Category Archives: Zoe Heriot

The War Games

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It was only at the close of Doctor Who’s monochrome era in 1969 that the world’s longest running science fiction series gave itself a back-story.  Already in its sixth season, and more than five years since An Unearthly Child was first broadcast, Doctor Who had hitherto avoided the continuity consciousness for which it is today so famous.  The Second Doctor would never have alluded to his body “wearing a bit thin” as John Hurt’s Doctor did of the First Doctor’s final words in The Day of the Doctor. To be sure, Doctor Who had a history but it was one that was only fleetingly referred to and then to those stories of recent memory only. Hence the Second Doctor famously misheard the word “jetty” for “Yeti” in The Enemy of the World however this allusion was only to a serial broadcast two stories previously, The Abominable Snowmen.

The War Games changed Who’s consciousness of its past forever.  Never before had a serial borrowed clips from previous serials save for the final episode of The Wheel in Space in which the Doctor projected his thought patterns onto a monitor and the reprise from episode two of The Evil of the Daleks was seen. On that occasion the clip had been shown as a lead-in for the first ever repeat of a serial, the aforementioned The Evil of the Daleks. In The War Games, however, stock footage was used as if it was new and previously unseen. Hence, in the Doctor and his companion’s escape from the Time Lords footage from Fury From the Deep was borrowed as the TARDIS spun to sea-level and from The Web of Fear when the ship was entangled in cobwebs.  It was fortunate that the Fury clip was borrowed because all of its episodes are missing from the archives.  The spinning TARDIS gives fans an all too brief glimpse at what the serial would have looked like.

Footage of the spinning TARDIS from Fury From the Deep only exists because it was reused in The War Games

Footage of the spinning TARDIS from Fury From the Deep only exists because it was reused in The War Games. All episodes of Fury From the Deep are missing from the BBC Archives

Who stock footage was also utilized in episode 10 of The War Games when, akin to Wheel, the Doctor again reflected his thought patterns to a wall.  In this instance it was the benefit of the Time Lords who were provided with details of the monsters the Doctor had recently fought, namely Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti, Ice Warriors and Quarks.

The show’s back-story, however, came with the arrival and naming of the Doctor’s race.  Since Doctor Who’s beginnings the Doctor had never been able to control the TARDIS’s steering.  It was for that reason that he was unable to return all of the kidnapped soldiers back to their own eras and had need to call in the Time Lords for assistance. Only once previously had the Doctor encountered one of his own and on that occasion his race was not named.  Rather than being dour and judgemental as the Time Lords were, The Monk of Season Three was somewhat of a hapless, albeit amusing, renegade.  It was in his renegade status that the Doctor had most in common with The Monk.

Prior to the arrival of the Time Lords in The War Games the Monk was the first and only member of the Doctor's race whom we meet

Prior to the arrival of the Time Lords in The War Games the Monk was the first and only member of the Doctor’s race we met

Jamie incorrectly assumed that the Doctor’s people would be both friendly and supportive of him.  Alas, this was not to be as the Doctor was compelled to admit to his companions that he was on the run from the Time Lords. Being bored with the existence of a Time Lord on their unnamed planet he stole a TARDIS and embarked on a life of adventure and inter-planetary interference.

Prior to meeting the three Time Lords who were in judgement of him, the Doctor encountered the evil renegade, the War Chief who was in alliance with the War Lords, a humanoid race of beings intent on conquering the galaxy.  It was with the War Chief’s expertise that the War Lords’ acquired the ability to time travel in the inferior technology crafts called SIDRATs (TARDIS backwards).

The War Chief was a renegade Time Lord who gave the the War Lords the secrets of time travel.  He also had the most fabulous beard!

The War Chief was a renegade Time Lord who gave the the War Lords the secrets of time travel. He also had the most fabulous beard!

Although The War Games is best remembered for its back-story invention, more significantly it is story on the futility of war.  The War Lords kill for killing’s sake in a quest to unearth the universe’s best fighting force of soldiers. It is with the best soldiers that the War Lords hope to conquer the galaxy.  The wars in each of the zones are as pointless as they are artificial. Victory would be of no effect as the wars are illusory.  There are no spoils for the victors to share but rather the (unknown) guarantee of further bloodshed when they are next compelled to battle for the War Lords. Transported from their own time zones to an unnamed world, the soldiers are lost to the society’s from which they came. This is sure to be an analogy for the millions lost to the bloodshed of history’s wars.

The simulated war zones of The War Games

The simulated war zones of The War Games

The War Games is also a tale on judicial injustice.  The serial begins and ends with trials in which the rule of law is disregarded. The Kangaroo Court before which the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie appear in the 1917 war zone is bereft of any semblance of truth or integrity. The monocle wearing War Lord Smyth hypnotises all to accept his distorted version of the “truth”.  Memories are lost and lies deposited in the minds of Smyth’s subordinates.  The Doctor is sentenced to death without the benefit of any defence. His imminent dawn execution in episode one is perhaps one of the best cliff hangers in Who’s history.

Smyth, the War Lord in command of the simulated 1917 WWI zone

General Smyth, the War Lord in command of the simulated 1917 WWI zone

The Time Lords’ trial of the Doctor at the serial’s conclusion is only slightly less abusive of the defendant’s inalienable right to a fair trial. In contrast to Smyth’s show trial, the Time Lord’s permit the Doctor to tender some evidence in support of his defence against breaching the most paramount of all his people’s laws – non- interference in dealings with the rest of the universe. Although the Doctor had indeed interfered in the affairs of the universe his defence was essentially one of mitigation.  The ends, the Doctor indirectly argued, justified the means. There were evils in the universe that needed to be fought. As the Doctor stated:

I not only admit them.  I am proud of them.  While you have been content merely to observe the evil in the galaxy, I have been fighting against it … All these evils I have fought while you have done nothing but observe.  True.  I am guilty of interference, just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!

The Time Lords. The Time Lord in the Centre, Bernard Horsfall. played Gulliver in The Mind Robber

The Time Lords. The Time Lord in the centre, Bernard Horsfall. played Gulliver in The Mind Robber

Despite his spirited defence the Doctor was nonetheless convicted and his defence taken as a plea in mitigation. Whilst accepting that certain evil in the universe must be fought the Time Lords sentenced him to exile on Earth, a planet to which he had a particular interest.  The secret of the TARDIS was to be taken from him and he was to have his appearance changed.  The writers of Doctor Who had yet to invent the term “regeneration”. Although the opportunity was initially afforded to the Doctor to choose his appearance, the Time Lords quickly tired of his objections to each and every pencil sketched face offered to him.  Seeing this as a refusal to make a decision the Time Lords without further notice made it for the Doctor and propelled him into a circling vortex.  Interestingly, he was not charged and compelled to face court on a charge of stealing the TARDIS. Perhaps it was considered a minor offense that might warrant an on the spot fine?

That the head of the aliens is known as the “War Lord” exhibits that he and his race are authorities on war, whereas the “Time Lords” are specialists in the field of time. The use of the word “Lord” at the end of each title is suggestive of a royal or hereditary class structure. It was therefore surprising, and arguably anathema that John Hurt’s Doctor in the minisode The Night of the Doctor should be credited as the “War Doctor” in the closing titles. This was obviously an issue to which Steven Moffat gave great thought and was resolved in the 50th Anniversary Special, The Day of the Doctor. In the January 2014 edition of the Doctor Who Magazine Moffat discussed this issue in depth

The end credits card of The Night of the Doctor introducing John Hurt as the War Doctor

The end credits card of The Night of the Doctor introducing John Hurt as the War Doctor

“The Time War became a piece of back story that inevitably forced its way to the front cos you really have to contemplate – and the more you think about this seriously – that this lovely man who you’re watching week after week has committed genocide!”

The Doctor farewells Jamie

The Doctor farewells Jamie

It was extraordinarily sad to farewell both Jamie and Zoe in this serial.  Zoe quickly became my favourite female companion of the 1960s during my Second Doctor marathon.  You can read our 50th Anniversary Countdown piece on Zoe here.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the lovely Wendy Padbury in person during a cigarette break at the Brisbane Lords of Time 2 in December.  She was every bit as charming and engaging as I’d imagined. In The War Games Zoe again endeared herself to me by knocking an officer unconscious with a vase and describing the horrendously sexist Mexican resistance leader as having “rather primitive ideas about women knowing their place”. In the end we learn that Donna Noble was not the first Who companion to have their memories of the Doctor wiped. Jamie’s exit was no less traumatic although it was with relief that his last words were his clan’s battle cry, “Creag an Tuire”!  Jamie was  again in battle mode as an armed redcoat fled.

Zoe and the Doctor in The War Games

Zoe and the Doctor in The War Games

So ends the Second Doctor’s era.  Join the Doctor Who Mind Robber as we continue our journey with the Third Doctor!

Donna Noble (Journey's End) was not the first companion to have her memories of the Doctor wiped

Donna Noble (Journey’s End) was not the first companion to have her memories of the Doctor wiped

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2014.

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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.

Day 33 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – Top 3 Female Companions of the Sixties

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In the lead-up to Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary the Radio Times has been running an online poll on the Greatest Companion Ever.  Voting has now closed and the results will be announced on the anniversary date, 23 November 2013. Today and for the following two days the Doctor Who Mind Robber will be ruminating on our Top 3 Female and Male Companions of the Sixties, together with  the 3 companions who failed to live up to our expectations.  Your comments on our choices would be greatly appreciated.

3. Vicki

On 10 July we posted an article on Vicki, the First Doctor’s companion who was hastily shown the door at the conclusion of The Myth Makers. Here’s how we described her tenure:

I have to admit I really liked Vicki. Young, perhaps no more than 17, she had a vibrancy that had been missing in her predecessor, the Doctor’s grand-daughter, Susan.  As a former secondary school teacher I envied the way she was schooled. In The Web Planet Vicki incorrectly assumed that Barbara had taught at a nursery school because they “worked upwards from the three Rs.”  The curriculum of Coal Hill School in 1963 seemed like child’s play to her.  At the age of 10 she took a certificate of education in medicine,  physics and chemistry.  When asked by Barbara how long she spent in the classroom Vicki was totally perplexed.  She’d spent almost an hour a week with a machine.  Life in 2493 must have been a child’s dream existence!

Vicki, Steven and the Doctor in The Time Meddler

Vicki, Steven and the Doctor in The Time Meddler

Vicki was a member of the TARDIS Crew  in episodes which screened from 2 January 1965 until 6th November 1965.  In just under 12 months Vicki had gone from an orphaned girl stranded on the planet Dido to the love interest of Troilus, son of the King of Troy. During that time, however, there was little in the way of character development. Save for when we met Vicki in The Rescue and she was clearly suffering from the effects of Bennett/Koquillion’s abuse, she remains a vibrant and forthright young woman throughout. As I have previously lamented, it was a shame that the opportunity wasn’t taken to examine the long term effects of this abuse on Vicki, however my concern for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder plainly comes from a 21st century perspective.

Koquillion menaces Vicki in The Rescue

Koquillion menaces Vicki in The Rescue

This absence of character evolution says much about the 1960′s perception of women, particularly young ones.  In the 1960s the median age of first marriage for women was around 20 years of age.  Career opportunities  were limited and pay was not equal.  Although unable to locate figures for the United Kingdom, Australia as a Commonwealth country would have been reasonably similar. Until 1966 the Australian Public Service required single women  to resign from their positions on the eve of their marriage. Equal pay was not granted until 1972. Is it any surprise, therefore, that women were portrayed as either children or mothers?  With women having perhaps only five years between leaving school and marriage, this period between childhood and motherhood was marginalized and frequently forgotten.

Vicki - I hope that tasted nice!

Vicki – I hope that tasted nice!

When we first meet Vicki she is in a stereotypical role as carer for Bennett.  As Bennett is supposedly crippled and unable to work, Vicki is compelled to undertake all the chores including collecting water, cooking and cleaning.  She isn’t seen to complain about this notwithstanding the absence of any thanks from Bennett.   Once a member of the TARDIS Crew, Vicki  is somewhat of a companion for the Doctor – a faux grand-daughter, if you like.   The Doctor has someone to fuss around, care about and instruct.  She provides him with moral support  and most probably a sense of identity.  She is close by his side in The Romans and The Crusade and does not distance herself in any great manner until The Space Museum, where she becomes involved with the young Xeron rebels and seems to start a revolution for fun.  A potential love interest comes to nothing. Although coupled with Steven for much of The Time Meddler, Vicki is back at the Doctor’s side during Galaxy 4.  In her final serial, The Myth Makers, Vicki  is again separated from the Doctor but only because he’s compelled her to remain in the TARDIS because of a sprained ankle.  As was the case with both Susan and Barbara, female companions in Doctor Who are overly susceptible to wrenching their ankles.  They require time to recuperate from such injuries, unlike Ian who was frequently knocked unconscious and seemed able to get up, and shake it off, each time.

Vicki with the Doctor in The Crusade

Vicki with the Doctor in The Crusade

Quite phenomenally Vicki is capable of falling in love with Troilus in less than 24 hours, most of which time she was a prisoner in a dungeon.  This love affair was even quicker than Susan and David’s in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Having pleaded with the Doctor in The Crusade not to leave her as the TARDIS was her only home, Vicki was extraordinarily quick to leave its confines in The Myth Makers. The television audience is not even privy to Vicki’s farewells to the Doctor as they take place out of camera shot inside the TARDIS. The Doctor, nonetheless, appears satisfied with her explanation which seems to have been that she didn’t want Troilus to think she had betrayed him.

Although spending one’s life travelling in a blue wooden box through time and space may appear somewhat aimless, it’s certainly more secure than with a bloke you’ve only known for a day; in a time several thousand years before your own; and in a land where your love’s home City has been destroyed.  Ever quick to point out logical flaws in a witty manner, Wood and Miles in About Time 1 couldn’t help but extrapolate on a grave problem that Vicki and Troilus would be confronted by.  As the TARDIS translates languages for the benefit of the Crew and persons they meet along the way, once it had left then the two lovers would be unable to communicate with each other.  Unless, of course, Vicki had learnt Ancient Greek, the language that Homer attributes to the Trojans in Iliad, in school!

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Vicki and Troilus in The Myth Makers

Aside from the characterization failures in Doctor Who, the reality of Maureen O’Brien’s hasty exit from the role of Vicki appears to lay in programme’s change of producer.  According to Howe, Walker and Stammers in The Handbook, O’Brien had been cast by Verity Truman having been suggested by one of her former drama teachers who then was in the employ of the BBC. The new producer, John Wiles, replaced Truman beginning with the production of The Myth Makers, although he had shadowed Truman during the making of Galaxy 4. Wood and Miles argue that “Wiles had noticed her tendency to pick holes in the dialogue during rehearsals for Galaxy Four, and made arrangements to have her removed while the cast were on holiday”.  It was on her return from a week’s break given to the regular cast whilst Mission to the Unknown was filmed  that O’Brien heard of her dismissal. Although the new character of Katarina was going to replace Vicki it soon became evident to Wiles and story editor, Donald Tosh, that Katarina’s Trojan naivety would make her an unsuitable companion.  It’s for that reason that Katarina was just as hastily written out of Doctor Who in the fourth episode of The Daleks’ Master Plan.

So ends the less than a year long tenure of Maureen O’Brien as Vicki.  This was but the beginning of a revolving door of companions which would grace the screens of Doctor Who over the next several years.

Vicki as we first meet her

Vicki as we first meet her

2. Barbara Wright

Barbara first met the Doctor when she and fellow Coal Hill School teacher, Ian Chesterton, went to 76 Totter’s Lane to check on the welfare of one of their students, 15 year old Susan Foreman.   Kidnapped by the Doctor after they entered the TARDIS, Barbara and Ian remained with the Doctor for two years until they took control of the Dalek time-machine at the end of The Chase. Their return to 1965 London was a joyous occasion as snapshots of them frolicking before prominent landmarks were flashed up on the screen.

The Doctor's grand-daughter Susan, with her History Teacher, Barbara Wright and Science Teacher, Ian Chesterton in An Unearthly Child

The Doctor’s grand-daughter Susan, with her History Teacher, Barbara Wright and Science Teacher, Ian Chesterton in An Unearthly Child

Barbara’s excellent knowledge of history was useful during the Doctor’s early journeys and undoubtedly assisted the programme’s mandate to both entertain and educate.  She was more accepting of the unknown than Ian and was quicker to acknowledge that the tales that the Doctor and Susan spun about the TARIS were indeed true. When the TARIS crew visited South America in The Aztecs she was able to draw upon her knowledge of Spanish settlement and traditional Aztec culture and religion.  That, unfortunately, led her to the false belief that by assuming the mantle of the reincarnated priest, Yataxa, that had been thrust upon her, that she could change the course of history and end human sacrifices. The Doctor was quick to point out to Barbara the folly of believing that history could be altered.  She was also able to utilize her knowledge of history in The Dalek Invasion of Earth when she bamboozled the Daleks with some historical falsities and in The Reign of Terror, when she was able to identify the period of French history in which they’d materialized.

Yetaxa in all her finery as Barbara masquerades in The Aztecs

Yetaxa in all her finery as Barbara masquerades in The Aztecs

Unusually for a woman in her mid thirties, Barbara wasn’t married.  Perhaps the negative stereotype of spinster school ma’ams had been adopted here. Barbara was not without romance, however. She came upon several suitors during the course of her companionship, although none matched the tenderness of her relationship with Ian.  Although never openly remarked upon, it was clear that Barbara and Ian had become more than just colleagues.  Their joyful banter whilst reclining in luxury during The Romans was indicative of a particularly strong personal relationship. The tenderness between Barbara and her fellow companion Ian was undoubtedly a silent nod to a love that couldn’t be broached on Saturday tea time family TV. One can only dream that they became a couple and lived in marital bliss upon their return to earth.

Barbara and Ian playfully relax in The Romans

Barbara and Ian playfully relax in The Romans

Barbara and Ian in one of their many embraces (The Dalek Invasion of Earth).  Gif courtesy of http://thechestertons.tumblr.com

Barbara and Ian in one of their many embraces (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). Gif courtesy of http://thechestertons.tumblr.com

1. Zoe Heriot

The character of Zoe was arguably the first companion in Doctor Who to reflect the changing views on women that arose with the second wave of feminism. A teenage genius, Zoe first met the Doctor and Jamie in final serial of Season 5, The Wheel in Space. She remained with the Doctor until the end of the monochrome era when all three stars left in the final episode of The War Games.  My review of The Wheel in Space included a detailed introduction to Zoe.  She was  an astrophysicist and astrometricist first class and employed as the Wheel’s parapsychology librarian. Her perfect recall of scientific facts and ability to undertake mental calculations faster than a hand-held calculator were the consequence of her being brainwashed by the City’s educational institution. She had total faith in the ability of pure logic to provide all the answers required.  Zoe’s future adventures would soon show this to be a folly and the Doctor quickly, but tactfully, advised her on the limitations of logic alone.  Perhaps the Second Doctor’s most famous quote was to Zoe in The Wheel in Space when he stated, “Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority”.

Zoe and Jamie with the white robots in The Mind Robber

Zoe and Jamie with the white robots in The Mind Robber

Zoe was the first companion with an intellect to match the Doctor’s.  Zoe’s extraordinarily high intelligence was remarked upon several times in The Krotons.  She told Selris that the “Doctor’s almost as clever as I am” whilst earlier the Doctor had said to him, “Yes, well, Zoe is something of a genius. Of course it can be very irritating at times”.  In The Invasion she blew up the automated answering machine at International Electromatics by presenting it with a ALGOL problem that it was unable to answer.  She also assisted in the destruction of the entire fleet of Cybermen ships by mathematically calculating the correct alignment and course of projectile for the Russian missiles targeted at the ships. The Seeds of Death saw her piloting a space rocket.

The delightful Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot

The delightful Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot

The Doctor, however, was never seriously concerned by Zoe’s brilliance. There was no sense of threat and never a suggestion that her intellect was unbecoming of a young woman. That’s not to say that Zoe didn’t escape entirely from the scourge of sexism. In The Invasion the UNIT soldiers’ praise for Zoe masked an underlying sexism when she was described as “prettier than a computer”.

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

Zoe challenged assumptions on the role of women more by her deeds rather than by words. On at least one occasion, however, she verbalized the thoughts of women of that era. Undoubtedly buoyed by the support of Isobel Watkins in The Invasion, Zoe took offence at Jamie’s sexism when she stated “Just because you’re a man you think you’re superior, don’t you”.  Zoe’s relationship with Jamie, however, was otherwise positive.  Although less intellectually capable than his friend, Jamie is never mocked or derided by Zoe.

Zoe and Jamie cling to the TARDIS console after the Ship explodes in The Mind Robber

Zoe and Jamie cling to the TARDIS console after the Ship explodes in The Mind Robber

Both Zoe and Jamie were returned to their own time in episode 6 of The War Games, with their memories wiped of all but their first adventure with the Doctor. Donna Noble was not the first to suffer this fate. The Doctor’s companions’ departures were heartbreaking and perhaps the most poignant of Classic Series Doctor Who.

Jamie and Zoe’s Goodbye.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The top image is courtesy of www.deviantart.com.  Artwork by Shawn Van Briesen.  No copyright infringement is intended.

Day 38 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – 10 Great Companion Outfits of the Sixties

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In no particular order The Doctor Who Mind Robber today presents 10 Great Companion Outfits of the Sixties.

1. Jamie McCrimmon –  Kilt

Possessed of a fine pair of legs, Jamie McCrimmon always looked stunning in his kilt

Possessed of a fine pair of legs, Jamie McCrimmon always looked stunning in his kilt

2. Zoe Heriot – Catsuit

Zoe fights the Karkus in her famous catsuit

Zoe fights the Karkus in her famous catsuit

3. Barbara Wright – Yetaxa

Barbara masqueraded as the reincarnated priest Yetaxa in The Aztecs

Barbara masqueraded as the reincarnated priest Yetaxa in The Aztecs

4. Dodo Chaplet – The Celestial Toymaker

Zoe looked fabulous in The Celestial Toymaker

Zoe looked fabulous in The Celestial Toymaker

5. Sara Kingdom – The Daleks’ Master Plan

Jean Marsh in black cat suit as Sara Kingdom

Jean Marsh in black catsuit as Sara Kingdom

6. Zoe Heriot – Space Pirates’ Hotpants

Zoe shows some leg in The Space Pirates

Zoe shows some leg in The Space Pirates

7. Susan – An Unearthly Child

Susan at her casual best in An Unearthly Child

Susan at her casual best in An Unearthly Child

8. Polly – Way Out Sixties

Is this the ultimate Sixties companion outfit?

Is this the ultimate Sixties companion outfit?

9. Victoria – The Abominable Snowmen

Victoria emerges from the TARDIS and is shocked by what she sees

Victoria wears Victorian riding gear in The Abominable Snowmen

10. Zoe Heriot – The Invasion 

Zoe in a green feather boa in The Invasion

Zoe in a green feather boa in The Invasion

 

HONOURABLE MENTION

Polly dresses as a local in The Underwater Menace

Polly dresses as a local in The Underwater Menace

 

Vivien Fleming

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.

Goodbye Second Doctor

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After a two month marathon of Patrick Troughton’s tenure as the Second Doctor, it was with more than a little sadness that I bid farewell to the Cosmic Hobo this evening. Jamie and Zoe were returned to their own time and Doctor Who, as we know it, changed forever.

With the monochrome era behind us, Doctor Who returned to the screens in colour with an earth-ensnared, TARDIS-less Doctor. The Spearhead From Space will soon introduce us to the Autons, but prior to that my forthcoming review of The War Games will lure me back to the sixties for one last hurrah. Please join me as I continue my journey through 50 years of Doctor Who.