Tuesday 26 July 2011

246 The War Games: Episode Three

EPISODE: The War Games: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 03 May 1969
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke & Terrance Dicks
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Derrick Sherwin
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The War Games

They restart the ambulance and reverse into the mist, returning to 1917. The Doctor works out that the time zones must fit together so they visit the château to see if Smythe has a map showing them all. They blow Smythe's safe open using the explosives from a hand grenade finding a map with a blank space in the middle. They drive towards it but are apprehended by German troops. The Doctor is interrogated by a German officer Lt Lucke The Doctor demonstrates he's from the future by taking his revolver apart with the sonic screwdriver. His superior, Von Weich, arrives and placing his monocle in his eye convinces Lucke that they are spies. Von Weich reports to his control via video communicator he has captured the time travellers. The Doctor pulls the trick with the sonic screwdriver again allowing Jamie to overpower the Lt and for them to escape. In the control are the War Chief arrives and orders the travellers captured and interrogated. The ambulance escapes to the American Civil War Zone. Carstairs is captured by American Soldiers. Seeking shelter in a barn Lady Jennifer and the Tardis crew witness the arrival of a travel capsule with streams of soldiers coming out. The Doctor & Zoe go inside to investigate and are trapped inside when it leaves.

Another cracker this week. The Doctor looks genuinely shocked when he hears the Tardis noise in the barn again making you think it might be his people who are responsible. Jamie's joke that the Doctor might pick the lock with a tuning fork is a reference to The Space Pirates where he does just that. There's a couple of other nods to past stories too: The sonic screwdriver's back, the Doctor is driving again (The Invasion) and uses a John Smith alias (Wheel in Space). There's a cracking piece of special effects in this episode too: as the capsule dematerialises Jamie runs towards it and through the space where it just stood. Looks fabulous.

Playing Lt Lucke is Gregg Palmer who we previously saw as Cybermen Gern and Shav in The Tenth Planet. His superior Von Weich is David Garfield who'll be back in The Face of Evil. But by far the most hauntingly familiar face here, at least to Children of my generation, is War Chief Edward Brayshaw, who previously played Léon Colbert in The Reign of Terror. I will now bring the entire edifice of this story crashing down by reminding you that he plays Mister Meeker in Rentaghost. And if you think a bit of his costume looks familiar then you're right: The War Lord wears the necklace that previous adorned Zephon in The Dalek Masterplan. There, can cross that reminder off my list,it's been there about five months!


  1. One of the great things about this story is the way that it keeps opening up - first we are in the Great War except there are interlopers with strange technology and powers, then there are hints that more than one conflict is involved and that the mysaterious manipulators might have Space-Time machines like The Doctor's, then we flee head-long into another war again. It is a great way to keep the story moving along and make us feel like we are being thrown something new each week.