Saturday, 28 May 2016

119 The Savages: Episode One

EPISODE: The Savages: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 28 May 1966
WRITER: Ian Stuart Black
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 4.8 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection: No. 2
TELESNAPS: The Savages: Episode One

"We have learned how to transfer the energy of life directly to ourselves. We can tap it at its source. It is as though we were able to recharge ourselves with life's vital force!"

The Doctor believes they have arrived in the distant future in an age of peace and prosperity. Exploring & taking readings, the Doctor is being watched by a couple of men dressed in animal skins. A similar man stalks Dodo while Steven seeks the Doctor. The savages watching the Doctor, Chal & Tor, are scared of him and don't know whether to approach but then the Doctor is met by a couple of soldiers, Captain Edal and Exorse. Their elders have been expecting the Doctor and they take him to the city. Several Savages chase Steven & Dodo, but are beaten off by the soldiers from the city who escort Dodo & Steven to the city. The Doctor is introduced to Jano, the lead elder, who says he is honoured to meet the Doctor giving him and his newly arrived companions gifts. Edal and Exorse are outside on patrol. Exorse captures a savage Nanina whom Chal offers himself in exchange for, but Exorse takes the girl away. The Doctor enquires of the Elders and discovers they have found a way to tap into life's vital force and absorb the energy themselves. Steven & Dodo are given a tour of the city by young people Avon & Flower, but their guides do not want to talk about the Savages. Nanina is brought into the city but Dodo sees her and tries to follow. Nanina is taken to the chief scientist Senta. He has been working on a weak and disorientated male Savage who is taken away for release, while Nanina is strapped down and taken into a laboratory. Dodo slips away from the tour but is confronted by a Savage in the corridors.

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The first thing that strikes me about this episode is that it's easily the clearest recording so far which makes a huge difference! A quick peak at Wiped! Doctor Who's Missing Episodes reveals it's a Graham Strong recording, which are the best versions available for most of the remaining stories with missing episodes. It also helps that from this point there are Telesnaps available for us to look at. This is the first story with missing episodes since John Cura was recommissioned by the production team to take telesnaps after the interregnum while John Wiles was in charge.

Onto the episode itself: Not bad at all, apart from one unintentionally hilarious line. When The Doctor encounters Edal and Exorse they don't expect him to be carrying a weapon. He corrects them saying

"This is my reacting vibrator"
and at that point, being completely juvenile, I wet myself laughing.

The real surprise here is that the Elders are expecting the Doctor's visit to their unnamed planet:

JANO: We are honoured by your visit. The whole city looks upon you with admiration. Let me introduce myself. I am Jano, leader of the council of Elders. These are my councillors. We have all known about you for a long time. Look, we have charted your voyages from galaxy to galaxy and from age to age, but we never thought that we would meet you face to face. This is a great moment in our history. To mark our admiration, we would be pleased if you would accept the office of one of our high Elders.
DOCTOR: Well, my dear sir, that's very good of you. Yes, yes, very good of you indeed. Yes, I don't remember being so highly honoured before like this anywhere I've been.
JANO: We recognise in you the greatest specialist in time-space exploration. You have taken this branch of learning far beyond our elementary calculations.
DOCTOR: Oh, come, come, my dear sir. I know that you've been very responsible for vast scientific research. And at the same time, I always knew a race existed of great intelligence in this segment of the universe.
Our first sign that something isn't right comes from those who are living outside the city when we see the guards stalking them:
CHAL: They have begun hunting.
TOR: We must warn our people.
CHAL: Nanina, go back to the caves. Tell the families to hide.
NANINA: But what of you, Chal?
CHAL: We will be safe, we will warn the others. Nanina, take care in the craters.
TOR: I cannot see her. She must have got away.
CHAL: She has not crossed the ravine yet. She is still hiding.
TOR: Can you see the hunter?
CHAL: He is going into the ravine.
CHAL: He is over there. And Nanina?
TOR: She is there too.
CHAL: Nanina!
CHAL: Nanina! Not that way!
TOR: He has taken her.
Then as the Doctor talks to the Elder's leader Jano their conversation takes an increasingly sinister turn as he gets a hint that something is rotten at the heart of the city and given clues as to how the Elders acquire their energy.
JANO: Life preys on other forms of life, as you know, Doctor. Wild beasts live on other animals. Mankind must have food, water, and oxygen.
DOCTOR: Oh, yes, it's quite obvious to the meanest intellect that, well, how can I say, that you've found a much more effective source of energy.
JANO: That is true, Doctor. We have learned how to transfer the energy of life directly to ourselves. We can tap it at its source. It is as though we were able to recharge ourselves with life's vital force.
JANO: The energy of life which we accumulate we store in vats such as these. Then, when the Elders decide that some member of the community needs new force, we can transfer that energy directly.
DOCTOR: To a member of your community.
JANO: Exactly. We can give ourselves new power.
DOCTOR: Yes. Of course, you need a very high form of life to make this source effective.
JANO: That is true, Doctor. We absorb only a very special form of animal vitality.
JANO: Doctor, do you realise that with our knowledge, we can make the brave man braver, the wise man wiser, the strong man stronger. We can make the beautiful girl more beautiful still. You will see the advantages of that in the perfection of our race.
At the moment there's only hints as to just where they're getting this life energy from but it's not hard to put 2 and 2 together here. Already this feels a very different show from the Gunfighters, much more adult and serious.

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Doctor Who & quarries is a bit of a cliché and while this isn't the first time ones been used in Doctor Who, see Dalek Invasion of Earth where the quarry *is* a quarry, this story marks the first time a quarry is used as an alien landscape. One of the locations used is Callow Hill Sandpit. Now returned to it's natural state, this location, which is just North of the railway line between Virginia Water & Egham is the closest location to Royal Holloway College, University of London, where I was at University when it was Royal Holloway & Bedford New College. So hello to any RHBNC graduates and especially the IFIS members reading. Royal Holloway itself has been used as a film location many times cropping up on MacGuyver, Midsomer Murders and QI. It would have hosted the 1993 Doctor Who 30th Anniversary Special, The Dark Dimension, which was sadly cancelled.

Confusingly there are not one but two quarry locations in this story with Shire Lane Quarry in Chalfont St Peter serving as well. Due to the paucity of location photos and neither location still being in existence it's hard to say which was used for which! A Brief History Of Time (Travel) thinks Callow Hill was the ravine location, presumably where Exorse captures Nanina, but Locations.Net thinks that was filmed at Chalfont St Peter! Paperwork for the Gunfighters indicates that the Callow Hill location was used there so it's reasonable to assume that the shots of the Savage on the Tardis scanner at the end of last episode and start of this, seen above left, are probably filmed in Egham and the slope terrain shown there would match what's in the local area.

Resorting to my copy of Doctor Who on Location (Dr Who) by Richard Bignell as the arbiter for this matter I read that Callow Hill in Egham is the major location for this story in episodes 1, 3 & 4 with Shire Lane being used in episode one for the scenes of Exorse stalking Narina.

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As with several Doctor Who stories IMDB says there a number of extras in episode 1 who don't appear in the rest of the story. I've started to take that with a pinch of salt for various reasons as it does appear they logged the extras for the entire story against one episode. So you mileage may vary as to if the following actually appear in this episode!

There's several Elders listed on IMDB. We can see a crowd of them in some of the telesnaps making it likely that they are in this episode and one of them, Bartlett Mullins, has actually had a credited role in Doctor Who: he was the Second Elder in the third, fourth and fifth episodes of The Sensorites: Hidden Danger, A Race Against Death and Kidnap. Royston Farrell was previously a Guardian in The Ark episodes 3 & 4: The Return & The Bomb. He'll be back as a Technician in The Seeds of Death episode one & two, a credited Technician in The Claws of Axos episode four and a Guard in The Curse of Peladon episode one. Fiona Fraser is back next story in episode 1 of The War Machines as an Inferno Customer while Nicholas Edwards takes only slightly longer to reappear when he plays a Technician in The Tenth Planet Episodes 1 & 2. Lionel Wheeler doesn't have any further Doctor Who to his name but is in Moonbase 3, another series with origins in the Doctor Who office, as a Technician in Castor and Pollux.

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There are some child and savage extras listed, who I think don't show up till later episodes, but they've got nothing on their CV that interests us. There's a number of extras that do have Doctor Who and other sci fi credits, and some reoccur quite regularly:

This is a first Doctor Who for Keith Ashley. He'll be back as, all uncredited unless stated, a Firing Squad Member in The War Games episode one, a Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians episodes 1, 2, 6 & 7, a Villager in The Dæmons episode three, and an Extra in Planet of the Spiders part one before becoming a credited Dalek Operator in in Genesis of the Daleks parts three to six and a credited Zygon in all four episodes of Terror of the Zygons. He returns as Sir Colin's Aide in The Seeds of Doom part five and a Brother in The Masque of Mandragora parts one and three.

It's also a first Doctor Who for David Billa. Like Ashley he's back in The War Games episode one as a German Soldier but he also reappears in episode 4 as a German/Roman Soldier/Alien Technician - is he all 3 or is IMDB unsure which? He's also in part 10 of the same story as a Time Lord Technician, and he's a Technician in again Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 1. He's then a Prison Guard in Frontier in Space episodes two and three, a Thal Soldier in Genesis of the Daleks part one, an Extra in part two and a Thal Survivor in part six before being seen as a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen part one and probably other episodes too as there are lots of Vogans seen and not many Vogan extras attributed to that story, only confirming the point I made above. He too was in Doomwatch an a Man in Flood and also as appears as a Technician in both Departure and Arrival then Behemoth, two episodes of Moonbase 3.

Bill Burridge is also on his Doctor Who debut. He gets a credit as a Priest in The Underwater Menace episode 1 and then is credited as the well remembered Mister Quill in Fury from the Deep episode 1-5. He's another Villager in The Dæmons episode three but then becomes a Coven Member, presumably the same character dressed up, in episodes four & five of the same story before being made up as a Draconian in Frontier in Space episode two. He too was in Doomwatch as a Man in Hear No Evil and also in the Flood as another Man.

Michael Earl is another Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 1 and a villager in episodes one to three of The Dæmons. His Doomwatch appearance is as an Airline Passenger in The Plastic Eaters while he's in the Out of the Unknown episode The Midas Plague as a Police Robot with another member of this story's cast as we'll see in episode two.
Keith Goodman returns as a Cyberman in The Moonbase episodes 3 & 4 and the nearly inevitable Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 1 while Gordon Lang is Tracking Room Technician in all four episode of the Cybermen's first appearance The Tenth Planet. He can be seen in The Andromeda Breakthrough as the President's Footman / Crowd Extra in The Roman Peace & Hurricane. Tony Maddison returns a Villager at Inn / Pirate in episode 1 and a pirate in episode 4 of The Smugglers. Alex Donald is a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians: Episode 2 while episode 4 of that story features Olive McNeil as a Technician. Finally Robert Pitt has no past or prior Who form but was in one of the earliest pieces of television science fiction appearing as the 3rd sentry in A for Andromeda The Last Mystery.

The Savages is the first story with an overall title and episode numbers on screen, a move originated by new producer Innes Lloyd. That makes this episode the first to be lacking a episode title. It's also the point where the production codes for the stories go round the clock for the first time: Each story had a letter code, A, B, C etc. The Gunfighters was story Z so The Savages becomes story AA. Letters I and O were ignored due to confusion with the numbers 1 & 0, and Mission to the Unknown developed under code T/A, in the same production block as series T with the same crew.

The Savages: Episode One has the unwanted distinction of recording the first sub 5 million viewership for the program since An Unearthly Child was seen by 4.4 million viewers on it's first broadcast. To put the 4.8 million viewers this episode received into context earlier this season Galaxy 4 Episode 3: Airlock was seen 11.3 million viewers and The Daleks' Master Plan Episode 3: Devil's Planet was seen by 10.3 million. To add some context this episode was shown the May bank holiday weekend in 1966 when the weather was, presumably, rather good but even so to have she that many viewers over the season is still a sign that things weren't going too well. I'd like to blame the Donald Tosh/John Wiles script editor/producer team, of whom this is the last story commissioned under, but things get worse in the near future before they get start to get better.

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