So, i believe this is the closes thing we have to an episode as it might have been realised by John Bryce during his abortive stint as producer, before Clemens was implored to return to the show – Have Guns – Will Haggle having been much more extensively reworked. How does this sample of pure Bryce fare? Well, it’s certainly clear why it was felt the show wasn’t working. It’s a strange mishmash: one half is a kind of reversal of From Venus With Love in which a Star Trek crew are cast as the baddies; the other half is a torturous endurance test which has shades of Dr No and is reminiscent of the scenes from The Superlative Seven of being hunted on the island. In terms of how it looks, there’s lots of studio filming which looks very poor, and the ‘aliens’ are an extraordinarily awful design, regardless of whether we are supposed to believe them to be truly extraterrestrial or to accept them as a credible space suit. The homage to Star Trek is taken to the extent of showing off many polystyrene rocks…
The setup is clearly for Tara to be brand new. That’s evident not just in the Bryce footage but in the new linking material in which she’s brunette (for example, she’s learning judo, and asking if she’s forgotten anything when they go to break in to the academy). It doesn’t fit well being broadcast at this point in the transmission sequence – it seems to be set up to follow on very soon after The Forget-Me-Knot.
Steed only ever calls Tara “Miss King” during this episode, much as he only ever called Emma “Mrs Peel” throughout series 4 and 5. But in most episodes, he calls Tara Tara.
It’s an interesting episode to watch and quite absorbing just as a curiosity, if you watch it with suitable detachment. But it doesn’t fit, production values are very low, and it’s certainly not a return to ‘realism’.