Sunday 17 July 2011

237 The Seeds of Death: Episode Six

EPISODE: The Seeds of Death: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: 01 March 1969
WRITER: Brian Hayles (and Terrance Dicks)
DIRECTOR: Michael Ferguson
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks)

Jamie distracts the Ice Warrior and at the last moment Zoe opens the door to admit the Doctor. They find Weather Control's solar energy room securing themselves inside. The Warrior hunts down the human guards. The Doctor rigs up a solar energy weapon and uses it to kill the Warrior. Miss Kelly duplicates the Ice Warriors homing beam for the satellite. The Doctor works to bypass the weather controls to make it rain. The rocket containing the satellite lifts off. The Doctor T-Mats to the room with his solar energy device to knock out the Martian homing device. He kills the Warrior in the control room and is working on the Martian homing device when Slaar returns destroying his weapon. The Ice Warrior fleet is drawn away by the satellite towards the sun: The Doctor's sabotage was successful. Jamie gets Zoe to T-Mat him to the moon where he and the Doctor distract a Warrior causing Slaar's death before dealing with the final Warrior. As normality is restored The Doctor and friends sneak away to the Tardis

The thing that strikes me about this episode is how much killing the Doctor does. It's rare to see him kill a creature, and when he does it's not usually as up close and personal yet here he personally "shoots" three Ice Warriors with the solar energy weapon. It's positively bloodthirsty compared to how he normally is! Once again I enjoyed this episode as I have done the last three. It's a reminder, almost at it's last breath, that 60s Doctor Who is mainly an episodic beast rather than a series of serials. The first two episodes were very slow, with the main cast separated from the action and were rather poor. The last four are pacey action serials. Here we can credit it to Terrance Dicks taking over writing duties, but for most of the sixties it was down to Doctor Who being recorded an episode a week. This schedule was having an exhausting effect on the actors: we've been turning over at least one companion a year since the start and already this season both Patrick Troughton and Fraser Hines have announced they would be leaving with Troughton very much blaming the production schedule. As we enter the Seventies the production pattern for the show would change and the show would loose the individual feel of each episode.

We do have to note a minor milestone here: Seeds of Death is the last Troughton story to feature a monster protagonist.

The Seeds of Death was the last Ice Warriors story to be novelised, being adapted by Terrance Dicks. Seeds of Death was the fourth Doctor Who story issued on video after Revenge of the Cybermen, an edited down Brain of Morbius and Pyramids of Mars. It was the first six parter, the first black & white story and thus the first Troughton story to be sold on Video. Like all the Doctor Who stories sold in the eighties it was edited into a compilation version and was one of three stories not to get an episodic re-release. The other two were the Time Warrior & Talons of Weng Chiang. It was the second Troughton story to be released on DVD and has recently had a special edition version released as part of Doctor Who Revisitations Volume 2 with Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks.

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