Tlotoxl: How shall a man know his gods?
Barbara: By the signs of their divinity.
Story Code: C1.6.
Production Code: F.
Story Number: 6.
Countdown week: 34…
Explaining his over-the-top peformance in the DVD commentary for Timelash, Paul Darrow mentions Shakespeare’s Richard III as an inspiration. Shakespeare’s Richard III also seems to be an inspiration for the actor John Ringham playing Tlotoxl, High Priest of Sacrifice in this story, though he is perhaps slightly less mannered, and the style of performance seems appropriate for this historical costume drama. There is an extraordinary Shakespeare-esque soliloquy from Tlotoxl direct to camera which ends Episode 1 of this four-parter. Like Paul Darrow’s Maylin Tekker, John Ringham’s Tlotoxl is the highlight of his story, though unlike Timelash, The Aztecs has much else that’s brilliant.
Of particular note is the Doctor’s “You can’t rewrite history. Not one line!” conversation with Barbara, which is still inspiring Doctor Who writers over 40 years later (The Fires of Pompeii). Other precursors of themes explored by Nu-Who include the charming romance between Cameca and the First Doctor. While the TARDIS Team in the previous episodes of this season always provide solid performances, the surrounding cast is sometimes less than impressive – not so with the surrounding cast of this serial.
The production design, the sets and costumes, (rather than the icing on the cake) are the marshmallows on the sumptuous cocoa of this magnificent story.