Saturday 18 December 2010

026 The Keys of Marinus Part 6: The Keys of Marinus

EPISODE: The Keys of Marinus Part 6: The Keys of Marinus
TRANSMITTED: 16 May 1964
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: John Gorrie
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus

Part Six! So Susan is being threatened by unseen assailants while talking to Barbara. They go to see Kala, Aydan's widow for information, but she says she knows nothing. She's crying as they leave but soon perks up and opens a door to reveal the kidnapped Susan. Kala takes a phone call from an unseen co-conspirator who tells her to call Susan. Barbara realises that Kala was lying to them and they return to her rooms in time to save Susan. Barbara calls the Guardians and tells them that Kala killed Aydan. Kala lies and says Ian Chesterton as her accomplice. The Doctor decides to set a trap for the ringleader who now plans to collect the key. He lies in wait with Tarron and other Guardians and capture him: it's the senior Guardian Eyesen. The key is found hidden in the mace that killed Eprin. The travellers transport on to Arbitan's citadel.

Sabitha & Altos have travelled ahead: they are prisoners of Yartek, leader of the Vrood. Yartek disguises himself as Arbitan and takes the key from Ian, but gives himself away by not knowing Altos. Ian reveals he has given Yartek the fake key: They leave the building just before the fake key activates the machine's destruct mechanism, killing the Vrood. The travellers leave in the Tardis leaving Sabitha & Altos together who intend to travel to Millenius.

OK episode. Changing the setting half way through helps, like the whole story is helped by the location changing every episode. This device neatly papers over some of the cracks and Nation will return to it again (The Chase & The Dalek Masterplan) The wrap up to the murder is better than the court room stuff in the previous episode that preceded it. The return to Arbitan's citadel is only half the episode then, so we get to see little of the Vrood after their brief appearances earlier. Maybe having a Vrood presence in the other episodes would have helped as they seek to find the keys elsewhere.

At the time the Vrood were popular, appearing in the first Doctor Who annual. Years later a young Grant Morrison would use them in a Doctor Who Monthly comic strip, the World Shapers, where it's revealed that they become the Cybermen. This story has recently been collected in Panini's Doctor Who: The World Shapers Trade Paperback.

Over the 6 episodes I found this *MUCH* better than I remember it being. Episode 5 was the only real let down this time. As I said earlier I think this story improved for me watching one episode at a time !


  1. Yeah I liked this one when I saw it. A generally enjoyable story.

  2. And of course as we all know the Voord evolve into the Cybermen. It's true - Grant Morrison said so.

  3. It is too !

    When I was younger World Shapers was a favorite strip before I'd ever heard of Grant Morrison

  4. It's one of those times (like Voyager) where the strip shows what it can do, and why it's as valid a medium for Who as anything else.