Category Archives: Ben

Day 29 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The Top 5 Second Doctor Stories

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Even with the recent recovery of nine missing episodes from The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear, Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Doctor still has 54 missing episodes, including four serials in which not a single episode is held – The Power of the Daleks, The Highlanders, The Macra Terror and Fury From the Deep. William Hartnell’s Doctor has 44 of his episodes missing, including six serials without a single episode – Marco Polo, Mission to the Unknown, The Myth Makers, The Massacre, The Savages and The Smugglers.

In the absence of so many stories, making an informed choice on the Top 5 serials for the First and the Second Doctors is both difficult and hypothetical.  A brilliant soundtrack could mask poor visual representations, whilst a boring audio may hide a visually stunning masterpiece.  Without seeing the moving pictures one can never be 100% certain that a story is as good as its reputation. All that being said, here’s the Doctor Who Mind Robber’s humble opinion of the Second Doctor’s Top 5 stories.

Is The Space Pirates really as bad as its reputation?  Only the moving pictures can show for sure

Is The Space Pirates really as bad as its reputation? Only the moving pictures can show for sure

5. The Enemy of the World

The recovery of five episodes and release of all six parts of The Enemy of the World on iTunes recently quickly lead to a reappraisal of this story’s worth. Previously only episode three had been held in the BBC Archives and released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time. That episode was somewhat unrepresentative of the other five and caused many to underestimate the serial’s true worth.

The Enemy of the World was the only Season 5 story without monsters and not of the “base under siege” genre.  Patrick Troughton’s dual role as the Doctor and the evil would-be world dictator, Salamander, allowed him to show another side of his acting skills, notwithstanding the rather dubious Mexican accent. Enemy was also Barry Letts’ Doctor Who debut and heralded the show’s first action scenes involving helicopters and hovercraft.  Such adventures would become second nature during the tenure of the Third Doctor.

Patrick Troughton plays the evil would-be world dictator, Salamader, in The Enemy of the World

Patrick Troughton plays the evil would-be world dictator, Salamader, in The Enemy of the World

4. The Faceless Ones

This will undoubtedly be a controversial choice however it’s one of my personal favourites. Only episodes one and three are held in the BBC Archives.  The last story of Ben and Polly’s tenure as companions, The Faceless Ones is set in the ‘present day’ and features excellent location filming at Gatwick Airport in London. Pauline Collins appears as Samantha Briggs, a young woman from Liverpool who is searching for her brother who did not return from a package holiday to Rome. A psychological thriller about identity loss, it was sure to have heavily influenced Mark Gatiss’ 2006 episode, The Idiot’s Lantern.

The Faceless Ones influenced the  2006 story  The Idiot's Lantern

The Faceless Ones influenced the 2006 story The Idiot’s Lantern

3. The Evil of the Daleks

One of the most highly regarded Sixties Dalek stories, The Evil of the Daleks was the first and only serial to be repeated in the UK during that decade.  The repeat was written into the script of the Season 5 finale, The Wheel in Space, and the Season 6 premiere, The Dominators. The new companion Zoe was to view the Doctor’s thought patterns, presumably during the season break, and decide whether she wished to join the TARDIS Crew.

Yet another missing story, only episode two of The Evil of the Daleks is currently held in the BBC Archives.  The story introduced the Dalek Emperor which was a direct spin off from the Whitaker penned Daleks cartoons in TV Century 21 magazine. The Dalek “human factor” is intriguing and like The Faceless Ones, undoubtedly influenced New Series Doctor Who. Robert Shearman’s Series 1 story, Dalek, has several nods to The Evil of the Daleks, whilst Gareth Roberts’ short novel, I Am a Dalek, revives the “human factor” in more than mere words.

The Evil of the Daleks was the first Doctor Who serial ever repeated and the first and only repeat to be scripted into serials

The Evil of the Daleks was the first Doctor Who serial ever repeated and the first and only repeat to be scripted into serials

2. The War Games

Patrick Troughton’s last serial as the Second Doctor, The War Games is a 10 part epic which forever changed the history of Doctor Who. Although the name of his home planet is not yet disclosed, the Doctor is revealed to be a Time Lord. A renegade Time Lord, the War Chief, has given the secrets of time travel to an alien race which seeks to conquer the galaxy.  In their quest to build the best fighting force, human soldiers have been transported from Earth to fight a number of simultaneous wars. These discrete battle zones see engagements from the First World War, the American Civil War, Russo-Japanese War, English Civil War, Boar War, Mexican Civil War, Crimean War, Thirty Year War, Peninsula War, and Roman and Greek war zones.

Being unable to return all the War Games participants to their own time and space, the Doctor reluctantly calls in the Time Lords. Having himself been a renegade since stealing a TARDIS and taking to the universe, the Doctor is at last compelled to face justice for breaching the Time Lords’ Non Interference Policy. Jamie and Zoe are returned to their own times, with all but the memories of their first adventure with the Doctor wiped, and the Doctor is sentenced to exile on Earth.  His knowledge of the TARDIS’s time travel functions is denied him, and he is forced to change his bodily form. The term “regeneration” has not yet been coined.  So ends the monochrome era of Doctor Who and Patrick Troughton’s three year tenure as the Doctor.

Only in the 1960s could you get something as trippy and psychedelic as this

Only in the 1960s could you get something as trippy and psychedelic as this

1. The Mind Robber

An almost psychedelic trip through the land of fiction, The Mind Robber is just about as good as Doctor Who gets. This five part serial sees the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe caught in the world of children’s fairytales. They encounter Lemuel Gulliver, brilliantly portrayed by Bernard Horsfall, Princess Repunzel, Medusa, a Unicorn and a cast of Who created characters.  Far from being what it seems, nothing is reality.  Zoe and Jamie are transformed into fictional characters after Jamie had earlier had his physical appearance altered. The TARDIS explodes for the first time and the Doctor and his crew find themselves drifting in space. Zoe shows that being small in stature is in no way detrimental to fighting a 21st Century cartoon superhero, and Repunzel’s hair really is the strongest and most effective way of quickly scaling rocky cliff faces.  It’s all brilliant stuff!

The Doctor, Zoe and the re-faced Jamie meet up with wind-up tin toy soldiers in The Mind Robber

The Doctor, Zoe and the re-faced Jamie meet up with wind-up tin toy soldiers in The Mind Robber

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

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Day 30 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The Top 5 First Doctor Stories

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5. The Aztecs

A Special Edition of The Aztecs was released earlier this year which included an abridged reconstruction of Galaxy 4, together with episode three which was recovered in 2011. The Aztecs has long been held in high esteem by fandom and is a superb example of the historical dramas that the BBC has always brilliantly produced. Set in South America during the time prior to Spanish settlement, the serial tells the story of Barbara’s determination to change history. In a quest to satisfy her penchant for bracelets, Barbara donned a snake bangle discovered not long after the party disembarked from the TARDIS.  Mistaken by the locals as the reincarnation of the high priest Yetaxa, her extraordinary knowledge of history and modern sense of morality naturally saw her rile against human sacrifice. From the beginning the Doctor’s objective was to ensure that history was not rewritten.  This was the first serial in which the parameters of “fiddling” with time and space were examined.  Barbara’s refusal to conform to the Doctor’s direction that “time can’t be rewritten.  Not one line” very nearly had fatal consequences for the Crew. Henceforth there would be limits on the TARDIS Crew’s actions.

Ian was lucky to escape with his life in The Aztecs

Ian was lucky to escape with his life in The Aztecs

4. The Tenth Planet

The First Doctor’s final story, The Tenth Planet heralded a number of firsts – Doctor Who’s first regeneration, the introduction of the Cybermen and the prototype for the Second Doctor’s “base under siege” formula. Rumours abound that the missing fourth episode, which features William Hartnell’s regeneration, has been recovered.  The DVD of the story has recently been released featuring an animation of episode four.  I wonder if a Special Edition, with the (alleged) recovered episode four, should be expected soon?

The DVD cover art for The Tenth Planet

The DVD cover art for The Tenth Planet

3. The Massacre

The Massacre is completely missing from the BBC Archives, although some of the current missing episode rumours suggest that it has been recovered.  Set in 1572 France, the serial chronicles the Doctor and Steven’s adventures during the Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy (the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre) in which thousands of protestant Huguenots were massacred in a religious war lead by Roman Catholics. William Hartnell plays two roles in The Massacre – both the Doctor and the Doctor’s evil doppelganger, the Abbot of Amboise. As this is a historical drama it can almost be assured that the set design and costuming was brilliant.  The story is the only example in monochrome Doctor Who of a single companion accompanying the Doctor.  It also introduces new companion, Dodo Chaplet, in the last 10 minutes of the final episode.

The Doctor and Steven in The Massacre

The Doctor and Steven in The Massacre

2. An Unearthly Child

The first Doctor Who serial, An Unearthly Child introduced the strange adventures of a belligerent old man, the Doctor, and his grand-daughter, Susan Foreman. Possessed of a time machine which externally resembled a Police Call Box, the Doctor’s Ship was larger on the inside and capable of both time and space travel.  Coal Hill school teachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, barged their way into the TARDIS (an acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space) whilst looking for their student, Susan.  Fearful that the teachers would reveal his secret, the Doctor kidnapped the pair as the TARDIS was seen to dematerialize for the first time.

Episodes two, three and four of the serial are more properly known as The Cave of Skulls, The Forest of Fear and The Firemaker. The Doctor, Susan and their two unwilling companions find themselves in pre-historic times and at the mercy of a tribe of cavemen who have lost their knowledge of fire making.

The first TARDIS Crew in An Unearthly Child

The first TARDIS Crew in An Unearthly Child

1.  Marco Polo

I’m going out on a limb here nominating a completely lost seven part serial as the Top First Doctor story.  As outlined in our post Missing Episodes – Has Marco Polo Been Recovered?  last week, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this classic serial has been recovered and restored, and finds its way onto the iTunes playlists before Christmas.

The fourth Doctor Who story, Marco Polo was directed by Waris Hussein who was also responsible for the first serial, An Unearthly Child. As far as the BBC is presently letting on, all that remains of Marco Polo are some stunning colour photographs taken on set and the fan recorded soundtrack.  In the days prior to home video recording and commercial VHS releases, the only way that a fan could re-live a Doctor Who episode was to listen to the reel-to-reel audio recording which they’d made during the episode’s original transmission. Incredibly, around half a dozen fan recorded collections remained extant and were located during the 1980s and 1990s. It was during those decades that fans became cognisant of the BBC’s destruction of its television heritage and went searching for what remained.  Thanks to the endeavours of a small group of hard-core fans who religiously recorded Doctor Who each Saturday evening, aficionados of Who were now able to listen to long lost episodes.

Is Marco Polo really as good as fans who watched the original and only transmission remember?  Certainly the audio suggests something very special.  Hopefully we’ll all be able to soon judge for ourselves.

Marco Polo is the earliest missing Doctor Who serial

Marco Polo is the earliest missing Doctor Who serial

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

The Daleks’ Master Plan

Sara Kingdom in combat mode in The Daleks' Master Plan

Sara Kingdom in combat mode in The Daleks’ Master Plan

The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

The image at the top of this post is a painting by Francois Dobois depicting the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. No copyright infringement is intended.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Day 45 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The 5 Least Wanted Missing Episodes

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On Day 50 of The Doctor Who Mind Robber’s Countdown to Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary we published our list of the Ten Most Wanted Missing Episodes. Not all episodes are as highly sought after as others and unfortunately there are a limited number that many fans have little or no desire to see returned. Our list of those sad and sorry stories that pine for some respect is provided in broadcast order only.

1.  Galaxy 4 – Season 3

The first broadcast of our least wanted missing stories is the Season 3 opener, Galaxy 4. Until November 2011 none of the story’s four episodes were held in the BBC Archives.  Upon episode three’s discovery, a reconstruction of the serial was produced and included as an extra in The Aztecs Special Edition.  The recovered episode was included in the reconstruction.

The villains of Galaxy 4 were the Drahvins

The villains of Galaxy 4 were the Drahvins

Although the resident monsters of the serial, the Rill and the Chumblies, are generally well regarded the story is nonetheless frequently discounted by fans. In The Discontinuity Guide (1995) Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping’s “Bottom Line” was that “Galaxy 4 presents an interesting if flawed twist on the traditional bug-eyed monster tale”.  

A Chumbley with four Rills in the background

A Chumbly with four Rills in the background

Arguably it is most probably the presence of the chief villains, the Drahvins, which is the cause of most distain for Galaxy 4. Personally I found the concept of a female dominated, anti-male race of aliens absolutely enthralling. It’s for that reason that I rated the serial so highly in my own marathon watch.  Below is an example of one of the recent anti-Galaxy 4 tweets. The diversity of Doctor Who fandom is one of its greatest strengths.

2.  The Celestial Toymaker – Season 3

Prior to the recovery and release of episode four The Celestial Toymaker was held in reasonably high regard.  In Peter Haining’s 1983 coffee table book, Doctor Who A Celebration, Jeremy Bentham waxed lyrical about it.

The success of this story lies in the way if visualises a child’s nightmare – the secret world of toys from the nursery coming to life, harmless games that insidiously graduate into something far more sinister, smiling, happy faces concealing deadly menace.  In short it was a perfect fairy-tale of the kind told by the brothers Grimm – a multi-level fantasy appealing to young and old alike, but strangely being more disturbing to adults than to children.

Peter Haining, Doctor Who A Celebration Two Decades Through Time and Space (W. H Allen, London, 1983)

Peter Haining, Doctor Who A Celebration Two Decades Through Time and Space (W. H Allen, London, 1983)

The widespread availability of episode 4, firstly on the 1991 VHS release and then on 2004’s DVD, Lost in Time, quickly lead to the story’s reputation diminishing.  In Mark Campell’s widely read basic guide, Doctor Who The Complete Series Guide, he gives the serial only 4 out of 10.  His verdict is as follows:

A weird, and at times plodding, excursion into pure fantasy (some might say whimsy).  Not as interesting as its reputation might suggest.

Mark Campbell's Doctor Who The Complete Series Guide (Constable & Robertson Ltd, London, 2010)

Mark Campbell’s Doctor Who The Complete Series Guide (Constable & Robertson Ltd, London, 2010)

 My own marathon review of The Celestial Toymaker was rather more positive.  In introducing the story I stated:

I found the story engaging and fascinating.  The concept of a world of make believe in which the characters are compelled to participate in childish games in order to retrieve the TARDIS is both sinister and surreal. That I’m a great fan of the Second Doctor’s The Mind Robber probably evidences my idiosyncratic tendencies.  Both serials have a similar edge about them.

Dodo, Steven and Cyril the nasty "schoolboy" in The Celestial Toymaker

Dodo, Steven and Cyril the nasty “schoolboy” in The Celestial Toymaker

3.  The Underwater Menace – Season 4

Another poor and lowly regarded story is The Underwater Menace. Episode 3 is included on Lost in Time, and although episode 2 was recovered in November 2011 it has yet to be released on DVD. You have to wonder what that omission says about both the popularity and the quality of the serial. The Discontinuity Guide displayed its distain for the serial in its bottom line summary:

‘I could feed you to my pet octopus – yes? … I, too, have a sense of humour!’ At least Joe Orton got a kick out of watching Frazer Hines in episode four of this story.  

Paul Cornell, Martin Day & Keith Toppiing, The Discontinuity Guide (Doctor Who Books, London, 1995)

Paul Cornell, Martin Day & Keith Toppiing, The Discontinuity Guide (Doctor Who Books, London, 1995)

To find out more about the Joe Orton/Doctor Who connection I suggest you read this blog post.

In my marathon review of The Underwater Menace I successfully found some merit in the story and ended my article by stating, “ The Underwater Menace is a fun romp and nowhere near as bad as its reputation.  Watch it with an eye for the ridiculous and you won’t be disappointed”.

A rare colour photo of the Fish People of The Underwater Menace

A rare colour photo of the Fish People of The Underwater Menace

4.  The Wheel in Space – Season 5

As the lovely Wendy Padbury’s debut story, one would have thought that The Wheel in Space would be a fine contender in the list of the most sought after missing episodes. Moreover, the story features the Cybermen and is the last of a long and continuous run of missing Series 5 stories. That’s enough to make anyone celebrate.  Not so for the authors of The Discontinuity Guide who again panned the story:

Dull, lifeless and so derivative of other base-under-siege stories that it isn’t really a story in its own right.  Despite the detailed Wheel setting, the galloping lack of scientific credibility is annoying, and the Cybermen are so bland and ordinary that they could have been any other monster.  Generic speed-written tosh.

As a great fan of the companion Zoe I nonetheless enjoyed The Wheel in Space. There can never be too much Zoe.

Jamie is initially reticent to accept Zoe as a member of the TARDIS Crew in The Wheel in Space

Jamie is initially reticent to accept Zoe as a member of the TARDIS Crew in The Wheel in Space

5.  The Space Pirates – Season 6

Coming in at 195 in the 2009 Doctor Who Magazine Mighty 200, The Space Pirates has the unfortunate reputation as the least popular Patrick Troughton era Doctor Who serial. It is also the last story that is missing from the BBC Archives.  Being totally bereft of any telesnaps, and having a muddy and almost inaudible fan saved soundtrack, Loose Cannon’s reconstruction of The Space Pirates does not make for very engaging viewing.  So bad was it that I had great difficulty reviewing the story.  I was, however, impressed by Madelaine Issigri’s fabulous metal hair and Zoe’s hotpants!  The only episode held in the BBC Archives has been released on the Lost in Time DVD.

Madelaine Issigri had the most fabulous metal wig in The Space Pirates

Madelaine Issigri had the most fabulous metal wig in The Space Pirates

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Anneke Wills Hints at Missing Episodes Reveal Attendance

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Anneke Wills, who starred as the First and Second Doctor’s companion Polly, has today tweeted a tantalising hint concerning the BBC’s MIssing Episode press conference and screening later today. In a tweet posted four hours ago Wills said “In Central London for a secret screening”.  The tweet is also currently reproduced at the bottom of Wills’ official website.

Wills appeared in Doctor Who from the final Season 3 serial, The War Machines, until the penultimate Season 4 story, The Faceless Ones. Michael Craze, who played her fellow companion Ben, passed away in December 1998.  27 of Wills’ 40 Doctor Who episodes are currently known to be missing from the BBC Archives. Her only complete serial is The War Machines. 

Anneke Wills as Polly in The Underwater Menace

Anneke Wills as Polly in The Underwater Menace

MISSING ANNEKE WILLS EPISODES

The Smugglers – All four episodes

The Tenth Planet – Episode 4

The Power of the Daleks – All six episodes

The Highlanders – All four episodes

The Underwater Menace – Episodes 1 and 4

The Moonbase – Episodes 1 and 3

The Macra Terror – All four episodes

The Faceless Ones – Episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6

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

Ben and Polly in “The Inferno”, the hottest nightclub in London (The War Machines) 1966

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Day 46 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – 10 of the Best First Doctor Moments

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10. Undercover in a Paris Prison Reign of Terror

9. The reincarnation of YetaxaThe Aztecs

8.  Caesar’s Plans Go Up in SmokeThe Romans

7.  Possessed Susan Attacks Barbara The Edge of Destruction

6.  Get me Geneva QuickThe Tenth Planet

5.  Doc Holliday The Gunfighters

4.  The Search for Susan An Unearthly Child

3.  Ian and Barbara Leave the DoctorThe Chase

2.  Goodbye SusanThe Dalek Invasion of Earth

1.  The First Doctor’s RegenerationThe Tenth Planet

HONOURABLE MENTION

A fan made compilation of the best of The Web Planet

Vivien Fleming

 

Day 47 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The 10 Greatest Billy Fluffs

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William Hartnell - In Colour

The first actor to play the Doctor, William Hartnell, was renowned for his many and varied “Billy Fluffs”.  A “Billy Fluff” was an error in delivering dialogue or the complete failure to say a line.  Prior to the 1970s the studio recording of Doctor Who was almost live.  Whilst there were certainly some pre-filmed segments, ordinarily those involving special effects or location work, the vast majority of recording was undertaken in the studio on a Friday or Saturday evening.  Preceding the recording where four days of preliminary rehearsals, although the actual recording of each 25 minute episode was allocated only one and a half hours.  Video tape was prohibitively expensive so the re-shooting of scenes was kept to a minimum of three per episode. It’s for this reason that unless the mistakes in dialogue were extraordinary the actors just carried on.

William Hartnell Dalek gif

Hartnell was suffering from undiagnosed arteriosclerosis during his tenure as the First Doctor. Short term memory loss and lapses in concentration can be symptoms of arteriosclerosis.  His declining health undoubtedly contributed to his occasional bout of Hartnellisms. In providing this list of 10 Greatest Billy Fluffs we are not mocking William Hartnell but rather celebrating the eccentricities that made the First Doctor so endearing. Given the multiple takes of modern film production, it is highly doubtful that contemporary actors would come close to displaying the professionalism of the Sixties era Doctor Who stars.

Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks discuss William Hartnell’s perseverance during the filming of The Three Doctors (1973).

10. Episode six of The Web Planet sees a communication device descend upon the Doctor’s head.  When asked by Animus, off camera, if he’d attempted to escape the Doctor responds, “We have been on a slight exploitation.”

A communications device is lowered onto the Doctor's head

A communications device is lowered onto the Doctor’s head in The Web Planet

9.  Whilst introducing the new companion Steven to the TARDIS in episode one of The Time Meddler, the Doctor gives an exceptional run-down of the Ship’s superior features.  At the end of the clip he is scripted as saying “Now please stop bothering me”.  After listening to it multiple times I’m absolutely convinced that Hartnell says “Now please stop buggering me”.

The Time Meddler, Episode 1

8. In episode one of The Web Planet Hartnell appears to forget his lines during a discussion with William Russell (Ian).  Exhibiting extraordinary patience and a determination not to spoil the scene, Russell prompts Hartnell.  Russell’s facial expressions are absolutely classic and brilliantly disguise an otherwise awkward situation.

IAN: Well, come on then, Doctor. Ah.  How do we open the doors?  We have no power.

DOCTOR: Ah, dear, dear, dear, dear, dear. Hmm. It’s one thing after another.

IAN: Hmm?

DOCTOR: Yes, well, I, er, I, er, I didn’t want to, er.

IAN: Hey?

(The Doctor takes his signet ring off).

DOCTOR: This is not merely a decorative object.  Come along, come along.

The Doctor and Ian in The Web Planet

The Doctor and Ian in The Web Planet

7. In episode one of The Smugglers the Doctor discusses with his new companions, Ben and Polly, the difficulties he experiences landing the TARDIS.  After advising his friends that he can neither determine where or in which period he lands, the Doctor then points to the scanner and says, “Oh, now, you see that scanner? That is what I call a scanner up there”.

Ben and Polly arrive take their first trip in the Tardis in The Smugglers

Ben and Polly take their first trip in the Tardis in The Smugglers

6. In The Sensorites, rather than a problem being solved the Doctor accidently states that a solution had been settled – “Yes, well, I rather fancy that’s settled that little bit of a solution”.

Special Feature – Forgetting the Lines – The Sensorites

5. The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan land on a strange beach in The Keys of Marinus.  Having removed her shoes, Susan goes back to the TARDIS to collect another pair.  The Doctor admonishes Ian by saying, “And if you had your shoes on, my boy, you could have lent her hers”

The TARDIS crew land on a mysterious island in The Keys of Marinus

The TARDIS crew land on a mysterious island in The Keys of Marinus

4. Having landed on a beach in The Time Meddler the Doctor and his companions are confronted by a steep cliff face. Although the Doctor suggests to Steven and Vicki that they walk along the beach until they find a cliff face running down to sea level, Steven is convinced that it would be quicker just to climb the cliff.  In response the Doctors says, “But I’m not a mountain goat and I prefer walking to it any day, and I hate climbing”.

The TARDIS Crew land on a beach with a steep cliff face

The TARDIS Crew land on a beach with a steep cliff face in The Time Meddler

3. The Doctor, Steven and Vicki land on a seemingly deserted planet in Galaxy 4. Keen to explore, the Doctor agrees and says that “I think that we shall get some well deserved, undeserved peace for once”.

The Doctor and his companions don't receive the rest they anticipate in Galaxy 4

The Doctor and his companions don’t receive the rest they anticipate in Galaxy 4

2.  Landing in 20th Century London, the Doctor and Dodo see the newly completed Post Office Tower. In perhaps one of the best lines in The War Machines the Doctor states, “You know there’s something alien about that tower.  I can scent it.”

The Doctor can sense and alien force in the newly opened Post Office Tower in The War Machines

The Doctor can sense an alien force in the newly opened Post Office Tower in The War Machines

1.   In discussing whether Ian and Barbara can return to Earth in the Daleks’ time machine the Doctor tells the teachers in The Chase that “You’ll end up as a couple of burnt cinders flying around in Spain … space.”

First Doctor Billy Fluffs

TOMORROW – DAY 46 – The 10 Best William Hartnell Moments

YESTERDAY – DAY 48  – The Top 10 Cliff Hangers of the Sixties

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Day 50 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The 10 Most Wanted Missing Episodes

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Today The Doctor Who Mind Robber commences its 50 Day Countdown to Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary. Today the author will also conclude the 1960s component of her Ultimate Doctor Who Marathon by viewing the final episodes of Patrick Troughton’s last serial, The War Games. What more appropriate era to concentrate our daily articles on than Sixties Doctor Who?

For the next 50 days we will publish a daily article on a 1960s related topic. Perhaps appropriately, given the ongoing Missing Episodes Hysteria, our first survey will be on the Ten Most Wanted Missing Episodes.

10.      THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN

Having just finished reading Terrance Dicks’ novelization of The Abominable Snowmen I’d love to see the five missing episodes returned to the BBC Archives.  Episode two has been released on Lost in Time.

The first of Doctor Who’s two Yeti stories, The Abominable Snowmen is set in the Himalayan Buddhist Monastery, Det-Sen in 1935. Together with introducing the Yeti to the world of Who, the story is also the first appearance of the Great Intelligence. Given the Intelligence’s reintroduction as the major protagonist of Series 7 (The Snowmen, The Bells of Saint John, and The Name of the Doctor), The Abominable Snowmen has obvious marketing potential to New Series fans.

Together with providing fans with another full adventure with the little seen companion Victoria, The Abominable Snowmen is also significant for including the father and daughter team of Deborah (Victoria) and Jack (Travers) Watling.  The story was one of the first to involve extensive location filming and features some splendid Welsh scenery as Snowdonia substituted for Tibet.  The Yeti, whilst menacing, are also adorably cute.

Patrick Troughton on the set of The Abominable Snowmen

Patrick Troughton on the set of The Abominable Snowmen

9.       THE FACELESS ONES

Ben and Polly’s farewell serial, The Faceless Ones is one of my personal favourites.  Episodes one and three are in the BBC Archives and have been released on the Lost in Time compilation.

Set in modern day London, The Faceless Ones was filmed at Gatwick Airport and features Pauline Collins as the would-be companion, Samantha Briggs.  Collins would appear in Doctor Who 39 years later as Queen Victoria in Tooth and Claw.  The serial has certain similarities with the Mark Gatiss penned Series 2 serial, The Idiot’s Lantern.

As one of the few “present day” serials of Doctor Who’s monochrome era, The Faceless Ones is a worthy companion to Ben and Polly’s first serial, The War Machines.  The pair departs on the same day as their arrival in the aforementioned story, which is unfortunately their only complete serial.  The most under-represented of all 1960’s companions in terms of extant episodes, it would be a delight to finally see Ben and Polly’s farewell to the Second Doctor in episode six.  As the companions who flawlessly provided the continuity between the First and Second Doctors, Ben and Polly justifiably deserve more screen time.

The four members of the Tardis Crew before they scatter at Gatwick Airport in The Faceless Ones

The four members of the Tardis Crew before they scatter at Gatwick Airport in The Faceless Ones

8.     THE MACRA TERROR

Another Patrick Troughton serial with a monster revived in New Series Doctor Who (Gridlock), The Macra Terror is entirely missing from the BBC Archives. Featuring Ben and Polly as the Second Doctor’s companions, The Macra Terror features the monster which put paid to model maker Shawcraft Models’ association with Doctor Who. The few off air clips available are just fabulous.  As previously mentioned, there are far too few Ben and Polly episodes so any finds will allow us to fully appreciate their significant contribution to this tumultuous period of Doctor Who’s history.

A publicity shot for The Macra Terror

A publicity shot for The Macra Terror

7.    THE DALEKS’ MASTER PLAN

The 12 part Hartnell era masterpiece, The Daleks’ Master Plan has nine of its episodes missing. Episodes two, five and ten have been released on Lost in Time.

The DMP is resplendent with firsts, including Nicholas Courtney’s premier appearance in Who as secret agent Bret Vyon, the first deaths of companions, and the first return of a humanoid villain, the Monk. The short-lived companion Katarina, played by Adrienne Hill, is killed in episode four, which also sees the death of Bret Vyon at the hands of his sister Sara Kingdom (played by Jean Marsh).  Sara Kingdom, who also subsequently becomes a companion, is killed in episode 12.

The DMP is perhaps the least likely of all serials to be recovered.  Although sold to Australia it was never broadcast as a consequence of censorship problems. The DMP is in fact the only Doctor Who serial to have never been screened in Australia.  Australia is the only country to have purchased all Who serials since the first serial, An Unearthly Child. Australia’s neighbour, New Zealand, has an equally prestigious record of long standing support, having purchased all serials save for the DMP.   The ABC has confirmed that it no longer holds the episodes.  The serial was sold to no other countries.

Magnificent flame throwing Daleks in The Daleks' Master Plan

Magnificent flame throwing Daleks in The Daleks’ Master Plan

6.    THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD

The only non-Monster story in Season 5, The Enemy of the World is one of the most sought after Troughton era serials.  Only episode three is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the Lost in Time DVD.

Very much in the style of a James Bond movie, The Enemy of the World is unique in that Patrick Troughton plays two roles – the Doctor and also the evil would-be world dictator, Salamander.  Featuring Who’s first helicopter and hovercraft scenes, which will become all too familiar during Jon Pertwee’s tenure as the Third Doctor, The Enemy of the World is so unlike the “Base Under Siege” stories as to warrant an exulted position in the archives of Doctor Who. 

Patrick Troughton as Salamander in The Enemy of the World

Patrick Troughton as Salamander in The Enemy of the World

5.   THE WEB OF FEAR

The second and final Yeti story, The Web of Fear has only one episode in the BBC Archives.  Episode one has been released on Lost in Time.

The Web of Fear is set in the present day London Underground and introduces Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart.  Quickly promoted to Brigadier, Lethbridge-Stewart went on to have a distinguished career of more than 40 years with Doctor Who and its franchises.  Bringing monsters to London foreshadowed the Third Doctor’s earth-bound tenure and Jon Pertwee’s much quoted phrase, “Yeti on the Loo”.  It precipitated Doctor Who’s propensity to bring horror and science fiction to the mundane, everyday streetscapes of viewers.

The Doctor first met Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in less than perfect circumstances

The Doctor first met Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in less than perfect circumstances

4.   THE EVIL OF THE DALEKS

The second and final Dalek serial of the Troughton era, only episode two of the seven part serial is held in the BBC Archives.  It has been released on the Lost in Time DVD.

Coming in at 18 in the 2009 Doctor Who Magazine Mighty 200 poll, The Evil of the Daleks was the most highly placed Second Doctor story.  Set in Victorian England, it introduced the new companion Victoria who, having lost her father to the Daleks, was effectively adopted by the Doctor and Jamie.  The story featured the concept of the “human factor” in Daleks, something which would re-emerge in the first Dalek story of 21st Century Who, Dalek.  It also included some lovely scenes in which “baby” Daleks, who had been impregnated with the “human factor”, gleefully played trains with the Doctor.

The Evil of the Daleks was the first Doctor Who serial ever repeated and the first and only repeat to be scripted into serials

The Evil of the Daleks was the first Doctor Who serial ever repeated and the first and only repeat to be scripted into serials

3.     THE POWER OF THE DALEKS

The Power of the Daleks is Patrick Troughton’s first serial as the Second Doctor.  In what could only be described as criminal negligence, none of its six episodes are held in the BBC Archives.

Widely acclaimed as one of the better 1960s Dalek stories, Power of the Daleks introduces a Doctor not only wildly different from his predecessor, but also significantly divergent from Troughton’s later portrayal.  This is the first the viewer sees of a Doctor who will rapidly transform during the course of Season Four.  The recorder, stove-pipe hat and baggy trousers will soon be a thing of the past.  More importantly, however, the Doctor’s personality significantly evolves. The Power of the Daleks is also remarkable for the magnificent Dalek production line, which by luck rather than good management, is still available for our viewing pleasure as a short clip.

The Doctor, Polly and Ben are confronted by Daleks in The Power of the Daleks

The Doctor, Polly and Ben are confronted by Daleks in The Power of the Daleks

2.   THE TENTH PLANET – EPISODE 4

Although episodes one, two and three of The Tenth Planet exist in the BBC Archives, episode four has been lost in time.  Together with the recently animated lost episode, The Tenth Planet will be finally released on DVD in November 2013.

Often described as the proto-type for the Troughton era “Base Under Siege” stories, The Tenth Planet heralded the introduction of the Cybermen. It is perhaps best remembered, however, as William Hartnell’s final story as the Doctor. It is most unfortunate that of all episodes to be lost, it is the final episode with Doctor Who’s first regeneration that doesn’t grace the shelves of the BBC’s Archives. This loss is compounded by the complete absence of Patrick Troughton’s first serial, The Power of the Daleks, from the Archives as well.  Gone also was the opportunity to see the regeneration reprised in the first episode of the next serial.  As luck would have it, however, an amateur film taken off-screen during the broadcast of episode four exists and allows fans to witness this historic regeneration, albeit in a rather grainy form.

The Tenth Planet introduces the Cybermen to Doctor Who for the first time.  A Cyberman is pictured here with Polly and the Doctor

The Tenth Planet introduces the Cybermen to Doctor Who for the first time. A Cyberman is pictured here with Polly and the Doctor

1.   MARCO POLO

Undoubtedly the most highly sought after missing Doctor Who story is Marco Polo.  The fourth story of the series’ first season, this historical drama is the earliest missing story. Directed by Waris Hussein, who also directed Doctor Who’s first serial An Unearthly Child, all that remains visually of this story is a collection of beautiful colour photographs taken during the filming. On the basis of these photos alone, Marco Polo appears to have been an exceptionally cinematic production. As the most widely sold Hartnell era serial, it’s nothing short of bizarre that not a single episode has resurfaced.

A thirty minute reconstruction of Marco Polo was released with the three disc box set The Beginning, which also includes An Unearthly Child, The Edge of Destruction and The Daleks. 

The Doctor and his companions in Marco Polo

The Doctor and his companions in Marco Polo

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

1. Fury From the Deep

2. The Savages

3, The Massacre

4. The Myth Makers

5. Mission to the Unknown

6. The Crusade

7. The Smugglers

TOMORROW – DAY 49 – The 10 Least Remembered Monsters of the Sixties

For the latest developments in the Missing Episodes Hysteria please see our articles on recent Mirror and Radio Times articles.

Episode two of The Space Pirates has been released on the triple DVD set Lost in Time

Orphan episodes have been released on the triple DVD set Lost in Time

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.