The Romans

The Romans
The Romans.jpg
Season: 2
Episode: 4
Vital statistics
Air date 16 January - 6 February 1965
Written by Dennis Spooner
Directed by Christopher Barry
Episode guide
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One of the last of the Crosby and Hope Road films, "Doctor Who and the Road to the Romans" was a Season 2 story that saw the Doctor and Vicki in the roles of Crosby and Hope, with lots of implied rape being inflicted on Ian and Barbara to fill out the plot.

Plot

"Boy, those Romans sure were wacky, weren't they?"

The story starts off with the TARDIS falling off a cliff. In later stories, this plot device would be frequently reused to force the crew to get involved in an adventure instead of just doing the obvious thing and fucking off, but here, they really had no reason to leave. The Doctor was somehow able to embezzle himself a fancy villa, so he's happily living large with his magnum amphorae of Cristal. Ian and Barbara are even happier in their obviously post-coital glow. (Barbara let Ian into her pants because it didn't count, being before they were born and all.) Vicki is looking for adventure, in whatever form comes her way, like a true nature's child. Pretty soon they stop even checking on the TARDIS.

Reaction to this story in a picture.

And then, hijinks ensue. The Doctor, frail old Billy "The Kid" Hartnell, gets mistaken for some other old dude and totally busts out some venusian aikido against an assassin with a sword, throwing him to the fucking ground. Later, he pretends to play a musical instrument silently, before convincing Nero to burn Rome to the ground and giggles like a madman as it happens. Phil Sandifer points out that the Doctor's behavior in this episode, which would have been completely nonsensical to a 1964 audience, is in fact eerily prescient when it comes to his successors. In other words, this is one of the few First Doctor episodes that can create a convincing case that he's really just a space teenager trying to act tough and serious, as evidenced by the widespread destruction, anarchy, and petty crime he and Vicki take part in.

Ian and Barbara get enslaved, which is funny. Everybody meets Nero, who is also funny. Nero roleplays Jabba the Hutt and wants Barbara to be his Leia, and engages in a Benny Hill chase around his palace to try and make this fantasy come true, which is triple funny. This is one of those stories where the main characters are split up and almost run into each other constantly but just about miss each other every time. So basically, it's Partners in Crime but good. It's a laugh riot that includes slavery, numerous implied rape attempts, and ends with an enormous massacre and infamous disaster. Sometimes, Historicals were awesome.