Tuesday 31 July 2012

616 Frontios Part Two

EPISODE: Frontios Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Friday 27 January 1984
WRITER: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Frontios

The Doctor gains Plantagenet's trust by saving his life and has him taken to the hospital. The Doctor asks to have the rock samples analysed and gets the research room reopened where Turlough & Norna discover an underground tunnel which Captain Revere had been using to gain rock samples. They explore the tunnel, and are followed by the Doctor & Range when they find them missing. Tegan finds evidence of "deaths unaccountable" but unobserved Plantagenet falls from his bed and is swallowed up by the ground. The Doctor & Range find Turlough in the tunnels raving about Tractators. The Doctor searches for Norna who he finds captured by the giant woodlice like Tractators but is apprehended trying to prevent Tegan from being captured.

That's a bit more like it, less arguing dislikeable colonists and more mysterious happenings as we get bodies being sucked into the ground. Special mention for Mark Strickson's acting here as he becomes increasingly disturbed in the tunnels by something that's bringing back old memories. But yet another slow moving shuffling monster.....

Lots of the guest cast are known from elsewhere: Peter Gilmore, Brazen, was the title character James Onedin in the Onedin Line while William Lucas, Range, had a leading role in The Adventures of Black Beauty as Doctor James Gordon. At the time Jeff Rawle, Plantagenet, was best known as the title character in Billy Liar but a few years later found fame as Globelink News editor George Dent in Drop The Dead Donkey. Now a regular face on UK Television he returned to the Doctor Who universe playing Lionel Harding in The Sarah Jane Adventures: Mona Lisa's Revenge. Playing Norna Lesley Dunlop plays Range's daughter Norna. Her then partner Christopher Guard was in the previous year's Terminus. She'll be back as Susan Q in The Happiness Patrol before finding recognition as the second Zoe Callender in May to December.

During the evening that this episode was broadcast veteran Doctor Who director Douglas Camfield retired to bed early, complaining of feeling tired. He died in his sleep of a heart attack aged just 52.

Monday 30 July 2012

615 Frontios Part One

EPISODE: Frontios Part One
TRANSMITTED: Thursday 26 January 1984
WRITER: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Frontios

The Tardis is dragged towards the planet Frontios in a meteor shower where one of the last groups of surviving humans shelter in the ruins of their crashed starship. The Doctor helps their chief scientist Mr Range in the hospital sending Range's daughter Norna with Tegan & Turlough to fetch some electricity generating equipment from the ship's now barred research room to light the hospital. Plantagernet and his security chief Brazen, believing that the meteor showers are the work of an enemy trying to wipe them out, accuse the Doctor of working for this unknown power. Another meteor shower strikes the planet and afterwards the Doctor can find no trace of the Tardis except for the hat stand that stood in the console room and assumes it has been destroyed.

Oh come on. Hands up who really thinks the Tardis has been destroyed? No. Don't we know from previous stories that it's virtually indestructible? One episode in and I'm already thoroughly disliking the vast majority of Frontios' residents with the exception of Mr Range & Norma. The story establishes that they left Earth before it fell into the sun. Now we've already seen that incident in the story The Ark where a group of humans seek shelter on the planet Refusis. So I wonder did these humans have Monoids aboard their ship too, like in the Ark, that were all killed in the crash?

Recognise the helmets worn by the Frontios guards? They the Federation Guard helmets, minus the gas masks, from Blake's 7.

Before this story made it to the screen it was beset with tragic personnel difficulties. The designer assigned to the story Barry Dobbins committed suicide in July 1983 and was replaced by David Buckingham just a few weeks before recording. Then Peter Arne, the actor originally cast as Mr Range was murdered on his way home from a costume fitting, leading to the role being recast with William Lucas performing the part in the version that reached the screen.

Sunday 29 July 2012

614 The Awakening Part Two

EPISODE: The Awakening Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Friday 20 January 1984
WRITER: Eric Pringle
DIRECTOR: Michael Owen Morris
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Earth Story (The Gunfighters/The Awakening)

The Doctor is rescued by Will & Jane. Tegan is forced to become the village's May Queen while Turlough is imprisoned with Andrew Verney, Tegan's grandfather and the village historian who discovered the Malus in the church and shared his findings with Sir George who has become controlled by it and has arranged the war games to fuel the Malus with the Psychic energy it needs. The Doctor arranges Tegan's rescue with the help of Colonel Ben Wolsey and they flee for shelter in the Tardis in the church, pursued by Sir George who will pushes through the hole containing the Malus. With it's human link killed the Malus self destructs taking the church with it but the Doctor & his friends escape in the Tardis.

Oh look the church gets destroyed at the end of the story! It's so not inspired by the Daemons is it? But despite this it's a decent episode and Awakening is probably the best 2 part story done in Doctor Who (caveat: in the 25 minute episode format). The plot moves along quickly, it makes sense and all fits into the time slot. But as well as being the best two x 25 minute episode story it's also the last. It's also the last story for designer Barry Newbury who worked on the very first Doctor Who story and the only jobs on the series for director Michael Owen Morris and writer Eric Pringle. Given how well this serial turned out I'm surprised that neither worked on the series again.

The story adds to Doctor Who's collection of Liver Birds: Series 1 Liver Bird Pauline Collins (Dawn) appeared in the Faceless Ones as Samantha Briggs while her replacement Nerys Hughes (Sandra) appeared as Todd in Kinda. Polly James appeared alongside both of them as Beryl and here plays Jane Hampden. The Actress that played Beryl's replacement, Carol, Elizabeth Estensen has not appeared in Doctor Who but did later find fame as the children's TV Character T-Bag. The two other major characters in this story both have prior form in Doctor Who: Denis Lill, who plays Sir George Hutchinson , was Dr. Fendelman in Image of the Fendahl as well as being a regular in Terry Nation's Survivors where he played Charles Vaughan. Meanwhile Glyn Houston, playing Colonel Ben Wolsey, was Professor Watson in The Hand of Fear. Playing one of the troopers in this story is Christopher Wenner who is uncredited in the end titles. He was the 9th official Blue Peter, appearing there from 14 September 1978 to 23 June 1980. He's the second Blue Peter presenter to appear in Doctor Who after former companion Peter Purves.

A famous outtake exists from this episode where the horse pulling the May Queen's cart demolishes the specially built Lynch Gate at the entrance to the church. The out take was seen by more people than watched the story itself when it was used on The Late Late Breakfast Show's Golden Egg Award. The section of the show showing this is included on the DVD.

The Awakening became the only story from the 1984 season to be repeated that year when it was shown as a 50 minute compilation on 20th July. It was novelised the following year for Target books by Eric Pringle, the author of the TV Script. It was released on video in March 1997 in a double pack also containing the following story, Frontios. It became the last Fifth Doctor story to be released on DVD on 20th June 2011 in the Earth Story boxset with The Gunfighters. The Gunfighters? What? Some of 2 Entertain's boxset choices have been a trifle odd but I can understand the themes behind most of them. Linked consecutive stories like The E-Space Trilogy (Full Circle / State of Decay / Warrior's Gate) & New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva) are pretty obvious as are monster themed sets like Mara Tales (Kinda / Snakedance) or The Cybermen Box Set (Attack of the Cybermen/Silver Nemesis). I can even see the point of grouping The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon in Myths & Legends as they're all inspired by Greek Legends. But The Gunfighters & The Awakening? Both have Blue Peter presenters in them? Both have horses in them? What makes it worse is the previous month 2 Entertain released Frontios, the following story which The Awakening had been paired with on Video, on DVD by itself. So you got the stories coming out on consecutive months in the wrong order! Pair Awakening & Frontios and release Gunfighters by itself.

And don't even get me started how we so very nearly got a boxset featuring The Sun Makers and The Ambassadors of Death together before problems with Ambassadors colour restoration kiboshed that release!

Saturday 28 July 2012

613 The Awakening Part One

EPISODE: The Awakening Part One
TRANSMITTED: Thursday 19 January 1984
WRITER: Eric Pringle
DIRECTOR: Michael Owen Morris
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Earth Story (The Gunfighters/The Awakening)

The Tardis lands in the abandoned church in the village of Little Hodcombe in 1984 so Tegan can visit her Grandfather. They find a massive crack in the church wall, psychic phantoms throughout the village and war games in progress re-enacting a civil war clash of 1643. They are captured by men working for Sir George Hutchinson. Tegan & Turlough escape but are separated. The Doctor escapes through a secret passage to the church in the company of Jane Hampden who opposes the war games. They find a lump of metal in the passage which was dropped by Sir George which the Doctor identifies as Tinclavic mined on Raaga, which is used by the people of Harkol in their space probes. He meets Will Chandler, a boy from 1643 who finds himself transported to 1984 by the force at work in the village. The crack in the church wall has widened and the Doctor opens it further, revealing the face of the Malus before the Doctor is enveloped in smoke.

A church in an English village with a malevolent alien force at work? Yup, we're in pure Daemons territory here. It's all good stuff and when the Malus puts in it's appearance at the end of the episode it looks superb.

There's a little reference to a previous Doctor Who story in this episode: The Tinclavic the probe is made from was mined on the planet Raaga. Raaga is the planet where the Terileptiles in the Visitation were imprisoned where they were engaged in the Tinclavic mining.

Although one village appears in the story, two locations were used for the filming. The ford where Tegan is captured, The Church exterior (in real life St Bartolemew's), The War Memorial, farm and Manor House are found in Shapwick in Dorset. Meanwhile several of the side streets and the hillside plus a cottage & barn (seen in the next episode) are found in the village of Martin in Hampshire.

There's an cut scene from this episode featuring Kamelion, the robotic companion introduced in the King's Demons and not seen since. Set in the Tardis at the start this scene was thought lost for many years until it was discovered in the personal collection of former producer John Nathan-Turner and used on The Awakening DVD.

Friday 27 July 2012

612 Warriors of the Deep Part Four

EPISODE: Warriors of the Deep Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Friday 13 January 1984
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors of the Deep)

The Doctor & Teagn are taken to the bridge where the Silurians are attempting to control the base's computers. Tegan & Preston are locked up with Turlough & Bulic but all four quickly escape through the ventilation ducts. The Doctor sneaks away from the Silurians and with the help of the others releases the hexachromite gas into the ventilation system but Preston is killed by a Sea Devil. The Doctor tries to reason with the Silurians but fails and they are overcome by the gas. The Doctor takes the place of the sync operator and deactivates the missile run but Vorshak is killed by a dying Silurian.

Deary me. Right for a start that's 4 episodes out of 4 on the Ichthar impersonating the Cyberleader by saying "Excellent" front. Surely the Silurians should have been guarding the Doctor to prevent his escape? At just what point is Vorshak shot? It's not obvious watching it! No the entire serial is a mess: it's dodgy doors and monster have earned it the nickname "Warriors on the Cheap". I'd say it needs another pass by the script editor to tidy it up a bit but writer Johnny Byrne on his third and final story for the show reputedly blames Eric Saward's script editing for removing the real anti war message behind the story. A different ending would be good: not only do all the Sea Devils & Silurians die - and didn't that Sea Devil die horrifically with green gunk pouring from it's orifices - just like in both the previous stories featuring them, so do every single one of the human supporting cast bar, possibly, Bulic whose fate is unrevealed. How much of the blame for the show should be laid at Pennant Roberts door I don't know who becomes the only director to have worked on the show before John Nathan-Turner took charge to work on it after that point.....

Warriors of the Deep was the first story from this season to be novelised with Terrance Dicks adapting it during 1984. It was released on video in 1995 and in the Beneath the Surface boxset with The Silurians & The Sea Devils.

Thursday 26 July 2012

611 Warriors of the Deep Part Three

EPISODE: Warriors of the Deep Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Thursday 12 January 1984
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors of the Deep)

The Doctor & Tegan escape from the airlock but the Myrka and the Sea Devils enter the base. Solow attempts to escape with Maddox's conditioning disc but is killed by the Myrka. The Doctor kills the Myrka with an ultra violet light generator. Vorshak & Preston discover Nilson's treachery but he kills Maddox and escapes taking Tegan hostage. Turlough & Bulic are captured and imprisoned in the sleeping quarters by the Sea Devils. The Doctor rescues Tegan but Nilson is killed by the Sea Devils and the Doctor & Tegan captured.

Oh my word what an awful episode of Doctor Who. Lots of the Myrka, whose problems are well documented but far too much of the Sea Devils & Silurians waddling very slowly along corridors. The Sea Devils look a state: their head gear doesn't suit them, plus frequently it isn't on straight and their hand guns look like little hand held torches. And Ichtar says Excellent again for the third episode running. Are we sure this wasn't actually written for the Cybermen? At least they can move a bit faster! And as for Solow attempting to use partial arts on the Myrka.....

Three of the cast have prior Doctor Who form on their CV. Ingrid Pitt, Dr Solow, was Queen Galleia in The Time Monster as well as appearing in a host of Hammer Horror Films. Stuart Blake, the Silurian Scibus, was Zoldaz in State of Decay and the Commander in the previous story The Five Doctors. James Coombes , Paroli, would have been the Voice of Kraags in Shada and also voiced the Sentinel 7 spacestation in episode 1 of this serial.

Three more of the cast have obvious sci fi credits to their name. Ian McCulloch, the treacherous Nilson, was in Terry Nation's Survivors as Greg Preston. Tom Adams, Commander Vorshak, was in the UFO episode The Psychobombs as Captain Lauritzen. Finally Nitza Saul, Karina, was in the Star Cops episode A Double Life as Chamsya Assadi.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

610 Warriors of the Deep Part Two

EPISODE: Warriors of the Deep Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Friday 06 January 1984
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors of the Deep)

Tegan & Turlough escape but are separated and Turlough is recaptured and interrogated. The Doctor survives by swimming to an underwater hatch which he open. He seizes the uniform of a guard and after making sure Tegan is safe he enters the bridge and brokers a peace with Commander Vorshak. His story that they are travellers and not spies is believed when the base crew find the Tardis and look inside. Solow & Nielson use the controlled Maddox to immobilise the base's missile systems leaving it vulnerable. The Silurians & Sea Devils attack the base and the Doctor & Tegan are trapped in an airlock with the Silurians' monstrous cyborg weapon the Myrka....

Oh it was all going so well. You can actually see the moment when this story goes wrong as the airlock doors bow under the Myrka's assault wobbling like the rubber that they're almost certainly made of. The doors continue to be a problem, especially when one of them is pinning Tegan to the floor and bending as the Doctor tries to lift and Peter Davision tries not to lift it! And then there's the Myrka.... as it batters the airlock doors and you catch glimpses of it, the Myrka looks OK, like some kind of giant mutated Sea Devil. Then when the doors are knocked down and the full horror is revealed that your giant "Sea Devil" is the front end of some huge four legged dinosauresque creature. Monstrous is the word but not in the way that was intended! What's worse is that any credibility this creature had is gone the moment you realise that inside it are William Perrie & John Asquith who responsible for Dobbin the Pantomime Horse in Rentaghost!

The Silurians here are named as Icthar, Scibus & Tarpok, with the Sea Devil leader named as Sauvix. The first time Sauvix's name is said the diction was "slightly unclear", suggesting a part of the female body. I've watched the production subtitles for this story and seen what Tarpok was originally called (the K was an N) so I'm wondering what Johnny Byrne 's naming inspiration was! Icthar is described as the surviving member of the ruling Silurian triad so I guess that makes him the unnamed Silurian Scientist who goes back into suspended animation at the end of The Silurians. None of the three Silurian leaders in the earlier story are named onscreen at the time, but Malcolm Hulke's novelization, Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters, names them as Morka (The Young Silurian), Okdel (Old Silurian) and K'to (The Silurian `Scientist). The end of the Silurians is a little unclear as to if the base has been blown up or if they've merely been sealed in: given the size of the base I'd go for the later. But if it is the Scientist how do you count for the difference in physiognomy?

I tell you what is annoying me about Ichtar though: 2 episodes in and he's said Excellent in each episode. Is he trying for a Cyberleader impersonation?

Incredibly for a story set on an undersea base on the ocean floor this episode features some location filming! The Royal Engineer's Diving Establishment at McMullen Barracks near Southampton provides the pool & hatch for the underwater scenes of the Doctor swimming to safety.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

609 Warriors of the Deep Part One

EPISODE: Warriors of the Deep Part One
TRANSMITTED: Thursday 05 January 1984
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Beneath the Surface (The Silurians / The Sea Devils / Warriors of the Deep)

The Doctor is attempting to show Tegan some of her future history but when they materialise in Earth Orbit in 2084 they find themselves attacked by a Sentinel space station. At the same time on the sea floor, Sea Base 4 tracks a craft on the seabed and when the probe sent to dispatch it is destroyed, both incidents trigger a test run for missile firing during which missile operator Maddox collapses. He is taken to the sickbay where the base's doctor, Solow, gets her commander, Vorshak, to release the vital duplicate program discs so she can help Maddox. Solow & second in command Nilson are enemy agents who intend to use Maddox to immobilise the base's weapons. The craft is revealed to be piloted by three Silurians who arrive at an underground base to revive some of their Sea Devil cousins. Evading the Sentinel space station the Tardis materialises on the seabase for repairs but the Tardis crew are soon found and pursued by the base's guards during which the Doctor falls from a gantry into a water tank and is assumed drowned.

That's not a bad first episode at all taking rising international tensions and the threat of Nuclear War, ever present themes in the early 80s, and marrying them to the return of two of the Third Doctor's most successfully monsters. Both have had a redesign, although we don't see the Sea Devils clearly here. The Silurians redesign involves something of a re-arrangement of the head and the addition of armoured bodies but I can live with the idea that they're a slightly different species of Silurian to what we saw previously. I like the clean bright base set but the writer apparently intentioned it to be a dirty rusting type affair.

No the element of the production I have a problem with is Sentinel Six. I knew it was a Star Wars X-Wing fighter model kit from the moment I first saw it in the Radio Times Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special, with the nose chopped off and what looks like the tops of batteries stuck all over it. The production subtitles for the story try to tell you this but unfortunately identify the base's probe, destroyed off-screen by the Silurians' unseen Myrka, as the ship built from an X-Wing kit.

Oooh, the Hexachromite Gas found in the chemical store that's lethal to Marine and Reptile life. I wonder what that'll get used for. Hang the sword on the wall.....

For the Fifth Doctor/Peter Davison's first season (19) episodes were shown on Monday/Tuesday nights. Then for the next (20) episodes were (generally) shown on Tuesday & Wednesday meaning I missed nearly all the even numbered episodes as I was at cubs on Wednesday night. This year (season 21) episodes move to Thursday & Friday meaning I'd get to see them ..... but as we shall see circumstances result in me missing one crucial episode shown on a different night.

Monday 23 July 2012

608 The Five Doctors

EPISODE: The Five Doctors
TRANSMITTED: Friday 25 November 1983
WRITER: Terrance Dicks
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Five Doctors (25th Anniversary Edition)

In 1973 Doctor Who celebrated it's 10th anniversary with a special story reuniting each of the first three Doctors. In 1983 producer John Nathan-Turner sought to emulate that with a story with all FIVE Doctors in. His first choice of director was Waris Hussein, who directed An Unearthly Child, but he declined and the job was passed to Peter Moffatt who'd successfully helmed State of Decay, The Visitation & Mawdryn Undead over the last few years. Meanwhile script editor Eric Saward was keen to get Robert Holmes involved with the program again having become a fan of the former script editor's writing while watching old stories. Holmes started work on a story, provisionally entitled "The Six Doctors", but gave up due to the changing requirements from the production office due to various actors availability. His predecessor as script editor Terrance Dicks, who'd been in charge at the time of the Three Doctors took over script duty.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

"One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."

The most obvious problem the production had was that the First Doctor, William Hartnell, had died in 1975. So to have the actual First Doctor involved in the story a clip from the Doctor's farewell to his Grand Daughter Susan, from The Dalek Invasion of Earth part 6: Flashpoint was played as a pre title sequence for the episode.

As to the first Doctor appearing in the program itself....

The Doctor show off the new Tardis console prop to Tegan.
The old Tardis console had been complained about during the making of Season 20 and John Nathan Turner had decided it was time for a new one.

When the Five Doctors special edition was released, scenes of the empty interior of the Dark Tower were inserted between the titles and this scene. Although they set the scene a little you wonder what they're doing there as you don't get to see inside the Tower for nearly another hour!

The Tardis has landed in the Eye of Orion where the crew are relaxing. Turlough is outside sketching
These are Mark Strickson's only location scenes as Turlough. Strickson then departed on holiday abroad only for it to be discovered that the film was damaged and he had to be recalled.

The location used for these scenes is Plas Brondanw, the family home of Clough Williams-Ellis, the man who created Portmerion, the location for The Prisoner and the 1976 Doctor Who story The Masque of Mandragora. The original filming session took place on 5th March 1983 with the remount a week later on the 11th

In a darkened control room a hidden figure brings equipment in to focus on the First Doctor in a rose garden. The First Doctor is pursued pursued by a tumbling black obelisk which consumes him. The figure places a miniature figurine of the Doctor on a playing board with a tower at it's centre.
The rose garden scenes, apeing similar ones in The Three Doctors were also filmed at Plas Brondanw on the same days as the Eye of Orion scenes.

Playing the First Doctor is Richard Hurndall, who was then most recognisable for a role in the fourth season Blake's 7 episode Assassin.

Another alteration for the special edition was replacing the obelisk with a spinning clear cone. To this day I'm not sure why as the original effect is decent enough.

As the First Doctor is taken, the Fifth feels a tug inside him. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is attending a UNIT reunion and talking with his replacement Colonel Crichton. The Second Doctor, who read a report of the Brigadier's visit in tomorrow's Times, arrives. He and the Brigadier step outside for a chat but are also chased and abducted by the tumbling black obelisk. The Fifth Doctor feels another tug inside him and then collapses.
What an awful use of the Doctor/Who? joke!

Nicholas Courtney - Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - had appeared in the program recently and was keen to return. Second Doctor Patrick Troughton however needed some convincing....

Playing Colonel Crichton is David Savile who was Lieutenant Carstairs in Patrick Troughton's final regular story, The War Games. His office intercom sounds awfully like the start up tone on a BBC Micro. What's UNIT, a top secret organisation, doing allowing reports of their reunion to be printed in the paper. The UNIT HQ scenes are filmed on 17th March at Denham Manor, which served as UNIT HQ in the Three Doctors in 1973.

The original intention was to pair The Second Doctor with Jamie, played by Frazer Hines. However Hines' regular job appearing in Emmerdale Farm limited his availability to one day's filming.

As far as can be seen the original past Doctor/Companion pairings were:

First Doctor with Susan
Second Doctor with Jamie
Third Doctor with Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Fourth Doctor with Sarah Jane Smith

Watch and see how many of these actually work out in the program!

The Third Doctor drives Bessie down a road at speed when he is pursued and the captured by the obelisk.
Jon Pertwee was the first of the earlier Doctors to commit to taking part. The pursuit scenes in Bessie were filmed at Tilehouse Lane in Buckinghamshire, a short distance from Denham Manor shot on the same day. Both locations are very close to White Plains, the first ever Doctor Who location used in Reign of Terror.
The Fifth Doctor has Tegan & Turlough carry him into the Tardis as the Third Doctor is added to the First, Second & Brigadier on the gaming board.

On Earth K-9 warns Sarah-Jane against leaving the house, but she leaves him behind.

Elisabeth Sladen returns as Sarah Jane Smith, once again (briefly) paired with K-9 voiced by John Leeson. Looking at the locations used later, the K-9 prop would have been completely impractical.

Sarah Jane's house was filmed at West Common Road in Uxbridge also on 17th March 1983. The pond at the front of shot is now overgrown.

In Cambridge the Fourth Doctor & Romana indulge in a spot of punting when they are seized by the Obelisk.
After initially agreeing to the project the still recently departed Fourth Doctor Tom Baker backed out at a late stage. I'm told a lot of his role was re-assigned to the First Doctor. So to have the Fourth Doctor present footage was lifted from the unbroadcast story Shada featuring Baker and his at the time of Shada's filming future but by then ex-wife Lalla Ward as Romana punting on the stretch of the River Cam known as "the backs". This sequence was filmed 15th October 1979 and would have been used in the first episode of Shada.
The equipment malfunctions, trapping the Fourth Doctor & Romana meaning they cannot be used in the game. The Doctor collapses in the Tardis. Sarah Jane waits for the bus but is grabbed by the Obelisk as she stands at the bus stop
The bus stop scene was recorded at North Common Road, Uxbridge round the corner from the location for her home on the same day, 17th March 1983. I always thought the stop here looked just like the Richmond bound 371 (then 71) stop on Sandy Lane in Ham, close to where I went to school!

Surely it would have made more sense to be grabbed before the equipment went wrong abducting the Doctor & Romana and had have their abduction as the last use shown with no further abductions possible?

The picture of Doctor & Romana on the scanners in this story is also taken from Shada, when they're in Professor Chronotis' rooms

The Doctor starts to physically fade away and reappear as the Tardis materialises in a desolate landscape and the figure places their figurines on the board. Turlough discovers the Tardis has been paralysed.

The High Council of the Time Lords, led by a regenerated President Borusa summon the Master to help them find the Doctor

Anthony Ainley and Paul Jerricho return as The Master & The Castellan, with Borusa now being played by Philip Latham. The other member of the council, Chancellor Flavia, is played by Dinah Sheridan, who has a huge acting CV. She has two famous offspring, former conservative MP Jeremy Hanley and former Magpie presenter Jenny Hanley.

Nice to see the council have finally got a table to sit round. The previous set up in Arc of Infinity with them sitting on one side of the room not even looking directly at the president was very odd.

Where have Cardinal Zorac & Chancellor Thalira from Arc of Infinity gone? There again nobody seems to stay in high powered time lord jobs that long. This is the first and only time we see a President and Castellan twice! Come to think of it where's Commander Maxill? We don't get to see a head guard twice either!

The First Doctor finds himself in a maze of oddly angled mirrored corridors and is reunited with his Grand Daughter Susan. They find themselves pursued by a Dalek.
We last saw Susan, played once again by Carole Ann Ford in the Dalek Invasion of Earth. She's the only one of the main players not to get an abduction scene, indeed we don't see her piece on the board till after this scene. Terrence Dicks adds a scene with her being kidnapped from a rebuilt London to his novel of this story.

I've ridden in the Dalek used in this scene when it was brought to the Latchmere School Fete in 1983 or 1984. There's pictures here. I know it's the same one because this is the only Dalek with red dome lights.

The High Council explain that the Death Zone on Gallifrey has become reactivated and is draining energy from the Eye of Harmony. Two of the council went into the Death Zone but didn't return
Ah. RIP Cardinal Zorac & Chancellor Thalira then
They looked for the Doctor but failed to find him save for his the Fourth who is trapped. The Fifth Doctor says he's being sucked into the time vortex by his trapped earlier self. The First Doctor lures the Dalek into a dead end where it fires at them but the ricochet destroys the Dalek and blasts a hole through the wall allowing the Doctor & Susan to see the Dark Tower telling them that they are on Gallifrey in the Death Zone
An alternate humorous voice over to this scene, done by Dalek voice artist Roy Skelton exists. As you might suspect John Scott Martin is actually inside the Dalek.

This is the first look at the new exterminated Dalek effect we'll see again in Resurrection of the Daleks that clearly shows an organic being within.

The Second Doctor & Brigadier find themselves on a rocky ruined landscape. The Second Doctor sees a figure in the mist, but as the Brigadier stops for a rest he's grabbed by a silver arm through the ruined wall which the Second Doctor forces to let go.
You may recognise the monsters in the mist. Needless to say THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS!

Patrick Troughton was fortunate enough to have his thick fur coat on during these scenes, and kept a hip flask within in to help him & Nicholas Courtney get through the scenes shot at Cwt y Bugail Quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd. Most of the rocky locations in the story were filmed here: the crew were present for five days: 9th-11th,13th & 14th March 1983.

I've seen it claimed that you can see the jeans of the extra supplying the arm through the gap in the wall.

Sarah-Jane Smith fall down a slope and is rescued by the Third Doctor in Bessie
Originally Sarah Jane would have encountered the Third Doctor on a deserted shopping street with Autons coming to life round them.

Although The Five Doctors was first shown as a 90 minute special it's repeat came as a 4 part story shown from 14th to 17th August 1984. Part 1 ends here, with Sarah falling down the cliff with Part 2 resuming a few moments previously as the Brigadier & Second Doctor escape their assailant.

All of the four part versions episode endings & beginnings can be found in the Trails & Continuity section of the Special Features on the Transmission Version disc of Doctor Who - The Five Doctors (25th Anniversary Edition) DVD.

The First Doctor & Susan find the Tardis with the Fifth Doctor, Tegan & Turlough within.
The Tardis exterior scenes are located at Carreg Y Foel Gron, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd
The First Doctor's arrival stabilises the Fifth. The High Council Transmat the Master to the Death Zone bearing a recall device & the seal of the high council. The Second Doctor catches sight of the Dark Tower confirming his suspicion that he and the Brigadier are on Gallifrey in the Death Zone, telling him how his ancestors used to have other beings play games in it. He tells the Brigadier that they're going to the Tower which is the tomb of Rassilon. The Master finds the carbonised remains of one of his predecessors from the High Council, and is himself nearly struck by an energy bolt from the sky.
Where did the Master get his cloak from? He wasn't wearing it when he was transmatted from the Capitol.
The First & Fifth Doctors argue what to do. The Third Doctor explains to Sarah Jane how Rassilon stopped the games in the Death Zone as they travel towards the tower in Bessie. They are stopped by the Master, but the Doctor doesn't believe his story and confiscates the seal of the High Council before they scared off by the energy bolts which they think are part of a trap set by the Master
The Bessie road scenes are filmed at Cwm Bychan in Snowdonia.
The First & Fifth Doctors come up with a plan by which the Fifth Doctor will journey to the main door of The Dark Tower to shut off whatever is holding them there. Bessie is hit by an energy bolt and immobilised forcing the Third Doctor & Sarah to proceed on foot. Gallifreyan technicians fail to retrieve the Fourth Doctor from the Vortex. The Second Doctor wonders if Rassilon himself had brought them to The Death Zone, relating to the Brigadier that there are Legends that Rassilon was locked in the tower in eternal sleep because of his cruelty and that they might be playing the game of Rassilon. Tegan & Susan accompany the Fifth Doctor while the First waits with Turlough in the Tardis to bring it to the Tower when then force shield is deactivated. The Third Doctor & Sarah are found and followed by a party of Cybermen
Hurrah, it's the Cybermen. Welcome back to Cyberleader David Banks and Cyber-Lieutenant Mark Hardy, both recently of Earthshock as are many of the Cyber extras including Graham Cole. Given their mobility and recent success in Earthshock they had to be first choice monster for the location scenes. The Third Doctor never faced the Cybermen in the series (They have a cameo in Carnival of Monsters) so this puts right a major omission from his Monster fighting CV. A minor redesign to the Cybermen suits sees the jaws painted silver now.
The Tardis scanner picks up two more Doctors in the Death Zone and the First Doctor wonders what happened to the others. The Second Doctor recalls an old nursery rhyme about the Dark Tower:
"For you who Rassilon's Tower doth go
Must choose Above, Between, Bellow"
He chooses bellow as he and the Brigadier enter a cave system.
The caves are Cwt y Bugail Quarry again. I'm pretty sure I went down those caves on a school trip in 1984: the guide boasted they'd been used in Doctor Who
The Fifth Doctor, Susan & Tegan encounter the Master but while they are confer they are spotted by a Cyberman scout who reports to his colleagues who then ambush the Time Lords and companions.
This is the second Cyberleader we've seen, there's one with the party pursuing the Third Doctor
The Master is knocked so the Doctor steals his recall device and transmats away to the Capitol. Susan sprains her ankle and Tegan helps her back to the Tardis
Susan sprained her ankle in her last appearance in Dalek Invasion of Earth too!
The Master volunteers his services to the Cybermen. Tegan returns Susan to the Tardis and leaves with the First Doctor to deactivate the force shield. The Fifth Doctor believes a piece of Time Lord equipment called a Time Scoop was used to bring them all to the Death Zone. He reveals that there is a homing beacon in the Master's recall mechanism that allowed the Cybermen to find them so quickly. Suspicion falls on the Castellan who supplied the recall device and his office & quarters are searched. The Master convinces the Cybermen to come with him to the tower to take their power. In the Tardis Turlough & Susan hear banging and opening the scanner they see the Cybermen setting a device up outside.
Here part 2 of the repeat version ends. Part 3 starts with the conversation between the Master & Cybermen
The Second Doctor & Brigadier hear something in the Tunnel. Climbing a hill the Third Doctor & Sarah encounter a silver Raston Warrior robot, which the Third Doctor describes as the perfect killing machine
I'm led to believe the Raston Robot is a repainted Cyberman Android from Earthshock. I'm not sure of the inclusion of a new foe here, again maybe using an Auton as a guard might have been a better idea? And the Raston Robot vanishing is silly, accompanied by a noise not dissimilar to the transporting sound effect from Rentaghost!
A box containing the Black Scrolls of Rassilon is found in the Castellan's room, but self destructs when opened. He is taken away from interrogation and President Borusa authorises the use of the Mind Probe
All together now:


Paul Jerricho's delivery of that line has gone down in Doctor Who legend!

The Guard Commander who takes the Castellan away is Stuart Blake who was Zoldaz in State of Decay and will be back in the very next story as the Silurian Scibius.

There is a scuffle in the corridor and the Castellan is killed, but the Fifth Doctor is suspicious. He wishes to return to the Death Zone but Borusa prevents him. The Second Doctor & Brigadier encounter a Yeti in the caves which accidentally buries itself in a cave in
The only colour appearance of the Yeti is over in seconds! It's an old Yeti costume but you never see it's face so you can't tell which version of the costume it is. It was found rolled up in storage with one of the feet missing!
They find their way to a door to the tomb at the back of the cave. The Cybermen arrive at the rock face where the Third Doctor & Sarah are hiding. The Raston Robot attacks the Cybermen, but while it is distracted the Doctor & Sarah pass by, stealing some of it supplies of rope.
Producer John Nathan-Turner directed the second unit filmind the Cyber massacre during which Cyberleader David Banks regurgitates milk through his faceplate.
The Fifth Doctor confides his worries that the Castellan is innocent to Chancellor Flavia. The Third Doctor constructs a rope slide for him & Sarah to gain access to the door at the top of the tower. Turlough & Susan work out the Cybermen are constructing a bomb. The First Doctor & Tegan enter the tower finding a giant chess board on the floor. The First Doctor urges cauntion and after testing it with coins demonstrates it's a death trap.
Yup, it's the Death to the Daleks booby traps in the corridor making yet another, and thankfully final, appearance!
The Master appears and indicates to them that they may wish to hide. Cybermen enter the room and are led across the grid which destroys them with energy bolts.
In the special edition the energy bolts are replaces with electrical strikes/lightening bolts.

Two huge massacres of Cybermen in a few minutes!

The Master slays the severely damaged Cyberleader with it's own dropped weapon and then departs leaving the First Doctor & Tegan with a clue that the grid can be crossed using the digits of Pi
Right: Pi = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510 (to 50 decimal places)

So the squares you need to tread in are:

row 3 column 1
row 4 column 1
row 5 column 2 (OK, ignore the 9, it's an 8x8 grid)
row 6 column 5 (that's a big jump!)
row 3 column 5 (now you're just going backwards!)
row 8 column 7 .....

no I'm sorry, this is just silly.


It doesn't fit with Row 5 making the board deadly (3 maybe) and it certainly doesn't fit with the moves the actors make!

What's worse is there seems to be plenty of room to cross the grid off to the side closest the screen!

The Doctor & Tegan successfully cross the grid. The Fifth Doctor discovers the President is missing from the council chamber and begins a search of the room for a secret passage. In the Dark Tower, Sarah feels afraid and stops to rest. The Third Doctor encounters Mike Yates & Liz Shaw who claim they were abducted too. The Doctor exposes them as phantoms created by the tower.
Reprising their roles as Liz Shaw & Mike Yates are Caroline John & Richard Franklin. The two characters never actually met in the series proper!
Tegan too feels fearful, but the first Doctor dissmisses it as an illusion and says that there is nothing there to harm them, not noticing the Master creeping around behind them.
Here's where part 3 of the repeat version ends. Part 4 begins from the shot of the tower before this scene.
The Second Doctor & Brigadier encounter Jamie & Zoe who say they are sealed in by a forcefield and urge them to turn back. The Second Doctor recalls their memory was wiped by the Time Lords so how can they be there and walks towards them causing them to vanish.
Right...... Our problems with this scene are as follows:

1) Jamie & Zoe could have been Time Scooped from before their memories were wiped by the Time Lords. I suppose the Doctor might recognise that they're older versions of his friends.

2) How does the Doctor *know* their memories were wiped? The only way he can is if this Second Doctor is from after his final story The War Games. See The War Games Episode 10 and Season 6b Theory.

Returning as Jamie McCrimmon & Zoe Heriot are Frazer Hines & Wendy Padbury. This scene was filmed on the one day that Hines could get off from Emmerdale Farm. Meanwhile Wendy Padbury was pregnant at the time of this story and the bubble wrap over her dress is there to help disguise her shape.

The First Doctor & Tegan are the only one of the three sets of visitors not to encounter phantoms but I suppose they did face the death trap earlier....

The Doctor discovers Rassilon's harp in the council chamber and deduces it's a key somehow to a hidden chamber. The First Doctor & Tegan arrive in Rassilon's tomb quickly followed by the Third & Sarah then shortly after the Second and the Brigadier who both Tegan & Sarah recognise. The Doctors get to work decoding an inscription promising that whoever takes the ring from Rassilon's hand will recieve immortality. The Master arrives and holds the Doctors at gunpoint but the Brigadier knocks him out.
Suitable revenge for the number of escapes the Master made from the Brigadier years ago!
The Cybermen prepare to detonate ther bomb.
That's the third Cyberleader we've seen! Different voice this time
The Doctor finds the tune for the harp in a painting, and playing it opens a secret passageway to the game control room where the black clad game controller is revealed to be Lord President Borusa, wearing Rassilon's coronet.
Blimey, that's a HUGE shock the first time you watch it. Borusa has been the Doctor's teacher and then his friend through theree Gallifrey set stories. And now he's the villain of the piece?
He wants to rule Gallifrey forever and intends to use Rassilon's power to gain immortality. The Third Doctor find the force field generator and reverses the polarity of the Neutron Flow freeing the Tardis.
This is only the second time that the Third Doctor says his supposed "catchphrase" in full. The other occasion was The Sea Devils Episode 6. It should be noted that many other things get their polarity reveresed and the Doctor performs sundry other procedure to the Neutron Flow!
The Tardis dematerialises as the Cyber bomb goes off. Borusa tells the Fifth Doctor he needed him to disarm the traps in the Death Zone. He uses the power of the coronet to bring the fifth Doctor under his control. The Tardis arrives at the Dark Tower.
Why does the Brigadier not say anything to his missing former student who disapeared at the end of Mawdryn Umndead.
The Second Doctor calls the capitol and speaks to the Fifth Doctor who tells them that Borusa is coming to take charge. The Third & First Doctors are suspicious of this turn of events. Borusa and the Fifth Doctor arrive with Borusa ordering the companions to be silent. The first three Doctors break Borusa's hold on the fifth Doctor telepathically.
There's a similar sequence in the Three Doctors where the Doctors confer telepathically.
Rassilon's image appears on the wall above his body and speaks to those assembled there.
This is the first time we see Rassilon on TV though he had previously appeared in the Matrix in the comics. We know the Matrix has the memories of dead Time Lords in it so it's not inconceivable Rassilon could be in there and using that to cause the projection.
Borusa claims immortality and the Second, Third & Fifth Doctors protest. The First however tells Rassilon Borusa deserves the immortality. He takes the ring off Rassilon's corpse's finger as Rassilon tells them that others have come to claim immortality through the ages. The carvings of Time Lords round Rassilon's tomb come to life and their eyes dart round the room. The ring vanishes, reappearing on the body on the tomb. Borusa vanishes and an empty space on the side side of the tomb is filled with a new Time Lord carving whose eyes dart round the room before becoming stone again.
Now that scared me as a kid, the statues coming to life and then becoming stone again plus thr thought that each one is a Time Lord trapped forever. I wonder oif this sequence influenced Steven Moffat when he created the Weeping Angels for the new series of Doctor Who?
Borusa offers the Doctors immortality but they decline instead asking to be returned to their proper places and for the Fourth to be freed.
The sequence of the Fourth Doctor escaping from under the fence was shot at Blackmoor Head Yard in Cambridge on 19th October 1979 and would have been used at the start of part 3 of that story.
The Master is sent away by Rassilon, vanishing, and the earlier Doctors leave with their companions in the Tardis, which splits 3 versions off from itself.
Has Rassilon somehow summoned the Tardis from tree earlier points in time and have them temporarily occupy the same space?
Chancellor Flavia arrives by Transmat and, given Borusa's disappearance, tells the Doctor he must take on the role of president. The Doctor sends her back to the capitol telling her he will follow in his Tardis and she has full Presidential powers till his return. The Doctor tells Tegan & Turlough that she will be the longest acting president in Time Lord history as Tegan asks him if he intends to go on the run in a rackety old Tardis. "Why not?" he replies "after all that's how it all started!"

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

That's a lovely throwback to the very start of the series at the end as the Doctor chooses not to return followed by a fabulous musical nod as well as the title sequence starts by playing an arrangement of the original version of the theme music before seguing into the current version as the middle eight starts. I could listen to this arrangement all night, I love it.

And I love the Five Doctors too. It's just one big celebratory party with loads of old familiar faces showing up. Some action, a couple of scary moments popped in, a Dalek, Cybermen and a bit of Time Lord back story. It's just the right sort of thing for an anniversary occasion such as this.

To celebrate we got a Radio Times cover, a 20th anniversary Radio Times special which you can see on the Enlightenment disc in The Black Guardian Trilogy boxset. Trailers and promotional appearances were all over the BBC in the run up, many of which can be found The Five Doctors 25th Anniversary Edition. The original intention was to show it on the date of the 20th anniversary, Wednesday 23rd November, but the BBC wanted this to form the centerpiece of their Children in Need fundraising night and showed it on Friday 25th November 1983 at 7:20 pm. However it had already been shown outside of the UK in Chicago where it was transmitted on the 23rd November to tie in with a Doctor Who convention there.

But even in the UK you could have had a sneak preview of the story: the novel, by Terrance Dicks was due out when the story was shown but some escaped into the wild up to two weeks early much to the dismay of the BBC!

The Five Doctors was first released on video in 1985, but has missing 2 minutes of footage. An unedited version was released in July 1990 alongside Brain of Morbius, which had also been edited for it's early release. In 1994 the unedited version was released on Laserdisc. In 1995 a special edition version of The Five Doctors was created (You can read the Restoration Team article about it here) and released in a VHS boxset with the preceding story The King's Demons.

The Five Doctors was on of the first DVDs released by the BBC in 1999 (Restoration Team Article) and was numbered 1006. According to this article the other early releases were he Black Adder, Noddy in Toyland, The Planets, Persuasion, and Volume I of The Best of Monty Python's Flying Circus. I've got Blackadder (1001) and The Planets (1003) on my shelves and did have the Monty Python release until the complete series sets came out. What? You don't have The Planets? Buy It Now! This initial release was lacking many of the special features found on the later discs. I bought a copy of this DVD the same day as I bought my first DVD player (A Wharfdale 750 from Tescos) in 2000.

When the Five Doctors was released in the USA (Region 1) the following year it had gained an audio commentary by Fifth Doctor Peter Davison and writer Terrance Dicks, much to the disgust of UK fans, many of whom imported the Region 1 version.

The missing commentary in the UK, the lack of the broadcast version and the wider variety of Special Features on other Doctor Who DVDs made the Five Doctors an ideal story to revisit and a 25th anniversary edition DVD was released in 2008. The commentary was now included on the Special Edition while the standard edition boasted a commentary featuring Carole Ann Ford, Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen & Mark Strickson. However the broadcast version also includes a second commentary concealed as an Easter Egg featuring Tenth Doctor David Tennant, new series producer Phil Collinson and new series Script Editor/Writer Helen Raynor. To find this commentary go to Audio Options in the Special Features menu, go down to Companions Commentary and click right on your remote, producing a green Doctor Who logo, which you click on. Alternately press the audio button on your remote a few times till you find it (it's audio track 3 according to my player)!

Sunday 22 July 2012

607 The King's Demons Part Two

EPISODE: The King's Demons Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 16 March 1983
WRITER: Terence Dudley
DIRECTOR: Tony Virgo
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Kamelion Tales Box Set: The King's Demons / Planet of Fire

The Master is taken away and put in the Iron Maiden but it dematerialises: it was his Tardis in disguise. The Doctor is knighted as the King's Champion. He sabotages the Master's Tardis. The Master release Sir Ranulf's wife & son, gaining his confidence and control of the soldiers. The Doctor secretly sends Sir Geofrey to London but he is shot with a crossbow from the castle ramparts. The Doctor finds his way to the King's chamber where he finds a silver robot, Kamelion, and the Master. Kamelion is capable of changing shape but is dominated by other stronger minds. The Master intends to use it to stop Magna Carta being signed. The Master & Doctor mentally battle for control of Kamelion. The Doctor wins disguising Kamelion as Tegan allowing them & Turlough to escape to the Tardis where the real Tegan waits. The Master flees the scene in his Tardis, with the Doctor's trap waiting for him. The Doctor welcomes Kamelion aboard the Tardis and suggests a trip to the Eye of Orion.....

The Master attempts to subvert Earth's history by preventing King John from signing Magna Carta. Yes, it's the Time Meddler but with a different Time Lord and a different historical event. Magna Carta is one the more important events in British History (in fact I had to check if it was the other date in 1066 and All That) I'm sorry this didn't really do that much for me, and just came off as a bad impersonation of the earlier story.

As we mentioned at the top of the season I missed almost all the evenly numbered episodes this season, so the first I knew about Kamelion was when I read the Radio Times Doctor Who 20th Anniversary Special (available as a PDF on the Terminus discs of the Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy Boxset). Kamelion looks good here but, given the problems K-9 caused, who thought a mechanical companion would be a good idea? Apparently the prop was causing difficulties even at this stage and when people connected with the machine started dying at an early age it effectively rendered Kamelion useless. So in the next story he's not mentioned at all. Or the next. Then he gets his one scene between his first and last story cut..... he might as well not be there at all! Actor Gerald Flood provides the voice of Kamelion as well as appearing as King John.

As we said at the top of the season (Arc of Infinity 1) there's a running theme behind the stories this season of a returning element from the show's past. Here's what we got:

Arc of Infinity: Time Lords, Gallifrey, Tegan & Omega
Snakedance: The Mara
Mawdryn Undead: Black Guardian & The Brigadier
Terminus: Black Guardian
Enlightenment: Black & White Guardians
The King's Demons: The Master

See something missing that really should be there? Yup, Daleks. (Well Cybermen too, but they'd just been in the show and I think were always lined up to be major heavies in the Five Doctors due the amount of location filming)

The Daleks had been absent from the show since 1979's Destiny of the Daleks and the closing story of the season, known either as Warhead or The Return, was designed to return them to the screen in a manner similar to the previous year's Earthshock. The same writer, script editor Eric Saward, and director Peter Grimwade were assigned to the story. Unfortunately during late 1982 production work at the BBC was halted by the electricians union. Enlightenment, the third & closing chapter of the story of Turlough & the Black Guardian, was due in the studio at that time and had to be rescheduled. The only slots that producer John Nathan-Turner could use were those allocated to Warhead/Return so that production was reluctantly cancelled. Peter Grimwade took the crew out for a commiseratory lunch but didn't invite John Nathan-Turner. Some versions of the story say Grimwade forgot to invite the producer, others that he planned to take him for supper later. Either way round, Nathan Turner felt snubbed by what happened and as a result Grimwade never directed for the series again (he would write one story for the following year) and is probably a contributing factor towards souring relations between producer and script editor.

Actually now I come to think of it Resurrection of the Daleks is a story which relies on the Daleks making duplicates of people. King's Demons features a robot which can turn into duplicates of people. Yeah that would have worked with consecutive stories......

I think at the close of this story the convention held at Longleat House over the 1983 Easter Weekend was advertised. A celebration of 20 years of Doctor Who, attended by all four surviving Doctors this proved to be massively popular with far more people turning up for it than expected and many being turned away at the gates. What most Doctor Who fans remember it for is the queues.

In the gap between this season and the next the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi was released at the end of May. The in October that year Gerry Anderson's final puppet series, Terrahawks began airing.

Three stories were repeated during the summer of 1983: Kinda, The Visitation & Black Orchid from the previous season. King's Demons is the only Season 20 story to be repeated, when it was broadcast during the following summer. Why? Well Season 19's stories were seen as stronger than season 20s by many, including the lead actor who took the decision to leave the series at the end of the next year partially on the basis of the quality of scripts for this season. But while Season 19's stories had rated between 8 to just over 10 million, Season 20's were between 8 to just bellow 6 million people.

King's Demons was novelised by it's author in 1986 and was the Peter Davison story to be adpated into book form, leaving the aforementioned Resurrection of the Daleks as the only Fifth Doctor story not to get turned into a Target Book. It was released on video with the Five Doctors Special Edition in 1995 and on DVD on 15th June 2010 as part of the Doctor Who - Kamelion Tales Box Set with Planet of Fire, Kamelion's only other broadcast appearance.

An odd statistic presents itself about the DVD releases of the stories in this season: they're all only available in boxsets:

Doctor Who - Time-Flight/ Arc of Infinity
Doctor Who - Mara Tales (Kinda / Snakedance)
Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment
Doctor Who - Kamelion Tales Box Set: The King's Demons / Planet of Fire

But 1983 wasn't done with Doctor Who yet. Oh no. Join us tomorrow for something a bit special.

Saturday 21 July 2012

606 The King's Demons Part One

EPISODE: The King's Demons Part One
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 15 March 1983
WRITER: Terence Dudley
DIRECTOR: Tony Virgo
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Kamelion Tales Box Set: The King's Demons / Planet of Fire

The Tardis materialises on the estate of Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam on March 4th 1215, who is playing host to King John and his champion Sir Giles Estram. The Doctor is suspicious because he knows the King is in London that day swearing th Crusader's oath. Turlough is separated from the others and imprisoned with Sir Ranulf's wife Isabella and their son Hugh. At dinner Sir Giles intends to put to death Sir Ranulf's cousin, Sir Geoffrey de Lacy, who has returned to the castle from the king in London. The Doctor confronts Sir Giles who is revealed to be the Master.

If you don't count the unbroadcast 6 episodes of Shada, this is the 600th episode of Doctor Who. Right from the start it's obvious something's up here, the question is what. Having the king historically placed elsewhere throws his identity into doubt immediately and although we don't yet know quite who "the King" is the revelation that the Master is here makes is certain that the king is somehow up to no good. Oh listen, they've mentioned the Magna Carta. Hang the gun on the wall in the first part......

The Master's back so so is Anthony Ainley, being credited as James Stoker in the Radio Times to conceal his identity (James Stoker is an anagram of Master's Joke). His character's surname Estram is an obvious anagram too, but thankfully this is the last time we'll see a "let's disguise it's the Master" anagram and in fact we'll only see one more casting anagram in the entire series. Next time it's justified. There's nobody else returning for this story but Frank Windsor, Sir Ranulf Fitzwilliam, would have been familiar as Detective Sergeant John Watt in Z-Cars and Softly, Softly. He'll return as Inspector Mackenzie in Ghost Light. His wife, Isabella, is played by Isla Blair who in real life is Mrs Julian Glover (King Richard in The Crusade, Count Scarlioni/Scaroth/Captain Tancredi in City of Death).

Location filming for this story took place at Bodiam Castle on 5th-7th December 1982 and in the studio on 19th & 20th December under new director Tony Virgo helming his only Doctor Who story. Although the last story of the season it wasn't the last in the studio as the previous story Enlightenment was recorded after it.

Friday 20 July 2012

605 Enlightenment Part Four

EPISODE: Enlightenment Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 09 March 1983
WRITER: Barbara Clegg
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

Wrack has the Doctor, Tegan and Marriner sent back to the Shadow but believes Turlough's story that he found the Doctor and keeps him aboard. As the ships near the end of the race and the Buccaneer comes alongside the Doctor realises that a gem to focus Wrack's power must be on board. He finds the tiara, smashes it and throws the fragments overboard. Striker returns the Tardis and he goes to Wrack's ship, but when he enters the chamber he is seized by Wrack & Mansell. Moments later Striker, Marriner & Tegan see two bodies go overboard as the Buccaneer wins the race and they go over to the other ship to pay homage. The Black & White Guardians arrive on the Buccaneer with the prize but the winners are revealed to be the Doctor & Turlough. The Doctor declines Enlightenment but Turlough is offered a share, a huge diamond. The Black Guardian tells him it's his by the terms of his agreement but Turlough can have it in exchange for the Doctor. Turlough throws it at the Guardian who bursts into flames and vanishes. The Doctor reveals the real prize was th choice. The White Guardian leaves, warning them that the Black Guardian will return, and Turlough asks the Doctor to take him to his home planet.

Well that sorts out which side Turlough is on. He's wavered back and forth between wanting to kill the Doctor and wanting to help him over the last few episodes: here decision time come and he makes his choice. But it's got me thinking: is that what the Eternals were racing for? When asked Striker & Wrack have both been a bit evasive about the prize and what they will do with it. If one of them had won would their "Enlightenment" have been different? Or has the entire race been staged to put Turlough in this position? Still Turlough's servitude to the Black Guardian is down now. The plot for him to kill the Doctor has felt a little odd, it never reaches prominence feels a bit tacked on to all three of the stories it appears in.

It's a decent effort from Barbara Clegg, writing her only Doctor Who story, and director Fiona Cumming, the only time Doctor Who has had an only female writing & directing team. Slow & steady in places it looks good and is very well done.But somehow, like the sailing ships themselves, it lacks a bit off umph and energy.

So ..... The White Guardian. He looks fine here, no sign of the weakness that meant he was draining the Tardis' power in episode 1. So what was going on there then? This is the last time we see either Guardian, though Valentine Dyall, The Black Guardian, later returns in the Doctor Who radio story Slipback. Dyall died in June 185 aged 77 and his opposite number Cyril Luckham passed away in Febuary 1981 aged 89. The creator of the Guardians, Graham Williams only learnt of their return after the event when he was asked a question about it at a Doctor Who convention.

Barbara Clegg novelised her own script in 1984. Enlightenment was released on video in early 1993 following Mawdryn Undead & Terminus. All three stories were released together on DVD as part of the Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy boxset

Thursday 19 July 2012

604 Enlightenment Part Three

EPISODE: Enlightenment Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 08 March 1983
WRITER: Barbara Clegg
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

Turlough is picked up by Captain Wrack's ship the Buccaneer. She sends one of her competitors, Captain Davey, a ruby encrusted sword & part invitations to all the other Captains. Wrack locks herself in a vacuum shielded room bellow decks which she refuses to let Turlough enter. Davey's ship attempts to pass the Buccaneer and is destroyed. Turlough attempts to find out what is in the room, discovering an eye like grid in the floor and a red eye like device in the ceiling. The Doctor, Tegan, who has been provided with a dress for dinner, & Marriner travel to the Buccaneer for the party during which the Doctor sneaks away to find Turlough. He realises the chamber is the weapon Wrack is using to destroy her competitors, with the rubies sent in presents as the focusing device. Tegan is spirited away by Wrack who freezes her in time and plants a ruby in her Tiara. The Doctor & Turlough are caught by Wrack's first mate.

Someone in this race isn't 100% playing by the rules. As what is effectively the villain of the piece Wrack's entry into the story is surprisingly late in the third episode and there's no sense of mystery about it: from the moment we see her it's obvious that she's up to no good. We find out the name of Striker's ship here but it isn't in the dialogue: the words "The Shadow" are printed on the ship's life belt.

Replacing the actor originally cast as Captain Striker (Peter Sallis, who was Penley in The Ice Warriors) is Keith Barron, has got an appearance in the first broadcast episode of The Professionals to his name (Private Madness, Public Danger, written by former Doctor Who script editor Anthony Read and directed by Douglas Camfield. But you really should watch Old Dog, New Tricks first...) Keith Barron is unrelated to Lynda Baron, playing Captain Wrack, also famed for her sit com acting (Open All Hours). Previously she sung "The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon" in the the Gunfighters. Her first mate Mansell was another role recast due to the strike action (David Rhule was originally cast in the role) and in the broadcast version he's played by Leee John of the pop group Imagination, making his TV acting debut. There's a familiar face amongst the Shadow's crew: Tony Caunter plays the teetotal Jackson. He was previously Thatcher in The Crusade then Morgan in Colony in Space and will later find fame as Roy Evans in East Enders.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

603 Enlightenment Part Two

EPISODE: Enlightenment Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 02 March 1983
WRITER: Barbara Clegg
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

Captain Striker reveals all the competitors in the race are Eternals, who have organised this race as a distraction for themselves using period humans as crew on their ships. He shows the Doctor one of the other competitors, Critas the Greek, an Eternal disguised perfectly in every detail except for the 16th century Spanish ruby ring he is wearing. They are racing for the prize of Enlightenment. The ships reach the first marker buoy in their journey, the planet Venus, but as they round it the Greek's ship explodes as it tries to overtake the Buccaneer. Tegan is unwell, so is taken bellow to her quarters which contain objects from her home in Brisbane that the Eternals have modelled from her mind. Both she & Turlough wish to leave but Striker detects their desire for the Tardis and has it confiscated. They are invited on deck, wearing space suits, but when the Black Guardian taunts Turlough for his failure to kill the Doctor, telling him he will remain on the ship forever, Turlough throws himself overboard.

Remember me telling you how I missed all the even numbered episodes this season? Well this was the one that seemed to matter the least. Watching episodes 1 & 3 aged 9 I could easily fill in the gaps between them. While there's not much action there's lots of detail though that paints a better picture of what's going on.

Enlightenment very nearly didn't make it to screen. The studio filming was originally planned in two blocks: November 16th & 17th 1982 and November 30th - December 2nd 1982. Unfortunately at that point a dispute between the BBC and the Electrician's Union then blew up into full blown strike action forcing the cancellation of the studio dates. Director Fiona Cumming took advantage of the unexpected break and went on holiday to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and we'll hear more of the influence that trip has later. Once the action was resolved producer John Nathan-Turner has a problem: he needed to film Enlightenment to finish the trilogy of stories that included the Black Guardian and introduced Turlough. So he assigned Enlightenment the dates previously allocated to the final story of the season, known as The Return, written by script editor Eric Saward and directed by Peter Grimwade. Enlightenment was filmed in the studio on January 17th & 18th and then January 30th to February 1st 1983, a month before transmission, with the planned penultimate, now final, story of the season the King's Demons recorded on 5th-7th December 1982 at Bodiam Castle and in the studio on 19th & 20th December.

As a result of the change of dates there were two alterations to the cast. Captain Striker should have been played by Peter Sallis, previously Penley in The Ice Warriors, and by then famous as Norman Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine. Now he's probably best known as the voice Wallace in the Wallace & Grommit films, co-written by Doctor Who's former writer Bob Baker. The other role recast was that of the as yet unseen Mansell who would have been played by David Rhule.

Come back in four days time for more on the cancellation of The Return and it's consequences.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

602 Enlightenment Part One

EPISODE: Enlightenment Part One
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 01 March 1983
WRITER: Barbara Clegg
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

The Tardis experiences a power drain, caused by the White Guardian who attempts to warn the Doctor, giving him a set of co-ordinates before the Black Guardian interupts him. The Doctor takes the Tardis to the location specified and he & Turlough find themselves in the hold of a Edwardian sailing ship, and exploring they find the crew room. Tegan witnesses another appearance of the White Guardian who tells her that "Winner takes all". She sees someone outside of the Tardis and goes to investigate being captured by the ship's first mate Marriner. None of he ship's crew can remember coming aboard but all know they're in a race. Marriner reunites Tegan with the Doctor and they are taken to dinner with Captain Striker. Dinner is interrupted as wind catches the ship, and as the crew goes aloft the Doctor finds Turlough. They all go to the bridge, with Tegan finding non contemporary wetsuits hanging in the corridors. On the bridge advanced technology is revealed, showing the ship's competitors: these are sailing vessels floating in space!

Essentially this is Carnival of Monsters 1 reheated. Doctor & companions wander round an Edwardian ship and something isn't quite right with a big revelation of what in the closing minutes. In fact Carnival of Monsters 1 was repeated in mid November 1981 at around about the point this episode was written.

Then there's the ending. The idea of sailing ships in space isn't an original one by any means but unfortunately right as these episodes went out it was being prominently used in Star Fleet, the English translation of the 1980/81 Japanese puppet series X-Bomber. From the fifth episode onwards the mysterious intergalactic sailing ship the Skull was making regular appearances in the series, which would have ruined the ending for a proportion of those watching.

Still at least we have the return of the White Guardian here to occupy us. He looks considerably less agile than when we last saw him - Cyril Luckham played the same character in the opening episode of the Ribos Operation - and what's causing him, an all powerful galactic entity, to need to steal the Tardis' power to get his message across? I'm assuming he must be somehow in the clutches of the Black Guardian..... but I'm not sure late evidence supports this. Remind me to come back to this point in part 4!

I suspect some viewers may have been slightly confused by the White Guardian's message that "Winner Takes All". At the time that was the name of a popular game show on ITV!. And that's not the end of the confusion either because the Doctor Who fans watching would have been wondering where the character from Four to Doomsday was and what she's done to get a story named after her!

And with that there's exactly One Hundred episodes left to go!