Thursday 27 October 2011

339 Frontier in Space Episode Two

EPISODE: Frontier in Space Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: 03 March 1973
WRITER: Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Paul Bernard
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Barry Letts
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Dalek War: Frontier in Space & Planet of the Daleks
Episode Format: 625 video

The Doctor & Jo are locked up on the cargo ship again, this time under guard. The Doctor once again wonders who's behind the Ogrons. The Cargo freighter arrives back on Earth with the Doctor & Jo taken to General Williams who locks them up, convinced they are Draconian agents & traitors. The Doctor is told he will be subjected to the mind probe and tells of how he previously fooled one. They are brought before the Draconian Prince who denies they are Draconian agents while the Doctor alleges to both Draconian Prince and Earth President that he believes a third party is trying to provoke war. Williams dismisses their story & they are then taken back to their cell. The Doctor attempts escape but sets off an alarm on the door. The Draconians are suspicious of what they have heard & seen and decide to kidnap the Doctor & Jo to question them. Arranging for them to be questioned in the presence of the President the Draconians seize the Doctor as they're being transported, but Jo is recaptured by her prison guards and questioned by the President & Williams. The Draconians are convinced the Doctor is an Earth agent working for General Williams to provoke war. They too doubt his story that a third party was involved in the attack on the Earth vessel. The Doctor escapes from the Draconian embassy and is immediately re-arrested by the humans and brought back to Jo in the cells. Jo hears the hypnotic sound she heard on the cargo ship as the prison is assaulted by Ogrons whom the guards see as Draconians. They have been sent for the Doctor & Jo.

There's a rather lengthy reprise on this episode taking 2 of the episode's 24 minutes so it takes a while to get going and when it does we get into a round of "Nobody believes the Doctor & Jo's story so they're slung into a cell".... The Draconians themselves draw attention to General William's warmongering and at this stage he's quite an annoying one dimensional character. The episode is livened up by some really superb location footage, something Paul Bernard did seem able to do right both here and in Day of the Daleks. The Draconian Embassy is portrayed by the peculiar design of 8a Fitzroy Park, at the time the home of BBC Director Naomi Capon. While Capon never worked on Doctor Who she did direct the Out of the Unknown second series episode The Prophet which features the Mind Robber robots in their earlier black colour scheme. The prison environs were filmed at the stark concrete South Bank Centre. Arriving at this later location early one morning and finding several local down & outs asleep they were scared away by the imposing actors wearing Ogron costumes.

We had Polarity Reversal last episode. Now we have more than one threat to use a Mind Probe. All together now: "No, Not The Mind Probe!"

We now resume our Doctor and/or Jo Locked up tally (2 so far from episode 1)
3) Cell on Earth
4) Cell on Earth after being taken to President & Draconian Prince
5) Cell on Earth after Doctor escapes from Draconian embassy

This episode has a major error on the end credits repeating the slides for episode 1 resulting in several actors credits being wrong. Louis Mahoney appears as the ground breaking black Newscaster, pre-dating Trevor MacDonald's ITN appointment by 16 years. He'll return as Ponti in Planet of Evil, and the elder Billy Shipton in Blink. Roy Pattison appears as the Draconian Space Pilot here and as Zazzka in The Hand of Fear. Both these actors only appear in episode 1, but are credited in episode 2 due to Episode 1's credits being reused. Meanwhile Lawrence Davidson, playing the Draconian First Secretary, and Timothy Craven, the Cell guard who returns as Robinson in Invasion of the Dinosaurs and Short in Robot, both appear in Episode 2 only, but are uncredited due to the aforementioned mistake. Barry Ashton, as Kemp the officer on Earth's table cruiser, is properly credited for both episode. He played a Scientist in The Moonbase & Proctor in The Time Monster.

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