Doctor Who: Mind of the Hodiac Review

Mind of the Hodiac is an interesting curio, it’s not a “Lost Story” in any way that the sub series has explored before, instead it’s a piece of fan fiction that Russell T. Davies wrote as a teenager that he found in a drawer. Admittedly given RTD’s contributions to Doctor Who having what is essentially his first script turned into a story is a fun idea, but it’s still not exactly fitting in with the Lost Stories theme. Still, is it any good? Well erm… not really? Let’s take a look!

Like a lot of Russell T. Davies’ stories Mind of the Hodiac focuses on a regular British family from a block of council flats going through very irregular things, most notably paranormal activity as objects in their house begin to fly about the place by their own accord. The mother of the struggling Maitland family (played by T’Nia Miller) decides to go see a specialist in the occult and general weirdo named Mrs. Chinn (Annette Badland), much to the dismay of her family, apart from her mother, simply named Nan (Sutara Gayle), who seems to be in a world of her own anyway. Chinn is ripping people off and is actually more of a scientist looking to do experiments, it’s a rather on-the-nose look at mediums and organised religion as a whole, but with a bit of a sci-fi twist.

During all this we also meet the titular Hodiac (Laurie Kynaston), who seems to just spout 80s villain clichés and kill his underlings while desperately searching for someone, and The Doctor (Colin Baker) and Mel (Bonnie Langford) walk about the TARDIS while our favourite Time Lord goes on and on about the Wind and the Willows, for… some reason. Not just a few mentions to tie it in thematically, I mean he keeps talking about it all the damn time. This is why by the end of Part 1, where The Doctor and Mel still hadn’t actually began to interact with the story itself yet, I was a bit down on it. Nothing was happening, or at least very little, and what was happening was not very interesting.

Fair play in getting a lot of the guest cast on the cover, even if it looks a tad generic otherwise…

Now obviously I’m not a professional writer but if you dug up some of my teenage fan fiction and turned it into an audio drama it would be far worse than what I could write now (and for the record, far worse than this story, I’d wager!) so it’s hard to be too harsh on it and it is fun to see the early days of Russell T. Davies and noticing the little things that never left him (a regular family on a council estate for one…) and the lessons he thankfully learned before he took control of the show proper (twice!).

I’m happy to say things do pick up in Episode 2 (it’s two near-hour parts, like Colin Baker’s first TV season) and while the conclusion is a bit bland it still gets the job done. The music is great as well, a nice blend of modern and 80s synth, which makes sense given its background as an 80s written story by a very modern Who writer.

The Continuity:

Not really any continuity to speak of here, I’m afraid!

Overall Thoughts:

Mind of the Hodiac is a bit of a slog to get through, it’s first half is especially meandering and some of the dialogue is a bit… naff. It does pick up in the second half if you stick with it but even then it’s only okay. On the other hand as an interesting look at the early days of Russell T. Davies’ creative mind it works and is quite fun and fascinating in that sense, but I still can’t recommend the story itself.

Not a lot to add to it, really. The Hodiac’s person of interest ends up being the Maitland’s Nan and it’s revealed that the Hodiac and the Nan are actually one creature who’d split itself in two. Thanks to the love and bloodline effects of creating a family the Nandiac manages to fight off its other half and send it off into the void, allowing her to continuing living on Earth with her family. There was also a subplot involving the Hoadiac amassing an army of mercenaries and those mercs doing battle with some sort of space police force, but somehow that just kind of fades into the background…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s