Saturday, 29 April 2017

160 The Faceless Ones: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Faceless Ones: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 April 1967
WRITER: David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Gerry Mill
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 6.9 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Faceless Ones: Episode Four

"That Doctor is a menace to our plans!"

Spencer tells Jamie & Samantha that the Doctor is dead and then immobilises them on the floor too. He points a laser cannon at them. Nurse Pinto is at work in medical centre creating a copy of immigration officer Jenkins. The Doctor destroys the laser with a mirror from Samantha's hand bag. Jamie feigns sickness to allow the Doctor access to the medical centre, but Nurse Pinto won't allow them access to the inner rooms. Jean Rook, the commandant's assistant, has become worried about the missing Inspector Crossland. She is engaged in some research into Chameleon tours. As the Doctor arrives she receives word from Athens airport, one of Chameleon's destinations: although they leave for that airport no Chameleon Tours flight has ever arrived there. The commandant arranges for the RAF to follow the next flight. Jamie seeks out Samantha: she has bought a ticket for the next Chameleon flight, determined to find out what's going on. Jamie steals the ticket and takes her place on the flight. Jean Rook stages a medical emergency luring Nurse Pinto from sickbay. The Doctor enters and discovers the duplication machine and the comatose real Nurse Pinto. Samantha goes to the Chameleon tours desk and complains her ticket has been stolen but is taken prisoner by Spencer. As the Chameleon tours flight leaves Jamie is overcome by airsickness and flees to the toilet. The flight is followed by an RAF jet. Blade fires a weapon from the Chameleon plane at the jet causing it to crash. The plane hangs in mid air and changes configuration, wings sweeping back to become a rocket. Once again all the passengers disappear. The radar trace shows the plane is stationary, then it vanishes, presumed crashed. The stewardess, Ann, collects something from every passenger seat on the plane but distracted isn't sure if she's collected from Jamie's seat.

JEAN: Negative report from Air Sea Rescue, sir.
COMMANDANT: But with two aircraft ditching there must be some signs of wreckage.
DOCTOR: Why do you think the Chameleon plane crashed into the sea?
COMMANDANT: Because it disappeared off our radar screen.
DOCTOR: But it stood still first.
COMMANDANT: Because it must have collided with the RAF plane and dropped like a stone.
DOCTOR: Why do you think that?
COMMANDANT: You see, when a plane on that radar appears to stand still, it is in point of fact dropping straight down.
DOCTOR: What about straight up?
COMMANDANT: Oh, my dear Doctor. To get above our radar umbrella like that it'd have to climb vertically until it was a hundred miles high. The darned thing would be in outer space.
DOCTOR: Exactly.
The plane approaches a space station which it enters.....

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Superb exchange between The Doctor and the Commandant there at the end. More pieces of the puzzle this episode, but 4 episodes in and the mystery is still going. You're starting to be sure it's aliens who are responsible but why is a completely different matter.

The laser beam moving towards the prone Doctor and friends is very reminiscent of the James Bond laser scene from Goldfinger! Sadly there's not much on the telesnaps to show this and nothing of the laser beam!

Nurse Pinto's back this week and we get proof that she too is a duplicate.

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Indeed we get to see the duplication process from episode 2 again this time on Jenkins, which looks another nice effect, but bar a brief appearance at the beginning this time Crossland disappears for the episode!

This episode was the nail in the coffin for the relationship between the BBC and Shawcraft Models, who had built the Daleks and many of the other special props used for the series. There was extreme dissatisfaction with the plane and the satellite models used here. Relations had been stressed since The Macra Terror and as a result all further Doctor Who modelwork was brought in house at the BBC.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

159 The Faceless Ones: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Faceless Ones: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 April 1967
WRITER: David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Gerry Mill
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time
TELESNAPS: The Faceless Ones: Episode Three

"I must leave. The flight to Zurich is ready to take off. You will remain here to atone for your incompetence. The Doctor must die, and you must do it!"

And now I get to watch the new titles & music together cos we're back on DVD for episode 3!

The Doctor stoppers up the gas nozzles and blocks the camera causing Spencer to investigate at which point he seizes the pen device and stuns Spencer. Jamie & Samantha talk with Inspector Crossland who shows them a photo of Gascgoine who Jamie confirms is the body they found. The Doctor arrives and goes to see the Commandant with Crossland while Jamie & Samantha go to the Chameleon tours hanger. The Doctor convinces the Commandant that he is telling the truth by exposing "Meadows" as he demonstrates the pen. Meadows flees and the Doctor is given the run of the airport. Samantha finds a stack of written unsent postcards which she and Jamie take to the Doctor. Crossland goes to the plane while The Doctor & Jamie search the hanger. Blade abducts Crossland when the plane takes off. The Doctor & Jamie find the hidden room at the hanger and the monitor link to the sickbay which they leave to visit but the Doctor is knocked to the floor by a device Meadows planted on him earlier. Crossland watches a monitor on the plane in disbelief as all the passengers vanish.

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They're not doing too badly with the story: it's part three and the mystery is still ongoing. You know the beings are aliens now but you still don't know why they're doing this or where their victims have gone.

However there's quite a few downsides this week: No Ben and Polly this episode..... in fact we won't be seeing them again till episode six. We don't see any of the actual aliens either nor do we see Nurse Pinto, played by Madalena Nicol, introduced in the previous episode and an important character in the story, who is annoyingly absent from this episode as well as the first meaning that her only appearances are in episodes that are missing! I'm thinking if I was offered a choice between this and episode 2 I'd take episode 2!

I'm also troubled by the episode ending in nearly the same place as it started with the Doctor immobilised in the Chameleon tours hanger. It almost says the episode is just filler and it's brought us back to where we've started

And the fact the mystery is still ongoing does give the whole thing a feeling like it's progressing rather slowly!

This episode is one of a pair, with Evil of the Daleks 2, recovered in the mid 80s. The DWAS were contacted in 1985 by someone who claimed to have these episodes. Details were passed to the BBC and contact was made with the individual leading to a VHS of Faceless Ones 3 being made available to a 1987 convention. Afterwards the episodes were traced back to collector Gordon Hendry, who unaware of their rarity had lent them to someone. The episodes were returned to him and then copied by the BBC. Episode 3 has some damage sustained to it which were repaired for it's commercial releases as part of Reign of Terror boxset along with the surviving episodes of that story, and episodes 1 of both this story and The Web of Fear and as part of the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD set. However the episode is still not up to the quality of other surviving sixties recordings and as such wasn't vidfired so still retains the film look that will be familiar to anyone who saw 1960s Doctor Who repeats in the age before video tape!

Wanda Ventham, playing Jean Rook, is a few years shy of her role in UFO as Virginia Lake but she'll be back in Image of the Fendahl as Thea Ransome as well as Time and the Rani as Faroon. There's an Out of the Unknown on her CV where she plays Josephine in the missing second season episode The Eye. She's been in The Prisoner too playing a Computer Attendant in It's Your Funeral. Ventham is now probably best known as being Benedict Cumberbatch's mother and has appeared in the role of her son's character's mother in Sherlock

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Wanda Ventham's future Doctor Who story Time and the Rani also features Donald Pickering, who plays Captain Blade here following an earlier appearance in The Keys of Marinus where he played Eyesen. He's also in a missing second season Out of the Unknown episode appearing as Kenneth Dennistoun in Second Childhood and is the uncredited TV Announcer in the film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

158 The Faceless Ones: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Faceless Ones: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 15 April 1967
WRITER: David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Gerry Mill
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 6.4 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Faceless Ones: Episode Two

"Do you know what a chameleon is, Jamie? It's the name of a small animal, a lizard that can change it's colour to merge with it's background. But it's a name that could equally be applied to people as well. People who change their personalities to suit their own ends. Budget Tours. Young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. Oh yes, there's something strange going on here."

A few episodes ago a new title sequence for Doctor Who came into use. Now we get revamped theme music too. The forefront of the music is the same, but the background has lost the hiss and gained a different sound instead. My wife said she couldn't tell the difference but if you listen to last episode's sequence then this you'll hear the change.

"Polly" says her name is Michelle and she comes from Sweden which she demonstrates with her passport and work permit. The Commandant is satisfied and wants the Doctor & Jamie detained but they make a run for it. Blade & Spencer's patient is suffocating but Nurse Pinto arrives to assist wanting to know why they were twenty minutes late. Technician Meadows is lying in the medical centre too: devices are attached to the patient's and his heads. The Doctor & Jamie hide behind papers in the airport: the Doctor has found an advert for Chameleon tours that interests him. In the medical centre, the patient's face changes to become Meadows.

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He sits up, has his senses calibrated and is tested on his recall of Meadows memory. Ben finds the Doctor & Jamie: they have another go at questioning "Polly" during which time she lets slip about the body before being summoned by Captain Blade. Inspector Crossland, from Scotland Yard, arrives seeking his colleague Inspector Gascgoine who has disappeared. Neither the Commandant or Miss Rook his assistant know where he is. The Doctor and his friends split up: he goes to talk to the Commandant, Ben to the hanger while Jamie watches "Polly"/Michelle. While there Liverpudlian Samantha Briggs arrives wanting to know what's happened to her brother Brian who has disappeared after taking a Chameleon Tour to Rome. She's had one post card but he's overdue and there's no trace of him in the hotels. Jamie befriends her. The Doctor's chat with the Commandant goes badly and he flees the control room. Ben discovers a crate with Polly in it in the Chameleon hanger and calls the control room for help. The Doctor has entered the now deserted Chameleon Tours office behind the check in desk and discovers a monitor on which he observes Ben who is rendered unconscious by a futuristic pen like device wielded by Spencer. He also finds postcards and foreign stamps. Crossland finds Jenkins at passport control but Jenkins doesn't recognise the photos of Brian Briggs & Gascgoine. He does mention the incident with the reported body earlier and gives Crossland a description of the Doctor & Jamie. A new Chameleon tours rep hands out postcards to the next group of travellers for them to write before they leave causing Samantha to realise Brian's postcard must have been written before he left and posted by someone else. The Doctor arrives at the hanger, finds the pen device and then Meadow's body in a crate. A voice calls out to the Doctor asking for help and saying it's suffocating but as he investigates he is gassed!

We're still at the mystery stage of the story, but we now know enough to join up a few of the dots and put together that Chameleon tours are abducting people and replacing them with the "thing" we saw at the start of the episode. Fab moment as the Doctor, Jamie & Ben confer in a photo booth and get their photo taken!

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Ladies and Gentlemen, a big welcome please for Malcolm Hulke. By this stage in his career Hulke was an experienced television writer who'd written science fiction before contributing to Target Luna and Pathfinders with his friend Eric Paice. Hulke had had a previous submission to Doctor Who, The Hidden Planet, rejected as had his writing partner for this story David Ellis who I know little about.

Your attention is drawn to Hulke's 1962 The Avengers Episode The Mauritius Penny which he co-wrote with his lodger at the time future Doctor Who Script Editor Terrance Dicks. They'll co-write on Hulke's next Doctor Who project in a couple of years time, The War Games, after which Hulke will be a regular contributor to the series during the period that Dicks is Script Editor which in turn leads to him novelising several Doctor Who stories for Target Books and co-authoring with Dicks The Making of doctor Who. A recent Doctor Who magazine article revealed some previously unknown detail into Hulke's life courtesy of his declassified MI5 file and an autobiography is forthcoming from Miwk publishing.

Sam's played by a young Pauline Collins. She's very much seen as a potential new companion: the Liverpool connection to the still popular Beetles - but the actress turned the show down when offered an extended run. A long acting career, including the starring role in Shirley Valentine, would eventually bring her full circle when she played Queen Victoria in Tooth & Claw to become of the few actors to appear in old and new Doctor Who.

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Bernard Kay, as Inspector Crossland, is on his THIRD Who role after Tyler in Dalek Invasion of Earth and Saladdin in The Crusade, He's not done yet either and returns as Caldwell in Colony in Space. Outside of Doctor Who you can see him in the Out of the Unknown episode Come Buttercup, Come Daisy, Come...? as Det. Sgt. Crouch which is one of the surviving episodes on the Out of the Unknown DVD set. He was in Space: 1999 New Adam New Eve as the Humanoid, Survivors as Sanders in Mad Dog, Future Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies' Century Falls as Richard Naismith and Jonathan Creek Jack in the Box as Oliver with a whole load of other people who've been in Doctor Who. He'd previously acted opposite First Doctor William Hartnell in Carry on Sergeant as an Injured Recruit. He appeared in The Sweeney episode Trap as Thomas as well as playing Matthews in the first Sweeney movie, and was Harry Scott in The Professionals episode When the Heat Cools Off. Toby Hadoke interviewed him for Who's Round #18 and following Kay's death on Christmas Day 2014 released Who's Round #101 which features more of the original interview that had to be cut!

Playing Meadows, who we see duplicated in this episode, is George Selway who appears in the existing second series Doomwatch episode The Logicians as the CID Sergeant. Having appeared in this Doctor Who story featuring duplicates
Joy Burnett, a Passenger, returns in another when she is an extra in Spearhead from Space. A small amount of 8mm footage recorded off-screen from this episode survives showing the Doctor talking to Polly who seems to be a favourite target of the person who shot the film! Sadly it is the last off-screen film from a missing episode.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

157 The Faceless Ones: Episode One

EPISODE: The Faceless Ones: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 08 April 1967
WRITER: David Ellis & Malcolm Hulke
DIRECTOR: Gerry Mill
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time
TELESNAPS: The Faceless Ones: Episode One

"What's all this about a police box on the runway?"

A moment please for the last regular use of the original Doctor Who theme music. A tweaked version makes it's debut next episode.

The Tardis lands on the runway at Gatwick airport. Discovered by the police, the time travellers scatter with Jamie remaining with the Doctor while Ben and Polly are each left by themselves. The airport Commandant orders the Police Box removed. Polly hides in a storage area, belonging to Chameleon Tours, where she witnesses a man in a suit being shot by a futuristic gun held by a man wearing an airline pilot's uniform. She finds Jamie & the Doctor on the runway and tells them what happened. They return to the store room where the Doctor notices that the body has been electrocuted and is concerned by the gun. However they are being observed by Captain Blade and Pilot Spencer, the murderer. The travellers leave to inform the authorities but Polly lags behind and is kidnapped by Spencer. The Doctor & Jamie can't get past immigration control where the man in charge, Jenkins, informs the Commandant about his suspicious visitors. Spencer tells Blade that Polly has been processed and will be on the next flight. The Doctor convinces him to visit the storage area but no body can be found. The Doctor tries to interest the Commandant in the unused foreign stamp found in the body's pocket and the burn marks but he has them taken back to immigration. The Doctor and Jamie spot Polly in immigration but she denies knowing them. Blade and Spencer lead a disguised figure from the hanger to the airport's medical unit. What little we can see of the figure looks hideously burned and misshapen.

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Oooh, a mystery episode. Sometimes it's clear from the go what's going off but all we know from this episode is that someone's been murdered in the Chameleon tours hanger, Polly can't recognise her friends after a visit to Chameleon tours and the staff at Chameleon tours are helping some strange being. So I think we'll note that the Chameleon tours place might be a bit dodgy! Polly gets a bit to do this episode, but Ben all but vanishes after the first few minutes, popping up to look in the door of Chameleon tours then leave again. However this episode effectively marks the start of the great Doctor/Jamie partnership with Jamie innocently putting his foot in it and the Doctor trying to cover up after him. It's probably the first episode he gets anything real to do after his debut (with the exception of the "Piper" stuff in Moonbase) and he's superb with the Doctor here.

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The major filming location for this story is Gatwick Airport. The intention had been to film at Heathrow, the then only designated London Airport, but they refused but Gatwick was happy to accommodate the Doctor Who team. Doctor Who would finally visit Heathrow (and use Concorde) 15 years later in Timeflight. The outside of the airport and it's hangers is heavily featured at the start of this episode as the Doctor and friends shelter and then at the end we see some of the interior as the disfigured body is led through it.

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This episode is the only one that features Peter Whitaker as the already deceased Inspector Gascoigne. It's his first Doctor Who appearance, and his only credited one! He'll return as the Weather Station Worker in The Seeds of Death episode five, a Thal Politician in Genesis of the Daleks, a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, a Grecian Man in Four to Doomsday and an Onlooker in Remembrance of the Daleks part one. He was a scientist in the Blake's 7 episode Project Avalon and appeared in two Doomwatch episodes playing a Ministry Inspector in Train and De-Train, which survives, and a man in Flood, which sadly doesn't.

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James Appleby, the Policeman who sees The Tardis crew arrive, has been in Doctor Who before, appearing as a Guard in The Massacre 4: Bell of Doom. He'll be back in - The Masque of Mandragora: Part Two as another Guard. The easiest place to spot him is probably Fawlty Towers: The Builders where he plays Stubbs.

Playing the Chameleon is Roy Pearce who was also in The Massacre 4: Bell of Doom as a Guard before appearing as a Soldier in Snow Camouflage / Engineer #2 in The Tenth Planet episode 3. He'll go on to play the Cyberman in The War Games episode ten, an uncredited extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 6, a Villager in The Dæmons, a Solos Guard in The Mutants, an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks and a Courtier/Brother in The Masque of Mandragora. Since then he's been in Blake's 7 as an Armed Crewman in Space Fall, a Federation Trooper in Time Squad and a Scientist in Project Avalon. He also appears in Doomwatch as a man in Invasion and Flood.

This episode sees another appearance by the panels first seen in Doctor Who in Dalek Masterplan 5: Counterplot. We've seen them since in The War Machines and the Underwater Menace.

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The panel on the left was in Dalek Masterplan 5. The one next to that we saw in the War Games. Next to that are two we've not seen in Doctor Who before but the one on the right was in The Avengers episode The House That Jack Built where six of the panels can be seen together.

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This episode always resided in the BBC Film & Video archive, but a cut copy also exists in Australia (around the death of the man at the start) which lead to rumours that the BBC's copy was cut: It isn't. Faceless Ones 1 was one of the last episodes to be released on VHS in the Reign of Terror boxset along with the surviving episodes of that story, episode 3 of this one and The Web of Fear 1. Released on the 24 Nov 2003, the closest Monday to the show's 30th anniversary (Videos & DVDs are nearly always released on a Monday) this set was *VERY* poorly distributed and is the only release during the Internet stores age that I've had to buy in store (HMV Richmond) after Blackstar completely failed to send my preordered copy! A year later all three Troughton episodes were re-released on DVD in the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD set.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

156 The Macra Terror: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Macra Terror: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 01 April 1967
WRITER: Ian Stuart Black
DIRECTOR: John Davies
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 8.4 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Macra Terror: Episode Four

"There you are. That's what's taken over this Colony. You haven't been in touch with Control, but with these. They've used this Colony for their own ends, destroying you to live themselves!"

The Doctor reverses the gas flow causing fresh air to be pumped into the old tunnel allowing Jamie to escape. He ends up in a dance rehearsal where the guards find him. Ben reluctantly identifies him: His real personality is reasserting itself. Jamie is taking to the Pilot but the Doctor arrives and takes the Pilot, despite the Controllers protests, to see the Macra. The Pilot is horrified as Controllers voice becomes increasingly desperate ordering them to be destroyed. They are captured and locked in the pipe room with Jamie & Polly. Gas is pumped in. However Ben is now completely back to normal and frees them, causing the Macra's gas supply to be destroyed. The Tardis crew sneak away during the celebrations afterwards.

What seems to be a pretty standard "wrap it up" episode 4 punctuated by some odd inserts of colony life, needs a little bit of a closer examination especially in the light of what's gone before.

The Macra in the Control room has sort of been setup in the previous episode:

DOCTOR: Don't you see? Control are not pouring this poisonous gas into the old shaft to kill Jamie. They've quite another reason.
POLLY: Doctor, you've got to do something to help him.
DOCTOR: Before we act, we must think. Now, the Macra that have come to the surface of this planet have not found sufficient gas in the atmosphere, so they've had to get somebody to pump it up from down below.
POLLY: But if it's life and death to them, why do they waste it? Why divert it into the old shaft?
DOCTOR: That's obvious, Polly, obvious. Because there's something trapped down there they wish to keep alive.
As the Doctor indicates here:
POLLY: So that's where all the gas goes.
DOCTOR: Yes, just as I thought. These creatures would die without it.
POLLY: But how long have they been there? I mean, they weren't always in control, were they?
DOCTOR: I couldn't tell you when they were here in the first place, Polly. They're like germs in the human body. They've got into the body of this colony. They're living as parasites.
POLLY: You make it sound like a disease.
DOCTOR: Polly, that's what I think they are.
POLLY: They're in the control room. It must be like getting into the brain, mustn't it?
DOCTOR: Yes, very likely.
POLLY: Shh. They might hear you.
DOCTOR: Now then. One system must provide them with the gas they need, and the other one must be an outflow.
POLLY: Doctor, we've got to bring the Pilot here, and then we can show him these creatures really do exist.
The logic here would work a bit better though if it were Jamie that had stumbled across the control room from the old mine shaft he's trapped in and not The Doctor and Polly discovering it. In fact being able to get out of the old tunnels straight into the Colony, as Jamie does, feels a little odd and not just because he stumbles into a cheerleader rehearsal.

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So lets pick a little further at what we see here. The Macra here have in all probability taken over the control room rather than built it themselves: the shape of their claws would tend to indicate they're not capable of building their own technology. They're using the control room to control the colony, we've seen them using hypnotic suggestion while people sleep earlier in the story. So how did they get up from the mines to the control room? Did they compel the humans to build it to their specifications? This would seem likely as it's sealed with the gas inside it. That in turn insinuates that the Macra themselves can control humans without the technological assistance, but we see no hint of it here. Indeed we see no hint of the Macra being intelligent or being able to speak till we see the ones in the control room: the ones in the tunnel are much more like mindless brutes.

Then there's the formula from episode 3, not mentioned again:

PILOT: Where did you find it?
PILOT: The formula.
DOCTOR: In my head. You know.
PILOT: Don't lie. That is a secret known only to three people in the Colony.
DOCTOR: And you're one of them, I'd say.
PILOT: Naturally. And you're not asking me to believe that in a few moments you have been able to work out a formula which it has taken our combined computers years to perfect?
DOCTOR: It does seem rather a tall order.
PILOT: Yes, of course. I know what you've done. You've broken into our secret files, haven't you?
DOCTOR: I wouldn't know how to do that. Take a look.
PILOT: Well, you must have seen the document. That's the exact computation.
DOCTOR: Really? Huh. In that case
PILOT: Do you really mean to say that you worked that out by yourself?
DOCTOR: Well, I did have a little assistance.
PILOT: Yes, I thought so. Who was it?
DOCTOR: Oh, no, no, no. Oh, no. No person. No. I simply mean that I took readings from the various dials. They appeared to be related, so I worked out the principle that controlled them. It was simple really. Like doing a sum backwards.
PILOT: Backwards?
DOCTOR: Yes. You know. Given the answer, what's the question?
PILOT: Wipe it away. Get it off there before anybody else sees it.
DOCTOR: Oh well, if you insist.
I think the problem here is that formula, which suggests something chemical, is possibly the wrong word. I suspect what the Doctor has done here is derive what's happening to the gas and where it's being pumped. It's just worded very, VERY badly.

Even if that's so there's an interesting line in there:

PILOT: Don't lie. That is a secret known only to three people in the Colony.
I think we can assume The Secret is that the Macra are in charge of the colony and are having their gas pumped out of the mine.

The Pilot is obviously one of the three people who knows the secret, as we can tell from that dialogue, but it would seem that the Macra's existence is blocked from his mind most of the time. But who are the other two people who know? My first thought was the Controller, but he died before this scene so I'd suggest that the other two are Ola and Officia, the two characters holding the keys to the locked sections. That in turn would suggest that these four are the first people to encounter the Macra.

Then at the end of this episode it's not 100% clear what's happened to the Macra: have they all been destroyed or are they merely entombed in the tunnels unable to escape without a better supply of gas?

The ending as such is very unsatisfactory: we could have done with a little more explanation instead of a few minutes of a dancing competition.

I really don't know how I feel about this story: it starts ok with an interesting premise with the colony being brainwashed as they sleep but the whole idea of a colony that seems perfect but hides a dark secret is a little derivative of writer Ian Stuart Black's first Doctor Who story The Savages. As I've explored above the wobble really sets in during episode 3 and continues into this episode which really could have done with some explanation of how the Macra took over. I definitely feel the last two episodes could have done with another pass at the scripting stage and it's possibly no coincidence that this story immediately follows The Moonbase, a tale which script editor Gerry Davis helped Kit Pedler to write. Further evidence of a need for another pass by the script editor can be found by continued references to the Macra as Insects in the script, reflecting the original intention to make them spider like, in itself an error as spiders are arachnids, which was changed when it was decided that this would be too similar to the Zarbi from the Web Planet.

The Macra return in the 3rd series of the new Doctor Who during the episode Gridlock. Reports that they come back as a result of a drunken "which rubbish Doctor Who monster can you bring back" competition between the production staff cannot be confirmed.

Incredibly in the small space of the colony we get some new characters & actors turning up this episode in the form of the Cheerleaders

Chicki is back in this episode: I'm told she's the female cheerleaders on the left in the first photo bellow. However Sandra Bryant, who played her in Episode 1, had since had a lucrative offer of work and was released to take it up so Karol Keyes plays her here, making her the first Doctor Who character, other than the title role, to be credited to two different performers. Karol Kayes in turn later works under the name Luan Peters and it's under this name that she appears in Frontier in Space: Episode Three as Sheila. She later appears in Fawlty Towers as the Australian Raylene Miles in The Psychiatrist and can be spotted as the Lady in Sports Car in the The Professionals episode Heroes.

For the record the blonde actress on the right is Jane Enshawe playing Sunaa, who also appears in episode 1 and in episode 3 where she's shown to be the Pilot's Receptionist/Secretary.

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There's three Male Cheerleaders in this episode and two of them have been in Doctor Who before: Ralph Carrigan as Cheerleaders was an extra in The Myth Makers 4: Horse of Destruction, which like this episode doesn't exist. Unfortunately it's his only other unmasked Doctor Who appearance so working out which of the Cheerleaders he is is going to be a bit tough! He also appears as Monoid Two in The Ark part 3: The Return, a Robot in The Mind Robber episodes 1, 4 & 5 and a Cyberman in The Invasion episodes 6-9.

Unhelpfully the other Cheerleader is played by Terry Wright who also plays a White Robot in the same episodes of the Mind Robber so we don't know what he looks like either!

However the male Cheerleader, who we can see by himself, looks a lot like modern day photos of the third credited actor Roger Jerome so I think we can conclude that Carrigan and Wright are the two men standing behind the ladies. No idea which is which though and my usual sources on Roobarb's haven't identified them yet!

This is the only Doctor Who directing job for John Davies, a distinction shared with the director of the next story too, but he had a long career at the BBC and you can hear him interviewed in Toby Hadoke's Who's Round #62

It's also Ian Stuart Black's last script for Doctor Who: he would later novelise all three Doctor Who stories he wrote, his plus the Savages and The War Machines, for Target Books.

No episodes of the Macra Terror exist. It's the Ninth story to hold that unfortunate distinction. The previous ones are:

Marco Polo
Mission to the Unknown
Myth Makers
Power of the Daleks
The only story with no existing episodes yet to come is The Fury From The Deep.

The Macra Terror is one of five stories to have it's soundtrack released on audio cassette in the 1990s. Colin Baker provided the narration and amongst those five stories it's the only one to retain that narration for it's later release on CD in the early 2000s. However when The Macra Terror was re-released as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four it featured new naration by actress Anneke Wills as well as a much better recording of the story.