Category Archives: Zoe Heriot

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.

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The Space Pirates

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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.  For anyone undertaking a complete marathon this alone is a cause for much celebration. But is The Space Pirates really as bad as its renown would suggest?  In the absence of five of the six episodes, the answer is largely a moot point.  A particularly visual story, The Space Pirates suffers inordinately from the absence of moving pictures.  Moreover, the complete absence of any telesnaps for the serial has made its reconstruction astonishingly difficult. John Cura had taken 35mm photographs from his television screen of the vast majority of Doctor Who episodes.  Generally providing between 70 and 80 photos per programme, these images have become an important record of otherwise lost Doctor Who visuals.  Cura had ceased photographing and selling his telesnaps to the BBC not long prior to his death in April 1969. For further information on John Cura and his telesnaps please see About the Doctor Who Mind Robber.

The Doctor and Jamie upon arrival in The Space Pirates

The Doctor and Jamie upon arrival in The Space Pirates

As if any further hindrances were required, the soundtrack for The Space Pirates is the most muddy of the entire fan recorded missing episode audios.  The renegade old time prospector, Milo Clancey, is frequently credited as the stand-out character in the serial.  I have to admit, however, to finding it almost impossible to comprehend what he was saying. Portrayed by the New Zealand born Australian actor, Gordon Gostelow, Clancey has one of the worst faux American accents in Doctor Who’s illustrious history. It’s not the American accent, however, that I find difficult to understand. Although my hearing is generally fairly reasonable, I very occasionally have difficulty understanding male voices on TV.  When last I had a hearing test the audiologist provided me with a detailed explanation of the reasons why.  I won’t bore you with the details, but hasten to add that the muddy soundtrack of The Space Pirates made it nigh on impossible for me understand most of the largely male cast.

The old time pioneer of space exploration, Milo Clancey

The old time pioneer of space exploration, Milo Clancey

Writing a review of a story bereft of visual images and with a soundtrack which I could barely understand makes for a particularly difficult task.  It’s for that reason that my observations on The Space Pirates will be reasonably short and sweet. I highly recommend that you view the second part of Loose Cannon’s introduction to The Space Pirates, the link for which appears below.   The audio for this introduction, I might add, is crystal clear and provides an excellent summary of several “firsts” for the story, including Doctor Who’s first space opera;  first pirate take on a traditional American Western theme; first episode recorded on 35 mm film; first recording in Television Centre 4;  first episode (save for Mission to the Unknown) in which no regular cast members were present for a studio recording; and finally, the first time that John Nathan-Turner worked on a Doctor Who episode.   The Space Pirates is also credited for having the greatest time lapse between the commencement of an episode and the appearance of the Doctor and his companions.  Emerging onscreen fifteen minutes into the first episode, this is even longer than the 14 minutes it took for the Eleventh Doctor to appear in the Series Seven episode, The Crimson Horror.

The Doctor and his crew collapsed

The Doctor and his crew collapsed

It would be remiss if I failed to mention Madelaine Issigri’s fabulous metal hair.  Women’s wigs in the near future are not only made of metal, but are also styled with an exceptionally large beehive at the back, as opposed to the top, of the head.  It’s just brilliant! Whilst discussing women’s fashion, Zoe’s hotpants are just divine.

Madelaine Issigri had the most fabulous metal wig

Madelaine Issigri had the most fabulous metal wig

That wig again!

That wig again!

Zoe's hotpants

Zoe’s hotpants

The Doctor and his companions were noticeably absent from the greater part of The Space Pirates and could be fairly said to have played supporting roles.  Patrick Troughton’s request for a lighter acting role undoubtedly accounted for this to some degree.  In respect of the final episode, the TARDIS crew were heavily engaged in the location shoot for their final adventure, The War Games.  Accordingly the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie only appeared in pre-filmed inserts for that episode. The results of the Crew’s location filming will be evident in my next review as we say farewell to the monochrome era of Doctor Who, and the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe, in The War Games. 

The Space Pirates was originally broadcast in the UK between 8 March and 12 April 1969

The Space Pirates was originally broadcast in the UK between 8 March and 12 April 1969

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

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


Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Seeds of Death

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The Doctor had long shown himself to be adept at time travel, however it was not until the 1969 serial The Seeds of Death that he was seen to man a more conventional form of space transportation, a rocket.  That the Doctor and his friends should find themselves on a rocket to the Moon should come as no surprise given that this serial was broadcast in early 1969 and the Apollo 11 landed the first humans on the Moon on 20 July 1969. What is more astounding is that in the world of Doctor Who rockets are perceived to be outdated and an anachronism.  In The Seeds of Death Professor Eldred is the curator of a space museum who spends his spare time secretly working on a rocket.  All transportation is now carried out by T-Mat, otherwise known as transmit, a form of instantaneous particle matter transfer. Even motor cars have become redundant and the T-Mat system is used to transport people and produce throughout the world.  There is a T-Mat relay on the Moon and it is from there that the Ice Warriors intend to commence their conquest of the Earth.

Jamie, the Doctor and Zoe arrive on Earth following their adventures with The Krotons

Jamie, the Doctor and Zoe arrive on Earth following their adventures with The Krotons

The Doctor is covered in foam as he attempts to gain entry to the Weather Station

The Doctor is covered in foam as he attempts to gain entry to the Weather Station

That there is no alternative transport to T-Mat is extraordinary, particularly as the sustenance of the whole world is dependent upon its operation. This extreme example of “putting all your eggs in one basket” was what led the Doctor and his companions to risk their lives in an untested experimental rocket.  It appears that together with world famine, local stock-piling of goods has long since ended. Although the details provided in The Seeds of Death are sketchy, it appears that the T-Mat system is operated, if not wholly owned, by a corporation named Travel-Mat.  What Travel-Mat’s relationship is to the governments of the world is not specified. Perhaps Travel-Mat is the world government? Travel-Mat certainly has some relationship with the United Nations as Professor Eldred describes Sir James Gregson as the United Nations Plenipotentiary.  Radnor clarifies this by saying that Gregson is the Minister with special responsibility for T-Mat. I suspect that the climate change sceptics with whom I frequently debate would revel in declaring The Seeds of Death to be an accurate prediction of their New World Order conspiracies. Come to think of it, most climate change deniers know so little about science that they’d probably think the mistaken “science” of The Ice Warriors is correct.  Distinguishing fact from fiction can at times be difficult for some, hence the premise behind The Mind Robber!

T-Mat employees wear an unfortunate uniform with their underpants on the outside

T-Mat employees wear an unfortunate uniform with their underpants on the outside

Arguably the most powerful person employed by Travel-Mat is Miss Gia Kelly, the Assistant Controller, who inexplicably is the only person who completely understands T-Mat.  Again the question arises as to what would happen to this world-wide transport system, on which the distribution of all Earth’s food is dependent, if Miss Kelly suddenly became indisposed. It’s a pleasant development in Doctor Who to have a women in such a powerful role and not be denigrated for her gender by fellow on-screen workers. Kelly even managed to escape the sexism inherent in the UNIT soldiers’ praise for Zoe in The Invasion, when they said that she was “prettier than a computer”.  That being said, I’m at a loss to understand why Kelly was portrayed as so officious and unable to smile.  What does this say about our perceptions of powerful women? Do women that attain the giddy heights of success necessarily relinquish all vestiges of humanity in the minds of others? Even a casual observer to Australian politics in recent years would be cognisant of sexist vitriol thrown at our former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. Being “deliberately barren” was perhaps the most offensive of them all.  I would posit that the writer Brian Hayles’ portrayal of Kelly is an example of this offensive stereotyping of successful women.

Miss Kelly is the only person who truly understands T-Mat.  She is pictured here with the rocket countdown reflected onto her face

Miss Kelly is the only person who truly understands T-Mat. She is pictured here with the rocket countdown reflected onto her face

Gia Kelly is arguably the most powerful person working for Travel-Mat

Gia Kelly is arguably the most powerful person working for Travel-Mat

Unfortunately I have a concern with the Doctor’s ethics in The Seeds of Death. At the serial’s end the Doctor sent the Ice Warriors’ rockets onto an orbit close to the Sun by transmitting a fake homing signal.  When the Warrior Slaar told the Doctor that he has destroyed their whole fleet, the Doctor’s response was that “you tried to destroy an entire world”. Given that the Doctor believed these Warriors to be the only survivors of their species, he was effectively committing genocide. Whilst we all now know that the fleet didn’t comprise the last of the Ice Warriors, that’s not the point.  The Doctor acted in a similar manner to the Daleks in The Evil of the Daleks and to the Drahvins in Galaxy 4. In my review of Galaxy 4 I discussed in some detail how the Doctor’s apparent genocide of a race was at odds with his classic moral deliberations in The Genesis of the Daleks.

The Doctor kills the first of many Ice Warriors

The Doctor kills the first of many Ice Warriors

Akin to Brian Hayles’ problems with science in The Ice Warriors, The Seeds of Death is similarly tainted.  Remarkably, whilst the Ice Warriors collapsed when the temperate reached 60 degrees Celsius, the humans exhibited no ill effects at all.  Not a bead of sweat was seen to develop on a single brow. This story did, however, again exhibit Hayles’ apparent concern for things environmental. The plant consuming foam which emerged from the Ice Warrior’s seeds would eventually result in the removal of all oxygen and the death of humans as the atmosphere became more akin to that of Mars.

The Doctor discovers that water destroy's the Ice Warriors' seeds

The Doctor discovers that water destroys the Ice Warriors’ seeds

Technology had also caught up with Doctor Who by the Ice Warrior’s second appearance. Filmed inserts for episodes were by then being produced during the recording of the previous stories.  Because of the 1968/1969 Christmas/New Year break, some inserts were filmed up to six weeks prior to the recording of the episodes. It’s for that reason that careful observation will show that within the same episode the Doctor can at one point have particularly bushy side-burns, and the next moment has none.

The Doctor discusses retro rockets with Professor Eldred

The Doctor discusses retro rockets with Professor Eldred

When Jamie suggested that the Doctor should use the TARDIS to travel back to the Moon the Doctor was quick to advise that “the TARDIS is not suited to short range travel”.  It’s a shame that the Eleventh Doctor  didn’t remember that  when he decided to take the TARDIS for a quick hop to the Moon to run her in during The Eleventh Hour (2010).  He didn’t come back to Amy until two years later!  The Doctor also seemed to have forgotten exactly how much of an unpleasant time he’d had when last he visited a space museum (The Space Museum). Quite naturally Zoe knows how to pilot a rocket so she necessarily went up in my esteem, yet again.  She also has a photographic memory.

Clearly the Eleventh Doctor had forgotten that the TARDIS is not suited to short range travel in The Eleventh Hour (2010)

Clearly the Eleventh Doctor had forgotten that the TARDIS was not suited to short range travel in The Eleventh Hour (2010)

Amongst her many skills, Zoe can pilot a space rocket

Amongst her many skills, Zoe can pilot a space rocket

With the conclusion of The Seeds of Death we say goodbye to the last monster story of Patrick Troughton’s tenure.  Not only is it the final monster serial of the 1960s but also of Doctor Who’s monochrome era.  Troughton’s penultimate adventure, The Space Pirates, has no aliens although it does have a space cowboy who is almost as bad, in a frightening sort of way!

The Seeds of Death was originally broadcast in the UK between 25 January and 1 March 1969

The Seeds of Death was originally broadcast in the UK between 25 January and 1 March 1969

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Krotons

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The second part of Series 7 of Doctor Who, which is also referred to as Series 7B, has been said by some to be a “love letter” to Classic Doctor Who.   Resplendent with obscure references to Who’s 50 year history, the Eleventh Doctor’s final complete season also contained “shout outs” to the Second Doctor’s tenure.  Together with the re-appearance of the Great Intelligence after a 44 year absence and the Ice Warriors following a 39 year hiatus, Series 7 also made reference to the mysterious HADS, the Hostile Action Displacement System.  In the same episode that heralded the Ice Warrior’s return, the TARDIS dematerialized from a sinking submarine in the South Pole to the North Pole (Cold War).  When functioning correctly the HADS dematerializes the TARDIS to a close-by location when it is under external attack. It needs to be manually set, however, and the Doctor usually forgets to set it.  The first and only on-screen reference to HADS prior to Cold War was in the 1968-1969 serial, The Krotons.  In that instance the TARDIS relocated several metres up a hill after being attacked by Krotons.

The Krotons - HADS

That a story as humble and lowly regarded as The Krotons should be alluded to more than four decades later is a testament to the high regard in which the Patrick Troughton era is generally held.  Even “bad” Troughton stories have their redeeming features, not least of which is the very presence of the Second Doctor himself.  Troughton has some charming scenes in this story including his classic encounter with the Kroton’s intelligence testing machine.  As seen in the clip below, the Doctor decides to take the test after Zoe accidently completes it and receives a score twice as high as the Gonds’ previous best students. “Zo-Gond” (Zoe) is chosen to be a Companion of the Krotons and the Doctor won’t allow her to enter the Kroton’s Ship, the Dynatrope, alone.  Easily flustered, the Doctor has difficulties at the commencement of the test which precipitates a wonderful banter between the pair.  After assisting the Doctor to put on his headset and press the correct button, the Doctor barks at Zoe, “All right, there’s no need to shout!  Now go away and don’t fuss me.  No, come back.  What’s this?  It’s all right, I know.  Right, fire away, I’m ready”.

Great Jumping Gobstoppers, The Krotons.

“Oh, my giddy aunt” is one of the better known Second Doctor’s expressions, however it’s in The Krotons that it makes its debut – less than six months before the end of Troughton’s tenure. As shown in the video posted, “great jumping gobstoppers” is also a lovely Troughtonism.

The Doctor and Zoe are approached by a Kroton

The Doctor and Zoe are approached by a Kroton

Zoe’s extraordinarily high intelligence is remarked upon several times in The Krotons.  She tells 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”. The Doctor, however, is never seriously concerned by Zoe’s brilliance. There’s no sense of threat and never a suggestion that her intellect is unbecoming of a young woman. Similarly, the Doctor is not dismissive of Jamie, notwithstanding his apparent dimness. What Jamie lacks in schooling and cultivation he more than compensates for in gut instinct and cunning. The Doctor is equally as accepting of both his companions.

The Doctor is almost as clever as Zoe

The Doctor is almost as clever as Zoe

Zoe helps the Doctor take the Kroton's test

Zoe helps the Doctor take the Krotons’ test

I have little doubt that if I’d watched Zoe as an impressionable young girl then she’d have been my heroine.  Able to complete any mathematical task better than a male and even the Doctor on occasion, Zoe had intellect in abundance and was gorgeous to boot. If I was 6” shorter, numerous kilos lighter and a few decades younger, playing Zoe would be my ultimate Cosplay ambition! The Third Doctor’s first companion, Liz Shaw, continued and expanded upon Zoe’s keen intellect and abilities, although her tenure was regrettably cut short.  I will extrapolate upon this when Season Seven in reached.

The delightful Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot

The delightful Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot

The moral that I took from The Krotons were the dangers of indoctrination and limitations to free scientific enquiry.  The Gonds had been in a state of self-perpetuating slavery to the Krotons for thousands of years.  They were educated by machines created by the Krotons and forbidden to study chemistry.  As the Doctor noted, there were tremendous gaps in the Gonds’ knowledge.  He asked why the Gonds had never thought to question why the prohibition on chemistry existed.  That people would be educated by machines in the future was a prediction considered several times in 1960’s Doctor Who. The First Doctor’s companion Vicki, an orphan from the 25th Century, had been educated for only one hour a week on machines and considered the History teacher Barbara’s 1963 curriculum to be infantile.  The manner of Zoe’s education is unclear, however as a product of City’s Educational institution she, like the Krotons, had enormous gaps in her knowledge.  Whilst able to undertake mental calculations in a second, she was bereft of social skills.

The Gonds have been in self perpetuating slavery to the Krotons for thousands of years

The Gonds have been in self perpetuating slavery to the Krotons for thousands of years

The 1960’s fear of educational indoctrination would most certainly have had its genesis in the Nazi’s brainwashing of the German people.  Technophobia is also likely to have been influential. Distain for computers was evident in The War Machines and The Invasion. In the latter the Doctor loudly proclaimed his hatred for computers on several occasions.  The Luddite-like smashing of the Kroton’s educational machines by a group of Gonds further evidences this fear of technology.

The growing awareness of South African apartheid, in which the minority whites  enslaved the black population, could also have influenced Robert Holmes in the writing of this story. On the suggestion of Roy  Skelton, he and Patrick Tull voiced the Krotons with a slightly South African inflection.

The Krotons spoke with South African accents

The Krotons spoke with South African accents

Yet another attempt at a Dalek replacement, the Krotons were a poor substitute.  With arms that looked like the robot’s from Lost in Space, the Krotons were disabled by their strange and inflexible metal hands.  Possessed of a rather cool spinning head, the poor Krotons were not so lucky with that part of their costume below the waist. A rubber skirt was merely tacked on to disguise the operators’ legs.  The concept behind the Kroton’s creation was rather more interesting. Crystalline beings, the Krotons survive in their space-craft, the Dynatrope, in suspended animation in a form of slurry.  To reconstitute themselves they must absorb sufficient mental energy.  It is for this reason that every year they have taken the best two Gond students, drained them of their mental powers, and then killed them.  Rather than exterminating them as the Daleks do, the Krotons “disperse” them in a process in which the victim in essence disintegrates.

The Krotons with Jamie

The Krotons with Jamie

Join me for my next review when the Ice Warriors return in their second adventure, The Seeds of Death. Our time with Patrick Troughton is fast coming to an end.

The Krotons was originally broadcast in the UK between 28 December 1968 and 18 January 1969

The Krotons was originally broadcast in the UK between 28 December 1968 and 18 January 1969

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Invasion

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One of the greatest benefits of watching Doctor Who in chronological order is discovering hitherto unknown continuities. The Invasion was one of the first Patrick Troughton serials I watched.  Simple incidents, like the Doctor and his crew deciding to drop in on their old friend Professor Travers,  were lost on me.  Had I watched The Abominable Snowmen, and its sequel The Web of Fear prior to my first viewing of The Invasion then the significance would have been obvious. Similarly, that The Invasion was to some extent a remake of The Web of Fear would have been reasonably self-evident. The apparent absence of story arcs in Classic Series Doctor Who, and the presumption that all serials are entirely self contained, makes casual viewing of stories a joy.  Jumping between seasons and different Doctor’s tenures ensures the viewer of a diverse and eclectic range of material.  The handicap, however,  is the loss of character and series development.

This series' monsters, The Cybermen

This series’ monsters, The Cybermen

Defeated Cybermen

Defeated Cybermen

Seeing the evolution of characters that have been iconic is a real joy.  The Invasion is the story which introduces UNIT, the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, to the world of Doctor Who. It is not, however, our first introduction to Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.  Our first encounter with the then Colonel was in The Web of Fear where Lethbridge-Stewart was a suspicious unknown entity. Arriving in the embattled London Tube, as if out of nowhere, the Colonel  could well have been the feared Yeti collaborator.  A relationship of trust took some time to develop.  A  camaraderie from a past battle fought was evident when the Doctor and Jamie again met the promoted Brigadier in The Invasion.  It was four years since their last meeting, the Brigadier noted.  The character with which we become so familiar during the tenure of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor is not yet fully formed, though.   It will be some time before we encounter “classic” Brig moments like the eye-patched alter ego of Inferno or the “Chap with wings, there.  Five rounds rabid” of The Daemons. Although often experiencing difficulties with women, Lethbridge-Stewart was particularly Neanderthal in The Invasion, an issue that I will address when discussing the character of Isobel Watkins.

The Brigadier proudly informs the Doctor and Jamie that he's been promoted since last they met

The Brigadier proudly informs the Doctor and Jamie that he’s been promoted since last they met

It’s not often that I disagree with anything that Rob Shearman or Toby Hadoke say in their excellent marathon watch diary, Running Through Corridors.  It’s with Shearman, however , that I have issue with concerning the portrayal of Isobel Watkins who was played by Sally Faulkner.  Isobel is the niece of Professor Watkins, a professor of computer engineering and friend of the Professor Travers previously referred to.  Travers had decamped to the United States, letting his home to Watkins and Isobel during his absence. In his discussion of episode two I believe that Shearman is unfairly critical of the character.  He describes her variously as “a talentless pseud”, “friendless”, and a “selfish, utterly insane cow”.  Shearman doesn’t end there.  He’d sooner have lunch with the psychopath Tobias Vaughn than Isobel  who is the “sort of social misfit that will try to muscle her way into other people’s jokes”.  Shearman is then extraordinarily critical of Isobel’s feminist defence to Lethbridge-Stewart in episode five.  In his defence, Shearman believes that Isobel is a caricatured feminist, badly written by a male, who is made to look like an idiot.   That’s not how I see Isobel who is not unlike the former companion Polly.  A little akin to my squeals of delight at Maaga’s comments about men in Galaxy 4 (see my review for details), Isobel’s defence of women was one of those rare “stand up and cheer” moments.  It’s worth extracting it in full here.

Rob Shearman and Toby Hadoke, Running Through Corridors

Rob Shearman and Toby Hadoke, Running Through Corridors

Isobel takes shots of Zoe

Isobel takes shots of Zoe

BRIGADIER: And how do I prove that in the sewers of London there are creatures from outer space waiting to attack us.  Go and get one?

ZOE: You wouldn’t stand a chance against them, Isobel.

ISOBEL: Ah, you wouldn’t have to go anywhere near them.  Photograph them.

BRIGADIER: That’s not a bad idea.  Now, wait a minute, it’d be pitch dark down in those tunnels.

ISOBEL: You could use an infrared film, a twenty five filter on a thirty five mil camera with a telephoto lens, and why, you could take frame after frame without getting anywhere near them.

BRIGADIER: Is that all gibberish or do you really know what you’re talking about?

ISOBEL: Of course I know.

BRIGADIER: If you’re right, it could well be the sort of proof I need to get some action.

ISOBEL: Well, all I need is my cameras from the house and then I’m all set.

BRIGADIER: Well, you’re a young woman.  This is a job for my men.

ISOBEL: Well, of all the bigoted, anti-feminist, cretinous remarks.

BRIGADIER: This is no job for a girl like you.  Now that’s final.

ISOBEL: Oh, you, you, you man!

BRIGADIER: I’ll get in touch with my photographic unit and get them onto it.

ISOBEL: Oh, that stupid bigoted idiotic.

Isobel and Zoe in colour

Isobel and Zoe in colour

Zoe descends into the sewers to take photos of the Cybermen

Isobel descends into the sewers to take photos of the Cybermen

Zoe, who then stood up to Jamie when he expressed agreement with the Brig, was also afforded the opportunity in the serial to combat sexist assumptions.  To Jamie she said, “Just because you’re a man you think you’re superior, don’t you?”  To the automated answering machine at International Electromatics she gave an ALGOL problem which, being unable to be answered made the machine blow up. Zoe finally calculated complex missile trajectories in her head which facilitated the programming of the Russian missiles and the destruction of the Cybermen’s mother ship.  The UNIT soldiers thought that she could be kept on as she’s “much prettier than a computer”. Who dared say that girls know nothing about computers and maths!

The Invasion - just because you're a man

Zoe takes great delight in blowing up an automated answering machine

Zoe takes great delight in blowing up an automated answering machine

The Doctor and Jamie have some wonderful physical comedy moments in The Invasion.  A fast walk away from the mysterious UNIT undercover agents quickly turns into a run. When eventually they’re cornered in a lane, with a wry smile the Doctor sits down in the gutter and produces a pack of cards which he shuffles whilst awaiting their imminent capture. Jamie gets in the rear driver’s side door of a Jaguar, slides across to the passenger side door, disembarks and then hops in the front passenger seat.  The Doctor does some wonderfully comic running and jumping whilst evading bullets and grenades on two occasions.  All of these are done silently and are just superb.

The Doctor protects his hearing as he runs from a Cyberman

The Doctor protects his hearing as he runs from a Cyberman

The Invasion has arguably the most iconic of all Doctor Who images, the Cybermen emerging from the sewers and descending, on mass, the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral.  The phenomenal cliff hanger to episode six has rightly taken its place in history. The only cliff hanger to compare, in my humble opinion, is the Dalek emerging from the polluted waters of the River Thames in episode one of The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

Perhaps the most iconic cliff hanger in classic series Doctor Who.  The Cybermen on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral

Perhaps the most iconic cliff hanger in classic series Doctor Who. The Cybermen on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral

There are parallels between the Series Two episodes, Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel, and this 1968 Cybermen tale.  The name given to the Cybus Industries front company which collects the homeless for upgrading, International Electromatics, is identical to Tobias Vaughn’s conglomerate in The Invasion. Humans are controlled by Ear Pods in the first 21st Century Cybermen tale, whilst in 1968 it was a microchip in IE produced electronics goods, such as disposable transistor radios, that put humans into a deep sleep.

In the 2006 episodes, Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel, the Cybermen controlled humans through Ear Pods.  Pictured here are Rose Tyler's parents, Jackie and Pete

In the 2006 episodes, Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel, the Cybermen controlled humans through Ear Pods. Pictured here are Rose Tyler’s parents, Jackie and Pete

Director Douglas Camfield made a gifted choice in casting Kevin Stoney as the partly cyber converted head of International Electromatics, Tobias Vaughn.  Stoney, as you may recall, portrayed Mavic Chen in the Season Three epic, The Daleks’ Master Plan.  The characters of Chen and Vaughn are in many respects quite similar.  In both instances a human (or humanoid) seeks the ultimate power of world (or solar system) domination and in doing so enters into an uneasy alliance with monstrous aliens.  Both characters are under the unfortunate misapprehension that they can successfully betray their allies at an appropriate juncture, however Chen and Vaughn are both disposed of once they have served their purpose. Stoney was a sublimely brilliant actor who created what were arguably the two greatest villains of Classic Series Who.

Kevin Stoney played the role of Tobias Vaughn

Kevin Stoney played the role of Tobias Vaughn

The Doctor and Vaughn shortly before Vaughn's death

The Doctor and Vaughn shortly before Vaughn’s death

Although five years into Doctor Who’s history, there are still some firsts in The Invasion. Notwithstanding being a Science Fiction series, it is not until this story that we hear reference to a UFO.  It’s also the first time that we see the Doctor drive, albeit briefly.  That’s something that we will all become very accustomed to during the Third Doctor’s tenure.  John Levene also makes his first appearance as the then Corporal Benton, although he had previously appeared inside monster’s suits.  In The Moonbase  he was uncredited as a Cyberman, and in The Web of Fear he was a Yeti.

John Levene appears for the first time as the then Corporal Benton

John Levene appears for the first time as the then Corporal Benton

Episodes one and four were animated by Cosgrove Hall superbly.  Having recently watched the animations in The Reign of Terror and The Ice Warriors, both of which were undertaken by different teams, I can unreservedly say that The Invasion’s is by far the superior. The sense of light and shade, and the landscapes, were particularly agreeable. That being said, once The Tenth Planet is released I may well view all the animations again.  I suspect that watching them one after another will give me a greater appreciation of each of the respective animators’ strengths and weaknesses.

The Doctor and Jamie leave Vaughn's office in an animated episode

The Doctor and Jamie leave Vaughn’s office in an animated episode

Cybermen Ambush, The Invasion (1968)

Join me for my next review as I examine Robert Holmes’ debut story, The Krotons. 

The Invasion was originally broadcast in the UK between 2 November and 21 December 1968

The Invasion was originally broadcast in the UK between 2 November and 21 December 1968

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

REFERENCE:

Robert Shearman & Toby Hadoke, Running Through Corridors. Rob & Toby’s Marathon Watch of Doctor Who. Volume 1: The 60s, Mad Norweigan Press: Illinois, 2010.

The Mind Robber

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It’s not often that the opportunity affords itself to write a review of a story that is as close to perfect as Doctor Who can get.  So good, in fact, that it’s after this serial that my blog is named.  The Mind Robber is the epitome of all that is innovative, experimental and surreal about Doctor Who when it’s done correctly. With the addition of a last minute opening episode and Frazer Hines’ sidelining by chicken pox in episode two, The Mind Robber could easily have become an utter shambles. It’s to the credit of the writer Peter Ling, Script Editor Derrick Sherwin and Director David Maloney that it didn’t.

The Doctor was lucky to have not turned himself into fiction

The Doctor was lucky to have not turned himself into fiction

Myth has it that Peter Ling’s inspiration for The Mind Robber was the inability of soap opera audiences to distinguish fact from fiction.  Ling, who had never previously written for a science fiction programme, was well known as a writer for the British soap operas Compact (1962-1965) and Crossroads (1964 onwards), amongst others. It was on Crossroads that incoming Doctor Who story editor, Derrick Sherwin, and assistant story editor, Terrance Dicks, had also been engaged.  This soap, which centred on a motel, was filmed in Birmingham and it was on a train trip to that fair city that Ling, Sherwin and Dicks first discussed an idea that would eventually evolve into The Mind Robber script.

Rapunzel and the children of the Land of Fiction

Rapunzel and the children of the Land of Fiction

The Master of the Land of Fiction is a different character to the renegade Time Lord we meet in Season 8

The Master of the Land of Fiction is a different character to the renegade Time Lord we meet in Season 8

The inability of some viewers to comprehend that television dramas are fictional and not fact is not uncommon. Comedian, author and actor Toby Hadoke takes great delight in ridiculing such people in his stand-up comedy show, Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf. Hadoke, who starred as a Vicar in the soap Coronation Street in December 2000, was gobsmacked to actually receive letters from viewers asking if he might officiate at weddings.  “And these people can vote” he quipped!

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.

The fiction of children’s stories and classic mythology permeate The Mind Robber. Lemuel Gulliver, wind-up tin toy soldiers, Rapunzel, the Medusa, a Unicorn, Sir Lancelot and Blackbeard are amongst the characters which confront the Doctor and his crew.  Gulliver, who is originally named only as “A Stranger” is brilliantly portrayed by Bernard Horsfall, who only passed away in January 2013. Horsfall went on to appear in another three Doctor Who serials, all of which were directed by David Maloney – The War Games (1969), The Planet of the Daleks (1973) and The Deadly Assassin (1976). Tall and imposing, yet always polite and obliging, the fictional character from Gulliver’s Travels spoke only words and phrases taken directly from Jonathon Swift’s 1726 novel. The juxtaposition of Gulliver’s archaic but lyrical language with the Doctor and his companion’s modern English was superb. It was only in the final episode that Ling permitted Gulliver to speak lines other than those from the novel, however his language form remained Middle English.

The Doctor is initially menaced by Gulliver

The Doctor is initially menaced by Gulliver

The seamless transition of Jamie from Frazer Hines to Hamish Wilson was an imaginatively simple idea that meshed themes common to  both The Mind Robber and its preceding serial, The Dominators. When Hines succumbed to chicken pox early in the week of episode two’s shooting an immediate solution was required.  During the course of the 60s each episode of Doctor Who was filmed at the end of a week’s rehearsal. Save for sparse location shoots, material was not pre-recorded.  Recording was almost live, with only an hour and a half allocated for each 25 minute episode.  Given that only three video cuts were permitted for each episode, this necessitated the filming of scenes in their correct order and performances in a play-like fashion. Filming scenes from different episodes on the one day was unheard of.  Moreover, episodes were often filmed only two weeks prior to airing.  This meant that when episode one of a six part serial was broadcast the production of the final episode could still be a month away.

Hamish Wilson played the role of Jamie in episodes two and three

Hamish Wilson played the role of Jamie in episodes two and three

As a consequence of these production limitations the absence of a cast member presented extraordinary difficulties.  The luxury of filming out of order and six months in advance of screenings did not exist, so there was no means by which the ill actor could film their scenes at a later time. Hence the extraordinary decision to retain the character of Jamie in episode two but have him played by an altogether different actor. The fictional nature of the story, in which the Doctor and his companions were constantly confronted by challenges, afforded the opportunity for Jamie’s identity change to become part of a game. Having been turned into a life size cardboard cut-out, Jamie’s face was removed and he could not be animated again until the Doctor put the puzzle pieces of his face correctly together.  On a board where three or four photographs of eyes, noses and mouths.  In a flustered state the Doctor chose the wrong pieces and Jamie was reanimated with a different face.  When Hines returned in episode three Jamie was again transformed into a cut-out. The Doctor was successfully able to complete Jamie’s face puzzle, this time with the assistance of the very attentive Zoe. In the interim Wilson had superbly perfected Jamie’s mannerisms.

The Doctor and Zoe put Jamie's face back together

The Doctor and Zoe put Jamie’s face back together

The Doctor’s initial inability to correctly choose Jamie’s eyes, nose and mouth was reminiscent of his feigned stupidity in The Dominators. In an attempt to appear an imbecile in the previous serial the Doctor had intentionally failed a block test similar to one that a normal three year old would complete with ease. He was unable to match the wooden blocks with their correct holes and suffered electric shocks to his arms as a consequence.  No longer considered a threat, the Doctor and Jamie were subsequently released by the Dominators.

The Doctor with Rapunzel and the Karkus

The Doctor with Rapunzel and the Karkus

The Mind Robber contains the only episode of Doctor Who not to feature a writer’s credit.  Originally written as a four part serial by Peter Ling, the story was expanded to five episodes after the production fiasco that was The Dominators.  Having no budget for guest cast or additional props the production crew were faced with a very similar predicament to that in the season one story The Edge of Destruction. Having access only to the three main cast and the TARDIS console, Script Editor Derrick Sherwin wrote the opening episode to accommodate these restrictions. Akin to The Edge of Destruction, these constraints resulted in a minimalist masterpiece.

Wendy Padbury in the scene for which, unfortunately, she is perhaps best known

Wendy Padbury in the scene for which, unfortunately, she is perhaps best known

The TARDIS Explodes in the cliff hanger to episode one of The Mind Robber

Many of the most memorable scenes in The Mind Robber were Wendy Padbury’s.  The cliff-hanger of episode one featured a shiny cat-suited Zoe hanging onto the TARDIS console as it plummeted through space. That much of the scene focussed on Zoe’s bum must have been a cause for great delight amongst male viewers.  Zoe also enacted a wondrous pantomime fall and proved herself proficient in martial arts when she easily defeated the cartoon book character, the Karkus, in a fight.

Zoe fights the Karkus

Zoe fights the Karkus

Zoe and Jamie cling to the TARDIS console after the Ship explodes

Zoe and Jamie cling to the TARDIS console after the Ship explodes

The Mind Robber was almost certainly the naming inspiration for the New Series Doctor Who character Captain Jack Harkness.  The Master of Fiction had written 250,000 words of fiction as editor of the boys’ own magazine, The Ensign.  Captain Jack Harkaway  was one of the Master’s characters which like all others in the story, with the exception of the Karkus, was a fictional character in the real (non-Doctor Who) world.  The Master of The Mind Robber, however, is a completely different character to the renegade Time Lord that the Third Doctor first encounters in Season Eight.

The fictional character, Captain Jack Harkaway, was undoubtedly an inspiration in the naming of the new series character Captain Jack Harkness

The fictional character, Captain Jack Harkaway, was undoubtedly an inspiration in the naming of the new series character Captain Jack Harkness

Captain Jack Harkness is not to be confused with The Mind Robber's Captain Jack Harkaway

Captain Jack Harkness is not to be confused with The Mind Robber’s Captain Jack Harkaway

I could inevitably extol the virtues of The Mind Robber for several thousand more words however I’ll bother you not with more reading.  Instead I earnestly implore you to legally acquire a copy of the story and take in its pleasures yourself.  Watch Jamie and the Doctor climb Rapunzel’s hair, the snakes animating in the Medusa’s hair, and the Unicorn charging at our heroes.  I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.

The source of many a nightmare - the Unicorn

The source of many a nightmare – the Unicorn

The Mind Robber was originally broadcast in the UK between 14 September and 12 October 1968

The Mind Robber was originally broadcast in the UK between 14 September and 12 October 1968

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Dominators

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Almost universally condemned as one of the worst Doctor Who serials ever, The Dominators was the serial Patrick Troughton personally requested be screened at the convention he was attending at the time of his death. Perhaps Troughton could see something of merit in The Dominators that fans and critics were unable to discern. But then again, in 1987 there weren’t many extant Second Doctor serials available. There aren’t many more accessible today. That’s probably reason enough to at least try to detect something favourable about the serial.  Thankfully the good contributors to Celebrate Regenerate have come to our rescue and said this about The Dominators:

The Quarks were less than convincing as monsters

The Quarks were less than convincing as monsters

I think I knew The Dominators was the weakest of the bunch.  But I still loved it: it was funny.  It’s the only Doctor Who story I know of that’s based on a clash of household furnishings.  Guys wearing sofas invade a world of people dressed in curtains.  The natives immediately surrender to them despite the fact that they’re incompetent (those other ten galaxies must have really been pushovers).  And then there are the Quarks.  Small, slow, waddling, penguin-esque with squeaky voices and very low-capacity batteries.  But at the end of the day , I love the Dominators …

Edited by Lewis Christian, Celebrate Regenerate is a fan produced chronicle of every Doctor Who episode

Edited by Lewis Christian, Celebrate Regenerate is a fan produced chronicle of every Doctor Who episode

Save for its slowness and distinct lack of plot, the principal criticism directed at The Dominators is the writers’ reactionary premise that pacifism is abhorrent and pacifists gullible and unintelligent. In their third and final outing as writers for Doctor Who Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln took a direct swipe at the growing anti-war movement. The Dulcians are pacifists and presented as unquestioning morons. Although they have two hearts they are physically weak and not use to manual labour.  When forced to labour as slaves to the aggressors, the Dominators, they are next to useless and are seen to struggle under the burden of moving heavy rocks.  The Dulcians’ education system appears to prioritize rote learning over intellectual enquiry and they accept any statements as fact until they are otherwise proved false. It isn’t too hard to envisage what Haisman and Lincoln’s perception of anti-war protestors were.

The Dulcians are not use to physical labour

The Dulcians are not use to physical labour

The Dominators was not Doctor Who’s first anti-pacifist adventure.  That dishonour goes to Terry Nation’s The Daleks in which the gorgeous Thals are pilloried for their being unprepared to fight .  In my review of The Daleks I examined Nation’s contempt for the 1930’s British policy of Appeasement.  Unlike the Thals, Haisman and Lincoln do not afford the Dulcians any redemption. They are portrayed in an unfavourable light throughout the whole of the serial. Given that Doctor Who has generally taken a more liberal view on political issues this contempt for pacifism is all the more extraordinary.

The aliens with perhaps the most inept name ever, the Dominators

The aliens with perhaps the most inept name ever, the Dominators

More than 40 years later such distain for pacifism was again evidenced in Toby Whitehouse’s Series Six story, The God Complex (2011). This time, however, a reactionary political message was veiled in humour. When the Eleventh Doctor asks Gibbis, a native of Tivoli, how he arrived at the “hotel” his response was enlightening – “I was at work.  I’m in town planning. We’re lining all the highways with trees so invading forces can march in the shade. It’s nice for them”.  Tivoli is the most conquered planet in the galaxy and its residents have resigned themselves to being constantly overrun. Accordingly they welcome invading armies and their national anthem reflects the ease with which they accept domination – “Glory to <Insert Name Here>”.

Another pacifist portrayed in an unfavourable light was Gibbis in The God Complex (2011)

Another pacifist portrayed in an unfavourable light was Gibbis in The God Complex (2011)

What I also found disturbing about The Dominators was the patriarchal nature of the Dulcians’ society.  Only men, and old ones at that, are members of their governing council.  Certainly there are numerous other Doctor Who serials which are guilty of not positively representing women, however The Dominators totally disenfranchises them.  I would hope that this says more about the writers’ views than those espoused by the producers of Doctor Who.  That being said, the decision to give the Quarks childish female voices is bizarre, to say the least.  Hitherto all monsters, without exception, have had masculine voices even if their bodies are not specifically gendered. The one and only time that a woman is used to voice a monster, the voices are clumsy and laughable.  It left me wondering if this was some form of bad joke in which women, in general, were being ridiculed.

Only men are members of the Dulcian ruling elite

Only men are members of the Dulcian ruling elite

Unfortunately the Quarks proved to be appalling monsters.  Small in stature, school children were encased within them for the filming. They shuffled around, always looking as though they were about to tumble over, and had arms that were even more impractical than the Daleks’.  They were easily defeated, at one stage by a conveniently light boulder pushed from a hill top by Cully, the only resident of Dulkis to rebel from their pacifism. Created by Haisman and Lincoln specifically for their marketing potential, the Quarks were almost the subject of legal proceedings between the writers and the BBC. Relations between the writers and Doctor Who deteriorated further when the serial was cut from six episodes to five and substantially rewritten.  Haisman and Lincoln sought to have their names removed from the credits and accordingly a pseudonym, “Norman Asby”,  which was taken from the first names of the writers’  father-in-laws, was adopted.

The marketing rights to the Quarks almost resulted in legal proceedings between the writers and the BBC

The marketing rights to the Quarks almost resulted in legal proceedings between the writers and the BBC

Although the Quarks were never again seen on TV they were encountered in comics

Although the Quarks were never again seen on TV they were encountered in comics

The Doctor’s ethics in The Dominators are also questionable.  He is responsible for the deaths of the two Dominators after he places their atomic seed-device, intended to destroy the planet, onto the aggressor’s own space craft.  This is plainly an example of lazy writing as it was the easy option for disposing of the bomb quickly. Surely the Doctor could have diffused  it rather than acting as judge, jury and executioner.

The Doctor and Jamie hold hands again

The Doctor and Jamie hold hands again

Despite its many failing I surprised myself by actually enjoying The Dominators.  Perhaps I was just relieved at watching the first complete serial since The Tomb of the Cybermen or maybe, just maybe, I could see in the story the good that Patrick Troughton evidently saw.  I really don’t know, however I am sure that our next story, The Mind Robber, lives up to its reputation as Troughton’s favourite serial.  Please join me for my next review as we enter the land of fiction.

The Dominators was originally broadcast in the UK between 10 August and 7 September 1968

The Dominators was originally broadcast in the UK between 10 August and 7 September 1968

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.