Saturday, 9 April 2016

112 The Celestial Toymaker Episode 2: Hall of Dolls

EPISODE: The Celestial Toymaker Episode 2: Hall of Dolls
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 09 April 1966
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Bill Sellars
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 8 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 2

"Four legs, no feet, of arms no lack, it carries no burden on its back."

Steven & Dodo are forced into a new game by the Toymaker. Attempting to help them, the invisible Doctor is silenced too by the Toymaker who advances the Doctor's own game and thus depriving his companions of time.


Faced with a set of seven chairs the companions have to find which one is safe by using dolls. However they're playing against a King & Queen from a pack of cards who cheat sacrificing their Jack to test a chair while the Knave sleeps through the experience. Three dolls remain after Steven & Dodo complete the task and the dolls follow them out of the room.


This episode was a little easier to follow than the previous one and made more sense to me. The chairs are a little easier to visualise than the boardgame/hopskotch from the previous episode. It's still very very odd though.

You remember the agreement? They must find your Tardis before you finish your game. If they don't, then you will have to stay here and you'll be in my power forever!
Conceived as a way of pushing the boundaries of the show into the relams of fantasuy the story was redrafted firstly by then script editor Donald Tosh followed by his successor Gerry Davis leaving it unrecognisable from what was originally written. Included had been George & Margaret, characters from the play of the same name written by Gerald Savory, then head of serials at the BBC, in an attempt to flatter him. He objected and forced the final rewrite to remove them! However actors has already been cast in these roles so they needed to be utilised for these first three episodes....


.... so the King & Queen characters in this episode are played by the same actors that were the clowns in the previous episodes and will play Sgt Rugg/Mrs Wiggs in the next episode.

Clara Clown, The Queen & Mrs Wiggs are played by Carmen Silvera, later to find fame as Edith Artois in Allo, Allo. She returns to Doctor Who in the 1974 story Invasion of the Dinosaurs where she plays Ruth.

The original version of The Celestial Toymaker was written by debut Doctor Who author Brian Hayles and it's his name that is credited on the finished program. His efforts, despite later alterations, were obviously thought to be good enough as he was asked back to write the historical story The Smugglers shortly after. The next year Brian Haylessssss would be back again with a much more memorable creation that would make a lasssssting contribution to Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors.

The director for this show is also making his Doctor Who debut but unlike Hayles this is Bill Sellars only job on the show. He later became a BBC producer most notably working on All Creatures Great and Small, the show that brought actor Peter Davison to national attention before he on the role of the Fifth Doctor.

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