Yesterday Isabel and I watched The Power Of Kroll, a Dr Who story with a very poor reputation indeed, chiefly because of its worthy attempt to realise the biggest monster ever seen on the programme. This is Kroll itself, an enormous squid beast which actually looks very impressive – provided there is nothing else in shot. The Kroll model gets to do two things – loom menacingly above marshlands, which is done by means of shockingly obvious split-screen effects; and attack an ‘oil refinery’ which is a model of an oil refinery sitting in a bathtub.

Really though it was highly watchable stuff, by no means a classic but not a disgrace either. Dr Who fans are notably touchy though about the more over-ambitious special effects the show used, as they imagine this is what makes people who don’t like the programme dislike it – or, worse, imagine it’s what makes people who don’t really like the programme like it. This is respectively piffle and snobbery. People who don’t like Dr.Who generally dislike it because it’s science-fiction, or a children’s programme, or because it’s full of wheezy old gags, all of which are fundamental to its appeal and couldn’t have been changed. The only people who would disdain Who because of naff FX work are people who take stuff like The Matrix seriously, and who cares about them?

(See, I can be snobbish too!)

The standout actor in Kroll was Philip Madoc, as the refinery’s second-in-command. He was also the only one of the ‘bad’ characters to survive, a feat he managed by being wonderfully grumpy, outrageously passive-aggressive towards all the other characters, and delivering all his lines in a bassy monotone so jaded you could make brooches out of it. In most TV series he’d have been dead in 30 minutes: his survival makes me come over all territorial, to be honest.