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Writing the Doctor Who Mind Robber’s 50th Anniversary Countdown is reminiscent of Griffin the Chef’s sublime appearance in Episode 3 of the recently recovered and released Second Doctor serial, The Enemy of the World. That episode, as you may recall, had been the only part of the six part serial to have been previously held in the BBC Archives. Released as part of the triple DVD set, Lost in Time, Episode 3 had caused many a fan to discount Enemy. Forever being one to differ, my review of Enemy prior to the recovery was nonetheless positive. Australian Reg Lye’s portrayal of the laconic Griff was the highlight of the episode.
Griff is seen to complain to Victoria about his life as the evil Salamander’s chef. His mother, he stated, had wanted him to be a dustman and that night’s dinner was sure to be “a national disaster”. Having agreed to be of assistance, Griff went on to say to Victoria,
Well sit down and write out the menus. First course interrupted by bomb explosion. Second course affected by earthquakes. Third course ruined by interference in the kitchen. I’m going out for a walk. It’ll probably rain.
Trying to keep up with this Countdown, and also sew the Second and Fourth Doctor Cosplay outfits discussed on Days 16 and 17, leaves me in a Griff type predicament. First course interrupted by The Day of the Doctor sneak peak. Second course affected by leaked The Day of the Doctor trailer. Third course ruined by interference from #SaveTheDay hastag on Twitter. Just over a fortnight out from the 50th Anniversary and any half interested fan could spend almost every waking hour of the day following the latest Doctor Who news.
Keep watching the Doctor Who Mind Robber as we continue to report on all the anniversary news and hopefully even get some Cosplay sewing done!
©Vivien Fleming, 2013.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
©Vivien Fleming, 2013.
In no particular order The Doctor Who Mind Robber today presents 10 Great Companion Outfits of the Sixties.
1. Jamie McCrimmon – Kilt
2. Zoe Heriot – Catsuit
3. Barbara Wright – Yetaxa
4. Dodo Chaplet – The Celestial Toymaker
5. Sara Kingdom – The Daleks’ Master Plan
6. Zoe Heriot – Space Pirates’ Hotpants
7. Susan – An Unearthly Child
8. Polly – Way Out Sixties
9. Victoria – The Abominable Snowmen
10. Zoe Heriot – The Invasion
With the momentous missing episodes recovery news of last week The Doctor Who Mind Robber can now celebrate the return of nine episodes. The six part The Enemy of the World is now complete with the recovery of episodes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6. Episode 3 was already in the care of the BBC and was released on the triple DVD set Lost in Time. The Web of Fear, also six episodes long, is now only missing episode 3. Episode 1 had previously been released on Lost in Time and episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 have been recovered.
In no particular order we now reflect on 5 Reasons to Celebrate the Return of Enemy and Web.
5. THERE ARE NOW ONLY 97 MISSING EPISODES
Since the recovery of Airlock (episode three of Galaxy 4) and episode two of The Underwater Menace there have been 106 missing Doctor Who episodes. The return of the aforementioned episodes in December 2011 were the first recoveries since episode two of The Daleks’ Master Plan (Day of Armageddon) in January 2004. With only three episodes returned in the 21st Century prior to 2013, the haul of nine recently recovered episodes brings to a dozen the episodes found this century.
For the first time the number of missing episodes is in double figures. How long will it be until there are less than 97 missing episodes?
4. COLONEL LETHBRIDGE-STEWART IS INTRODUCED
Although Nicholas Courtney appeared as Bret Vyon in The Daleks’ Master Plan, it is in The Web of Fear that his iconic character of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart made its Doctor Who debut. The Doctor Who Mind Robber has waxed lyrical about the promoted Brigadier here and here. Unfortunately, however, it is the very episode in which Lethbridge- Stewart appears for the first time that is missing from The Web of Fear. Episode three is yet to be recovered however it has been very ably reconstructed by the BBC and has been released with the serial’s other five episodes on iTunes.
3. THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD IS THE FIRST COMPLETE SERIAL RECOVERED SINCE 1992
For the first time since the recovery of all four episodes of The Tomb of the Cybermen in 1992 a complete serial, The Enemy of the World, has been returned to the BBC Archives. Long-term fans still recount stories of the joy experienced when Tomb resurfaced in Hong Kong. There’s little doubt that the recent finds will become part of the mythology of Doctor Who.
2. THE YETI
The Yeti have obtained mythical status in the world of Doctor Who despite having appeared in only two serials, The Abominable Snowmen and the Web of Fear. Until the recovery of four of Web’s six episodes only one was held in the BBC Archives. A single episode is all that remains of The Abominable Snowmen. With a reconstruction of the missing third episode of Web and the release of all six episodes on iTunes, fans can experience one of the greatest monsters in 1960s Doctor Who for the first time in 45 years. Now Jon Pertwee’s oft quoted phrase “Yeti on the Loo” may begin to make sense to current era Doctor Who fans.
1. DOCTOR WHO’S FIRST HELICOPTER AND HOVERCRAFT SCENES
Synonymous with the tenure of the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, chase scenes were unheard of during the first two incarnations of the Doctor. Except, of course, for The Enemy of the World. It is in episode one of this story that the first helicopter is seen, together with a hovercraft. A helicopter subsequently made an appearance in the still lost Fury From the Deep, the companion Victoria’s last story. The Enemy of the World was incidentally the first time that the legendary Barry Letts worked on Doctor Who. Letts was the producer of Who during the Third Doctor’s tenure.
MARY PEACH IS ASTRID
SALAMANDER SWEPT INTO THE VORTEX
DEBORAH AND JACK WATLING APPEARING TOGETHER
TINA PARKER IS ANNE TRAVERS
©Vivien Fleming, 2013.
Following the release of the two newly recovered Doctor Who serials on iTunes earlier today, The Enemy of the World is currently charting at number one in the Australian iTunes Top TV Seasons List. The Web of Fear is holding down the second place in front of three seasons of Breaking Bad. Who’d ever have imagined that 45 year old black and white Doctor Who serials would be the hottest sellers on iTunes!
To give viewers a taste of what to expect from the two serials the BBC has released a trailer for each, together with five other short clips. Earlier today The Doctor Who Mind Robber posted the trailers and we now provide for your viewing pleasure two of these clips, one each from The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear.
The Doctor Goes for a Swim – The Enemy of the World
The Doctor reactivates a Yeti Sphere – The Web of Fear
Just when Australian fans of Doctor Who thought they’d been forgotten, the newly recovered Second Doctor serials The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear appeared on the iTunes Australia site. Released at midnight London time (9.00 Qld Time) in the UK and the US, it appeared for several hours that Australian fans would miss out.
The complete six part serial The Enemy of the World is available to purchase for $14.99, whilst The Web of Fear, which is missing one episode but has a reconstruction of episode three in lieu, is offered at the same price. iTunes is the only platform that these long missing stories are presently being offered for sale on. Both stories will be released on DVD in due course.