Doctor Who: Podshock 272 Extra Edition - K-9 and Company Review

Administrator - Posted on 19 June 2012

Doctor Who: Podshock - Episode 272 EXTRA Edition
Running Time: 1:12:41

In this Extra Edition of Doctor Who: Podshock we give our review of the first Doctor Who spin-off production, K-9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend starring Elisabeth Sladen and John Leeson, plus Doctor Who related news and more.

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Hosted by Louis Trapani ( @LouisTrapani ), Dave Cooper ( @daveac ), Graeme Sheridan ( @The2ndDoctor ), and Ian Bisset ( @The6thDoctor ).

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Doctor Who: Podshock an international Doctor Who podcast premiering in 2005 by the Gallifreyan Embassy and produced by Art Trap Productions.

Blue Box Bill's picture

Good job as always... Louis, Dave, Graeme and Ian. A nice bonus episode for Podshock Supporting Subscribers.

In her autobiography, the late Elisabeth Sladen shared her thoughts about "K-9 and Company: A Girl's Best Friend" and while I will not spoil your enjoyment of her life story by repeating any of what she had to say about this particular production what she wrote came as no surprise.

At first I thought there was something wibbly wobbly timey wimey about the departure of K-9 Mark II which took place in January 1981 at the conclusion of "Warriors' Gate" AND the arrival of K-9 Mark III in "K-9 and Company" which also occurred in 1981. According to K-9, he had last communicated with the Doctor in 1978, presumably just before he was packed in his crate and left on Earth as a gift for Sarah Jane. For this to make sense, K-9 Mark III had to be built at about the same time as his predecessor first appeared which seems unlikely, but since these events were in Sarah Jane's future (as she and the Doctor parted company in 1976 at the conclusion of "The Hand Of Fear") there is one very simple and convenient explanation. Time travel.

K-9's timeline goes something like this:

Mark I appears in The Invisible Enemy (1977) as the creation of Professor Marius and becomes part of the TARDIS crew.

Mark I departs in The Invasion of Time (1978) when he decides to remain on Gallifrey with Leela.

Mark II makes cameo appearance in The Invasion of Time (1978) in a box labeled "K-9 Mk II.

Mark II appears in The Ribos Operation (1978) having greater mobility than Mark I and the ability to sense and warn others of danger.

Mark II departs in Warriors' Gate (1981) by remaining in E-Space with Romana.

Mark III appears in K-9 And Company (1981) as a gift to Sarah Jane from the Doctor, a gift he left for her, presumably, in 1978.

Mark III makes a cameo appearance in The Five Doctors (1983) at home with Sarah Jane.

Mark III departs in School Reunion (2006) having sacrificed himself to stop a plot by the alien Krillitane.

Mark IV arrives in School Reunion (2006) when the Doctor presents Sarah Jane with a rebuilt model having the same mind and memories as his predecessor.

The Doctor Master may well have begun construction of K-9 Mark III before parting company with Mark II, in fact, or in fiction, depending on how you want to look at it, it makes sense that the Doctor would have a copy of Mark II in one of his TARDIS workshops where he'd be busy upgrading it between televised episodes, along with all those other activities we don't see... like sleeping, eating, flossing, bathing ( Cue Mr. Sulu's sound clip: OH MY! ) etc. He, the Doctor, not Mr. Sulu, quietly slipped back in time and left Mark III with Sarah's Aunt Lavinia.

"This isn't Hillview Road. I bet it isn't even South Croydon. Oh. He blew it," we hear Sarah Jane saying as she makes her way home after stepping out of the TARDIS at the conclusion of "The Hand Of Fear." While the Doctor got that location wrong he did manage to find Aunt Lavinia. Good thing too. One wonders what would have become of K-9 were it not for Sarah Jane Smith.

If one's opinion of "K-9 and Company" is based solely on the televised program itself because one is either unaware of all the real world machinations which preceded this 50 minute science fiction romp, or perhaps one chooses to ignore those machinations, then one's opinion may be very different from those who dare look behind the curtain of the The Great Oz. Put another way, I can better empathize with Philip Segal's long and winding road in getting the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie to materialize on our TV screens after learning about what led up to Sarah Jane Smith's 1981 telly appearance, some years after leaving the Whoinverse in 1976 at the conclusion of "The Hand of Fear." The politics of entertainment. Go figure.

As a one-off "K-9 And Company" links the classic and new eras quite nicely. Too bad the plot was caught up in witchcraft rather than some hi-tech story that may have been better suited for the return of Tin Dog... sorry, K-9.  If you've read any of my reviews you know I've been a fan for a long time so it is as a fan and not a critic that I share my opinion. Critical though I may sound, I like the concept of K-9 And Company, however this seems like one of those situations where someone slapped the logo of one product onto another while no one was looking and then, when it doesn't go as well as planned they are the first to ask, "Now how did that get on there?"

I believe it was Ian who commented during Podshock 272 that you could show "K-9 And Company" to a fan of "The Sarah Jane Adventures" and they would get it without much if any explanation. Agreed. A good story with an excellent cast, it holds a special place.

Click picture for enlargement.

Happy Travels,

Blue Box Bill

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