THE DOCTORS - MORE MONSTERS! / CERT: E / DIRECTOR: KEITH BARNFATHER / STARRING: NABIL SHABAN, CHRISTOPHER RYAN, STEPHEN THORNE, TERRY MOLLOY, STUART FELL, JOHN DAVEY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
More Monsters! is a sequel to the 2018 release gathering together archive interviews with many of the (now sadly deceased) actors who have attained a sort of televisual immortality thanks to their appearances as aliens and monsters in Doctor Who. So we have yet more of those performers best-known for their time spent swathed in sweaty latex or encased in figure-hugging rubber or fibre glass costumes all in the name of scaring the nation’s young witless in the ‘classic’ Doctor Who series - and, in the case of this particular two-disc set, a couple of performers who have found themselves doing much the same in the 21st century reboot. The More Monsters! title is a bit of a misnomer, however, as many of those interviewed here more memorably portrayed outstanding villains from the series’ original run - Davros, Omega, Kiv - rather than the more generic making-up-the-numbers alien grunts of the earlier release.
Nicely timed to coincide with his return to the role in the new fan-produced DVD spin-off yarn Sil and the Devil Seeds of Arodor, Nabil Shaban chats with enthusiasm about his time as the reptilian, one of the more memorable new creations from the dying days of the original series in the 1980s and Christopher Ryan is remarkably humble about not only his career but indeed his place in TV history. Who fans will remember him as Mentor Kiv in 1986’s troubled Trial of a Time Lord season and also his appearances as a Sontaran in the ‘new’ series but to those of a riper vintage he will be forever associated with his role as Mike, ‘the cool one’ in the anarchic and momentous 1980s ‘alternative comedy’ The Young Ones on BBC Two and his reminiscences of working with the great Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, and Nigel Planer are as fascinating as any number of anecdotes from his time leading the Sontarans into battle against David Tennant’s Time Lord. The late Stephen Thorne, interviewed several years ago both on the convention stage and then privately the following day (he’s instantly recognisable from his powerful, stentorian voice), recalls his uncomfortable turns as Azal the Daemon and Omega the renegade Time Lord from 1973’s The Three Doctors and Terry Molloy brings along an amusing element of theatrical luvviness as he discusses taking over the role of Dalek creator Davros in 1984. Perhaps the best interviews here, though, are those with legendary stunt performer Stuart Fell (aptly-named), familiar to credits-watchers of 1970s and 1980s Who thanks to appearances in over twenty serials, which usually saw him falling from a great height, being shot or buried inside some outlandish alien costume. The oldest interview here sees Fell, long since retried, chats enthusiastically about his time on Doctor Who and numerous other productions. The collection brings us right up to date with John Davey, a supporting artist on the modern series who has graduated into a regular performer on screen and in many of its extra-curricular stage incarnations; Davey is clearly having the time of his life and revelling in the minor celebrity afforded to him by his appearances as Cybermen, Judoon, and Daleks.
There’s something very warm and enjoyable about these interview releases, if only because it allows fans to put faces to the names of these unsung heroes who have made the Doctor’s deadliest enemies so powerful and alluring across the decades and most of the segments included here are more professional and better-presented than many of those on earlier releases, which tended to have a slightly homespun quality to them. Probably only for interest to absolute die-hards but great fun nonetheless.