The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve

I can only assume that a considerable amount of time has passed for Steven and the Doctor since they seem in quite high spirits despite the events of the previous story. Equally I am surprised how happy the Doctor seems to be with being in Paris again, considering all the trouble he had when he last visited the city with Barbara, Ian and Susan.
Still I like that the Doctor and Steven get dressed up in period clothing. The Doctor does it so sporadically that it makes you wonder what his rules are. I suppose it must depend on how urgent the situation is, whether time allows for him dressing up; as well as the fact that I imagine that as the Doctor got older he realised that it wasn’t as important as he first thought.

“You’d be surprised what I’ve got in my wardrobe.” – He is probably referring to those embarrassing question mark jumpers.

I understand that it was probably intended to offer greater variety; but this story does feel rather slow after the previous planet-hopping adventure. Steven also mentions how he has just come from Egypt, referencing his run in with the Monk. When we are introduced to the much mentioned Abbot of Amboise, he is revealed to look identical to the Doctor. William Hartnell played both parts, although I don’t much rate his acting as the Abbot unfortunately. To differentiate the Doctor and the Abbot, he simply adopts a monotone voice. It’s a shame that no footage of Hartnell as the Abbot survived; maybe my opinion would be different.

No images of the Abbot survived. But this is the Target artist’s impression.

The ending is similar to the end of The Fires of Pompeii, with Steven disbelieving that they couldn’t have just saved one person. The story finishes quite early on the final part, in order to have a bit of an introduction to the next companion. Steven wants to leave the Tardis in London in the 60s. The Doctor drops him off, when a young girl, Dodo comes running in, thinking that it is a real police box. Steven then takes a walk and comes back into the Tardis, taking off before they get into any trouble. It is so nice the way that the Doctor reminisces about his companions all leaving him, mentioning Susan, Vicki, Chesterton and Barbara by name. He even contemplates going back to his own planet. For those people who criticise classic Doctor Who for having no emotion, this does prove them wrong. It shows how much the Doctor has developed since the beginning of the show, when Dodo stumbles into the Tardis, and the Doctor tries to get her to run along calmly, instead of kidnapping her like he did Barbara and Ian. He does take off with Dodo and Steven on board to escape some real policemen.
I don’t like how relaxed Dodo is about the Tardis and the Doctor. It is one thing when people from the far future don’t react much to the Tardis and the technology within, but when someone from 1966 doesn’t even take a pause, it did take me out of the moment.
According to the book Doctor Who: Companions, there were intended to be cameos from Ian and Barbara watching the Tardis take off. Unfortunately, although the scene was scheduled, it wasn’t filmed.

Although the story gets bogged down the politics, there is a harrowing story underneath.

Unfortunately, this story really couldn’t keep me interested in what was going on. It feels very drawn out and that the tale could be told in half the time. I feel so terrible saying it, but apart from an emotional 10 minutes at the end, the entire story is really forgettable to me, and one that I doubt I will sit through again. It’s not terrible, just really uneventful. For that reason I award this story with three running Dodos out of ten.

Three running Dodos out of ten.

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