Friday, 17 October 2014

039 The Reign of Terror Episode 3: A Change of Identity

EPISODE: The Reign of Terror Episode 3: A Change of Identity
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 August 1964
WRITER: Dennis Spooner
DIRECTOR: Henric Hirsch (and John Gorrie Uncredited)
SCRIPT EDITOR: David Whitaker
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 6.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Reign of Terror

"What is it?"
"Evidence against a traitor!"

The Doctor arrives in Paris. Two men, Jules & Jean, plot to hijack the party travelling to the guillotine. Susan is taken ill on the journey just as Jules & Jean arrive and rescue them. The Doctor visits a tailor and acquires a new set of clothes to disguise himself as an official, planning to sneak into the prison to rescue his friends. He bargains his clothes and ring for the new clothes and some parchment to write with. Jules takes the girls to his house, he wants to smuggle them out of France but they're worried for the Doctor and Ian. Ian escapes from his cell, passing the drunk jailer but is observed by Citizen Lemaitre. Barbara & Susan tell Jules their story. Jules & Jean recognise the description of the house and men. They had previously rescued the men and were getting them out the country. The deduce someone has informed on them. Léon Colbert arrives bringing them news of a stranger watching the prison. Jules & Jean depart to see who it is, leaving Barbara flirting with Leon. A splendidly attired Doctor arrives at the prison with faked credentials and rouses the jailer. The jailer tells the Doctor of Susan & Barbara's rescue and Ian's escape. The Doctor meets Citizen Lemaitre, who taken in by the Doctor's disguise as an official, wants the Doctor to come with him to palace to see First Deputy Robespierre to discuss the province the Doctor supposedly represents. The tailor arrives at the prison seeking Citizen Lemaitre. He has the Doctor's ring, which he says is evidence that he's a traitor.


Another good episode, another great turn from Hartnell who's revelling in the comedy given him here. He's not in these episodes enough!

Is this the first time that the Doctor's ring takes a large part in proceedings? I think it is. OK so it doesn't demonstrate some of the properties it does later, becoming something of great importance by the end of Hartnell era and almost a prototype sonic scredriver, but this is it's first use as a plot device here playing something of value to the Doctor.


OK so Susan and Barbara are being taken to the Guillotine in a cart. There's a third person in the cart, and judging by their dress they're French nobility, and not a guard, so they're on their way to the guillotine too. Yet they just disappear when Jules & Jean attack! And speaking of which....


Jules is played by Donald Morley later to appear as Air Commodore Parks in Survival Code & You Killed Toby Wren, two episodes of Doomwatch, an early 70s series developed by two Doctor Who veterans. Jules' sister Danielle is played by Caroline Hunt who'll return as a Technician in Frontier in Space: Episode Three.


Jean, Jules' "young friend" (to quote the dialogue!), who is on the right in this picture is played by Roy Herrick who'll return as a voice of Xoanon in The Face of Evil: Part Four and Parsons in The Invisible Enemy parts 2 & 3.

But on the left, and nearly unrecognisable without the beard he later grows, is Edward Brayshaw as Léon Colbert. He plays a significant later role in the series appearing as The War Chief, another renegade member of the Doctor's race, in episodes 3-9 of The War Games. He'll later feature in Moonbase 3, like Doomwatch a series developed by Doctor Who staff members, as Adam Blaney in Achilles Heel. But to people of my generation he is best known as Mister Meeker in Rentaghost!

The director for this story if the Hungarian born Henric Hirsch. By all accounts it wasn't an enjoyable experience for him and he collapsed during the production of this episode leading to John Gorrie, who'd previously directed The Keys of Marinus, taking charge, uncredited for this episode. Hirsch returned for the following episode with some of the directing duties taken on by the story's production assistant Timothy Combe who would himself later direct The Silurians and The Mind of Evil.

As we said during Episode 1, Episode 6 was recovered by Ian Levine & collector Bruce Campbell in May 1982 and Episodes 1-3 of this serial were recovered from Cyprus in 1984 as suppressed field recordings. However shortly afterwards in early 1985 the person who sold Bruce Campbell Reign of Terror 6 came forward again, now in possession of a copy of Reign of Terror 3 which, while damaged, was found to be a superior quality stored field recording. Watching the episode on DVD shows it to be noticeably superior in quality to the previous two.

The new Doctor Who Magazine, issue 477, came out yesterday and their Fact of Fiction article also looks at the Reign of Terror. I wrote all six of these before looking at their article honest governor!

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