Friday, 17 October 2014

023 The Keys of Marinus Episode 3: The Screaming Jungle

EPISODE: The Keys of Marinus Episode 3: The Screaming Jungle
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 25 April 1964
WRITER: Terry Nation
DIRECTOR: John Gorrie
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 9.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: DVD: Doctor Who - The Keys Of Marinus

"It's coming again. The jungle is coming. When the whispering starts, it's death, I tell you. Death!"

Since the last episode ended in woodland with screaming I'm hoping that this episode title lives up to it's billing.

The noise Susan's heard has vanished. They find some walls overgrown with vegetation but can't force their way through the archway. Ian, Altos and Sabitha try to find another entrance and while Barbara examines the arch Susan is attacked by the plants. Barbara forces her way through the arch and finds a statue which has the key on it. As she removes the key the statue grabs her and rotates into the wall.


The statue rotates back but it's arms are open and empty. Thinking Barbara may have used her travel dial Altos & Susan travel on ahead while Ian & Sabitha see if they can rescue Barbara. However they discover the Key that Barbara found and dropped is a fake. Sabitha goes to find the others and tell them what has happened leaving Ian to set off the statue trap again. He finds himself in a courtyard where he is attacked by a suit of armour and then finds Barbara who tells him the place is booby trapped. While Ian looks for something to force a door it opens for Barbara who enters and is trapped by a net under some slowly descending spikes. A cloaked figure releases her from the trap. He doesn't believe she has come from Arbitan and takes her travel dial but is then grabbed by the plants.


Ian frees him with a sword. The man says the jungle is coming and urges them to leave. As he dies he gives Ian a code to find the key and warns them of the whispering in the darkness. They find a safe but the code doesn't work so they commence a search. As they search it gets dark outside and the noises Susan heard start. Plants start to push their way through the walls. They realise the code is a chemical formula and that the key was hidden in a jar. They use their travel discs to leave but find themselves on a snowy landscape completely exposed.

The noises and the moving plants were great but the statue was obviously someone with his arms poked through the scenery. If it wasn't five years in the future when this was made I'd swear I was just watching an unused Scooby Doo script! But I don't think we need to look terribly hard to find the source for this episodes, it's various threats and indeed the whole story: this is a 40s adventure serial like Flash Gordon which Terry Nation would almost certainly have seen when he was younger: I recall watching them from BBC2 showing in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

This episode and the next are missing William Hartnell who has a scheduled holiday. The companions will all take breaks over the subsequent stories setting a pattern that will continue through the arduous recording schedules of the show in the 60s which aired for 40+ weeks a year.

The man, unidentified by name in the episode but revealed to be Darrius in the end credits, is played by Edmund Warwick. He later doubles for William Hartnell, following an injury to Hartnell, in the Dalek Invasion of Earth and then returns in The Chase episodes 4 & 5: Journey Into Terror & the Death of Doctor Who as the Dalek's Robot Doctor. Returning from episode 1 Martin Cort who is the the axe wielding warrior here.

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