Today’s classic Who serial stars Tom Baker as the Doctor and Lalla Ward as his Time Lady companion Romana, with David Brierley replacing John Leeson as the voice of K-9 (although Leeson reprises his role in future episodes). This was a peculiar little outing; it was a combination of an intriguing plot and some over-the-top acting.
First, though, let me get my biggest complaint out of my system–the Nimons’ design. They looked like hairless bipedal guinea pigs with horns attached. The Nimons themselves were a great concept; they were just let down by poor costuming. This is why people laugh at us! If the Nimons ever grace our screens again, I really hope the powers-that-be make some modifications. With as much potential as the Nimons had, they deserve a second chance to knock our socks off and send us cowering behind the sofas, and they can’t do that while resembling hairless, bipedal, horned guinea pigs.
Soldeed, Chief Scientist of Skonnos, was their unwitting ally. He was your typical power-hungry mad scientist, but it was a role I believe could have been more interesting if the acting hadn’t been so over-the-top. It wasn’t always played that way; Soldeed had moments of seriousness that really made him stand out as a character. I only wish the character had been played that way throughout; it would have made him far more fascinating and sinister. He did have a great evil laugh, though, and I must admit I really liked his facial expressions always made him look unhinged.
These flawed aspects don’t counteract the story itself, which I found to be even more interesting as the episodes unfolded. Tom Baker was in fine form as the Doctor, and Lalla Ward really had a chance to shine. Separated from the Doctor for part of the story, she takes charge fluidly and effortlessly, and it’s easy to tell just how much she’s learned from the Doctor during her time on the TARDIS. So I would say that if you don’t want to watch The Horns of Nimon for anything else, watch it for one of Lalla Ward’s most memorable Romana performances ever.