Monday 7 March 2011

105 The Massacre Part 3: Priest of Death

EPISODE: The Massacre Part 3: Priest of Death
TRANSMITTED: 19 February 1966
WRITER: John Lucarotti
DIRECTOR: Paddy Russell
PRODUCER: John Wiles
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: (1965-1966) No. 2

If you've read the Blog on the last two episodes you'll know I've been struggling with the characters in this one, telling them apart and identifying who they work for. So in the interests of trying to get a better understanding of the story I'll try and sort the cast into allegiances:

Admiral de Coligny - prominent protestant Huguenot who's got a group of them staying in his house. He supports the protestant Dutch, nicknamed the Sea Beggars, in their war with Catholic Spain so has become known as the Sea Beggar.

Abbot of Amboise - prominent Catholic persecuting Huguenots
Simon Duval - Catholic agent of the Abbot
Roger Colbert - Catholic secretary to the Abbot. I can recognise him cos he's played by
Marshal Tavannes - apparently he was in the second episode but I have no memory of him. He tells Simon Duval that something will happen to the Sea Beggar, which Steven overhears

Charles Preslin - Huguenot apothecary who's being persecuted for his religious and scientific beliefs. Has disappeared with the Doctor.
Nicholas & Gaston - Huguenot drinkers in the tavern that befriend Steven
Anne Chaplet - Huguenot servant girl who while working for the Abbot overheard a plot to kill Huguenots and assassinate Prince Henri of Navarre.

Landlord - allows Huguenot drinkers in the tavern but reports to Simon Duval.

Right got that straight. Now I A) have to recognise them in the sound recording and B) hope no new characters are introduced.

Steven wants to seek the Doctor at the Abbot's house and disguises himself. In the Louvre, the Queen Mother, the King, the Marshal, the Admiral, and Charles de Teligny discuss allying themselves to the Dutch but conversation turns to protestant Huguenot persecution. Steven meets the Abbot bringing Anne with him as Marshal Tavannes arrives. Waiting outside they overhear the conversation discussing killing the Sea Beggar and leave to speak to Nicholas just before they are recognised by Roger Colbert. Admiral de Coligny is shot and wounded on his way home from the meeting. Nicholas and Steven take the wounded Admiral home, while the Catholic conspirators blame the Abbot for things going wrong. The Huguenots believe that the Abbot is behind the assassination but Steven denies it believing him to be the Doctor. However word arrives that the Abbot has been killed. The Queen Mother incites the King to believe his life is under threat from the Huguenots. Steven returns to the Abbot's house to see if the body is the Doctor. The crowds believe the Huguenots are responsible and are demanding blood. When Steven arrived Roger Colbert identifies him as the killer forcing him to flee.

Right that made a bit more sense now I'm sure who everyone is. However as a story it's still not doing much for me: Steven spends lots of the time running around confused.

This story is packed with guest artists who are famous for other rolls. Andre Morrel (Marshal Tavannes) was the third Professor Bernard Quatermass in Quatermass & The Pit. The BBC original is available on DVD and well worth watching. We've then got a whole bunch of people associated with Time Lord roles: Leonard Sachs (Admiral de Coligny), famous as the compère in The Good Old Days, later played Borusa in Arc of Infinity. Michael Bilton (Teligny), who's had a long television career, later played Collins in Pyramids of Mars and a Time Lord in The Deadly Assassin which also featured Erik Chitty (Charles Preslin) as Coordinator Engin. Christopher Tranchell (Roger Colbert) later played Jenkins in The Faceless Ones and Commander Andred in The Invasion of Time. He's most famous as a Play School presenter, a role also played by fellow guest artist Eric Thompson who to the best of my knowledge hasn't played a Time Lord of any description. He's the Husband of Phyllidia Law and father of Emma & Sophie Thompson, but is most famous to people of my generation as being the narrator (and English language writer) of The Magic Roundabout.

As a note this is the last episode to credit Donald Tosh with being script editor. He's done extensive rewrites on this story but BBC rules have prevented him from taking an on screen credit. Most of the remaining stories this season are commissioned under his reign so his influence is felt for a while yet. War Machines is the first story to be 100% developed by the new producer & script editor team.

1 comment:

  1. For my own part I have to say that I didn't find The Massacre confusing when I heard it. I think that this one suffers from the fact that it falls into a part of history that really wasn't taught any more by the time our generation was at school, but it assumes a certain baseline understanding of what is actually afoot that we don't have. I suspect it would have more resonance if we had the familiarity that the script seems to be assuming with the setting.

    That said, it is a story I have a great liking for - even more so now that I have discovered that there was a bit of an influx of Huguenot refugees into the area where I live in the aftermath of the massacre - like The Highlanders, which we will get to in due course, it feels like it is touching on a part of history which has some immediate significance to where I live.