Since I already have the story on DVD, I didn't bother watching the "main feature", just the "development discussion". However, before I switched off the TV, I too noticed the entire 47 inches of the screen were filled. I knew that couldn't be right, but I assumed they were possibly cropping the top and bottom of the image to fit modern widescreens. I'm not sure which would be worse.
I won't debate your assessments, Christopher. You do bring up some very interesting points. Some fans use this story to draw comparisons with McCoy's "grand manipulator" persona during the last two series of the "classic" era.
Just curious; was this your first viewing of the serial? The way you phrased some of your observations implied genuine surprise.