OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 200
STORY NUMBER: 042
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 30 March 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.7 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Three
"Seaweed! Not the sort that you'd normally find on the beach. This seaweed happens to be dangerously alive"
Welcome to Doctor Who episode 200!
Victoria thinks she's seen the seaweed in the Harris' quarters move like a spider so the Doctor pops it into a specimen bag for analysis. He sends Harris away to fetch medical help then he, Jamie & Victoria leave for the Tardis, not noticing the weed growing up Maggie's arm. At the Tardis, now washed up on the shore, the time travellers discover the weed is moving at a molecular level. Van Lutyens tries to get Harris' support, but Robson is furious with Harris for leaving the prisoners unattended and being preoccupied with his wife. The impeller starts working then stops again. The stressed Robson retires to his quarters. The weed growing in the Tardis emits toxic gas but Jamie & The Doctor trap it in a tank. Van Lutyens contacts his superiors in the Hague, and advises Harris to contact his at the gas company. Mr Oak locks Robson into his quarters and opens the vent control filling the room with the toxic gas. Once he has been exposed to it he is allowed to escape, nearly knocking Harris over who has heard his screams. The time travellers discover gas, foam and weed in the Harris quarters. The Doctor tells Harris & Van Lutyens the weed is alive. He is alarmed to hear that Maggie Harris hasn't been taken to the medical centre as planned.
Maggie stands on the beach looking out to sea. Robson joins her: they are both under the control of the weed creatures.
MAGGIE: There is little time. You know what you must do?Leaving Robson behind on the beach, Maggie walks into the sea.
MAGGIE: You will obey?
You know what really strikes me about this episode? The ending. When I first listened to it on the train to Stoke year ago now, the eerie music played over the beach scene stuck in my head. It's far far spookier than stuff usually used in Doctor Who, sounding almost like a piece of 1960s Pink Floyd. Now I can see the telesnaps for this episode and I can see the stark emptiness of the beach matches what I can hear. I've talked about episodes and stories I'd like back and, make no mistake, I would love the whole of this episode and story returned, but if I could have just ONE scene from it, then it would be this one.
An unsual feature of this episode is The Doctor using both of his friends as lab assistants:
JAMIE: What are you doing, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Well you see, Jamie, these two cylinders contain a small amount of natural gas. It should be quite interesting to see what sort of effect it has on the weed. How are you doing, Victoria?
VICTORIA: I don't know, I think you ought to have a look.
DOCTOR: Oh yes, well, that's got the natural iron content.
VICTORIA: Well, I did the Bunsen test, like you told me, but I found something which worried me.
DOCTOR: Oh yes, I'm not surprised. Is this hot?
VICTORIA: No, no.
DOCTOR: You see this rusty stuff here.
DOCTOR: Well, it means that the weed's giving out a gas. Probably toxic.
JAMIE: Hey, Doctor! What are these little wriggly things in the weed?
DOCTOR: Now just a minute, Jamie. I'm looking at. Little wriggly things? Where?
JAMIE: Here, look. Look in there.
DOCTOR: Jamie, this is it! There's molecular movement! Come and see, Victoria. There. Why, that's amazing!
JAMIE: What does it mean?
VICTORIA: It means, Jamie, that the weed is just as much alive as you and me.
VICTORIA: That's it, Doctor. That's the creature I saw back at the Compound.The seaweed has started to escape causing Victoria to scream. The Doctor & Jamie get it back into the tank.
DOCTOR: Yes. Yes, I was afraid it would be.
VICTORIA: But how did it get in this book?
DOCTOR: Well, I told you, Victoria, this is a book of legends and superstitions. This particular drawing was supplied by ancient mariners in the North Sea in the middle of the eighteenth century, Jamie.
JAMIE: That's my time. You mean to say this is the creature that Victoria saw back at the Compound.
DOCTOR: Yes I think there's no doubt about it.
JAMIE: Well, what about these great clumps of weed.
DOCTOR: Well there's obviously some connection between the weed and the creatures themselves.
VICTORIA: Oh, no!
DOCTOR: Jamie! Jamie, help me get the lid on! Oh, no. Quickly!
DOCTOR: I was right. The weed formations are feeding off the natural gas beneath the North Sea and giving off toxic gas. Come on. We must get back to Harrises' quarters. Come along. Just a minute. That weed went back in its tank very suddenly, didn't it? I wonder why? Never mind.This exchange has not only provided answers to their immeadiate questions but also hints at the eventual final solution to their problems!
The episode also provides the first hint that not all is well with one of the Doctor's companions.....
DOCTOR: Are you all right, Jamie?The other notable feature of this episode is Robson's breakdown. We've had stressed base leaders before, idiots that won't see sense and pay for it with their lives, but nobody has lost it quite how Robson does:
JAMIE: Oh, I've come over dizzy.
DOCTOR: Well, you just rest a while.
JAMIE: I'll just get my breath back.
VICTORIA: Doctor, why is it that we always land up in trouble?
DOCTOR: Well, Victoria, it's the spice of life, my dear.
VICTORIA: Oh, well I'm not so sure. I don't really like been scared out of my wits every second.
DOCTOR: Is something wrong?
VICTORIA: Well, I just wish that once. Oh, never mind.
DOCTOR: Are you right, Jamie? Come on then.
JAMIE: What's the matter with Victoria?
PRICE: Yes, sir?
HARRIS: Is Doctor Patterson back?
PRICE: No, we've heard nothing from D Rig, sir.
HARRIS: Right. Get on to the Matron at the Medicare Unit and tell her to send a couple of orderlies over to my quarters with a stretcher to bring my wife in. She's ill. You know the extension.
PRICE: Yes, sir.
ROBSON: What's the panic now, Harris?
HARRIS: Go on, get on with it.
ROBSON: Harris, I asked you a question.
HARRIS: My wife is ill. She needs medical attention.
ROBSON: What's the matter with her, she got a hangover?
HARRIS: She's very ill, Mister Robson.
ROBSON: Who says so, that Doctor fellow? Incidentally, where is he and the two kids?
HARRIS: Oh, well, I left them in my quarters when I found my wife was ill.
ROBSON: You what? Those three prisoners were in your charge and you left them there?
HARRIS: I was worried about my wife. I didn't have time to think about it.
ROBSON: That's your trouble you never do think, do you, Harris, when you should. Those three prisoners were in your charge.
HARRIS: I don't care. Don't you understand? My wife was lying on the floor when I got there. She was unconscious and that smell of toxic gas was there. She's been poisoned, Robson, poisoned!
VAN LUTYENS: And this toxic gas, where does it come from?
HARRIS: Oh, I don't know.
ROBSON: And none of us will know now you've let them loose.
HARRIS: How could they possibly have anything to do with it?
ROBSON: That still doesn't alter the fact that you let those prisoners go without my authority.
HARRIS: Prisoners? A harmless old man and a couple of teenagers?
ROBSON: That harmless old man is probably a saboteur. It's probably him that's been tampering with that release valve on the shoreline. Creating all those variations in pressure you got so excited about!
HARRIS: Oh don't be so ridiculous, Robson. You're clutching at straws, stupidly blind to the real facts!
ROBSON: Don't shout at me, boy!
CHIEF: Mister Robson, sir. Mister Robson. The impeller, it's moving again.
ROBSON: Good man. I told you it was only a mechanical fault, didn't I.
CHIEF: It just started quite suddenly.
ROBSON: Keep it going, man.
CHIEF: I don't know if we can hold it.
ROBSON: Don't lose it now. You fools! You stupid fools!
CHIEF: Well, the faults not this end! It must be jammed at the base.
ROBSON: You wanted this, didn't you? It's just what you wanted!
VAN LUTYENS: You should have listened to me, Robson.
ROBSON: What, turned off the flow? Ruined a reputation of thirty years?
VAN LUTYENS: Reputation! Don't you realise that what is going on here is beyond your comprehension? That whatever it is that is in the pipelines, that's jamming the impeller, has taken over the rigs, is a menace and a threat to us all?
ROBSON: The only menace and threat around here is you, Van Lutyens. And you Harris. Listen. What are you staring at! I want that impeller working in half an hour. I'll be in my quarters. Let me know as soon as the impeller starts moving again.
VAN LUTYENS: Dwaas. He's cracking up, Harris.
HARRIS: Look. I've got to get back to my wife.
VAN LUTYENS: Harris, you can't go now. He's losing control.
HARRIS: My wife's been poisoned.
VAN LUTYENS: She's in good hands, ja? She'll be brought into the Medicare Unit. What can you do?
HARRIS: But I ought to go and see her.
VAN LUTYENS: To hang about and worry, that's all. Robson is cracking up. You are the only man with authority to take over. We need you here.
HARRIS: Mister Robson, you know him better than any of us. How do you? Do you think he's all right?
CHIEF: Well, he's under a lot of pressure, I think he's nerves are a bit.
VAN LUTYENS: Ja, pressure, strain. He's cracking up, I tell you.
CHIEF: Well, you're not helping him you know.
VAN LUTYENS: That's not my job. I am here to give technical advice which he ignores. All right, he knows a lot about engineering, but not all. And what he does not know is the state of mind of those men out there on the rigs.
CHIEF: He ought to know. He was out on those rigs himself long enough.
VAN LUTYENS: Oh, ja, ja. He has plenty of professional experience of normal conditions, but these are not normal conditions. There is something very strange going on here, but he refuses to accept the new factor.
CHIEF: So what do you think he should do?
VAN LUTYENS: I know what I would do. Close the compound, evacuate the rigs.
CHIEF: He'd never do it.
VAN LUTYENS: We have lost contact with two rigs. We have a major blockage in the main pipeline. The impeller is jammed, and we still don't know what is causing the trouble.
HARRIS: But we regained contact with Baxter on Rig D and he said everything was under control.
VAN LUTYENS: Ja, and we've not heard from him since. And what about Rig C?
CHIEF: Oh, that could be a telecommunications fault somewhere.
VAN LUTYENS: J., it could be, but we have to check that it is and we have to check the valve at the base of the impeller. But what does Robson do? Nothing! Nothing!
HARRIS: Well, I suppose he might listen if we all put it to him. What do you think, Chief?
CHIEF: You're absolutely right of course. We must check.
ROBSON: No, I will not listen. It's you, Van Lutyens, isn't it? Isn't it? You've been undermining my authority ever since you came here. You and Harris. You've been stirring up trouble just to get at me, haven't you? You've even got the Chief on your side now. One of my oldest and trusted friends.This isn't a man under alien control, this is someone who has completely lost their grip on what's going on. It's a very adult and mature thing for Doctor Who to be looking at, and coupled with the chilling ending makes this episode superior to a great many we've seen.
CHIEF: Mister Robson.
ROBSON: At least I thought I could trust you.
CHIEF: Mister Robson, all we want to do is
ROBSON: I know what you want! I know what you all want! You're going to get at me, just so I'll give up. I'm not going to give you that pleasure! Why don't you go and join him? Go on, join Van Lutyens! Go on, join him! What are you standing around for? What are you starring at? I'm in charge! I'm in charge here!
HARRIS: Mister Robson.
ROBSON: I'm in charge of this Compound, Harris! It's my responsibility! Mine! My responsibility!
VAN LUTYENS: Do you still think he's capable of running this place? You do what you like. I'm going to get in touch with my people in the Hague.
HARRIS: What can they do?
VAN LUTYENS: I don't know. They might push your people in London into some sort of action. Give me a direct line to Van der Post, Hague Central,
PRICE: Yes, sir.
Playing Robson is Victor Maddern a famous British film & TV actor. I didn't know till I saw his IMDB credits that he'd been in The Beiderbecke Tapes. If you've not seen the Biderbecke Affair/Tapes/Connection then buy The Beiderbecke Trilogy on DVD as it's one of the best things that's ever been on television. You can also find him in The Prisoner: Hammer into Anvil as the band leader
John Abineri is making his first Who appearance here as Van Lutyens but he'll be back in the Ambassadors of Death as General Carrington, Death to the Daleks as Captain Railton and The Power of Kroll as Ranquin. He's probably mopst famous for appearing as Herne the Hunter in Robin of Sherwood but he's been seen by most people as the buttler at the ambasaador's reception inthe long running Ferrero Rocher adverts. Science fiction fans may recognise him as Rimmer's Dad in Red Dwarf or as Hubert Goss in Survivors or even Col. Chalmers in Thirteen to Centaurus, one of the surviving first season episodes of Out of the Unknown which you can see on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set but go have a look at his IMDB entry for his roles in numerous other TV productions!
One more thing does spring out off of Abineri's credit list: the 1989 adaptation of Around The world In 80 Days, in which he plays Father Gruber, because it reunites him with Victor Maddern who plays the Liverpool Ticket Agent!
Roy Spencer appearing as Harris had previously been Maynak in The Steel Skyand The Plague, the first two episodes of The Ark. I can see another Robin Hood adaptation on his CV, The Legend Of Robin Hood. He plays Brother Bertram in the 6th episode but it's yet another television performance by John Abineri as Sir Kenneth Neston. The series featured Paul Darrow, Avon from Blake's 7 and a pair of Doctor Who storis, as The Sheriff of Nottingham in what I'm told is a rather becalmed role for him! I can also see Stephen Whitaker, Craftsman Weams in the Web of Fear, and William Marlowe, Harry Mailer in The Mind of Evil and Lester in Revenge of the Cybermen, in the regular cast there!
It's a first Doctor Who role for June Murphy, playing wife Maggie Harris, who'll be back as Jane Blythe in The Sea Devils. In his acting days, this story's director Hugh David had appeared in a BBC Sunday-Night Play, Sparrow in a Cage with her.
On Doctor Who debut as well is Hubert Rees as the Chief Engineer. He'll be back as Captain Ransom in The War Games and The Seeds of Doom as John Stevenson.
Having previously played The Controller in The Macra Terror Graham Leaman returns in this story playing Price, who seems to be in charge of the base's communications. He'll be back as The Grand Marshall in The Seeds of Death episode five & six and a Time Lord, presumably the same Time Lord, in both Colony in Space episode one and The Three Doctors. He also has Doomwatch on his CV appearing in the second season opener You Killed Toby Wren as Professor Eric Hayland, which exists and can be found on The Doomwatch DVD, and Cause of Death as Wilfred Ridge, the father of one of the leading chracters, John Ridge. Sadly this appearance is one of the many later Doomwatch episodes which is missing.
Yes there's control panels in some of those cast shots, but they've all turned up in previous episodes so go and have a look at the blog entries for episodes one and two to see what they are!
As I said this is the 200th episode of Doctor Who, which is significant, but it's the only episode numbered with a multiple of 50 that doesn't exist. The first five 50 episode milestones are:
Beyond episode 244 ALL episodes of Doctor Who exist. In fact we'll see a significant increase in the amount of watchable material shortly. Just 14 further episodes of Doctor Who are missing and 7 of those are within the next 9 episodes forming the remainder of this season.
Milestone Story Episode 50 The Dalek Invasion of Earth 5 100 The Daleks' Master Plan 10 150 The Moonbase 2 200 Fury from the Deep 3 250 The War Games 7
While reuse in The War Games and the Australian Censor have given us a peak at previous episodes, no moving footage from this one survives. In fact it's the only episode this story with no surviving footage!