“Never, Never Say Die” Review

Oh dear. Being charitable, it could be suggested that episode represents the natural evolution of The Cybernauts concept – though it’s more of a revolution, since the AI has been perfected and they now have incredibly detailed and lifelike facial responses. Or, being less kind, it could be suggested that cybernaut costumes aren’t cheap, realistic android duplicates give you two performances for the price of one actor, and using this device means that The Man With Two Shadows and Two’s A Crowd can be plundered for concepts. I’m not feeling terribly kind since this episode is so riddled with holes and arbitrary story elements that one loses the motivation to even keep track. For example, there’s the doctor – who, having pronounced Christopher Lee dead and alive, apparently has no further function to the plot… but who is kept around, giving a big clue to the fact that she’s going to be duplicated. Even though there’s no possible in-story reason that she should be a subject for duplication. (And that’s leaving aside the concept of pronouncing an android dead… just how would human diagnosis be possible even on an incredible sophisticated model? You see, you start to pick, and the whole thing unravels.)

In a nod to The Cybernauts, we get a full screen black and white clip after the episode title is shown. Emma is watching a clip on her TV (which is so modern, it has a remote control wired to it – the three buttons are presumably one for each channel?) It’s not quite clear whether the footage is supposed to be part of a broadcast TV show or if she’s reviewing an old case. The problem with the former is that even if we accept, after The Correct Way To Kill that colour Avengers is a different show, with different continuity, it will come to seem odd when she does recognise cybernauts in Return of the Cybernauts if she doesn’t here. The problem with the latter is that it was a plot point that there was no CCTV footage of the killer in The Cybernauts… The episode is nonsense, you see?

Also, where is Emma? Is that supposed to be her flat – because either I’m going mad, or it looks different to the once in the previous colour episodes…

A couple of notable – and enjoyable guest appearances – Christopher Benjamin is back (with his hooter unbandaged this time) and Arnold Ridley gives a particularly enjoyable performance as a radio control model enthusiast (over a year before the first Dad’s Army episode aired).

The radio ham, Eccles, is playing board games with opponents all over the world (and even trying to match accents to be understood) – isn’t this a straight rip off of the Hancock episode from 1961?

Subtitle: Steed meets a dead man. Emma fights the corpse.

We’re needed: Emma is watching television. Steed breaks into the transmission.

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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