“The Wringer” Review

Brainwashing. Steed is accused of treachery and gets sent off for interrogation; but instead of trying to get stuff out they put stuff in. Although this seems to be a fairly well regarded episode (and I tend to like Martin Woodhouse scripts) this didn’t excite me – Steed being suspected was done in Nutshell, his brainwashing was rushed and unconvincing (The Ipcress File would be in cinemas just a year later). I liked Cathy’s gung-ho rescue – and her contempt for the service and their practices is in character – her conviction is touching and there’s no attempt manufacture tension by suggesting doubt on her part. But where in Nutshell the ethical standards of the service were closely scrutinised, in this one it seemed that it was their competence that was in question as much as anything else.

Paul Whitsun-Jones’s Charles makes a welcome return (from The Man With Two Shadows) and he and Cathy resume their mutual distrust.

There’s perhaps as bit of confusion over the length of Cathy’s partnership with Steed. She says “Steed and I have worked together pretty closely over the past months.” This doesn’t necessarily contradict their having worked together for 10 years (Don’t Look Behind You) since they may have worked less closely, previously, but it can’t be much more than the 10 years because Anderson has known Steed for longer and they met 12 years ago.

The best thing about it, in my view, was a guest appearance from Peter Sallis. I just can’t help thinking he’s about to say ‘Cheese, Gromit” in anything he’s in now, but that only adds to the fun. There’s also an appearance from the late, legendary Barry Letts, who would go on to produce Doctor Who throughout the Jon Pertwee era.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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