Friday, 2 October 2015

085 Galaxy 4 Episode 4: The Exploding Planet

EPISODE: Galaxy 4 Episode 4: The Exploding Planet
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 02 October 1965
WRITER: William Emms
DIRECTOR: Derek Martinus
PRODUCER: Verity Lambert
RATINGS: 9.9 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: "Doctor Who": The Lost TV Episodes Collection No. 1 - 1964-1965

"Soon it will be night. The last night this planet will ever know."

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The Chumblies attack the Drahvin ship and release Steven who returns with the others to the Rill ship. The Doctor works to power up the Rill ship while the Drahvins plan to attack. Steven argues with the Rills: The Rills say that if the ship cannot be charged in time they will not hold the Tardis crew. He warns them that the Drahvins plan to attack. Quakes begin to rock the planet as the Drahvins escape the Chumbley guarding the ship and prepare to attack the Rills. A Drahvin attacks the Rill ship but is soon dealt with. The Chumblies attack the Drahvins holding them off allowing the Rill ship to obtain power. A Chumbley escorts the Tardis crew back to the time machine as the Rill ship leaves. The Tardis dematerialises as the planet destroys itself killing the warlike Drahvins.

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Meanwhile on a faraway planet in the middle of a jungle a man lies on a jungle floor and wakes remembering that he must kill!

Cracking story, essentially a reworking of the saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover". The theme is summed up in this exchange between the Doctor and the Rills when they finally stand completely revealed:

CHUMBLEY: Now you know what we look like.
DOCTOR: I do. And I, for one, am glad of it.
CHUMBLEY: We apologise for the glass partition, but you will understand we must keep our atmosphere in here.
DOCTOR: Yes, of course, of course.
CHUMBLEY: Our appearance shocks you?
DOCTOR: Not now. I must admit, it did at first.
STEVEN: Well, I don't see why the Drahvins should hate you.
VICKI: I know. I mean, after all, we must look just as strange to you.
CHUMBLEY: To the Drahvins we are ugly, so they become frightened.
DOCTOR: You are different from us, of course, but at least you are intelligent.
STEVEN: Yes, what difference does it make what your form is?
DOCTOR: Importance lies in the character and to what use you put this intelligence. We respect you as we respect all life.
I'd love them to find the fourth episode so we could see what the completely revealed Rills look like on screen. The Recon has a best guess using an old picture as it's basis:

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The recon condenses this episode down to about a third of it's original length at 8 minutes. It's interesting comparing some the the things that there was little photographic reference for when it was made in 2008 to what we now know having seen Airlock. Good examples are the inside of the Rill ship and in particular the door that closes:

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Although quite where the reconstruction team got the idea of using upended office chair bases from I don't know....

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I am pretty sure I recognise the planet used at the end of the episode: that was the planet the Daleks had their base on at the start of the Chase!

Apparently none of the stars liked the story, perhaps due to it being rewritten from a form meant for the previous cast, causing the root of problems between incoming producer John Wiles, script editor Donald Tosh and Hartnell/Purves/O'Brien. This would lead to Vicki's prompt departure in The Myth Makers and start a process where the production team began to consider how to replace William Hartnell. But I thoroughly enjoyed all four episodes, especially the recently returned Airlock which was far better on-screen than the audio, and I'd liked the audio!

Despite what happened it almost seems a bit heartless abandoning the Drahvins to die on the planet. Does one of them survive though? Is the one shot at by a Chumbley and paralysed in the Rill base taken away with the Rills when they leave? The lack of visuals makes her fate ambiguous....

The director on the story was newcomer Derek Martinus, replacing planned director Mervyn Pinfield who was taken ill who died shortly afterwards during 1966. Martinus directs the next episode The Mission to the Unknown, come back for next week for details of that little oddity - as well as The Tenth Planet, The Evil of the Daleks, The Ice Warriors and Spearhead from Space.

This would be writer William Emms sole contribution to televised Doctor Who but he novelised this story for Target Book in 1985.

Until 2011 no episodes of Galaxy Four existed. The one returned episode, episode 3 Airlock, plus the 6 minute sequence from episode 1 Four Hundred Dawns was released as part of a reconstruction of the whole story as a special feature on The Aztecs Special Edition DVD on Monday 11th March 2013. The footage from episode 1 that survives can also be found in the Missing Years documentary in The Ice Warriors VHS boxset or Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD. Galaxy Four was released on CD in the Missing Episodes collection in October 1999 and has been re-released as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 1 (1964-1965)

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