Friday, 27 March 2015

064 The Crusade Episode 1: The Lion

EPISODE: The Crusade Episode 1: The Lion
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 27 March 1965
WRITER: David Whitaker
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 10.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time
TELESNAPS: The Crusade Episode 1: The Lion

"We do not trade with Saladin today. Not today, nor tomorrow, nor any day henceforth."

Englishmen carrying swords walk through some woods. They are stalked by similarly armed Saracens, but both parties miss the Tardis silently materialising. In the woods is William de Tornebu, an ally of the King, Richard the Lionheart, out with his knights. William des Preaux wishes they return to Jaffa, but he refuses. Leaving the Tardis the travellers are ambushed by the Saracans and Barbara is captured by them. William des Preaux pretends to be Richard to protect the wounded king and is captured too. The Doctor, Ian and Vicki take William de Tornebu back to Jaffa & Richard's court, stealing clothes from the market stall of Ben Daheer on the way. Barbara and des Preaux are taken by El Akir to Saphadin, the brother of the Sultan Saladin, who mistakes them for King Richard and his sister Joanna. Saphadin and Saladin see through the deception but are intrigued by Barbara when she tells them of her journeys. William de Tornebu is delivered to the king, but the king is in foul mood and won't assist them: as far as he's concerned she can stay with Saladin until she rots.

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I've said before that I'm not a great fan of the historical stories. This episode leaves me cold but I can't see anything actually wrong with it. It is a straight take on the story and as such mostly lacks the comedy elements of Reign of Terror and the Romans which I liked better.

When I first did a blog for this story I said

I mentioned when I started this that I'd been listening to lots of old Doctor Who stories on MP3. Well after listening to the stories I knew I hadn't heard I was suddenly struck that maybe I hadn't heard the missing episode for two of the near complete stories: The Reign of Terror & The Crusade. So I swiftly got them out the way so I could proclaim that I'd watched (listened) to every episode of Doctor Who. However as I'm sitting down to watch the Crusade now it strikes me that if I'd never heard those episodes before then,and I just listened to those episodes a few months ago, then I've never enjoyed this story all the way through in order before.....

For another story I've had trouble enjoying all the way through in see the Myth Makers and enjoy a very embarrassing tale.....

Back to write this series comes former script editor David Whitaker, who previously penned Edge of Destruction and The Rescue. Also returning is director Douglas Camfield for his first full story in that role having been Assistant Floor Manager on the pilot episode, An Unearthly Child and Marco Polo before directing the last recorded episode of Planet of Giants which was merged with it's predecessor to become the third and final broadcast episode of that story, which eventually was broadcast under Camfield's name.

vlcsnap-2014-10-07-10h59m18s217 Douglas Camfield very much starts as means to go on by casting Walter Randall, who'd already been Tonila in the Aztecs, as El Akir. Camfield uses him again in The Dalek Masterplan episodes 9 & 10: Golden Death & Escape Switch as Hyksos, Invasion as a Patrolman, and Inferno as Harry Slocum. He also appears in Planet of Spiders as the Guard Captain.

In the left of the above picture is a Saracen Warrior extra who I think is Roy Stewart, whom IMDB only credits for episode 4. He'll be back as Toberman in Tomb of the Cybermen and the strongman in Terror of the Autons. He's most famous for playing Quarrel in the Bond film Live and Let Die.

Saphadin, on the left bellow, is played by Roger Avon who Camfield uses again in The Dalek Masterplan episode 4 The Traitors as Daxtar.

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David Anderson, playing Reynier de Marun, was, like Walter Randall, also in The Aztecs as the Aztec Captain. Camfield uses him again too as Sven in the Time Meddler and an Egyptian Warrior in Dalek Masterplan 9: Golden Death

Playing William de Tornebu, bellow left, is Bruce Wightman. He too is in Dalek Masterplan playing Scott in episode 8, Volcano, before returning in Camfield's Terror of the Zygons as the Radio Operator.

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Playing market trade Ben Daheer is Reg Pritchard. Camfield recalls him for The Dalek Masterplan episode 7: The Feast of Steven where he gets a neat little in-joke with the Doctor.

DOCTOR: (to the man) Haven't I seen your face before somewhere?
MAN: Where?
DOCTOR: Yes, of course, I remember now, yes. The marketplace at Jaffa.
He gets some humour here too as this exchange with William Hartnell shows:
DAHEER: My lord. You are from Pisa, my lord?
DAHEER: Genoa, then?
DOCTOR: I know of the place well.
Having made his debut on the first Doctor Who story An Unearthly Child (Production Assistant: Douglas Camfield) as the uncredited fight arranger, a role he repeated on The Aztecs: Temple of Evil, Derek Ware finally gets an on screen credit both as a Saracen Warrior and the fight arranger! Ware's group HAVOC would provide stunts for many Doctor Who stories. He returns in The Chase: The Planet of Decision as the Bus Conductor where he's uncredited in a location sequence shot by Camfield instead of the story's credited directed. He's an uncredited Trojan Soldier as well as the Fight Arranger in Myth Makers 4: Horse of Destruction before fight Arranging Dalek Masterplan 7: The Feast of Steven and appearing in episodes 9 & 10, Golden Death & Escape Switch, of the same story as Tuthmos. He's the Spaniard in episodes 1, 3 & 4 of The Smugglers - he fight arranges that last episode too, fight arranges episodes 1 & 4 of Camfield's Web of Fear as well as appearing in episode 4 as a soldier. He's The Ambassadors of Death: Episode 2 as a UNIT Sergeant and Episode 7 as a UNIT Soldier before playing Private Wyatt in episodes 1-3 of the next story, Camfield's Inferno. He fight arranges the fist episode of the story after that, Terror of the Autons before making his final, and possibly most famous, onscreen appearance in The Claws of Axos: Episode One as Pigbin Josh! I've struggled to get a clear image of him from elsewhere in the episode but Toby Hadoke reckons that he's the one who gets run through by the sword so....

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The other credited Saracan is Valentino Musetti, another stuntman. He'd already been in Marco Polo episode 5 Rider from Shang-Tu as an uncrerdited Mongol Bandit. IMDB thinks he's in Dalek Invasion of Earth 1: World's End as an Egyptian Soldier but I'll bet that's a misplaced Dalek Masterplan credit because he is an Egyptian Warrior in the aforementioned episodes 9 & 10 of that story! He'll be back as a prisoner in Mind of Evil and an extra in Colony in Space & The Time Monster. (With thanks to Toby Hadoke for identifying both of these two for me!)

You know we've actors from episodes 4, 7, 8, 9 & 10 of Dalek Masterplan in this Episode. And so far we've found someone from every Camfield directed story bar the first, Planet of Giants, and the last, Seeds of Doom. I wonder if we can find enough actors in the rest of the story to account for the missing ones?

The Lion is another episode of Doctor Who that was missing and has been returned. The Crusade as a story was bought by New Zealand television but was never screened there and ended up in storage in Wellington. At some point The Lion was separated from it's three companions and in 1974 was scheduled to be destroyed in a landfill. However en route it and several (320!) other cans of film were "retrieved" by a local collector. We know from surviving paperwork that The Lion was the only Doctor Who episode in this batch of films scheduled for destruction. The episode passed through a number of hands before coming into the collection of Bruce Grenville. He showed it to some Doctor Who fans who identified it as missing and arranged for it's return to the BBC.

vlcsnap-2014-10-07-11h09m28s144 The recovered print is a suppressed field recording, lacking the detail found in stored fields recording, and is also quite badly damaged. It's by far the worst looking episode available on DVD - the damage is detailed at The Restoration Team's website article on the video release. The frame to the right illustrates some of the damage well: there's nasty tramline scratches down the print and there's a projector burn towards the bottom right which annoyingly moves around for a minute or so.

The episode was first released in a VHS set alongside the previously released episode 3. Linking narration was provided by William Russel, who played Ian Chesterton, and The Crusade was packed with the following story, The Space Museum. Both existing Crusade episodes are then presented as part of the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD set, a collection of orphaned missing episodes. The Crusade episodes are the earliest Doctor Who episodes on the set, The Reign of Terror having been set aside for a separate release. Lost in Time also includes the audio recordings for the missing episodes of the Crusade. The Moonbase, the other four part story on the set for which two episodes survive, is also presented in this way and, unlike their CD releases, there's no added narration.

The full contents of the Lost In Time set, a total of 18 episodes, is:

First The Crusade 1 & 3
Dalek Masterplan 2, 5 & 10
Celestial Toymaker 4
Second Underwater Menace 3
Moonbase 2 & 4
The Faceless Ones 1 & 3
Evil of the Daleks 2
The Abominable Snowmen 2
The Enemy of the World 3
The Web of Fear 1
The Wheel In Space 3 & 6
The Space Pirates 2

The first time time I wrote about this episode I said

At the time of writing The Lion is the penultimate episode of Doctor Who to be returned to the archives.
The most recent episode returned when I wrote that was Dalek Master Plan 2: Day of Armageddon. Since then another Hartnell episode, Galaxy 4 episode 3: Airlock, and ten Troughton episodes, Underwater Menace 2 Enemy of the World 1-2 & 4-6 and Web of Fear 2 & 4-6 have all been recovered. So The Lion is the 13th most recently returned episode.

Lost in Time is a favourite DVD of mine containing lots of little glimpses into long lost Doctor Who stories: Episode two of The Dalek Masterplan, which was first presented on this set, both episodes of the Faceless Ones, Episode 2 of Evil of the Daleks and Episode 2 of Abominable Snowmen make this an essential purpose still even though these more recent recoveries and other developments make the presence of several episodes redundant:

Enemy of the World 3 now has all five of it's missing brethren back while another, Web of Fear 1, has had all bar the third episode of that story returned. Both stories are now available as their on DVDs. The Moonbase's two episodes are also available on a DVD this time with animation linking them. The Underwater Menace episode 3 has been reunited with it's predecessor and both were scheduled to be released on DVD, a trailer was present on the Web of Fear DVD, but this release has mysteriously vanished from the schedules with nobody at the BBC talking about when it's coming out. Oddly of all the stories with 50% or more of it's episodes existing The Crusade has never been seen to be considered for a DVD release with animation or even a Telesnap reconstruction which seems quite odd. If these 7 episodes were removed from Lost in Time and the also recovered Galaxy Four episode three Airlock added you'd have reasonable grounds for a reissue from the BBC, especially is they included the material from Galaxy Four episode one that got missed off the clips package last time. This would give a 12 episode lineup looking like this:

First Galaxy Four 3
Dalek Masterplan 2, 5 & 10
Celestial Toymaker 4
Second The Faceless Ones 1 & 3
Evil of the Daleks 2
The Abominable Snowmen 2
The Wheel In Space 3 & 6
The Space Pirates 2

Of course one reason for the lack of a Crusade with animation DVD release might be that the BBC are reasonably confident of getting the two missing episodes back......

Friday, 20 March 2015

063 The Web Planet Episode 6: The Centre

EPISODE: The Web Planet Episode 6: The Centre
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 20 March 1965
WRITER: Bill Strutton
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 11.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web Planet

"What I take from you will enable me to reach beyond this galaxy, into the solar system, to pluck from Earth its myriad techniques and take from man his mastery of space!"

The Animus speaks with the Doctor and asks why they escaped. The Doctor will be brought to the Centre. Barbara and the Menoptera start the mock attack. Vicki realises she's dropped the isoe-tope. The Zarbi are drawn out of the city by the attack. Ian, Vrestin & the Optera encountered a stream of water in the rock. The Optera are scared of going to the surface but their leader Hetra agrees to go with them. Hrostar is killed killing a Larvae gun. The Doctor & Vicki reach the Centre, containing a huge bright light and a huge spider like creature which is a body the Animus is growing. They are dragged into the Animus' web. In the control centre Barbara finds the Tardis allowing the Menoptera to try to communicate with their home base. It doesn't work, but they discover the missing isoe-tope. Ian is now climbing through the tentacle like strands of the Animus web. The Menoptera near the centre but encounter Zarbi resistance before they are blinded by the light of the Animus. The isoe-tope seems to have no effect but Ian's arrival allows Barbara to get close enough to destroy the Animus. The Zarbi, now lacking control, revert to being the mindless cattle they were previously. No longer diverted by the Animus water starts to spring up on Vortis' surface. The Optera emerge onto the surface for the first time in generations. They wish to fly like their cousins the Menoptera: Vrestin tells them that they won't be able to but maybe their children will. Prapillius returns the Doctor's ring. The travellers leave a now peaceful Vortis behind.

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The images at the end of the story really stand out in my mind. We've got the Optera, on the surface for the first time in Generations being exhorted to not be afraid f the light by Vrestin. Then right at the end, all the peoples of Vortis stand together free.

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The Centre set, where the Animus resides and the final battle takes place, looks really nice.

Fan opinion when I was growing up had The Web Planet down as one of the great Doctor Who stories with it's array of alien life forms. It's less well regarded now that it's been seen by more people: general opinion holds that the effects and costumes have dated and it's a little hard to follow. Every time I watch it it improves a bit and I'm more and more impressed with what they achieved. Yes some of the effects don't quite work: the smeared lense to show the atmosphere doesn't help and having the Zarbi's "human" legs be far bigger than the other two pairs is a little distracting. Strip away the costumes and it's what people think of as a pretty traditional Doctor Who story: The Doctor shows up on an alien planet, discovers an evil in power and overthrows it.

But the first thing I think of when someone says Web Planet now is the tune heard in the early episodes when on the surface: it's stuck in my head!

Since we're approaching the end of March it's worth noting that this story contributed to a well Doctor Who Magazine April Fool joke. The Phoenix Rises was a supposedly "lost" Hartnell story that was found and would be completed using the Davison era cast! Supposed pictures from the episodes were shown that were actually sourced from early episodes of this story showing The Doctor and Ian in their special jackets! The give away was that filming was due to commence on April 1st!

The Web Planet was novelised as Doctor Who and The Zarbi, the second Doctor Who novel which was published in 1965, and then reissued by Target books in 1973 at the start of their range of Doctor Who books. The Zarbi & Menoptera, along with the Vrood & Sensorites, appear in the first Doctor Who annual but have never returned on screen. The story was missing from the BBC archives, but all 6 episodes were found at BBC Enterprises in the late 1970s and issued on a double VHS set in 1990 and on DVD in 2005.

Friday, 13 March 2015

062 The Web Planet Episode 5: Invasion

EPISODE: The Web Planet Episode 5: Invasion
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 March 1965
WRITER: Bill Strutton
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 12 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web Planet

"These tunnels breathe hate, and in the centre grows the root of evil, Poidarac! "

Barbara, Hrostar and another Menoptera Prapilius find a secret passage and escape into the rock. At the Carsinome Vicki releases the Doctor from his capture, her control device having been damaged in the previous episode. The Doctor uses the control device and his ring to control a Zarbi and they use it to try to leave the near deserted Carsinome. Barbara and the Menoptera have stumbled into one of the Menoptera's temple of light where they meet the remnants of the Menoptera invasion force. Hilio, their captain, despairs at the loss of his forces. They have a living cells destructor, the Isop-tope, they planned to use against the Animus, Barbara urges them to go through with their plan and attack. Vrestin & Ian assisted by the Optera set out underground for the centre, the inner sanctum of the Carsinome where the Animus survives. The Doctor, Vicki and their Zarbi follow Menoptera tracks seeking the Invasion force. Ian, Vrestin & the Optera encounter some bad air in the tunnels forcing the Optera to tunnel a new escape route. Barbara has a plan, but Hilio isn't comfortable with it. However at that moment the Doctor, Vicki and their captive Zarbi arrive. While tunnelling the Optera Nemini accidentally releases an acid stream which she blocks with her own body at the cost of her life. The Doctor modifies the Menoptera plan: he will take the Isop-tope into the Carsinome and use it. The Menoptera Prapilius borrows the Doctor ring in order to control the Zarbi that the Doctor brought: he thinks it will be useful in the attack. Vicki & the Doctor return to the Carsinome where they are swiftly recaptured. The Optera reach the point under the Carsinome and start burrowing up. Barbara & the Menoptera wait ready to attack, waiting for the Doctor to succeed, but Vicki & The Doctor are cocooned in a web generated by the Carsinome.

A little slower paced than the previous two episodes but towards the end you start to feel as if things are coming together for the final confrontation. I do wonder about the wisdom of having the Doctor escape and return to the Carsinome in the same episode, maybe if he'd escaped in the previous episode that might have worked a little better.

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Two shots stand out in this episode. The first is looking up the shaft in the temple of light, which I suspect was achieved by pointing a camera at something and turning it rather than having the camera look upwards. However the second shot, an overhead one looking down, must have been achieved by getting the camera above the actors. It looks impressive for the time, the first time we've seen anything like it in Doctor Who it's just a shame there's not anything more interesting going on when it happens! aerial shot

Vicki names the tame Zarbi Zombo in this episode, just like she names the beast on Dido Sandy. Thus far Zombo has escaped Sandy's fate and not been slain by Barbara! The episode shows he's being controlled by the Doctor's ring, yet another new ability that it's gained.

Prapilius gets a lovely speech in the middle of the episode revealing much about the Menoptera:

Hilio, the Menoptera have no wisdom for war. Before the Animus came, the flower forest covered the planet in a cocoon of peace. Our ancestors carved temples like this for resting places of our dead, but that was all the work we did. There were no other plans to make. Light was our God and we existed in light, flying above thought. Our banishment has taught us of enemies and weapons, and my captivity has taught me strategy. They tore my wings from me and I felt, as you feel, that all was lost. But if our Gods favour our survival, we must learn their lesson and use our brains and not our wings. This Earth woman we must trust, for she can show us how to exist without wings, to survive and flourish.
This episode is called Invasion, which it shares with a 1968 Doctor Who story. However the 1974 Invasion of the Dinosaurs has the title of it's first episode shortened to Invasion to conceal what the monsters are in it! We've already has the Dalek Invasion of Earth this season and, in addition to the stories mentioned above, they'll be the Android Invasion in 1975.

This is writer Bill Strutton's one and only Doctor Who story. A member of the Australia Army he had spent a long portion of the Second World War as a POW before turning to script writing where he wrote for many familiar series in the 60s. He would later produce the second Doctor Who novel, based on this story, and the only 60s Doctor Who book not written by David Whitaker.

This story is famous for uniquely having only non-humans amongst it's cast of characters. We have the controlling Animus, the ant like Zarbi with their Larvae Guns, the butterfly like Menoptera and their relations the lice like Optera. Every other classic Doctor Who story features at least one human or human like being in addition to the main cast.

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Friday, 6 March 2015

061 The Web Planet Episode 4: Crater of Needles

EPISODE: The Web Planet Episode 4: Crater of Needles
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 March 1965
WRITER: Bill Strutton
DIRECTOR: Richard Martin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Dennis Spooner
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 13 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Web Planet

"We know that from the roof comes hate! The liquid death! Creeping destroyer of we Optera. Yet you stand upright. We will consult the chasm of lights and if you come from above, you will die!"

Vrestin & Ian find themselves in tunnels with cave paintings on the walls. They are swiftly surrounded by an alien race different from the ones we've seen so far. At the Crater of Needles Barbara and the de-winged Hrostar labour with man other captured Menoptera. Barbara is suffering in the thin atmosphere. The work they are doing provides the Carsinome with the raw material to grow. Hrostar tells Barbara that the invasion force is due to arrive soon. Communicating with the Animus the Doctor bargains for Vicki's life, he then starts to plan their escapes an alarm sounds. The Zarbi at the crater of needles round their prisoners up. Ian & Vrestin are captured by the lice like Optera. The Optera are being poisoned by the material the Zarbi are using to build the Carsinome which is penetrating into their underground dwelling. The captured Menoptera ask Barbara is her friends could be helping the Animus and have given away the invasion force. They worry that the invasion force will be massacred. They plot an escape from the crater to warn them. One of the Menoptera believes he can disabled the Larvae Guns. The Doctor examines the Animus' device which was used to immobilize Vicki: it's made of gold like Ian's pen which disappeared. The slaves overturn their remaining Zarbi guard and kill the Larvae gun by crushing it's underside against a wall. The Doctor immobilises the Zarbi control device, but the Zarbi & Animus overhear a transmission the Doctor was monitoring and discover where the Menoptera are due to land. The Optera believe Vrestin & Ian have come to invade, but Vrestin tells them that her people have come to free them. Ian deduces and explains that the Menoptera and Optera are a related species. The Optera are amazed at Vrestin's wings: they believe the Menoptera are their gods. The Menoptera invasion force arrives. Vrestin tries to warn them but the Zarbi attack. The Menoptera find their weapons useless against the Larvae grubs and many are killed. Barbara and Hrostar attempt to escape but are surrounded by Zarbi.

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Not bad again, this story has picked up after a poor first episodes. Six parters can be a difficult story length for Doctor Who. Here writer Bill Struton gives the story a boost by introducing the Invasion Force, which we were expecting, and a new alien race living under the surface of Vortis. I like the way the costume designer has made the Optera costumes look similar in certain ways to the Menoptera costumes. When you think about it you can tell they're related species. There's a nice touch in the tunnels where a modified version of the repeating musical theme we've heard on the surface is played, another part of Rapsody de Budapest by Les Structures Sonores which you can hear a clip from it at iTunes or Amazon.

The Kirby wire landing of the Menoptera Invasion force worked quite well too.

Once again some explanation is forthcoming from a Menoptera:

BARBARA: Are your wings healed?
HROSTAR: I shall never fly again.
BARBARA: No. Why do they make us do
BARBARA: Why do they make us heap this vegetation into the acid streams?
HROSTAR: It is the raw material for the Carsinome, where the Zarbi live. Fed into these pools, it is drawn to the centre through underground streams, and as we pour it in, the Carsinome grows and reaches out across Vortis.
BARBARA: Well, what lies at the centre?
HROSTAR: None of us have ever seen it and lived, but we call it the Animus.
BARBARA: Do you understand them?
HROSTAR: No. They are just cattle. They do not have any speech nor motive of their own. Just controlled sentries. We came here to liberate them. It was disaster. Vrestin, the others, we arrived in advance of the spearhead. Our weapons proved useless. They were taken by the Zarbi who were everywhere. The three of us you met in the cave got away with the communicator, but we could not contact our spearhead.
BARBARA: Well, when is it due to arrive?
BARBARA: And how will you overcome the Animus?
HROSTAR: With a new invention of our scientists. It has not been tested but we have placed our faith in the Isop-tope.

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The battle sequence, as the menoptera escape the crater is a little bloodthirsty as first a Zarbi is knifed with crystal shards and then a Venom Grub is squashed against a rock wall!

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Making his Television debut is Martin Jarvis as Hilio, the Captain of the Menoptera Invasion Force. His long acting career brings him back to televised Doctor Who twice as Butler in Invasion of the Dinosaurs and the Governor in Vengeance on Varos. He also appears in the Big Finish audio drama Jubilee, the inspiration behind the new series episode Dalek, with his wife Rosalind Ayres who is, to the best of my knowledge, no relation to me!

Playing Hetra is Ian Thompson who like Roslyn de Winter (Vrestin) and Arne Gordon (Hrostar) is reused by Director Richard Martin in the Chase. He appears in episode 2 The Death of Time as Malsan. He also appears in the Blake's 7 episode Breakdown as Farren. The other speaking Optera is Nemini played by Barbara Joss .

We meet two more enslaved Menoptera in the crater of needles: Prapillus & Hlynia played by Jolyon Booth & Jocelyn Birdsall (4-6)