Few long-running TV series manage to keep moving forward without the occasional bad idea – the kind where viewers collectively scratch their heads, and in unison sigh, “What were they thinking?” Given how long Doctor Who has been on the air in its various incarnations, it’s probably had more than its fair share of half-baked notions. If one were to make a list of such grievances, it seems likely that the Fifth Doctor’s robot companion Kamelion would land comfortably in the Top Five. Apparently, producer John Nathan-Turner wanted a new metallic emblem for the show, as K-9 had been gone for several years, and he’d recently gotten a glimpse of an actual working, moving robot, so naturally he wanted one for the series.
Since this was in 1983 – and here in 2010 robots are still fairly hard to come by – you can imagine that the results were somewhat less than spectacular. Not only did Kamelion look cheap, but the robot itself functioned so poorly that even though the character was a TARDIS crewmember for seven stories, we only ever saw him in two, “The King’s Demons” and “Planet of Fire.” Presumably, in the interim tales, he putters around the TARDIS, left to his own devices (curiously, nobody seemed worried about his fate in “Frontios,” the story in which the TARDIS was temporarily destroyed).
Read the DVD reviews for both stories featuring Kamelion by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.