Thursday 2 February 2012

437 The Deadly Assassin Part Two

EPISODE: The Deadly Assassin Part Two
TRANSMITTED: 06 November 1976
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Deadly Assassin

The Doctor is put on trial but puts himself forward as a Presidential Candidate protecting himself from Chancellor Goth who wants to have him killed. The trial as adjourned allowing the Doctor & Castellan to gather evidence. The shadowy decayed figure is upset by this and swears he will see the Doctor die & destroy the Time Lords. After demonstrating the gun he was found with was faulty he claims a member of the high council shot the President. They find the shrunken body of the technician hidden in the camera, which the Doctor identifies as the work of the Master. The Doctor works out that the Time Lord's Matrix was used to project the image of the assassination into his mind. He mentally journeys into the Matrix finding himself in a barren dream like landscape where he is taunted & attacked by a masked foe.

After using a nice little dodge to postpone his imminent execution this episode turns into a Poirot style investigation trying to prove the Doctor's influence before the finding of the technician's body makes it obvious to the Doctor & us who's responsible for the killings: The Master. Oddly this is only the second time the Master's killed someone by shrinking them. The first, and the Master's very first on screen victim, was in Terror of the Autons where Goodge is shrunk and placed in his lunch box. That story, which introduces the character, was the only previous occasion Robert Holmes had written the Master. The only authors to have written the character more than once were Robert Sloman and Barry Letts (two stories: The Daemons & The Time Monster) and Malcolm Hulke (three stories: The Colony in Space, The Sea Devils & The Frontier in Space). Judging that enough time had passed since the death of Roger Delgado in 1973 Holmes was keen to bring the character of the Master back for a one off appearance.

Look carefully in the background as the Doctor is being interrogated: it's the return of the triangular & hexagonal wall pattern created for The Mutants. The scene of the Doctor in a call, with a long shot of the cell showing it hanging in the air is one of the nicer effects done on the show: it's simple but it works.

Playing The Master is Peter Pratt, an actor hired for his vocal skills. He was previously a principle singer with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. Angus MacKay, playing Cardinal Borusa, will return as the Headmaster in Mawdryn Undead. Castellan Spandrell is played by George Pravda who was previously Alexander Denes in The Enemy of the World and Professor Jaeger in The Mutants. Bernard Horsfall, as Chancellor Goth, is a regular performer for director David Maloney appearing in The Mind Robber as Lemuel Gulliver, The War Games as a Time Lord (who is possibly the same character as the one he plays here) and Planet of the Daleks as Taron, all of which were directed by Maloney. Hugh Walters, Commentator Runcible, was William Shakespeare in The Chase and will return as Vogel in Revelation of the Daleks while the actor playing Co-ordinator Engin, Erik Chitty, was Charles Preslin in The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve.

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