Friday, 11 January 2019

230 The Krotons: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Krotons: Episode Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 230
STORY NUMBER: 047
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 January 1969
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Krotons

"You have no value. You will be dispersed!"

The Krotons cut the power to the machine interrogating Jamie. They track the Doctor & Zoe to the Tardis. Eelek, the council deputy, goes to see Beta hoping to recruit him help them fight the Krotons. He tells Beta that the Doctor & Zoe then Jamie have gone into the Krotons' machine. Eelek tells him not to obey council chief Selris but to obey him instead. One of the two Krotons is dispatched from their ship, the Dynatrope, to fetch the Doctor & Zoe. Jamie is interrogated about the Tardis, but it decides that he has no value. Selris tells Thara that the Doctor, Zoe & Jamie have all have gone into machine. Thara tells him Eelek has taken over as council leader and is going to try to overthrow the Krotons. The Kroton explains to Jamie that the Dynatrope needs high brains for it's power transfer. It tells him that they do not die, merely exhaust and revert to their base compounds. The Doctor emerges from the Tardis having analysed the liquid he took from the Krotons' ship and deduced that it's based on Tellurium. Outside the Tardis the Doctor is looking for sulphurous rocks when the Kroton finds them demanding that they return to the Dynatrope. Back at the Krotons' ship Jamie seizes the Krotons' weapon and attacks the remaining Kroton with it, which causes the other Kroton to loose contact with the Dynatrope which is directing it. Hearing what has happened, the Doctor realises that the Krotons can't see in bright light. Once communication is regained the Kroton attacks the Tardis with it's gas weapon leaving no trace of the Doctor's ship then returns to the Dynatrope reversing it's course. A short while later the Tardis materialises a short way up a hill. The Doctor says he has set the Hostile Action Displacement System. At the Gond city Eelek plans the Gonds' attack on the Krotons. Inside the Dynatrope the Krotons' decide that the high brains must be recaptured before they exhaust time in 3 hours time. The Doctor & Zoe return to the city and learn from Vana and Thara what is happening. The Gonds start to attack the machine's supports. The Doctor gets Beta to process his collected sulphur using instructions he has left. An alert sounds in the Krotons' ship, the Dynatrope is now out of balance. The Doctor goes to stop the Gonds but their work has undermined the cities foundations which starts to collapse burying the Doctor under rubble.

A nice little episode that made an impact on me the first time I saw it with the sequence where the Kroton attacks the Tardis

ZOE: Oh Doctor, the Tardis!
DOCTOR: Yes.
ZOE: Well, now what shall we do?
DOCTOR: Well, there's nothing we can do till that wretched Kroton moves away.
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It causes you for a brief moment to think that the Tardis has actually been destroyed by the Kroton before it rematerialises on a nearby cliff ledge!

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ZOE: Look, it's all right again!
DOCTOR: Yes, what a stupid place to land. You can tell that the Captain is not at the helm, can't you?
ZOE: You knew it would vanish like that, didn't you?
DOCTOR: Well it only does that, you see, if I remember to set the HADS.
ZOE: The what?
DOCTOR: The HADS. The Hostile Action Displacement System. If the Tardis is attacked, it automatically dematerialises. Now, I think it's safe for us to move now.
ZOE: Oh, to move where?
DOCTOR: Well, er, we've got to tell the Gonds that we're all right, haven't we? And Jamie'll be worried. Come along, now. Carefully.
We also find out why The Krotons have been taking the Gonds brightest & best:
JAMIE: Zoe and the Doctor, what are you going to do with them?
KROTON: They are needed for the Dynatrope.
JAMIE: Dynatrope? That's this machine, then?
KROTON: One six eight vector four.
JAMIE: Well, why does it need them? And why have you been killing the Gonds?
KROTON: The Dynatrope needs high brains for transfer power. The Gonds have no high brains.
JAMIE: Aye, and that makes it all right to kill them, does it?
KROTON: That is procedure. Radius one six three vector four.
They're using the intelligent being to somehow power their spaceship!

This serial introduces us to the acting talents of Philip Madoc.

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He'd already been in Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., the second Doctor Who film, as Brockley and one of my earliest Doctor Who memories is of him being exterminated in the shed.

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In this story he plays the treacherous Eelek, deputy leader of the council.

BETA: Selris should be here. He's still the council leader, or am I mistaken.
AXUS: You are mistaken.
EELEK: Selris is old. In time of war we need a strong leader.
AXUS: And Eelek has taken command.
BETA: So at last you've achieved your ambition, eh?
EELEK: Yes, and I have the support of the whole council.
BETA: It must be quite a change for you to feel popular.
EELEK: And there is a limit to what I will take from you.
BETA: I'm wondering just how popular you'll be when hundreds of our people have been killed. Do you want a repetition of the massacre we suffered when the Krotons first came here?
EELEK: Today we have slings and fireballs. Weapons that will destroy the strongest building to rubble
BETA: Have you ever looked at the wasteland? Nothing grows there even to this day. It smells of death. Compared with their kind of weapons, I tell you we still only have clubs and stones.
After this story he'll be back as two of the most memorable Doctor Who villains. First he's the War Lord in two stories time in The War Games which is also directed by David Maloney, taking charge of his second story here, and then as Doctor Solon in The Brain of Morbius before appearing as the less villainous Fenner in Power of Kroll.

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He's been in loads of television including UFO as Straker's ex wife's new partner in A Question Of Priorities and the first episode of Space: 1999, Breakaway, as Koenig's predecessor Commander Gorski. I recently saw him in Midsomer Murdersplaying Barnaby's former (Welsh) DCI in The Axeman Cometh, a barking episode involving a rock group. But not half as barking as Country Matters is! Those are just the ones off the top of my head: checking IMDB also found me an Out of This World, as George Mathias in Target Generation, five roles in The Avengers, another UFO as Captain Steven in Destruction, The Sweeney as Det. Supt. Pettiford in Golden Fleece, Porridge as Williams in Disturbing the Peace and Survivors as Max Kershaw in The Chosen.

He's got a talent for playing German officers and in this role he can be seen in one of the most repeated clips on television. He plays the commanding officer of the U-Boat crew captured by the Walmington-on-Sea home guard in the Dad's Army episode "The Deadly Attachment".

U-Boat Captain: I am making notes, Captain, and your name will go on the list; and when we win the war you will be brought to account.
Mainwaring: You can write what you like, You're not going to win the war!
U-Boat Captain: Oh yes we are.
Mainwaring: Oh no you're not.
U-Boat Captain: Oh yes we are!
Pike: Whistle while you work, Hitler is a twerp, he's half-barmy, so's his army, whistle while you work!
U-Boat Captain: Your name will also go on the list! What is it?
Mainwaring: Don't tell him Pike!
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A special feature about Philip Madoc's career can be found on the Power of Kroll disc in the Key To Time DVD boxset. He died on 5th March 2012.

Richard Ireson plays Eelek's henchman Axus. He'd been in The Mind Robber as a Soldier. You can hear him in Star Cops voicing Mike in Conversations with the Dead.

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James Cairncross plays Beta, described as the controller of science in the first episode. He'd previously appeared as Lemaitre in The Reign of Terror.

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Beta is involved in a horrendous continuity mix up towards the end of this episode when it appears that Beta is in his lab working on the sulphur and under the city undermining the Dynatrope at the same time!

Friday, 4 January 2019

229 The Krotons: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Krotons: Episode Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 229
STORY NUMBER: 047
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 04 January 1969
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 8.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Krotons

"Whatever else they are, these Krotons are certainly not friendly!"

The Doctor realises the eye is working on pattern recognition fixed on his face. When one of the Gonds attacks the machine and is gassed, the Doctor realises that the "stupid machine mistook him for me". The Gongs ordered out of learning hall by the machine. The Doctor & Zoe realise that there are gaps in the Gonds knowledge: they use solar energy but have no knowledge of chemistry. They decide to visit the learning hall, but on the way the Doctor finds that there are chambers under the hall and goes to have a look. Zoe uses the learning machines and passes the tests with the highest scores ever recorded. She says Krotons were pleased with her. Vana wakes and is distraught, talking of a flashing ball burning her mind. The Doctor says the foundations of the machine were like a root structure, and speculates if the machine is organic, a living thing. Zoegond (Zoe) is summoned by Krotons to be a companion. The Doctor takes the test too, and feels that the Krotons were pleased with him. He too passes and Doctorgond too is summoned as a companion. The Doctor and Zoe enter machine just as Jamie arrives to stop them. Inside it becomes apparent that the machine is a spaceship. The Doctor and Zoe sit down, where they are restrained by a forcefield. A glowing ball appears subjecting the travellers to a painful bright light and a level in a machine rises. When the gauge reaches a certain level two tanks start to bubble. The Doctor and Zoe wake drained, theorising that the machine has transferred their mental powers into energy for it's own purposes. The tanks bubble away attracting their attention. The Doctor takes a sample of the liquid, which he thinks is slurry composed of suspended crystals. A form begins to coalesce in each of the tanks. Jamie tries to enter the Krotons' machine to help his friends. Awakening the Krotons search for the missing "Gonds", the Doctor and Zoe, who have left the control chamber and are trying to escape. The Doctor opens the ship's rear door. They jump out to the sides of the door to avoid the gas guns which the Krotons refer to as he dispersion unit. The Krotons track them and decide to order the Gongs to trap them. The Krotons see Jamie on their screen and realise he's not a Gond so admit him to the machine. His mind is tested, but he is ruled to not be a high brain but a primitive at which point the Krotons state the power will kill him.

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Oh that's lovely that is. The Doctor scolds Zoe for playing with the teaching machine, but I suspect using the Teaching Machines to gain access to the Krotons was on his mind all along as is obvious by the way he leaves Jamie behind giving him a not 100% satisfactory explanation.

SELRIS: How is she, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Well I think she's better. It's difficult to tell. Selris, is it safe to enter the Learning Hall yet?
SELRIS: Why?
DOCTOR: Zoe and I want to have a look round, don't we, Zoe?
ZOE: Oh, do we?
DOCTOR: Yes, that's right. Jamie, hold out your hand, will you?
JAMIE: What for?
DOCTOR: These pills I got from Beta.
JAMIE: There's nothing wrong with me.
DOCTOR: No, no. They're for Vana. I want you to stay and look after her.
JAMIE: Oh, now why can't I go with you?
DOCTOR: Because I particularly want you to give her those pills the moment she wakes up.
JAMIE: Ah, well.
ZOE: Well, why are we going back to the Learning Hall?
DOCTOR: To learn, Zoe. Why else?
Our Jamie isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer as evidenced by his assessment by the Krotons later!
KROTON 1: Have you damaged it?
KROTON 2: No. It is alive. Animal tissue is weak.
KROTON 1: It is recovering. Test its mind.
KROTON 2: This is not a high-brain. It is a primitive!
However even Jamie can see the Doctor's up to something ....
JAMIE: Zoe, watch him. You know what he's like.
ZOE: Oh don't worry, Jamie. I'll make sure he doesn't do anything rash.
Our first glimpse of the Krotons is of something bubbling away in a tank of fluid.

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We're then teased with a metallic claw emerging from the tank, followed by a shot of their bodies before we see their heads.

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However you never get to see all the Kroton at once! Script Editor Terrance Dicks has made no secret for his dislike of the Monsters in this story and for many years they were rumoured top be the winner of a Blue Peter Design A Monster competition, which Patrick Troughton helped to judge, but this just isn't true. Nowadays Blue Peter have contributed not just a monster to the series, the Asorbalof in Love & Monsters, but a Tardis console as well in The Doctor's Wife! I suspect Dicks' dislike for them may have been shared by some of the rest of the production team, hence keeping them concealed. I don't mind them, the heads and bodies look quite imposing. Maybe the arms could be better but the only thing that's really wrong is the rubber skirt, concealed throughout this episode.

The Krotons are played by Miles Northover, who was a Man Carrying Caskets in The Invasion Episode 3, and Robert La Bassiere, who appears as Cmdr. Bill Jackson in two episodes of Moonbase 3, Departure and Arrival & Behemoth. Their voices are supplied by two actors: Roy Skelton is a frequent voice artist for the series who we've already heard as Monoids in The Ark, Cybermen in The Tenth Planet & Wheel in Space, Daleks in Evil of the Daleks and the computer in The Ice Warrior. The other voice comes from Patrick Tull. Like several of the cast of this story he has a Dad's Army to his name playing The Suspect in Man Hunt.

James Copeland as plays the Gond council leader Selris. He also has a Dad's Army episode to his name appearing in Operation Kilt as Captain Ogilvie. This episode, along with The Battle of Godfrey's Cottage, was missing from the BBC archives for many years before being returned in 2001. His Out of the Unknown appearances have been less fortunate however. The audio for Beach Head, in which he plays Oliver MacDonald, survives and was reconstructed for the Out of the Unknown DVD Set but nothing remains of the final broadcast episode of the series, The Shattered Eye, in which he plays Randall.

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Selris' son Thara is played by Gilbert Wynne. His return to the world of Doctor Who came many years later when he played an Old Man in The Gathering, the penultimate episode of the fourth Torchwood series Miracle Day

Episodes 2 & 3 of The Krotons existed as 16mm prints at the BBC in 1978 when Ian Levine visited the Film & Video library. I'll be honest: this episode looked rubbish when I saw it on VHS. As to why .... well some internet comments on the creation of the Krotons DVD might throw some light on the matter!

ClassicDW (Dan Hall) said

Restoration work on The Krotons going better than expected, thanks to help from @BFI providing original negs for selected eps
which Steve Roberts of the Restoration Team translates as
Or to put it another way, "Restoration work on The Krotons ground to a dismal halt when it was discovered that half of the BBC negatives were poor quality dupes, thank **** the BFI hold the originals instead!"
At the time I said
I await the forthcoming crystal clear DVD with interest.
Indeed viewing this episode now it looks much, much better than it did before!

Friday, 28 December 2018

228 The Krotons: Episode One

EPISODE: The Krotons: Episode One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 228
STORY NUMBER: 047
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 28 December 1968
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Krotons

"You have been chosen to receive the highest honour that can befall a Gond. You are now the companions of the Krotons!"

WARNING! Do not put Krotons in your soup!

Abu Gond and Vana Gond have been selected to become companions of the Krotons. Abu goes through the doors into the machine first but Thara, Vana's love, objects to her going and delays proceeding. The Tardis lands on the Gond planet. Finding the back door to the machine, they see Abu disintegrated by gas guns. Travelling to the Gond city The Doctor, Jamie & Zoe arrive as Vana goes into the machine, quickly working out what will happen to her. The Gonds tell the travellers that the Krotons are in machine. The Time Travellers return to the wasteland with Thara and rescue Vana as she leaves the machine, but the Doctor's favourite umbrella is destroyed to his distress. Selris, the Gonds' leader, explains to the travellers that the Gonds' two best students are selected to enter the machine to join the Krotons. No living Gond has ever seen the Krotons. Years ago silver men came from sky, killing the Gonds and creating the poisonous wasteland that nobody had been in till the Doctor walked out of it. While they talk Thara and his friends sneak into learning hall to smash the teaching machines. Since the war the Gonds have lived in peace with the Krotons with their best 2 students of every class going into the machine to be their companions. Having seen what happens to the companions the Doctor decides to stop the Krotons. Beta reports to Selris what Thara is doing. They go to the learning hall to stop it. Inside the machine a device in a control room observes what is happening. A voice booms into the learning hall telling the Gonds to leave. The Doctor tries to get Gonds to stop as an eye on a stalk emerges from the machine and observes the Doctor pinning him to floor......

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I like that: The Doctor shows up, takes one look at what's going on and decides that's got to change.

SELRIS: Ever since, we have lived in peace with them. The Krotons never show themselves to us, but we learn from them through the teaching machines.
ZOE: Teaching machines?
SELRIS: Yes, in the Hall of Learning, where you were today. The machines fill the mind with knowledge.
DOCTOR: And everyone uses these machines?
SELRIS: When they are young, yes. That is the law.
DOCTOR: Whose law, Selris?
SELRIS: Our law. The Gonds'.
DOCTOR: But I thought you said all your laws were given you by the Krotons?
SELRIS: Yes, all our science, all our culture, everything we have, has come from the machine.
DOCTOR: I see. A sort of self-perpetuating slavery. And the Krotons always choose your two most promising students?
SELRIS: To be their companions, yes. Do you think they've all been killed?
JAMIE: Aye, well, we saw one of them killed anyway.
ZOE: Well why are they doing it, Doctor? What's the point?
DOCTOR: Hmm? Well, it's time it was stopped, anyway. It's high time it was stopped!
OK yes, people are dying, so it's obvious it needs to stop but the Gonds have been living this way for a long time, unaware that their brightest and best are going to their dooms.
SELRIS: You see, every so often the two best of our students have entered the machine to join the Krotons. They can't all have been murdered.
ZOE: Well, it's possible. If they had you wouldn't know because this spray stuff just
JAMIE: Dissolves everything. In any case, none of your people ever go into the wasteland.
SELRIS: But why should they do it? Why should they kill the best of our students?
ZOE: What are they like, these Krotons?
SELRIS: No living person has ever seen them. They never come out of the machine.
ZOE: Never?
SELRIS: Not since the beginning. Not for thousands of years.

ZOE: Selris was just saying that no one's ever seen these Krotons.
JAMIE: Aye, they never leave that machine.
DOCTOR: How did all this begin, Selris?
SELRIS: According to our legends, silver men came out of the sky and built a house among us. The Gonds attacked them but the silver men caused a poisonous rain to fall, killing hundreds of our people and turning the earth black.
JAMIE: The wasteland.
SELRIS: Yes. Because it was said that ever afterwards anyone who set foot there would die in terrible pain.

The element of the best being taken reminds me of how the fittest/most beautiful are taken away to the city by the Tripods in John Christopher's The Tripods Trilogy to serve the unseen Masters. But as we'll see the author of this story will be not be averse to filing off the serial numbers and sticking to Malcolm Hulke's maxim that "All you need to work in television is a good idea. It needn't be your own"....

And that brings us quite nicely to this story's author, who's on Doctor Who Who début here, so Ladies & Gentlemen please welcome Robert Holmes. Saying he's a former army officer, policeman and journalist doesn't do justice to it so read his Wikipedia entry or better yet buy his biography from Telos Books.

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Holmes had started writing for television in the late fifties. He submitted a story, the Trap, to the Doctor Who office in 1965 where it was rejected. He resubmitted it in 1968 and incoming script editor Terrance Dicks decided he liked the look of it and developed it as a "reserve story". When the scripts for season six started going Tango Ultra - two stories had previously held the Krotons slot - the story was pressed into service. Robert Holmes had found Doctor Who and Doctor Who had found him. The two would only really be parted by Holmes' untimely death in 1986 while writing the concluding instalments of The Trial of A Timelord. Get used to his name, you'll be hearing a LOT more about him. Holmes was always very good at finding interesting ways for people to die: disintegrated by gas is just the start and Abu-Gond will not be his last victim!

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Abu is played by Terence Brown who will return as a UNIT soldier/motorcyclist in Day of the Daleks.

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His luckier companion, Vana, is played by Madeleine Mills who, although busy, hasn't appeared in anything else I've seen. One of her female friend is played by Patricia Matthews who returns in Doctor Who and the Silurians as a Technician.

This episode is also the first appearance in television Doctor Who of Philip Madoc, here playing Eelik. He'd already been in Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., the second Doctor Who film, as Brockley and one of my earliest Doctor Who memories is of him being exterminated in the shed. Eelik is a bit of a background character here so we'll look at him in more detail when he takes centre stage later in the story.

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During a fight in this episode Jamie can be seen wearing a wrist watch. It's not so much an anachronism as he's been travelling in the Tardis for a while but it does jump out at you, as it did for me the last time I watched this story to blog about it. However since then I've seen a few other earlier Troughton tales with Jamie wearing a watch! We have to assume while he's been travelling with the Doctor he has learnt how to tell the time as well as, as seen in previous episodes, how to read.

Some nice location work in two quarries nicely sets up the wasteland at the start of the story and is periodically returned to later.

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Filming took place at the West of England quarry and Tank Quarry, both in Malvern on 10th & 11th November 1968. Unfortunately nobody knows which exterior sequence was shot at which quarry! When I watched this episode for the first version of this blog I said:

Gosh it's video time. This is the only complete Troughton story that we'll watch on VHS.

I'm obviously spoilt by DVD as this looked nowhere near as good as I expected it to.

Actually this episode survived as a 35mm transmission print in the BBC Film & Video library. Now I'm watching it on DVD it looks *really* good.

Finally, 224 episodes since I last mentioned it, we get back to the 1981 Five Faces of Doctor Who repeat season! The Krotons was the sole 4 part Troughton story existing at the time so it was really the only choice for representing the Second Doctor in the Five Faces of Doctor Who. It was repeated from Monday 9th to Thursday 12th November on BBC2 and earned the wrath of many older fans for being broadcast instead of supposedly much better stories such as Tomb of the Cybermen. A few weeks later the Doctor Who Monthly Winter Special was released showing what state the Doctor Who archives were really in (well bar a few tinsy tiny errors!)

Friday, 21 December 2018

227 The Invasion: Episode Eight

EPISODE: The Invasion: Episode Eight
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 227
STORY NUMBER: 046
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 21 December 1968
WRITER: Derrick Sherwin & Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Invasion

"The Cybermen will deliver their bomb on the same radio beam they used for their invasion. You've got to turn it off, man. You've got to turn it off!"

At missile control the crew celebrate Zoe destroying the Cyberfleet. The Brigadier is contacted by Benton who tells them that they overheard on the Doctor's radio that the Cybermen will send their Megatron bomb to Earth. Vaughan destroys cyber machine with the Cerebration Mentor . The Doctor says Vaughan must turn of the radio beam that the cyber ships was using as guidance to stop the Cybermen delivering their bomb. Packer is killed by a Cyberman which is in turn killed by the Doctor with Cerebration Mentor. The Doctor calls UNIT in to attack the transmitter at the IE compound and have the Cyber ship attacked by missile. The Brigadier sends a helicopter for them. Captain Turner reports the Russians are ready to launch their rocket with a warhead attached. The rocket is launched. The Doctor and Vaughan are taken by helicopter to the IE compound where they attack Cybermen with the Cerebration Mentor. They find their destination is guarded by Cybermen. UNIT arrives and battle Cybermen on the ground. Rocket launchers and grenades prove successful. The Doctor & Vaughan reach the transmitter control but Vaughan is slain by Cybermen and the Doctor chased away. However he meets UNIT who destroy the Cybermen and the transmitter. The Cybermen spaceship approaches earth to avoid the Russian rocket and deliver the megatron bomb. The Russian Rocket is diverted. The Cyber Megatron Bomb is launched, but Henlow Downs fires it's missiles destroying the bomb and the Russian Rocket destroys the Cyber ship. Later Captain Turner drives Isobel along with The Doctor, Zoe & Jamie to the field in which they left the invisible Tardis. The Doctor makes it visible and they dematerialise to the astonishment of Isobel & Captain Turner.

I'm sorry, but apart from the location filmed battle sequences this episode is struggling a bit. UNIT troops vs the Cybermen looks good, but there's large amounts of stock footage used, two from the previous episode, one of which I could swear is used twice in this episode but flipped, and a new section of the rocket launching. A lot of the important action, mainly the destroying of the transmission control, happens off screen presumably another casualty of the locations problems that cost us Watkins' rescue previously. Sergeant Walters disappears this episode, replaced by Benton. John Levene's elevation to speaking role in this story is sometimes reported as he replaced another actor who was continually late but it maybe this story just applies to this episode. The Cybership design in this episode returned to our screens recently in "A Good Man Goes To War"

Making it's Doctor Who début in this story is the TCC Condensers round the corner from "The Acton Hilton", the BBC's famed rehersal rooms. The production team spent three days shooting there on the 9th, 10th & 12th September 1968.

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The location would be back twice in Jon Pertwee's first year as the Doctor! The Staircase you can see here features prominantly in the third Doctor's first story Spearhead from Space. The same story would see Nicholas Courtney returning to the program for the Brigadier's third appearance, and indeed he gets to lead Unit Troops into the same location on hat occasion too!

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The warehouse space you can see behind the soldier is seen in Ambasasdors of Death as the fight location in the first episode.

We also get to see one of the locations we missed in the first episode: Williamstrip Farm near Coln St Aldwyn was the location for the Tardis landing and we return here for it's departure at the end of the story. All scenes here were shot 3rd September 1968.

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I've not managed to spot where he is but apparently in this episode is familiar supporting artist and stuntman Terry Walsh making his début as a UNIT Soldier. He'll play a few more of them over the next few years too!

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We have a few new names bolstering the Cybermen's ranks too, Richard King would return in the Silurians as a Technician, Frontier in Space: Episode Three as a Lunar Guard and Frontier in Space: Episode Five as a Draconian Emperor Guard. He's in Doomwatch as a Man in In the Dark and Moonbase 3 as a Technician in Castor and Pollux & View of a Dead Planet.
Peter Thornton had previously been in Out of the Unknown appearing as the Lorry driver in Stranger in the Family which you can see on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set.

This is Patrick Troughton's last meeting with the Cybermen, and in fact the last Cybermen story until Revenge of the Cybermen in April 1975 by which point Tom Baker will be the Doctor. Jon Pertwee, barring cameos, never encounters the Cybermen during the five years he was in the title role. Having waited six plus years for their next major appearance the Cybermen then wait seven more till March 1982 when they return in Earthshock.

This story is also the last involvement in Doctor Who for Kit Pedler. He, along with frequent collaborator and former script editor Gerry Davis, would go onto create the popular early 1970s television show Doomwatch looking at dramatised threats for science and environmental issues. Like Doctor Who many of it's episodes were junked but the surviving episodes have been released on The Doomwatch DVD set. Kit Pedler died on the 27th May 1981. Michael Seely has written a biography of Kit Pedler entitled The Quest for Pedler, available from MIWK publishing, which is well worth a read..

The Invasion is the longest Second Doctor story so far, beating the seven part Evil of the Daleks. But as things turn out it won't even be the longest story this season! It's a bit of an odd beast: I spend the first half of the story distracted waiting for the Cybermen are going to actually turn up and when they do they're hardly in it and when they are they're just goons in a role that any monster could have filled. There's two great Cybermen moments, as the first one bursts out of it's cocoon at the end of episode 4 and as they come up out the sewers in episode 6. Even the battle in this episode isn't so great with the Cybermen falling a bit too easily. If anything the first half of the story, episodes 1-4, before the Cybermen appear is better than the second half with the mystery element of the story and the exchanges between Vaughan & The Doctor driving the story. Episode 3's cliffhanger with SOMETHING moving in the crate Jamie's hiding in is superb. I said that a lot of those episodes is padding and it is but it's being done so well there. I like The Invasion, and think it's very good but I think it could have been so so much better than that and an absolute classic like the two Douglas Camfield directed stories which it sits between.

The Invasion was adapted for book form by Ian Marter and published in October 1985. The cover is one of my favourites of the entire range and the only book to have an Invasion style Cyberman on the cover to actually feature them - they also appear on the covers of The Cybermen (Moonbase) and Tomb of the Cybermen. The Invasion was released as a double pack video during the 30th anniversary year 1993 with links recorded by Nicholas Courtney replacing the missing episodes 1 & 4. The Soundtrack to all eight episodes was released on CD in a box with The Tenth Planet as Doctor Who: Cybermen in 2004 and a solo release followed in early 2006. A DVD of the six surviving episodes and animated reconstructions of episodes 1 & 4 was released in 2006.

Friday, 14 December 2018

226 The Invasion: Episode Seven

EPISODE: The Invasion: Episode Seven
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 226
STORY NUMBER: 046
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 14 December 1968
WRITER: Derrick Sherwin & Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Invasion

"We no longer need you. A Cyber-megatron bomb will be delivered. We must destroy life on Earth completely. Every living being."

Zoe repairs the Doctor's neuristor, restoring him to conciousness. Captain Turner checks in with the Brigadier who is OK and sends transport. The Cyber Machine reports that a full invasion force is on the way. Vaughan wishes to retain control of the Invasion and sends Packer to retrieve Professor Watkins from Unit. Sergeant Walters arrives with a jeep for the Doctor and co but as he gets there Packer & some guards show up to abduct Watkins. In the ensuing battle Watkins and Jamie are injured. The Brigadier sends a helicopter to rescue them. Packer is reprimanded for their failure to retrieve Watkins and blames the Doctor. UNIT has lost radio communication to major the major world cities. The Doctor works out that Cyber control is coming from their fleet near the moon and they need to stop it. The Brigadier knows the Russians were going to send a rocket up: Captain Turner is sent to get a warhead onto the rocket. The Brigadier says that there is a Missile base nearby at Henlow Downs that they can use to shoot incoming Cyberman ships down. The Doctor says he needs to talk to Vaughan but will go with a radio on so Vaughan's plans can be broadcast to UNIT. The Doctor plans to go through the sewers, now empty of Cybermen. He drives a jeep from the airfield to the nearest manhole cover. Vaughan & Packer are discussing plans then the Doctor arrives: Packer wants to kill the Doctor but Vaughan reminds him that the Doctor and his TARDIS is their insurance policy. Vaughan tells the Doctor how he masterminded the operation and how he believes the Cybermen will be under his command. At the missile base the staff are brought round by the UNIT troops. The Doctor tells Vaughan that the Cybermen will destroy all humans. Vaughan takes no notice and summons the invasion fleet. The missile base begins preparations to launch their missiles. The Doctor wants Vaughan to stop the Cybermen. The missile base sights the incoming Cyber fleet and are ready to fire when Zoe calculates a way of destroying 90% of missiles. Given 30 seconds to make her calculations the missiles are fired destroying the Cyber fleet. Their machine tells Vaughan he has betrayed them and attacks him saying they are sending a Cyber megatron bomb to destroy everyone. The Doctor challenges Vaughan asking him if he wants to be ruler of a dead world.........

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Oh dear we've got to the missile base. This section of the story really annoys me with the stock footage of the missiles being prepared and then launched reused a few times. The footage is used twice and once here respectively, but I'm sure it'll be back some more tomorrow.

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Other than that, good stuff, though I wonder if we were meant to see more of the Doctor's retreat from Watkins attacked house but they ran into problems filming like with the sequence for Watkins' rescue by UNIT troops in the previous episode. I think we've got a first in this episode: The Doctor drives a jeep off the UNIT jet. Is this the first indication we've had that he can drive a car?

7 Driving 7 Keys

There's one technical element of the show I have to question: when Major Branwell fires the rocket he has two keys to trigger the system. Now I've seen a few war movies: aren't control key for missile systems usually carried by two officers as a failsafe to prevent one insane officer from firing them?

Both of the credited missile base personnel have form with Douglas Camfield: Major Branwell, the commanding officer, is played by Clifford Earl who was the Station Sergeant in The Daleks' Master Plan episode 7: The Feast of Steven. He can be seen in the Sean Connery James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever as an Immigration Officer and The Professionals Mixed Doubles as the Plain Clothes Sergeant.

7 Major Branwell 7 Sgt Peters

Norman Hartley plays Sergeant Peters here but was previously Ulf in the Camfield directed The Time Meddler. Camfield uses him again the next year in Out of the Unknown: The Last Lonely Man as Contact Commercial Person #2. The same episode also features Peter Halliday, who plays Packer here. It's the only completely surviving third season Out Of The Unknown episode and can be seen on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. He previously appeared in Carry On Sergeant as the Thirteenth recruit, alongside first Doctor William Hartnell, and goes onto appear in Blake's 7 as Captain Kennedy in Gold and the Porridge sequel Going Straight as the House Owner in Going to Be Alright.

IMDB has Peter Roy down as an uncredited UNIT / Bunker Man for episode 1, which is obviously wrong as there's no UNIT soldiers or a bunker in episode 1, so I'm guessing he's present here somewhere. He was a Greek Soldier in The Myth Makers, an Extra in The Highlanders and an Airport Police Sergeant in The Faceless Ones, He returns as a Guard in The Seeds of Death, a Space Guard in The Space Pirates, an uncredited extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians, Technic Obarl in Hand of Fear, a Guard in The Face of Evil, an Extra in The Sun Makers, a Gallifreyan Guard in Invasion of Time, a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor, a Policeman in Logopolis, an Ambulance Man in Castrovalva, a Man in Market in Snakedance and a Walk on in Resurrection of the Daleks. Like many extras used by Doctor Who in the seventies he has Blake's 7 form too appearing as a Citizen / Prisoner in The Way Back & Space Fall, an Alta Guard in Redemption, an Albian Rebel in Countdown and a Federation Trooper / Rebel in Rumours of Death. In the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy he plays the Limousine Chauffeur in episode 2. He's got a notable role in the James Bond film Thunderball where he played British Secret Agent 006. He has a less obvious appearance in Return of the Jedi as Major Olander Brit but that hasn't stopped the character from getting a Wookipedia page!

There's a new location in this episode: St James's Gardens in Shepherd's Bush serves as the location for the Travers' house which Professor Watkins is renting and his niece is using as a studio. These scenes were recorded 11th September 1968.

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I'm wondering if there was meant to be another battle scene recorded here but, like the fight to recapture Watkins from IE, it too was lost and then restaged in the studio?

Interestingly this isn't the same location the Doctor & co were dropped off at in Episode One which was Princedale Road, Notting Hill Gate! The missile control board in this episode is not a new prop: it previously appeared in our favourite Adam Adamant Lives! episode D for Destruction.

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As well as having Patrick Troughton as a guest star this episode features the computer from International Electromatics reception from episode two and a whole host of the Power Station control panels we've been spotting everywhere!