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Galaxy Four

The Drahvins and Rills

Stuck on a dying planet

But who will escape.

Here we are at the start of the third season and at the start of a run of lost stories. Until recently, only six minutes of footage from episode 1 existed but episode 3 has been discovered [click here for details]. The soundtrack of this story does exist and has Peter Purves (Steven Taylor in this story) providing linking narration.

This story concerns two races of beings who have crash landed on a planet that is on the brink of destruction. On arrival, the Doctor, Vicki and Steven are accosted by a robot that Vicki christens a “Chumbley”. They are “rescued” from the robot by one of the races, the Drahvins, blonde haired women who are determined to take the other race’s, the Rills, spaceship by force. The Rills have managed to repair their ship but lack the fuel needed to take off.

During the course of the story, it comes to light that the destruction of the planet will occur a lot sooner than the Drahvins have calculated and also that the robot Chumblies are robot servants for the Rills, a peaceful ammonia breathing race who are more than prepared to offer space on their ship for the Drahvins.

The Doctor attempts to help the Rills and rescue Steven, who is a hostage on the Drahvin spaceship. Can he do this before the planet explodes…?

This story could be seen as the first (but not the last in this season) “high concept” science fiction story with many of the previous stories being adventure stories set on another planet whereas his has the central message of “don’t judge by appearances” at its core. Doctor Who was growing up…

  1. Four Hundred Dawns
  2. Trap Of Steel
  3. Airlock
  4. The Exploding Planet

 

Season Two Recap

Season two has brought

The return of the Daleks

And a few farewells

Season Two Recap

My quest took a little side step at the start of this season but let’s have a recap anyway;

The Stories:

Planet of Giants (coming August 2012 to DVD)

The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Rescue

The Romans

The Web Planet

The Crusade

The Space Museum

The Chase

The Time Meddler

39 weeks in length

Cast

William Hartnell

Carole Ann Ford

Jacqueline Hill

William Russell

Maureen O’Brien

Peter Purves

Season two may be 3 weeks shorter than season one but a 39 week schedule is still very tiring and season two saw a number of changes.

First of all was a returning monster; the Daleks making not one but two reappearences (and that’s not including the Dalek exhibit seen in the Space Museum).

Another change in this season happened to coincide with the return of the angry pepper pots, the departure of one, or more, of the TARDIS crew. Susan was the first to leave; because of love (although it was the Doctor who locked Susan out of the TARDIS). Susan was replaced in the subsequent story, The Rescue, which saw Vicki join the crew.

Vicki’s first story as a crew member saw her visiting the past, which is also where, as you may remember,  Ian and Barbara went on their first trip in the TARDIS.

The next story was an experimental story that just about worked but has to be celebrated purely for the attempt made to create a world populated by giant insects. Then it was another trip to the past followed by a story that didn’t live up to the potential of the first episode and then the return of the Daleks.

It may be interesting to note that the Daleks are the ONLY returning monsters/characters this year.  Their second appearance of the season saw them looking to hunt down the Doctor and chased him through time using technology that would later be used to return Ian and Barbara to 1960’s Earth. This time, when two left, only one joined, space pilot Steven Taylor.

Once again the new crew member’s first adventure as a crew member was into the past but this time it was a very different style of historical adventure, not only was it the finale of the second season but was the sign of a new direction for Doctor Who as it changed from an Adventure Serial that dipped its toes in sci-fi into a more overtly Science Fiction serial.

Unfortunately, it is also the beginning of the large quantity for missing episodes. So far, only 3 stories have been missing from the first two season but over the next three seasons, only four stories exist in their entirety.

And so, as we journey into season 3, we should pause and thank those viewers who recorded the episodes off air onto audio tape and thank the audio technicians, especially Mark Ayres for the restoration work done so that we may enjoy these lost episodes.

Onto Season 3…

The Time Meddler

It’s 1066

Yet there is a gramophone

And a Meddling Monk

[Caution, contains spoilers]

Barbara and Ian have left and it’s just the Doctor and Vicki in the TARDIS…or is it?

Having escaped Mechanus after defeating the Daleks, Vicki and the Doctor have said their farewells and waved goodbye to Ian and Barbara so who wandering about the TARDIS.

This historical story is a sign of things to come with the historical stories. The first episode finds a dishevelled Steven Taylor hiding in the TARDIS. After he has been tidied up, the Doctor and companions leave and look about. The Doctor guesses at the era and guesses on 11th century Earth. Steven doesn’t believe him, even after the Doctor finds a horned Viking helmet (“What do you think it is? a space helmet for a cow?”).

The Doctor decides to take a leisurely route up the cliff from the beach where the TARDIS has landed and is separated from Vicki and Steven. Steven is still doubtful, especially when he finds a wristwatch that does not belong in the time period and the viewers will also find this odd and disorienting. This story is most unlike anything that has gone before. Has the Doctor got it wrong?

The end of episode three reveals the truth not only about the Monk but about the Doctor, the Monk has a TARDIS. This is the first time that the Doctor has met one of his own kind (other than Susan of course). The Monk is also an interesting character as he isn’t evil and out for destruction but can be best described as a rascal, wanting to change aspects of history.

Again, this shows the inherent weakness for historical stories in that our (the viewer) history cannot be altered but when the story is written as well as this one, I found that this element doesn’t detract from the overall story.

This story also brings season two to a conclusion and as the titles roll at the end of the final episode, the Doctor, Vicki and Steven appear gazing at the stars.

Doctor Who was changing…

 

  1. The Watcher
  2. The Meddling Monk
  3. A Battle Of Wits
  4. Checkmate

 

The Chase

The Daleks return

To chase the TARDIS through time

Another farewell

The Doctor has taken a space visualiser from the space museum (the previous story, click here for more) and watches a few moments from history, including an appearance of The Beatles. The crew then land on a planet that resembles Tatooine from the Star Wars universe (although not as vast). Vicki and Ian go wandering off while the Doctor and Barbara soak up some rays from the multiple suns.  A sound emanating from the TARDIS  leads the Doctor to realise that the space visualiser hasn’t been switched off but when Barbara goes to turn it off she sees that on the screen, the Daleks are in hot pursuit of the time travellers. The Doctor is unsure how far behind they are but decides that they must leave quickly. Unfortunately, Ian and Vicki have gotten themselves in trouble. Episode one ends with a Dalek rising up through the sand and you can hear it straining as it rises to the surface which is reminiscent to the end of episode one of the Dalek Invasion of Earth.

But if you think that The Chase is confined to just this planet, you would be wrong. The Daleks rather helpfully dig out the TARDIS (that was covered after a sandstorm) and have a short moment where one Dalek commands what seems to be a teenage Dalek judging by his response to some orders, the crew manage t race back into the TARDIS and head to earth for the next few episodes stopping of in a sailing ship, the Empire State building (hmmm I wonder if the TARDIS sensed any Dalek activity connected to this building…see Daleks In Manhattan [a long way away in my quest]) and a building occupied by Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster.

But the finale of the story takes place on the planet Mechanus and features the first doppelgänger of the Doctor as the Daleks create a duplicate of the Doctor that is designed to infiltrate and kill. The planet of Mechanus is very odd in that the surface is very smooth but has a fungal plant life but it is on this planet that a foe was to appear to rival the Daleks…the Mechanoids. These are kind of spherical dodecahedral who have similar mobility issues as the Daleks but the final battle between the Daleks and Mechanoids takes place on a smooth floor. The Mechanoids did appear in comics but never returned to the classic series. They have, however, made a reappearance in the Big Finish audio story The Juggernaughts that features both Davros and the Daleks.

As far as Dalek stories go, this isn’t one of the best but does have some interesting features.The Dalek design here becomes the classic series design with the slats on their middle appearing for the first time. The Daleks learn time travel. And for the second time in three appearances, the story concludes with a departure. This time, Ian and Barbara use the Dalek time machine to return them home (which Vicki and the Doctor watch on the space visualizer).

In the previous story, a Dalek was featured in the space museum and the story was the first (but by no means the last) to feature the Doctor visiting a museum [something that River Song in the new series has relied upon]. Perhaps the Daleks too thought that this behaviour would help them in tracking down the Doctor at the start of this story and donated several Dalek shells to numerous museums across the galaxy. It would certainly be a more reasonable explanation for the Dalek exhibit in the space museum.

  1. The Executioners
  2. The Death Of Time
  3. Flight Through Eternity
  4. Journey Into Terror
  5. The Death Of Doctor Who
  6. The Planet Of Decision

 

The Crusade

Barbara is kidnapped

During time of Crusades

Ian is knighted

This story is one of the incomplete/missing stories. The audio narration is once again done by William Russell (who played Ian Chesterton in the story). It is another historical and features some fine performances and sees the debuts of two actors who will return to the Doctor Who universe again (and for one of the actors, in the not too distant future). The actors are Julian Glover and Jean Marsh.

This story is also one of the very first to be novelised (even predating the amazing Target range of novels, although it was reprinted and released alongside the other Target novelisations). Both the script and novel was written by Doctor Who’s first script editor, David Whittaker.

It is a good story and it is a real shame that 2 of the episodes are missing but it shows the potential limitations of the historical stories. The framework of the story has the TARDIS crew having an adventure set around the time of the crusade of Richard II (Richard the Lionheart). The story centres upon the capture of Barbara and her subsequent attempt to reunite with the rest of the TARDIS crew. This happens while Richard is trying to negotiate a peace with Saladin, even offering his sister in marriage to Saladin’s brother Saphadin (a marriage to which she is vehemently opposed to).

This story also shows the Doctor being adept at material theft and Vicki is mistaken as a boy and Ian is knighted by Richard.

This story is a four parter but lacks the epic scale of the 7 part Marco Polo or the 4 part Romans. The story itself is enjoyable but the Doctor doesn’t seem to be a vital element to the story which is a shame as there are moments between the Doctor and Richard II that allow both actors to sparkle and there is a touch of sadness at the end after the Doctor predicts that Richard will see Jerusalem but a few moments later admits to the crew that Richard will only see the city from a distance.

The crew in this story are not so much time travellers as time tourists, stopping only to get in a spot of trouble and annoying the locals before making their getaway, onto the next adventure. By no means is this a bad story but after the excellent previous historicals, this one feels as if it should have been earlier in the series.

  1. The Lion
  2. The Knight Of Jaffa
  3. The Wheel Of Fortune
  4. The Warlords

The Web Planet

The planet Vortis

Where Menoptra fight Zarbi

For the web planet

This story is a six parter but when watching the first episode, you tend to ask yourself why? The first part is mostly filler but ends with not one, not two but four cliff-hangers (1 for each of the crew).

This is a story I really wish I saw as a child. I have (as an adult) seen some episodes that gave me nightmares as a child but now I see how the effects were done, their effect has lessened. This story has a similar kind of after-effect seeing it as an adult. But this story must have been really strange to watch when it was first aired. It is a credit to the people who made the show that a story like this was even made. The shots on the alien planet have an unusual effect due to Vaseline being applied to the camera lens. The Doctor and Ian have to wear special jackets to compensate for the atmosphere, although these are casually discarded in the second episode. The aliens are also something to behold. The Zarbi are antlike creatures who scurry about making high-pitched beeping sounds. There are also the Menoptera, winged creatures with stripy bodies. The costumes are really elaborate and a lot of effort has gone into their creation. The movements of the creatures were also choreographed and the Optera that appear a few weeks into the story have the habit of doing a small jump at the end of their sentences while the Menoptra use strange hand movements as they speak.

The planet Vortis really feels alien in a way that not many other stories do, this was in the days before filming in a quarry stated Alien Planet. If you let your imagination allow you to make the jump from actors in suits to alien insects then you will enjoy this story but if you can’t, then this story isn’t for you. But I hope you will join me as we travel back in time and see two faces who will appear again in Doctor Who in the future…

  1. The Web Planet
  2. The Zarbi
  3. Escape To Danger
  4. Crater Of Needles
  5. Invasion
  6. The Centre

The Romans

A man with a lyre

Mistaken identity

Leads Doctor to Rome

The Romans may be an historical but where previous historical stories have an element of education about where/when the story is set, this one is played for laughs. This story is written by Dennis Spooner who would go on to become script editor on the show. This story goes for historical folklore rather than being historically accurate. The prime example of this is the central guest character, Emperor Nero, the infamous fiddler of a burning Rome.

The story also splits the characters (not uncommon) but keeps them separate with the Doctor and Vicki following one strand of the tale and Ian and Barbara the other. There are moments when the two storylines almost lead the characters to meet but they are kept apart in what can only be described as farcical circumstances. Ian becomes a gladiator and fights in….well, I’ll just say don’t expect the coliseum.

That said, the story is entertaining enough and the Doctor is thought to be a master of the lyre (but he becomes a masterful liar) and he comes up with some amusing ways to avoid playing the stringed instrument.

It is also interesting to note that once again, the first trip with a new companion lead the crew into the past, watch this space to see if this pattern continues.

  1. The Slave Traders
  2. All Roads Lead To Rome
  3. Conspiracy
  4. Inferno*

 

*not to be confused with the 7 part Jon Pertwee story also called Inferno