The Celestial Toymaker – Story #024


Jael’s Judgment:

It is unfortunate that all we have is audio for the story where Joey the clown doesn’t speak. I also dislike being unable to see the game the Doctor is playing as I do not really understand it. As much as I enjoy listening to a good story, I will be happy to again begin enjoying the visual aspects of Doctor Who.

There are many parts of this story that make me cringe. The voice of Clara the clown for example makes me want to crush something. Yet, as frustrating or annoying as parts were, I find myself liking this story when all is said and done.

I do not mean “liking” as in all fun and happiness. Although the title of this story might, in a way, imply that. The Celestial Toy Maker. Toys, games; most people probably think of joy when they hear these words. But in all reality, games are not always fun. Sometimes they are only amusing for those in control. In this case the Toy Maker is bored, a dangerous thing for a person with power. And certainly the games in which the TARDIS crew was forced to partake were not fun for them. This is demonstrated as Steven & Dodo are only amused one at a time as the other us made fun of. It is never fun to lose control of your own life.

Among a few other more theological ideas, I feel as though this story highlights how horrible we all have the ability to be. How to ensure we are doing what is right, instead of what suits our fancy at any particular moment? There are moments where, despite the best efforts of most humans to shield ourselves from being affected by others, we all hold in our hands control over one another. I suppose we must try our best to put ourselves in the shoes of one another, to try to do what is right for each other. Unfortunately I think I am a pessimist and do not expect many to do this for each other. After all, it can be difficult and it is so easy to be lazy.

  • Story Grade: B


Tony’s Take:

This is one of the very few moments where I will say that I wish that I had never seen an episode of this story.  The idea and the story telling is actually quite good, however, this is the 1960s and the on screen output is not up to the same standard.  I was able to understand the game that the Doctor’s hand was playing, but the rest of the pictures in my head were far better than that lone episode that survived.  The weird part, I was imagining this story in black and white in my head, which would be very fun to see for one story in present day.

I still am amazed how well this simple story was written, it’s heavily reliant on multiple games being played by the companions and there is no weaving or heavy cliffhangers, but just a bit of good fun.  Since this story was shot on set, it was hard for the one episode to show the very dark set-up that was in my mind, but much like Warren on Radio Free Skaro says about reading the book before watching the episodes, sometimes the old shows just don’t do it justice.

  • Story Grade: B+
  • Surprisingly strong story, but probably just because my mind portrayed very cool images for the games played.  This is an audio adventure I can actually get behind!


Thank you, BBC, for losing 3 of the four episodes.  Thank you, brain, you thought of a very dark and interesting image for this story – maybe I should be a director!


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