Doctor Who: A Fix with Sontarans
(1 episode, 1985)
It’s one last brief stop with Colin Baker before jumping back on the canon timeline.
Starting with a little bit of history, this is a segment of the popular British television show Jim’ll Fix It. The premise is that children write in with their wishes and Jimmy Saville, the show’s creator and host, finds a way to make those dreams come true. For this ten-minute spot, eight-year-old Gareth Jenkins wrote a letter asking to meet Colin Baker and visit the TARDIS. He also included a picture of him in a Sixth Doctor costume that his mother or grandmother made for him.
It’s been pretty evident during my reviews of the Sixth Doctor’s run that I wasn’t fond of the character – a fact that has earned me a certain amount of flak from fans, including those who think that I’m attacking Colin Baker instead of the character, which is far from reality – but my fan heart is warmed by this. I have a philosophy to not the criticize fans based on what they love, and I’m over the moon that young Mr. Jenkins idolized this Doctor so much.
In order to make Gareth’s dream come true, Jimmy Saville presented an adventure with two Doctor Who alumni. That’s pretty cool.
The story opens with the Doctor dancing around the TARDIS console in a valiant effort to tech the tech when an inadvertent button push teleports Tegan Jovanka into the console room. Tegan’s unimpressed with the Doctor’s new face and unhappy about the abduction, but she agrees to help remove two Sontarans and their vitrox bomb from the ship.
On a clever note, Tegan asks what a Sontaran is because she’s never met one.
The Doctor asks Tegan to push the blue button, but since there are so many of them, she accidentally activates the matter transfer stream again. This time the new passenger is a human boy named Gareth Jenkins. The boy is dressed exactly like the Doctor and offers to help in any way he can. Together, they set a trap as the Sontarans storm the console room.
Group Marshall Nathan (Turner? Am I reading too much into this?) demands introductions and is surprised to learn that Gareth is aboard. In the year 2001, their invasion of Earth is stopped by a brave and wise military leader of the same name, and the Sontarans decide that if they kill him now they can succeed later on. As they raise their weapons, Gareth springs the trap and the Sontarans literally melt to death.
The Doctor asks Gareth how he knew where all of the controls were, and the boy answers, “Well, I’ve seen you fly the TARDIS on telly.” After that, Jimmy Saville appears on the scanner screen for a moment before boarding the TARDIS. The Doctor presents Gareth Jenkins with a Jim’ll Fix It medal for his participation, along with a bonus: A Sontaran meson gun.
It was heartwarming and fun, even if the Sixth Doctor was a little acidic with Tegan. That last bit makes sense since this episode was aired on 23 February 1985, right in the middle of the Twenty-Second Series.
As our journey with the Sixth Doctor comes to a close, we’ll rejoin the time stream on our next adventure.
Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”
UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Time and the Rani
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.