Galaxy 4

doctor who big finish galaxy four.jpg

About the only thing Galaxy 4 is noteworthy for to most fans is that one of the Drahvin guns turns up ten years later in Genesis of the Daleks...

doctor who recycling genesis daleks galaxy 4 gun

No doubt fanboys back in the day squee`d with delight when they spotted something from the B&W days of the show in colour. It’s a Shawcraft prop and there’s one on the 8mm footage on the DVD of The Chase.  And I’m still waiting for the Fan Fiction where a Drahvin ship lands on Skaro during the Thal/Kaled war… what a shame that the B&W story that gun prop comes from isn’t half as exciting as seeing it onscreen again ten years later in colour!

Dr Who In Space Babes v Monsters! is yet another one of those stories that isn’t half as good as it sounds on paper. It’s all a bit of a B-Movie, which isn’t always a bad thing but G4’s biggest storytelling sin isn’t the cliches or the lack of moral ambiguity, it’s the fact that it’s just so bloody dull.

The Beautiful Space Babes are the baddies and the Ugly Alien Walrus Men are the victims, not the other way around. Not only could Drahvin society could do with a bit more testosterone, the Walrus Men’s robotic weapon of choice is the Chumbley, this era’s rubbish Not Daleks. They’re about as offensive a weapon as the Quarks and wouldn’t last five minutes on the Intergalactic version of Robot Wars

Maaga and Rago, they know the score/Drahvins and Rills is just a bore/Why waste time watching Galaxy Four/Let’s have Chumblies versus Quarks…/On Robot Wars!

This is yet another of those stories where the writer misses the obvious storytelling opportunity and instead resorts to cliche and tiresome runaround instead of conflict and drama, which brings us to Cliche Alert #1 – The Drahvins are an all-female race, well, an almost-all-female race. Interesting that they do have a “primary and secondary reproductive cycle” instead of all being lesbians or shemales. Beautiful blonde space babes who are lovely on the outside and ugly on the inside, it’s not like we’ve ever seen that before is it… yawn.

Cliche Alert #2 – the Gender Swap, where women behave like men and men behave like women. That particular trope has been done to death too, but these ain’t no tribe of ripped, 300-style, Amazonian Xena, Warrior Princess clones. They’re not even Wonder Woman on a bad day. Ah, Lynda Carter…

Maaga and the girls ain’t no Caroline Munro neither, who was in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad with Tom Baker and At The Earth’s Core with Peter Cushing and Doug McClure. No, they’re more like the Women’s Institute Away Team, with their modest uniforms, poka-dot eyebrows and big guns, which are arguably phallic. And anyway, the gender swap trope was comprehensively destroyed by The Two Ronnies years ago in The Worm That Turned.

Cliche Alert #3 – Ugly Aliens That Are Nice. So, the Drahvins are the External Beauty Masking Inner Evil characters and the Rills are the Monstrosity Hiding Inner Morality. It’s all a bit Orwellian, with the double-speak of Beauty Is Bad, Ugly Is Good and don’t let’s get started on all that feminist bollocks and the cliche of bad, beautiful women being branded as bitches. Mind you, that Diana the rat-eater in V…! If I was a leftie academic yank I’d probably go off on one at this point about gender politics, but that’s even more boring than these four episodes…

dwm galaxy 4

Storytelling Crime #1 – Black Is White and White Is Black. Yes, and? No, that’s it. Oh. So no ambiguity then, no wondering who to trust, no subtext, no mystery. Even though only one quarter of this story exists on video, even on audio it’s clear from the off that the Space Vixens are not to be trusted. Which means for the three eps after Billy finds out the planet is going to blow any day now, we don’t really care what happens to either the Space Bitches or the Walrus Men ‘cos we can already see how this is going to play out, and come part four, surprise surprise, there are no surprises.

Storytelling Crime #2 – where’s the conflict? No, not the conflict between the Tardis crew, the Drahvins and the Rills. I mean the inter-Drahvin conflict.

Much like Madam Karabraxos would discover years later, her clones are a bit wet. The fact that Maaga is a bit of a dominatrix means there’s not a single attempt at reconciliation or understanding between at least some of the Drahvins and the Rills, and no conflict between Maaga and her drones. Why do none of them have the bottle to tell Maaga to get stuffed in the interests of sheer self-preservation?

If even one of them wanted to co-operate with their sworn enemies the Rills, just long enough to survive this exploding planet they’re all trapped on, then you would have had some drama and a means of exploring all the issues around warfare and conflict resolution. But no. Hell’s teeth, even The Ark did better on that one!

Having completed the fan edit of the orphan episode three, I was curious to see how much of it was in the original 2015 soundtrack edit of the entire story. Listening back to it again, I realised that I had omitted the entire airlock sequence, something that was done for reasons of pace. The edit still made sense, but I felt that without the scene there wasn’t really a clear story reason why the Doctor and Vicki are heading back to the Drahvin ship. Okay, we can work out that they’re going to rescue Steven now that they know the Drahvins are a bunch of bad, bad girls but on reflection I felt that it would be better to have the airlock scene in after all so I went back and reinstated those extra few minutes to the edit.

Your editing choices do change over time, and this was an instance where I felt I hadn’t done as good a job as I could have, so the lesson here is always be open to revisiting your earlier work. You might just be able to improve on it…

Comparing the two, although the video edit of part three runs to just over sixteen and a half minutes, and is all the better for it, the audio version manages to cover the same amount of story in just six!

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