Thursday 19 April 2012

514 The Creature from the Pit Part One

EPISODE: The Creature from the Pit Part One
TRANSMITTED: 27 October 1979
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit

The Tardis receives a distress call summoning them to the verdant planet Chloris where they find the remains of a giant metal egg. They are captured by servants of the Lady Adrasta, but while en route to her palace they are attacked by bandits, who are seeking metal which is rare on Chloris, who capture Romana. The Doctor is sentenced to death for being found in the place of death. Romana talks her way free and summons K-9. The Doctor tells Adrasta that he thinks the structure he found is an egg shell & alive, for which she sentences her technical adviser to death. He is taken to the pit and thrown in, consumed by the monster within. Romana & K-9 attempt a rescue but K-9 is immobilised by the wolf weeds that Adrasta keeps and Romana is captured. The Doctor attempts to escape by jumping into the pit.

Hmmm. Somehow the humorous dialogue used in this episode is a bit silly somehow and doesn't quite work. Sorry. But the jungle sets, filmed at Ealing studios, look superb.

Two last appearances in this episode: The technician Tollund is an only acting appearance in Doctor Who for Morris Barry. However he had previously directed the The Moonbase, The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Dominators, making him (I think) the only person to be credited as both an actor & director on Doctor Who. His other acting credits include episodes of Are You Being Served?, Blake's 7, The Day of the Triffids, Tales of the Unexpected, All Creatures Great and Small, and Hi-de-Hi!. His fellow technician Doran is a final Doctor Who appearance for regular stuntman, fight arranger, double for Jon Pertwee & Tom Baker and actor Terry Walsh. He's credited as Fight Arranger on The Curse of Peladon, The Mutants, The Green Death, The Time Warrior, Death to the Daleks, The Sontaran Experiment, The Android Invasion, The Seeds of Doom, The Deadly Assassin, The Face of Evil & The Androids of Tara. His acting credits on the show are The Smugglers (uncredited; as a militiaman), The Web of Fear (uncredited; as a soldier) , The Invasion (uncredited; as a UNIT soldier), The Ambassadors of Death (uncredited; as a UNIT soldier), Inferno (uncredited; as a UNIT soldier), Terror of the Autons (as an Auton Policeman), Colony in Space (uncredited; as Rogers), The Sea Devils (as Barclay), The Mutants (uncredited; as a guard), The Time Monster (as a Window Cleaner), The Green Death (as a Guard), Invasion of the Dinosaurs (as a Warehouse Looter), The Monster of Peladon (as a Guard Captain), Planet of the Spiders (as the man with boat), Robot (uncredited; as a security guard), The Ark in Space (uncredited; as a Wirrn Operator), The Sontaran Experiment (as Zake), Genesis of the Daleks (uncredited; as a soldier, guard, and a scientist), Planet of Evil (uncredited; as a crew member) & The Power of Kroll (as Mensch).

This episode was promoted by Tom Baker appearing, in character as the Doctor, on the Children's TV nature series Animal Magic. This sequence is included on The Creature from the Pit DVD, although there's some debate as to if the correct title sequence has been used and if there pictures of the monsters displayed over the screen while Tom was talking. I also remember seeing the sequence where K-9 is attacked by the wolf-weeds on a children's program too, but can't remember where it was from - I actually thought it was part of the Animal Magic clip until I watched it with this episode. Consultation with m'learned friends at Roobarb's Forum suggests it could be an episode of Ask Aspel, a children's show presented by Michael Aspel.

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