Delta and the Bananamen is the TV equivalent of one of those comic strips in DWM that’s a bit more humorous than usual, and probably sits outside of the ongoing “canon”; a bit like “Happy Deathday”, that kind of thing. To my mind, that’s the best way to view the “kid’s show” approach of the McCoy stories, there’s not a lot of point in viewing this iteration of Doctor Who as Drama, because that’s not what it is any more. This was another of our Doctor Who On Helium edits, which we’ve been revisiting recently as “normal” edits and, even at Standard speed, my opinion of the story remains as low as it was when it was speeded up.
That said, it isn’t that bad if you treat it like the naff comedy interlude it is and at least the inspiration for the story – a new Alien Queen Bee – isn’t as obscure as the idea behind Ghost Light but then nothing could be as obscure as Ghost Light… and there are some nice performances in there alongside the slightly duff ones. Yes, I’m looking at you two, Billy and Delta, both as wooden and completely lacking in warmth and personality as each other, not a good idea for a romantic couple we’re meant to care about.
And if that really is Hawk’s own accent I’d take it back and get a refund. Murray is terrible as well, but at least he’s doing kid’s show acting, almost as if he knows he’s in one, and poor old Ray never stood a chance of becoming the next companion if it was a straight choice between her and Sophie Aldred as Ace.
On the plus side there’s top taffy actor Richard Davies, a face I well remember from almost every Seventies sitcom I ever saw. And before you start, trust me, despite what the detractors say there’s nothing wrong with Ken Dodd in this. His character, such as it is, is just as believable a performance as Don Henderson or anybody else. There’s a long and noble tradition of casting comedians is dramatic roles, such as Shakespeare’s Fool in King Lear, which Doddy did in Kenneth Branagh’s film and this is one occasion where the accusation of stunt casting is misplaced.
Cuts were limited due to the sheer amount of Keff McCullough all over the place, which is why this is almost the same length as Paradise Towers with one less episode. The main thing to go from this was most of the stuff with Hawk and Weismuller. Stubby Kaye? Sorry, but who the hell is Stubby Kaye? Never heard of him. And don’t go looking for the “Burton’s Escape” sequence. One, it doesn’t advance the story and Two, it’s a blooper and a half as you can clearly see that McCoy has his glasses on when riding the bike!