Friday, 26 February 2016

106 The Massacre Episode 4: Bell of Doom

EPISODE: The Massacre Episode 4: Bell of Doom
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 26 February 1966
WRITER: John Lucarotti & Donald Tosh
DIRECTOR: Paddy Russell
PRODUCER: John Wiles
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 2

"In any case, I cannot change the course of history, you know that."

Steven returns to Preslin's shop and meets Anne there. They spend the next day searching for the Tardis key and are stunned when the Doctor turns up, unwilling to say where he's been or what he's been doing. The Doctor learns the year & date, and knowing what's to come sends Anne away while he & Steven return to the Tardis. As they leave anti-Huguenot violence erupts as the Massacre begins. Steven is angry with the Doctor for abandoning Anne to near certain death and walks out on the Doctor the next time the Tardis lands, as it happens on Wimbledon common. The Doctor, alone in The Tardis for the first time since we met him, reflects on events and his friend's departure:

"Steven... Even after all this time, he cannot understand. I dare not change the course of history. Well, at least I taught him to take some precautions; he did remember to look at the scanner before he opened the doors. And now, they're all gone. All gone. None of them could understand. Not even my little Susan. Or Vicki. And as for Barbara and Chatterton - Chesterton - they were all too impatient to get back to their own time. And now, Steven. Perhaps I should go home. Back to my own planet. But I can't... I can't..."
eod2_2 22

However at that moment a young girl charges into the Tardis, mistaking it for a real Police Box, seeking help. She is closely followed by a returning Steven who warns the Doctor of approaching Policemen, causing the Doctor to dematerialise the Tardis with the stranger aboard. She is Dorothea "Dodo" Chaplet, an orphan who lives with a great aunt who will not miss her. She reminds the Doctor of his much missed granddaughter Susan. Steven is startled by the surname and Dodo reveals she had a French Grandfather leaving Steven to wonder if Anne survived after all....

Much better episode this one, definitely improved by having Hartnell back in his usual role and the Doctor being present for the first time since episode one.

So where was the Doctor in this story and what was he doing?

DOCTOR: Oh, my dear boy, had you stayed at the tavern all this mix-up could have been avoided.
STEVEN: I did stay at the tavern, you didn't turn up!
DOCTOR: Yes, well, I was unavoidably delayed. Never mind that now. Come along, we must go. Come along.
Was he actually the Abbot in disguise? We don't see the murder onscreen and without the visuals it's hard to tell if they show the body to be Hartnell. Could the Abbot actually be a persona adopted by the Doctor for whatever reason?

And what about Preslin who the Doctor was last seen with? We last see him in his shop in episode 1 yet the very next day in episode 2 we get this exchange between Steven, Nicholas and an old woman they're enquiring of:

MUSS: What? Monsieur Preslin doesn't use his shop?
OLD LADY: Does it look like it? Nothing lives there except the rats.
STEVEN: And where is Preslin now?
MUSS: How long since he's lived here?
WOMAN: Oh, a long time. Two years about. He was arrested for heresy.
STEVEN: What? Do you mean, you mean he's in prison?
WOMAN: Burnt I expect. And if he isn't, he should be.
Another pass needed by the script editor? Or was the man the Doctor encountered in the shop not Preslin after all?

There's a real sense of grimness and doom about the episode as it progresses as first the Queen Mother issues her orders changing the plan from targeted eliminations to full attempting to wipe out the Huguenots.

CATHERINE: No, Marshall.
TAVANNES: Madame. I apologise, I thought that
CATHERINE: Never mind. I have it here, the order signed by the King. Our plans for tomorrow can go ahead.
TAVANNES: Thank God.
CATHERINE: God had very little to do with it. What is this?
TAVANNES: The list, Madame. When those Huguenots are killed we need have no further fear of a Protestant France.
CATHERINE: We have no need of lists, Marshall. The good people of Paris know their enemies. They will take care of them.
TAVANNES: The good people? Madame, if you rouse the mob the innocent will perish with the guilty.
CATHERINE: Innocent? Heresy can have no innocents. France will breath of pure air after tomorrow.
TAVANNES: And Navarre, Madame, your son-in-law? Is he to be slaughtered with the others?
CATHERINE: Tomorrow Henri of Navarre will pay for his pretensions to the Crown.
TAVANNES: Madame, we must not kill Navarre.
CATHERINE: Must not?
TAVANNES: Protestant Europe will merely shed a pious tear over the death of a few thousand Huguenots. The death of a prince will launch a Holy War.
CATHERINE: If one Huguenot life escapes me tomorrow, we may both regret this act of mercy.
TAVANNES: Not mercy, Madame. Policy.
CATHERINE: Very well, Marshall. Then you must get him out of Paris. After tomorrow, even I could not save him.
TAVANNES: I will see to it, Madame.
CATHERINE: And Marshall, close the gates of the city now.
Tavannes is in thrall to his political mistress Catherine de Merdici but seeing a larger picture than she does make a small alteration to the plan:
DUVALL: Well, my lord?
TAVANNES: The order has been given. You may begin.
DUVALL: My men are ready. Where's the list?
TAVANNES: There is no list.
DUVALL: But I thought?
TAVANNES: We are to unleash the wolves of Paris. None are to be spared.
DUVALL: Even better, my lord.
TAVANNES: Is it? I wonder. And Simon, when you have passed on the order I have a special charge for you.
DUVALL: My lord?
TAVANNES: Henri of Navarre.
DUVALL: I am to have the honour?
TAVANNES: Yes, but not of killing him. You will escort him out of Paris.
DUVALL: But my lord!
TAVANNES: You not hear me? You will be responsible for his safety. You will have to leave tomorrow's work to others. Now get out. TAVANNES: At dawn tomorrow this city will weep tears of blood.
The sounds of the massacre supposedly play out over woodcuts depicting the event though obviously we can't see this!

The historical setting for this story is somewhat obscure thus making this serial more educational than many Doctor Who stories. The St Bartholomew's Day Massacre is an actual event and was triggered by the wedding of Henry III of Navarre and Margaret of Valois, who are mentioned in the story, and the assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny who appears in the story as do Charles IX of France and his mother Catherine de Medici who is the power behind the throne. Other characters, including Preslin whose scientific achievements are so highly praised by the Doctor, I am unable to find any record of.

The Massacre is followed though by some fabulous scenes in the Tardis. Steven's see three friends die recently, Katerina, Brett Vyon & Sara Kingdom plus is still feeling the departure of Vicki. This pushes him over the edge and he decides to leave the Doctor:

STEVEN: Surely there was something we could have done?
DOCTOR: No, nothing. Nothing. In any case, I cannot change the course of history, you know that. The massacre continued for several days in Paris and then spread itself to other parts of France. Oh, what a senseless waste. What a terrible page of the past.
STEVEN: Did they all die?
DOCTOR: Yes, most of them. About ten thousand in Paris alone.
STEVEN: The Admiral?
STEVEN: Nicholas? You had to leave Anne Chaplet there to die.
DOCTOR: Anne Chaplet?
STEVEN: The girl! The girl who was with me! If you'd brought her with us she needn't have died. But no, you had to leave her there to be slaughtered.
DOCTOR: Well, it is possible of course she didn't die, and I was right to leave her.
STEVEN: Possible? Look, how possible? That girl was already hunted by the Catholic guards. If they killed ten thousand how did they spare her? You don't know, do you? You can't say for certain that you weren't responsible for that girl's death.
DOCTOR: I was not responsible.
STEVEN: Oh, no. You just sent her back to her aunt's house where the guards were waiting to catch her. I tell you this much, Doctor, wherever this machine of yours lands next I'm getting off. If your researches have so little regard for human life then I want no part of it.
DOCTOR: We've landed. Your mind is made up?
STEVEN: Goodbye.
DOCTOR: My dear Steven, history sometimes gives us a terrible shock, and that is because we don't quite fully understand. Why should we? After all, we're all too small to realise its final pattern. Therefore don't try and judge it from where you stand. I was right to do as I did. Yes, that I firmly believe.
But then, although only briefly at the end, welcome Jackie Lane as new companion Dodo Chaplet. She arrives courtesy of some location film work at Windmill road in Wimbledon. According to the book Doctor Who: Companions by David J. Howe and Mark Stammers, this sequence would have included a cameo appearance by former companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. The scene — which was scheduled to be filmed but was cancelled — had Ian and Barbara witnessing the dematerialisation of the TARDIS after Dodo enters. A nice touch, but perhaps the availability of William Russell and Jacqueline Hill put paid to it. The sequence does feature Marguerite Young as the Woman with Dog, recorded before her appearance as a Parisian woman in episode 3 of this story, Priest of Death.

Dodo's arrival, the first of several accidental stumblings into the Tardis, enables a quick restatement of what the series is about:

DODO: Wait a minute, if this isn't a police box, what is it? And who are you?
DOCTOR: Well, my dear, I'm a doctor of science, and this machine is for travelling through time and relative dimensions in space. Now you
DODO: Come again?
DOCTOR: Oh, never mind, my dear, never mind. Run along.
DODO: There's something odd going on here.
Of course at the sight of the Policemen Steven come running back to to warn the Doctor and on hearing the surname Chaplet Steven automatically jumps to the conclusion that she's a descendant of Anne, who he's just left and who's fate is unknown. People have pointed out that it's difficult for Dodo to be Anne's descendant if they have the same surname but there's several solutions including a descendant of hers (with her married name) marrying into the Chaplet name or Anne producing a child out of wedlock - is she pregnant at the time of the Massacre and uses the chaos afterwards to pretend she had a husband who has been killed? And if she is pregnant by the end of the story is anyone we know responsible?

I'm not sorry to see the Massacre finish: It doesn't do it for me, except for the final episode, and this is a similar impression to the one I got when I listened to the story for the first time about six months before I originally blogged it and when I listened to it then. There's a gaping Doctor shaped hole in the middle of it, possibly not a good idea in the first story where there's just one companion. I have very little sympathy for many of the characters finding some of them downright unpleasant. The sense of adventure and wonder appears to be missing from it and the danger is more a grim real world one. There's no humour to mellow it like Reign of Terror or The Romans, no futuristic element like the Time Traveller. It's just a straight up retelling of a grim event in history hamstrung by the lack of the main character. I don't enjoy it and I don't like it and can't see why it's held up to be such a masterpiece by so many.

Onto the cast: The actor playing the Officer, John Slavid returns in The War Machines Episode 4 as Man in Telephone Box. We saw Reg Pritchard, the actor playing the policeman at the start of An Unearthly Child, in an earlier episode. Now we get Leslie Bates, who casts the shadow at the end of that episode, as a Guard. He was also a Tribesman in Unearthly Child 2 The Cave of Skulls, the Man at Lop in The Roof of the World, a Mongol Warrior in Five Hundred Eyes and a Mongol Bandit in Rider from Shang-Tu, the first, third and fifth episodes of Marco Polo. He's a Villager at Inn / Pirate in The Smugglers Episode 1, a 1862 Soldier The War Games Episodes Three & Four, a BBC3 TV Crewmember in The Dæmons Episode Two, a Lunar Guard in episode three and a Draconian in episode Five on Frontier in Space, an Extra in Invasion of the Dinosaurs Part One and an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks: Parts One to Three.

Onto the uncredited extras, and although there's not so many this week all but one of them has other who Appearances to their name. Alan Vicars, the Servant, returns in Doctor Who and the Silurians Episode 1 as a Technician. All the rest of the extras here are playing guards: Derek Chafer was a Saxon/Saxon Warrior in The Meddling Monk & Checkmate, the 2nd & 4th episodes of The Time Meddler and a Greek Soldier in Temple of Secrets, Death of a Spy and Horse of Destruction (1965), the 1st, 3rd & 4th episodes of the Myth Makers. He's back as a Lynch Mob Member in Don't Shoot the Pianist and Johnny Ringo, the 2nd & 3rd episodes of The Gunfighters, a Cybermen in The Moonbase Episodes 3 & 4, a Cyberman in The Invasion: Episode 6, for which he's credited for the only time on Doctor Who, an extra in The Space Pirates Episodes 4 & 5 (1969), a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 3, a Prisoner in The Mind of Evil Episode Four, a Guard in The Curse of Peladon Episode One, another Exxilon in episodes One to Three of Death to the Daleks, a Guard in The Monster of Peladon Part One, and the Armourer in The Masque of Mandragora Part Four. Geoffrey Witherick was a Cricketer / Reveller in Volcano, the eight episode of Daleks' Masterplan, a Man in Market in The War Machines Episode 3, a Villager in the third and a Coven Member in the fourth & fifth episodes of The Dæmons Episode Five, a Guard in Frontier in Space Episodes Two & Three and a Security guard in Image of the Fendahl Part Two.

It's last Doctor Who appearances for guards John Freeman, previously a G Greek Soldier in Temple of Secrets and Death of a Spy, the first and third episodes of The Myth Makers and a Guard in The Sea Beggar the second episode of this story Francis Willey was previously (somehow) the invisible Visian in Dalek Masterplan episode 6 Coronas of the sun.

A first appearance though for Roy Pearce as a Guard who'll be back as a Soldier in Snow Camouflage / Engineer #2 in The Tenth Planet Episode 3, a Chameleon in The Faceless Ones episode 1, the Cyberman in The War Games episode ten, an extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 6, a Villager in The Dæmons episodes one & two, a Solos Guard in The Mutants episodes three to five (and even gets a credit on part 4!), another Exxilon in Death to the Daleks parts one & two, a Courtier in part one and a Brother in part three of The Masque of Mandragora. He's also got three early episodes of Blake's 7 to his name appearing as an Armed Crewman in Space Fall, a Federation Trooper in Time Squad and a Scientist in Project Avalon. Likewise James Appleby also returns in The Faceless Ones Episode 1, but as a Policeman, and he's in The Masque of Mandragora Part Two as a Guard while Arthur McGuire is in The Enemy of the World Episode 4 as a Guard and Doctor Who and the Silurians Episode 3 as a UNIT Soldier. James Haswell is an extra in episodes 3 to 5 of The Space Pirates and a pirate in episode 6 before playing a prisoner in the second episode of the next story The War Games. He's got a credited part as as Corporal Champion in The Ambassadors of Death Episode 2 and turns up as a Beat Policeman in The Talons of Weng-Chiang part one. He's also got Blake's 7 on his CV appearing in Children of Auron as an Auron Technician and The Harvest of Kairos as a Labourer. Finally the biggest name amongst the guards is Mike Reid making his second Doctor Who appearance after a Greek Solider in Myth Makers 3 Death of a Spy. He'll be back as a Worker / Soldier in The War Machines Episode 3 and a Soldier in The War Machines Episode 4 where he's easily spotted. He goes onto fame as a comedian, host of Runaround and as Frank Butcher in Eastenders.

Donald Tosh, outgoing Script Editor, supposedly performed extensive rewrites on John Lucarotti's final script for the series and now he's off staff he's credited for the work. Lucarotti would write a draft for Ark in Space for Tom Baker's Doctor but the majority of the work for that story was done, and credited to, then script editor Robert Holmes. Lucarotti would return to the world of Doctor Who in the 80s when he novelised all three of his script, with the adaptation of this story becoming a version closer to what was written before Tosh changed it. Donald Tosh did some writing work after leaving Doctor Who, but then went to work for English Heritage. As of me writing this he is both the sole surviving Hartnell era script editor, and, since the death of Glyn Jones, the last surviving Hartnell author.

So out goes Donald Tosh. In comes Gerry Davis! Huzzah! Already experienced through working on Coronation Street & United, Davis is a key appointment in taking the show forward. The next three, possibly four, stories (The Ark, The Celestial Toyroom, The Gunfighters & The Savages) were all dreamed up under the Tosh/Wills regime so if you want to see what the Davis vision of the show looks like then come back for The War Machines.

This story was novelised in the 1980s by the original author, was the first of the BBC Missing Collection releases in 1999 (which is long out of print and trading for a penny or two) was part of the Adventure in History boxset (again again long out of print) and has recently been reissued as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: (1965-1966) No. 2 which is selling on Amazon for cheaper than the original CD!

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