Friday 31 August 2012

647 The Trial a Timelord Part Two (The Mysterious Planet Part Two)

EPISODE: The Trial a Timelord Part Two (The Mysterious Planet Part Two)
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 September 1986
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Nicholas Mallett
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 4.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Trial Of A Time Lord

The Doctor is saved by the arrival of Merdeen who has been ordered to take the Doctor to see The Immortal. The Immortal is an L3 Robot known as Drathro who suspected the Doctor was one of it's masters from the Andromeda Galaxy, long overdue. He orders the Doctor to work on his black light power system to repair it. Peri, who Katryca intends to marry off to several of her tribe, escapes from the village with Dibber & Glitz, with Dibber destroying the black light converter totem pole. The Doctor shock Drathro and his human helpers with power cables and escapes. He runs into Murdeen who is trying to help Balazar escape from the underground complex to the tribe. They flee the complex and The Doctor is reunited with Peri and her new "friends" but are cornered between tribesmen sent after Peri, Dibber & Glitz and the L1 robot the Doctor has sent after The Doctor.

(end with crash zoom on Colin #2)

Peri gets captured & escape. The Doctor gets captured & escapes. Insert plot exposition while captured and interrupt with annoying court room scenes where the Doctor starts insulting the Valeyard with corruptions of his name. There's 2 here but I've forgotten them already and am in no mind to go back and check.

Drathro aka the Immortal aka the L3 robot. That's a lot of names to use for something in 25 minutes and perhaps a little confusing. I like the head, that's nice, and the body's fine until it moves when it looks & moves (very badly) just like the television version of Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy TV series. If Drathro is the L3 robot and the tank thing is the L1 robot then where's the L2 robot? It bugged me at the time and bugs me now! Drathro's purpose is to maintain an underground colony under the Earth, shielded from the firestorms, which are now long gone, and guarding the sleepers from Andromeda, now dead. It has somehow outlived it's usefulness but is stuck in it's programming as the Doctor points out when he reasons that the colony's water problems would be solved if they just went to the surface. Drathro's stealing of the colony's two finest minds to serve him is a little reminiscent of Holmes' first Doctor Who story, the Krotons. More recycling from Holmes here.

Oh look what can we see on the walls of the colony? yes it's our old friends the triangle/hexagonal panels first seen in The Mutants!

The Free village was filmed at at Little Buster, the original site of Butser Ancient Farm. I'm pretty certain I visited this place on a family holiday during the 80s. The wood scenes are filmed at Queen Elizabeth Country Park which we saw in Revelation of the Daleks.

Thursday 30 August 2012

646 The Trial a Timelord Part One (The Mysterious Planet Part One)

EPISODE: The Trial a Timelord Part One (The Mysterious Planet Part One)
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 September 1986
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Nicholas Mallett
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 4.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Trial Of A Time Lord

My ears, my ears! I've heard it so I can't unhear it. That new version of the theme music, arranged by Dominic Glynn is dreadful, completely lifeless. I own a 70s sci fi theme album with lots of cover versions of famous sci fi films & tv series musics on it and this sounds exactly like the on there! Fortunately it's only with us for 14 episodes.....

The Tardis is drawn towards a huge space station where he finds a Time Lord tribunal assembled to examine his activities. The prosecution case is being presented by the Valyard and presided over by The Inquisitor. The Valyard presents his case starting by showing the Doctor & Peri arriving on the planet Ravolox, which the Doctor is intrigues with due to it's similarities to Earth. They are observed by a pair of men, Dibber & Glitz, who are planning to destroy the L3 robot by sabotaging it's black light converter which is being used by a totem for a local tribe. The Doctor & Peri stumble into and underground area and at the bottom of some steps find a sign for Marble Arch Underground station which convinces the Doctor this is Earth but not where it should be. The Doctor explores the depths of the cavern and stumbles into an underground complex where he is captured as is Peri who is taken to the local Village, under the rule of Queen Katryca, where Dibber & Glitz are now being held prisoner too. The Doctor is sentanced to stoned to death. He tried to deflect them with his umbrella but is knocked unconcious. The Valeyard proposes that the inquiry into the Doctor's activities should become a proper trial, with the penalty being his death!

That's a lovely model shot to open the show but the suspicion is it's swallowed up quite a bit of cash that could be used elsewhere. It's also ruined for me forever since I watched it with Ralph & Andy and the words "This is the mining ship Red Dwarf. The Crew are dead...." went through my brain as the close up detail here is very similar to some of that on the Red Dwarf model.

Storywise there's two separate strands going on here. The segments on Ravalox/Earth are decidedly reminiscent of the Sontaran Experiment, a wrecked Earth and a reference to a Tube Station. We like Tube Stations and are sad to note that Marb Station is the last time the original series references them. This section is taking place AFTER Revelation of the Daleks but before the events in the trial. It's odd seeing Peri's hair in a different style here and her absence at the trial is noted by the Doctor.

The trial stuff which keeps breaking into the action already feels a bit intrusive and abive all unecessary: we've done this all before in the War Games!

There had been great joy when John Nathan Turner had announced that there would be more episodes of Doctor Who in 1986 than 1985. What he "forgot" to mention at the time was that we were back to 25 minute episodes for this year!

Reputedly the trial idea, which takes in all fourteen episodes of this season, was inspured by the feeling that the show itself was very much on trial for it's life this year following the 18 month suspension. The two main protagonists in the trial, The Inquisitor & The Valyard, are with us for the length of this season and played by Michael Jayston & Lynda Bellingham respectively. At the time Bellingham was most famous for being the Oxo mum in a series of adverts but would in 1988 become the second Helen Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small. She later took a recurring villanous role in The Bill and regularly appears on Loose Women. Jayston has had a long acting career including the role of Tsar Nicholas II in Nicholas and Alexandra featuring one Tom Baker as the mad monk Rasputin. Apparently Valeyard is a real legal term meaning "Doctor of Law".....

So to open this 14 part extravaganza comes the maestro himself, Robert Holmes with a four part story, followed by two more four parters with the plan being that Holmes would return to wrap the hole thing up at the end with the last two parts. Unfortunately things didn't quite turn out that way.

Is Trial of A Time Lord a 14 part story or 3x4 parters and 1x2 parter? Or something else? Well as broadcast it's numbered parts 1-14. As books it was released as 4 seperate novels: The Mysterious Planet, Mindwarp, Terror of the Vervoids & The Ultimate Foe. Production wise it's coded as 3 stories: 7a, 7b & 7c with the first four episodes making up 7a, the next 4 7b and the final 6 7c. We'll reluctantly treat it as a 14 parter but we'll also quote the individual titles used on the books which are now quite common if not officially used at the time.

So where's Philip when this is happening? Starting my third year of secondary school, having not had a single new episode of Who broadcast in my second. Dipping my hand into the world of buying US Marvel comics & 2000ad. The episodes went out on a Saturday night and for the first time I caught all of a series of Doctor Who on it's original broadcast!

Oooh a new thrilling feature for this season: count how many episodes end on a crash zoo onto Colin Baker. This is the first, it won't be the last.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

645 Revelation of the Daleks Part Two

EPISODE: Revelation of the Daleks Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 30 March 1985
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Graeme Harper
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks

A distraught Peri is found by the lecherous Jobel who tries to comfort her but both are astonished when the Doctor emerges from under the statue which turns out to be made of a lightweight material.

That's a very short reprise to start the episode off, just a matter of a few seconds!

Jobel is entry #11 on the "Lusting after Peri" list! 11! And we're not done yet!

Why the fake blood on the Doctor?

The Doctor & Peri go to Tranquil Repose and enquire who organised the Doctor's statue. Takis tracks the President's ship aproaching Necros and spots an unknown freighter moving towards the Planet.
I think the freighter is meant to be Orcini & Bostock, it's not 100% clear and the appearance of some other visitors later on in the episode throws further doubt.
Tasambeker gives the Doctor & Peri a full run down of Tranquil Repsose's services. Orcini & Bostock arrive at Tranquil Repose and are ambushed by a Dalek which they destroy, sounding an alert in Davros' lab.
The scenes of Orcini & Bostock aproaching Tranquil Repose were also filmed at Tangmere Aerodrome, used in the last episode. The intention was to feature a Dalek flying through the air at this stage somehow but weather conditions meant a change of plan and we had to settle for a large explosion instead.
Tasmabeker tells the Doctor she cannopt tell him who errected the sttue without the permission of the Great Healer. Davros sends Daleks to "protect" Kara who he suspects of treachery. Peri is taken by Jobel to see the DJ.
Now we get a clearer look at the set for the DJ's studio it becomes obvious that it's Kara's office redressed.
Tasambeker supposedly takes the Doctor to the Great Healer, but in fact turns him over to the Daleks who have Takis & Lilt secure him with Natasha & Grigory. As Kara recieves a signal indicating that Orcini has entered the cataconbs Daleks arrive taking her prisoner and exterminating Vogel. Takis & Lilt share their concerns about the Great Healer with Jobel, unaware that they are being observed. Davros offers Tasambeker imortality as a Dalek if she kills Jobel, who she has seen flirting with women on Davros' monitors, and she accepts. Orcini & Bostock, suspecting they have been set up, free the Doctor, Natasha & Grigory to provide a diversion for them. Tasambeker goes to see Jobel telling him that the Great Healer wishes to kill him and urging him to leave but when he refuses and insults her she kills him. She is pursued by Daleks and exterminated. Peri sees the Doctor on the DJ's monitors and he tells her to return to the Tardis to warn the president's ship about the Daleks. Davros orders Peri captured and the DJ killed.
Here's the break between episode 3 & 4 of the four part version, which was shown in the UK on 19th March to 9th April 1993 as part of a retrospectove season showing one story from each Doctor.... except there ended up being two Pertwee's when the Daemons got colour restored!
The DJ tries to protect Peri and lets her use his radio transmitter to contact the ship as Daleks aproach. Natasha & Grigory are sent by the Doctor to destroy the incubation area. Orcini & Bostock enter the lab and destroy Davros in his life support machine. Orcini suspects a trap and is proved right when the real Davros reveals himself and has Daleks shoot Bostock, destroying Orcini's artificial leg.
Ben Aaronovitch will also use the "so you think that's Davros" trick in the next Dalek story, Remembrance of the Daleks.

The reveal of Davros and the sequence that follows shows him hovering in mid air and shooting energy bolts at Orcini. Unfortunately a CSO error means that Orcini's leg ends up behind Davros. This effect is fixed for the alternative visual effects sequence on The Revelation of the Daleks DVD.

Natasha & Grigory are caught by a Dalek and exterminated just as the incubator explodes.
This sequence uses a Sevans model Dalek to try and show a Dalek in mid air. It doesn't work wonderfully well and has also been redone for the DVD. Not that it's the Dalek kit's fault, it looks fab. I had one, they were great if a little difficult to put together and not wonderfully stable or solid when built. I had mine painted as the Planet of the Daleks Black & Gold Dalek Supreme. One day my younger brother Tim left it behind a door so it would get broken when I opened it!
Kara is brought to Davros' lab. Orcini is instructed to operate his transmiter but she reveals it's a bomb. She insults Orcini who kills her for her treachery. The Daleks attack the DJ's studio and he destroys the first wave with a sonic cannon but is exterminated in a second assualt that takes Peri prisoner. The Doctor is recaptured by the Daleks. Takis & Lilt monitor a ship touching down at Tranquil Repose.
I wonder who that could be?
The Doctor is taken to Davros' lab as Davros reveals he has been using the powerful amongst the dead to make new Daleks and convertrting the rest into the miracle foodstuff that is feeding that part of the galaxy.
Script editor Eric Saward claims not to have seen the "classic" science fiction movie Soylent Green when he wrote Revelation of the Daleks.

The Doctor mocks Davros' attempts at building a new Dalek race saying "with you as their Emperor"? Watch Remembrance of the Daleks and it almost looks like Revelation was written to set up the next Dalek story!

Takis & Lilt greet a group of grey Daleks which have arrived demanding to be taken to Davros.
Now you know why Davros' Daleks are white! We don't want them getting confused with the grey ones!
Peri is reunited with the Doctor in Davros' lab. The wounded Bostock shoots Davros remaining hand off but is exterminated.
Davros has green blood. Is this usual for Kaleds?
Battles break out in the catacombs between white & grey Daleks with the grey Daleks winning and taking the wounded Davros prisoner. The Doctor, Peri, Takis, Lilt, and the wounded Orcini are held prisoner in the lab but destory their guard with the aid of a grenade taken from Bostock's body. The Doctor explains to Takis & Lilt that the plant on the planet can be farmed to provide a source of protein to replace that which Davros provided Orcini elects to stay behind to destroy Tranquil Repose with Kara's transmitter/bomb. Tranquil Repose is evacuated as the bomb is detonated but the Daleks escape with Davros. Peri pleads with the Doctor to be taken on a real holiday, somewhere fun and he comes up with an idea...

Oh that's fabulous stuff. It's like a snowball that keeps rolling a builds up momentum as it goes. The Doctor is a bit on the sidelines, yes, but it's his intervention that gets the President saved and gets everyone out of the lab at the end. Otherwise the episode is Davros' plans crumbling round him as first Kara and then the Tranquil Repose staff turn on him.

So where was The Doctor planning to take Peri? Blackpool is the line cut from the very end of the show and would have led into The Nightmare Fair, Graham Williams planned script to open the 23rd/1986 season that ended up being postponed. This story would have featured a return for the Celestial Toymaker, then a popular figure amongst Doctor Who fans. However episode 4 of his first aponymous appearance had been returned to the BBC the previous year and as copies escaped into the wild the "percieved wisdom" that this was a missing classic started to take a bashing! Other stories planned for the cancelled season were Wally K Daly's The Ultimate Evil and Philip Martin's Mission to Magnus returning both Sil and The Ice Warriors. However with the postponement of Season 23 and a reversion to 25 minute episodes these 3 stories were abandoned, but later novelised for Target books.

Doctor Who didn't completely disapear from the airwaves for 18 months though: A radio production of six ten minute episodes entitled Slipback writen by Eric Saward aired on Radio 4 from 25the July–8th August 1985. It's available on CD and as well as Colin Baker & Nicola Bryant it also features Valentine Dyall in the last role he undertook before his death on the 24 June.

So at this point I'm in my first year at secondary school. By the time I return I'll be in my third, I'll be reading Doctor Who Magazine, visited the Longleat exhibition, have seen stories on video and joined the DWAS. It'll be proper fan time!

There's lots of lasts associated with this episode. This is the last Doctor Who script credited to Eric Saward, but as we'll see he has considerable input into one more under another author's name. It's also the last time Graeme Harper directs for the original series, which is a huge loss because he looks head and shoulders better than the other directors working on the show at the time (the sidelined Peter Grimwade excepted). However Harper would be back in 2006 directing several episodes of the new series of Doctor Who. This is the last 45 minute episode in the original run of Doctor Who. This is possibly an odd decision as the number of 25 minute drama shows, bar soaps, were few and 45 minutes - 1 hour was now the standard. 45 minute episodes return for the 2005 revival of the show. This episode marks the last use of the Peter Howell version of the theme used since 1980 although the Colin Baker version of the accompanying title sequence survives fir another year yet. I have strong opinions on the replacement version of the theme tune! Finally this is the last time an original series Doctor Who episode was seen by more than 7 million people.

This also marks the end of John Nathan-Turner's fifth year as Doctor Who producer and he thus goes past Barry Letts to become the series longest serving producer.

As we've stated Revelation of the Daleks is the only story from this season, and indeed the only Colin Baker story, ever to be repeated in the UK when it was shown in 4 x 25 minute installments from 19th March to 9th April 1993. There's no Revelation of the Daleks novel - umour has it that no agreement could be reached between Eric Saward & Terry Nation's agent as to how the book's royalties should be split. A similar situation exists for Saward's first Dalek tale, Resurrection of the Daleks.

Revelation of the Daleks was released on video in a tinned boxset along with Planet of the Daleks in November 1999. This boxset is one of the harder to find UK releases selling out pretty fast. The same tape was reissued in September 2001 as part of the WHSmiths Davros boxset alongside Genesis of the Daleks, Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks. Revelation of the Daleks was issued on DVD on 11th July 2004 and then again in the Davros Collection DVD Box Set which contained the DVD versions of the five stories in the VHS boxset above.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

644 Revelation of the Daleks Part One

EPISODE: Revelation of the Daleks Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 23 March 1985
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Graeme Harper
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Revelation of the Daleks

The Tardis lands in the snow on the planet Necros where the Doctor has come to pay his respects to his old friend, Professor Arthur Stegnos who has recently died. Peri discards her unwanted lunch into a pond where it is seized by something, which then blows up.

In a story about the dead choosing Necros as a planet name is virtually operating out of the Terry Nation school of planet making.

The Tardis arrival was filmed at Bolinge Hill Farm in Hampshire. The heavy January snows add to the atmosphere of the locations.

Why does nut roast cause the creature in the pond to explode?

At Tranquil Repose, a facility for the internment of dead bodies in suspended animation, Jobel prepares for the perpetual instatement of the President's wife assisted by Tasambeker, who lusts after her employer, to the derision of Takis & Lilt.
Almost everyone in this story has prior form or is well known from elsewhere!

Playing Mr Jobel is Clive Swift. At the time he was probably best known for playing Sir Hector in John Boorman's 1981 film Excalibur. He'd shortly become recognisable as put upon husband Richard Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances during the same period of time his brother David Swift was appearing as newsreader Henry Davenport in Drop The Dead Donkey. He returned to Doctor Who 22 years later playing Mr Copper in Voyage of the Damned. An interview conducted with Doctor Who Magazine (issue 391) did not endear him to Doctor Who fans. Read the interview and then the one with his fellow guest star Bernard Cribbins in the following issue....

Playing Tasembeker is Jenny Tomasin, known to TV viewers as Ruby the maid in Upstairs Downstairs. Takis is played by Trevor Cooper shortly to co-star in Star Cops as Colin Devis during which he'd be directed once again by Graeme Harper who returns to take charge of his second story following Caves of Androzani. Lilt is played by Colin Spaull who Harper would reuse many years later as Mr. Crane in Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel, Harper's first directing fro the new series of Doctor Who.

The Doctor & Peri walk from the Tardis towards Tranquil Repose as Peri admires the local flora.
This scene was recorded at Butser Hill in Hampshire.
They are attacked by a mutated human which is accidentally mortally wounded by the Peri.
And now we move to Queen Elizabeth Country Park also in Hampshire. This location would be reused the following year for Trial of a Timelord.

Reportedly producer John Nathan-Turner offered the part of the mutant to Sir Lawrence Olivier!

They are observed by a DJ, broadcasting into the tombs.
The DJ Alexei Sayle, then well known as a comedian and his appearances on The Young Ones.

And yes the DJ does appear to be lusting after Peri which adds him to our list as #10!

But the DJ is in turn is being watched by Davros, now disembodied and in a life support machine, working in a laboratory beneath Tranquil Repose with White & Gold Daleks.
When we last saw Davros in Resurrection of the Daleks he was being attacked by the Movellan virus so it's quite conceivable that he's be somewhat incapacitated now....

Back as Davros is Terry Molloy who played him in Resurrection of the Daleks. Since then he'd been Russel in Attack of the Cybermen back. Back also comes John Scott Martin had been a Dalek Operator since The Chase also appearing in the role in Mission to the Unknown, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Power of the Daleks, The Evil of the Daleks & Day of the Daleks before he was joined by Cy Town following which they both appear in Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks & Genesis of the Daleks. Cy Town appears in Destiny of the Daleks, which is the only story since their debut that John Scott Martin missed, but it's Scott-Martin who plays the cameo Dalek in the Five Doctors. In Resurrection they were joined here by Tony Starr & Toby Byrne and all four return here. Also returning from Resurrection of the Daleks is Dalek voice artist Royce Mills now alongside returning veteran Roy Skelton who missed the previous Eric Saward Dalek story. All bar Byrne will be back for Remembrance of the Daleks.

The Daleks have been given a makeover as well for this story appearing in white with gold appendages, skirt balls & necks. In fact these white Daleks are all new prop builds for this story. So why these colours, the most drastic deviation of standard dalek livery since colour was introduced? It could be Davros himself wanting to differentiate these new Daleks from his earlier, now inferior, creations. But I suspect the real reason is to avoid confusion in part 2! Oddly the cover to The Revelation of the Daleks DVD doesn't feature a single white Dalek on it's artwork or photos.

Davros' lab set is reused elements from By the sword divided, a BBC English Civil War drama series. On the walls you can once again see our friends the curved Moonbase Computers from UFO. Many familiar Who faces are on view. Inside the lab can be clearly heard the beloved Dalek control room noice, conspicuous by it's absensce in Resurrection of the Daleks!

Davros once again treats us to his besr Cyberleader impersonation with an "Excellent" early on in his appearance here!

A pair of body snatchers, Grigory & Natasha have broken in to the catacombs. Davros spots them and orders that Takis is informed. The mutant explains he was conditioned to attack and that he is a product of the Great Healers experimentation as he expires. When Takis does not respond Davros orders Tasambeker to be summoned and Kara to be contacted.
Fabulous shot descending through the floor showing three different levels cutting from Tasambeker searching for Takis through to Natasha & Grigory. Class stuff.
The D.J. spots the body snatchers as Tasambeker admonishes Takis & Lilt for their failure and is summoned to Davros. Takis & Lilt are starting to worry about the presence of the Daleks in Tranquil Repose. Davros asks for more money from Kara for his researches, but admonishes her for using his name insisting he be addressed as the Great Healer.
Kara & her secretary Vogel somewhat mirrors Morgus & Trau Timmin's poresence from afar in Caves of Androzani. Saward is known to be a big fan of that story and it's writer, Robert Holmes.

Playing Kara is Eleanor Bron who was the Art Critic in City of Death. Hugh Walters, playing Vogel, has two previous appearances to his name, first as William Shakespeare in The Chase then as Runcible in The Deadly Assassin.

The body of a guard shot by Natasha & Grigory is discovered and given to Tasambeker to work on. Davros rages at Jobel from afar for refusing his offer of imortality. Natasha & Grigory find her Father's capsule and open it but it's empty. They are found my Lilt & Takis and flee into the tombs. The Doctor & Peri find a wall shielding Tranquil Repose and scale it, Peri breaking the Doctor's watch in the process.
The Wall location is at Park Lane Halnaker in West Sussex.
Natasha & Grigory try to evade the Daleks & guards.
Here's where the break in the four part version occurs. Of all the 45 minute Doctor Who stories, Revelation of the Daleks is the only one to have been broadcast in it's 25 minute versions when it was repeated in 1993 as the Sixth Doctor's entry in a retrospective season.
Seeking a service lift, they hide from the Daleks in a room finding some incubators containing a number of human brains. They also find a glass Dalek containing the disembodied mutated head of Natasha's Father, Professor Arthur Stegnos. The mutated head explains he is becoming a Dalek.
There's a glass Dalek, containing a Mutant, in David Whitaker's adaptation of the first Dalek story, a concept that couldn't be realised on screen at the time.

Playing Stegnos is Alec Linstead making his third who appearance after being Sgt. Osgood in The Dæmons and Arnold Jellicoe in Robot, both directed by Christopher Barry.

People being turned into Daleks completes a long list of people getting turned into different things this season:

Attack of the Cybermen: Bates, Stratton & Lytton Converted into Cybermen Vengeance on Varos: Peri & Areta mutated by Quillam The Mark of the Rani: Luke Ward & others stepping on the tree landmines The Two Doctors: The Second Doctor turned into an Androgum Timelash: The Borad Revelation of the Daleks: Arthur Stegnos & others turned into Daleks

Fair enough, turning people into Daleks when you've run out of Kaled Mutants to work with. But turning people into Daleks does feel rather like it's infringing on the Cybermen's copyright on adapting people so "you will become like us".

Stegnos' line "eradicate all those who polute the purity of the Dalek race" once again brings back the Nazi like Dalek hatred of all not like them. Daleks have turned on "different" Daleks before in Evil of the Daleks and this theme will be succesfully picked up in the Daleks next appearance, Remembrance of the Daleks.

Natasha destroys the Dalek containing her Father, killing him, but they are captured by Takis & Lilt. Kara is visited by Orcini & his squire Bostock, assasins who she has hired to kill Davros.
Playing Orcini is William Gaunt famed for Richard Barret in the late 1960s ITC series The Champions but probably better recognised by modern BBC viewers as Arthur Crabtree in No Place Like Home.
Kara explains that they sell a protien food which has averted famine on many planets. Davros is taking the profits from this to rebuild his Daleks. The Doctor & Peri arrived at Tranquil Repose where the Doctor explains he is worried why Stegnos has been interred here to preserve his body in the hope of a cure.
The Doctor & Peri walking toward Tranquil Repose was shot at Tangmere Aerodrome in West Sussex. It makes another appearance in episode 2.
Jobel briefs his staff in the run up to the funeral of the President's wife. Kara gives Orcini a transmitter to confirm they have found Davros' lab so she can eliminate Davros' agents in her HQ. The Doctor & Peri arrive at Tranquil Repose with Peri briefly glimpsing a patroling Dalek which she doesn't recognise.
The Dalek travelling behind the Doctor & Peri was used on the trailer for this episode.

IBM's North Harbour Building serves as the location for the Tranquil Repose exteriors

Takis & Lilt roughly interogate Natasha & Grigory for information on their colaborators. The Doctor finds a statue of himself erected to commemorate his death and as he looks at it it collapses on him.....

Love it, that's fabulously done. Yes the Doctor & Peri are somewhat disconnected from the action during this first half of the story, but they're there on Necros from the begining and there's a distinct link between them and what we see going. And yes we have another solider/mercenary (see Scott & his troopers/Lytton) that Saward seems so fond of writing. And there's machine guns and lots of other things we've moaned about in the past but this time everything just goes so well.

Eric Saward wrote this story while on holiday in Rhodes on a 6 week break between contracts. The UK writer's guild were not keen on Script Editors writing for their own shows and since two high ups in the guild, Pip & Jane Baker were involved with the show at this time...... Saward drew inspiration from Evelyn Waugh's novel The Loved One, a story about a funeral business.

Monday 27 August 2012

643 Timelash Part Two

EPISODE: Timelash Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 16 March 1985
WRITER: Glen McCoy
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Timelash

The Doctor and the rebels take over the council chamber but Maylin Tekker escapes pinning the blame on another councillor who the Borad kills. The Doctor ventures into the Timelash and retrieves a number of Contron crystals whose properties he aims to exploit to defeat the Borad. The Borad is revealed not to be the old man seen on the screen, merely a robot, but a hideously mutated scientist who was merged with a native Morlox creature. He has the captured Peri sent to the caves in the hope of repeating the experiment. The Doctor confronts the Borad who reveals his plan to mutate th entire populace but Tekker rebels against him and is killed. The Borad attacks the Doctor too but he uses the crystal to deflect the energy beam killing the Borad and Peri is rescued. However the aproaching Bandril fleet has opened fire on Karfel so the Doctor takes the Tardis into space on a suicide machine to deflect the approaching missile. The assembled people think the Doctor is killed when the missile explodes in orbit but Peri is seized by the Borad, revealing that the Borad the Doctor killed was a clone. The Doctor enrages the Borad with it's own reflection and pushes it into the Timelash where it heads for 12th century Scotlan where it will be mistaken as the Lock Ness Monster. The Doctor's stowaway Herbert wishes to stay on Karfel but the Doctor insists on taking him home revealing that he's the author Herbert George Wells.

Oh good grief that was awful! Make it stop, make it stop! Finding out for certain that it definitely was Tinsel in the Timelash is the tip of the Iceberg! And it just didn't know when to stop, there's *THREE* endings: First the Borad is defeated and killed, then we need to stop the Bandril missile and then the Borad's alive and has to be stopped again! It's almost like they realised the script was running short twice and had to tag extra endings on. (See also: Creature from the Pit) And how paranoid must the Borad be to use not one, but two decoys? No this might work as 25 minute 3 parter if you cut everything between the Borad's first and second deaths but this is a complete disaster of an episode!

Does Timelash need all the references to an unseen Third Doctor adventure? I've no problems with the Doctor name dropping he met so and so all over the place but hate the shoe horning of unseen adventures into Doctor Who: the New & Eight Doctor Adventures work far better for me than the Missing & Past Doctor adventures. So here we have a story where the Third Doctor has visited Karfel before with Jo and at least one other (Mike Yates? Sergeant Benton wandering into the Tardis with a round of Tea at the wrong moment?) having got the scientist that will become the Borad into a spot of trouble and having left behind a culture of Third Doctor worship that puts early DWAS members to shame? Lockets with pictures of Jo Grant in? Mural of the Doctor in action in the council chamber? Bunch of fanboys.... And what's the point? Just so the Doctor can know there's a mirror behind his picture, which in turn has been covered up?

The true Borad, and also the "fake mutant" Borad are played by Robert Ashby, who IMDB believe is Louise Jameson's ex husband. See previous entries, and in particular Invasion of Time & Pirate Planet for more confusion on this matter! The Borad provides this story's entry for our "Humanoid mutated into monster" list. Though I question the wisdom of making him out to be the origin of the Lock Ness Monster, since Doctor Who has already done that one, and quite memorably too! The insinuation is there that the Borad, a mutated human, and the Morlox provide the inspiration for HG Wells' depiction of the future humans in The Time Machine. It doesn't take a genius to see what's meant to provide the inspiration for the central concept in that book! I can see what they're trying to do here with the idea that travels with the Doctor may have inspired HG Wells works but it doesn't really work. The new series revisitation of the idea with Charles Dickens in The Unquiet Dead is another take on a similar theme.

Ever on "phallic item" watch, (see appearances of Alpha Centauri & The Tissue Compression Eliminator passim) my wife Liz points out that the laser used to cut through the door looks like a willy!

The line "Doctor did you get the crystals" imeadiately throws me as it sends my brain straight into Richard O'Brien and Crystal Maze mode now. We take this opportunity to refer you to The Mary Whitehouse Experience's Crystal Maze spoof Which you can find on YouTube.

So who takes the blame for this mess then? It's first and last time out for writer Glen McCoy but script editor Eric Saward should have been able to see that the three endings really didn't work. Director Pennant Roberts, making his last Who appearance, should probably be held accountable for not reigning Paul Darrow in a bit but there again if you cast Paul Darrow what do you expect?

Timelash was adapted by it's author in 1985 with the hardback appearing in December and the paperback in May 1986. It was released on video on 5th January 1998 and on DVD on 9th July 2007.

Oh thank the Lord, it's Revelation of the the Daleks tomorrow!

Sunday 26 August 2012


Phil is off on Holiday tomorrow morning and will probably be without net access for the rest of the week.

But fear not! Your daily Doctor Who blog fix should appears automatically every day at 7am at

Messers Burns & Turnbull are requested not to spam the blog to death from Thursday onwards.

Oh dear .....

..... it appears as if two of my blog readers aren't so happy with recent comments I may have made...

Stardub Podcast 2.17 – There’s Methadone in the Madness of the Sixth Doctor

642 Timelash Part One

EPISODE: Timelash Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 09 March 1985
WRITER: Glen McCoy
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Timelash

The planet Karfel is ruled over by the Borad, a leader who lives in isolation but appears to his people on a screen. He is conducting huge power consuming experiments "for the good of the people" but has revoked a treaty between Karfel and it's neighbours Bandril setting them on a course for war. The people's leader Maylin Renis is killed by the Borad for conspiring with his son in law to be Mykos. As Mykos is about to be executed in the Timelash Vortex he reveals to his wife to be Vena the importance of the Malin's pendant in the process which transfers power to the Borad and she steals it from the new Maylin, Tekker, tumbling into the Timelash. The Tardis has become trapped in the Contron Tunnel forming the Timelash and the Doctor & Peri witness an image of Vena passing through the control room. They arrive on Karfel, a planet the Doctor has visited before, where Tekker coerces the Doctor in retrieving the pendant from where it has ended up, in 19th century Scotland. While he is gone Peri becomes mixed up with Karfel's rebels and is captured by the Borad's robots. Vena has materialised in a holiday home being used by Herbert, a would be author. The Doctor finds them and she agrees to come back with him but Herbert stows away in the Tardis. Once they return to Karfel, Maylin Tekker has the amulet retrieved and the Doctor thrown into the Timelash.

Oh dear. This looks like it probably could and should have been a perfectly normal nothing special run of the mill Doctor Who episode. OK it's at the fag end of the season and there's obviously not a lot of cash going about as the tinsel inside the Timelash bears witness to. Into this Director Pennant Roberts parachutes Paul Darrow as Maylin Tekker. Now we've seen Darrow before, much earlier on in his career as Captain Hawkins in the Silurians but since then he's been Avon in Blake's 7. Now we need to bring the Third Season Blake's 7 episode City at the Edge of the World into play. You see that guest starred one Colin Baker as "Bayban the Butcher" and Baker didn't feel the need to be restrained in his performance that day. Darrow, himself not prone to understated acting now grasps the opportunity for a return visit guesting on Baker's show. Truely no actor has ever been so over the top compared to thos round him!

There's more of the Tardis being buffeted in flight and forced to land somewhere in this episode and the Borad becomes entry #9 on our "Lusting after Peri" list. At least Peri gets something decent to wear this story..... which is more than I can say for Karfel's human guards who look like Beekeepers!

I swear that's tinsel in the Timelash!

I think this episode is the first use of a gun firing a sort of sparkler type flame in Doctor Who. You will be hearing more of my hatred for these things later!

Some of the other performers in the show do have past form with us: Denis Carey, playing the Borad as seen on the TV screens should have beenProfessor Chronotis in Shada and was the Keeper in The Keeper of Traken. Dicken Ashworth, as Sezon, we recognise as Gun Sar in Blake's 7: Power (he gets to fight Paul Darrow's Avon at one stage). And we'll be seeing Dean Hollingsworth, who is the Androids, again as the Bus Conductor in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.

Saturday 25 August 2012

641 The Two Doctors Part Three

EPISODE: The Two Doctors Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 02 March 1985
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Two Doctors

Strike forces the Sixth Doctor to prime the Kartz Reimer module, brought with them from the station, with his symbiotic print. Jamie knifes Strike allowing them to escape and they are temporarily reunited with the Second Doctor before being disturbed by Shockeye returning with the unconscious Peri which he intends to kill & butcher. Chessene orders Dastari to turn the Second Doctor into an Androgum as a mate for her, using material from Shockeye who is summoned away from the kitchen allowing Peri to be rescued. The Sixth Doctor reveals he has sabotages the Kartz Reimer module by removing a vital component. Dastari lures the Sontarans into a cellar which Chessene fills with coronic acid killing Varl and severely injuring Strike. The now half Androgum Second Doctor & Shockeye awake from their operation and go to nearby Seville to dine followed by The Sixth Doctor, Peri & Jamie and then Dastari & Chessene who need to stabilise the Second Doctor's transformation. Strike tries to escape in the Kartz Reimer module but missing a vital component there is an explosion. The Second Doctor & Shockeye eat there way through the menu at the restaurant managed by Oscar but when asked to pay Shockeye knifes Oscar and flees the scene while the Second Doctor reverts to his normal self. Strike then tries to reach his ship but it is destroyed by the self destruct sequence that Varl activated previously. The Second Doctor is reunited with the Sixth Doctor, Peri & Jamie but all are captured by Dastari & Chessene and returned to the Hacienda where Jamie is taken away by Shockeye to be butchered. The Sixth Doctor, having been forced to restore the missing component to the Kartz Reimer module, escapes and saves Jamie, who goes to free the others in the cellar, while Shockeye pursues th Sixth Doctor who kills him using the cyanide from Oscar's previously abandoned butterfly collecting kit. The Second Doctor negotiates with Dastari persuading him to see sense but he is killed by Chessene. Chessene attempts to escape in the Kartz Reimer module but the component the Doctor returned was sabotaged so the module blows up killing Chessene who returns to her Androgum form. The Second Doctor summons his Tardis by remote control, much to the jealousy of the Sixth Doctor, and he & Jamie make their farewells. The Sixth Doctor resolves to turn vegetarian following their experiences.

Hurrah, the story finally wakes up and something happens! OK a big part of it is the inevitable chase showing off all the nice bits of the foreign location the crew have been to. And inevitably this season we get some distasteful stuff too with spewing green gunge as the Sontarans die, Shockeye clutching Stike's disembodied leg and the Sixth Doctor killing Shockeye. Having gained nearly an extra million viewers due to the rat controversy in the previous episode more people saw these incidents and more complaints followed....

It's all gone a little quiet on the "let's impersonate the Cyberleader" front this year but Strike goes the whole hog in this episode with an "Excellent News"!

The Second Doctor turned into an Adrogum is this story's example of someone being transformed into something else. Two more stories this season, two more transformations to come.

We mention the Location Filming: this was doctor who's fourth, and as it turned out, final trip abroad. The story had originally been intended to be set in New Orleans, USA, playing on the area's reputation for good food. However the budget couldn't be found and so the story was relocated to Seville in Spain. The Hacienda was filmed at Dehera Boyar with the nearby road used for the journey to Seville where several locations were used. Nearby Rio Guadiamar gives us the water location for the Doctor's little fishing trip in episode one. The trip was not without incident with several wigs being lost en route and a section of film having to be reshot due to a scratch having been reported when it was sent back to England. Since this involved recalling artists that had already been sent back to the UK and the original film was subsequently found to be usable producer John Nathan-Turner was rightfully not amused!

Like Caves of Androzani I don't feel as if Robert Holmes is quite firing on all cylinders here. There's some good stuff here but for the first 2 episodes it crawled along. Not a favourite.

The break between episodes 5 & 6 of the 25 minute episode version occurs as the Sixth Doctor , following the Second, struggles against the Androgum genes infecting his timeline. And yes, although this is only a 3 part story, it's a 3 part 45 minute story and thus a 6 part 25 minute story so the longest broadcast tale since Armageddon Factor in 1979. We'll be arguing over if it's the longest story after the Fourth Doctor's reign finished in a few days time.

Two more onto the "lusting after Peri" list. First (#7) is Shockeye although technically he wants to eat her rather than have his wicked way! There's no such doubt about Jamie (#8) however, but there again Jamie was always a bit of ladies Scotsman anyway showing an interest in all three of his female travelling companions and several others during his stay in the Tardis.

Farewell then to Patrick Troughton & Frazer Hines. Hines is still going strong today but Patrick Troughton passed away while attending a Doctor Who convention in the USA 28th March 1987. He had had a history of heart problems and it was a heart attack that killed him in the end, with him being found in his hotel room still wearing his Doctor Who costume. It's also goodbye to director Peter Moffatt who'd helmed 6 Doctor Who stories from his debut on The State of Decay in 1980 through to this story.

The Two Doctors was the first, and in the event, ONLY story adapted for Target Books by Robert Holmes where it was issued as their 100th book. A special cover highlighting this with a big First Edition mark was printed and to this day I have only ever seen covers marked second edition. It was released on video in November 1993 and on DVD in September 2003.

Friday 24 August 2012

640 The Two Doctors Part Two

EPISODE: The Two Doctors Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 23 February 1985
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Two Doctors

Peri knocks out her attacker and frees the Sixth Doctor who unmasks the hooded figure as his old companion Jamie McCrimmon. Under hypnosis Jamie gives an account of how the station was attacked and he saw his Doctor die. The Sixth Doctor discovers an image projector in Dastari's office which produces an image of the Second Doctor in great pain. Reasoning his former self is still alive the Sixth Doctor makes contact with the Second telepathically and hears the sound of the bells in Seville Cathedral at a distance. The Sixth Doctor, Peri & Jamie leave for Spain where they meet Oscar & Anita who saw Stike's ship believing it to be a plane crashing. The Second Doctor is being held in the cellar of an old hacienda where Dastari, in league with his creation Chessene and the Sontarans, intends to isolate symbiotic nuclei of a Time Lord that gives them the molecular stability to travel through time and give this to the Sontarans. Peri is sent to create a diversion by knocking on the door and posing as a tour guide while the Sixth Doctor & Jamie gain access through a secret passage from the Hacienda's Ice House that Anita knows of from her childhood. But once in the cellar the Doctor & Jamie are discovered by the Sontarans Group Marshall Stike & Major Varl while Peri is captured by Shockeye, still seeking his first Tellurian to eat.

This is moving at a glacial pace! Yes Holmes' script, a commentary on Meat Eating, is fabulous in it's wordiness but virtually nothing is happening, there's no pace or life to it. This middle episode has little Troughton in it and by the time we're at the end he's still not met his later incarnation. You have to wonder about the wisdom of using The Sontarans as the villains in this story. Yes, they're Holmes' creations but their very first appearance in 1973 involved them using Time Travel so, despite nasty techonbabble explanations here, their inclusion seems odd. Also it's the second story this season, after Attack of the Cybermen, which involves an old Doctor Who Monster trying to get Time Travel!

I've been mentioning the increased level of violence and horror over the last two seasons as we've gone through but it's here that the program *really* got into trouble as Shockeye bites into a rat he finds in the cellar to see what it tastes like. The scene was filmed using a rat skin round, if I recall correctly, a plum. Viewers were outraged that this was shown at Saturday tea times and complained in their droves.

The break between episodes 3 & 4 of the 25 minute versions of this episode occurs as Anita leads the Doctor to the Hacienda.

Earlier on in the evening that this story was broadcast Jim'll Fix It broadcast a segment featuring a young viewer who wanted to be in Doctor Who. This mini story featured Colin Baker as the Doctor and, oddly, Janet Fielding as Tegan with the viewer, one Gareth Jenkins, fighting the Sontarans in the Tardis. It's on the The Two Doctors DVD but trust me, you don't want to watch it!

Over the weekend this episode went out rumours started circulating amongst Doctor Who fans that the show had been cancelled by the BBC. Reports ran in the newspapers that week about the story leading the BBC to put out a statement saying that they were going to "rest" the program for 18 months bringing it back in September 1986 for 14 episodes, one more than this season, but at the shorter 25 minute format it used to be produced in. Plans for the next season were already quite well advanced and had to be abandoned to get round the change in format.

Over the next few years it became very obvious that the BBC in general and Michael Grade, then the controller of BBC1 and Director of Programmes from 1986, had it in for Doctor Who. I can well believe that Doctor Who may have been effectively cancelled by the BBC, who were looking to save money in the wake of the expensive set up of East Enders and a program that BBC1's controller disliked is an obvious target. In 1984 & 1985 the Autumn Saturday night slot had been taken up by The Tripods which failed to return for it's planned 3rd series in 1986. Joining the dots up I suspect that Doctor Who was cancelled and then, to pay for it's resurrection and to give it a timeslot, the third series of the Tripods was forced to make way for it. We will never know for sure....

In the wake of the cancellation/hiatus announcements strong fan campaigns were conducted including the release of a charity protest single Doctor in Distress masterminded by fan and record producer Ian Levine. It's not the greatest work Levine has been involved with, and indeed many Doctor Who fans would be surprised to discover he has had a successful career in the music industry!

For a complete time line of the events surrounding the cancellation read Doctor Who: The Handbook.

Thursday 23 August 2012

639 The Two Doctors Part One

EPISODE: The Two Doctors Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 16 February 1985
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Two Doctors

The Second Doctor & Jamie go to Space Station Chimera in the Third Zone to visit the Doctor's old friend Dastari to complain on behalf of the Time Lords about the Time Travel experiments his Professors Karts & Reimer are conducting. While they are there the space station is attacked by Sontarans, helped by Dastari's assistant the genetically enhanced Androgum Chessene. Jamie flees at the Doctor's urging but the Doctor is shot by the invaders. The Androgum Chef, Shockeye, has developed a desire to taste human flesh so to indulge him Chessene decides they will hide out on Earth. Following a failed fishing trip the Sixth Doctor collapses. On Peri's suggestion he decides to see a Doctor and so he goes to see Dastari, finding the station deserted and damaged. The station's computer attempts to kill them as intruders so they escape into the ducting allowing the Doctor to deactivate the computer's offensive systems. While he works Peri explores and is stalked by a hooded figure but when she summons help the Doctor falls and is left dangling from cables.

Leisurely is probably the best word to describe this episode. You could probably with a bit of work cut this down to the old 25 minute slot, albeit at the expense of some of Robert Holmes script, filled with some great dialogue, especially for John Stratton's Shockeye of the Quawncing Grig. Patrick Troughton & Frazer Hines as The Second Doctor & Jamie McCrimmon pick up like they've never left....

... which brings us to something of a problem. The Second Doctor & Jamie mention having dropped Victoria off & intend to collect her again, which kind of indicates that we're in Troughton's second season - Victoria featured in Evil of the Daleks, The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Abominable Snowmen, The Ice Warriors, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear & Fury from the Deep. And yet in this time the Doctor never mentions his people, and never names them as the Time Lords till the War Games. He'd certainly not be galloping off on a mission for them indeed the War Games indicates they're still very much looking for him. Throw in that we have a clearly older Second Doctor & Jamie here and we're in trouble somewhat. The solution to this is the previously alluded to Season 6B theory. The theory runs that in order to account for all of Troughton's post War Games appearances, his ability to steer the Tardis, his recall of Jamie & Zoe having their memory wiped (both in the Five Doctors), and his serving of the Time Lords he must have had adventures after the War Games. So following his disappearance at the end of that story he finds himself in the employ of the Time Lords, possibly the Celestial Intervention Agency mentioned in The Deadly Assassin, recovers his old companions, restores Jamie's memories and continues to have adventures until at some point, having parted company with Jamie & Victoria again, sentence is reimposed and he is forced to regenerate and return to Earth. Having had his memory wiped by the Time Lords he remembers nothing of this. Personally I don't like the theory, but it fits the facts and has worked it's way into the BBC Doctor Who Past Doctor adventures where Terrance Dicks has used it in three of his books: Players, Endgame & World Game.

When this episode was cut into two twenty five minute episodes for overseas audiences the break occurred when Peri collapses on the space station.

Robert Holmes once again uses his name, Tellurians, in this story which previously cropped up in Carnival of Monsters and at least one other story that he wrote. Finally it's confirmed that a Tellurians is indeed human.

Two of the cast are known to us from previous Doctor Who stories. Laurence Payne appears as Dastari and, uncredited, as the Space Station Computer voice. He was previously Johnny Ringo in The Gunfighters and, briefly, Morix in The Leisure Hive. Clinton Greyn plays Stike here but was previously Ivo in State of Decay. James Saxon as Oscar Botcherby, the botanist/actor/restaurant owner who, with his Spanish girlfriend Anita, sees Stike's ship land was a regular face on television as his imdb entry shows, including playing Darcy De Farcy, Roland Rat's agent. But by far the most recognisable face in the entire production was in fact a late replacement as another actress. Originally cast as Chessene of the Franzine Grig was Elizabeth Spriggs. The role was recast at a late stage when Spriggs refused to attend the location rehearsals with Jacqueline Pearce appearing in the finished production. Pearce is best known as the Blake's 7 villain Servalan and indeed her performance here is more than slightly reminiscent of that earlier role. So today we'll take a look at Doctor Who personnel involved in the Fourth season of Blake's 7. Producer David Maloney (Doctor Who director on many stories) has departed the Producer's chair but script editor Chris Boucher (writer of Face of Evil, Robots of Death & Image of the Fendahl) remains in place. Also returning in the cast are Paul Darrow as Avon (Captain Hawkins in the Silurians and Tekker in the next story Timelash), Michael Keating as Villa (Goudry in the Sunmakers), Peter Tuddenham as Orac & the new ship's computer Slave and Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan.

EPISODE: D1 Rescue

DIRECTED BY: Mary Ridge - directed Terminus
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 28/09/1981

No Doctor Who cast involved.


BROADCAST ON: 05/10/1981

Dicken Ashworth (Gunn Sar) Sezom in Timelash

EPISODE: D3 Traitor

DIRECTED BY: David Sullivan Proudfoot
WRITTEN BY: Robert Holmes Writer & script editor
BROADCAST ON: 12/10/1981

Christopher Neame (Colonel Quute) Skagra in Shada

EPISODE: D4 Stardrive

DIRECTED BY: David Sullivan Proudfoot
WRITTEN BY: James Follett
BROADCAST ON: 19/10/1981

Barbara Shelley (Dr. Plaxton) Sorasta in Planet of Fire

EPISODE: D5 Animals

WRITTEN BY: Allan Prior
BROADCAST ON: 26/10/1981

Kevin Stoney (Ardus) Mavic Chen in the Dalek Masterplan, Tobias Vaughn in The Invasion and Tyrum in Revenge of the Cybermen
Max Harvey (Borr) Cardinal Zorac in Arc of Infinity
William Lindsay (Captain) Zargo in State of Decay

EPISODE: D6 Headhunter

WRITTEN BY: Roger Parkes
BROADCAST ON: 02/11/1981

Lynda Bellingham (Vena) The Inquisitor in Trial of a Timelord

EPISODE: D7 Assassin

DIRECTED BY: David Sullivan Proudfoot,Vere Lorrimer (uncredited)
WRITTEN BY: Rod Beacham
BROADCAST ON: 09/11/1981

Richard Hurndall (Nebrox) The First Doctor in The Five Doctors
Adam Blackwood (Tok) Balzar in Trial of a Timelord 1-4


DIRECTED BY: Vivienne Cozens
WRITTEN BY: Bill Lyons
BROADCAST ON: 16/11/1981

Stratford Johns (Belkov) Monarch in Four to Doomsday
David Neal (Gerren) President in Caves of Androzani


DIRECTED BY: Vivienne Cozens
WRITTEN BY: Tanith Lee
BROADCAST ON: 23/11/1981

Stephen Yardley (Reeve) Sevrin in Genesis of the Daleks, Arak in Vengeance on Varos
Daniel Hill (Chasgo) Chris Parsons in Shada
Peter Craze (Servalan's assistant) Dako in the Space Museum, Du Pont in the War Games & Costa in Nightmare of Eden. Brother of Michael Craze (Ben Jackson)
Michael Gaunt wasn't in Doctor Who but lets just say he has "An Interesting CV".


DIRECTED BY: Brian Lighthill
WRITTEN BY: Colin Davis
BROADCAST ON: 30/11/1981

No Doctor Who cast involved.

EPISODE: D11 Orbit

DIRECTED BY: Brian Lighthill
WRITTEN BY: Robert Holmes
BROADCAST ON: 07/12/1981

John Savident (Egrorian) The Squire in The Visitation

EPISODE: D12 Warlord

DIRECTED BY: Viktors Ritelis
WRITTEN BY: Simon Masters
BROADCAST ON: 14/12/1981

Roy Boyd (Zukan) Driscoll in Hand of Fear
Rick James (Chalsa) Cotton in The Mutants
Charles Augins (Lod) Queeg & Choreographer on Red Dwarf

EPISODE: D13 Blake

WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 21/12/1981

David Collings (Deva) Vorus in Revenge of the Cybermen, Mawdryn in the Mawdryn Undead and Poul in The Robots of Death. Silver in Saphire & Steel
Janet Lees Price (Klyn) wife of actor Paul Darrow who plays Avon

Wednesday 22 August 2012

638 The Mark of the Rani Part Two

EPISODE: The Mark of the Rani Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 09 February 1985
WRITER: Pip & Jane Baker
DIRECTOR: Sarah Hellings
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani

The Doctor is saved by the arrival of George Stephenson. Stephenson sends his apprentice Luke to cancel the meeting but he is intercepted by the Master. The Master proposes taking control of the visiting geniuses to the Rani. The Doctor returns to the Rani's bath house and finds her Tardis, defeating her mustard gas spraying booby trap to gain entry. Her Tardis dematerialises under remote control with the doctor within and moves to the pit where the Master & Rani await. While he hides she fetches some equipment from her Tardis but when she leaves the Doctor engages in a little sabotage. Peri is taken to Ravensworth and they start to search for the Doctor. She finds the Doctor and they seek out Stephenson. The Rani plants landmines in the woods and sends a message for Stephenson luring the Doctor into the woods. Peri & Luke go to fetch herbs to make a sleeping draught for the infected miners. The Doctor corners the Master and Rani as Luke accidentally triggers a mine turning him into a tree. Peri is grabbed by Luke's tree to stop her treading on the landmines and the Doctor forces the Rani to rescue her from the minefield. The Doctor is cornered in the minefield trying to stop miners from being killed while Peri take the Master & Rani back to the tunnels. The Doctor is trussed up by the miners and carried away on a pole but his carriers tread on mines and are transformed into trees. The Rani & Master escape from Peri while the Doctor frees himself from his bindings. He returns to the caves for Peri and pursues his foes but the Master causes a cave in allowing them to escape to the Rani's Tardis which dematerialises. The Doctor's interference causes her Tardis leave at speed for the outer reaches of the Universe and during the turbulent flight on of the Rani's Tyrannosaurus embryos is knocked out of the stasis field holding it and begins to grow.... The Doctor & Peri return to Killingworth where Ravensworth & Stephenson have retrieved the Tardis for him. He astonishes them by entering the Tardis with Peri and then making it dematerialise in front of them.

You're gonna talk about the fake tree Phil aren't you? Well actually it's not too bad.... except when it grabs Peri and tries to grope her (#6 on the list!) The main problem is that the episode is just very slow, with not a lot happening and, bar the minefield, not a lot of danger going on. It's as if the story goes to sleep in the second half which is a shame because the first was rather promising. I do love the Rani's Tardis set, it's rather a splendid piece of work and it's a shame we never see it again.

Returning for these episodes is Anthony Ainley as The Master, last seen been burnt to death in Planet of Fire. Quite how he escaped is never confirmed. Making her Doctor Who debut here is actress Kate O'Mara as The Rani. She'd been in the acting profession for far longer than I thought.... Some years ago now I can remember watching an episode of The Saint, spotting a young woman who I thought looked nice and being astonished to see in the credits it was a young Kate O'Mara (she was in it three times as different characters so I can't say which one it was!) She had appeared in The Brothers with Colin Baker before infamy struck thanks to a spot of topless sun bathing on the deck of a North Sea ferry in the opening episode of Triangle. She'll be back for Time & The Rani, the first story for the Seventh Doctor, but in between she spent some time in America playing Caress Morrell, Alexis' sister, in Dynasty and later joined the cast of the BBC's Howards' Way just before the death of the series star Maurice Colbourne, Lytton in Resurrection of the Daleks & Attack of the Cybermen. O'Mara's second husband was Richard Willis who, as well as being nearly 20 years younger than her was Varsh in Full Circle. Her younger sister is actress Belinda Carroll who was married to Simon Williams (Group Captain Gilmore in Remembrance of the Daleks) and then married Michael Cochrane (Charles Cranleigh in Black Orchid and later as Redvers Fenn-Cooper in Ghost Light) Cochrane's brother is Martin Cochrane (General Chellak in Caves of Androzani) so Kate O'Mara may be related to more Doctor Who guest stars than any one else!

Terence Alexander, playing Lord Ravensworth was then a very well known face on the BBC from several years playing Charlie Hungerford in Bergerac. George Stephenson is generally credited as being the only historical figure in this story but Lord Ravensworth is a known historical figure, Thomas Liddell, 1st Baron Ravensworth. Since Stephenson doesn't appear till the second episode this makes Ravensworth the first historical figure to appear in Doctor Who since the Gunfighters. George Stephenson himself only appears in this episode and is played by Gawn Grainger, the husband of Zoe Wanamaker who plays Lady Cassandra in The End of the World & New Earth in the revived version of Doctor Who. Playing a guard is Richard Steele who was Gorton in The War Games and Sergeant Hart in the Silurians. Peter Childs, playing Jack Ward, is a very familiar figure to TV audiences from the 70s - check his CV for details!

The landmines in the woods sequence in the only location filming in this story not performed at Ironbridge in Shropshire. Instead the sequence is filmed at Park Wood, in Ruislip, a lot closer to Doctor Who's London base.

Mark of the Rani was novelised by the story's authors and released in 1986. It was released on video in July 1995 and on DVD in September 2006.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

637 The Mark of the Rani Part One

EPISODE: The Mark of the Rani Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 02 February 1985
WRITER: Pip & Jane Baker
DIRECTOR: Sarah Hellings
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Mark of the Rani

In the village of Killingworth miners emerge from their shift and go to the bath house where they are gassed. The Tardis is dragged off course by a distortion caused by another time machine and lands near Killingworth instead of Kew Gardens as the miners awake and turn violently on each other and their fellows, damaging machinery meant for the pit. The Doctor stops to help an attacked man and notices one of the miners has a strange mark on his neck. The Doctor learns that George Stephenson is nearby and goes to find him, but they are observed by a scarecrow that has left it's post and is following them. More miners come to the bath house and are admitted by the old woman that runs it. The Scarecrow arrives and sheds his disguise revealing himself as the Master. The Doctor is refused entry to the pit and learns that a gathering of scientific geniuses of the age is being organised there. The Doctor & Peri are caught with more aggressive miners but are saved by pit owner Lord Ravensworth. Ravensworth tells them of sudden aggression and attacks from his miners. In a secret room behind the bathhouse the old woman attaches futuristic equipment to two prone miners when the Master intrudes on the scene exposing the woman as the Time Lady The Rani. She is harvesting a chemical from the human brain which as a side effect makes the subject violent. The Master coerces her to work with him telling her the Doctor will spoil her scheme. The Doctor discovers that the men went to the bathhouse and disguises himself to visit it. He is gassed with the other visitors. The Master coerces miners into seizing the Doctor's Tardis for him and taking it down the pit. The Doctor awakens and recognises the Rani. She leaves him guarded in the bath house and Peri comes to rescue him but is apprehended by The Rani & The Master. The Doctor is taken outside while tied to a trolley as the Miners approach with the Tardis which they tip down the pit. The trolley the Doctor is on runs away out of control, but is grabbed by miners who propel it towards the open pit shaft.....

That's not a bad episode of Doctor Who and certainly the most traditional Doctor Who episode for sometime. Ok the Tardis is dragged off course again which is starting to really annoy me now but ...... There's nothing wrong with that that getting rid of Peri's awful yellow top won't fix!

Writers Pip & Jane Baker were a husband & wife team new to Doctor Who but with an extensive television writing CV between them. They were heavily involved in the writer's guild at the time and their presence around the Doctor Who office may help to explain why Attack of the Cybermen went out under a pseudonym then Revelation of the Daleks was written in a break in Script Editor Eric Saward's contract. Director Sarah Hellings, on her first and only Doctor Who outing, chose to film most of the location sequences for this story in Ironbridge in Shropshire, a historic location with preserved buildings matching the style the story required. An error made by the BBC gave them 2 weeks location filming rather than one so quite a bit of this story ends up filmed outdoors.

The sequence where the Doctor smears mud on his face didn't go quite as planned. Fuller's Earth was provided for Colin Baker to stick his hands in and rub over his face. Unfortunately between it being laid and filming taking place a local dog decided to relieve itself on the nice clean soil and ....

Monday 20 August 2012

636 Vengeance on Varos Part Two

EPISODE: Vengeance on Varos Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 26 January 1985
WRITER: Philip Martin
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Vengeance on Varos

The Doctor's body is taken to the acid bath to be disposed of while Peri is interrogated by the governor. The Doctor recovers and escapes but is recaptured by the scientist Quillam. Jondar & The Doctor are taken for execution while Peri & Areta are taken to be used for reshaping experiments. The Doctor stalls his execution by accusing Sil & the Galatron mining corporation of extorting from the people of Varos. The Doctor demands Peri & Areta be released but Peri is turning into a bird creature while Areta turns into a reptile as Sil takes enjoyment in their transformation. Quillam tells the Doctor & Governor that it's too late to reverse the process but the Doctor siezes a gun destroying the equipment controlling the experiment & the punishment dome and they return to normal as the Doctor & Jondar rush to rescue them. They escape into the punishment dome but Peri is separated from the others, recaptured and taken to the Governor but the Chief Officer, in league with Sil, takes control. He forces the Governor to make a broadcast expecting him to be killed by the viewers vote but the guard Maldak is swayed by his words and frees him helping him & Peri to find the Doctor. The Doctor, Jondar & Areta are pursued through the punishment zone by the Chief Officer & Quillam but the Doctor lures them into a trap where they are killed by deadly vines. Sil summons help from his home planet of Thoros Beta as he assumes control, but the authorities there cancel the invasion due to the discovery of ore elsewhere and order Sil to pay the Varosians whatever they ask for, solving all of Varos' financial woes at once. The Governor supplies the Doctor with Zeitron 7 he needs and he takes his leave as the Governor broadcasts to his people telling them of an end to the torture and executions.

That left me absolutely cold that did, couldn't engage with it at all. Escape get captured, escape again.... wander through corridors, throw in a splash of horror and have the Doctor set a trap luring someone to their death? Bad Doctor Who, done by the numbers with a bit of distasteful stuff added.

Sil letches over Peri in this episode as she is transformed so he gets added to the list of "people lusting over Peri" at #5. And Peri & Areta's transformation into creatures makes them this story's representatives on the "people turned into monsters" list. Jondar's rescue of these two marks the break between episodes 3 & 4 of the four part version.

I'm not having a lot of luck with director Ron Jones stories. Time Flight, Arc of Infinity, Frontios and this have all not really done it for me, with Frontios being the best of the pile. Given that I liked other works by the authors of the first three we must start to wonder about his direction. EDIT: He also did Black Orchid which I did like!

Vengeance on Varos is the first Doctor Who story written by Philip Martin, already a successful screenwriter by this point. His main claim to fame was writing the series Gangsters, starring Resurrection of the Daleks/Attack of the Cybermen's Maurice Colbourne. There is some indication that the series is a fave of Script Editor Eric Saward.....

Martin novelised his own script for Target books but it was massively late. Scheduled as book 106, between Timelash & Mark of the Rani for a Jan(HB)/June(PB) 1986 release it eventually emerged in June 1988 between books 128 Time & The Rani & 129 The Underwater Menace. It was released on video in May 1993 and was the first Sixth Doctor story released on DVD on the 15th October 2001. Unfortunately a fault means that the production subtitles disappear in episode 2 which has resulted in Vengeance on Varos being developed as a Revisitation release, due out 10th September 2012.

Sunday 19 August 2012

635 Vengeance on Varos Part One

EPISODE: Vengeance on Varos Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 19 January 1985
WRITER: Philip Martin
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Vengeance on Varos

The Tardis is forced to land on Varos to find the mineral Zeitron 7 which the Doctor needs to make repairs. Sil, the representative of the Galatron Mining Corporation, is negotiating with Varos' Governor for the price of Zeitron 7. Prisoners are routinely tortured & killed on television for the entertainment of the populace. The Tardis' arrival interrupts the execution of the rebel Jondar. The Doctor & Peri rescue him, fleeing into the Punishment Zone where they are saved by Jondar's rebel wife Areta and his friend Rondel. Rondel is killed by guards and the others are forced into the hallucination inducing purple zone which the Doctor guides them through. They find the Tardis gone, removed by the Varos authorities who try unsuccessfully to enter it. The Doctor is separated from the others who are captured. The Doctor is trapped in the purple zone where he's subjected to an intense hallucination of a dessert where he collapses to the floor seemingly dead.

I've seen it suggested that Vengeance on Varos is a commentary on video nasties and excessive violence/horror on television. Well if it is, and I think that message is in there, maybe they could have done it without making something that's too violent and horrific for television. Scenes of the rebel leader Jondar being tortured, descriptions of how the authorities could kill someone, the Governor's post vote suffering and even Peri getting slapped about by a guard aren't really suitable for television at that of night and make it grim viewing even now. And yet .... watch the scenes of the populace voting for or against the Governor, think "Press the red button now" and certain bit of this become eerily prophetic in terms of interactive TV and trial by media.

Oh dear it's the first appearance of the golf cart buggy on a human colony. I hate those things, lazy shorthand for "we can't afford to build a bigger tunnel to put a real vehicle in which we can't afford either". They'll be a few more of these before we're done.

The Doctor & Peri are curiously absent from most of the action, with the Tardis only appearing on Varos halfway through. Why all the mucking about with the Tardis needing the Zeitron? Have them materialise and get caught up in events as the Doctor usually does. In fact the Tardis being forced to land somewhere/the occupants getting thrown around is becoming a common occurrence recently. See also Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Five Doctors, Warriors of the Deep, Frontios, Resurrection of the Daleks and Attack of the Cybermen!

Peri outfit watch: she's wearing exactly the same as she had on in Attack of the Cybermen 1 except in blue rather than pink. Still horribly impractical but a gift for the toymakers now who only have to produce one figure mold and repaint it.

I missed this episode on first broadcast: some church youth meeting I think. It's the only Colin Baker episode I didn't see on transmission.

The Governor Martin Jarvis should need no introduction. He was the Menoptera Hilio in The Web Planet and Butler in Invasion of the Dinosaurs. We've seen Stephen Yardley, playing Arak the male viewer watching Varos' broadcasts at home before. He was Sevrin in Genesis of the Daleks as well as playing Investigator Reeve in the Blake's 7 season 4 episode Sand. No I've not forgotten about the Blake's 7 season 4 cast guide, it'll be along in four days time! Yardley was about to find fame as Ken Masters in Howard's Way, alongside Resurrection of the Daleks/Attack of the Cybermen's Maurice Colbourne.

The rebel Jondar is played by Jason Connery, the son of Sean. The following year he'd find fame as the second Robin Hood in Robin of Sherwood. Another young actor in the production is Owen Teale playing the guard Maldak. Now a well known face on TV he played Evan Sherman in Torchwood: Countrycide. Part 1 of the four part version ends as Maldak approaches the Tardis.

New villain Sil is played by disabled actor Nabil Shaban. He'll be back in The Trial of a Timelord in episode 5-8: Mindwarp.