The Black Archive – a series of book-length looks at single Doctor Who stories from 1963 to the present day.
‘Why didn’t I leave after the cricket?’
Murder in a country house. Steam trains and vintage cars. Gentlemen
playing cricket. Hidden passageways. What could be more familiar or safe
to the 10 million viewers who watched this on its initial broadcast in
But this is Doctor Who, so nothing should be taken at face value.
With a tragic figure imprisoned in a secret part of the house, Black
Orchid (1982) is clearly mining literary traditions. The portrayal of
mental and physical injury invites the viewer to examine their own
prejudices. Similarly ambiguous is the representation of the native
South American outsider who guards the former great white explorer.
This Black Archive title explores the use of doubles and the role of
identity, the series’ attitude to colonialism and what we think of when
we talk of monsters. How does the story’s status as the first pure
historical for 15 years, and the first two-part story for seven years,
affect the way in which these issues can be presented?
Oh, and there may be the odd mention of cricket as well.