Tuesday 17 January 2012

421 The Brain of Morbius Part Four

EPISODE: The Brain of Morbius Part Four
TRANSMITTED: 24 January 1976
WRITER: Robin Bland (pseudonym for Terrance Dicks and Robert Holmes)
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Brain Of Morbius

Sarah sees the Monster and screams, accidentally setting it on fire with a flaming torch. She finds the Doctor's body and is shocked when he wakes up. Solon tries to calm the Morbius monster but it attacks him. Morbius then strikes the Doctor down and grabs Sarah but he is then attacked by the injured Condo who he kills. Morbius rampages through the rocks of Karn killing weakened members of the Sisterhood. The recovered Solon sedates his creation and, locking the Doctor and Sarah in a room, adjusts it allowing Morbius' brain to gain full control. The Doctor generates cyanide gas from Solon's chemical store to release into the air system to kill the monster, but all he succeeds in doing is killing Solon, the Monster survives due to his lungs having a methane filter. The Doctor confronts Morbius and challenges him to a dual in a mind bending contest. Morbius regresses the Doctor through his past lives all but killing him when the apparatus explodes. The Monster, damaged by the electrical discharge, goes on the rampage and is driven off a cliff by the Sisterhood destroying it. Maran uses what little elixir had been generated to restore the Doctor before sacrificing herself to the sacred flame. The Doctor leaves the Sisterhood some more fireworks in case they have more trouble with the flame and leaves in the Tardis.

Fab, that works wonderfully as a story. We get two rounds of "Hunt the Monster" in this episode first with the Doctor & Solon and then with the sisterhood, who in classic style, drive it off the cliff while wielding flaming torches. The dual sequence, between Morbius and the Doctor, is rather interesting as their past incarnations are projected onto a screen. We see Jon Pertwee, Patrick Troughton & William Hartnell, all seemingly taken from a photo in the 10th anniversary special. Then there's a succession of other faces.... are these earlier incarnations of the Doctor or an attempt by the Doctor to fool Morbius? I think we're pretty certain that the first Doctor we saw is the actual first Doctor.... In case you're wondering the faces actually belong to members of the Doctor Who production staff and the teams working on this and the next story: producer Philip Hinchcliffe, script editor Robert Holmes, Brain of Morbius director Christopher Barry, The Seeds Of Doom director Douglas Camfield, production manager George Gallacio, The Seeds Of Doom writer Robert Banks-Stewart, and production assistants Chris Baker and Graeme Harper.

The all female cult in this story have given their name to The Sisterhood of Karn, London-based gay science fiction fan club.

Brain of Morbius was repeated as a 60-minute compilation on Saturday 4 December 1976, a week after a similar compilation of Pyramids of Mars. Brain of Morbius was novelised by Terrance Dicks in 1977 using the modified storyline as seen on TV. It was adapted as the second and final Junior Doctor who novel in 1980 which I did actually see for sale. Once. In 1984 it was released on video as a compilation with a running time of less than an hour. I've never seen either version but I'm told this is not the same cut as the repeat compilation and, oddly, both include material which the other omits! The same compilation was released on Laserdisc in the same year. It was re-released on video in episodic format in July 1990, alongside a complete version of the Five Doctors which had also been butchered for it's original Video release, the first of the early Doctor Who stories on video to be re-released in their original length. Doctor Who - The Brain Of Morbius was released on DVD on 21st July 2008.

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