Tuesday 19 June 2012

574 The Visitation Part Three

EPISODE: The Visitation Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Monday 22 February 1982
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 9.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Visitation

The Doctor's execution is interrupted by the village head man, who is controlled by the Terileptils, and has them locked up in the barn's harness room. The Terileptil leader attaches a slave bracelet to Tegan and she is put to work. Adric returns to the Tardis and aids Nyssa building the sonic device. The Terileptil leader reports to his compatriots that he has discovered group of time travellers and intends to acquire their ship. The Android attacks the barn taking the Doctor & Mace prisoner returning them to the house. The doctor confronts the Terileptil leader offering to take him home but he refuses, being a fugitive having escaped from the Tinclavic mines on Raaga, Adric goes to find the Doctor but is captured by villagers. The Terileptil has the miller load his cart with the chemical he has been developing. The Doctor tries to escape, but the Terileptil destroys his sonic screwdriver and tells him he has been developing a genetically modified plague to wipe out humanity. The Terileptil leaves, with the controlled Tegan given instructions to open the cage containing plague rats when he has gone. The Doctor tries to talk her out of it as her hand moves towards the fastening of the rat cage....

The Sonic Screwdriver 16 March 1967 - 22 March 1982: "I feel like I've lost an old friend" comments the Doctor. of course it would be easy enough for him to build a new one but, like K-9 previously, producer John Nathan-Turner had taken against it, feeling it was effectively a get out of jail free card for the series to do anything with, so it had to go. If only he could see it now....

There's some loose stuff round the edges of this episode that's worth thinking about: we discover the Terileptil leader has been creating a genetically enhanced version of the plague to wipe out humanity. Has he been conducting trials local to the house? In episode 1 Richard Mace says the plague has been worse here than in most places since the comet in the sky. It's not explicitly stated but it's worth thinking about.....

The Tinclavic Mines on Raaga will pop up again in a later story: episodes 613 & 614 The Awakening, also set in an English village.

Playing the Terileptil Leader is actor Michael Melia, then mainly known as an actor that played heavies. In 1990 he gained national recognition as Queen Vic LandlordEddie Royle in Eastenders. He's not the first actor to play a Queen Vic Landlord to appear in Doctor Who: Mike Reid (Frank Butcher) was in the War Machines. The Vic's most famous Landlord will be along in a short while (Episode 620 Resurrection of the Daleks part 2).

Two locations were used in this serial: The Tithe Barn in Hurley serves as the house but the woodland scenes are filmed at Black Park, previously the location for Adric's debut story Full Circle. Under the Heathrow flightpath (somewhat ironically as it's serving as Heathrow in the middle ages) filming was constantly interrupted by plane noise..... until the Heathrow air traffic controllers went on strike during the last day of filming enabling the shooting schedule, built around the plane times, to be completed far earlier than expected.

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