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!

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