door of the fake TARDIS. They eventually come to a big old door that doesn't have a lock or a handle or anything. Steven is, again, surprised that the Toymaker isn't giving them an easy ride. Dodo, again showing that she's a great deal more astute than a fully-grown man, notices that the dolls from the locked cupboard in the last episode are following them, blocking the way out.

Both being a little concerned about this, they attempt to avert the situation. Dodo tries just telling them to go back to their cupboard but that, surprisingly, doesn't work. Steven, like a big old loser, starts squaring up to them, but before he can get into a fight with the reanimated corpses, the door behind them opens. So that's convenient.

Through the door is a kitchen with two people in it - Mrs Wiggs, a Cockney Mrs Weasley sort of figure, and Sergeant Rugg, an old-school army general with a moustache. Dodo is again entirely unsuspicious of them and happily catches them up on the entire plot. Steven apparently feels his masculinity is being threatened by the Sergeant and is just kind of a dick to him.

SGT RUGG: All right, young fellow me lad, no loitering! Pick your feet up then! Hup two three four, hup two three four--
STEVEN: Why don't you go back to your box?
SGT RUGG: What's that? Why, you young whipper snapper, I'll...
STEVEN: You'll what?
SGT RUGG: Well, I'll... well, you need a good hiding, m'lad!
STEVEN: Hah, and who's going to give it to me?

Actually, he's either being a dick or flirting. I can never tell.

While Steven and the Sergeant have been entertaining themselves with their little pissing contest, Dodo has been talking with Mrs Wiggs and trying to advance the plot a little. She recites the riddle, and Mrs Wiggs says that she knows a dancefloor through the other door in the room, which is locked. Steven, channelling his inner dickwad again, goes over and kicks the door when he finds out it's not already open. Mrs Wiggs and the sergeant are both looking on in confusion and gently remind them of the riddle that Dodo literally just recited in full. Even with this prompt, both of them seem confused until Mrs Wiggs literally has to say 'HUNT THE KEY TO FIT THE DOOR'. Gosh.

Meanwhile, back with old Toymaker, the Doctor has just stopped playing - presumably cos of the caveat where if Steven and Dodo are still playing while the Doctor finishes, they'll all be stuck there forever. This seems like a silly rule to me cos Steven and Dodo's games seem to be pretty infinite, but whatever. The Toymaker gets annoyed and accelerates the Doctor's puzzle by a few hundred steps.

Back in the kitchen, Steven and Dodo are hunting around for the key and making a big old mess. Dodo charms the sergeant into helping them, and Mrs Wiggs is getting annoyed at them all for destroying her kitchen. Sergeant Rugg breaks a couple of plates and then the two of them just have a big brawl - throwing stuff at each other and shouting - while Steven and Dodo awkwardly stand at the side.

While all this is going on, Steven and Dodo notice a kitchen boy in the corner trying to sneak off, and they remark how similar he looks to the Jack of Hearts, whose name was Cyril. Steven storms over and demands to know where the key is; Cyril hands him a jar. While Steven is smashing up the jar to see if the key is inside, Cyril just... goes and locks himself in the pantry and we don't see him again this scene. So. Great.

The key, it turns out, was inside this pie that Mrs Wiggs had just baked. Dodo is obviously the one who figured it out and forcibly pushed Steven through the door before he could get angry at something dumb again. Through the door is the 'dance floor', or the best the prop department could do at the time.

Steven, again being weirdly idiotic this episode, sees the TARDIS and is once again convinced that it's definitely not a fake. What's WRONG with you today, Steven baby? He steps out onto the dancefloor and immediately gets his groove on - being on the dancefloor forces you to dance, I guess? The three dolls on the thing partner up with Steven in turn and keep moving him away from the TARDIS. Steven is mainly concerned that the lady dolls are in control of the dance.

DODO: Can't you dance down to it Steven?
STEVEN: I can't lead! I'm just being carried 'round and 'round!

Bless. And then Sergeant Rugg and Mrs Wiggs appear! They've had a meeting with the Toymaker and have been instructed to reach "that big cupboard" before Steven and Dodo do, so Mrs Wiggs joins in with the dancing while the Sergeant tries to reach the TARDIS. Dodo also gets on the dancefloor, for some reason, and is also swept up with the groovin' fever, and also then the Sergeant too. There's a right old party going on, man. The Toymaker's crib is where it's AT.

There's a complicated thing that happens where whenever a new person steps on the dancefloor, the music changes and the three dolls switch partners to dance with someone else, so eventually Steven ends up dancing on his own and manages to somehow get Dodo and dance them towards the TARDIS? I can't really make sense of it, cos this is a reconstructed episode so there's no footage, but basically yeah they escape and go through the door of the TARDIS. Hooray.

To nobody's surprise but Steven and Dodo's, it's not the real TARDIS. It's just a box with an arrow on one of the walls and a sign saying 'Start here'. There's also another riddle, shorter this time: "Lady Luck will show the way, win the game or here you'll stay." Once they've read it, the wall descends to reveal yet another mysterious corridor. They start to walk down it and bump into Cyril again! Brilliant! Cyril pulls a few pranks on them - shakes Steven's hand and gives him an electric shock - and also says that his name is Cyril but his friends call him Billy, and their next game will be played against him. What a weird character, man. Billy/Cyril does an ominous little giggle, and then the episode ends!

One more Toymaker episode left! I wonder if we'll get any explanation as to where they are or who the Toymaker is or how he knows the Doctor. I'm guessing not, but I live in hope.

I hope you are all well and happy. Watch Adventure in Space and Time if you have a spare hour and a bit. It's worth it.



  1. I'm really glad that you enjoyed Adventure... and it opened you up to Hartnell a little more. On the basis of the episodes alone it's easy to be down on him. I know I was until I learned more of the backstory.

    Anyway, next episode has *actual footage* if I remember correctly, so huzzah for that. I mean, it's not particularly good, but you take what you can get.

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