Friday, 25 September 2015

084 Galaxy 4 Episode 3: Airlock

EPISODE: Galaxy 4 Episode 3: Airlock
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 25 September 1965
WRITER: William Emms
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 11.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) including Galaxy 4 Part 3: Airlock

"Our appearance would not be pleasant to you. It is best you do not see us."

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The Doctor & Vicki are being watched by alien eyes. They are pursued by Chumblies: Vicki is captured and taken to the Rills while the Doctor tries to sabotage the device the Rills use to convert air to ammonia which they need to breathe. The Rills speak with Vicki telling her they offered to take the Drahvins with them and they did not kill the Drahvin warrior as claimed. Maaga killed the injured soldier not them. Vicki flees the spaceship to stop the Doctor's sabotage. Steven attempts escape but finding a Chumblie outside is trapped in the airlock. Vicki convinces the Doctor that the Rills are friendly and he enters the ship to confer with them. They are drilling for power, but all they have found is a gas they are unable to use. The Doctor offers to give them power from the Tardis. Maaga starts pumping the air out of the airlock and gives Steven a choice: Surrender, die in the airlock or be killed by the waiting Chumblie. The Doctor & Vicki rush to the Drahvin spaceship to rescue him but the pressure difference has sealed the outer door preventing his escape.

Top stuff again. Lovely ominous sound to the disembodied Rills voice coming from the Chumblie. We've also got some other familiar noises as several Dalek effects are used: the Dalek city door noise is the sound of the Drahvin airlock opening & closing while the Dalek control centre noise is heard in the Rill ship. The whistling noise made when the Chumblies communicate with the Rills sounds awfully like the noise made by the UFOs in the eponymous Gerry Anderson series.

There is a crucial error in this episode betraying that it was previously written for a different set of companions: Stephan does not know that he can be harmed in the airlock by pumping the air out. Now given that Steven is a trained astronaut this is unlikely. The original draft of Galaxy Four was written for The Doctor, Ian, Barbara & Vicki where Barbara would be the companion held hostage. Instead Steven takes on the role meant for Barbara but as we see it gives rise to this small but important error.

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There is perhaps another clue present that Steven is substituting for Barbara: he spends the entire episode wearing a cardigan! See both the Web Planet and Space Museum where she looses cardigans for the sake of using the thread to trace their way back when lost!

Since I first wrote about this episode it's been recovered and released on DVD. Now I can see it I still think it's a really good episode but what it has really brought home is how much the audio doesn't tell the entire story. How Maaga's speech is delivered straight to camera, how the Rills' story of how they came to be there and their first encounter with the Drahvins is partially told in flashback and how the astronaut being trapped in the airlock doesn't look half as ridiculous on screen as it sounded.

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Actually being able to see the Chumblies move, with the lights in them and, in at least one case, an inactive Chumblie just sitting there at the back of a scene. All these details would be lost in an animation though I'll admit if I'd been in charge of animating the episode I'd have shown the encounter between the Drahvin & Rill ships as well as the on planet encounter as a flashback, but would have known they wouldn't have shown all that on screen. In fact.... is this the first time we get a Flashback sequence used in Doctor Who? Some of the direction from first timer Derek Martinus, a late replacement for Mervyn Pinfield who had been taken ill, really leaps out particularly the shot from above, but I'm not sure about the wall design for the Rill area.... I say area cos I'm not 100% sure if this is meant to be showing the inside of the Rill ship or a base that's been built round .... anyway the wall panels used don't reach the floor. So I'm guessing that it's a deliberate design decision.

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We also get to see the Rills, for many years the most obscure Doctor Who monster (quite apt really for a race that spend their time hidden behind walls & glass) No photos were thought to exist of them at all until two old photos were identified as being Rills.

galaxy-4-rills Rill

Wanderings in the fourth Dimension, where I initially found the photos, says they remind them of the Guild Navigators in Dune but there's something else a lot closer to home that they remind me of: The Face of Boe!

As we suspected the Drahvins version of how both came to be on the planet was something short of the truth:

VICKI: The Drahvins said that you attacked them.
RILL: That is short of the truth. We were investigating outer space when we encountered a strange ship. Rills do not attack or kill without good reason, so we stopped our ship. Their ship also stopped. We hung in space facing each other. We could have turned and gone away, but we were afraid that we would be attacked. VICKI: Yes. Well, what happened?
RILL: For four dawns we hung there. Then we decided to turn. As we were doing so the Drahvins fired. Immediately we did the same, and both ships crashed. When we escaped from our ship we discovered that we could not breathe the atmosphere here, but we had a small supply of our own, and set out to help the Drahvins.
RILL: The first one we found was badly injured. We started to help the soldier. Then Maaga, their leader, appeared. She started to shoot at us, so we left. We could have fought back. Our weapons are superior to theirs. But, we do not kill. The Drahvins do. When we looked back, we saw Maaga kill the injured soldier.
VICKI: But all the Drahvins believe that you did that.
RILL: We know. That is why they keep attacking us.
VICKI: Would you really have taken those people off with you?
RILL: Why not? What do we gain if they die? We will help you rescue your friend
Speaking of the Rills..... Robert Cartland who provides their superb voice returns as Malpha in the next story Mission to the Unknown. Malpha in turn is thought to return in the Dalek Masterplan but is played by a different actor there: Brian Mosely later famous as Coronation Street's grocer Alf Roberts. Inside the Rill we see is Bill Lodge later to return as a UNIT Soldier in The Silurians Episode 3 and a Villager in The Dæmons Episode 3.

During the afternoon of Sunday 11th December 2011 rumours began spreading on the internet that some Doctor Who episodes may have been returned to the BBC. Then fans looked at their diary and spotted that it was the second day of Missing believed Wiped at the BFI. And then we looked at the program and saw: 15.45 NFT1 Session 1: Miscellany .... BBC Sci-fi footage (Title TBC) (BBC 1960s). Finally a little after 4pm the announcement was made that two episode of Doctor Who had been recovered: Galaxy 4 episode 3 and The Underwater Menace episode 2, bring the missing episodes count down to 106 with 90 Hartnell episodes and 57 Troughton episodes known to survive.

So where had they been? The Radio Times has a decent account of how they had been found:

“Through me,” says Ralph Montagu, Radio Times’s head of heritage and a lifelong Doctor Who fan. “I occasionally meet up with a group of film collectors and retired TV engineers at a café in Hampshire.

“A few months ago I spoke to Terry Burnett, who used to be an engineer at TVS [the former ITV franchise based in Southampton]. Somehow Doctor Who was mentioned in passing, and Terry said, ‘Oh, actually I think I’ve got an old episode.’

“I thought it was bound to be something we’ve got already,” says Ralph. “I tried not to get too excited, but he came back the next day and brought this spool with him. It had no label, so I had a look at the film leader and it said ‘Air Lock’. I thought, ‘What’s that?’ I checked online and saw that Air Lock was an episode of Galaxy 4 - a missing Hartnell serial. So then I got very excited.”

Ralph met Terry again a couple of weeks later, “And he said, ‘Guess what I’ve got.’ It was another episode of Doctor Who! Again not labelled on the can, but it turned out to be The Underwater Menace part two.”

We know for certain that the Underwater Menace 2 print was a returned one from the Australia because it has cuts to the start which precisely match material retrieved from the Australian Censor some years ago. It thus seems likely that Galaxy Four came from the same source. According to the film print appendix in my copy of Wiped v2 the ABC in Australia confirm they returned their prints of both of these stories on 4th June 1975, so if the episodes were returned in the same batch you can see how they walked out the door together. In fact it's very likely that most of the episodes found in private hands originated from this batch of returns.

Galaxy 4 episode 3 also has some material missing (again quoting from The Radio Times with Paul Venzies of the restoration team commenting)

"Even more of a challenge is a film break right at the cliffhanger, where companion Steven (Peter Purves) is suffocating in the eponymous air lock. “We’re missing 27 seconds of action completely, as well as the closing credits,” says Paul. “It’s a few shots and one line of dialogue from Maaga. But luckily we have the soundtrack and by using other visual material within the episode, we can re-create it.”"
How they've done it is quite clever: Lots of shots of the pressure gauge falling interspersed with brief sequences from the last few moments as Steven is in the airlock repeated. Work well, if you didn't know something was wrong with the print then you wouldn't spot it.

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Airlock doesn't appear by itself it forms part of a larger Hour+ long reconstruction of the entire story. Originally intended for The Time Meddler DVD, the story that precedes Galaxy 4, the recon is a triumph especially considering that no telesnaps exist for the story. There's an off air clip from episode one, and a long six minute sequence from the same episode integrated into the recon. The six minute sequence has a bad record on DVD: It was missed off the clip package in the Lost in Time DVD only appearing in the Missing years documentary. This time round it's still impossible to access the clip directly and indeed the recovered episode as well! I'd have made both accessible separately from the menu, instead they can only be found by fast forwarding through the disc. At least the episode starts at a chapter point (7), I'd have stuck chapter points at the start and end of the clip, but no: chapter 2 starts right in the middle. I'd have also had chapter points at the start of episodes 2 & 4 - both have points positioned too early. It isn't as if the chapters are at regular intervals:

Chapter Time
2 00:05:53
3 00:09:14
4 00:15:31
5 00:21:13
6 00:25:55
7 00:28:12
8 00:31:39
9 00:39:15
10 00:43:18
11 00:48:22
12 00:51:52
13 00:52:34
14 00:57:42
15 01:02:42
16 01:03:46


Now episode 1 ends as 15:47... Episode 2 Starts at 28:12 and Episode 3 ends at 52:32..... Just off the chapter points. But having a quick listen to the Galaxy Four CD it seems the chapter points have been positioned at the start of the material repeated in the next episode. An odd decision: I'd associate the repeated scenes with the episode they were first broadcast in and especially given the positioning of the chapter just inside the end of episode 3.

I don't know.... I just don't think enough fuss has been made about the Galaxy 4 stuff on this release. Barely a mention on the packaging, just a line in the special features, for something that for me was THE major selling point for this release. The recovered episode is stuck in the middle of the recon with no way of getting to it directly. There's no production subtitles for it. No commentary. No documentary of any sort, nothing even to explain how the episode came back. For me any missing episode of Doctor Who that's recovered is special. Dalek Masterplan 2 & Tomb of the Cybermen hugely so but I can specifically remember the recoveries of Abominable Snowman (read about in Doctor Who Magazine), The Ice Warriors, Evil of the Daleks 2 & Faceless Ones 3 (in Celestial Toyroom the DWAS magazine), Tomb of the Cybermen (newspaper while a guest at the University health centre) and Dalek Masterplan 2 (via the much missed Restoration Team forum). As the material is presented here the feeling is amongst many fans that it was bunged on just to make people buy the Aztecs Special Edition DVD. Hopefully at some point in the future they'll be the opportunity to "go again" on this release, maybe with a full recon of the other three episode and the features I've mentioned above. I hope that Underwater Menace 2 gets better treatment than this: I'd have been happy with the two Underwater Menace episodes and Airlock stuck in a Lost in Time 2 package with new commentaries, production subtitles and associated clips but rumours abounded that it would be paired with episode 3 and animated before the cancellation of it's DVD release. However the Underwater Menace DVD is now back on for 26th October so we'll find out then.

Doctor Who: The Aztecs (Special Edition) including Galaxy 4 Part 3: Airlock was released Monday 11th March 2013.

Friday, 18 September 2015

083 Galaxy 4 Episode 2: Trap of Steel

EPISODE: Galaxy 4 Episode 2: Trap of Steel
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 18 September 1965
WRITER: William Emms
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 9.5 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: "Doctor Who": The Lost TV Episodes Collection No. 1 - 1964-1965

"You'll have to work quickly. The Rill spaceship is that way. You will capture it for us."

The Doctor and Steven are briefly trapped in the Tardis while it is assaulted by Chumblies while Vicki is unimpressed at the Drahvins diet. Returning to the Drahvins ship the Doctor first lies to the Drahvins about how long the planet has left but when Vicki is threatened he's forced to tell them that there are just 2 dawns remaining. Leaving Steven as a hostage the Doctor says he and Vicki will capture the Rills spaceship for the Drahvins who refuse to cooperate with the aliens. Steven attempts to escape but is foiled. Vicki & the Doctor work out to evade the Chumblies and locate the Rills base complete with it's drilling rig. Entering the base, far more advanced than the Drahvin ship, they notice a smell of ammonia in the air. They are distracted by a deactivated Chumblie but Vicki turns round letting out a scream.....

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I'm really enjoying this story. I like the way we're slowly being forced to look at the Drahvins in a different light as Maaga's bullying behaviour towards her cloned troopers is revealed and the Doctor picks holes in the story they've been given as Steven says they seem pretty sure of their story given that they were unconscious at the time.

It's a splendid cliffhanger too: what has scared Vicki so much that she screams like that?

Since we first did blog entries for this story another episode from this season has been returned and it's the very next one: Galaxy 4 Episode 3: Airlock was one of a pair recovered in 2011. The start of that contains a short reprise from this episode consisting of the Doctor's last line of dialogue "I don't think he's quite awake just yet." given as he looks at a Chumblie in the workshop before Vicki crosses the room turns and screams. The next episode then starts with a splendid shot of what it was that has scared Vicki... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Seeing as the reprise ends with a dramatic cut to another view I think it very likely the footage from episode 2 was reused, rather than being remounted, so I've included two screen captures from that brief sequence above.

So with all but that of this episode missing this is the first time since Reign of Terror that I've listened to (as opposed to watched) two episodes on the trot. To be honest I feel a little grim at the start of Season 3. In the first two series a total of 11 episodes were missing out of the 70 broadcast (it was 15 for many years). In Season 3 just 17 exist: Galaxy Four episode 3, The Dalek Masterplan 2, 5 & 10 and the Celestial Toymaker plus all of The Ark, The Gunfighters and the War Machines, each consisting of four episodes.

Here's the state of the archives now for the first six years of Doctor Who:

Season Episodes Existing Existing % Missing Missing %
1 42 33 78.58 9 21.42
2 39 37 94.88 2 5.12
3 45 17 37.78 28 62.22
4 43 10 23.26 33 76.74
5 40 22 55 18 45
6 44 37 84.1 7 15.9

But it was worse than that: when Ian Levene visited the film & video library in 1978 there were just two episodes from this season there: The Ark 3 & The Gunfighters 4. His visit to BBC Enterprises yielded two complete four part stories: Unfortunately they were the same Ark & Gunfighters as we already had one episode each of. That brings the holding to eight episodes. Levene obtained War Machines part 2 from a collector in Australia (9), episodes 5 & 10 of the Dalek Masterplan were found in a church (11), Celestial Toyroom 4 was returned via the ABC in Australia (12), the remaining 3 parts of the War Machines came back with the Time Meddler from Nigeria in 1984 (15) and in 2004 Dalek Masterplan 2 was returned by a former BBC Engineer who had removed it rather than destroying it.

One episode of this season is probably gone for good: It's believed no film recording of Dalek Masterplan 7 was ever made (we'll cover why when we get there). The BBC Film and Video library believed they held another episode of the Dalek Masterplan, episode 4: The Traitors, in 1978 but it couldn't be found. It transpired it had been borrowed by Blue Peter in 1973, who used a clip which survives to this day in a recording of that program, and was never returned. Over the years this story has been slightly mangled to be told that it was Tenth Planet 4 that Blue Peter borrowed and never returned!

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Given the lack of telesnaps for this story it makes it a difficult one to reconstruct. A reconstruction was made in 2008, intended for The Time Meddler DVD, but for unknown reasons it was decided not to include it. However when Episode 3: Airlock was recovered the recon was resurrected for The Aztecs Special Edition DVD dropping the recovered episode into the middle. Missing visuals are made up of frames taken from the existing sequence from episode 1, publicity shots and new CGI footage of Chumblies.

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Probably the most famous person in the cast is the diminutive Angelo Muscat's, who's hidden inside a Chumblie here. He later finds fame and recognition as the Butler in The Prisoner where he appears in 14 of the show's 17 episodes (Is Commander Straxx in the new Doctor Who series a homage to the Prisoner's Butler?)

Butler Strax

Muscat was also an Oompa Loompa in Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as was fellow Chumblie Pepe Poupee. When the modern Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was made all the Oompa Loompa's were played by just one may - Talons of Weng Chiang's Mr Sin actor Deep Roy.

One of the other Chumblies does return to Doctor Who: Tommy Reynolds was (uncredited) in Terror of the Autons: Episode Two as the Auton Troll Doll while one of the actress playing one of the Drahvins Lyn Ashley went onto marry Monty Python member (and the voice of Wreck Gar in Transformers the Movie) Eric Idle!

Friday, 11 September 2015

082 Galaxy 4 Episode 1: Four Hundred Dawns

EPISODE: Galaxy 4 Episode 1: Four Hundred Dawns
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 September 1965
WRITER: William Emms
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 9 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: "Doctor Who": The Lost TV Episodes Collection No. 1 - 1964-1965

"Tomorrow is the last day this planet will ever see!"

The Tardis lands on a planet where the crew are captured by a robot that Vicki names a Chumblie. They are rescued by the beautiful female Drahvins from the planet Drahva in Galaxy Four, who take them to their crashed spaceship and their leader Maaga. She tells them they are war with hideous looking Rills who shot them down while they shot down the Rills. The Rills told them the planet is due to disintegrate in 14 dawns, an observation the Doctor offers to confirm. The Doctor returns to the Tardis with Steven, and after watching a group of Chumblies try to break in they enter allowing the Doctor to use his equipment to confirm the planet will explode not in 14 dawn but two!

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Not a bad episode at all. My problem with it is I know the twist in the story that's to come! The deadline of 2 dawns gives the end of the episode a cliff-hanger and adds some urgency to the next 3 episodes.

Vicki's got a habit of giving things cute names - she's done it before to a beast in the Rescue and a controlled Zarbi in the Web Planet. It was annoying there but here it sticks and is the only name we have for the robots the Rills use!

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More music by Les Structures Sonores features in this episode and story: Rhapsodie de Budapest, prominently used in The Web Planet. appears again as does Moelle de Lione from the same album which you can hear a clips from at iTunes or Amazon.

The Millennium Effect site credits Invention a 2 viox en Re Mineur as being on the same disc but it's not on the album links above. What I have found is another of their track Mister Blues which appears on Structures Sonores - EP.

I can't find a copy of Structures for Sound which contains Sonatine, Pieces Nouvelles, Spontaneite & Suite but Marche features on both the 4 disc version of Doctor Who - The 50th Anniversary Collection and it's limited edition 11 disc counterpart. Both versions also feature a selection of Chumblie noises, with more on the 11 disc edition.

Galaxy Four is the story that tipped the wider world off that not all Doctor Who existed any more. In 1978 the Doctor Who Appreciation Society contacted the BBC wanting to show Galaxy Four at their convention and were told it no longer existed. Why Galaxy Four? Well the president of the society was already in possession of two clips from this story and that may of played a part. In 1977 a documentary Whose Doctor Who was made about the program (it can be found of the Doctor Who - The Talons Of Weng Chiang DVD which has been re-released in Doctor Who: Revisitations DVD Box Set 1 with The Caves Of Androzani & the Paul McGann Movie) The makers of the documentary ordered a 6 minute section of film duplicated, took a 30 second clip out the middle and were meant to throw away the rest but instead gave them to the DWAS President Jan Vincent-Rudzki. Years later these two pieces of film, lasting 2 min 31 seconds and 2 min 52 seconds were reunited with the clip from the documentary to form the original 6 minute segment which makes up over a quarter of the episode's original length and is the largest surviving fragment from any missing 60s episode.

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The 6 minute section begins with the Tardis crew rushing towards the Drahvin space and end with the Doctor wondering if the Rills have told the Drahvins the truth about the planet's destruction in 14 dawns.

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The majority of the clip features the Tardis crew inside the Drahvin Spaceship and in particular the Doctor's exchange with Maaga, the Drahvins Leader played by Stephanie Bidmead whose acting career was cut short by her death in 1974 at the age of 45.

During this sequence we find out the relevance of the episode's title:

STEVEN: You, you don't belong here?
MAAGA: No. Nor do the Rills. There is no life on this planet. We come from Drahva. Some four hundred dawns ago, we were investigating this particular section of the galaxy. We were looking for a planet such as this, capable of supporting life so that we might colonise it. There are too many of us on Drahva.
We also discover some interesting information about the Drahvins:
STEVEN: All women?
MAAGA: Women?
DOCTOR: Yes, feminine. Ah, female.
MAAGA: Oh, we have a small number of men, as many as we need. The rest we kill. They consume valuable food and fulfil no particular function.
And indeed Maaga's troops: they're clones.
MAAGA: And these are not what you would call human. They are cultivated in test tubes. We have very good scientists. I am a living being. They are products, and inferior products. Grown for a purpose and capable of nothing more.
STEVEN: Grown for what purpose?
MAAGA: To fight. To kill.
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The sequence doesn't feature nearly enough of the Chumblies with just the approach of one to the Drahvins' ship and it being attack by the ship's weapons, retracting and then extending it's domes. More of the Chumblies would be nice but we don't see anything of the Rills in this episode: indeed until the recovery of episode 3 in 2011 we had very little idea what they looked like at all and they were considered on of Doctor Who's most mysterious monsters. Unfortunately there are no telesnaps of this story that would have helped us: incoming producer John Wiles, effectively in charge for this story but not credited as such, appears to have dispensed with John Cura's services for the time he was in charge. Unfortunately this also coincides with one of the periods where there's a great many episodes missing from the archives. The Telesnaps resume with The Gunfighters, the first story produced by Wiles' successor Innes Lloyd. See the Nothing at the End of the Lane Omnibus for more details on what telesnaps were taken when and what survives.

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The whole six minute section was first made available in The Ice Warriors VHS boxset in the Missing Years documentary which also is available in the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD. Unfortunately an error led to it not being listed with the other Hartnell clips on Lost In Time disc 1 so the only place to find it is in the Missing Years documentary or on the recon release which is part of Doctor Who: The Aztecs Special Edition DVD. The footage starts at 27:08 minutes into the documentary, 8:00 into the recon, and lasts till about 33:12 in the documentary, 13:57 into the recon. If you want to drop the footage into your listen of the story then it's starts at 11:33 into the episode and concludes at 17:18. On the CD it can be found from 26 seconds into track 8 till 33 seconds into track 13.

As well as the 6 minute chunk from the middle of the episode there's also some brief 8mm footage filmed of the episode's showing in Australia by a fan based there. Like most of the 8mm footage it mainly shows the Doctor, his companions and the inside of the Tardis but little unique to the story itself. Here we get the very start of the episode inside the Tardis where Vicki is visible cutting Steven's hair.

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In the break between season two & three of Doctor Who it's star William Hartnell had been the castaway on Desert Island Discs. Long thought lost a significant portion of the programme was recovered earlier this year and is available on the BBC website.