Friday 9 September 2011

291 The Claws of Axos: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Claws of Axos: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: 27 March 1971
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Michael Ferguson
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - the Claws of Axos
Episode Format: 525 video RSC

The Axons take the Doctor & Jo back to Axos. The Brigadier and his men are released on the Ministry's orders. The Master has leaked news of Axonite's existence and use to the UN who want worldwide distribution immediately. Axos interrogates the Doctor for the secret of Time Travel. The Master, having infiltrated the Nuton complex disguised a high ranking army officer, attempts to repair the Doctor's Tardis, intending to escape Earth. Trying to harness the reactor's power he is captured by the Brigadier. The Axons seize control of the reactor, but the Master comes up with a way of turning the Axonite's power against Axos destroying it. Unfortunately that will also kill the captive Doctor & Jo....

The Doctor & Jo spend this episode captured & interrogated by Axos so the supporting cast get some screen time with the Master & the Brigadier getting to spend some time together. The videolink between Chinn and his Minister at the start of the episode confirms what we've known all along that Chinn is an idiot and shows that his superior knows it too. The thinly veiled threat of Chinn's unsigned resignation waiting for him if he gets it wrong says everything.... but unwittingly his incompetence and narrow mindedness has, as the Doctor points out, crucially delayed Axos' plans. There's a notably first in this episode: Thirty Eight episodes into the Pertwee era we finally see the inside of the Tardis again!

As with most third Doctor stories a fair amount of location work was involved. In fact there's only two Pertwee stories without any location work... Filming for this story took place in Kent near to the Dungeness Power Station. Unfortunately filming in early January proved to be subject to interference from the weather and a snow shower intervened, ruining the continuity between consecutive scenes on location, Terrance Dicks was forced to deploy for the first time a future Doctor Who staple: Episode one features the début of the all purpose get out "Freak Weather Conditions". Now in January you'd expect snow to be a risk. But April? Come back for the Daemons in just over a week to see more snow in the 1971 Doctor Who season.

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