The Doctor brings Leela to Victorian London to see how her ancestors lived, but is rapidly drawn into a fiendish plot involving Chinese tongs, disappearing women, an Oriental stage magician, a murderous ventriloquist’s dummy and giant rats in the sewers.
Had the pleasure of watching this story for the first time the other night… Well, over the course of two nights, as I watched the concatenated VHS version. The story represents a superb example of Doctor Who at its very finest – with great villains, atmosphere and fine location filming. Yes, I can see perfectly where some might label the story racist – with the whole business of those dash distrustful Chinese – but I wouldn’t dream of faulting it for that – and I can see why fans have rated the story so highly. I loved the Professor Lightfoot character and would have appreciated the chance to see a little more of him, perhaps as an ongoing companion rather than a one-off. He reminded me of Terry Jones for some reason… probably the manner of speech and facial expressions.
The giant rat proved the finest element, without doubt. A finer animal I have not seen since my childhood watching Rentaghost! I watched with my 10 year old son and he found it hilarious, as various members of the cast suffered vicious attacks from this dubious and utterly unconvincing predator of the Victorian London sewers. Perhaps Russel T. could bring the rats back for the next series?