Wednesday 1 February 2012

436 The Deadly Assassin Part One

EPISODE: The Deadly Assassin Part One
TRANSMITTED: 30 October 1976
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Deadly Assassin

The Doctor returns to Galifrey, plagued by visions of himself assassinating the President of the High Council of the Time Lords. His Tardis is impounded when he arrives but he evades the guards, finding his way to the gallery of the Panoptican, the grand hall of the Time Lords. The Doctor finds the gun hidden in the public video camera & pointing at the President which then fires in his hands killing the President.

That ain't a bad episode. Yes, essentially it's a lot of running around, but it's given urgency by the Doctor's vision at the start of the episode which comes to pass at the end. OK that element is basically a "homage" to The Manchurian Candidate but .... The scrolling text & narration at the start are a nice touch, unique in Doctor Who so far as is the absence of any companion. Tom had been saying to the production team that he didn't think he needed one so they decided to try the idea here. And right through there's a shadowy black figure in the background....

The episode sees a huge amount of information dumped on us: The Doctor's Tardis is a type 40 tt capsule (TT = Time Travel), there's a Galifreyan CIA (the Celestial Intervention Agency) which would seem to be the body that's used the Doctor before (Terror of the Autons, Colony in Space, Curse of Peladon, The Mutants, Genesis of the Daleks & The Brain of Morbius). Galifreyan society is governed by a President of the High Council & a Chancellor, both roles which we've seen before in the Three Doctors, with a Castelan responsible for security & policing. There's at least three Time Lord clans - the broadcaster Runcible interrupts his commentary after listing three. Each clan wears a different colour of robe: scarlet & orange for the Prydonians, green for Arcalians and heliotrope for the Atraxes. In addition the President wears white and a ceremonial figure called Gold Usher wears gold. We get to meet for the first time Cardinal Borusa, one of the Doctor's teachers at the academy and he'll be a central figure in future Time Lord tales. The main Time Lord sets feature the seal of the High Council, a design element that designer Roger Murray-Leach reuses from the Vogans in Revenge of the Cybermen.

Michael Bilton, playing one of the Time Lords in the dressing room was previously Charles de Teligny in The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve and recently Collins in Pyramids of Mars. Helen Blatch, the computer Voice, will return as Fabian in The Twin Dilemma.

Yes that does look like it's one of our favourite supporting artists Pat Gorman as the guard that gets shot and his mate Harry 'Aitch Fielder is playing one of the others as evidenced by photos on Harry's website.

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