Wednesday 14 September 2011

296 Colony in Space: Episode Four

EPISODE: Colony in Space: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 01 May 1971
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Michael Briant
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - the Master Tin Set: Colony In Space & The Time Monster but DVD release due on October 3rd
Episode Format: 525 video

The Adjudicator's ship arrives on Uxarieus. Winton finds the projector that IMC having been using to create their Monsters but the IMC guards regain control of the ship and capture the colonists. The Doctor finds the entrance to the primitives city and attempts to bargain for Jo's life. Within the city he finds a pictorial record of the Primitives history showing that some great catastrophe befell the people there. The Adjudicator arrives to mediate the dispute between IMC and the Colonists: it's the Master. The Doctor & Jo attempt to escape from the city but are recaptured by the Primitives. They are taken to the city's Guardian, a shrunken Primitive with the power to speak and bargain they're freedom. They are told that if they return they will be destroyed. The Master is about to deliver his verdict when the Doctor returns to the colony. He rules against the colonists and orders them off the planet. Ashe wants to appeal against the decision but Winton plans to attack the IMC ship. The Master questions Ashe about the Primitive City. Norton is discovered with an IMC radio by one of the colonists but kills him. The IMC crew are lured into a trap in the main dome. Norton warns them, but is killed by Winton. A gun battle ensues, giving the Master an opportunity to kill Jo & the Doctor making it appear as if they were caught in the crossfire......

Oh look, it's the Master disguised as the Adjudicator, what a surprise! Well we shouldn't be surprised because the Time Lords flagged his interest in Uxarieus at the start of the first episode. And he's been every story so far this season. Would the audience at the time have cottoned on to this though? Jo *is* surprised to see him there, obviously not having caught onto the whole "he can travel in time & space thing too" Morris Perry's performance as Dent is increasingly making me think he's channelling Kevin Stoney of Dalek Masterplan & The Invasion fame! I've got some of his other roles on DVD (see episode 2) so I'll have to dig them out and see if he's the same there.

Michael Briant is making his Doctor Who directing début this story having previously worked as a production assistant on the Crusade, Power of the Daleks & The Fury from the Deep. He'll return as a director for the Sea Devils (he's good value on the commentary for that story), The Green Death, Death to the Daleks, Revenge of the Cybermen and one of the all time classics The Robots of Death. But if you look down the order on the production crew for this story you'll see another important name: the Assistant Floor Manager is future director Graeme Harper. He'll serve as AFM on Planet of the Daleks & Planet of the Spiders, make a brief on screen appearance in the Brain of Morbius, be Production Assistant on Seeds of Doom & Warriors' Gate, where he also directed some material before becoming a director for The Caves of Androzani & Revelation of the Daleks, where he's generally credited as being the best director Doctor Who had in the 80s. He then enjoyed an extensive career directing everything on British Television before being recalled to Doctor Who in 2006 to head up Rise of the Cybermen & The Age of Steel, Army of Ghosts & Doomsday, 42, Utopia, Time Crash, Planet of the Ood, The Unicorn and the Wasp, Turn Left, The Stolen Earth & Journey's End and The Waters of Mars. He's the only man to direct both classic and Nu Who. Both Briant & Harper are on the commentary team for the forthcoming DVD of this story.

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