Wednesday 24 October 2012

701 Survival Part Three

"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do."

EPISODE: Survival Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 06 December 1989
WRITER: Rona Munro
DIRECTOR: Alan Wareing
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Survival

Karra comes for Ace and calls for her to go hunting. On Earth the Master struggles to reduce the Cheetah planet's influence on him. The Doctor worries how far Ace has changed and whether she can be brought back. Ace is found by the Doctor who reduces the planet's influence on her. He warns he of the dangers of allowing the influence to spread but she agrees using the power to bring them, Patterson and the remaining youths back to the Tardis in Perivale. The Doctor knows that the Master has been brought to Perivale by Midge so they start searching at the flats where he lived, where they find a dead cat and young girl. Ace lapses under the Cheetah planet influence detecting Midge at the youth club. Midge turns on Patterson when he arrives killing him. The Doctor & Ace track him to the top of the hill where she lapses again. Midge moves to attack them on motorcycle and Ace has to be dissuaded from fighting him. He and the Doctor charge at each other on Motorcycles and Midge is killed in the explosion. Ace believes the Doctor has gone too and is attacked by the youths but Karra appears from the Cheetah planet and drives the youths off. Karra confronts the Master but is slain by hi,. The Doctor wakes up on a nearby rubbish pile. Karra dies in front of Ace transforming back into a human as she does. The Doctor corners The Master as he tried to steal the Tardis, but the Master's feral nature takes over transporting them back to the dying Cheetah planet where they struggle. The Doctor realises they musn't fight or it will destroy the planet but the Master attacks him. As he goes to bring the rock down on him the Doctor teleports himself back to Earth and the Tardis. One of the Cheetah people comes for Karra's body leaving Ace alone on the hill where the Doctor finds her. She tells the Doctor that she wants to go home, home to the Tardis and they leave together.

"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do."

And that's it. The original Doctor Who series is finished and I concluded my viewing of the original series at 14:19 on Tuesday 19th June, a little ahead of schedule.

Yeah it's a good episode again. The Motorbike thing is a little pulled from nowhere: we don't see motorbikes until just before the scene and it all looks a little staged with the bike being left there for the Doctor to ride on. Dramatically it serves a purpose: it temporarily removes the Doctor from the action and gets rid of Midge but it sticks out like a sore thumb. It also caused problems during production: stunt manager Tip Tipping walked off the production after a disagreement with Eddie Kidd, brought in to help stage the motorbike stunt, over it's safety.

The story itself is good: Ace brings the Doctor home, albeit at a cost to herself. If I'm reading the story right Ace still has the Cheetah people influence inside her but it's sleeping as their world was destroyed. The Cheetah people have moved on somewhere else so there's the possibility that she's moved on somewhere else..... We don't know how the Master got to the planet and although we see him trapped there at the end he's escaped from similar situations before. Which leads me to the Doctor: how does he manage to escape from the planet? Is he too coming under it's influence?

In case you miss it there's an important point made about Ace in this episode, and emphasises again by dialogue art the end: When she brings the surviving humans and the Doctor home yes she does bring them to Perivale, but she brings them to where the Tardis is in the town. Perivale's not her home anymore, the Tardis is.

One new location this episode: The Medway estate is the council estate shown. The child that appears at the flat there (named Squeek) is a young Adele Silva now better known as a model and actress on Emmerdale.

This is the last episode of the Twenty Sixth season of Doctor Who, and is it turned out the last episode of the original run. The possibility that this would happen arose in post production and Sylvester McCoy was summoned to provide the voice over speech that closed the episode to give the series some sense of closure, over a forlorn and mounrful version of the middle eight from the theme music. The reasons the show were cancelled are myriad and it's not 100% clear what eventually tipped the balance. Yes it was doing well ratings wise but it had been scheduled up against Coronation Street and nothing is going to do well there. A popular theory is that the BBC didn't like Doctor Who (and science fiction in general) backed up by the BBC still not having bought Star Trek: The Next Generation despite it now being in it's third season. When they eventually did the following year it got slotted into the teen programming slot at 6pm on BBC2 previously occupied by repeats of Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. And then rumbling in the background were rumours of movies and American versions..... I've just sat down and watched Endgame on the Doctor Who - Survival DVD and virtually everyone there has a different theory/reason for why it ends without any definitive answer being given.

Script editor Andrew Cartmel was headhunted to script edit Casualty in 1990 while producer John Nathan-Turner was finally relieved of the producership when the production office was closed in 1990. At that point he was one of only two remaining staff producers working for the BBC as a system of independent production was adopted. JNT still continued to be involved with the program, producing special releases for BBC Video & Audio as well as helming the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time. John Nathan Turner died on the 1st May 200s. Sophie Aldred went on to work in Children's television, which led to a career in voice over work. Both she and Sylvester McCoy would return for the Dimensions in Time in 1993 and McCoy would later appear as the Seventh Doctor for the US TV Movie version of the show in 1996. This was Anthony Ainley's last television appearance as the Master but he later reprised the role for the Doctor Who: Destiny of the Doctors CD-ROM video game in 1998. He passed away on 3rd May 2004 and became the first Doctor Who actor to get his obituary in Wisden.

Survival was adapted as a Target book by it's television author in October 1990. It was released on video in October 1995, and on DVD on 16th April 2007

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