Thursday 30 June 2011

220 The Invasion: Episode One

EPISODE: The Invasion: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 02 November 1968
WRITER: Derrick Sherwin & Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Invasion

There's a bit of a lengthy preamble before we get to watch this episode........

The Invasion episode 1, despite rumours to the contrary, is missing. A 1975 audit of the BBC archives said a copy existed then but there was no evidence of a copy existing in 1978 when Ian Levine arrived. Nicholas Courtney told a story of being given a videotape of the Invasion where the first two episodes were mute, which was taken to mean the tape had episodes 1 & 2 on it whereas it's believed he meant the first two episodes on the tape IE 2 & 3. When the story was released on Video in 1993 Nicholas Courtney recorded some bridging narration for the missing episodes.

In 2000 the BBC released a VHS Boxset of the Tenth Planet and Attack of the Cybermen. The Tenth Planet 4 is the most famous missing episode, due to containing the Hartnell regeneration, and to compensate for it's absence the BBC made a full reconstruction of it using what little film survives and the telesnaps of the episode taken by John Cura and marrying these to the soundtracks that fans recorded off the television. There are six SEVEN Doctor Who stories missing from the BBC archives that are 50% or more complete that you feel enough survives of that they could be released on DVD in their own right. Most of these have Telesnaps existing for them so a reconstruction of a similar nature could be attempted:

Story Exists Missing Telesnaps
The Reign of Terror 1, 2, 3 & 6 4 & 5 NO - Not Found
The Crusade 1 & 3 2 & 4 YES
The Tenth Planet 1, 2 & 3 4 YES
The Underwater Menace 2 & 3 1 & 4 YES
The Moonbase 2 & 4 1 & 3 YES
The Ice Warriors 1, 4, 5 & 6 2 & 3 YES
The Invasion 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 1 & 4 NO - None Taken

Table updated 03/07/2013

Reign of Terror's Telesnaps are missing: it's assumed some existed as they were taken for all of the other stories while Verity Lambert was Producer. Her successor John Wiles abandoned the practice - none exist for Galaxy Four - Celestial Toymaker - but it was taken up again by his successor Innes Lloyd and continued by Peter Bryant. John Cura stopped taking Telesnaps after Mind Robber 3, we assume that the cancer that would shortly claim his life was responsible for him stopping work. So no Telesnaps were ever made of the Invasion and thus there were no Photos to match with the surviving soundtracks.

BBC's Interactive Drama & Entertainment department had commissioned animators Cosgrove Hall to produce flash animations of the missing Invasion episodes for the BBCi Website, which was subsequently rebranded into the BBC Website leaving the episodes without a home. They were modified and placed on the DVDs - see The Restoration team's Invasion article for details. So today I'm sitting down and watching an animated version of a missing Doctor Who episode.....

The Tardis materialises beyond the Dark Side of the Moon. A missile is fired at them from the moon, but a circuit jams delaying their dematerialisation till the last second. The Tardis then materialises in a field but the failed circuit has rendered the Tardis invisible. Working out that they're in England, the Doctor decides to look up his old friend Professor Travers for help. Finding a road they thumb a lift in a lorry, which is then pursued by motor bikes. The driver pulls over to hide telling his passengers that company security are on his tail. Finding out that they're not company staff, he wants to know how they got inside the compound which is run by International Electromatics. They are building their own communities round new factories, including houses for workers. Any locals who don't join the company disappear, "his people" haven't been able to trace them. With the bikes having gone he drives to the gates where the guards check his pass and let him out but he's been followed to the gates by the bikes. Once outside the compound he lets the Doctor and co out of the truck. They leave, but he's apprehended by the biker guards. He refuses to go back with them so they shoot him. Meanwhile the Doctor, Jamie & Zoe thumb a second lift, this time in a car, to London. Arriving at the Travers' house they find the bell label says Watkins. Ringing the door bell it is eventually answered by Isobel Watkins, a photographer. Her uncle Professor Watkins is renting the house from Travers who has gone to America with his daughter Anne. She's broken her camera but the Doctor quickly fixes it and, seeing a decent subject, she takes photos of Zoe. Her uncle has been working for International Electromatics but has been gone for a week and she's not been able to get in touch with him. The Doctor rings IE but gets an automated answer machine. He and Jamie go to visit IE, while Zoe stays with Isobel. As they approach International Electromatics headquarters they are followed by two men in car. The Doctor is irritated by the automated computer receptionist and being unable to gain entry that way they go round the back to break in, where they observed by the men in the car. Watching inn an office the Doctor & Jamie have been recognised. They gain access to a lift but are
gassed. The men in the car's HQ want the Doctor and Jamie bought to them. Security Chief Packer and 2 Guards bring the Doctor and Jamie to Tobias Vaughan's office, the Managing Director of IE. He knew they want to see Watkins from their exchange with the reception computer but says he is too busy to see anyone. Jamie mentions the damaged circuit which the Doctor reluctantly shows to Vaughan who takes it. He gives Jamie a modern radio as compensation for their treatment. Packer shows them out. The Doctor is worried by Vaughan, he doesn't blink enough. Vaughan opens a panel to reveal a complex machine made of tubes making an odd noise.

Ah that's good stuff. Up until the last moment that could have been a 1960s spy series, the music especially gives the episode that familiar feel. Then in the last moment we see the hidden instrument in Vaughan's office which diligent viewers may recognise as being not too dissimilar to something we saw in Wheel in Space and in turn give a clue as to who's conducting the anonymous Invasion of the story's title. The animation works well here, slightly stylised but fits the tone of the story. We know of course what the major characters look like, 3 of the locations and 3 of the sets appear in other episodes giving the animators lots of reference leaving just the sequences involving the truck to be interpreted by the animators. I'm told the animators have inserted an in-joke into the episode: On the wall where Isobel Watkins writes her notes are written the words "Bad Wolf", a nod to the story arc running through the 2005 series of Doctor Who.

The concept of building the community round a factory comes from real life. My now home town of Swindon grew drastically when the railway works built here, but the best example of a town being purpose built round a factory is when Cadbury built the Bournville community up round their new factory.

We do need to acknowledge that this episode has the first on screen credit for Terrance Dicks. He had been serving as the show's assistant script editor to Derrick Sherwin from the Web of Fear onwards but he now takes over the Script Editor's post to allow Derrick Sherwin to write this serial, bar a period during the Space Pirates when he was busy writing the War Games with Malcolm Hulke. Sherwin meanwhile would increasingly take on the responsibilities of Producer, especially towards the end of the season when Peter Bryant was taken ill, with the objective of becoming permanent producer on the show. As we'll see things didn't work out like that. So the next few months are a bit of a game of musical chairs with most seats being occupied by more than one person.

There's a few familiar names and faces in this episode: The driver of the car that picks the Doctor, Jamie & Zoe up is none other than the director of the serial, Douglas Camfield, making a cameo appearance. He's got his wife in again too: following her appearance in Dalek Masterplan 7 Sheila Dunn provides the voice of the computerised answer phone and reception service. Also returning from Dalek Masterplan is Kevin Stoney who was Mavic Chen in the previous tale. Once again he's playing the lead villain here. And if Camfield's directing then Walter Randall has to be involved: here he's playing one of the motorcycle patrolmen that shoots down the driver of the truck. Packer is a first Doctor Who role for Peter Halliday. He'll be back five more times, but later in this story also serves as the voice artist for both the machine in Vaughan's office and for the as yet unseen alien menace. The driver of the car following the Doctor, Tracy, is played by Geoffrey Cheshire who was the Viking Leader in The Time Meddler (director: D Camfield) and then Garge in The Daleks' Master Plan (director.... oh you get the idea) But making his debut in this episode is by far the most important character in this entire serial, and some would say the whole of Doctor Who! John Levene, previously appearing as a Cyberman in the Moonbase and a Yeti in Web of Fear is recast by the director of the latter story as one of the men in the car following the Doctor and Jamie. His character's name is Benton, and that should tell you who the men in the car work for and why tomorrow is such a BIG game changing episode for Doctor Who!

Wednesday 29 June 2011

219 The Mind Robber: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Mind Robber: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 12 October 1968
WRITER: Peter Ling
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

The Master believes he has turned them into fictional characters: if the Doctor took his place he could release them. He refuses and is seized by the robots. The Doctor escapes onto the castle where he meets Jamie & Zoe. Jamie & Zoe keep repeating the same things: The Doctor works out this pair aren't real. He summons the Karkus to open a skylight who then fetches Rapunzel to allow the Doctor to climb into the skylight to interfere with the Master's machines. Gulliver arrives with the children. The Tardis is suddenly there with Jamie and Zoe but it's a trap and the Doctor finds himself trapped in a glass case. The Master adds him to the Computer, wishing to bring Earth under his control. The Doctor realises he has power now and releases Jamie & Zoe from the book, and the fictional versions vanish. They flee from the Toy soldiers with the Karkus coming to their rescue and destroying the soldiers. The Master and the Doctor struggle for control over the fictional characters pitting D'Artagnan against Cyrano de Bergerac and Sir Lancelot against Blackbeard the pirate. The Master Brain is overloading so the Master sends the robots to destroy him. Zoe interferes with the control systems overloading the Master Brain and allowing the Doctor to free the Master. The robots destroy the computer which causes the Time Travellers to be returned to the Tardis and the Master to his home.

At 18 minutes this is the shortest episode of Doctor Who ever. It's rather Prisoner like in it's telling of the struggle of the Doctor and the Master to control the land of fiction. Lets be quite clear though: The Master of the Land of |Fiction is a human author kidnapped to serve there: he's not the villainous Time Lord The Master.

This episode survives as a 35mm film, used for transmission. It was kept by the BBC Film & Video library and was the only episode of this series that they retained. The other 4 episodes and a duplicate of this one were found as 16mm prints at BBC Enterprises. The Mind Robber was novelised by Peter Ling and has been turned into an audiobook narrated by Derek Jacobi. A video was released in May 1990 with a DVD following in May 2005. The Mind Robber was the serial chosen to represent Patrick Troughton in the 1992 repeat season and was shown from 31 January - 28 February 1992.

Following the broadcast of this serial there was a 2 week break before the start of the next: The final episode of the Mind Robber aired 12th October 1968 and the first episode of the Invasion was on 2nd November 1968. This break was to allow coverage of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, whose opening ceremony was later the evening that Mind Robber 5 was broadcast. The closing ceremony was Sunday October 27th and Doctor Who resumed the following Saturday.

Tuesday 28 June 2011

218 The Mind Robber: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Mind Robber: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 05 October 1968
WRITER: Peter Ling
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

The Doctor finds a sword at his feet. The text machine says he kills the monster but the Doctor remembers the legend of Perseus and shows Medusa a mirror. Jamie's presence is detected and he is found by Gulliver. Jamie hides from the white robots searching for him. The Doctor and Zoe find the castle but are confronted by the Karkus, a comic book hero from Zoe's time. Being sure he is fictional Zoe defeats him. Now in servitude to Zoe he helps the Time Travellers get to the castle. The Doctor pretends to be the Karkus to gain entry. They find Jamie & Gulliver. The machine reports the test on the Doctor has failed. He deduces that if they fell into the Master's trap they would become fiction. They are invited in to see the Master, an old bearded man in a control room. He was a writer of a boy's adventure strip who was kidnapped and brought to the land of fiction where he serves the intelligence controlling the region. He wishes the Doctor to take his place. The Doctor refuses. Zoe & Jamie are caught in a library by the white robots who trap them inside a giant book.

I can see that this story is perfectly well created but sorry folks, the latter episodes are increasingly not doing it for me. The style feels much more like one of the more experimental Hartnell stories: Celestial Toyroom springs to mind. I don't think it's made bad, I don't think they shouldn't have done it: it just doesn't tick the boxes for me.

Writing this episode is Peter Ling, the creator of Crossroads. On that program he worked with Derrick Sherwin, now the Doctor Who script editor, and Terrance Dicks, currently serving as his assistant. They used to get the train to Birmingham together for script meetings, became friends and Ling was asked to contribute to Doctor Who when Sherwin became script editor. He's not the only writer from that time on Crossroads to work on Doctor Who: The Crossroads Script Editor Don Houghton would later pen two Pertwee tales. Several of the current crop of Doctor Who writers picked up valuable experience writing for Soap Operas too.

The Karkus, introduced this episode, is played by Christopher Robbie. He will later play the Cyberleader in Revenge of the Cybermen and served as announcer on several different commercial television stations.

Monday 27 June 2011

217 The Mind Robber: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Mind Robber: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 28 September 1968
WRITER: Peter Ling
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

The Doctor gets his friends to believe that the unicorn doesn't exist and it vanishes. "The Master" of the land watches them. They find a house, but the human soldier is there guarding it and he shoots Jamie who once again becomes a picture with no face. This time the Doctor solves the jigsaw puzzle correctly and puts the right face back on Jamie. They find themselves in a maze with a ball of twine that Jamie unwinds to mark their tracks. Zoe thinks she has solved the maze using an arithmetic progression but instead takes her and the Doctor to middle of maze, filled with bones. They hear a roaring sound as the Minotaur steps out the shadows. Jamie has run out of twine and lagged behind. He's attacked by one of the toys soldiers which he delays by throwing his jacket over the light on it's head blinding it's camera. The Doctor & Zoe the Minotaur's existence and it, like the Unicorn, vanishes. Jamie has disappeared: Zoe finds his jacket. The Stranger turns up, he hasn't seen him but says he has had audiences with the master. The Doctor recognises him as Lemuel Gulliver: he's been peaking in dialogue the characters uses from the book Gulliver's Travels. Jamie climbs a cliff to escape from the toy soldier. He's thrown a rope to climb up which turns out to by the hair of Rapunzel, who is a little disappointed to find he's not a prince. Jamie climbs in window and finds himself in a room filled with technology: books are displayed on a screen and a reading of a children's book plays. He discovers a device printing out the Doctor & Zoe's story: They encounter Medusa in the caves. The Doctor denies Medusa's existence as her snakes writhe as she approaches them....

The episode's backbone is built on having the fictional characters interact with the Tardis crew. It's obvious this all being played out for the Master's amusement. I like the device of having Gulliver only speak in lines from the book but having only read Gulliver's Travels once (inspired by the Barry Letts/Terrance Dicks classic serial adaptation) I can't recall any of it so the hints dropped in the previous episode would have been lost on me. Although the Doctor doesn't know it yet the Minotaur does exist and he'll meet him in the Time Monster in a few years time. The Minotaur has also inspired an entire race of Doctor Who monsters, the Nimon.

While watching this episode I thought that the rocks Jamie was clambering up looked a little familiar.... So I got out Richard Bignell's Doctor Who on Location and discovered that this sequence was filmed at Harrison's Rocks in
Birchden Wood near Groombridge, East Sussex
. The same location with it's distinctive rock formation also appears in Castrovalva which I've seen a few more times than Mind Robber and was where I recognised them from.

This was the last episode for which Telesnaps were produced for, which we used extensively in the last two seasons when a story was missing from the archives. Although there's no documented reason why this was the last episode to be recorded in this manner we know that John Cura died of cancer in April 1969 so we can only assume that his illness prevented him working from this point onwards.

Sunday 26 June 2011

216 The Mind Robber: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Mind Robber: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 21 September 1968
WRITER: Peter Ling
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

Jamie & Zoe each find themselves in a maze like series of rock columns. Jamie is attacked by a soldier turning into a picture. Zoe finds a large wooden door but falls into pit. They are watched by an observer who searches for the Doctor. The Doctor wakes up and calls out for his friends, but quickly realise there are soldiers searching for him, life size toy soldiers. The Doctor is confronted by a stranger speaking a foreign tongue, but he persuades him to speak English. He says he set sail Bristol on May 4th 1699 and lost his companions on voyage before he leaves the Doctor. Next The Doctor finds a group of children, who ask him riddles. He finds Jamie's picture but the face is missing. He has to re-assemble the face from puzzle pieces but gets it wrong giving Jamie a new face. They find Zoe and answer another riddle freeing her. When Zoe stops for a rest, Jamie climbs a column for a better view and discovers he's standing on a letter, in a forest of words. He reads the words to the Doctor who deduces they are proverbs. The stranger returns but speaks loudly giving them away to the soldiers who find them and the take time travellers away. They find themselves in black void where they are charged by the unicorn from Jamie's dream.

That's certainly the oddest episode for a long while. In many ways it's similar to the Celestial Toymaker trapping the Tardis crew in a very strange environment with some echoes of childhood thrown in.

The stuff with Jamie's face was inserted at the last minute: Fraser Hinds went down with the Chicken Pox. The actor that replaced him, Hamish Wilson, is not Fraser's cousin as is frequently claimed. The brief scene with Fraser Hines was filmed later in the series when Hines returned to work. Fraser's Hines brother, Ian, does appear in this series as a guard. One of the children in this episode is Sylvestra Le Touzel now a noted actress. The Stranger, identity to be revealed later in the series, is a first Who appearance for Bernard Horsfall who'll be back for the War Games, Planet of the Daleks and The Deadly Assassin, all three directed by David Maloney.

The Unicorn in this story is, of course, a horse with a horn attached to it's head. It was filmed at night on location. Unfortunately the wrong colour horse was supplied. So the horse made up using white Blanco!

Saturday 25 June 2011

215 The Mind Robber: Episode One

EPISODE: The Mind Robber: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 14 September 1968
WRITER: Derrick Sherwin (uncredited)
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

The time travellers escape the volcanic eruption by retreating to the Tardis but the fluid links fail. As smoke fills the Tardis interior the exterior is buried by lava. The Doctor uses the emergency unit and moves the Tardis out of the time/space dimension taking them to nowhere. Doctor tells Zoë not to leave Tardis. Jamie sees Scotland on scanner then Zoë sees her home city: she opens doors and goes outside. Jamie finds the Doctor who tells him that she was lured out. An emergency alarm sounds inside the Tardis and Jamie runs outside to find Zoë. A noise fills the Tardis as the Doctor senses a presence and fights against it. Jamie finds Zoë in white void. Both are now lost and call for the Doctor. He hears them but thinks it's illusion. Jamie & Zoë think there being watched then hallucinate their homes again. They are captured by white robots. The Doctor sees them in a vision and a voice urges him to follow them, causing the Doctor to wander into the void. Once outside the Tardis he finds that it's white instead of it's usual blue and similarly Jamie & Zoë are clad in white versions of their costumes. He gets them back into the Tardis which dematerialises. Jamie falls asleep, dreaming of a Unicorn. The Doctor hears a sound which reveals to him that the presence is in the Tardis. The Tardis flies to pieces in space leaving Jamie & Zoë clinging to the console as the Doctor drifts off into space and thick cloud surrounds them.

Wow, that was something else. A little like Edge of Destruction perhaps, only done right. Loved that. The void with everyone dressed in white imagery is very striking: I can remember seeing something very similar in the Battlestar Galactica episode War of the Gods when I was much younger. But what everyone remembers about this episode is the scene with the companions clinging to the Tardis console as Zoë, dressed in a sparkly catsuit, has her bottom rotated towards the camera.

When we left Derrick Sherwin he had just cut The Dominators from 6 episodes to 5. He had the four part Mind Robber in the bag but needed enough episodes to fill a ten week slot in the schedules between the start of the season and a 2 week break due to the 1968 Mexico Olympics. So needing an episode, but with no money for extra sets, costumes or actors this is what he dreamed up. The Tardis sets were in stock, the white robots were reused from an episode of Out of the Unknown called The Prophet (there's a picture of them painted black here if you scroll down). Out comes the foam machine to simulate the lava, job done. Because he's the script editor he couldn't write for the show due to BBC rules so this episode goes out without a writer's credit on it for the only time in the show's history. These rules would shortly change but not before it's led to the game of musical chairs that we're about to see.

All first four episodes of this story were found in the possession of BBC Enterprises in 1978. Enterprises had 16mm film prints of all five episodes, but the 35mm transmission print of episode five had survived in the Film & Video library.

And we would be failing in our duty if we didn't welcome aboard first time Who director David Maloney. He'll be back for two more stories before this season is out. His total of 19 episodes directed in one season (this one!) is easily a record.

Friday 24 June 2011

214 The Dominators: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Dominators: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 07 September 1968
WRITER: Norman Ashby (aka Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln)
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Dominators

Rago returns, is angry at Toba's progress and waste of Quark energy. He decides to leave the Dulcians behind on the planet when it is destroyed as they are useless slaves, but in the process the Doctor overhears the Dominators plans to turn the planet into radioactive magma to fuel their ships. Jamie & cully immobilise a Quark and rescue the Doctor & Zoë. Toba interrupts drilling again to aid the Quark. Rago reprimands him again, but Toba is pleased to learn the drilling will lead to the Dulcians death. Jamie comes up with a plan to catch the explosive device when it's dropped down the bore hole. They dig a tunnel from the shelter to the bore hole using the Doctor's sonic screwdriver to cut through the wall. Using the shelter's medical kit the Doctor makes bombs for Jamie & Cully to attack the Quarks, but for once Toba concentrates on his task. Jamie & Cully attack the drilling site. Rago pursues them and they hide in the shelter. The seed device is dropped into the shaft and the Doctor catches it. He is unable to open it. Realising they will be killed and there's a risk of the planet being destroyed, the Doctor hide the bomb on the Dominator's ship. The Dulcians leave in the travel capsule while the Doctor and co retreat to the safety of the Tardis as the rockets fire into the crust creating an eruption on the island as the bomb destroys the Dominators ship.

Well.... most of the cast spends the episode stuck in the shelter but the brief action scenes are OK. This had gone a lot, lot better than I was expecting it to. The Dominators was one of the last (actually was *the* last) complete Doctor Who story that I hadn't seen. I polished it off, along with Keys of Marinus, Reign of Terror and the Romans, when I gave up work in late 2005. I didn't enjoy it then, and I didn't enjoy it again on DVD release. Yet watching it now it was OK. Nothing special, but OK.

Ha! I've got all the way to episode 5 and not mentioned the Dominators catch phrase: Command Accepted. Trotted out by Toba every time he's given an order it starts to grate after a while. They'll be more catch phrases to come later especially when Bob Baker and Dave Martin show up.

Some of the volcano lava footage at the end looks rather familiar: I'm pretty sure it's the same stuff that's used in Enemy of the World and Inferno.

The Dominators was one of the first Troughton stories to be novelised, adapted by Ian Marter, when Target started looking at doing more older Doctor Who stories in 1984. The Dominators was the very first Doctor Who novel I owned in hardback: bought in a sale from the Bentalls book department in the old store in Kingston. I obtained several other new ones, mostly from a sale in Kingston's Volume 1 bookstore. A few years ago OCD struck and I realised I needed my Doctor Who book collection to all be in the same format. So I replaced the hardbacks with paperbacks and put the Hardbacks on eBay.... and walked away about £500 richer from 10 hardbacks!

A video release of the Dominators was made in 1990 and a DVD release in 2010.

Thursday 23 June 2011

213 The Dominators: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Dominators: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 31 August 1968
WRITER: Norman Ashby (aka Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln)
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Dominators

Rago is angry with Toba's use of a Quark to destroy the museum due to his careless expenditure of energy and reprimands his subordinate. Cully & Jamie are hiding in the shelter, protected from the blast but trapped by debris. Rago learns of the travel capsule and arranges for it's repair. The Quarks commence drilling. Jamie & Cully escape and decide to attack the Quarks. Jamie distracts a Quark which Cully crushes with a boulder. Toba leaves the ship to investigate while the Doctor examines their ship. The Doctor discovers the Dominator's unit that has sucked up the radiation from the island. Rago travels to the capital and makes demands of the council, who procrastinate and insist he sticks to procedure. Rago kills Tensa and demands slaves from the council. Balan worries about the drilling as the planet's crust is thin on the planet. Balan is killed by a Quark as Toba demands to know where Jamie & Cully are.

The council had it coming, so boring so far that one of them deserved to get it. Unfortunately the one that did, Tensa, was played by Brian Cant. They really don't have a clue about the trouble they're in here!

The Dominators was originally planned as a six parter. As the scripts came in Derrick Sherewin wasn't happy with what they were receiving and took the decision to recut the scripts for parts 4 to 6 into new episodes 4 & 5. Authors Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln, who'd previously written Abominable Snowmen and the Web of Fear, were very unhappy at this and had their names removed from the episodes, instead using a pseudonym, Nomran Ashby, made up of the first names of their Father In Laws. Relations between them and the production team were patched up to the point that they were at one stage working on a further story line, but then went sour again after the Quarks, which they retained the rights to, were used in a comic strip without their consent or payment. They never wrote for Doctor Who again. Meanwhile Derrick Sherwin had a problem: Doctor Who had a ten week slot to fill at the start of the Sixth season before it went off air for two weeks to accommodate coverage of the 1968 Mexico Olympics. He now had a five part Dominators, a four part Mind Robber and a one week gap. We'll discover his solution when we get to the first episode of the Mind Robber.

As it turns out the production problems on this story are a mere appetiser for the chaos to follow!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

212 The Dominators: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Dominators: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 24 August 1968
WRITER: Norman Ashby (aka Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln)
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Dominators

Zoe & Cully are captured by a Quark. Jamie & the Doctor arrive in the city and are told by the council that Zoe & Cully have left. The Dominators prisoners are put to work on a site drilling for something. The Dulcian council refuse to act on the Dominator threat, but when they contact the Island and are shown a Quark, the Doctor & Jamie leave quickly to return to the island. The Doctor interferes with the travel capsule causing it to land at a different location. The prisoners are being worked to exhaustion. The council call in Tensa, the head of the emergency committee. They wait to sere what the Dominators want. Zoe finds out there's a bomb shelter they can hide in. The Doctor and Jamie arrive and find the prisoners. Cully sneaks into the museum and steels a weapon. Zoe distracts the Quark, but Jamie interrupts Cully before he can shoot. The Quarks return the remaining prisoners to the ship. The Doctor is recaptured by Toba. Toba returns to the museum for Cully and has the Quarks attack it. Jamie destroys a Quark with the gun, but the remaining Quarks attack the museum.

There's a little bit of action in this episode with Quarks attacking the museum and Jamie destroying one but my goodness that council are boring!

This episode exists as a 35mm film print from which the episode was transmitted. In 1977 it was missing from the BBC archives but somehow seemed to return a little while afterwards. Nobody is 100% sure where it came from, the suspicion being it was always in the film & video library but without the accompanying paperwork. If so, then the Dominators was the only complete Troughton story held in the BBC film & video library at the time.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

211 The Dominators: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Dominators: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 17 August 1968
WRITER: Norman Ashby (aka Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln)
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Dominators

Dominators test Jamie for physical labour, Toba wants to use Quarks but is over ruled by Rago to conserve energy.
Cully and Zoe sent to capital, he argues with council, they don't believe his story. The Doctor is made to submit to an intelligence test. They are taken to the museum and shown the weapons where the Dominators conclude they are primitives and no danger, so they escape returning to the research centre and travel to the capital as Cully & Zoe return to the island. The research team investigate the Dominators, entering their ship where they are captured. The Dominators deduce they might be useful as labour and seek out more prisoners. Toba has the Quarks attack the research station trapping Zoe & Cully.

Oooh, the inside of the Domninator's space ship looks rather good compared to similar surroundings we've seen before. However the general quality of the episode falls compared to the previous one with lots of the Dominator arguing with Rago wanting to conserve power and Toba desiring to destroy anything that moves or doesn't! The Dulcian council are a useless lot, but I suspect that's the point.

The Dominator Rago is played by Ronald Allen who'll be back shortly as Ralph Cornish in The Ambassadors of Death. The Quarks were all played by children. One of them, John Hicks (born 1955 and thus 13 at the time of recording making him the youngest credited artist in Doctor Who so far) later returns as the Axon Boy in The Claws of Axos. The Quarks are voiced by Sheila Grant who'll be back as Jane Leeson in Colony in Space.

Monday 20 June 2011

210 The Dominators: Episode One

EPISODE: The Dominators: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 10 August 1968
WRITER: Norman Ashby (aka Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln)
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Dominators

The Dominator ship controlled by Navigator Rago and Probationer Toba lands on an island on the planet Dulkis, in search of radiation to absorb as fuel. Dulkis native Cully is taking some friends to island when their transport crashes and his friends killed by the Dominator's robots, the Quarks. The Tardis lands with the Doctor tired from his retelling to Zoe of their last adventure with the Daleks. They hear the destruction of Cully's craft and explore, finding a museum with a research centre underneath run by Educator Balan. His pupil Kendo explains that the island was used as atomic test site. Cully meets his friend Teel, also part of Balan's team and is taken to the research station. The Doctor & Jamie, worried about the Dominators, leave to check on the Tardis. They find tracks, then the Dominator spacecraft where they are found by Toba and the Quarks.

Welcome to season 6! This first episode wasn't too bad, defying the reputation the Dominators has (and it's got one alright) for being a bit of a stinker. The effect where Tolata is killed is top notch, but the Dulcians are a pretty useless bunch. The Dominators are imposing and the one shot we get of the Quarks is quite amusing.

Season 6 has more episodes existing than any other Troughton season. Episodes 1, 2, 4 & 5 were in the Film & Video library when Ian Levine arrived. Episode 3 however has some question marks on quite where it was when as we'll see. Season 6 also has a bit of a torturous story behind the scenes which leads to script chaos and a game of musical chairs in the production office.....

Of the Dulcians in this episode Cully is played by Arthur Cox (not Laura Howard!) who sets a record between Doctor Who appearances when he plays Mr. Henderson in the 2010 story The Eleventh Hour. Already having left the story are Cully's friends Wahed, played by Philip Voss who was Acomat in Marco Polo, and Etnin, played by Malcolm Terris who'll be back as the Co-Pilot in The Horns of Nimon.

Sunday 19 June 2011

209 The Wheel in Space: Episode Six

EPISODE: The Wheel in Space: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: 01 June 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker from a story by Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Tristan de Vere Cole
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time
TELESNAPS: The Wheel in Space: Episode Six

Leo fires the X-Ray laser destroying the Meteorites. The Doctor warns the control room of the danger to the oxygen supply. Bennett slips away and is killed by a Cyberman. Jamie finds the Time Vector Generator while Zoe hacks into the Cybermen's communications frequency, discovering that they know the Doctor is aboard the Wheel. The Wheel sights an approaching Cybership. Jamie & Zoe return to the wheel and help The Doctor and some of the crew over power a controlled crewman, Flanigan, and attach a control protection device to him. The Doctor confronts the two Cybermen luring one into a trap that destroys it. Flanagan and Jamie free another crewman and spray plastic into the chest unit of the last Cyberman, crippling it, but not before it can open the airlock doors to admit the invasion force spacewalking to the Wheel. The Doctor links the Time Vector Generator to the X-Ray laser and destroys the Cybership. The neutron forcefield is activated deflecting the Cybermen into space. When the communications are fixed the Wheel contacts Earth to report the incident. Zoe takes the Doctor & Jamie back to the Silver Carrier to reclaim the Tardis. She sneaks aboard, wanting to go with them. The Doctor uses his thought pattern scanner to show her what's out there on the scanner screen: An image of a Dalek appears....

That was much better, some action at long last. Lovely confrontation between the Doctor & The Cybermen:
The Doctor: I suppose you've come for me?
Cyberman 1: You know our ways.
The Doctor: Yes, I hoped you realised somebody did. I imagine you have orders to destroy me?
Cyberman 1: Yes.
The Doctor: Tell me one thing, why did you order Duggan to destroy radio communication with the Earth? After all, that is why you want possession of the wheel, isn't it?
Cyberman 1: You know our ways.
The Doctor: That doesn't answer my question.
Cyberman 2: He was instructed to destroy only the transmitting complex.
The Doctor: Oh, I see, how interesting, yes, of course. And presumably your large space-ship holds your invasion fleet, and the smaller ships can only enter the planet's atmosphere by homing on a radio beam.
Cyberman 1: You know our ways. You must be destroyed.
The Doctor: Yes, I was afraid you'd get back to that.
The action in the airlock is great,and if you look carefully you'll see that the Cyberman trying to enter the Wheel actually has his chest unit on the traditional way up with the little dish at the bottom. The other two Cybermen have the dish at the top and use it as a weapon. Since the dish, when mounted at the bottom is the descendant of the large dish like weapons the original Cybermen use I suppose that makes sense.

For the last few months we've been counting runs of missing episodes, broken by odd episodes and the occasional complete story. Today we reach the shores of the promised land: the first of an 11 episode stretch of existing episode! We've not had a run that long since Space Museum-The Chase-The Time Meddler at the end of season 2 so it's something worth celebrating. From here on episodes, and whole stories, existing becomes the norm. We're not out of the woods yet: two stories still have missing episodes but both of them are in the next few weeks before the end of the Troughton era.

Episode 6 was recorded onto 35mm film rather than the usual 625 line videotape. In 1977 this, and Enemy of the World 3, formed the sole BBC Film & Video Library holdings for season 5. Because the episode is archived on the higher definition 35mm film, rather than the 16mm prints of video recordings used to sell Doctor Who abroad, it looks significantly better than most Doctor Who episodes from the 1960s.

Wheel in Space was eventually novelised in 1988 by Terrance Dicks. Episodes 3 & 6 appeared on video as part of Doctor Who: Cybermen the Early Years with The Moonbase 2 & 4 along with some extra material including an interview with Roy Skelton. The same episodes later all appear in Doctor Who - Lost In Time. A Soundtrack CD was released in May 2004 with narration by Wendy Padbury.

One significant feature of Wheel in Space 6 is it leads directly into a repeat of Evil of the Daleks using some footage from the cliffhanger to episode one. The first episode of Doctor Who was repeated the very next week after it's original broadcast due to power blackouts and news coverage of the day before on 23rd November 1963. However this was the first ever repeat of a full Doctor Who serial. Recently the Hand of Fear was broadcast on BBC 4 as a tribute to Liz Sladen. Knowing this story was coming up, it got me thinking.... what other Doctor Who repeats have there been over the years? Well with the help of m'learned friends on Roobarb's DVD Forum we attempted to compile a list of episodes/stories and dates. All repeats are BBC1 unless otherwise stated:

30 November 1963 An Unearthly Child Episode One only
8 June - 3 August 1968 The Evil of the Daleks Trailed in programme by Wheel in Space 6,
voice over on part 1,
only missing story ever to be repeated
9 - 30 July 1971 Spearhead from Space  
28 December 1971 The Dæmons 90-minute compilation
27 December 1972 The Sea Devils 90-minute compilation
3 September 1973 Day of the Daleks 60-minute compilation
27 December 1973 The Green Death 90-minute compilation
27 May 1974 The Sea Devils Unscheduled repeat of compilation,
replacing a cricket match
27 December 1974 Planet of the Spiders 105-minute compilation
20 August 1975 The Ark in Space 70-minute compilation
27 December 1975 Genesis of the Daleks 85-minute compilation
5 - 8 July 1976 Planet of Evil  
9 July 1976 The Sontaran Experiment Compilation
27 November 1976 Pyramids of Mars 60-minute compilation
4 December 1976 The Brain of Morbius 60-minute compilation
4 - 25 August 1977 The Deadly Assassin  
31 December - 1 January 1977 The Robots of Death two 50-minute episodes
13 July - 3 August 1978 The Invisible Enemy  
10 - 31 August 1978 The Sun Makers  
12 July - 2 August 1979 The Pirate Planet  
9 - 30 August 1979 The Androids of Tara  
5 - 8 August 1980 Destiny of the Daleks  
12 - 20 August 1980 City of Death  
3 - 6 August 1981 Full Circle  
10 - 13 August 1981 The Keeper of Traken  
2 - 5 November 1981 An Unearthly Child BBC2
9 - 12 November 1981 The Krotons BBC2
16 - 19 November 1981 Carnival of Monsters BBC2
23 - 26 November 1981 The Three Doctors BBC2
30 November - 3 December 1981 Logopolis BBC2
12 - 19 July 1982 The Curse of Peladon two 50-minute episodes
26 July - 2 August 1982 Genesis of the Daleks two 45-minute episodes
9 - 16 August 1982 Earthshock two 50-minute episodes
15 - 18 August 1983 The Visitation  
22 - 25 August 1983 Kinda  
31 August - 1 September 1983 Black Orchid  
6 - 13 July 1984 The King’s Demons  
20 July 1984 The Awakening Compilation
14 - 17 August 1984 The Five Doctors four 25-minute episodes
40781 1991 Pilot Episode Shown as part of Lime Grove Day
3 - 24 January 1992 The Time Meddler BBC2
31 January - 28 February 1992 The Mind Robber BBC2
6 March - 10 April 1992 The Sea Devils BBC2
20 November - 18 December 1992 The Dæmons BBC2
8 January - 12 February 1993 Genesis of the Daleks BBC2
19 February - 12 March 1993 The Caves of Androzani BBC2
19 March - 9 April 1993 Revelation of the Daleks BBC2 , four 25-minute episodes
23 April - 14 May 1993 Battlefield BBC2
5 November - 17 December 1993 Planet of the Daleks  
2 January - 6 February 1994 The Green Death BBC2
6 - 27 March 1994 Pyramids of Mars BBC2
13 November 1999 The Daleks BBC2, Episode Seven only,
Missing two minutes of footage;
re-edited to include material from Episode Six
13 November 1999 Doctor Who - TV Movie BBC2
16 - 30 November 1999 Spearhead from Space BBC2
7 December - 25 January 1999 The Silurians BBC2
1 - 29 February 2000 Genesis of the Daleks BBC Choice
26 June 2004 The Web of Fear BBC4, Episode One only
3 - 5 April 2006 The Green Death BBC4
13 - 20 November 2006 Spearhead from Space BBC4
27 November - 4 December 2006 The Ark in Space BBC4
18 March 2007 The Web of Fear BBC4, Episode One only
21 - 22 October 2007 The Dæmons BBC4
5 - 9 April 2008 The Daleks BBC4
9 & 10 May 2011 The Hand of Fear BBC4

Several stories (Genesis of the Daleks!) have been aired on the BBC several time. Many have not had a repeat.

Saturday 18 June 2011

208 The Wheel in Space: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Wheel in Space: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 25 May 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker from a story by Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Tristan de Vere Cole
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Wheel In Space
TELESNAPS: The Wheel in Space: Episode Five

Hearing movement, the Doctor & Jamie hide witnessing the Cyberman removing the Bernalium rods. The Doctor wonders as to their motive: they don't seem to want to destroy the station. He works out they intend to deprive the crew of air and orders the airlocks sealed. He and Jamie are stalked by a Cybermat which he defeats by having a variable audio signal transmitted. The Cyberman inform the Planner of the Cybermats destruction. The station is attacked by more meteorites which they deflect using the laser. The Doctor suggests that the Cybermen caused the recent nova and thus the meteorites to prompt the use of the laser. The search for the necessary Bernalium would have caused a visit to the Silver Carrier and thus allowed the Cybermen to board the station and gain a foothold to invade Earth. The Doctor realises the Time Vector Generator is missing and send Jamie & Zoe to retrieve it. Jamie, Zoe & Gemma leave the control room when the field barrier surrounding it is temporarily deactivated. After Jamie & Zoe leave the wheel Gemma overhears The Cybermen deciding to poison the Oxygen supply. She informs the Doctor using the videolink but is potted by the Cybermen and slain. As Jamie & Zoe spacewalk to the Silver Carrier they're caught in the meteorite storm.....

A bit of a mess really, and not helped but a barking mad plan by the Cybermen: We'll cause a sun to go Nova just to infiltrate a space station. The science involved is rather dodgy too: a recent supernova, even one observed recently, wouldn't be having a physical effect on the space station yet. I find it hard to believe Kit Pedler, a noted scientist, let this go out with his name on it. David Whitaker, who fleshed the story out, does have some form in the dodgy science department, but his story telling is usually miles better than this. I can't believe the same man was responsible for Power of the Daleks and Evil of the Daleks. Whitaker passed up the chance to write the next Cyberman story, the Invasion, and his final Doctor Who serial, The Ambassadors of Death passed through the hands of several other writers before reaching the screen. He has very few television credits to his name after this point so I'm wondering if something was happening to him in the real world that was having an effect on his writing..... I've not found anyone passing comment on problems with the writer on this story. The only difficulties I know about were between director and producer: Peter Bryant, Producer, who felt that the director Tristan de Vere Cole broke the chain of command by regularly talking directly to writer Kit Pedler and Script Editor Derrick Sherwin instead of going through him, and was unhappy with some of de Vere Cole's modifications to the script.

This episode, and the next, were recorded on 35mm film instead of the standard 625 line videotape. Most of the other 35mm episodes survived in the BBC's film library but this one didn't.

Friday 17 June 2011

207 The Wheel in Space: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Wheel in Space: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 18 May 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker from a story by Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Tristan de Vere Cole
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Wheel In Space
TELESNAPS: The Wheel in Space: Episode Four

The Doctor explains that the Cybermen are threatening the Wheel, but the commander Bennett will not listen to him. The Cybermen hide themselves in a box of the much needed Bernalium fuel rods as Bennett questions how they will enter the station. Laleham and Vallance spacewalk back to the Wheel bringing the fuel rods and Cybermen with them. Bill arrives to help with the repairs to the X-Ray laser. Gemma speaks to the Doctor about her concerns for Bennett's mental health. Chang goes to fetch some fuel rods and is killed by a Cyberman. A Cyberman brings Bill under it's control. The Doctor deduces the Cybermen came aboard with the Bernalium. Tanya checks to see if any of the crew are under control of an outside force: Bill Duggan who has recently entered the room stands revealed. He attacks the communication equipment but is shot by Leo. The Doctor instructs Leo & Tanya in how to build jamming devices for the Cybermen's control. As the Doctor and Jamie investigate the loading bay a Cyberman appears....

This is a bit more like it, the Cybermen are on the station and up to something, but I think the damage has already been done by those first few episodes. I'm finding it difficult to care for the base crew at all.

The two Cybermen in this story have some Doctor Who connections: Jerry Holmes had an uncredited role as a Parisian man in The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve. Gordon Stothard is a regular extra at the time having already played a Robot Yeti in The Web of Fear, he'll be back in The Invasion and Mind of Evil. His Invasion appearance catches the eye of Toby Hadoke in "Running Down Corridors". He appears without disguise there and is seemingly the same actor that played Grun, the King's Champion, in The Curse of Peladon. That role is credited to Gordon St. Clair who has no other credits elsewhere and was never traced. If it's another actor appearing under a different name then that would explain it!

Thursday 16 June 2011

206 The Wheel in Space: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Wheel in Space: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 11 May 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker from a story by Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Tristan de Vere Cole
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time
TELESNAPS: The Wheel in Space: Episode Three

The white spheres each contain a Cyberman. Jamie is caught spraying quick setting plastic into the X-Ray laser. He says the Doctor told him to protect the ship. An alert is declared and sidearms issued. The Cybermen report to their Planner that phase one, the launching of the Cybermats, is complete. Phase two, their undetected infiltration of the rocket, is also complete. It is now time to institute phase three. Zoe is concerned about the Hercules 208 star in the Messier 13 cluster. Bill assesses the damage to the laser and finds a small silver creature, which is found to have eaten the bernallium stocks that power the X-ray laser. The Cybermen are informed that a star has been ionised and meteorites will strike the Wheel. Seeking replacement bernallium in the stores Kemel is cornered by several of the creatures. He sprays plastic on one but the others kill him. Zoe examines it, and the Doctor suggests X-raying it revealing a Cybermat. Bill is put on report for failing to reveal the creature's existence. Two crewmen board the silver carrier and are brought under the Cybermen's hypnotic control and instructed to take them to the wheel where they will help the Cybermen.

I was hoping for an improvement now the Cybermen are awake but they spend almost the entire episode sitting down talking to the Planner! Fortunately the Doctor's awake again and Troughton's back on form:
Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority.
The Cybermen have had makeovers: They now have their chest units on the other way up (you can see the holes for the gun at the top now) and have lost the practice golf balls and vacuum cleaner tubes from their limbs replaced by stiff rods. Their fingers, previously pointed, now have flat stumpy ends. Their heads have been altered too: the eyes gain the now familiar tear drop with a similar design being added bellow the mouth. They gain a new electronic voice. They are now controlled by The Planner a collection of rods and tubes that uses the previous Cyberman voice.

The Tenth Planet spacesuits are back for another appearance this episode. They're almost certainly in the previous episode too, but I can't be 100% certain as the telesnaps aren't clear. They're used throughout this story and then are put into storage until being used for the filming of the Star Wars cantina sequence during 1976.

In April 1984 an anonymous letter was printed in Doctor Who magazine saying there was a missing Troughton episode, featuring the Cybermen & Cybermats, in the Portsmouth area. It had become known in fan circles that David Stead had acquired a copy of Wheel in Space 3 from a dealer. He'd been trying to return it to the BBC and had indeed already spoken with them but illness and other real life events had prevented him handing it over. Stead had already been persuaded to make a video copy of the film and that had then been copied and passed round fans. One person who had seen a copy was Gary Russell, then a write for Doctor Who magazine and now script editor on Doctor Who, who wrote the "anonymous" letter to spur Stead into returning it little knowing that he already was in the process of doing so.

Wheel in Space episodes 3 & 6 appeared on video as part of Doctor Who: Cybermen the Early Years with The Moonbase 2 & 4 along with some extra material including an interview with Roy Skelton. The same episodes later all appear in Doctor Who - Lost In Time.

Happy Peanut Day!

I did my degree at Royal Holloway College, University of London where I was a member of the science fiction society. We used to have a drink every Thursday in a pub called the Royal Ascot on Egham Hill. Come Ascot week, the Landlord would tart the place up, attempt to lure in passing posh trade and stick us down the other end of the pub. So on Thursday 18th June 1992 we're sitting in the pub, away from our usual table and grumbling. I can't recall who exactly was there, I know it was a smaller than usual crowd due to end of term and people being away. Nick Waterman and Simon Banks certainly were, and I imagine that Patric Toms, Chris Haynes, Chris Lyth, Daniel Celano & Simon Richardson probably were. Dave the Barman's luck was in: a coachload of very drunk people pulled up outside. In walks a gentleman, enquires about food, and then says "Don't take the **** out of my wife's hat PLEASE". Then she walked in the door wearing this hat at which point we wet ourselves. SOMEONE (Simon Banks) then had the fun idea of trying to throw peanuts into the top of the hat and see how long it took them to notice. They didn't and the hat left the pub with several sitting in the top. The story passes into legend and every Ascot ladies day the Royal Holloway IFIS celebrate the Annual Peanut Throwing Competition.

Several years later I'm going through some video tapes and find something I recorded, first day highlights of England vs Pakistan at Lords in 1992. The programming had overrun earlier in the evening and I'd got a slice of the previous program: Ascot highlights including a montage of the hats at ladies day... and in it was our hat. So I did what any responsible person would do.... I passed the tape to a friend to have the hat frame grabbed for posterity.

So happy peanut day, wherever you are in the world. I'd hoped to be sitting with the IFIS crowd tonight but a combination of money, child care and accommodation has meant I've had to wuss out. But I'll be enjoying a peanut related treat of some description tonight.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

205 The Wheel in Space: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Wheel in Space: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 04 May 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker from a story by Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Tristan de Vere Cole
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Wheel In Space
TELESNAPS: The Wheel in Space: Episode Two

The space station aims the X-Ray laser at the Silver Carrier. Jamie signals to the space station using the Time Vector Generator alerting them to their presence on the ship. Two crew members travel over to the ship. The station crew are detecting odd magnetic effects and sudden drops in air pressure. Unobserved egg like bubbles are attaching themselves to the hull. Jamie has been checked by the station's Doctor, Gemma Corwin. When asked for the Doctor's name he says John Smith, taking his inspiration from a box he can see. He is unable to explain why they were on the Silver Carrier. He is introduced to Zoe who has been instructed to observe him. Jamie is given a tour of the station and slips away intent on sabotaging the X-Ray laser so they can't destroy the Silver Carrier and the Tardis. On the Silver Carrier, two white sphere start to glow, becoming translucent, exposing something moving inside which punctures the skin of the sphere with a 3 fingered silver fist.

This episode was just as boring as the first one, slow moving and boring. It's not even got Patrick Troughton in it: he's away on holiday while the Doctor lies unconscious on a bed. we do get to meet new companion Zoe for the first time though, played by Wendy Padbury. The Time Vector Generator is being used as a bit of a modern Sonic Screwdriver, which is now as a do all device. So far this story it's assisted with immobilising robot and signalling station as well as helping to provide a good reason to get the Doctor out the Tardis.Still the end of the episode promises something for next episode as a silver hand means just one thing....

Some of the cast of this story are already known to us or will reappear: Clare Jenkins, who was Nanina in the Savages, would go on to reprise her role as Tanya Lernov in the final episode of The War Games. Laleham , the radio operator, is played by Michael Goldie who previously played Craddock in The Dalek Invasion of Earth in 1964, whilst Kenneth Watson (Bill Duggan) had played the same character in the film version of that story, Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD in 1966. Meanwhile Donald Sumpter, appearing as Casili, would go on to play Commander Ridgeway in the Third Doctor story, The Sea Devils

And it's the end of a 13 episode run without anything to watch. The last episode that exists was Web of Fear 1. We're missing Web of Fear 2-5, Fury from the Deep 1-6 and Wheel in Space 1 &2. But Wheel in Space 3 exists! Hurrah.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

204 The Wheel in Space: Episode One

EPISODE: The Wheel in Space: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 27 April 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker
DIRECTOR: Tristan de Vere Cole
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Wheel In Space
TELESNAPS: The Wheel in Space: Episode One

The Doctor & Jamie watch as Victoria waves goodbye to them on the scanner screen. A fault causes the Tardis to land suddenly, Mercury vapour filling the room. The Doctor removes the Tardis' Time Vector Generator immobilising the ship as the retreat into the spaceship in which they've landed. They investigate the seemingly deserted ship, seeking mercury to replenish their supply and noting they're in deep space. Elsewhere on the ship a servo robot patrols and encounters the Tardis. The robot controls the ship changing it's course which alerts the Doctor and Jamie. The Robot opens a pod, revealing a set of white spheres which it allows to escape through the airlock. The ship is approaching a space station and comes to a halt. Trying to get back to the Tardis the Doctor is cornered by the robot which Jamie destroys, but the Doctor is knocked unconscious. On the space station the ship is identified as the Silver Carrier, a missing supply ship. The objects launched from the ship start to collide with the space station. Judging the rocket to be a hazard` they decide to destroy it with the station's X-ray laser.....

Oh dear, what a dreadfully boring episode. It's effectively a two hander between The Doctor & Jamie, but there's no real threat to them for most of the episode and their dialogue lacks the usual sparkle between them. Mercury gets some screen time so this has to be a David Whitaker story!

Monday 13 June 2011

203 Fury from the Deep: Episode Six

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: 20 April 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Six

The Doctor & Jamie rescue Victoria using the helicopter Robson flew in on and some guidance from the pilot that brought them. Quill has completely recovered from his weed possession: The Doctor works out Victoria's screams having affected it and records them, playing them into the pipe system driving the weed back, destroying it and freeing those under it's control. Robson contacts the base to let them know that he, Mrs Harris and Van Lutyens are alive, well and back in their right minds. After considering recent events Victoria decides she will be safer staying on Earth with the Harris family and bids farewell to the Doctor & Jamie.

Ah that's not bad. Victoria's departure is signposted earlier in the story and unlike many companions she gets something to do in her final story and that's not pulled out of thin air either: her screams are shown to affect the weed earlier in the story without attention being drawn to it. The confrontation between the weed and the Doctor in the control room as he starts to drive it back is preserved thanks to some film offcuts of recording this scene. I've enjoyed this story, it's worked well for me.

A significant landmark in our journey: Fury from the Deep is the last completely missing story: at least one episode exists of every Doctor Who story from here on. In fact there are only 11 missing episodes to go spread out over 4 episodes of the next story, The Wheel in Space, 2 of the Invasion and 5 of the Space Pirates. Some might say it's a shame that all six parts of the Space Pirates aren't missing.

These then are the stories which have no complete surviving episode.

Season 1

Marco Polo (7 episodes)

Season 3

Galaxy 4 (4 episodes)
Mission to the Unknown (1 episode)
The Myth Makers (4 episodes)
The Massacre (4 episodes)
The Savages (4 episodes)

Season 4

The Smugglers (4 episodes)
Power of the Daleks (6 episodes)
The Highlanders (4 episodes)
The Macra Terror (4 episodes)

Season 5

Fury from the Deep (6 episodes)

I'll do a complete list of all the missing episodes when we reach the last one, Space Pirates 6, in 40 episodes time.

Fury from the Deep was released as a Target novel with a larger than usual page count and adapted by it's original author.

Sunday 12 June 2011

202 Fury from the Deep: Episode Five

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 13 April 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Five

The Doctor works out engineers must have been infected when the weed was first sucked into the system and that it's vulnerable to pure oxygen, but the base's oxygen supplies have been vented by Oak & Quill. Pursuing them Jamie grapples with Quill who is weakened by Victoria's screams and collapses. Robson attacks a guard, kidnaps Victoria and steals a helicopter flying out to the control rig. The weed creature bursts out of the piping in the base. The Doctor and Jamie follow Hobson to the control rig where he is waiting for them.....

The telesnaps for this episode show the BBC's foam machine in full swing, the stuff is everywhere. Once again out friends the Australian censor have arranged the preservation of some material by cutting virtually everything showing the weed covering Robson's hands. The use of the helicopter is nice and adds an extra dimension to the story. Fraser Hines tells a tale, on The Ice Warriors CD of the helicopter's pilot taking him & Patrick Troughton by air to a party at Victor Maddern's (Robson) House in the country!

The Web of Fear, and it's sequel The Invasion, are usually held up a templates for the Pertwee years with the Doctor allied with the army fighting against an alien invasion. But Fury from the Deep is a template for a certain type of Pertwee: Someone, usually scientists somehow connected to the energy business, burrows into the earth and digs something up/unleashes something hidden within the Earth. This plot re-appears several times in the next few years: The Silurians, Inferno, The Daemons, The Sea Devils, The Green Death and Terror of the Zygons. An element of the plot, digging something up accidentally, has already been seen this season in The Ice Warriors but with Fury's near present setting it could almost be a Pertwee story, you could see it being transported wholesale into his isolation on Earth with relatively few changes.

Terrance Dicks credits Malcolm Hulke with saying that there's two types of story for the trapped on Earth Third Doctor: Alien Invasion and Mad Scientist, and then breaking this with The Silurians but really it had already been done!

Saturday 11 June 2011

201 Fury from the Deep: Episode Four

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 06 April 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Four

Control is struggling to raise two more rigs. Victoria can't sleep, she's starting to be bothered about all the trouble the Tardis crew keep finding themselves in. Harris, searching for his wife, finds Robson on the beach. Van Lutyens goes to inspect the impeller but is grabbed by the seaweed. The Doctor and Jamie descend to help him. Megan Jones, the gas company head, and her aide Perkins arrive. She doesn't believe Harris' stories about the weed. Mr Oak & Mr Quill have assumed responsibility for the lift to the impeller, trapping Jamie & The Doctor. All they can find of Van Lutyens is his torch. They escape via a ladder. A helicopter visits the rigs and finds them covered in foam and weed. Harris wants to blow them up but a distraught Robson arrives keen to protect his life's work. He leaves as the Doctor arrives who says he believes Van Lutyens is dead and Robson is controlled by the weed. Jamie searches out Victoria and finds her in the pipeline room. She identifies those who took her there: Oak & Quill. The control rig calls the base: They are being overrun by foam and weed which is then found in the observation pipe in the base.

And the weed closes in..... Quite a bit of this episode survives thanks to our scissor happy friends the Australian censors who hacked a bit out of almost all the episodes. A lot of The Doctor, Jamie & Van Lutyens in the impeller shaft can be seen, it's all on Doctor Who - Lost In Time and it looks pretty grim stuff. Any chance someone can find a copy so we can see what the rest of the episode looks like? What we do also have here is some nice foreshadowing of the sixth episode as Victoria twice passes comment on the dangers of her life in the Tardis. Recently companions have disappeared without warning: here there's some foreshadowing. If they'd have had Ben & Polly finding out that it was the day they left London in Faceless Ones 1 or 2 that would have made their departure in episode 6 of that story less a surprise.

Joining the cast this week is Margaret John as Megan Jones, who was previously mentioned in part 1. : It's her only Doctor who part but she's famous now for appearing as Doris in Gavin & Stacey. I know nothing about the actor playing her assistant, Brian Cullingford, but will note that that's the second assistant called Perkins we've seen recently (The Highlanders). Meanwhile I'm alerted that Bill Burridge, who plays Mr Quill, has a couple of other non credited Who roles: The Dæmons episodes 3-5 as a villager/coven member and Frontier in Space episode 2 as a Draconian.

Friday 10 June 2011

200 Fury from the Deep: Episode Three

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 30 March 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Three

Welcome to Doctor Who episode 200.

Victoria thinks she's seen the seaweed in the Harris' quarters move like a spider so the Doctor pops it into a specimen bag for analysis. He sends Harris away to fetch medical help then he, Jamie & Victoria leave for the Tardis, not noticing the weed growing up Maggie's arm. At the Tardis, now washed up on the shore, the time travellers discover the weed is moving at a molecular level. Van Lutyens tries to get Harris' support, but Robson is furious with Harris for leaving the prisoners unattended and being preoccupied with his wife. The impeller starts working then stops again. The stressed Robson retires to his quarters. The weed growing in the Tardis emits toxic gas but Jamie & The Doctor trap it in a tank. Van Lutyens contacts his superiors in the Hague, and advises Harris to contact his at the gas company. Mr Oak locks Robson into his quarters and opens the vent control filling the room with the toxic gas. Once he has been exposed to it he is allowed to escape, nearly knocking Harris over who has heard his screams. The time travellers discover gas, foam and weed in the Harris quarters. The Doctor tells Harris & Van Lutyens the weed is alive. He is alarmed to hear that Maggie Harris hasn't been taken to the medical centre as planned. Maggie stands on the beach looking out to sea. Robson joins her: they are both under the control of the weed creatures. Making sure Robson knows what to do, Maggie walks into the sea.

You know what really strikes me about this episode? The ending. When I first listened to it, the eerie music played over the beach scene stuck in my head, it's far far spookier than stuff usually used in Doctor Who, sounding almost like a piece of 1960s Pink Floyd. For the first time I've been able to see the telesnaps for this episode and I can see the stark emptiness of the beach matches what I can here.

Following his appearance on screen in the Moonbase, Victor Pemberton becomes the first person to appear in and write for Doctor Who. He'd submitted a story idea to David Whitaker, the first Doctor Who script editor, for The Slide where a village is taken over by a sentient form of mud. He rejected it, but Peter Bryant, then a BBC radio script editor, had it made for radio where it was broadcast during February and March 1966. When Bryant took charge of Doctor Who he got Pemberton, having recently departed the assistant script editor role, to adapt The Slide for the program. It would be Pemberton's only Doctor Who television credit, but he would go on to write The Pescatons, a story recorded on record featuring the Tom Baker Doctor with Sarah-Jane Smith. In later life he would turn his hand to writing historical romantic fiction and at one stage I caught my mother reading one of his books.

As I said this is the 200th episode of Doctor Who, which is significant, but it's the only episode numbered with a multiple of 50 that doesn't exist. The first five 50 episode milestones are:

50 The Dalek Invasion of Earth 5
100 The Daleks' Master Plan 10
150 The Moonbase 2
200 Fury from the Deep 3
250 The War Games 7

Beyond episode 244 ALL episodes of Doctor Who exist. In fact we'll see a significant increase in the amount of watchable material shortly. Just 14 further episodes of Doctor Who are missing and 7 of those are within the next 9 episodes forming the remainder of this season.

Thursday 9 June 2011

199 Fury from the Deep: Episode Two

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 23 March 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Two

The Doctor and Jamie rescue Victoria from the weed and foam. Robson doesn't believe her story and accuses her of sabotage. Maggie Harris tells her husband that the seaweed stung her before passing out. Out on the veranda the sea weed is producing foam. The Doctor and Robson are arguing about the sound the Doctor heard. The Doctor says it was a heartbeat, Robson says it's a propeller mechanism. Harris asks The Doctor to come and see Maggie. She in turn is opening the door to Mr Oak, a short fat man, and Mr Quill, a tall thin man. They claim to be from maintenance but are revealed to have arms covered in seaweed which they cover with white gloves. They breathe toxic gas at Mrs Harris rendering her unconscious again. Gas is vented from the pipeline to reduce pressure. Once more Van Lutyens argues with the stubborn Robson as the main impeller stops moving cutting off the gas flow. The Doctor and Harris find Maggie unconscious: he tells them about the seaweed. Van Lutyens seeks support from Chief Baxter to investigate the problems but Robson won't listen to him either when Van Lutyens' name is mentioned. The Impeller starts again as Van Lutyens explains his concerns
It's down there, in the darkness, in the pipeline, waiting
Oh what a wonderfully creepy bit of dialogue to end with, that's superb. Robson's a stubborn old goat, doesn't listen to anything anyone says to him preferring to back his own experience. The controlled Oak & Quill are obviously meant to be a sort rift on Laurel & Hardy and because of that are all the more sinister for it

Playing Robson is Victor Maddern a famous British film & TV actor. I didn't know till I saw his IMDB credits that he'd been in the Beiderbecke Tapes. If you've not seen the Biderbecke Affair/Tapes/Connection then buy The Beiderbecke Trilogy on DVD as it's one of the best things that's ever been on television. While Roy Spencer appearing as Harris had previously been in The Ark, it's a first Doctor Who role for Jane Murphy, playing his wife Maggie Harris, who'll be back as Jane Blythe in The Sea Devils. John Abineri is also making his first Who appearance here as Van Lutyens but he'll be back in the Ambassadors of Death, Death to the Daleks & Power of Kroll as well as appearing as Herne the Hunter in Robin of Sherwood, Rimmer's Dad in Red Dwarf and roles in numerous other TV productions. On Who debut as well is Hubert Rees as the Chief Engineer. He'll be back as Captain Ransom in "The War Games" and "The Seeds of Doom" as John Stevenson.

A brief clip from this episode exists courtesy of the Australian censors showing Oak & Quill breathing out the toxic gas.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

198 Fury from the Deep: Episode One

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: 16 March 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode One

The Tardis materialises at sea causing it's crew to row a dingy to shore. Seeing the cliffs they realise they are back on Earth and in England. The Doctor is curious about the foam he finds on the beach. Finding a pipeline marked Euro Sea Gas the Doctor locates a black box which he opens using his brand new Sonic Screwdriver. He puts a stethoscope to the pipe and hears a pumping sound just before they are shot with tranquilliser darts. They wake in the control room and are interrogated by Robson & Harris who suspect them of sabotage. They have lost contact with one of their gas drilling rigs. Harris' Wife, Maggie, is prevented from leaving the base by a guard under Robson's orders. The Doctor tells Harris he heard something in the pipe. The missing rig briefly makes contact. Harris wants to turn off the gas flow and investigate but Robson won't let him: the gas has never been turned off while he's been in charge. Harris' notes are stolen from his bag by a white gloved man. Believing he's left them at home he goes back to find them. The Doctor, Jamie & Victoria have been locked in a bunk room and are trying to escape. When they do the Doctor asks Victoria to stay behind but she wanders off exploring. Harris meets Maggie and asks her to fetch the file. She finds it on his desk but is stung by a piece of seaweed within which she throws onto the veranda outside. Robson argues with Van Lutyens, the technical advisor from the Dutch government. Robson is contacted by Chief Baxter at the control rig: he can hear something in the pipes. Maggie is reacting badly to the weed sting. Victoria hides in the Oxygen store room but a white gloved gas masked saboteur is opening the gas cylinders. He locks Victoria in and opens the ventilation system where something lies in wait. While Jamie & The Doctor explore white foam and seaweed pour into the store and Victoria's screams echo round the base.

Welcome to "the one with the foam and the seaweed". This is the first time the Tardis doesn't materialise on dry land, although it did land on it's side in the Ice Warriors. This initial episode is OK but what I mainly take from it is lots of people arguing with Robson. Incidentally the character's name isn't that far from Hobson, another base chief we saw in an earlier story. There's a nice piece of dialogue here mentioning Megan Jones, the company head, prefiguring her appearance in a few episodes time.

Fury from the Deep is the last story which has no complete episode existing, but there's a brief clip of the Tardis materialising at sea the I first saw on one of Blue Peter's many Doctor Who articles. Said clip is actually taken from episode 10 of the War Games which reuses the footage from the episode. I can remember a full page pinup of Troughton opening the pipeline box in an early episode of Doctor Who Weekly too. I read the book when I was younger and enjoyed it, then bought the CD the day it came out and listened to it on the train to Stoke where my friend Naomi was living at the time (co-incidentally her surname is Harris like the couple in the story). Naomi will provide us with a top Doctor Who story when we get to Robots of Death.

Famously this episode sees the first appearance of the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver. Here it's just a penlight torch which will evolve over subsequent appearances into a more familiar form. For once it is actually unscrewing something here!