Tuesday 25 October 2011

337 Carnival of Monsters Episode Four

EPISODE: Carnival of Monsters Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: 17 February 1973
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Barry Letts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks)
Episode Format: 625 video

The Doctor is restored to his full size. The officials tell the Doctor where he is and he's pleased to find the Tardis. He tells them they have allowed the import of a machine forbidden by intergalactic law. Vorg thinks the Doctor is a carnival performer but the Doctor berates him from using the scope to hold intelligent lifeforms. Knowing the scope is failing the Doctor retrieves a device from the Tardis which allows him to be reinserted into the machine to rescue Jo. He leaves Vorg with instructions to activate the device again later. The humans in the malfunctioning scope collapse due to the heat. The Drashigs escape from the scope and go on the rampage. Vorg finds the missing part in his baggage and uses it to reactivate the eradicator & destroy the Drashigs. He activates the Doctor's device causing the specimens inside to be returned to where they came. The Doctor & Jo materialise by the scope as it blows up. Back in 1926 Major Daly finally finishes his book as he bids Clare good night. Vorg regales Plectrac with tales of how he defeated the Drashig and then engages him in a game of chance as the Doctor & Jo leave in the Tardis.

The twin dangers of the escaping Drashigs and the failing scope add some urgency to this final episode which provides a good resolution too the story. You can say Carnival of Monsters is about things, and several issues have been suggested including immigration, television and Zoos, but above all of these it manages to be a cracking Doctor Who story. Later Doctor Who stories will try and be "about" stuff but be rubbish to watch. This is fab, and seems to have a myriad of issues underneath. While Inferno's my favourite Pertwee story it's a little long for an evening's viewing at 7 parts, so Carnival of Monsters is probably the one I watch the most, is my favourite four part Pertwee and probably my second favourite Third Doctor story.

Interestingly here the Doctor does not understand Vorg's carnival speak: it's the only point in the series history he doesn't understand what's being spoken to him.

As far as I'm able to tell the SS Bernice is fictional.

Carnival of Monsters was novelised by Terrance Dicks. My local library had a copy so it got read several times when I was younger. It was released on video in March 1995 with the alternate edit of episode 2 featuring the unbroadcast theme music. Carnival of Monsters was first released on DVD in July 2002 as the second Jon Pertwee release with a commentary by Katy Manning & Barry Letts. A special edition DVD re-release occurred on 28 March 2011 as part of Doctor Who Revisitations - Volume 2 along with the Seeds of Death and Resurrection of the Daleks. A new commentary for Carnival was recorded featuring Peter Halliday, Cheryl Hall, Jenny McCracken, Brian Hodgson (who makes his last credited appearance as providing Spacial Sound for this story) & Terrance Dicks moderated by Toby Hadoke. For my money it's the best commentary of the entire range with several lesser used performers getting to share their thoughts.

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