‘Our purpose is to amuse… simply to amuse. Nothing serious, nothing political…’
Carnival of Monsters (1973) is a story of two halves. Two
apparently unlinked stories unfold in a pair of quite different worlds.
The crew of a steamship en route to Bombay in 1926 are menaced by a
terror from the deep that should be extinct, while on an intensely
socially stratified world, nervous officials prepare to make first
contact with alien beings after thousands of years in isolation.
Somehow, the Doctor and Jo Grant will find themselves stepping between
these worlds in one of the most bizarre Doctor Who stories of its era.
Simultaneously a light comedy with satirical undercurrents and a
thrilling children’s adventure featuring ferocious alien beasts, Carnival of Monsters
brings together a producer-director keen to push the boundaries of the
electronic studio and a writer who delights in conjuring worlds from
tiny off-stage details. The result is a remarkable piece of television
with its own unique flavour that works on a number of levels for a
variety of audiences.
Written with access to surviving scripts, storylines and production files this Black Archive volume explores the roots of Carnival of Monsters
as a story, its thematic resonances and linguistic quirks and its
occasionally troubled production. Roll up and see the monster show, and
take a peek behind the curtain.