Monday 14 February 2011

084 Galaxy 4 Part 3: Airlock

EPISODE: Galaxy 4 Part 3: Airlock
TRANSMITTED: 25 September 1965
WRITER: William Emms
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 1 (1964-1965)

The Doctor & Vicki are being watched by alien eyes. They are pursued by Chumblies: Vicki is captured and taken to the Rills while the Doctor tries to sabotage the device the Rills use to convert air to ammonia which they need to breathe. The Rills speak with Vicki telling her they offered to take the Drahvins with them and they did not kill the Drahvin warrior as claimed. Maaga killed the injured soldier not them. Vicki flees the spaceship to stop the Doctor's sabotage. Steven attempts escape but finding a Chumblie outside is trapped in the airlock. Vicki convinces the Doctor that the Rills are friendly and he enters the ship to confer with them. They are drilling for power, but all they have found is a gas they are unable to use. The Doctor offers to give them power from the Tardis. Maaga starts pumping the air out of the airlock and gives Steven a choice: Surrender, die in the airlock or be killed by the waiting Chumblie. The Doctor & Vicki rush to the Drahvin spaceship to rescue him but the pressure difference has sealed the outer door preventing his escape.

Top stuff again. Lovely ominous sound to the disembodied Rills voice coming from the Chumblie. We've also got some other familiar noises as several Dalek effects are used: the Dalek city door noise is the sound of the Drahvin airlock opening & closing while the Dalek control centre noise is heard in the Rill ship. The whistling noise made when the Chumblies communicate with the Rills sounds awfully like the noise made by the UFOs in the eponymous Gerry Anderson series.

There is a crucial error in this episode betraying that it was previously written for a different set of companions: Stephan does not know that he can be harmed in the airlock by pumping the air out. Now given that Steven is a trained astronaut this is unlikely. The original draft of Galaxy Four was written for The Doctor, Ian, Barbara & Vicki where Barbara would be the companion held hostage. Instead Steven takes on the role meant for Barbara but as we see it gives rise to this small but important error.

The cast for Galaxy Four features fewer recognisable names and faces than most Doctor Who stories and very few cast members that appear in multiple Doctor Who stories. The most famous person in the cast is Angelo Muscat, who's hidden in a Chumblie here. He later finds fame and recognition as the Butler in the Prisoner. I looked Stephanie Bidmead, who played Maaga leader of the Drahvins, up to see what else she'd been in and discovered she died in 1974 at the age of 45.

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