Thursday 25 August 2011

276 Inferno: Episode Five

EPISODE: Inferno: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: 06 June 1970
WRITER: Don Houghton
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield (and Barry Letts - Uncredited)
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Inferno
Episode Format: 525 video RSC

In the chaos following the penetration of the core Stahlmann begins exposing technicians to the slime. The Doctor rescues Sutton but Stahlmann seals himself in the drill head room. The Brigade-Leader assumes control of the situation but it quickly becomes clear it is hopeless with the Doctor predicting catastrophe. He demonstrates the Tardis console to the Brigade-leader to convince him to allow him to return and save the other Earth. Hearing Stahlmann's voice Petra opens the heat shield revealing he and the technicians have been mutated into the Primord creatures the others became. Platoon-Under leader Benton is captured by them and transformed. The Doctor and the survivors seek shelter in the Brigade-Leader's office. In the real world, Sir Keith Gold is on the way back to the complex when he is involved in a car accident. The Doctor announced he has a plan to escape just as the Primord creatures penetrate the office.

The story is transformed in this episode becoming a disaster movie. The Doctor can't save the people he's met, they're going to die when there's a catastrophic explosion. And to make it worse there's a real risk that before then they'll get transformed into a Primord (the name is never heard on screen but that's what they're called) as is shown by Benton being transformed in the episode. The Doctor's only choice is to escape back to his Earth and prevent the same thing happening there. And to do that he needs these versions of his friends to sacrifice what remains of their lives to help him escape. He can't take them with him because they've got counterparts in this world. It's interesting that when Nu Who returns to parallel universes that after the Doctor's accidental arrival on the alternate Earth the only characters that move freely between the two have no counterparts on the opposite world. Of course some of the characters on the Inferno Earth don't take this too well. And all through the episode the lack of music once again works in it's favour with the ominous rumblings and occasional explosions in the background.

An extra scene was recorded for this episode but not transmitted in the UK. The Doctor, Brigade-Leader and Section leader Shaw are listening to radio reports of destruction all over England. The radio voice is Jon Pertwee and when he heard the final version acting-director Barry Letts decided it was too obviously his star actor doing one of his silly voices and cut it. However the section made it onto the 525 line version of the tapes used for transmission in the US and appeared in the video version of this story. It was excised from the main print on the DVD but survives as a deleted scene on the DVD's special features disc.

Some of the massed ranks of the Primords we know: Dave Carter & Pat Gorman we've seen already this season while Philip Ryan was the Redcoat in The Mind Robber and Peter Thompson was a workman in The Invasion (director: Douglas Camfield). Apparently Olaf Pooley was very unhappy at the Primord makeup he had to wear. Looking at the Primord Stahlmann it's not obvious it's him at all so I'm wondering if he did actually refuse to wear it and another actor fills in.

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