Monday 4 April 2011

133 The Tenth Planet: Part Three

EPISODE: The Tenth Planet: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: 22 October 1966
WRITER: Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who - Cybermen: The Tenth Planet & Attack of The Cybermen

The Doctor collapses in the control room and is taken to the bunk room to rest. Cutler contacts his superiors for permission to use the Z-Bomb against Mondas. They refuse but grant him permission to take what action he deems necessary against the Cybermen which he interprets as permission to use the bomb which he prepares for launch. Barclay, his chief technician objects and aids Ben & Polly in attacking the bomb. A second Cyberman craft lands at the polar base but it's crew are repelled by the base guards using their hoard of captured Cyberman weapons. The guards collect more from the Cybermen they have shot. Ben is discovered interfering with the bomb and is knocked unconscious. Coming to in the control room he can only watch helplessly as the countdown approaches zero.

This episode has problems, and most of them are due to illness. First Kit Pedler was hospitalised while writing it, leading to the lion's share of the work being done by Gerry Davis, then William Hartnell was taken ill with bronchitis at the start of the week of rehearsals before recording on the Saturday leading to the episode, which like all of Tenth Planet is rather Doctor-lite to reduce the work load on it's ailing star, being restructured to exclude the Doctor from proceedings. Unfortunately the episode also has minimal involvement from the Cybermen themselves showing up for a brief attack on the base only to get mown down by the guards using the weapons from their deceased comrades. Lumping all this together it makes it such a shame that this is the last episode of this story, and the last episode of William Hartnell's reign as Doctor Who to exist.

What Tenth Planet as a whole represents, besides being the first Cyberman story and the last First Doctor story, is that it's the start of a particular genre of Doctor Who story: The Base Under Siege. Take a small cut off outpost of humans and throw an alien menace at it. The First Doctor era has been all about experimentation and variety. Right at the end it throws up a winning formula that would be used as a template for many stories, indeed some of the best stories, in the years to come.

No comments:

Post a Comment