Deep Stretch Review

A member of Gallifrey Base who calls himself Svelte Kroton (he used to be Cuddly) has embarked on a read-a-thon of all the Short Trips volumes.

Here’s his review of Deep Stretch from Steel Skies.

Deep Stretch
by Richard Salter

The Third Doctor, and Jo.


An underwater prison

Time Period:
Near future, at a guess.
Or at least, early enough 21st Century
for “the Sixties” to retain its meaning.


Page Count:

The Writing:
As utilitarian as the prison it describes.
Conjures a sense of relentless oppression nicely.

The Doctor:
Brings the entire prison system to its knees,
then swans off before his involvement is noticed.

The Companions:
Jo feels very out of her depth.

Favourite Quote:
“There was something out there: a bizarre-looking,
almost spherical creature with huge teeth.”

The Verdict:
An extreme and cruel solution to prison-overcrowding,
although I don’t think there’s anything in the text
that ties it to Britain. A very-advanced self-sufficient
technology, albeit with a ridiculously-overlooked
weakness that the Doctor exploits. Fair enough that
the designers didn’t expect inmates to have access
to a sonic screwdriver, but if a passing submarine
cycling through radio frequencies is all it takes
to unleash hordes of vengeful prisoners, you
wonder why a foreign power hadn’t already thought
of it as a precursor to invasion, or just to maximise
political embarrassment. And the relay teams on
exercise bikes providing power for the escape
did make the whole story seem at times like a more
evil version of Big Brother.