Recap / Doctor Who S3 E7 "The Celestial Toymaker"

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/toymaker_3203.jpg
"You see? Did I not tell you the truth?" "Yes, Doctor, there is in fact a camera there. What of it?"
I'm bored. I love to play games but there's no-one to play against. The beings who call here have no minds, and so they become my toys. But you will become my perpetual opponent. We shall play endless games together, your brain against mine.
The Toymaker

The TARDIS arrives in the domain of the eponymous Toymaker, an immortal being who forces them to play deadly games. The Doctor plays the Trilogic Game, which neither believes the others would be capable of solving for some reason. Meanwhile, Steven and Dodo are given more childlike pursuits with incredibly deadly results, eventually playing a dice-based board game where they have to hop from square to square over an electrified floor while playing against a cheating man-child. The Toymaker, over the episodes, grows frustrated with the Doctor being... well... himself and begins to take parts of the Doctor away, making taunts to him. The Doctor is finally left down to a single hand, with no way to speak or even do much but play the Trilogic game.Of course, the Toymaker eventually returns the Doctor to normal, otherwise it'd be hard to explain the future episodes, wouldn't it?

Steven and Dodo, in their game of increasingly-deadly (and long) board games, barely win out as the devious manchild essentially commits suicide-by-stupidity. They rescue the TARDIS, the goal square of their little game, and the Doctor gets ever-closer to finishing off his game. Eventually, the Trilogic Game comes down to a dilemma: the Doctor can win by moving the last piece on the board, but if he does so the Toymaker's realm will vanish entirely. This means taking himself, Dodo and Steven with it while leaving the Toymaker free to build another realm and jerk around with more people. The Toymaker hopes that the Doctor will stay and play games as an equal mind to his own.

The Doctor wins by making his final move from inside the TARDIS through verbal commands that imitate the Toymaker himself. As they escape, the trio celebrate their win by all sharing a grin. The Doctor then whips out a bag of candy and has a piece, but is left moaning in pain when he bites down on the candy...


Episodes 1 through 3 of this story are among the 97 missing episodes of 60s Doctor Who. The fourth episode exists, and was released on the "Lost in Time" DVD set. However, there is a full novelization of the adventure, and dedicated fans recorded the audio of the entire thing anyway.

A reconstructionnote  can be watched here. It includes Episode 4, the only one remaining.

Tropes

  • Bowdlerise: Tropes Are Not Bad when the Values Dissonance is severe enough. In the audio release, Peter Purves's narration talks over the series' sole instance of the N-word (the older version of "Eenie Meenie Miny Moe").
  • Crazy Enough to Work: The Doctor's plan to finish the trilogic game by ordering it to the final move. In a variation it actually doesn't work the first time the Doctor tries it out, but when he takes the care to imitate the Toymaker's voice, it succeeds.
  • Deadly Game: Losing any of the games will result in either death or being condemned to spend all eternity as one of the Toymaker's playthings.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The shot of Cyril's charred corpse is surprisingly graphic. However, it is not known to have been cut from any print, despite the cutting of less-graphic deaths in other stories.
  • The GM Is A Cheating Bastard: Downplayed somewhat by the Toymaker, who actually does abide by a certain set of rules throughout the story, though that's not to say that going through is games is a pleasant experience. Played straight by Cyril, who makes up new rules on the spot and actively tries to sabotage Steven and Dodo.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Steven offers to do this, by making the final move in the trilogic game so that the Doctor and Dodo can escape, but the Doctor refuses to allow it.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Cyril spreads powder on a triangle in the hopscotch game to make Steven and/or Dodo fall onto the electrified floor. Guess who actually slips and falls. Adding insult to injury, this happens after he actually wins the game.
  • Monster Clown: The Toymaker isn't as actively cruel and malicious as a lot of examples of this trope, but he's certainly a horrible person all the same.
  • N-Word Privileges: An infamous appearance in "The Hall of Dolls". It was acceptable at the time. This changed as society progressed and the grievous offence of the word was taken seriously.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: Cyril is dressed like Billy Bunter and has a line (adlibbed) where he says that his friends call him "Billy". After the broadcast of "The Dancing Floor", the estate of Frank Richards complained that Billy Bunter was being portrayed as evil and a disclaimer was aired after "The Final Test" to state that Cyril was merely imitating Bunter.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: The Toymaker is a mild example, behaving relatively normally most of the time, but also showing the odd example of childish glee at the prospect of the Doctor and his companions being subjected to a Fate Worse Than Death. Turned Up to Eleven by Cyril, a fully grown man who actually dresses like a schoolboy and tries to trick Steven and Dodo into making fatal mistakes in the final game.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: What the Toymaker tries to inflict on those who are lucky enough to win his games, with the winner at best being forced to sacrifice one of their number so that the rest might escape, or at worst dying when the Toymaker's world is destroyed. That is, until the Doctor manages to Take a Third Option.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Toymaker is driven to his villainy by the sheer boredom of immortality. He doesn't even mind the Doctor destroying his realm because at least rebuilding it will mean he has something to do.
  • Wicked Toymaker: The Toymaker, who abducts people to his little dimension, forces them to play lethal games, and threatens to destroy them utterly if they don't comply.
  • Yellow Peril: A debatable example: the Toymaker wears traditional Chinese clothing (with no in-story explanation or discussion), and the word "Celestial" was occasionally used in British culture as a mild derogatory term for Chinese people and culture, but there's no attempt to give the character a "Chinese" facial appearance or accent.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/DoctorWhoS3E7TheCelestialToymaker