Thursday 24 March 2011

122 The Savages: Part 4

EPISODE: The Savages: Part 4
TRANSMITTED: 18 June 1966
WRITER: Ian Stuart Black
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: (1965-1966) No. 2

The Doctor, Steven & Dodo are trapped in the gas filled corridor by the guards who demand the light guns back. Jano observes from the control room. A door opens allowing them to escape. Edal believes Jano has freed them. Jano decides to lead the patrol pursuing them. Chal finds the travellers and helps Dodo & the Doctor to safety in the caves while Steven stays behind to hold the guards off and engages Edal & Jano with the light gun. Back at the caves Tor wishes to kill Exorse but Nanina defends him as Chal, the Doctor and Dodo arrive, followed by Steven who is pursued by the guards. Given a clear shot Jano refuses to take it. The give the Doctor the medicine they gave the Savage earlier, and he tells them not to harm Jano. The Doctor vows to destroy the Elder's laboratory and equipment. Edal returns to the city and tells Senta that Jano has been left behind and they think he has betrayed them. Jano enters the caves and speaks to the Doctor. The Doctor explains that he has acquired a conscience due to his exposure to the Doctor's life force. Exorse escapes the caves and runs towards the city but Nanina runs after him to persuade him not to give them up. Senta reveals what Jano has done and Edal assumes command. Exorse arrives back at the city but denies having seen Jano. The Savages and Time Travellers arrive at the city seemingly herded by Jano. Jano is angry to find his place usurped and has Edal arrested. Jano and the Savages destroy the transference equipment. Edal enters with guards, attempts to kill Jano but is shot down with Steven. Jano and Chal realise they need a new leader to mediate between them: they ask Steven to stay and fill this role and he accepts bidding farewell to Dodo and the Doctor. The Doctor tells Steven how proud of him he is, as he leaves for the Elders council chamber and The Doctor & Dodo for the Tardis.

The Savages: Commonly known as "The one where Steven leaves". But there's much more to it than that with the almost vampiric existence of the elders and something genuinely nasty happening to one of the regulars. With this and the climax of Dalek Masterplan you can see where the series gets it's reputation for being scary from. You kind of get the feeling as well that the Doctor almost knew what would happen to Jago before he drained the Doctor's life force, which reminds you of some of the stuff seen later. Good stuff.

This is the second time this season the Doctor has been subjected to a major trauma: he was exposed to the Time Destructor in Dalek Masterplan and then has his life force drained here. It's almost as if the program is setting up what is to come in a few stories time.

And yes, it's the last story with Steven, who is probably my favourite Hartnell companion. As we've recounted earlier Peter Purves was unemployed for some while after leaving Doctor Who. He blamed his bad luck on holding onto the Trilogic game prop from The Celestial Toymaker. The week after he binned it, he got the Blue Peter gig which changed his life. With the production team having changed already this season this departure marks the start of significant changes in front of the camera.

This story marks another important last: It's the last alien planet the first Doctor is seen to visit. His three remaining stories are set on Earth. Hartnell's been to (deep breath) Skaro, Marinus, The Sensesphere, Dodo, Vortis, Xeros, Aridus, Mechanus, Galaxy 4's unnamed planet, Kembel, (Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester, Cheltnham Spa.... sorry, I can't help giggling when I hear the planet name Kembel and I didn't get to use that joke when talking about Dalek Masterplan), Desperus, Mira, Tigus, Refusis 2, The Toymaker's Domain and finally the unnamed world of the Elders & Savages. The only planet other than Earth he's visited more than once is Kembel which he materialises on at the start of Masterplan, leaves and returns by Spaceship, leaves in the Tardis and then returns after several other stops. Bet you can't guess which is the first planet, other than Earth, that he visits in two separate stories? And which the first planet, other than Earth & Kembel, that the Tardis takes him to twice? (Yes the Tardis took him to the ark twice in the same story but that's no planet) Oddly the first story in which the Tardis returns the Doctor to another planet is immediately followed by another story where he returns to another planet he's visited before. No prizes on offer but if you can identify the planets and stories in question reply bellow or on Facebook!

The Savages was novelised by it's author during the 1980s. The video is completely missing bar a few fragments of 8mm film footage taken by pointing a camera at a television, though a complete set of telesnaps exist as does the soundtrack which has been released individualy (how much ????) and as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: (1965-1966) No. 2.


  1. My first thought was Metebelis 3, which Jon Pertwee visits briefly in Green Death, and Planet of the Spiders, but Robot is set on Earth.
    However Monsieur Pertwee visited Peladon twice, and had Sarah Jane with him in Monster of Peladon which places that in his last series.
    Monster of Peladon: Peladon followed by Planet of the Spiders and Metebelis 3.

  2. I'm glad to hear of someone else who is fond of Steven. (He isn't my favourite Hartnell companion but he is definitely one of the top tier for me). I didn't really have much of an opinion about him until recently but I have come to really rate his performance in the role. Sadly I don't think that The Savages is a particularly good final story for him. It is ok, but not anything particularly sparkling I feel - and Hartnell virtually throws him out of the TARDIS and thrust the job of being the locals president onto him very unceremoniously!