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.

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