Friday 28 October 2011

340 Frontier in Space Episode Three

EPISODE: Frontier in Space Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 10 March 1973
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Paul Bernard
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Dalek War: Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks
Episode Format: 625 video

The Doctor & Jo escape from the Ogrons during the attack and are re-imprisoned. General Williams tries to coerce the President into action against the Draconians by intimating she will be replace. The Doctor is subjected to the mind probe which says he is telling the truth. Williams still doesn't believe him, turning up the power on the mind probe which blows up. The Doctor is taken to the President and sentenced to the lunar penal colony. The Doctor immediately falls out with another prisoner Cross, who works as a trustee. The commissioner from Sirius-4 arrives requesting the transfer of The Doctor & Jo for crimes committed there: It's the Master. The Doctor starts planning his escape with a fellow prisoner, Professor Dale. The Master collects Jo from the prison to his space ship and leaves for the moon to get the Doctor. He is behind the Ogrons and was very surprised when they brought him the Doctor's Tardis. Cross gives Dale information about how to escape which he tells the Doctor allowing the two to leave together. They are to steal spacesuits and walk across the moon to a waiting ship. However when they enter the airlock they find their oxygen cylinders empty, and someone has started the decompression sequence.

A bit of a slow episode this one, low on the action, but it's livened up a bit by dropping The Master into proceedings as Roger Delgado gives his usual excellent performance. There's a nice little replay of the action in episode 1 on a black & white TV screen during the Doctor's interrogation by the Mind Probe (No, Not the Mind Probe!!!!) You are left wondering about where Jo's been able to get a new outfit from when she turns up in the black Kung-Fu gear but I suspect it's prison clothes: compare with the outfits the lunar prisoners are wearing, albeit in a different colour and fabric. I did laugh when the lunar prisoners were served their drinks as they appear to be drinking out of babies sippy cups!

Back to our imprisoned stakes (currently at 5) We'll ignore being captured by the Ogrons as they don't actually get to sling them in the cell.

6) Thrown back in cell - Jo's there for most of the episode while the Doctor is mind probed and taken to the president.
7) Doctor taken to lunar penal colony
8) Doctor locked in airlock

We're into the second recording block for the series so we get treated to some new actors, several of whom are imprisoned on the Moonbase. Madhav Sharma plays Patel and although this is his only Doctor Who appearance he has a semi regular role in Barry Letts & Terrance Dicks' Moonbase 3, which Frontier in Space is generally seen as a rehearsal for. Oddly enough when I dug out the Doctor Who Magazine Third Doctor Special Edition to check something to do with this story I discovered an advert for The Moonbase on DVD on the back! Richard Shaw, as trustee Cross, was Lobos in The Space Museum and returns as Lakh in Underworld. Caroline Hunt, the Mind Probe Technician was previously Danielle in The Reign of Terror. Luan Peters is Sheila, the President's assistant who is massaging her. She's been in Doctor Who before as Chicki in The Macra Terror (in which she was credited as Karol Keyes) but here gets all of her lines cut. She was meant to tell us that he young General Williams had destroyed a Draconian battle-cruiser – not realising that it was unarmed, and merely being used to transport the Draconian envoy. The plot point will resurface later.

We're entering a run of stories that all use at least one of the most common words in Doctor Who titles. Here it's Space as used in:

The Sensorites #1: Strangers in Space
The Space Museum #1: The Space Museum
The Wheel in Space
The Space Pirates
Spearhead from Space
Colony in Space
Frontier in Space
The Ark in Space

Easy to use: Find something, say it's in Space. Job done. Come back for more of the same during the next few stories.

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