Tuesday 28 December 2010

036 The Sensorites Part 6: A Desperate Venture

EPISODE: The Sensorites Part 6: A Desperate Venture
TRANSMITTED: 01 August 1964
WRITER: Peter R. Newman
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - The First Doctor (The Sensorites , The Time Meddler & The Gunfighters)

Part 6, last episode.

Carol has been seized by the former Administrator and freed Chief Warrior , who wants her to write a note convincing John she's gone to the Spaceship, but John, Susan and a returned Barbara see through the story and suspect the Administrator. The First Elder confirms that nobody had travelled to the Spaceship - they try to convince him that a Sensorite is responsible. The Doctor & Ian discover their map is altered and the weapons they have been supplied with have been disabled. John finds Carol held in the Disintegrator room by the Chief Warrior and releases her with the Chief Warrior being captured again. The Chief Elder believes he is working in concert with another Sensorite. Susan & Barbara obtain an accurate map and intend to seek the Doctor & Ian, who are in the tunnel with a monster baying at them from a distance. They discover a man in the tunnel who flees: They think he is a survivor from the exploded Spaceship. Barbara and John go to the tunnels leaving Susan with the Chief Elder. Ian and the Doctor are found by two humans in the aqueduct. They ask if the Sensorites are dead and if they've bought a Spaceship. They take the pair to their commander, while Barbara & John track the marks the Doctor has made in the tunnel. The commander is pleased to see them, and orders his subordinates to add some more poison to the water. The Doctor convinces the Commander that he's beaten the Sensorites, but then they find Barbara and John in the Aqueduct, which initially unnerves him, but then he agrees to come out and walks into an ambush by the Sensorites, who capture the commander and his party. The Sensorites believe the three humans in the tunnel had been unhinged by using the Sensorites mind control machines. Maitland, the Captain of the Earth spaceship agrees to transport them back to Earth. The Chief Elder, convinced of the Administrator's guilt exiles him and returns the Tardis lock allowing the Doctor & the TARDIS crew to leave. Susan, now deprived of the Telepathy she had on the Sensorite planet, reflects on wanting a place to stay and belong. The Doctor argues with Ian and threatens to put him off the ship when they next land.

Probably the best episode of the six. There's some great concepts in this story, the alieness of the near identical Sensorites with their aversion to the dark & loud noise and use of clothing to differentiate themselves, the concept of telepathy and a glimpse of some genuinely unhinged minds. However the execution on screen doesn't help the story at all. It's slow, it's a nice touch plodding and the design isn't that great. Susan's desire to stay somewhere and belong is a nice precursor to later events. The Sensorites is a very sixties story, I'm not sure you could get it to work now without drastic revision. However the Sensorites have been recycled in modern Doctor Who. The Ood are strongly based on them, with the Ood home planet and Sense Sphere being placed in the same solar system.

The Sensorites was one of the last stories released on video, appearing in a First Doctor Boxset with The Time Meddler & The Gunfighters which "mops up" the remaining unreleased complete Hartnell stories. Since The Time Meddler is out on DVD you'll probably not be wanting to shell out for the boxset and a video recorder to play it on just for The Sensorites!

So it's a good job that the Sensorites is available on the BBC section of YouTube. You can find Episode 6 here. No DVD release has yet been announced or even hinted at.

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