Friday, 17 October 2014

029 The Aztecs Episode 3: The Bride of Sacrifice

EPISODE: The Aztecs Episode 3: The Bride of Sacrifice
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 June 1964
WRITER: John Lucarotti
DIRECTOR: John Crockett
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition)

"Oh, sweet-favoured man, you have declared your love for me, and I acknowledge and accept your gentle proposal."

Barbara holds Tlotoxl at knife point till Ixta releases Ian. Tlotoxl question Ixta and finds out the Doctor wants details of the tomb. Barbara and Autloc discuss a sacrifice due to occur when there is an eclipse in three days time. The Aztecs believe that the sacrifices are necessary for the sun to return. The Doctor and Tlotoxl talk, Tlotoxl wants proof that Yetaxa/Barbara is a false god. Ixta & Ian reach an understanding. When asked for the drawing by Tlotoxl,Ixta reveals they do not exist. Tlotoxl proposes killing Barbara to test if she is immortal. The Doctor and Cameca take cocoa together, without the Doctor realising that this will mean they are engaged. Tlotoxl brings the poison to Barbara: Ian realises it's poison, Barbara tries to get Tlotoxl to drink it first and he refuses. She admits she is not Yetaxa and could be killed by the poison but argues with Tlotoxl. The Doctor discovers his error while the priests argue over what to do with Barbara: They decide to find a husband for Susan as a way of getting at Barbara. Susan refuses to go through with the wedding. Cameca brings The Doctor a gift, something from the Tomb that Ixta's father gave her. The Doctor suspects there is a tunnel into the tomb and confides this to Ian who teases the Doctor about his engagement. The Doctor & Ian look for the tunnel at night but struggle to gain access. Ian removes the stone and climbs into the tunnel, but the Doctor is caught by Ixta who replaces the stone trapping Ian. The tunnel is a watercourse and starts to fill with Ian unable to escape....


Now this episode worked better for me than the previous two, there's a sense of the situations the characters are in coming together and giving them an urgency to find a way into the tomb to leave. Barbara's confrontations with Tlotoxl continue to be a highlight, but Tlotoxl's great in whichever scene he's in.

Hartnell's on fine form this week playing the romance/comedy with Cameca brilliantly. Further evidence that Hartnell's more at home with situations he understands.


Margot Van Der Burgh, who plays Cameca, would return to Doctor Who many years later in The Keeper of Traken as Katura while John Ringham, Tlotoxl, returns in the penultimate Hartnell story the Smugglers as Josiah Blake and as Ashe in Colony in Space. The cast member who returns the most is Walter Randall, who plays Tonila one of the lesser characters in the story. He'd become a regular player in stories directed by Douglas Camfield notching up five further appearances over the first three Doctors. Camfield had a habit of reusing actors he liked as we shall see later. The priest Autoloc is played by Keith Pyott who has appearance in several genre series including Out of the Unknown in 1966's The World in Silence as General Harboar, The Prisoner episode The General as the Waiter and two The Avengers episodes The White Dwarf (1963) as Professor Richter and The House That Jack Built (1966) as D.M. Pennington. The Aztec Captain is played by David Anderson who has already appeared in Marco Polo episode 5 Rider from Shang-Tu as a Caravan Warrior and episode 7 Assassin at Peking as a Palace Guard (both uncredited) where he gets spotted by AFM Douglas Camfield. He's in all four episodes of this story and also fight arranges the second episode, The Warriors of Death, and the fourth, Day of Darkness, before returning for all of Camfield's The Time Meddler as Sven and episode 9 of The Dalek Masterplan: The Golden Death. Ian Cullen makes his only Doctor Who appearance as Ixta in this story but you can hear him interviewed about his experience in Toby Hadoke's Who's Round episode 4

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