Friday, 17 October 2014

012 The Edge of Destruction Episode 1: The Edge of Destruction

EPISODE: The Edge of Destruction Episode 1: The Edge of Destruction
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 08 February 1964
WRITER: David Whitaker
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 10.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: The Beginning Boxset

"Doctor, very strange things are happening"

Oh the Edge of Destruction is something of an oddity.....

.... an oddity I've never really got on with. When I watched all the original series of Doctor Who daily I made this plea at the end of episode 2:

Please, please don't make me watch these a FOURTH time!
Oh Dear. Ave Morituri and all that.....

Inside the Tardis there is an explosion while the it is in flight that knocks out the crew, and affects their memory. Ian examines the Doctor and notes his heart appear all right

Note: Heart! singular at this stage.

What you might not notice is that the Tardis console room noise is missing during this episode. It's deliberate because when it return during the next episode it's very noticeable. Yet another hint that something is wrong.

The doors of the Tardis are open, the teachers think the Tardis has crashed but Susan thinks there's an intruder in the ship as the doors open and close of their own accord. Susan touches the console and faints.
"What's going on here?" asks Ian. Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing!
He carries Susan to another room in the Tardis. When she wakes up she attacks Ian with scissors and ends up knifing the bed with them. The Doctor believes the Tardis has landed somewhere but doesn't think anything has got in. The Doctor needs help with the Fault Locator. Susan threatens Barbara with scissors....

Good Lord, they'd *NEVER* get away with the now!

Susan reckons the intruder might be hiding in one of them and goes crazy when she finds out that the Doctor wants to turn the scanner on. The scanner shows an English country scene but opening the doors reveals a weird howling noise. It then shows places the Doctor & Susan visited before coming to Earth,images pulled from the Tardis memory bank, before flaring white. The Doctor accuses the teachers of sabotage but Barbara responds by reminding the Doctor that he owes them from their previous stories and has put them in danger before being scared by the clock in the console room that's been melted. The Doctor serves drinks....


One of the most barking moments in the entire show...... and yet it actually makes sense. The problem is it doesn't make sense until the following episode and it's only on a fifth viewing that I've connected what's going on.

It just seems so out of character at this stage. However nearly two years later the Doctor will serve drinks in the Tardis again to Steven and Sara on Christmas day

.... and then the Doctor tells everyone that they need time to think.
"Doctor, very strange things are happening" (Ian again).

He's not wrong, heavens knows what 60 children would have been thinking....

....Actually I know what they were thinking because half a million of them didn't come back the next week.

Eerie music again, as the Doctor wanders the Tardis at night.
I've heard this in other Doctor Who stories but can't think what it is. I asked on the InterWeb: apparently it's Anaesthesia by Eric Siday which you can listen to here (it's track 20)
Pausing at the console he is seized by the throat by an unseen assailant.

No, I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue what was going on in that episode! If that episode made sense to you then let me know.

BBC management initially ordered four episodes of Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child. That order was then upped to 13. They had the Dalek story, 7 episodes, ready to go which brought the total to 11. But that left a gap of 2 episodes and Edge of Destruction was written to fill it. Essentially this is a cost saving pair of episodes set almost entirely in the expensive Tardis set and just featuring the regular cast. No outside writer is used, all the work is performed by the series script editor David Whitaker. Whitaker is frequently hailed buy Doctor Who fans but of all his onscreen work only Power and Evil of the Daleks really appeal to me (with the caveat that his Ambassadors of Death is really good but heavily re-written by others). To me Edge of Destruction is heavily in the minus column against his name.

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