Friday, 17 October 2014

033 The Sensorites Episode 3: Hidden Danger

EPISODE: The Sensorites Episode 3: Hidden Danger
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 July 1964
WRITER: Peter R. Newman
DIRECTOR: Mervyn Pinfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 7.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Sensorites

"These creatures, these Earth-people, are loud and ugly! Why could we not have left them in the desert or in the mountains?"

The Tardis crew rescue Susan by turning the lights out on the Sensorites....

oh dear. Bad story or clever comment on how different an alien life form is?
The Doctor wants to speak with the Sensorite first elder to arrange their release. John is raving saying he can hear voices in his mind and the Sensorites want him to forget. The Sensorite elder agrees to them coming to the planet. The Sensorites tell the travellers about a previous contact with humans which went badly: the humans ships exploded which seems to be causing an increasing number of deaths on the Sensesphere
Has the atmosphere has been contaminated?
In the Sensorite council chamber where the Sensorites are discussing the visitors. The First Elder supports the visit but the Second Elder is against it. The Administrator supports the First Elder.
Your guide to telling the Sensorites apart:

The first elder wears a crossed sash on his chest.
The second elder wears a single sash.
The administrator has a black collar

Otherwise they are nearly identical to the Sensorites seen before.

The Administrator has beamed a Disintegrator to the council chamber to "protect them", but intends to use it to kill the earth visitors at the first opportunity. The Sensorites reveal there is a caste system to the travellers. John tries to tell the travellers something. The Sensorites say they can restore John's mental faculties. The Second Elder orders the disintegrator dismantled but the Administrator argues with them. The travellers discuss events with the First Elder who tells them of John's visit: he wanted to mine the planet. In order to stop him they wiped his mind but it went wrong driving him insane. The Doctor discusses the disease afflicting the people with the elders, who have not been affected by it, as Ian falls ill.

I can see what this story is trying to do, it's just I don't think it's execution on screen has done it any favours. There's lots of nice little detail: they flagged up about the eyes the last episode, today it's mentioned that the elders drink a different water. The Sensorites have no menace to them at all and the b&w film prints make them look just like bearded old men with odd faces.

Doctor Who's most famous guest star thus far appears in this episode. Peter Glaze was at the time the resident comic on Crackerjack (CRACKERJACK!). Here he's a Sensorite but I have no idea which one! His Wikipedia entry says he's the Administrator, whereas the cast list shows him as Third Sensorite. Since the cast list doesn't say who The Administrator is, I'm willing to go with this.


Of the rest of the Sensorites Eric Francis plays The First Elder and he's got an appearance in Terry Nation's Survivors to his name in Mad Dog as the Engine Driver. The Second Elder is played by Bartlett Mullins. His most prominent role was as Cloughie, Bob & Terry's work mate in The Likely Lads, another show like Doctor Who affected by the BBC's mass junkings. He's in the first Adam Adamant Lives! episode: A Vintage Year for Scoundrels as Gramps (Adam Adamant also has missing episodes) and in The Prisoner: A Change of Mind as the Committee Chairman.

Playing background Sensorites are Anthony Rogers, returning from the first episode, and Gerry Martin who's got some interesting entires on his CV. He was the CI5 Butler (!) in The Professionals episode Blood Sports. At some point after that he appears to have emigrated to America where he appears as Dr. Rudyard in Swamp Thing and as King Aramour in, and it pains me to write this, Thunder in Paradise (Nightboat the Crime Solving Boat!) Sealed with a Kismet.

On the original blog run this episode was published on Christmas Day 2010.

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