Friday, 12 February 2016

104 The Massacre Episode 2: The Sea Beggar

EPISODE: The Massacre Episode 2: The Sea Beggar
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 12 February 1966
WRITER: John Lucarotti
DIRECTOR: Paddy Russell
PRODUCER: John Wiles
RATINGS: 6 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 2

"Between you, you will find the Abbot and you will give him this message for me. Say the decision has been made. Tell him the Sea Beggar dies tomorrow."

Steven hunts for the Doctor, alienating his new French friends who think he's working for the Abbot. He finds out about an attempt to be made to assassinate "The Sea Beggar" but doesn't know who this is. Meeting Anne in the street they go to shelter in Preslin's shop. It's revealed that the Sea Beggar is Admiral De Coligny.

Last time

Straight off the bat: Maybe it's because I wasn't feeling too good when I listened to this but it passed me by completely. As with the previous episode I'm just completely confused with identity and allegiance.
I'm following much better this time, thanks to the photos, script and writing down who was allied to who last time I watched the episode but it's leaving me cold still. Yeah I don't like historicals, but this is leaving me colder than most.

I think my biggest problem with this episode is that it's one of the ones where Hartnell's on holiday. His only appearance is a brief pre filmed segment at the start where Steven sees the Abbot of Amboise with Colbert. Whose idea was it to let Hartnell have a week off during this a story where he plays two roles? Madness. This is compounded by it being the first story with only one companion so with Hartnell absent Peter Purves is carrying a lot of the action.

Against that having the Abbott absent creates something of a mystery about him that sadly has been eroded by the passage of time. Is he or isn't he the Doctor? Colbert and Duvall are sceptical about the Abbott too:

COLBERT: I parted with the Abbot at de Coligny's house. He did not tell me where he was going.
DUVALL: Oh, very well. Tell me what you know about the Abbot.
COLBERT: He's been specially appointed by the Cardinal.
DUVALL: I don't mean that. How long have you known him?
COLBERT: I only met him yesterday, but he's worked for His Eminence the Cardinal of Lorraine for many years and has done him many services.
DUVALL: You saw him for the first time yesterday?
COLBERT: No, I met him for the first time. I saw him once at an encyclical meeting held by the Cardinal.
DUVALL: And that was the only time you've seen him?
However the mystery of is the Abbot the Doctor or not is soon overtaken with another: who the target for the assassination is:
TAVANNES: Between you, you will find the Abbot and you will give him this message for me. Say the decision has been made.
DUVALL: You mean
TAVANNES: You interrupt me, Simon. Tell him the Sea Beggar dies tomorrow.
COLBERT: Tomorrow? Where?
TAVANNES: He will attend an early council meeting at the Louvre. On his return, Bondeaux will be waiting for him.
COLBERT: Do you wish that the Abbot instructs Bondeaux?
TAVANNES: No. Bondeaux already has his orders. You may tell the Abbot that also, when you find him. Is that clear?
COLBERT: Yes, Marshall.
DUVALL: So, the royal command has been given.
COLBERT: What do you mean?
DUVALL: That order didn't come from Marshall Tavannes. It came from the Queen Mother.
As the episode closes the identity of The Sea Beggar stand revealed: Admiral Gaspard de Coligny whose house Steven stayed in the previous night and a prominent Huguenot. But hang on, the Queen Mother is attempting to engineer the assassination, which would surely increase tensions between Catholics & Huguenots? The previous episode she had arranged a marriage to do the opposite!

One thing we're aware of in this episode is the passage of time: Steven has been in Paris at least 24 hours. He arrived in the morning with the Doctor and then, after hearing the curfew bell, spends the night as a guest of DuMuss at De Coligny's house then spends the next day searching for Doctor, finding Anne as the curfew bell rings again.

Doubles is a recurring theme in Doctor Who: We'll meet the second Doctor's double Salamander in Enemy of the World, while Xoanon in Face of Evil uses the Doctor's face, Meglos disguises itself as the Doctor in Meglos, Nyssa meets an identical double and there's a case of stolen costumes with someone pretending to be the Doctor in Black Orchid and Omega assumes the Doctor's form in Arc of Infinity. Then we've got Mawdryn Undead which really does feature two of the same person wandering about!

A notable first for this story: Doctor Who's first female director. Patricia "Paddy" Russel, had previously worked as a production assistant under Rudolph Cartier of Quatermass fame. She directed three other Doctor Who stories: Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Pyramids of Mars & Horror of Fang Rock. Doctor who had four other female directors: Julia Smith (later co-creator with Tony Holland of Angels, EastEnders and Eldorado) who directed The Smugglers and The Underwater Menace, Fiona Cumming director of Castrovalva, Snakedance, Enlightenment (which was also written by a woman making it the only Doctor Who story 100% written and directed by women) & Planet of Fire. Mary Ridge, more well known for her Blake's 7 work, directed Terminus while Sarah Hellings was in charge of Mark of the Rani.


This story is packed with guest artists who are famous for other rolls. André Morell (Marshal Tavannes) was the third Professor Bernard Quatermass in Quatermass & The Pit. The BBC original is available on DVD and well worth watching.


Leonard Sachs (Admiral de Coligny), who is famous as the compère in The Good Old Days, later played the third version of the Time Lord Borusa in Arc of Infinity. We saw Hugh Cecil, a Priest, in The Nightmare Begins, the first episode of the the last story The Daleks' Masterplan as a Technix and he's back in The War Machines Episode 3 as a Worker and Doctor Who and the Silurians Episode 6. His distinctive bald head makes him easy to spot in the many productions he's appeared in such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show. John Freeman, a Guard was in the second & third episodes of The Myth Makers, Temple of Secrets & Death of a Spy as a Greek Soldier. Another guard is regular extra and occasional monster Pat Gorman who has a Doctor Who career so long that I won't even attempt to list it - have a peak at IMDB for details of the NINETY episodes he appears in!

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