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.

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