Tuesday 19 April 2011

148 The Underwater Menace: Part Four

EPISODE: The Underwater Menace: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: 04 February 1967
WRITER: Geoffrey Orme
DIRECTOR: Julia Smith
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who - The Underwater Menace
TELESNAPS: The Underwater Menace: Part Four

The Doctor & Ben find the wounded Thous and remove him to the tunnels where he gets Sean & Jacko to take him to the surface. They go to find Polly & Jamie who've gone to Zaroff's laboratory seeking them. Ben & the doctor bluff their way past the guards and sabotage the generators. Polly & Jamie are lost in the tunnels when they notice the walls start crack letting the sea water in, which floods the tunnel emerging through the statue in the temple. Damon finds Thous, Sean & Jacko in the tunnels and leads them to safety up the shaft onto the mountainside where refugees are gathering. Water floods Zaroff's control chamber separating Zaroff from the controls preventing him from activating the mechanism to lift Atlantis. Ben & The Doctor are forced to leave him and escape to the surface where they find Jamie & Polly who had feared them dead. The Tardis leaves, witnessed by Sean & Jacko, and the Doctor declares they are going to Mars. However the Tardis is shaken and is out of control.

It's a story about Atlantis: it should be pretty obvious it's going to end with it being destroyed and flooded. And that's just what happens here. Some Atlanteans escape to the surface, and you have to assume the fish people survive down there (woe betide them if they ever find a Sea Devil nest). Of course this isn't the first time this Atlantis has been flooded/sunk and you have to wonder how it got down there. For an explanation see The Daemons or The Time Monster. But not both! As I said earlier, if they're so dependant on the fish people how did they survive for so long down there? And if they've got the shaft which they use to escape in this episode, why haven't they left the city and returned to the surface before? All very odd, plot holes you could drive a submarine through. There's contemporary evidence that the script wasn't quite up to scratch and was only pressed into service when another story by Galaxy Four author William Emms fell through when he was taken ill.

The Underwater Menace was novelised by Nigel Robinson in 1988. A CD of the soundtrack, with narration by Anneke Wills, was issued in 2005 and is probably going to be reissued in a boxset shortly.

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