Friday 6 January 2012

410 Pyramids of Mars Part One

EPISODE: Pyramids of Mars Part One
TRANSMITTED: 25 October 1975
WRITER: Stephen Harris (pseudonym for Robert Holmes and Lewis Griefer)
DIRECTOR: Paddy Russell
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Pyramids Of Mars

In Egypt, Professor Marcus Scarman penetrates a tomb and after finding the mark of the eye of Horus is blasted with energy. After Sarah sees a psychic projection of a monstrous head inside the console room, The Tardis materialises in UNIT HQ's location but in 1911, the site of the priory that burnt down before the present building was constructed. They find a storeroom at the house filled with Egyptian artefacts. The house belongs to Professor Scarman and his old friend Doctor Warlock comes and confronts Namin, the Egyptian who has been living there supposedly on the orders of Professor Scarman. The Butler is murdered by an unseen assailant and when Warlock threatens to call the police Namin shoots him but is overpowered by the Doctor. He & Sarah rescue the injured Warlock and flee into the grounds. Warlock directs Sarah to the hunting lodge, where Scarman's brother Lawrence lives. While fetching him Sarah encounters a mummy walking through the woods. Namin searches for the Doctor & Warlock but is summoned back to the house. At the hunting lodge Warlock's wounds are treated and the Doctor intercepts a signal from Mars saying Beware Sutekh. Leaving the lodge and returning to the house they see a black robed figure emerge from a vortex within a sarcophagus and slay Namin.

This story Doctor Who has a go at plundering every Mummy film ever made, and there's been a fair few. There's something inherently frightening about Mummys lumbering round the place so it's possibly a surprise Doctor Who hasn't done something with them before now. A decent episode, with a fair bit of mystery built into it - what's happened to Professor Scarman and what was the face in the Tardis? - that isn't answered by the end.

The majority of the story's cast are in this episode (with several not progressing much further!) and most of them have other Doctor Who credits to their names, most prominent of which is our old friend Michael Sheard, as Laurence Scarman. He was previously in The Ark as Rhos and The Mind of Evil as Dr. Summers . He'll be back in The Invisible Enemy as Lowe, Castrovalva as Mergrave and Remembrance of the Daleks as the Headmaster. His character's brother, Marcus Scarman, is played by Bernard Archard previously the villainous Bragen in The Power of the Daleks. Scarman's Butler, Collins is Michael Bilton who was Charles de Teligny in The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve and will be a Time Lord in The Deadly Assassin, which also features Peter Mayock, here playing Ibrahim Namin, as Solis. Ahmed, who we briefly saw at the beginning of the episode, is played by Vik Tablian who was Barranca and Monkey Man in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Finally one of the mummies is Melvyn Bedford who was Reig in Planet of Evil, the previously shown story that was filmed after Pyramids of Mars.

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