Wednesday, 12 October 2011

324 The Time Monster Episode One

EPISODE: The Time Monster Episode One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 324
STORY NUMBER: 064
TRANSMITTED: 20 May 1972
WRITER: Robert Sloman (and Barry Letts uncredited)
DIRECTOR: Paul Bernard
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Myths & Legends: The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon
Episode Format: 525 video RSC

The Doctor dreams of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, a trident shaped crystal, and the Master's voice. Meanwhile The Master, disguised as the Greek Professor Thascalos has a Trident shaped crystal which he's using in his equipment. He's assisted by Dr. Ruth Ingram and research student Stuart Hyde at the Newton Institute. Jo makes a chance remark that connects recent eruptions with Atlantis which catches the Doctor's interest and causes the Doctor to warn the Brigadier that he thinks the Master is at large. The Brigadier is off to see a demonstration of the TOMTIT machine, for matter transmission at the Newton Institute. The Master brings the head of the grants committee under his control. The Doctor is working on a time sensor to detect disturbances in the time field to find the Master when he uses his Tardis. When the TOMTIT machine is test activated it sets the Doctor's device off. The Master is angry when he discovers his associates have run a test. The test run is witnessed by an astonished window cleaner who falls from his ladder and slowly drifts towards the floor. The Doctor & Jo take Bessie to try to find the source of the transmissions. They discover the transmissions are coming from the Newton institute and race there. The Brigadier, and observers arrive for the TOMTIT demonstration. The Master disguises himself in a radiation suit and conducts the experiment in disguise so the Brigadier does not recognise him. The Crystal glows as power is put through it and the power runs away. The Master cries out "Come Kronos,Come!"

The first thing I thought seeing this episode is "The Inferno volcano footage is back!" as indeed it is featuring in the Doctor's dream at the very start of this episode. Like their last story the Master is already established in situ and is reaching the climax of his plans. Also like the Dæmons, The Doctor & Jo spend a large amount of time in Bessie racing to the source of the trouble. And the climax of this episode resembles the Master summoning Azal in the church crypt. More Dæmons similarities to come later..... The other major influence here is Greek and if anything the hand is slightly overplayed here with the Master taking a Greek identity, eruptions in Greek Islands, the Trident shaped crystal (the Greek god Poseidon is frequently pictured with a trident) and the name Kronos dropped in without warning or reference at the end of the episode is an alternate spelling for Cronus, one of the Greek Titans (and Father of Poseidon). Liz is watching this story with me and immediately lowers the tone by pointing out that the Doctor's time monitoring device is shaped like a willy. Deary me. Meanwhile the shape of the bell tower seen here reminds us both of Clyst Heath in Exeter where Liz's sister Cathy used to live.

Barry Ashton, Proctor at the Newton Institute, has previous Who form as the Scientist in The Moonbase and will return as Kemp in Frontier in Space, also directed by Paul Bernard who helms this story. Ian Collier, who plays Stuart Hyde, returns much later under a mask as Omega in Arc of Infinity while Neville Barber, here as Dr. Cook, is later Howard Baker in K9 & Company: A Girl's Best Friend. This episode also gives us what is possibly our clearest look at regular stuntman Terry Walsh, here playing the Window Cleaner.

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