Friday 15 April 2011

144 The Highlanders: Part Four

EPISODE: The Highlanders: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: 07 January 1967
WRITER: Elwyn Jones & Gerry Davis
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Highlanders
TELESNAPS: The Highlanders: Part Four

The rope is hauled up but Ben has gone, escaping from his bonds using a trick used by Houdini. He swims to shore but is caught by a red coat - actually the Doctor in disguise. They and the girls row out to the ship, supply the Scots prisoners with weapons allowing them to revolt and take the ship, with Trask going overboard. Grey is taken prisoner and Perkins, tiring of his servitude to him, elects to travel to France with the Scots. The Doctor and party take Grey to the shore, and find Jamie has travelled with them. Grey escapes at the shore but the travellers once more compel ffinch to help them find where they were captured at which point Polly returns his identity disc and thanks him for his assistance. Grey arrives with soldiers, but ffinch arrests him for his part in the deporting of prisoners to use as slaves. Jamie asks to come with the travellers and the Doctor says yes, on the condition that Jamie teaches him to play the bagpipes.

Thankfully we never see that followed up on! Best episode of the four in my opinion, liked this one.

The Highlanders is the last 100% historical story in 1960s Doctor Who. The feeling was that historical stories were less popular with the audience, and Innes Lloyd's experience making Gunfighters set him against them. So without ceremony they were dropped. And Doctor Who never looked back. From here on it's sci fi and monsters virtually all the way. We'll get past Earth settings for stories in the future but there's always a science fiction element and the one story that doesn't really have one is essentially a pastiche on the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery. But that's another 15 years in the show's future.

Here then are the times that the Doctor has visited in the Tardis prior to the present day of when the show was made:

100,000 BC An Unearthly Child
c2500 BC Dalek Masterplan - Egypt
c1200 BC The Myth Makers

64 AD The Romans
1066 AD The Time Meddler
c1190 AD The Crusade
1289 AD Marco Polo
c1454 AD Aztecs
1572 AD The Massacre 24th August 1572
c1660 AD The Smugglers
1746 AD The Highlanders (April, Battle of Culloden took place on 16th April 1746)
1794 AD Reign of Terror (Robespierre arrested 27th July)
1872 AD The Chase - Mary Celeste left port November 5th and found December 5th
1881 AD The Gunfighters
c1920 AD Dalek Masterplan - Hollywood

When you compare the dates, that's quite widely spaced out over time.

The Doctor will return to the past in The Abominable Snowman, The Time Monster, sort of in the Carnival of Monsters, The Time Warrior, The Pyramids of Mars, Masque of Mandragora, Horror of Fang Rock, Black Orchid, Mark of the Rani, Timelash, Delta & the Bannermen, Remembrance of the Daleks, Ghost Light and Curse of Fenric. Interestingly the Remembrance visit was to a time 25 years in the past when it was shown, but that time was inside the timespan of Doctor Who being on air.

Gerry Davis, the show's script editor who did most of the work writing this story for television, novelised the Highlanders for Target books in 1984. It was released on CD in October 1999. It was later released on CD as part of the Adventures In History boxset and will be re-released as part of Doctor Who: the Lost TV Episodes Collection 3.

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