Saturday, 18 March 2017

154 The Macra Terror: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Macra Terror: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 18 March 1967
WRITER: Ian Stuart Black
DIRECTOR: John Davies
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Macra Terror: Episode Two

"This is an emergency. Control must be believed and obeyed! No one on the Colony believes in Macra! There is no such thing as Macra! Macra do not exist! There are no Macra! "

Medok and the Doctor are found by Ola & the guards and taken to the pilot. Medok claims the Doctor was trying to get him to give himself up. Medok is sent to the correction hospital for treatment while the Doctor is returned to his friends. The Controller instructs the pilot to give the Time Travellers High Powered Adaptation. As they sleep they hear hypnotic voices. Jamie wakes, breaking his conditioning but Ben has fallen under their control. The Doctor deactivates the device conditioning Polly and hypnotically de-programs her. Ben clashes with the others and accuses the Doctor of sabotage. Ola is summoned and takes Jamie & The Doctor away. Medok has resisted treatment and so is sent to the pits for life. Polly seeks her friends but is followed by Ben. While hiding on a construction site she sees a Macra. Ben initially denies their existence but attacks the Macra when it seizes Polly. They encounter a second Macra and make a run for it, but when they return to The Pilot Ben once again denies the Macra's existence. The Doctor insists on speaking to the Controller who is revealed to be an old man, who is promptly attacked by a Macra.

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As this episode unfolds it becomes more and more obvious that something is very wrong in the colony:

DOCTOR: What will happen to Medok?
PILOT: Oh, well, he'll be taken back to the hospital for correction. He'll be given another course of treatment. And when he returns to the Colony, Medok will be a changed man. He will cooperate and he will obey orders. He'll be just like the rest of us.
DOCTOR: Why do you want everyone to be the same?
PILOT: Doctor, this Colony was founded many centuries ago by our ancestors who came from the Earth planet, like your young friends. Our ancestors believed in the virtues of healthy happiness and we have tried to keep their ideals alive. Sometimes, alas, it is necessary to use force. The Doctor will be returning to his quarters now.
VOICE: The Doctor's escort is ready.
PILOT: Well, I'm sorry to have disturbed you, Doctor, and many thanks again for your help.
DOCTOR: Not at all. Thank you. Goodnight.
The Colony's controller seems keen to suppress all knowledge of the crab like Macra, who we only see briefly a couple of times in the episode.
CONTROL: The Doctor and his friends are to be given the advantage of high powered adaption at once. They must begin to think like members of the Colony. They are to have deep sleep and thinking patterns. We cannot have criticism from these strangers! The work to do it, it must begin immediately.
PILOT: Emergency order from Control, top priority. Are all the cubicles connected?
VOICE: The rest cubicles for the four strangers are all connected for deep sleep and thought patterns.
PILOT: Very good. The process is to begin immediately. Your instructions are being carried out.
CONTROL: That is good. This is an emergency. Control must be believed and obeyed! No one on the Colony believes in Macra! There is no such thing as Macra! Macra do not exist! There are no Macra!
The theme of being controlled by an outside influence, recently seen in The War Machines and to a certain extent the Moonbase makes a reappearance as the Doctor and his friends are brainwashed while they sleep.
VOICE: The sleeper must relax and believe. Everything in the Colony is good and beautiful. You must accept it without question. You must obey orders. The leaders of the Colony know what is best. In the morning when you wake up you will be given some work. You will be glad to obey. You will question nothing in the Colony.
The Doctor quickly deals with Polly releasing her from the controlling influence.
DOCTOR: Polly, I think you've been listening to some very bad advice.
POLLY: But I've been asleep.
DOCTOR: Yes, I know you have. Fast asleep. Very fast asleep. Polly, do you smell anything? A sort of sweet perfume?
DOCTOR: Never mind. Now, Polly, I want you to forget everything that you've been dreaming.
POLLY: Why do you say that?
DOCTOR: Well, it's just possible that you've been given a series of orders while you've been asleep. You know, do this, do that, do the other thing. My advice to you is don't do anything of the sort. Don't just be obedient. Always make up your own mind.
While Jamie hasn't been affected due to a bad night's sleep.
JAMIE: Hey, what's all the noise?
DOCTOR: Jamie, how did you sleep?
JAMIE: Oh, very badly, Doctor. I told Ben I kept hearing wee voices.
DOCTOR: That's a good sign. That means they haven't been able to get very deeply into your brain.
JAMIE: Ay? I don't understand?
DOCTOR: I'll show you. Watch this.
Ben however has been and is now subservient to the colony's controllers:
BEN: You're fools, all of you! And just look what you've done. You've smashed up all this equipment.
POLLY: Yes, but look here. If they were trying to make us believe a whole load of rubbish
BEN: Rubbish? It's not rubbish. Control knows what's best for us. They want us to cooperate. We should be helping.
POLLY: What's the matter with you, Ben? This doesn't sound like you at all.
BEN: We should learn to obey. The Doctor's causing trouble. I'm going to turn him in.
JAMIE: You don't know what you're doing, Ben.
BEN: Get off me!
POLLY: What's the matter with him?
DOCTOR: I'm very much afraid I'm too late.
BEN: Let go of me.
BEN: Guards! Guards!
POLLY: Don't let him go.
DOCTOR: No, it's no use, Jamie.
JAMIE: But we cannot let him go, Doctor.
DOCTOR: You'll have to. Violence will get you nowhere.
POLLY: Doctor, he's going to go and tell the guards. We've got to get you out of here.
DOCTOR: We can't leave Ben.
JAMIE: But he's betrayed you.
DOCTOR: No, no, not Ben. He's not in control of his actions. He's been given a series of instructions and he can't help himself.
However when he goes to find the escaped Polly their encounter with the Macra breaks the control briefly:
BEN: What's the matter with you?
POLLY: There.
BEN: There's nothing there.
POLLY: But there was. I saw it. A huge face, like an insect, or a giant crab. It was horrible and it was looking at us and it had claws. Claws like we saw on the time scanner.
BEN: There's nothing there. Come on.
POLLY: No, not that way.
BEN: Look, you're just trying to dodge off.
POLLY: No, no, please, I'm not. But please look.
BEN: There is nothing there!
POLLY: Ben. What is it?
BEN: I don't know.
POLLY: Well, what are we going to do?
BEN: There is nothing evil or harmful in this colony.
POLLY: How can you believe that stuff?
BEN: It stands to reason. It's safe. There is nothing here!
We can see a glimpse of the Macra in the surviving clips from this episode, excised from the prints by the Australian censor. Unfortunately a combination of mist in the shots and the poor quality of the off cuts means that the views aren't terribly clear but you get the idea of how terrifying they must have been by the way the eyes glow in the darkness!

These clips can be found on disc 2 of the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD.

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In fact the best place to see a Macra is probably on Doctor Who - The Space Museum/The Chase DVD which features a colour 8mm film shot in the workshop of Shawcraft Models, who built the original Dalek props and many of the 1960s monsters. Towards the end of the film there's a pretty clear look at the completed models as well as some shots of the props under construction!

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Graham Leaman appears in this episode as the controller. His IMDB entry makes him out to an actor that appeared in many things without ever starring. He's got FIVE Doctor Who credits to his name: in addition to this story he appears in Fury from the Deep as Price, The Seeds of Death as the Grand Marshall and Colony in Space & The Three Doctors as a Time Lord, probably the same Time Lord.

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Peter Jeffrey, the pilot, meanwhile is a genuine star name. He's been in everything and will return to Doctor Who in a scene stealing moustache twirling performance as Count Grendel of Gracht in The Androids of Tara, the fourth story of Season 16's Key To Time. He played Marsham Craswell in the missing third season Out of the Unknown episode Get Off My Cloud which features the Daleks making an early appearance in colour! He's in the third episode of The Sweeney, Thin Ice, as Det. Supt. Pringle and played Oliver Cromwell in the BBC English Civil War drama By the Sword Divided. He's got a great guest role as Eric, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Yes Minister Christmas Special "Party Games" which is well worth watching and not just because there's a large number of Who actors in it including John Nettleton, from Ghost Light, David Warrick, from The Pirate Planet, Rex Robinson, from The Three Doctors, Monster of Peladon and Hand of Fear and André Maranne from the previous story, The Moonbase!

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