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.

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