Sunday 24 June 2012

579 Earthshock Part Two

EPISODE: Earthshock Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 09 March 1982
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Peter Grimwade
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Earthshock

The Doctor has the Troopers concentrate all their fire on one Android damaging it, forcing them to retreat. The Doctor works out that they're guarding the hatch and has the troopers attack it, which brings the androids back and allows them to be destroyed. The Doctor opens the hatch and discovers a bomb behind it which arms when he opens the hatch. The Doctor shelters the troopers in the Tardis while he to jams the control signal to the bomb. The Cybermen attempt to boost their signal's power while the Doctor disarms the bomb. The Cybermen are suspicious as to how the Earthlings deactivated their bomb. The Doctor wonders who planted the bomb. The Cybermen review the recordings from the Androids and the identify the Tardis, and that a regenerated Doctor must be present. The Doctor traces the control signal for the bomb to sector 16 in deep space and is persuaded to take the troopers with him to help hunt for those who built the bomb. The Doctor apologises to Adric for their earlier argument and offers to take him home but Adric refuses. A deep space freighter waits for it's captain as it's first officer wonders about 3 disappearing crew members and malfunctioning security scans. The Tardis materialises in the hull and the Doctor & Adric go to explore. The Captain arrives complaining about the increased security due to a red alert on Earth for a security conference and the ship gets under way. Two crew members on patrol think they see something and follow it. Someone reports to the Cyberleader that the freighter is under way and that there is worry about the missing crewmen. The Cyberleader tells him that there are intruders in the hold that will serve as scapegoats. The Doctor & Adric think they're being followed and are detected by the crew. The Doctor & Adric then hear the screams of the dying crewmen as a general alert goes off. They find the bodies, with injuries the Doctor thinks he recognises, but are then found by Ringway who tells them that on this ship we execute murderers.

You know what this is? It's the Cybermen's greatest hits! Bombs (Revenge of the Cybermen), Traitors (Revenge again), disappearing crew men (Moonbase) and Cybermen hiding in the background keeping their presence hidden (Moonbase again). They'll be a few more Cyber best bits to come in the next few episodes too. And that before we get to the clips from previous stories: William Hartnell in Tenth Planet 2, Patrick Troughton in Wheel in Space 6 (and not Tomb of the Cybermen as the story insinuates: Tomb was at the time missing from the archives and wouldn't return for another ten years) and Tom Baker from Revenge of the Cybermen 3.

We get our old favourite "We must act quickly!" making an appearance in this episode. Making it's first appearance is the Tardis toolkit, which the Doctor uses to defuse the bomb. It was documented in intricate detail in the Doctor Who Technical Manual and then reproduced for 1996 Paul McGann film.

How on earth does Ringway miss the Doctor and Adric walking through the hold on the scanner?

We get a proper look at the re-designed Cybermen this episode. The bodysuit is apparently a pilot's outfit recycled and resprayed. The Chest unit is a completely new design, much flatter than the boxes seen on the front of the Cybermen previously and coming up over the shoulders and round the neck. The head is obviously Cyberman, looking much like a more detailed version of the Invasion/Revenge helmet. Seen for the only time here is a perspex jaw panel allowing us to see sprayed silver flesh underneath reminding us that the Cybermen are, deep down, converted human beings. It's almost a shame that we don't see the captured crewmen being converted into Cybermen. We met David Banks yesterday, today he's joined by Mark Hardy, who'll serve as his Lieutenant (aka the other speaking Cyberman) in 3 of the 4 eighties Cyberman tale having previously been a Swampie in Power of Kroll. The Cyberleader gets to say "Excellent" for the first time today :-)

The clips in Earthshock part 2 weren't the only old Doctor Who we got to see that week. The BBC's television review program Did You See...? broadcast on Sunday 14th March showed a 10 minute feature on old Doctor Who monsters to tie in with the Cybermen's return. Amongst the clips shown were the Dalek coming out of the water in Dalek Invasion of Earth 2 and the Cybermen walking down St Paul's Steps in Invasion 6 as well as repeating the clip segment from this episode. Any old Doctor Who shown on TV was treasured by fans at the time and some new clips, to go with those regularly recycled on Blue Peter (Unearthly Child, Tenth Planet 4, Fury from the Deep, 3 Doctors & Genesis of the Daleks) and the Who's Doctor Who program were welcomed. This segment of Did You See...? is on the Earthshock DVD.

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