Saturday 16 April 2011

145 The Underwater Menace: Part One

EPISODE: The Underwater Menace: Part One
TRANSMITTED: 14 January 1967
WRITER: Geoffrey Orme
DIRECTOR: Julia Smith
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who - The Underwater Menace
TELESNAPS: The Underwater Menace: Part One

The Tardis crew land on a beach at the foot of a mountain and while exploring are captured one by one and taken to the city of Atlantis on the sea bed. They are to be sacrificed to the Goddess Ando. The Doctor discovers eminent scientist Professor Zaroff is there and gets a message to him, which causes him to free the Doctor and save his companions from death. Zaroff has devised a technology to harvest plankton for food and plans to raise Atlantis back to the surface. Ben & Jamie are to be sent to work in the mines, but Polly is to undergo the operation to be converted into a water breathing Fish Person, one of the creatures that harvest the plankton. The episode ends with Polly struggling against her bonds as the Doctors approach her with a needle to put her under anaesthetic.

It was almost inevitable that Doctor Who would do Atlantis at some point and here we get a post sinking Atlantis. The society here seems dependant on Zaroff's technology, which is a recent addition, so you wonder how the eeked an existence out before that..... and what they're still doing down there if they have easy access to the surface, as shown by the lift from the caves that the Time Travellers are bought down in. Hmmm, that plot element is a little odd: why have the Tardis materialising on the beech, why not have it land directly in Atlantis and Atlantis be completely isolated from the surface world?

I do wonder if Geofrey Orme has ever read the Fantastic Four. His Atlantis seems to be a cross between their Atlantis and the subterranean world of the Mole Man, also from the FF. Zaroff would seem to be inspired by mad scientists everywhere, but the name especially bring to mind Professor Hans Zarkoff from the Flash Gordon films.

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