Thursday, 4 October 2012

681 Silver Nemesis Part One

EPISODE: Silver Nemesis Part One
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 23 November 1988
WRITER: Kevin Clarke
DIRECTOR: Chris Cloug
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Cybermen Box Set

In South America an ageing Nazi DeFlores is waiting in his palatial villa while his assistant Karl computes a landing point in Windsor, UK the next day, 23rd November 1988.

DeFlores is played by Anton Diffring. As a young man he fled Germany in the 30s fearing persecution for being a homosexual Jew. It is therefore somewhat ironic that he then spent his entire acting career playing Nazis. Now in his old age, and suffering from the illness that would kill him early the next year, he accepted this role because it gave him an opportunity to come the UK and watch the tennis at Wimbledon!

Andrew Cartmel tells in his book Script Doctor: The Inside Story of Doctor Who 1986-89 that producer John Nathan-Turner was horrified at the mention of Nazis in new writer Kevin Clarke's script. So they crossed them through and wrote "paramilitary" instead. Of course just so you're absoloutely clear on the matter they throw in mentions of the Fourth Reich, dress the villa set with swatikas & eagles and then have Wagner's ride of the Valkyries playing in the background!

As you might expect the BBC didn't stump up the cash for this to be actually filmed in South America: Casa Del Mar, a a house in the outskirts of West Goring, Sussex serves as the location.

In Windsor in 1638, a lady & her servant are preparing arrows and a potion while waiting for an elderly scholar to finish the calculations. They have in their possesion a silver arrow.
Lovely cut between scenes here from DeFlores preparing to shoot a tropical bird that's annoying him with a modern compound bow to the lady using an old fashioned bow to shoot at pidgeons!

Lady Peinforte is played by Fiona Walker who was Kala in the last two episode of The Keys of Marinus. Famously she was also Agrippina in 1976's I, Claudius. Her servent, Richard Maynarde, is played by Gerard Murphy. He's had a lengthy career but he's probably best known to science fiction & fantasy fans as the narator of the radio versionm of Lord of the Rings. The scholar is played by Leslie French, an actor who was considered for the role of the first Doctor, a nice nod in this the official 25th anniversary story.

The exterior & grounds of Lady peniforte's house were filmed at St Mary's House in Bamber, West Sussex. In fact all the locations said to be Windsor are in the Sussex area.

DeFlores group of Nazis prepare to leave for england via private plane, taking with them a silver bow.
Nazis have the box, Peniforte has the arrow. Got you.
A comet approaches the Earth, but through a small window a figure is visible inside. In 1638 the scholar calculates that the comet Nemesis circles Earth every 25 years and that it will land in the meadow outside, where it was launched from, on 23rd November 1988.
We'll brush over differences in callenders between 1638 and 1988 making the exact date calculation very tricky.
Ace & the Doctor are on Earth listening to Jazz when the Doctor's alarm reminder goes off. He's forgotton what it's for, and after ace gets the the Jazz player's autograph they return to Tardis.
We've established that the present day Earth scenes are set in November 1988. You can argue that but the appearance of two characters in a short while should firmly tie the Doctor & Ace's time & location for the jazz concert to that date. In which case, what on earth is Ace doing outside on a day in late November in just a T-Shirt? She'd be freezing! And it is rather sunny for November too.

The saxophonist in the jazz band is Courtney Pine the third real life figure to appear in the series after Kenneth Kendall in The War Machines and Alex MacIntosh in Day of the Daleks.

The jazz band scenes were filmed at Black Jack's Mill in Harefield in Middlesex.

I don't have Ace down as a jazz fan. The Doctor, maybe, but I imagine Ace, given her age and time of origin, is more likely to be into heavy metal, like what she was listening to in Remembrance of the Daleks.....

Ace & The Doctor ambushed on the way to the Tardis by two gunmen wearing hi-tech head gear, but they escape by jumping into the river. In 1638 Lady Peniforte & Richard realise they need blood to complete their potion and so kill the scholar. The Doctor uses Ace's new tape deck, built for her to replace the one destroyed by the Daleks, to display a holographic image of earth.
For reasons that will become blindingly obvious later in the serial it is probably best not to be mentioning the events of Remembrance of the Daleks and drawing the audience's attention to it. And yet, like Basil Fawlty in the Fawlty Towers episode The Germans, this serial can't help drawing attention to it at every possible opportunity!
Lady Peniforte & Richard use the potion to be transported through time to 1988 and materialise in a coffee shop on the site of her house as the comet approaches Earth. The Tardis materialises in the cellar storage room as the Doctor searches for something there.
During the cellar sequence Sylvester McCoy wears a Fez !!!!!! As we all know now Fezes are cool!

The implication here is the Doctor & Ace are in a storage chamber under Windsor Castle!

The comet arrives on Earth crashing in a nearby field, which is felt by the Doctor & Ace in the cellar. The Doctor explains that he launched the comet. "This may qualify as the worst miscalculation since life crawled out of the seas on this sad planet."
No, hardly like the end of Remembrance of the Daleks part 3 at all.....
Policeman go to investigate the crash site.
The crash site was filmed on the old Greenwich Gasworks now forming part of the site for the Millennium Dome.
The Doctor finds the empty bow case in cellar with a display card that reads that legend says that if the bow is ever taken then the statue will return to destroy the world. The Tardis goes to 1638 there the Doctor finds the dead scholar in the house belonging to Lady Peniforte. He explains that the bow belongs to a statue of her, made from a silver metal that fell from sky. He finds a chess game in progress and comments that it's going badly.
We'll return to the chess game this time next season!
The silver arrow pulses with light as Lady Peniforte & Richard near the comet site. The Doctor explains how Lady Peniforte used the arrow and rudimentary knowledge of Time Travel to get to 1988.
He says that the silver metal is a living metal, Valadium, with 1 purpose: destruction. The policemen are gassed by a booby trap hidden underground at the crash site.
Who put that there? The Nazis? Looks a little advanced for them.

One of the many deleted scenes from this episode makes it clear that the gunmen with the headgear, seen at the start, are responsible.

The Tardis returns to Windsor Castle in November 1988 and the travellers use a tour party as cover to gain access to the Royal Apartments.
A brief piece of footage of the real Windsor Castle is used to establish the location but the rest of the footage at the castle, including the interiors, was filmed at Arundel Castle in West Sussex, the residence of the Duke of Norfolk and the site of Arundel Castle Cricket Ground which traditionally hosted the opening fixture against touring international cricket teams visiting England.

Among the tour party are writers Stephen Wyatt, Malcolm Kohll & Kevin Clarke actor Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) - he's the one wearing the cap - and directors Andrew Morgan, Peter Moffat & Fiona Cumming, plus her husband production manager Ian Fraser.

In this sequence a large round gold swirly item is seen pinned to Ace's jacket: this is flower child's earing from Greatest Show in the Galaxy, filmed prior to this story and intended to be shown first.

There's a sequence of the Queen (an actress!) walking her corgi dogs here. John Nathan-Turner was trying to get Prince Edward to make a cameo in this story, I'd assume it would have gone here.

The Doctor & Ace enter the royal apartments but are discovered and their story isn't believed.
Now might be a good moment for the Doctor to produce his UNIT pass!
Lady Peniforte says that she has found the Doctor's secret out. The Nazis arrive at the comet landing site. They lay the bow on statue. The bow pulses with light but at this point DeFlores realises the arrow is missing. The Tardis arrives at the site and DeFlores questions them about the Arrow's whereabouts.
As cut this episode makes it look like Ace & The Doctor just walk away from the guards who question them at the castle. The largest chunk of cut footage in the episode shows the Doctor hypnotising the guards while wearing a pair of spectacles, similar to the War Lord's people in the War Games, and Ace & the Doctor being pursued through the castle during which they encounter a painting of Ace in period dress that she can't remember having happened but the Doctor explains that it must have been painted in her future.

These scenes, and much of the rest of the footage cut, was reinstated for a special edition video of this serial issued in 1993. The broadcast cut was the one released on DVD. The extra scenes were included as a deleted scenes package but many fans were angry at a longer cut not being included. It has huge potential as a Revisitations release with a special edition version included as well as a documentary that was on the video tape that had to be missed off the DVD for rights issues.

The Doctor explains that the Valadium needs a critical mass to become active: the statue plus the bow & arrow. The Nazis threaten Ace to force the Doctor to cooperate but she is saved by the arrival of a spaceship which startles the Nazis. The door opens to reveal Cybermen!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Phil has opinions on the redesign for the Cybermen but I'll save it till tomorrow when we see them clearly.

Not a bad episode at all, lots of the Doctor and Ace. Very nice, but I'm afraid the weather in November is bugging me here just like the light in the evening in November did in Remembrance of the Daleks. The Nazis disappear for most of the episode and when the Cybermen turn up at the end you seem to have four factions (Nazis, Lady Peniforte & Richard, the Gunmen and Cybermen) all running around which may complicate things later. Lots of questions remain though concerning Lady Peniforte's knowledge and the Valadium.....

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't be surprised by a revisitation DVD. I'm not usually suspicious about the DVD releases but that was my first thought as soon as they announced that the extended cut wouldn't be included.

    I've not seen the extended edition and anyone I've seen mention it hasn't been complimentary about it, but out of curiosity I would have liked to have seen it included anyway.