Saturday, 31 December 2016

143 The Highlanders: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Highlanders: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 31 December 1966
WRITER: Elwyn Jones & Gerry Davis (uncredited)
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 7.4 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes volume 3 (1966-1967)
TELESNAPS: The Highlanders: Episode Three

"Plantation workers are required to work in his Majesty's colonies in the West Indies. I have here seven year contracts. Sign your name to these and you will receive free transportation to your new homes. Well? Which of you lucky lads will be the first to sign?"

Ben, Jamie & the Laird are put in the Annabelle's hold where they find Mackay, the ship's true captain known to the McClaren's who was betrayed by Trask. Polly & Kirsty disguise themselves as orange sellers. Ffinch arrives at the Sea Eagle in where the Doctor is still disguised as an old woman. Polly & Kirsty finds Ffinch who tells them to talk to Grey about their friends. Perkins, Grey's clerk arrives and they talk to him. Grey is on the Annabelle compelling the prisoners to turn King's evidence or be deported to the West Indies on a seven year contract. MacKay warns against signing but all the other Scotsmen bar Jamie, the Laird and Ben do. Ben tears the contracts up. The disguised Doctor contacts the girls in the tavern and they make plans to buy weapons which the Doctor then acquires. They're going to row them out to the Annabelle. The Doctor discovers Kirsty's ring and reveals it to be Prince Charlie's. Ben is bound and thrown overboard for his disobedience.

3 Ffinch 3 dressing up

This episode was almost as boring as the last one but towards the end Troughton starts being the Doctor rather than mucking about disguised as a woman and it picks up rapidly then.

This story was written by Elwyn Jones, with some assistance from script editor Gerry Davis. Jones has a formidable track record: he co-created Z-Cars in 1962 and went on to create it's sequels Softly, Softly, Softly, Softly: Taskforce and Barlow at Large. At the point this story was written he'd just left the post of Head of Drama at the BBC! Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson seems to play a part in inspiring this story especially he being forcibly shipped off to the West Indies element. This is his only Doctor Who story.

The first time Doctor Who director is former actor Hugh David, who apparently had been offered the role of The Doctor by Rex Tucker. David was originally down to direct The Underwater Menace, but pronounced the script for that impossible top produce. He would return to direct Fury from the Deep and as such is the only Doctor Who director who worked on multiple stories to have no episode of their work existing in the archives. He directed Survival Code, the last episode of the first series of Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis Doomwatch, which famously kills off lead character Toby Wren. He was married to Wendy Williams who played Vira in The Ark in Space

Appearing this episode is Andrew Downie as Willie Mackay. I can see he appeared in the final episode of The Sweeney: Jack or Knave where he plays Bishop and also The Professionals: Everest Was Also Conquered where he is McKay.

3 Mackay 1 Laird

Playing the Laird Colin McLaren is Donald Bisset. In amongst a long career I can see another Professionals episode where he plays a Judge in Not a Very Civil Civil Servant. Acting wasn't his only career: he was also a successful children's author.

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