Tag Archives: Fury from the Deep

Day 48 of 50th Anniversary Countdown – The Top 10 Cliff Hangers of the Sixties

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One of the most frustrating aspects of 21st Century Doctor Who is the almost complete absence of cliff hangers.  Very few stories have extended beyond one episode.  In a clear nod to William Hartnell era stories, the Series 7 story The Crimson Horror ended with a direct lead-in to the next story, Nightmare in Silver. Arriving back in present-day London, the companion Clara meets with the children she babysits, Angie and Artie, who blackmail her into taking them on her next adventure in the TARDIS.

Clara is blackmailed by Angie and Artie in the conclusion of The Crimson Horror

Clara is blackmailed by Angie and Artie at the conclusion of The Crimson Horror (2013)

In celebration of the great cliff hangers of Classic Series Doctor Who  this article will briefly examine the Top 10 Cliff Hangers of the Sixties.  So as not to reinvent the wheel, The Doctor Who Mind Robber has directly quoted the episode ending summaries from David J Howe and Stephen James Walker’s seminal book The Television Companion. No copyright infringement is intended.

David J Howe & Stephen James Walker's The Television Companion was published in 2003 by Telos Publishing

David J Howe & Stephen James Walker’s The Television Companion was published in 2003 by Telos Publishing

10.          Fury From the Deep – Episode 3

“Maggie Harris and Robson, both infected by the weed creature, meet on the beach.  The former tells the latter that he will obey his instructions.  Then she turns and walks straight out into the sea, eventually becoming completely submerged beneath the waves”.

The horror of this cliff hanger is the apparent suicide of Maggie Harris, the wife of one of the base employees.  It is not until several episodes later that it becomes evident that Mrs Harris is still alive.  Incidentally, Fury From the Deep is one of the few Doctor Who serials in which no one dies.

Unfortunately all episodes of Fury From the Deep have been lost, however the soundtrack, telesnaps and Loose Cannon’s excellent reconstruction brilliantly convey the horror.

In the cliff hanger to episode three Maggie Harris walks into the water, as if to commit suicide

In the cliff hanger to episode three Maggie Harris walks into the water, as if to commit suicide

9.            An Unearthly Child – Episode 1

“The TARDIS arrives on a Palaeolithic landscape, over which falls the shadow of a man”.

This is the cliff hanger to the very first episode of Doctor Who and it’s the first time that the television viewers see the TARDIS materialize.  The ominous shadow of a man in the barren landscape is both frightening and unexpected.

The ominous shadow of a man approaches the TARDIS in the cliff hanger to An Unearthly Child

The ominous shadow of a man approaches the TARDIS in the cliff hanger to An Unearthly Child

8.            The Mind Robber – Episode 1

“The TARDIS is in flight, the travellers having apparently escaped from the void.  A low, throbbing hum is heard which grows in intensity until it is unbearable.  Suddenly the TARDIS explodes.  The Doctor spins away through space while Jamie and Zoe are left clinging to the console as it is engulfed in swirling mist.”

The end of the first episode of The Mind Robber is absolutely brilliant.  This is the first time in Doctor Who that the TARDIS explodes and the crew is left floating perilously in space. The image of Zoe clinging onto the TARDIS console has become iconic for all the wrong reasons.  Her tight sparkly cat suit clings to her body as the camera focuses on her bottom.

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

7.            The Massacre – Episode 3

“The Abbot of Amboise lies dead in the gutter, a crowd of angry Catholics gathering around his body.  When Steven protests that the Huguenots were not responsible, Roger Colbert incites the crowd against him.  Steven flees for his life through the Paris streets …”

The Massacre sees William Hartnell play two roles – the Doctor and the evil Abbot of Amboise.  Both characters are absolutely identical in appearance however the audience and companion Steven are unaware if the Doctor is masquerading as the Abbot, or if the Doctor and the Abbot are two different people.  It’s for that reason that this cliff hanger is so powerful as it is not clear if it is the Doctor or the real Abbot who is dead.

The Massacre is another of the serials which unfortunately has  all episodes missing.  As discussed in Fury From the Deep, this does not distract from the potency of the ending.

Steven with the body of the Abbot of Amboise

Steven with the body of the Abbot of Amboise

6.            The Tenth Planet – Episode 4

“The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, closely followed by Ben and Polly.  The ship’s controls move of their own accord and the Doctor collapses to the floor.  His companions enter and, before their astonished eyes, the Doctor’s face transforms into that of a younger man”.

This episode ending is of course Doctor Who’s first regeneration. The First Doctor, William Hartnell, collapses and with exceptional special effects for the era, his face is transformed into that of the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton.  The audience must wait until the next episode to see all of the new Doctor’s body and to experience his personality.  There was no precedent for a change of the lead character in such a manner, and the audience was left stunned as they anticipated the new Doctor’s personality and physical appearance.

Episode 4 of The Tenth Planet has been lost however an amateur film was taken of a television screen during the broadcast of the episode.  The episode has also been recently animated and will be released on DVD next month.

5.            The Dalek Invasion of Earth – Episode 1 and Episode 6

“The Doctor and Ian, menaced by a group of Robomen, prepare to escape by diving into the Thames. As they turn, they see rising slowly from the water the familiar shape of a Dalek.” (Episode 1)

“The TARDIS dematerialises and, comforted by David, Susan moves away.  Her TARDIS key lies discarded on the ground, with an image of a starscape superimposed …” (Episode 6)

The cliff hanger of episode 1 derives its force from both the iconic background of the Thames River and the emergence of Doctor Who’s first return monsters, the Daleks. Having been so well received in their first story, the return of the Daleks was eagerly anticipated by fans.  As was the common practise in early Doctor Who stories, the monsters rarely appeared on-screen until the end of the serial’s first episode.

The episode six ending marked the first departure of a companion in Doctor Who. Just prior to the episode’s end the Doctor gave an impassioned oration to his grand-daughter Susan whom he was effectively deserting on the 21st Century Earth.

A submerged Dalek emerging from the Thames River

A submerged Dalek emerging from the Thames River

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

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

4.            Planet of Giants – Episode 2

“After cleaning Farrow’s blood from the patio stones outside, Smithers goes into the laboratory to wash his hands, unaware that the Doctor and Susan are hiding in the water outlet from the sink.  As a helpless Ian and Barbara watch, he fills the sink with water, washes, and then pulls out the plug”.

The brilliance of the episode 2 cliff hanger of Planet of the Giants is that it successfully made the mundane frightening.  Watching a plug pulled from a sink and water cascading down a drain would ordinarily be exciting as watching the kettle boil. Our heroes, however, have been shrunk to less than an inch in height and are as vulnerable as an ant is to the heavy boot of a human.  The companions Ian and Barbara, together with the audience, are left paralysed with fear at the imminent drowning of the Doctor and Susan.

The Doctor and Susan before descending into the sink drain

The Doctor and Susan before descending into the sink drain

3.            The Daleks – Episode 1

“Exploring their apparently deserted city, Barbara encounters one of the Daleks and is menaced by its telescopic sucker arm.”

As outlined in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, it was standard practice in early Doctor Who for the monsters not to emerge until the cliff hanger of the first episode.  This absolutely iconic ending sees Barbara pinned to a wall in fear as a Dalek’s sucker arm menaces her.  The audience has not yet seen the rest of the Dalek’s body however the expression on Barbara’s face paints a picture of a horrifying spectacle.

Barbara is pinned against the wall in fear during the Daleks' first appearance in Doctor Who on 21st December 1963

Barbara is pinned against the wall in fear during the Daleks’ first appearance in Doctor Who on 21st December 1963

2.            The War Games – Episode 1 and Episode 10

“In the First World War zone the Doctor has been found guilty of spying against the English forces and is tied up before a firing squad.  Captain Ransom brings his men to order, tells them to present arms and opens his mouth to give the order to fire.  A shot rings out and the Doctor grimaces” (Episode 1)

“A still protesting Doctor spins away through a dark void to begin his sentence of exile on Earth with a new appearance.  His face is shrouded in shadow …” (Episode 10)

By the time the first episode of The War Games was broadcast Patrick Troughton’s decision to leave the role of the Doctor had been made public.  Whilst history had shown that the Doctor always escaped serious harm, the audience could not be certain that his luck hadn’t finally ended.  Perhaps he would be killed by the firing squad and regeneration was imminent?

Episode 10 is perhaps my all-time favourite as so many mysteries about the Doctor’s past are answered. His forced regeneration at the episode’s end is chilling but perhaps not as sad as Jamie and Zoe’s departure earlier in the episode.  The monochrome era of Doctor Who was at an end and things would never be the same again.

The Doctor grimaces as a shot rings out

The Doctor grimaces as a shot rings out

1.            The Invasion – Episode 6

“The Cybermen emerge from the sewers and march through the streets of London as the invasion begins.”

The Cybermen’s emergence from the sewers of London and their march down the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral is justifiably iconic. By placing the monsters in an easily recognizable London landscape genuine fear would have been instilled in the audience.  Although the Daleks had visited tourist spots such as Westminster Bridge in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, the Cybermen were in current day London.  This wasn’t one of the Daleks’ futuristic tales but rather a genuine invasion in our own time.  As Jon Pertwee said,  there’s a “Yeti on the Loo in Tooting Bec”.

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

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

TOMORROW – DAY 47 – The 10 Greatest Billy Fluffs 

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

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

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Fury From the Deep – Loose Cannon Reconstructions

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ImageFury From the Deep is the last Doctor Who story with all of its episodes missing. Only three serials  subsequent to this one, The Wheel in Space, The Space Pirates and The Invasion have missing episodes, although the two missing parts of The Invasion have been brilliantly animated by Cosgrove Hall. I’m now on the home run!  For the purposes of this marathon I viewed Loose Cannon’s superb reconstructions, links for which appear below.

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 1 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 1 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 2 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 2 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 3 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 3 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 4 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 4 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 5 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 5 Part 2

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 6 Part 1

Loose Cannon’s Fury From the Deep, Episode 6 Part 2

Fury From the Deep

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Commentators have frequently, and with due cause, taken umbrage at the portrayal of women, particularly companions, in Doctor Who. Renown for her lung capacity as much as her acting ability, Deborah Watling’s characterization of the Victorian era companion, Victoria, has been the subject of more than its fair share of criticism. Akin to some feminist Biblical commentators who trawl to Bible to inspire fresh pro-women interpretations, so Victoria’s well known and frequently decried propensity to scream is being re-interpreted and hailed by me as a new foundation for women in Doctor Who. “How can it be so?” you may ask as your casually scratch your heads. Well, precisely because in The Fury From the Deep, her last serial, Victoria’s screams are transformed into perhaps the most lethal weapon that the Doctor has ever used against ravaging monsters.

Fury from the Deep is Deborah Watling's last serial as Victoria.

Fury from the Deep is Deborah Watling’s last serial as Victoria.

Whereas the kindly Sensorites were repelled by bright light, in The Fury From the Deep high pitched noise is the seaweeds’ weakness.  Victoria’s scream was the anecdote needed to cure the residents of the base of their infestation of seaweed. Having realized the link between noise and the retreat of the seaweed, the Doctor records Victoria’s screams on a tape recorder and then broadcasts them down the gas rig’s pipe system.  Amplified to a frightening level, the distorted din of Victoria’s screeches caused the weed’s rapid retreat.  Victory was achieved not by brawn or muscle, but merely by the harnessing of fear.

Seaweed and foam was the source of Victoria's terror in Fury From the Deep

Seaweed and foam were the source of Victoria’s terror in Fury From the Deep

Whilst a desire to depart from the TARDIS was verbalized from time to time by Ian and Barbara, Victoria is the only companion since the teachers to repeatedly express frustration at life in the TARDIS. Admittedly Steven barged out of the TARDIS in anger at the Doctor’s egocentrism at the end of The Massacre, although he was decidedly quick to return.  Commencing in the third episode of The Fury From the Deep, Victoria displays a real sense of unease with the near constant battles that the TARDIS crew are confronted by. Counselled by Jamie, who is clearly distressed at the thought of her leaving, Victoria’s anxiety deepens as the serial progresses.  At one point she says to Jamie “Why can’t we go somewhere pleasant?  Where there’s no fighting, just peace and happiness?” When Victoria asked the Doctor why they always land in trouble his response was less than satisfactory.  “Well, Victoria, it’s the spice of life, my dear”, the Doctor responded.  Danger was not a spice that Victoria cared to have added to her dish of life.

Jamie counsels Victoria not to leave

Jamie counsels Victoria not to leave

One wonders how an oil installation in the middle of the sea, with a couple whom she’d met only days before, could be preferable to the security which the Doctor and Jamie provided Victoria. Unfortunately Victoria had never been afforded the opportunity to properly grieve the death of her father at the hands of the Daleks.  She clearly missed her father, as evidenced by her tender conversation with the Doctor in The Tomb of the Cybermen. If Victoria’s tenure was written today then I wouldn’t be surprised if an examination of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would surface.  Victoria’s adventures with the Doctor would have greatly exacerbated her PTSD symptoms which may well have included reliving her father’s death, amongst other things.  Her departure, when considered in the light of her encounter with the Daleks, is a great deal more understandable.

Whoever could imagine that the Laurel and Hardy of gas repairmen, Oak and Quill, could be so menacing

Whoever could have imagined that the Laurel and Hardy of gas repairmen, Oak and Quill, could be so menacing

After the hasty retreats of Vicki, Dodo and Steven it was a relief to see a companion departure that was not rushed and actually pre-empted three episodes before she left.  As you may well recall, Vicki stayed in Troy with Troilus, whom she had met but a day or two beforehand (The Myth Makers); Dodo disappeared to the country for recuperation midway through The War Machines; and Steven elected to remain behind to facilitate peace between the Elders and Savages in The Savages.

Dodo and Steven both made hasty exits from Doctor Who

Dodo and Steven both made hasty exits from Doctor Who

The Fury From the Deep heralds the Doctor’s first use of his now ubiquitous, get out of gaol free card, the sonic screwdriver. Confronted by a black metal box fastened to a pipe on the beach in episode one, the Doctor waves his magic wand and miraculously the screws unwind themselves.  The Doctor had obviously never used the sonic screwdriver in Jamie’s presence before because the kilted lad innocently asks what it is.  It “never fails”, the Doctor says of the tool which works on “sound waves”.  I wonder if the writer, Victor Pemberton, still receives financial compensation every time it’s used?

The sonic screwdriver makes its debut in this story.  The Second Doctor's sonic was a basic model and looked surprisingly like a pen torch.

The sonic screwdriver makes its debut in this story. The Second Doctor’s sonic was a basic model and looked surprisingly like a pen torch.

The sonic screwdriver is not without its critics. John Nathan-Turner, the producer of Doctor Who from 1980 to 1989, is frequently quoted as having said that “When the writers rely on it to get out of every tight situation, there’s no suspense, no variety, no drama”. The sonic screwdriver was destroyed in the Season 19 episode The Visitation (1982) and would not be seen again in Classic Series Who.  That the Fifth Doctor did not use a sonic screwdriver was remarked upon in Time Crash, the mini episode featuring the Fifth and Tenth Doctors in 2007.  The Tenth Doctor jokes to the Fifth Doctor that he “liked to go hand free, didn’t you, like hey, I’m the Doctor.  I can save the universe using a kettle and some string.  And look at me, I’m wearing a vegetable”.

The Fifth and Tenth Doctors meet in Time Crash (2007)

Mr  Quill and Mr Oak, the menacing  gas service men, are brilliant in The Fury From the Deep. Thanks to the ever vigilant Australian Censorship Board, Quill and Oak have the distinction of sharing the longest cut scene in the unfortunate history of missing episodes.  Clocking in at 56 seconds, the viewer is treated to their entry into Mrs Harris’s bedroom as she is brushing her hair at a dressing table.  Having tricked their way into her home by pretending to be servicing the stove, Oak and Quill open their mouths and omit a toxic gas which renders Mrs Harris unconscious.  To achieve the effect of blackened mouths the actors John Gill (Oak) and Bill Burridge (Quill) ate charcoal biscuits before the scene. I doubt that they would have been keen to do that again!  The silent menacing of Oak and Quill is perhaps one of Doctor Who’s finest examples of using the ordinary to produce terror. So too is Mrs Harris’s walk into the sea in which she is seemingly committing suicide. The “Yeti on the loo” effect is at its best in this serial.  Even things as innocuous as seaweed, foam and gas workers are the source of nightmares.

Watch the Oak and Quill clip from 0:36 onwards.  I love the note that accompanies that clip – “Don’t watch if in Australia”!

When the TARDIS landed in the sea before a white cliffed beach the Doctor was certain that the crew had landed in England. Jamie responded with suspicion, “Aye, it’s always England. I think by the hammering the TARDIS has got, you’ve gone and spiked it”. As a Scot, the TARDIS’s propensity to constantly land in England probably annoyed Jamie immensely.  It would not surprise me, however, if the writer Victor Pemberton was having a dig at the stereotypes that had built up around the programme. Together with Victoria’s screams, it’s refreshing that the programme could laugh at itself.  Laughing at Doctor Who may well be warranted when we view the next serial, Season Five’s last offering, The Wheel in Space. Please join me as I continue my journey through Doctor Who. 

Fury from the Deep was originally broadcast in the UK between 16 March and 20 April 1968.  It is the last Doctor Who serial with all its episodes missing from the BBC Archives.

Fury from the Deep was originally broadcast in the UK between 16 March and 20 April 1968. It is the last Doctor Who serial with all its episodes missing from the BBC Archives.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Web of Fear

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Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart began his television career in Doctor Who as a Colonel in The Web of Fear and ended it, more than 40 years later, with a knighthood in the Sarah Jane Adventures serial Enemy of the Bane. In the interim the Brigadier, as he was most frequently and affectionately known, appeared in 103 TV episodes of Classic Series Doctor Who¸ the 1993 30th Anniversary Special Dimensions in Time, and two episodes of the Sarah Jane Adventures (2008). The character’s death was acknowledged in the Series 6 episode The Wedding of River Song (2011). The Brigadier also appeared as a character in countless audio dramas, books, cartoons and short stories right up until the actor Nicholas Courtney’s death in February 2011.

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

The Doctor first met Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart in less than perfect circumstances in The Web of Fear  (1968)

Lethbridge-Stewart appeared alongside the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Doctors in  serials and with the Sixth Doctor in Dimensions in Time. Nicholas Courtney, however, had the distinction of also appearing as Bret Vyon in the first four episodes of the First Doctor’s serial, The Daleks’ Master Plan.  Interestingly, Courtney’s first and last appearances in Classic Series Doctor Who were alongside fellow actor Jean Marsh. Marsh had played Courtney’s sister, Sara Kingdom, in The Daleks’ Master Plan and was Morgaine in 1989’s Battlefield. To tangle the interweaving web of Doctor Who even further, Marsh had been married to Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor, between 1955 and 1960.

Brigadier Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in the Sarah Jane Adventures serial, Enemy of the Bane (2008)

Brigadier Sir Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in the Sarah Jane Adventures serial, Enemy of the Bane (2008)

Brigadier Sir Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was the longest running recurring human character in Doctor Who by a country mile.  The only villainous characters of greater longevity have been the Daleks, who first appeared in 1963, the Cybermen (1966), The Ice Warriors (1967) and quite ironically for the purposes of this review, the Great Intelligence (1967).  And to think that contract to appear as Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart was only four weeks long!

The Eleventh Doctor learns of the Brigadier’s death in The Wedding of River Song

Aside from the creation of the iconic Lethbridge-Stewart, one would be hard pressed to find another Doctor Who story that had such a long term influence on the series than The Web of Fear. As a classic example of the “base under siege” genre, it was the first to be set in present day London.  Transferring the previously Himalayan bound Yeti to the London Underground provided both a contemporary and identifiable point of reference for viewers.  The sense of terror was greatly amplified when monsters were lurking in the tunnels and tube stations that most viewers knew so well.  Incidentally, one of the actors in the Yeti suits was none other than John Levene, who would go on to portray another long time recurring character, UNIT’s Sergeant Benton.

Yeti in the tunnels of the London Underground

Yeti in the tunnels of the London Underground

The Second Doctor’s co-operation with the military in The Web of Fear would resurface in Season Six’s The Invasion, in which both Lethbridge-Stewart and Benton were members of the newly established United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT). The Invasion was the template for the Third Doctor’s earthbound exile in Seasons Seven and beyond.  But more about that when I review The Invasion.

Jack Watling reprised his role of (an aged) Travers in The Web of Fear

Jack Watling reprised his role of (an aged) Travers in The Web of Fear

The appearance of the Yeti in The Abominable Snowmen, and its sequel, The Web of Fear, propelled them to iconic status.  As a consequence of the writers, Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman’s, falling out with the Doctor Who production team the Yeti would only appear again briefly in the 1983 Twentieth Anniversary Special, The Five Doctors. The Yeti’s short screen time had little effect on the creatures’ iconic status. Although never appearing alongside the Yeti on screen, Jon Pertwee is fondly remembered for his oft quoted phrase, “Yeti on the loo in Tooting Bec”.  What Pertwee was referring to was the direction that Doctor Who had taken during the Third Doctor’s earthbound tenure.  The Doctor was confronting  the monsters, not on an alien planet, but in the viewers’ own backyards, or toilets, or under their city ….  Akin to the expression, “Behind the Sofa”, “Yeti on the loo” quickly entered the Who vocabulary.

Reading a paper in the loo is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.  But did the Third Doctor anticipate meeting a Yeti in the loo?

Reading a paper in the loo is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. But did the Third Doctor anticipate meeting a Yeti in the loo?

This “Yeti on the loo” in-joke was most probably lost on a great many New Series viewers to part three of Pond Life, the prelude mini-adventures to Series Seven. The pun was much more than just the play on words of “Ood” and “loo”, and was most certainly a shout-out to Classic Series Who. Give a thought to the late Jon Pertwee as you watch Rory and Amy’s startled responses to the Ood in their bathroom.

Rory and Amy are confronted by an unexpected guest in Part 3 of Pond Life.

Before we leave the Yeti, The Web of Fear was the last serial to feature the sublime composition by British Composer, Martin Slavin, entitled Space Adventure. Ordinarily the Cybermen’s theme, it provided a superb backdrop for their first three stories, The Tenth Planet, The Moonbase and The Tomb of the Cybermen. In its last appearance in Who this composition accompanied the Yeti in Covent Garden.  

Victoria, Jamie and the Doctor contemplate their options

Victoria, Jamie and the Doctor contemplate their options

The Web of Fear is not without its failings. There is an unfortunate negative Jewish stereotype in episode one in the form of Julius Silverstein, a wealthy artefact collector and business person who runs his own museum.  Having acquired a deactivated Yeti from Edward Travers, he refused to return it after being advised that the Yeti’s control sphere had been reactivated and disappeared. The consequence of this belligerence was Silverstein’s own death at the hands of the reactivated Yeti.  When Terrance Dicks novelized the serial as Doctor Who and the Web of Fear in 1976 the character’s name was changed to Emil Julius in an attempt to avoid the negative stereotype.

The unfortunate artefact owner, Julius Silverstein

The unfortunate artefact owner, Julius Silverstein shortly before his death at the hands of a Yeti

As equally offensive, but rarely mentioned, example of racism is the characterization of Driver Evans, a Welsh officer of the British Army and a member of Lethbridge-Stewart’s team.  Evans is portrayed as unintelligent and cowardly, and he clearly wants to dessert from the Army. Had there been more than one Welsh Army officer in the serial then this Cymrophobia (anti-Welsh sentiment) could have been averted by presenting the other character(s) as courageous. Evidently Terrance Dicks was also concerned by this Cymrophobia and had Lethbridge-Stewart state that ordinarily the Welsh are good soldiers.

The character of Driver Evans was evidence of Doctor Who's Cymrophobia.

The character of Driver Evans was evidence of Doctor Who’s Cymrophobia.

The unfortunate stereotyping of the age aside, The Web of Fear is a tremendously suspenseful serial beautifully directed by Douglas Camfield. High up on many Who fans lists of “most wanted” missing serials, The Web of Fear’s influence on the future of Doctor Who could never have been imagined when its episodes were junked.  Only episode one remains in the BBC Archives, which is one more than the next serial in my marathon, Fury From the Deep. Join me for my next review as I examine how Australian film censorship has given us a tantalizing glimpse of this long lost story.

A body at the entrance of the deserted Tube Station

A body at the entrance of the deserted Tube Station

Episode 1 of The Web of Fear is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time.  The Web of Fear was originally  broadcast in the UK between 3 February and 9 March 1968.

Episode 1 of The Web of Fear is held in the BBC Archives and has been released on the triple DVD set, Lost in Time. The Web of Fear was originally broadcast in the UK between 3 February and 9 March 1968.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.

The Smugglers

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It’s somewhat bizarre to “watch” a serial in which all four episodes have been lost but miraculously, all the violence is intact as tiny snippets of film. Such is the case with the opening story of Season 4, The Smugglers.  Always to the rescue in the event of missing episodes, Loose Cannon’s reconstruction is resplendent with John Cura’s famous telesnaps, authentic photos taken during production and snippets from an amateur film of the production.  Most startling, however, are five short clips courtesy of Australia’s Commonwealth Film Censorship Board.  Discovered in the National Archives of Australia in October 1996 by Doctor Who fans Damian Shanahan and Ellen Parry, the clips had been excised by the Film Censorship Board and retained as evidence of the edits.  At some point they had been transferred to the National Archives, presumably in accordance with government agency retention policies.

Elroy Josephs, who played the pirate Jamaica, was the first black person to have a speaking part in Doctor Who

Elroy Josephs, who played the pirate Jamaica, was the first black person to have a speaking part in Doctor Who

Always broadcast during children’s television times in Australia, Classic Series Doctor Who was subject to government classification prior to airing.  Segments deemed too terrifying or violent for children were routinely cut.  It was for this reason that The Daleks’ Master Plan was never broadcast in Australia.  Who’s most violent story to that date, the cuts required to The Dalek’s Master Plan were so extensive as to make it incomprehensible to the ordinary viewer.  Thanks to Shanahan and Perry’s research, together with the Censorship Board’s hardline policy of the 1960s, a number of clips from otherwise totally lost episodes and stories have now been returned to the BBC’s archives. Perhaps the most iconic of these clips is from 1968 Second Doctor serial, Fury from the Deep. A full 54 seconds of a clip survives in which Quill and Oak suffocate Mrs Harris by breathing deadly gas from their mouths.  Stayed tuned for my review of that Season 5 Serial 6 story to see the outstanding film clip.

Once of the most iconic images from the Second Doctor's lost adventure Fury from the Deep.  Almost one minute of this clip survives thanks to the Australian Film Censorship Board

Once of the most iconic images from the Second Doctor’s lost adventure Fury from the Deep. Almost one minute of this clip survives thanks to the Australian Film Censorship Board

A listing of The Smugglers clips recovered from Australia can be accessed from this page of Loose Cannon’s website – http://www.recons.com/clips/clips-lc30.htm  Particularly valuable is Steve Phillips’ “The Doctor Who Clips List”.  Here you will find photographs and a short description of all recovered snippets – http://dwclips.steve-p.org/  An interview with Damian Shanahan is included amongst the special features of Lost in Time. Linked below for your viewing pleasure are The Smugglers clips, together with extracts from the amateur video.

The Smugglers – Missing clips and amateur film

The Smugglers was William Hartnell’s last historical story, and the first Doctor Who serial requiring the cast and crew to embark on a journey to the seaside for location shooting.  Filmed at Cornwell, the serial is sure to have looked superb. Without the visuals, however, it’s somewhat difficult to state much at all about the serial.  Whilst perfectly enjoyable, The Smugglers is by no means extraordinary.  The story of the Doctor and his new companions arriving on a late 17th Century Cornwell beach, and finding themselves immersed in the deadly games of piracy and smuggling, is profoundly simple.  The story could’ve been taken from any Boys’ Own Adventure book. Save for the Doctor, Polly and Ben arriving and departing in the Tardis, there is no science fiction in the story.  Nor is it based on a real, or even mythical, historical event.

Ben and Polly arrive take their first trip in the Tardis

Ben and Polly take their first trip in the Tardis

As many clichés as possible were thrown into The Smugglers’ mix, such as an evil pirate captain with a hook for a hand; the drunken former pirate who becomes a drunken church warden; the local Squire who’s actually a small time crook; and the locals being insanely superstitious. For the first time ever a black actor has a speaking part, although Jamaica, the pirate crew member, is quickly dispatched by the evil Captain Pike for allowing prisoners to escape. The pirates are more interested in drinking the smugglers’ loot than retrieving it for their Captain, and most interestingly, the Doctor drinks some wine with Captain Pike.  It was only in The Gunfighters that the Doctor repeatedly vowed that he was a teetotaller.

The evil pirate, Captain Pike

The evil pirate, Captain Pike

Ben and Polly’s first trip in the Tardis provides from some comic interludes in the serial’s first part.  Unsurprisingly the new companions have difficulty accepting that the Tardis travels through time, although they are less puzzled by the Ship’s ability to transport them from London to Cornwell in a matter of minutes. Convinced that they are still in 1966, Ben and Polly immediately set off to find a train station.  Ben’s principal concern is returning to his boat in time.  This is despite him stating in The War Machines that he was on 6 months’ shore leave.  Perhaps the Crew had been put in a state of suspended animation for six months because in The Faceless Ones, Ben and Polly’s last story, they are returned to London on the same day that they left.  Needless to say, our new companions soon realize that it is not the 20th Century and quickly lose their sense of astonishment.  That is, of course, until Polly is repeatedly mistaken for a “lad” because she’s wearing trousers.  Even being locked up in a cell after being charged with the murder of the church warden, Ben and Polly are still decidedly calm.

Ben and Polly find appropriate clothing for 17th Century Cornwell.  Because she wears trousers Polly is mistaken for a "lad"

Ben and Polly find appropriate clothing for 17th Century Cornwell. Because she wears trousers Polly is mistaken for a “lad”

The Doctor, who is referred to as “Saw Bones” by the sailors, admits to his new companions that he is unable to control where and when the Tardis materializes. He displays a skill for tarot reading and a strong need to assist the local villagers.  When Ben seeks to quickly depart in the Tardis the Doctor advises Ben that he has a moral obligation to save the villagers from the rampaging pirates.  The Doctor’s ethics have changed considerably from his first adventures with Barbara, Ian and Susan.  In The Daleks he placed his Crew at risk to satisfy his desire to explore the Dalek city, and was just as quickly prepared to decamp from it without Ian and Barbara. No longer entirely egocentric, the Doctor is slowly developing into the universe saving character that we all know and love.

Captain Pike and Jamaica, just prior to the Jamaica's murder

Captain Pike and Jamaica, just prior to the Jamaica’s murder

Our next serial, The Tenth Planet, is Hartnell’s last journey in the Tardis as the Doctor. Join me for my next review in which the Cybermen make their premiere appearance and Doctor Who’s  first regeneration unfolds before our confused eyes.

Loose Cannon's VHS cover art for their The Savages Reconstructions. The Smugglers was originally aired in the UK between 10 September and 1 October 1966.

Loose Cannon’s VHS cover art for The Smugglers Reconstructions. The Smugglers was originally aired in the UK between 10 September and 1 October 1966.

Vivien Fleming

©Vivien Fleming, 2013.