Friday 21 September 2012

668 Delta and the Bannermen Part One

EPISODE: Delta and the Bannermen Part One
TRANSMITTED: Monday 02 November 1987
WRITER: Malcolm Kohll
DIRECTOR: Chris Clough
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Delta and the Bannermen

The ruthless Bannermen have murdered all the Chimeron people with just their princess, Delta, escaping with one unhatched egg. The Tardis materialises at toll port G715 where the Tollmaster informs the Doctor & Mel that they are the ten billionth customer and awards them a place on a Navarino holiday trip to Disneyland Earth in the 1950s. Mel goes in the Navarino Spaceship, disguised as a coach, and Delta joins the travel party little knowing there is a bounty hunter aboard who reports her to the Bannermen. The Doctor follows the coach in the Tardis and saves the coach when it is hit by a newly launched American satellite. Two US agents are monitoring the satellite in Wales. The Tardis lands the coach at a nearby holiday camp where the Navarinos are admitted, the camp host mistaking them for a missing tour party. The Doctor offers to grow a replacement crystal to fix the damaged coach engine. The Bannermen arrive at the toll post tracking Delta and kill the Tollmaster. Camp mechanic Billy falls for Delta, singing her a romantic song at the dance, and upsets his supposed girlfriend Rachel. While Mel talks to Delta the egg starts to hatch and as the Doctor comforts Rachel they are trapped by the Bounty Hunter....

I really didn't like Delta & The Bannermen first time out and on the rare occasions I've seen it since. But this episode worked for me, nothing wrong with it at all. Not even the stunt casting of Ken Dodd as the Tollmaster spoils it, and Ken actually puts in a reasonable performance.

I need to sneak this fact in and can't think of any other way to do it: in 1989 Ken Dodd was prosecuted for Tax Evasion by Brian Leveson QC, now Lord Justice Leveson and chair of The Leveson Inquiry, a public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press following the News International phone hacking scandal!

Yes, those are the Earthshock trooper helmets you see the Bannermen wearing, last seen in Trial of a Timelord 1-4. And yup, that's the first appearance of the question mark handle umbrella, reportedly requested by Sylvester McCoy himself. The dog that appears in this episode with the camp manager Burton is Pepsi, owned by the producer John Nathan-Turner. This wasn't her first television appearance and she was already familiar to Doctor Who fans from the book A Day With A Television Producer.

The band in this episode bear a little looking at. The guitarist is this series regular composer Keff McCulloch. He's the second composer for the series to appear in the show after Dudley Simpson portrayed the conductor in the theatre in Talons of Weng Chiang. Keff's girlfriend (and later wife) is one of the backing singers. Which one it is the Internet is unhelpfully not telling me but fortunately the production subtitles confirm that it's Tracey Wilson. Her sister Jodie Wilson plays the other singer and later becomes the fourth and latest Mrs Des O'Connor! I've seen it claimed that the Wilson sisters are the daughter of Delores Whiteman, who played Aunt Vanessa in Logopolis. However the only thing I can find to support this outside of the forum where I saw the claim was made is in Wikipedia's Australian contributions to Doctor Who article. Since it says "Dolores' daughter played one of the Lorrells in Delta and the Bannermen" and the women here are sisters, so therefore she's got to be the mother of *both* of them, I'm taking this with a pinch of salt!

The band isn't the only musical connection to the episode. Keillor the bounty hunter is played by Brian Hibbard who was the lead singer of The Flying Pickets, who's members had previous included Christopher Ryan, Kiv from Trial of a Timelord 5-8 (Mindwarp).

Making his only appearance in this story is Tim Scott as Chima, one of the last surviving Chimerons. He would reappear in The Happiness Patrol, directed by the same director, as the Forum Doorman.

All of this story was filmed on location, apart from the Tardis scenes which were filmed during Dragonfire. In these later seasons of Doctor Who the two 3-part stories will share production crew with one being made on location and another entirely in the studio. Even the scenes in the Bannerman spaceships were filmed in a set constructed on location. We'll cover the bulk of the locations used later in the story but for the shots of the overrun Chimeron homeworld at the start of this episode we return to Springwell Quarry, previously seen as Omega's realm in the Three Doctors, the cave entrance in Earthshock and the surface of Titan Three in the Twin Dilemma! The tollport was filmed at British Tissues Hangar which now forms part of Llandow Trading Estate.

No comments:

Post a Comment