Tag Archives: The Smugglers

The Smugglers – Loose Cannon Reconstructions

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ImageAll four episodes of The Smugglers are missing from the BBC Archives.  For the purposes of this marathon I viewed Loose Cannon’s reconstructions, links for which appear below.

Loose Cannon’s The Smugglers, Episode 1 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Smugglers, Episode 1 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Smugglers, Episode 2 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Smugglers, Episode 2 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Smugglers, Episode 3 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Smugglers, Episode 3 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s The Smugglers, Episode 4 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s The Smugglers, Episode 4 Part 2

The Smugglers

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It’s somewhat bizarre to “watch” a serial in which all four episodes have been lost but miraculously, all the violence is intact as tiny snippets of film. Such is the case with the opening story of Season 4, The Smugglers.  Always to the rescue in the event of missing episodes, Loose Cannon’s reconstruction is resplendent with John Cura’s famous telesnaps, authentic photos taken during production and snippets from an amateur film of the production.  Most startling, however, are five short clips courtesy of Australia’s Commonwealth Film Censorship Board.  Discovered in the National Archives of Australia in October 1996 by Doctor Who fans Damian Shanahan and Ellen Parry, the clips had been excised by the Film Censorship Board and retained as evidence of the edits.  At some point they had been transferred to the National Archives, presumably in accordance with government agency retention policies.

Elroy Josephs, who played the pirate Jamaica, was the first black person to have a speaking part in Doctor Who

Elroy Josephs, who played the pirate Jamaica, was the first black person to have a speaking part in Doctor Who

Always broadcast during children’s television times in Australia, Classic Series Doctor Who was subject to government classification prior to airing.  Segments deemed too terrifying or violent for children were routinely cut.  It was for this reason that The Daleks’ Master Plan was never broadcast in Australia.  Who’s most violent story to that date, the cuts required to The Dalek’s Master Plan were so extensive as to make it incomprehensible to the ordinary viewer.  Thanks to Shanahan and Perry’s research, together with the Censorship Board’s hardline policy of the 1960s, a number of clips from otherwise totally lost episodes and stories have now been returned to the BBC’s archives. Perhaps the most iconic of these clips is from 1968 Second Doctor serial, Fury from the Deep. A full 54 seconds of a clip survives in which Quill and Oak suffocate Mrs Harris by breathing deadly gas from their mouths.  Stayed tuned for my review of that Season 5 Serial 6 story to see the outstanding film clip.

Once of the most iconic images from the Second Doctor's lost adventure Fury from the Deep.  Almost one minute of this clip survives thanks to the Australian Film Censorship Board

Once of the most iconic images from the Second Doctor’s lost adventure Fury from the Deep. Almost one minute of this clip survives thanks to the Australian Film Censorship Board

A listing of The Smugglers clips recovered from Australia can be accessed from this page of Loose Cannon’s website – http://www.recons.com/clips/clips-lc30.htm  Particularly valuable is Steve Phillips’ “The Doctor Who Clips List”.  Here you will find photographs and a short description of all recovered snippets – http://dwclips.steve-p.org/  An interview with Damian Shanahan is included amongst the special features of Lost in Time. Linked below for your viewing pleasure are The Smugglers clips, together with extracts from the amateur video.

The Smugglers – Missing clips and amateur film

The Smugglers was William Hartnell’s last historical story, and the first Doctor Who serial requiring the cast and crew to embark on a journey to the seaside for location shooting.  Filmed at Cornwell, the serial is sure to have looked superb. Without the visuals, however, it’s somewhat difficult to state much at all about the serial.  Whilst perfectly enjoyable, The Smugglers is by no means extraordinary.  The story of the Doctor and his new companions arriving on a late 17th Century Cornwell beach, and finding themselves immersed in the deadly games of piracy and smuggling, is profoundly simple.  The story could’ve been taken from any Boys’ Own Adventure book. Save for the Doctor, Polly and Ben arriving and departing in the Tardis, there is no science fiction in the story.  Nor is it based on a real, or even mythical, historical event.

Ben and Polly arrive take their first trip in the Tardis

Ben and Polly take their first trip in the Tardis

As many clichés as possible were thrown into The Smugglers’ mix, such as an evil pirate captain with a hook for a hand; the drunken former pirate who becomes a drunken church warden; the local Squire who’s actually a small time crook; and the locals being insanely superstitious. For the first time ever a black actor has a speaking part, although Jamaica, the pirate crew member, is quickly dispatched by the evil Captain Pike for allowing prisoners to escape. The pirates are more interested in drinking the smugglers’ loot than retrieving it for their Captain, and most interestingly, the Doctor drinks some wine with Captain Pike.  It was only in The Gunfighters that the Doctor repeatedly vowed that he was a teetotaller.

The evil pirate, Captain Pike

The evil pirate, Captain Pike

Ben and Polly’s first trip in the Tardis provides from some comic interludes in the serial’s first part.  Unsurprisingly the new companions have difficulty accepting that the Tardis travels through time, although they are less puzzled by the Ship’s ability to transport them from London to Cornwell in a matter of minutes. Convinced that they are still in 1966, Ben and Polly immediately set off to find a train station.  Ben’s principal concern is returning to his boat in time.  This is despite him stating in The War Machines that he was on 6 months’ shore leave.  Perhaps the Crew had been put in a state of suspended animation for six months because in The Faceless Ones, Ben and Polly’s last story, they are returned to London on the same day that they left.  Needless to say, our new companions soon realize that it is not the 20th Century and quickly lose their sense of astonishment.  That is, of course, until Polly is repeatedly mistaken for a “lad” because she’s wearing trousers.  Even being locked up in a cell after being charged with the murder of the church warden, Ben and Polly are still decidedly calm.

Ben and Polly find appropriate clothing for 17th Century Cornwell.  Because she wears trousers Polly is mistaken for a "lad"

Ben and Polly find appropriate clothing for 17th Century Cornwell. Because she wears trousers Polly is mistaken for a “lad”

The Doctor, who is referred to as “Saw Bones” by the sailors, admits to his new companions that he is unable to control where and when the Tardis materializes. He displays a skill for tarot reading and a strong need to assist the local villagers.  When Ben seeks to quickly depart in the Tardis the Doctor advises Ben that he has a moral obligation to save the villagers from the rampaging pirates.  The Doctor’s ethics have changed considerably from his first adventures with Barbara, Ian and Susan.  In The Daleks he placed his Crew at risk to satisfy his desire to explore the Dalek city, and was just as quickly prepared to decamp from it without Ian and Barbara. No longer entirely egocentric, the Doctor is slowly developing into the universe saving character that we all know and love.

Captain Pike and Jamaica, just prior to the Jamaica's murder

Captain Pike and Jamaica, just prior to the Jamaica’s murder

Our next serial, The Tenth Planet, is Hartnell’s last journey in the Tardis as the Doctor. Join me for my next review in which the Cybermen make their premiere appearance and Doctor Who’s  first regeneration unfolds before our confused eyes.

Loose Cannon's VHS cover art for their The Savages Reconstructions. The Smugglers was originally aired in the UK between 10 September and 1 October 1966.

Loose Cannon’s VHS cover art for The Smugglers Reconstructions. The Smugglers was originally aired in the UK between 10 September and 1 October 1966.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The War Machines

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The War Machines ushers in not only the end of Doctor Who’s third season,  but also the hasty, and unceremonious, exit of perhaps the most derided of all the Doctor’s companions, Dodo.  Having lost Steven only the previous week, when he decamped at the Doctor’s bidding to mediate a new world for the Savages and the Elders in The Savages, it looked for all of a minute that the Doctor might again be companion less. Although the Doctor’s ignorance seemingly lasted seven days until the next serial, The Smugglers, the audience well knew that Ben and Polly were new members of the Tardis Crew.  The cycle of companions continued, but more of that later.

Dodo disembarks from the Tardis for the last time. The Doctor hangs an "Out of Order" sign on the Tardis lest it is mistaken for a real Police Box

Dodo disembarks from the Tardis for the last time. The Doctor hangs an “Out of Order” sign on the Tardis lest it is mistaken for a real Police Box

The last of the First Doctor’s serials which is 100 percent complete, The War Machines, plays upon the increasing fear of the mid 1960s that computers would usurp humans. This was an era almost ten years before the introduction of the first personal computers and 15 years before the release of IBM’s first PC and Microsoft’s MS-DOS computer operating system in 1981. Although personal computers had made inroads into the business markets by the late 1980s (Microsoft Windows was released in 1985) it was not until the mid 1990s that home PCs became more affordable and popular.  After borrowing friends’ unwieldy home-made computers to write my BA (Hons) thesis in mid 1980s, it was not until 1990 that I bought my first PC.  A clone of the IBM XT, it had a mammoth 128 KB of RAM and a 5¼ inch floppy drive!  An early adaptor of computer technology, the wonders of this piece of computer history came at an outrageous price of around $3,000.00.

An IBM XT.  My first computer was a clone of this machine

An IBM XT. My first computer was a clone of this machine

At the time of The War Machines’ transmission, it was unlikely that more than a handful of viewers would have ever personally seen a computer.  Computers were massive objects that frequently were the size of a room.  Perhaps seen in educational documentaries or on science fiction shows, computers were a great unknown. The playthings of mad scientists and eccentric geniuses, the distance between computers and the general public was such that they were greatly shrouded with mystique. I went through the whole of my schooling in the 1970s without ever seeing a computer, and entered the “real world” under a misapprehension, that was most probably quite commonly shared, that computers were only the domain of mathematical geniuses.

Anyone thinking of computers in the 1960s would probably envisage a machine such as this - The Whirlpool Computer which was designed for strategic air defense applications.  Photo courtesy of http://www.clavius.org/techcomp.html

Anyone thinking of computers in the 1960s would probably envisage a machine such as this – The Whirlpool Computer which was designed for strategic air defence applications. Photo courtesy of http://www.clavius.org/techcomp.html

Is it any wonder, therefore, that the ordinary Joe or Joy Bloggs might find a Doctor Who story set in present day London in 1966, about a computer intent on human domination, an altogether feasible possibility.  Although plainly science fiction, there was a kernel of fear and mistrust among many that this may one day become science fact.  Watching Classic Series  Doctor Who with an eye to history exhibits time and again that science fiction sometimes does become reality.  In Who’s first episode, An Unearthly Child, Susan predicts the UK’s conversion to decimal currency eight years prior to its eventual introduction in February 1971. “Spooky”, you might think, however The Time Machines did it again in mid 1966 when it foreshadowed the internet.

The War Machines foreshadowed the internet years before its introduction.  They even used funky computer graphics in the opening titles

WOTAN,  an acronym for Will Operated Thought ANalogue, is the most advanced computer in the world, although not necessarily the largest.  It’s advanced technological capacities were a perfect companion for the building in which it was housed, the new Post Office Tower. Officially opened on the 15th July 1966 by the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, the Post Office Tower was the tallest building in London.  Towering 177 metres from the ground (581 feet), it held that title until 1980. “C Day”, or Computer Day was set for 16th July 1966, the day after the Post Office Tower’s official opening.  On that date all computers throughout the world were to be linked together under WOTAN’s (pronounced Votan) central control. The various sites to which WOTAN would be connected included the White House, Cape Kennedy, ELDO, TESTAR, RN, Woomera and EFTA.

Although not the world's largest computer, WOTAN in the most intelligent

Although not the world’s largest computer, WOTAN in the most intelligent

A media conference is held to outline WOTAN's roll out.  A graphic is displayed showing the computers which will be linked to WOTAN

A media conference is held to outline WOTAN’s roll out. A graphic is displayed showing the computers which will be linked to WOTAN

TELSTAR was the name of various telecommunications satellites which were launched in the early 1960s.  They provided the first transatlantic satellite television and telephone communications.  So heralded was the launch of the first TELSTAR in 1962 that an instrumental tune by the British band The Tornados became the first number one hit in the United States for a UK band.  Below, for your listening pleasure, is the Tornados with Telstar. ELDO was an acronym for the European Launcher Development Organisation (now the European Space Agency).  RN is presumably the British Royal Navy, EFTA is the European Free Trade Association (formed in 1960), and Woomera is a weapons testing range in South Australia.  Between 1946 and 1980 it was location for joint British and Australian weapons testing. The White House and Cape Kennedy require no explanation.

The Tornados – Telstar

The “C Day” linking of the world’s major computers foreshadowed the ARPANET, the first packet switching, in 1969. The Advanced Research Agencies Network (ARPANET) linked four university research centres together in the United States.  The World Wide Web as we know it now, did not reach fruition until the early 1990s. It could perhaps be rightly claimed that this serial of Doctor Who was the first television show to predict the emergence of the web.  Until I amended Wikipedia, a 1985 episode of Benson claimed to be the first such reference :)

Professor Brett - the inventor of WOTAN.  The super-computer was to link all the leading computers in the world together

Professor Brett – the inventor of WOTAN. The super-computer was to link all the leading computers in the world together

Although the staff designated with WOTAN’s installation and roll-out were quick to dispel fears that the super-computer may eventually  become destructive, it does not take long for the malignant nature of WOTAN to become evident. WOTAN can speak and is receptive to voice commands, although ordinarily its answers are printed on a dot matrix type printer.  Computer monitors had clearly not been envisaged.  More intelligent than humans, WOTAN knows the answer to all questions, including inexplicably, what TARDIS is an acronym for. WOTAN, however, has a hidden agenda.  it believes that the world cannot possibly progress with humans at its helm and seeks to usurp them by mobile computer killing machines – the War Machines.

WOTAN has a secret agenda to usurp human control with its clumsy creations, the War Machines

WOTAN has a secret agenda to usurp human control with its clumsy creations, the War Machines

WOTAN uses mind control through the emission of sonic sounds and the humble telephone, to hypnotise humans into its sinister plan. Dodo is amongst its first victims and is instructed to co-opt the Doctor.  As luck would have it, his non-human form affords him protection from hypnosis, but not without him suffering physically nonetheless.   The Doctor’s magic ring again comes to the rescue as he is able to put Dodo to sleep, and snap her out of her hypnotic trance, merely by waving his hand before her face five times. Upon waking Dodo is dispatched to the country to recuperate and never again seen. Her subsequent decision to remain in London is communicated to the Doctor via a message from the companions-in-waiting, Ben and Polly.  A more pathetic companion departure had never been seen.

Dodo is hypnotised by WOTAN

Dodo is hypnotised by WOTAN

Hypnosis via the humble telephone is attempted on the Doctor.  The already submissive Dodo looks on

Hypnosis via the humble telephone is attempted on the Doctor. The already submissive Dodo looks on

WOTAN has its staff of hypnotised human slaves building a dozen War Machines in a disused warehouse in Covent Garden.  Professor Brett, the computer scientist who invented WOTAN, is quickly a victim of WOTAN’s hypnosis, and dispatched to the warehouse to oversee construction.  Polly, Brett’s secretary, also comes under WOTAN’s spell and is rescued by the Cockney sailor, Ben, who was sent on a mission by the Doctor to investigate. These War Machines were mobile computers but not in a form that we have today.  Extraordinarily large, they were more like wartime tanks than the laptops, net books and tablets that we know today.  Programmed by WOTAN, the War Machines are able to disable the firing mechanisms of Army guns and ammunition, and as such are seemingly unstoppable.  In an Army raid of the warehouse, the single operational War Machine is able to effect the deaths of many personnel.  On a rampage through the streets of Covent Garden, the War Machine is eventually outwitted by the Doctor’s cunning.  After the stupendous cliff hanger of episode three where the Doctor comes face to face with the War Machine and stares it down, he eventually stops the machine in its tracks by setting up an electromagnetic field around it.  An adept computer programmer, as he is of all manner of things scientific, the Doctor is able to reprogramme the War Machine. The machine is then sent on a mission to the Post Office Tower where it is able to reach the top floor, where WOTAN is housed, and destroy it. Commentators frequently joke about how the War Machine was able to fit in the lift, let alone press the floor buttons!

WOTAN's slave labour force construct War Machines

WOTAN’s slave labour force construct War Machines

Polly, Professor Brett's secretary, is hypnotised by WOTAN

Polly, Professor Brett’s secretary, is hypnotised by WOTAN

Save for the first episode of An Unearthly Child, in which you only see Coal Hill School and 76, Totter’s Lane,  and Planet of Giants, where the Tardis Crew are miniaturized in a suburban back yard and house, this is the first time Doctor Who has been set in modern day London. It affords the opportunity for many shots of 1966 London and naturally, the most innovative building of the day, the Post Office Tower. There are a number of very interesting special features on the DVD including Now and Then, a look at the locations used in the making of the story in which those used in 1966 are compared with the present day; Blue Peter, which includes a compilation of segments on the War Machines, and One Foot in the Past, in which the Politician and ex-Postmaster General Tony Benn investigates the history of the Post Office Tower. It’s all fascinating stuff.

The Doctor stops the War Machine by creating an electro magnetic field around it

The Doctor stops the War Machine by creating an electro magnetic field around it

The War Machines has shots a-plenty of London in 1966

The War Machines has shots a-plenty of London in 1966

Perhaps the most visually memorable part of The War Machines is when the Doctor enters the Inferno nightclub via a flight of stairs.  Resplendent in his cape, he enters the “hottest” night club in London, only to be told by one of the hipsters that his gear looked “fab”. It was not many episodes earlier that the Doctor had severely reprimanded Dodo for the use of the word “fab” and questioned if she could speak English properly.   Times were a-changing for Doctor Who and this was even more evident by the new companions.  Polly is a young London secretary who dresses in trendy clothes and is phenomenally forthright.  Ben is a Cockney merchant sailor who breaks the hitherto unwritten rule that all major cast members of Doctor Who must speak in “BBC English” or Received Pronunciation.  It was but a mere three months earlier that Dodo’s Manchurian accent lasted but 10 minutes. For the rest of Dodo’s tenure as a companion her accent changed from episode to episode and became increasingly more posh.  As groundbreaking as it was to have a companion without an RP accent, it took until the Seventh Doctor’s incarnation in 1987 for the Doctor to have his first regional accent.

Ben and Polly in "The Inferno", the hottest nightclub in London

Ben and Polly in “The Inferno”, the hottest nightclub in London

The Doctor, in that amazing cape, stares down the War Machine in the episode 3 cliff hanger

The Doctor, in that amazing cape, stares down the War Machine in the episode 3 cliff hanger

Join me for my next review where you’ll encounter the predecessor to 2011’s The Curse of the Black Spot, The Smugglers, in which every conceivable pirate cliché is presented before us.  It’s sure to be fun!

The Doctor is about to have two new companions.  Dodo and Ben meet the Doctor to pass on a message from the departing Dodo

The Doctor is about to have two new companions. Dodo and Ben meet the Doctor to pass on a message from the departing Dodo

The War Machines was originally broadcast in the UK between 25th June and 16th July 1966

The War Machines was originally broadcast in the UK between 25th June and 16th July 1966

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

REFERENCE:

Lance Parkin & Lars Pearson, AHistory: An Unauthorised History of the Doctor Who Universe 3rd Edition. Des Monies, Mad Norwegian Press, 2012.