Category Archives: Susan Foreman

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.

The Hartnell Years – In Colour

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I was recently browsing YouTube and came upon this fabulous compilation of colourized clips from William Hartnell’s tenure as the First Doctor.  Here’s what the producer, who is known only by the alias of “It’s far from being all over”, says about his work:

“My Tribute to the man that started it all, William Hartnell.

I always felt many of his adventures deserved to be seen in colour, so I set to work. It’s taken about three months and I’ve colourised something in the region of 2,125 frames – one by one, frame by frame. 

Some clips work better than others – as I reached the end I found myself dropping shots I didn’t like and recreating new ones! It’s been a labour of love and I hope you enjoy seeing some classic 60’s Doctor Who – in Colour!

Big thanks to ‘Pelham Cort ‏aka @johnxgin3’ for his colour references and support throughout – I’ll do some Troughton soon! “

The Hartnell Years – In Colour

The Dalek Invasion of Earth

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With iconic imagery of London that would remain unmatched until the classic emergence of the Cybermen from St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1968’s The Invasion, The Dalek Invasion of Earth was a ground breaking serial in Doctor Who’s history.  The story was the subject of a number of significant firsts and lasts, including the earliest shots of the English capital’s tourist hotspots which are so celebrated that at least one has been reenacted for the forthcoming docudrama to celebrate Who’s 50th anniversary, An Adventure in Space and Time. The story was also the first to see the departure of a companion, Susan, and the first on screen kiss, between Susan and her fiancé, David.  The Daleks made their only appearance with parabolic discs on their backs and the serial was also the second, and last, to be made into a feature film.

In the best tradition of Doctor Who, The Dalek Invasion of Earth involved the wild and improbable premise that Daleks invaded earth on or about 2164.  Six months prior to arriving in their now stereotypical looking flying saucers, the Daleks had sent meteors bearing the plague to the earth which had decimated the continents of Africa, South America and Asia. Countries were destroyed and the world became fragmented into small, independent communities. Although considering themselves “masters of Earth”, the Daleks interest in earth was not the domination of its human population, but rather to use it as a spacecraft.  Drilling to the core of the earth in Bedfordshire, the Daleks planned to remove its magnetic core, de-gravitize it, and then replace the core with a power system of their own making.  The Daleks then intended to steer the earth throughout the universe.  One would have thought it easier for the Daleks just to make more of their flying saucers, but alas, a rollicking good yarn that would not have been!

Producer of Doctor Who, Verity Lambert, pictured with a parabolic disc Dalek. These Daleks were only ever seen in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".

Producer of Doctor Who, Verity Lambert, pictured with a parabolic disc Dalek. These Daleks were only ever seen in “The Dalek Invasion of Earth”.

One of the Daleks' less than realistic flying saucers

One of the Daleks’ less than realistic flying saucers

Dalekjs on Westminster Bridge

Daleks on Westminster Bridge

Given the Daleks’ anatomical disability, namely, their unfortunate endowment of a sucker and a mix-master like gun in lieu of hands, they naturally needed human help in their quest to drill to the earth’s centre.  Having dominated the decimated human population, the Daleks robotized the intelligent males into drone like soldiers who responded to their orders.  Almost everyone else was a slave in the Daleks’ mine in Bedfordshire. The few remaining “free” humans formed a resistance movement to fight the Daleks’ evil plan.  The Doctor and his companions meet up with one such resistance group which was under the leadership of Dortmun, an incapacitated scientist confined to a wheel chair.  One of these resistance members, David Campbell, was to become Susan’s fiancée, whilst another, Jenny, assisted Barbara in getting to Bedfordshire.  Along the way Barbara has the glorious achievement of plowing down a group of Daleks whilst driving a truck.

A submerged Dalek emerging from the Thames River

A submerged Dalek emerging from the Thames River

The Dalek shows no ill effects from its time in the polluted Thames

The Dalek shows no ill effects from its time in the polluted Thames

The Doctor and Ian in front of a sign forbidding the dumping of bodies in the river

The Doctor and Ian in front of a sign forbidding the dumping of bodies in the river

In the course of the Doctor and his companions’ adventures, the Doctor is a captive in the Daleks’ spaceship and is almost robotized, Ian contends with a mutated creature called The Slyther and finds himself inside the bomb which will blow out the earth’s core, and Susan is almost eaten by alligators which now inhabit London’s sewers. Barbara and her companion Jenny are betrayed to the Daleks by two women from whom they seek refuge, and are then held captive with metal neck braces.  After their ultimate victory over the Daleks, the Doctor, Barbara and Ian depart in the Tardis sans Susan. In the tear jerking conclusion, the Doctor locks his grand-daughter out of the ship and speaks to her through an intercom.  As she is now a woman, she needs roots somewhere and David is the person who can give her those roots, “not a silly old duffer like me”, said the Doctor.  Despite Susan’s protestations the Doctor leaves, but not before promising that one day he will be back.  It is this oration which opens Who’s 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors, which is the next occasion when the Doctor and Susan are seen together.

A Roboman with the Doctor and Ian

A Roboman with the Doctor and Ian

Slave labourers push a railway cart at the Bedfordshire mine

Slave labourers push a railway cart at the Bedfordshire mine

Akin to the first Dalek story, The Daleks, the writer, Terry Nation, drew upon Second World War imagery.  Post Dalek invasion London has its genesis in the London Blitz. The Daleks are again a representation of the Nazis and are even seen to do Nazi salutes. They are the “masters of the Earth”.  The Daleks make use of slave labour and communicate to the resistance by radio transmissions. Whilst most of the population is in grave fear of them, some self-interested individuals are prepared to co-operate with them for economic gain.  Such is the case of the two women in the wood and the black market racketeer, Ashton.

A Dalek does a Nazi salute

A Dalek does a Nazi salute

Daleks and Robomen at the Daleks' spaceship

Daleks and Robomen at the Daleks’ spaceship

Barbara, as always, is fabulous and puts on a particularly good show when attempting to outwit the Dalek leadership by muddling history.  As stated previously, she plows through Daleks, unscathed, in a truck and it is Barbara who realizes that the Robomen are given orders by a central command.  Taking over that microphone, she and the Doctor order the Robomen to turn on the Daleks.  Unfortunately she is oblivious to the sexism of the resistance men when she is asked whether she can cook.  Her reply of “I can get by” results in her being assigned to cooking duties because the resistance “need cooks”.  If this serial was produced five years later then perhaps she would have baulked at the gendered stereotype.  Clearly these urban guerillas had underestimated the resourcefulness of Barbara.

Barbara tries to confuse the Daleks with muddled history

Barbara tries to confuse the Daleks with muddled history

Barbara is caught by a Dalek's sucker

Barbara is caught by a Dalek’s sucker

The character of Jenny is particularly strong for a woman in the early 1960s.  Dortmun assures Barbara that Jenny isn’t callous, although the years of battling the Daleks has certainly left her hardened.  When Barbara asks why she is constantly running from the Daleks her reply is that “I’m not running, I’m surviving”.  Her rather arrogant nature doesn’t make for a particularly endearing personality and one is left wondering if this is a reflection of an underlying belief by Terry Nation that powerful women cannot also be “nice”.

Barbara and Jenny run Dortmun to safety

Barbara and Jenny run Dortmun to safety

Jenny and Barbara are restrained by iron neck collars

Jenny and Barbara are restrained by iron neck collars

Susan transforms from a girl to a woman in the course of this story as her relationship with David blossoms. She initially reject’s David’s proposal of marriage as her grandfather is old and now needs her.  She didn’t want to have to make the choice between the stability that David offered, and the Doctor.  The Doctor, from inside the Tardis, ultimately makes the decision for Susan which on the face of it appears harsh and unloving.  David, however, reassures Susan that the Doctor knew that she could never leave him (David). That a relationship of such intensity could develop in the space of but a few days is indeed intriguing.  It became a precedent, nonetheless, for romance linked companion departures in the future, such as the Fourth Doctor’s companion Leela, who remains on Gallifrey with her newly acquired love, Andred.

Susan talks to the Doctor through the Tardis's PA system

Susan talks to the Doctor through the Tardis’s PA system

Susan and David in a tender moment

Susan and David in a tender moment

Susan is distressed to leave her grandfather

Susan is distressed to leave her grandfather

The Dalek Invasion of Earth marked the end of companion stability and the beginning of an almost revolving door of companions for the First Doctor. It is in the next serial, The Rescue, that we are introduced to the Doctor’s “grand-daughter substitute”, orphan Vicki. A new era will begin.

The Doctor says farewell to Susan

The Doctor says farewell to Susan

The Dalek Invasion of Earth was first broadcast in the UK between November 21 and December 26, 1964

The Dalek Invasion of Earth was first broadcast in the UK between November 21 and December 26, 1964

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Planet of Giants

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The opening serial of the second season of Doctor Who, Planet of Giants saw the return of the Tardis Crew after a break from the television screens of a mere six weeks. The penultimate serial to feature all the original cast members, Planet of Giants, albeit in a somewhat divergent form and with a different writer, was originally intended as the premiere serial of the first series.  Rather unsurprisingly given its infancy, the ninth Who story was the first since the premiere episode, An Unearthly Child, to be set in modern day England.  That being said, the action is all studio based and not a glimpse of London can be spied. Although modern day London was featured prominently in the season three finale, The War Machines, viewers didn’t have to wait that long to see the recognizable landmarks of England’s capital.  Set in the twenty second century the next serial, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, would undoubtedly have satiated the tastes of all those viewers seeking earth-bound points of reference. That story, however, is for my next review.

The frightened Tardis Crew are smaller than painted blades of grass

The frightened Tardis Crew are smaller than painted blades of grass

Planet of Giants was an ambitious story, beautifully realized on what was undoubtedly a budget almost as minute as the Doctor and his companions were in the serial.  Originally filmed as four episodes, but cut to three to quicken the pace of episodes three and four, Planet of Giants saw the Tardis Crew reduced to not much more than the size of ants.  As the Tardis was materializing in a suburban London backyard, presumably to return Barbara and Ian home, the doors flung open. For reasons unable to be later explained by the Doctor, the ship and its occupants were shrunk. The Tardis Crew, however, were unaware of their diminutive size until they stumbled upon a series of strange and perplexing objects whilst exploring outside. After splitting into two groups, Ian, with Susan, initially presumed that they had landed in the middle of some form of trade fair.  An exhibition, of sorts, in which huge copies of various objects were on display. Ants were the size of dinosaurs and matchboxes like houses. It was Susan, though, who quickly realized that it was the Tardis Crew that had been shrunk.  Perhaps it was her alien antecedents that permitted her to see that which Ian couldn’t.

Susan, Ian and the matchbox

Susan, Ian and the matchbox

Soon the Doctor and his companions were confronted by the hazards that naturally confront ant sized people.  Ian, who had climbed into a near empty match box, was picked up and carried away but a short distance. He was bounced around the matchbox brutally, slamming uncontrollable from side to side. To the others, this otherwise short stroll across a nicely manicured lawn to be reunited with Ian was a treacherously long haul. The Doctor, who was now much more concerned about the well-being of his companions, was insistent on locating “Chesterton”.  Eventually they are reunited.

A profoundly dead insect of mammoth proportions is examined by Barbara and the Doctor

A profoundly dead insect of mammoth proportions is examined by Barbara and the Doctor

In the interim, the viewers were witnesses to a conversation about a new insecticide, DN6, between Farrow, a “Ministry” man and Forrester, a conniving business person whose income and life style is dependent upon the approval, production and marketing of DN6.  Developed by the scientist Smithers in his back yard laboratory, DN6 has the capacity to kill more than just insects and remains effective indefinitely.  Farrow had learned of the potentially fatal consequences of DN6 whilst preparing a report for the government, however the insecticide’s inventor, Smithers, seemed blindly unaware of its hazards.  Unprepared to risk losing approval for DN6, Forrester shoots Farrow dead. He soon after reveals the murder to Smithers, thereby implicating him as an accessory after the fact.

The deceased Mr Farrow as seen by the Doctor and his companions.  This looks like something out of a Hitchcock movie

The deceased Mr Farrow as seen by the Doctor and his companions. This looks like something out of a Hitchcock movie

The Doctor and his companions are confronted by Farrow’s body on the lawn but are soon separated again when Ian and Barbara seek shelter in a brief case.  The brief case is picked up and carried inside the house.  Barbara considered the ride in the suitcase not dissimilar to that of a roller coaster and sustained a bad bruise to her knee from an unsecured paper clip. The Doctor and Susan must now rescue the teachers and in doing so encounter adventures galore.  Whilst outside a domestic cat was a menacing beast, inside a common sink and drain is sufficient to make out heroes contemplate imminent death by drowning. Lighting a match is akin to ramming a stockade, whilst lifting a telephone receiver is almost as laborious as lifting a London bus an inch off the ground.

Ian and Susan are confronted by a giant ant

Ian and Susan are confronted by a giant ant

Perhaps what I admire most about this story is its strong environmental message. Concern for the long term effects of pesticides is something I would have thought was rarely discussed in the early 1960s. It’s certainly Doctor Who’s first venture into enviro-politics, an area of much concern in a number of Third Doctor serials including Inferno and The Green Death (yes, the one with the giant maggots!).  Not only is the Doctor concerned about the effect of the insecticide on his companions – he advises them not to eat or drink anything – but also other insects.  When Barbara questions what would kill insects in an ordinary garden, and then posits that killing “bees, and worms, and things” is wrong, the Doctor concurs and states that “Quite so.  Both are vital to the growth of things”.

The Doctor and Susan contemplate death by drowning

The Doctor and Susan contemplate death by drowning

Barbara, who absolutely shines in this story, subsequently becomes gravely ill after touching a grain of wheat which had been sprayed by insecticide.  Ian, who is with her at the time, does not notice and upon realizing her error, Barbara hides her actions from him. This is in spite of the fact that Barbara had asked to borrow Ian’s hanky and was aggressively attempting to clean the poison off her hands.  The usually observant and intelligent Ian was clearly away with the fairies on this occasion. Once Barbara becomes so ill that she collapses, and can no longer deny that she touched the insecticide, the Doctor determines that they must return to the Tardis as soon as possible.  When the ship’s crew is returned to their normal sizes the pesticide will only be 1/70th as potent on Barbara, the Doctor asserts. Naturally the Doctor was entirely correct and at the serial’s end the grain of wheat which was taken into the Tardis with much physical exertion, had resumed its normal proportions. Barely could it be seen.

Barbara is terrified to run into a giant fly

Barbara is terrified to run into a giant fly

A thoroughly enjoyable romp, with an honourable message and momentous adventure,  the Planet of Giants was a memorable start to Doctor Who’s second season. 

Planet of Giants was originally broadcast in the UK between 31st October and 14th November 1964

Planet of Giants was originally broadcast in the UK between 31st October and 14th November 1964

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Reign of Terror

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Released for the first time on DVD in 2013, The Reign of Terror is an eagerly awaited addition to the collections of Doctor Who fans.  With episodes 4 and 5 junked by the BBC, the missing episodes were animated.  For the first time, probably since its original transmission, viewers are able to see this great historical epic on the French Revolution.

The Doctor in animated form

The Doctor in animated form

The last story of Season 1, The Reign of Terror was also the first Doctor Who serial to include some location filming, albeit in the form of a very persuasive double of The Doctor walking down a row of poplar trees. It was also the last filming of First Doctor stories at the old and cramped Lime Grove studios where the Director, Henric Hirsch, collapsed in the third episode. Unable to complete direction of that episode, Hirsch was not credited as Director.

The Doctor with the work-party leader whom he subsequently knocks unconscious with a shovel

The Doctor with the work-party leader whom he subsequently knocks unconscious with a shovel

Attempting to return Barbara and Ian to present day London, the Tardis, not surprisingly, gets the time and location wrong.  Instead it lands 170 years earlier and 100 kilometres away in Paris during the height of the French Revolution.   Not that any of the Crew initially realize the error!  That the ship should dock in the Doctor’s favourite period of Earth history, The French Revolution, is quite fortuitous, for him at least.  Whilst the teachers are again unable to return home, the Doctor is afforded the opportunity to dress in fine clothing and impersonate a District Commissioner.  The Reign of Terror allows the Doctor the occasion to again take the show’s lead and save his fellow companions.  Ian, Barbara and Susan are arrested by soldiers and are awaiting execution by guillotine.  The Doctor was lucky to escape capture by being conveniently knocked unconscious just prior to the soldier’s arrival.  His miraculous escape from a burning farmhouse, with the help of a young peasant boy, afforded him an element of surprise as he was assumed dead.

The Doctor, resplendent in the costume of a District Commissioner

The Doctor, resplendent in the costume of a District Commissioner

Whilst the Doctor is more willing to take risks to save the Tardis Crew in this serial, his ethics still remain dodgy.  He not only forges documents enabling him to impersonate a senior government official, but also grievously assaults the leader of a work-party after he has been mistakenly conscripted into it. Although this incident is played somewhat as a farce, it certainly exhibits a dimension of the Doctor which fans of today’s episodes would be unfamiliar with. Hitherto, knocking people out had been Ian’s domain.  The Doctor also takes a blow at another bloke whilst endeavouring to free Susan from prison.

Barbara and Susan in prison

Barbara and Susan in prison

The companions in The Reign of Terror begin to take on a more secondary role, in line with the Doctor’s increasingly pivotal role. Susan spends much of the serial moaning (quite justifiably) or ill, and displays a profound fear of rats. Ian and Barbara are given a little more to play with, and are particularly amusing when they take on the roles of landlord and barmaid of a pub. Barbara gets a love interest, of sorts, and William Russell’s two weeks leave during the serial is well disguised by the insertion of pre-recorded segments.

Ian looks from his prison cell as Barbara and Susan are taken to the guillotine

Ian looks from his prison cell as Barbara and Susan are taken to the guillotine

Whilst lore has it that historical dramas were the least popular of the early Doctor Who escapades they certainly showcased the BBC’s great skill at historical dramas. Costuming was divine. The animation of the two missing episodes was particularly well done, even if my children questioned why it was presented in black and white.  Once I explained the need for authenticity so as not to stand out from four extant black and white episodes, they were happy to accept what appeared to them to be very bizarre animation.

An animated Doctor

An animated Doctor

Barbara animated

Barbara animated

The Reign of Terror was originally broadcast in the UK between 8th August and 12th September 1964

The Reign of Terror was originally broadcast in the UK between 8th August and 12th September 1964

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Sensorites

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The Sensorites

The Sensorites

Comedian, actor, and author of Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf, Toby Hadoke, investigates the writer of The Sensorites, Peter R. Newman, in an informative documentary in the Special Features of the Doctor Who The Sensorites DVD release.  Why am I telling you this, you may ask? Because of Hadoke’s humorous manner of introducing The Sensorites.  It says much about how The Sensorites has been viewed by the Doctor Who fan community. Here’s how Hadoke leads into the documentary.

Toby Hadoke - Stand-up comedian, actor and author of "Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf".

Toby Hadoke – Stand-up comedian, actor and author of “Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf”.

HADOKE:  The Sensorites.  Poor, unloved, The Sensorites.  Nestling, lost somewhere, down the back of the fans’ collective sofa.  There it lies at number 7 in the first heady year of Doctor Who.  It didn’t even have the decency to be wiped so we could all mourn its loss, and imagine how brilliant it must have been.  It’s not a story anyone really talks about.  We certainly don’t know that much about it …

The Tardis Crew and a Sensorite

The Tardis Crew and a Sensorite

Yes, the much derided The Sensorites. In the development of Doctor Who, however, The Sensorites is not without merit.  If it were not for The Sensorites there’s a distinct possibility that one of the New Series’ favourite creatures, the Ood, may never have made their way to The Impossible Planet in 2006.  Like the Ood, the peculiar looking Sensorites have a humanoid bodily appearance but with rather unusual heads. They share telepathy with the Ood and a tube that hangs from their body.  In the Sensorites case there isn’t an external brain at the cord’s end, but rather a stethoscope type device which, when put to the forehead, permits their telepathic communication.  Devoid of the Ood’s face tentacles, the Sensorites instead have a fine head of hair growing onwards and upwards from their chins.  It’s perhaps because of the quantity of hair on the lower part of their heads that they have none left for their bald heads!  Like the Ood, the Sensorites appear genderless and nameless.  According to 2008’s Planet of the Ood, their home planet, the Ood-Sphere, is close by to the Sensorites’ home, the Sense-Sphere.

The near neighbours of the Sensorites, the Ood.

The near neighbours of the Sensorites, the Ood.

Tat Wood and Lawrence Miles in their well regarded series of books, About Time, describe The Sensorites as “quite possibly the most important Doctor Who story of all”.  Why? Because “the Doctor saves a planet not simply to get his Ship back but because it’s the right thing to do”. Yes, the Doctor that we know and love is beginning to develop.  For once he’s the instigator of action, rather than Ian, and beginning to be less egocentric. The Doctor, quite inexplicably though, still threatens to put Ian and Barbara off the ship at the next planet because Ian reiterates the Doctor’s own admission that he can’t control the TARDIS.  There’s still some way to go for the Doctor, although he’s beginning to take the well worn path that we all know.

A Sensorite using telepathy.

A Sensorite using telepathy.

In The Sensorites Susan exhibits a strong telepathic tendency in her ability to communicate with the planet’s locals. She is a little more reminiscent of the Susan we see in An Unearthly Child and also quarrels with her grandfather for the first time.   “Growing up” is how the forever teacher Barbara describes her behavior to the Doctor.

Susan and a Sensorite

Susan and a Sensorite

The change that is taking place in the Tardis Crew is mentioned in the first episode, Strangers in Space.  It also provides a convenient potted summary of the crew’s adventures in the previous 6 months since Doctor Who was first broadcast.

IAN: There’s one thing about it, Doctor.  We’re certainly different from when we started out with you.

SUSAN: That’s funny.  Grandfather and I were talking about that just before you came in.  How you’ve both changed.

BARBARA: Well we’ve all changed.

SUSAN: Have I?

BARBARA: Yes.

DOCTOR: Yes, it all started out as a mild curiosity in a junkyard, and not it’s turned out to be quite a, quite a great spirit of adventure, don’t you think?

IAN: Yes.  We’ve had some pretty rough times and even that doesn’t stop us.  It’s a wonderful thing, this ship of yours, Doctor.  Taken us back to pre-historic times, the Daleks.

SUSAN: Marco Polo, Marinus.

BARBARA: And the Aztecs.

The Sensorites was originally broadcast on BBC1 between 20th June and 1st August 1964.

The Sensorites was originally broadcast on BBC1 between 20th June and 1st August 1964.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

Reference

Tat Wood & Lawrence Miles, “About Time. The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who. 1963-1966 Seasons 1 to 3”. Mad Norweigan Press, Illinois, 2009.

The Aztecs

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There’s probably very little that needs to be said about The Aztecs, a serial that is widely lauded by fans and critics alike as an outstanding  milestone in the history of Doctor Who.  It is in The Aztecs that the parameters of what New Series fans might describe as the “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey … Stuff” are fleshed out.  Rules are enunciated that will forever limit the Doctor and his companions’ ability to alter the course of historical events.  As the Doctor states categorically to Barbara, “You can’t rewrite history.  Not one line!: It’s also the serial where Barbara is mistaken for the reincarnation of the Aztec high priest, Yetaxa, and the Doctor accidently becomes engaged by sharing a cup of cocoa!

Barbara unconditionally shines in The Aztecs.  When the serial commences Barbara exhibits her superb knowledge of history, finely tuned by years of secondary school teaching, when she tells Susan, almost down to the year, the age of some Aztec masks.  That Susan didn’t already know this is somewhat surprising, particularly given her knowledge of the French Revolution in An Unearthly Child.  Perhaps her historical knowledge is limited to her grandfather’s pet interests, for it’s in The Reign of Terror that Susan tells us that the French Revolution is the Doctor’s favourite historical period.

Yetaxa in all her finery.

Yetaxa in all her finery.

Having already displayed a keen interest in bangles during The Keys of Marinus, Barbara locates and puts on a snake bracelet.  After being detained by the Aztec leaders, Barbara is quickly identified as the reincarnation of the high priest, Yetaxa.  Susan asks why the Aztecs should think Barbara the reincarnation when Yetaxa was a man.  Displaying again her broad knowledge, Barbara responds by advising that form doesn’t matter.  It’s the wearing of the bracelet that’s all important.  Barbara immediately falls into the role of a god and is resplendent in fine clothing and head gear.  Her demeanor, deportment and speech is that of a being with infinite authority.  When confronted with a forthcoming human sacrifice Barbara grasps the opportunity to save the Aztecs from their eventual demise.  Mindful of the link between the Aztecs’ cultural practices and the destruction of their society, Barbara resolves to end the practice of human sacrifice, which she considers barbaric.  She refuses to sit back and watch at the ceremony in which Ian, who has been conscripted as a warrior, must hold down the sacrificial victim.  Despite the Doctor’s advice that history must never be rewritten Barbara remains resolved.  The dialogue between the Doctor and Barbara is extraordinarily powerful and worth providing here verbatim.

The Doctor explains a few facts to Barbara about time travel.

The Doctor explains a few facts to Barbara about time travel.

DOCTOR: There’s to be a human sacrifice today at the Rain Ceremony

BARBARA: Oh, no.

DOCTOR: And you must not interfere, do you understand?

BARBARA: I can’t just sit by and watch.

DOCTOR.: No , Barbara!  Ian agrees with me.  He’s got to escort the victim to the altar.

BARBARA: He has to what?

DOCTOR: Yes, they’ve made him a warrior, and he’s promised me not to interfere with the sacrifice.

BARBARA: Well, they’ve made me a goddess, and I forbid it.

DOCTOR: Barbara, no!

BARBARA:  There will be no sacrifice this afternoon, Doctor.  Or ever again.  The reincarnation of Yetaxa will prove to the people that you don’t need to sacrifice a human being in order to make it rain.

DOCTOR: Barbara, no.

BARBARA: It’s no good, Doctor, my mind’s made up.  This is the beginning of the end of the Sun God.

DOCTOR: What are you talking about?

BARBARA: Don’t you see?  If I could start the destruction of everything that’s evil here, then everything that is good would survive when Cortes lands.

DOCTOR:  But you can’t rewrite history!  Not one line!

SUSAN: Barbara, the high priests are coming.

DOCTOR:  Barbara, one last appeal.  What you are trying to do is utterly impossible.  I know, believe me, I know.

BARBARA: Not Barbara, Yetaxa.

The Doctor is pleased to have found a source of poison

The Doctor is pleased to have found a source of poison

Barbara’s command not to sacrifice the victim does not save his life, however.  Considering it an honour to be sacrificed, the intended victim is shamed and jumps to his death.  The Doctor, naturally, quickly seizes the opportunity to chide Barbara for her actions.  He explains that human sacrifice is their tradition and religion.  The intended victim wanted to be offered.  A distressed Barbara tells the Doctor that “she just didn’t think”, to which the Doctor promptly apologizes for being so harsh.  The Doctor advises her that what happens next is up to her.  Already suspected of being a false god by some, Barbara faces a challenge.

Barbara and Ian

Barbara and Ian

Barbara continued the façade of being the Yetaxa and amongst her other actions, put a knife to Tlotoxl’s throat in  a successful endeavour to save Ian’s life.  Engaged in a ritualistic fight to the death with Ian, Ixta (the combatant) had the upper hand after the Doctor had, by Ixta’s deception, given him a mild poison.  Ixta had scratched Ian on the wrist with this poison during the fight, thereby rendering him groggy and increasingly incapable of fighting.  When goaded by the participants to save her servant Ian, presumably by supernatural means, Barbara responded by threatening to kill Tlotoxl if Ian died.  Commanding Ixta to put down his club, the combatant obeyed and the fight was over.  Ixta didn’t claim victory.  In response to Autloc’s subsequent comment that the people had been awaiting a miracle from the Yetaxa, Barbara pragmatically stated “Why should I use divine powers when human ability will suffice?”

Barbara holds a knife to Tlotoxl's throat.

Barbara holds a knife to Tlotoxl’s throat.

After outwitting a plan to have her consume poison, thereby proving her human identity, Barbara eventually admits that she is not the Yetaxa.  When the Tardis Crew is eventually able to escape back into the cave and reach the safety of the Tardis, Barbara laments the failure of her mission to civilize the Aztecs.  Again, it is worth quoting the Doctor and Barbara’s conversation verbatim.

BARBARA: We failed.

DOCTOR: Yes, we did.  We had to.

BARBARA: What’s the point of travelling through time and space if we can’t change anything? Nothing. Tlotoxl had to win.

DOCTOR: Yes.

BARBARA: And the one man I had respect for, I deceived.  Poor Autloc.  I gave him false hope and in the end he lost his faith.

DOCTOR: He found another faith, a better, and that’s the good you’ve done.  You failed to save a civilization, but at least you helped one man.

Tlotoxl - Evil dudes don't come much better than this!

Tlotoxl – Evil dudes don’t come much better than this!

The Doctor’s character softens to a small degree in The Aztecs.  For the first time we see a love interest in the form of the intelligent and resourceful Cameca.  Although clearly taken by Cameca, he is not prepared to take her with him.  This relationship affords several opportunities for comic relief, not least of which is when the Doctor accidently accepts Cameca’s proposal of marriage.  He was not aware that sharing a cup of cocoa was an act of betrothal.  Similarly, when the Doctor advises Ian that he has a fiancée, the expression on Ian’s face is priceless.  Clearly the tension between Ian and the Doctor is beginning to mellow.

The Doctor and his love interest, Cameca.

The Doctor and his love interest, Cameca.

That shared cup of cocoa!

That shared cup of cocoa!

Ian learns that the Doctor has a fiancee.

Ian learns that the Doctor has a fiancee.

This mellowing of tension is also shown in the Doctor’s relations with Barbara, and particularly her eventual acknowledgement that the Doctor was correct in respect of not rewriting history.  Although chiding Barbara harshly, she soon admits her own indiscretion and readily forgives him.  The Doctor shows ingenuity in making the wheel, a device not yet discovered by the Aztecs.  This allowed the Doctor and his companions to lift the door separating them from the Tardis.

The Doctor and that not so heavy stone

The Doctor and that not so heavy stone

Susan’s character development in The Aztecs is particularly interesting and in some respects proto-feminist.  Susan was sent to a seminary type institution upon suspicions of Barbara’s divinity being raised.  Yetaxa’s “handmaiden” was tutored in the skills required of a young Aztec woman.  She displayed a quick aptitude to learn however, like Barbara, she was not prepared to accept the status quo in all respects.  Upon being told to keep her eyes downcast when she meets her future husband, Susan asked how she would know who he is.  In response she was advised that she will be told who she’ll marry.  Susan was outraged and stated that she would live her life the way she wanted and chose whomever she wished to marry.

Susan, the Yetaxa's handmaiden.

Susan, the Yetaxa’s handmaiden.

Later, it had been decided that Susan would marry the “Perfect Victim”, the person intended for the next sacrifice three days later during an eclipse.  Such a person is afforded anything they wish for in the days prior to their sacrifice.  Susan responded to this news with rage and stated that it’s barbaric and that they were all monsters.  For her insubordination she was to be punished.  That the male writer, John Lucarroti, should attribute Susan with such a strong will against this undeniably sexist practice is quite extraordinary.  This serial was aired in 1964, prior to the large scale emergence of second-wave feminism.  Perhaps Lucarroti had read Betty Friedan’s seminal work, The Feminine Mystique, which was first published in 1963.

Ian defeats Ixta with finger power

Ian defeats Ixta with finger power

Ian almost succumbs to Ixta.

Ian almost succumbs to Ixta.

Ian remains the hero and “man of action” in this serial.  He becomes a warrior, defeats Ixta in a trial battle through the mere use of finger pressure to the neck, and eventually propels Ixta to his death is a most heroic and ingenious manner.  He moves a large boulder blocking a tunnel with little discomfort, although it’s admitted in the special features that the boulder was made from a very light material.  He also knocks out a number of people.  A force to be reckoned with, Ian is also becoming more tolerant of the Doctor and can have the occasional light moment with him.  The Tardis Crew is not yet a totally cohesive group, however the hostility of early serials is beginning to diminish.

Ian the warrior

Ian the warrior

The Aztecs was originally broadcast in the UK between 23 May and 13 June 1964

The Aztecs was originally broadcast in the UK between 23 May and 13 June 1964

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.