Friday 30 December 2011

403 Terror of the Zygons Part Two

EPISODE: Terror of the Zygons Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 06 September 1975
WRITER: Robert Banks-Stewart
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who Terror of the Zygons

Hearing Sarah's screams on the phone, the Doctor, Brigadier & Mister Benton rush to the infirmary where the Nurse, Sister Lamont, doesn't know where Sarah or Harry have gone. The Doctor finds Sarah in the decompression unit, but both are locked in and the pump activated. Harry has been taken to the alien spaceship, where he meets Broton, Warlord of the Zygons. Their craft crashed on Earth centuries ago and they intend to conquer Earth. They show Harry the Skarasen, a massive cyborg reptile brought as an embryo to Earth and grown here. The Doctor hypnotises Sarah and puts himself into a trace to survive the air being pumped out. At the pub, the Brigadier and UNIT troops are gassed into unconsciousness. Benton finds the Doctor & Sarah and releases them. Huckle finds the Brigadier and troops at the pub as a roaring sound is heard. Arriving back at the village the Doctor finds the whole village gassed. Broton is angry at the Doctor's survival. Huckle has found an odd piece of equipment in the wreckage which the Doctor identifies as a signalling device. Harry is taken to the Zygons' cells where his body print is copied allowing a Zygon to assume his form. Also held are Nurse Lamont, The Duke and his Gillie, The Caber. UNIT Troops discover the crushed body of a soldier on the moor. Harry wanders into the pub, takes the alien device and tries to leave but Sarah is suspicious and calls for help. UNIT soldiers & Sarah pursue him to a barn where he falls, impaling himself on a pitchfork and transforms into a Zygon before Broton remotely actives it's dispersal device. Sarah returns the homing device to the Doctor, who tells the Brigadier that he thinks the Pub is bugged. Broton orders the Skarasen to attack and activates the homing device. The Doctor takes the homing device in a jeep to draw it away from the village, but as he gets onto the moor the Jeep brakes down and the homing device attaches itself to him. The Brigadier traces the signal controlling the monster to Lock Ness as Broton commands the massive Skarasen to destroy the Doctor as it bears down on him......

It's time to give a debut to the season 13 & 14 game: Guess which film Robert Holmes is homaging this story. Nearly every story for the next two years owes a debt to some older film, usually a horror or sci fi movie. Here it's Invasion of the Body Snatchers spiced up with the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. Indeed the book of this story was calledDoctor Who & the Loch Ness Monster. Robert Banks-Stewart helps the believability of his monsters by giving them names: Their leader is Broton and the Zygon impersonating Harry is Madra. This makes them, and the other Zygons, individuals straight away. Of the non human Doctor Who races to date only the Menoptera & Optera, original Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Inter Minor officials and Sontarans have been blessed with individual names.

In Revenge I criticised the effect of the planet's surface coming towards the beacon. Two episodes later we get one of the finest effects shots yet seen in the show: The Zygon spaceship sitting under the water. You look at it and it's a perfectly believable shot.

This episode has another bit of Camfield repeat casting: Bernard G. High plays the UNIT Corporal and he was previously a soldier in The Web of Fear.

This story is set in Scotland, around Loch Ness. However the BBC, in their wisdom, decided to film the locations for this story in Sussex instead! The Doctor's visited Scotland five times on the television screen: The Highlanders, Terror of the Zygons, The Hand of Fear (School Reunion says the closing scenes are in Aberdeen), Timelash and Tooth & Claw (plus The Moonbase refers to previous visit to train under Lister in Edinburgh). Yet not once does the production venture north of the border to film! We've been to Wales to film The Abominable Snowmen, The Green Death, The Masque of Mandragora, The Pirate Planet, The Five Doctors and Delta and the Bannermen yet only two of those are set there! Then add in all the Welsh filming for the new series! Come on Doctor Who, address the balance and organise some Scottish location filming soon!

This episode of Doctor Who shed 2.3 million viewers from the previous week (down to 6.1 million from 8.4 million) which is believed due to the arrival of ITV's new science fiction series Space 1999. However the impact was short lived with the next episode returning to 8.2 million and by the end of the season Doctor Who was being watched by more than 11 million people. We'll look at Space 1999 during the next story when one of it's stars shows up in a guest role in Doctor Who.

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