Saturday 10 December 2011

383 Robot Part Two

EPISODE: Robot Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 04 January 1975
WRITER: Terrance Dicks
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who – Robot

Sarah is found by Miss Winters & Jellicoe who claim they set the robot on her as joke. She is allowed to talk with the robot and assured it isn't dangerous, demonstrated when it refuses to destroy her when commandeered. Jellicoe is angry as the robot has only just been reset and he believes it may have killed her when commanded. Sarah tells the Doctor & Brigadier about the robot. The Robot is sent to kill cabinet minister Joseph Chambers and steals something from the safe. The Doctor visits Professor Kettlewell to talk to him about the robot. The Brigadier discovers many members of Thinktank were members of the Scientific Reform Society. The robot visits Kettlewell saying it has been given orders that conflict with it's programming. Sarah interviews Mr Short from the Scientific Reform Society that leave her unimpressed. The Brigadier & Doctor visit Thinktank but are unable to see the robot because Miss Winters claims it's been dismantled. Harry Sullivan infiltrates Thinktank posing as a Doctor from the Ministry of Health. Kettlewell calls the Doctor saying he has the robot and asks the Doctor to come to help him. As he puts the phone down Winters & Jellicoe arrive. Sarah and the newly promoted Warrant Officer Benton find the note the Doctor leaves. Entering Kettlewell's house the Doctor is attacked by the Robot who has been instructed to destroy him as an enemy of the human race....

Today I can feel elements of the Third Doctor coming through in Tom's performance. The "I'll talk to anyone" when he answers the phone is a direct lift from The Green Death. Given that it's the most recent thing for Tom to model his performance on and that writer Terrance Dicks has spent the last 5 years tidying up other people's scripts for Pertwee this shouldn't come as a surprise. I'm loving the look of the robot too, fabulous, and it's little wonder that Dennis Fisher included it in their toy range a few years later alongside a couple of other monsters from this season....

Robot introduces us to new companion Navel Doctor Lt Harry Sullivan, played by Ian Marter. As you'll have seen from the list of potential Doctors in yesterday's episode several of them weren't young men and the idea was a new male companion would do the action sequences. As it was a younger actor was cast as the Doctor (Tom was forty when he took the part up, the youngest actor so far to play him) but the male companion idea was retained. Ian Marter had previously been a candidate for playing Mike Yates but due to an existing theatre commitment was unable to accept the role. Barry Letts remembered him and cast him as Lt John Andrews in Carnival of Monsters and then again here. Ian Marter holds the sad distinction of being the first actor who has played a Doctor Who companion to die, on 28th October 1986 his forty second birthday.

Onto the guest cast then Hilda Winters is played by Patricia Maynard who despite a long career I've only ever seen her in her appearance in The Sweeney (Miss Doreen Alexander in Abduction, the 13th & final episode of the show's first series). I'm unsure if that's where she met Dennis Waterman or not but she became his second wife (his third shows up much later) and is the mother of actress Hannah Waterman (Eastenders and New Tricks) Michael Kilgarriff, inside the K1 Robot, we've seen before as the Cyber-Controller in The Tomb of the Cybermen and an Ogron in Frontier in Space. He'll make a return appearance as the Controller in Attack of the Cybermen. Edward Burnham, Professor Kettlewell, was Professor Watkins in The Invasion while Alec Linstead, Arnold Jellicoe, was Sgt. Osgood in The Dæmons and will be Arthur Stengos in Revelation of the Daleks. Playing Short, the man who Sarah interviews at the Scientific Reform Society, is Timothy Craven who was a cell guard in Frontier in Space and Robinson in Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

The filming of Robot was disrupted by a scene shifters' strike necessitating that the sets be left up. Famously an episode of Blue Peter, the start of which is included on the Doctor Who: Robot DVD was filmed in the Doctor Who lab set!

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