|With Sophie Aldred. Written by Terrance Dicks, Miles Richardson and Roger Stevens.|
A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 16/6/99
Instead of a straightforward drama like its predecessor Mindgame, Reeltime Pictures latest release Mindgame Trilogy, takes the form of three monologues featuring the three main players from Mindgame.
The tape opens with Battlefield, and is notable because of the change of actor from Toby Aspin to John Wadmore in the role of the Sontaran. Wadmore is much better suited to the role than Aspin, and brings more depth to the character; although this is partly due to Terrance Dicks thought provoking script. Here the Sontaran is forced to question his actions in Mindgame (and whether they still make him worthy of being a Sontaran). Another bonus is the location filming and CGI effects, which add an atmosphere to the proceedings.
Prisoner 451 centres on the Draconian, and is written by as well as starring Miles Richardson. Here it is very much a case of back to basics, as a single solitary cell, with spartan furnishings provides the backdrop for the story. On first viewing this, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Draconian has undergone a complete personality change, something which is echoed in Richardson`s performance. Where as the Draconian was witty in Mindgame, here he is full of bluster. However the reasons for this become clear, when his 'crime' is finally revealed. This gives a fascinating insight into a vastly underused race from Doctor Who.
The final piece Scout Ship by Roger Stevens sees Sophie Aldred`s Human back in space, only this time alone and fighting for her life. This tense and claustrophobic piece is easily the most emotional of the three (although this probably has a lot to do with the fact that the viewer can sympathise and would be more familiar with a Human than a Sontaran or Draconian). Sophie`s performance echoes that of Ace from the BBV solo adventures The Other Side and The Left Hand Of Darkness. Again the effects add to the atmosphere and strengthen the overall feel of the piece.
The lack of incidental music is my only real gripe with this tape, a biography of three well drawn and popular characters.
A Review by Richard Radcliffe 21/9/04
It's a matter of opinion whether three mismatched characters work best alone or together. Putting them together can provide some character contrast at close quarters - resulting in quite interesting issues - but then that was Mindgame wasn't it - and that wasn't that good really. And so this time, a year on from Mindgame, we meet our Sontaran, Draconian and human again - three distinct segments each featuring one character - 20 minutes alone with each.
I liked it better than Mindgame, but not that much better. Somehow the production bypasses the major issue of why these characters are talking to themselves. Instead it just goes for it, resulting in the three being better defined but missing that vital ingredient, interest.
Sophie Aldred's character is stuck in a small scout ship. Thus her scenes are about Sophie Aldred. There's a few nice FX shots of the ship soaring away into the nothingness, and Aldred gives it her all. Trouble is we know where this is going. We know there is going to be some crazy stuff, we know there's going to be something about her mother, and we know there's going to be some losing of the mind. Thankfully 20 minutes is all we get, and it is over before we really get that bored.
The Draconian is stuck in a cell again - and this lack of imagination means Miles Richardson, good actor that he is, suffers sameness syndrome. He tries to make his character different, but he's still a Draconian and I don't like the Draconians anyway. This segment was very tempting to fast forward. Where on earth did he get that book from too?
The Sontaran segment is the best. The actor is different, and better too. John Wadmore knocks the socks off Toby Aspin to be fair. Being alone has brought out some anti-Sontaran feelings in him as he questions his actions in the cell of Mindgame. This humanizing actually makes him more interesting. The set is impressive too, this being filmed at night outside. The SFX are impressive, really showing a battle torn planet. All in all this segment is the best thing about The Mindgame Trilogy, and Terrance Dicks' writing here is impressive, far moreso than Mindgame.
And so the three biographies are concluded in dramatic fashion. All in all this little experiment - the Mindgame series - has been a bit of a disappointment. It all seems rather low key, that we are intruding into areas we shouldn't go. The overall impression left is one of bemusement - it hadn't enriched me at all, and actually left me with a blase feeling about the whole Mindgame thing.
I'm sure there are worse spin-offs, but I haven't encountered one yet. For Mindgame Trilogy: Scout Ship Human 4, Prisoner 451 Draconian 5, Battlefield Sontaran 7. Overall 5/10