Friday, 27 April 2018

204 The Wheel in Space: Episode One

EPISODE: The Wheel in Space: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 27 April 1968
WRITER: David Whitaker from a story by Kit Pedler
DIRECTOR: Tristan de Vere Cole
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)
TELESNAPS: The Wheel in Space: Episode One

"In a few moments you're going to witness the complete destruction of a rocket in space!"

The Doctor & Jamie watch as Victoria waves goodbye to them on the scanner screen. A fault causes the Tardis to land suddenly, Mercury vapour filling the room. The Doctor removes the Tardis' Time Vector Generator immobilising the ship as the retreat into the spaceship in which they've landed. They investigate the seemingly deserted ship, seeking mercury to replenish their supply and noting they're in deep space. Elsewhere on the ship a servo robot patrols and encounters the Tardis. The robot controls the ship changing it's course which alerts the Doctor and Jamie. The Robot opens a pod, revealing a set of white spheres which it allows to escape through the airlock. The ship is approaching a space station and comes to a halt. Trying to get back to the Tardis the Doctor is cornered by the robot which Jamie destroys, but the Doctor is knocked unconscious. On the space station the ship is identified as the Silver Carrier, a missing supply ship. The objects launched from the ship start to collide with the space station. Judging the rocket to be a hazard` they decide to destroy it with the station's X-ray laser.....

1y 1z

Oh dear, what a dreadfully boring episode. Even the closing line, which should inspire excitement is delivered in a dreary monotone. The episode is effectively a two hander between The Doctor & Jamie till the last few moments when the Wheel's crew put in a brief appearance but there's no real threat to our characters for most of the episode and their dialogue lacks the usual sparkle between them.

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The only menace there is is provided by the silent lumbering form of the Silver Carrier's Servo Robot, played by Freddy Foote, and that isn't the most scary thing we've ever seen on screen.

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I'll be charitable and say the model work hasn't been done any favours by the telesnaps. The wheel would seem to be the superior of the two models used here.

1 Silver Carrier 0 Wheel

Mercury gets some screen time, as does the fault indicator, so this has to be a David Whitaker story! He's working with Kit Pedler for the first time here but his interpretation of Pedler's scientific ideas seems somewhat sterile compared to what Pedler's more usual collaborator Gerry Davis produced.

DOCTOR: Oh, yes. There's an artificial gravity system, too.
JAMIE: What does that do?
DOCTOR: Well, it's what keeps us on our feet, otherwise we'd be floating around.
Jamie should know about gravity, he experienced a lack of it on his trip to the moon in The Moonbase, which Pedler worked on. A line here along the lines of "Remember when we went to the moon and there was no gravity?" wouldn't have gone amiss here.

Whitaker also wrote the second half of the previous pairing of The Doctor and Jamie in The Evil of the Daleks and did a much better job there. Enemy of the World is something of a come down following Power and Evil of the Daleks but is far better than this. I'm convinced something happened to Whitaker during this period but don't know what! If you listen to Toby Hadoke's Who's Round #113 interviewee Alan Curtis talks about his friendship David Whitaker from about 17 minutes in and says that he thinks Whitaker suffered from Manic Depression which might help explain things.

So is this the worst episode of Doctor Who yet?

Hmmm. I'm not sure.

To find a duller episode we need to go back as far as The Space Museum or The Sensorites which are both Hartnells so maybe we need instead to ask

Is it the worst Troughton episode yet?

Probably on stronger grounds here. There have been a couple of not so good episodes: Underwater Menace 3 and Enemy of the World 3 both spring to mind but there's something happening in both of those. I didn't like the Highlanders but that was more the story. This..... It's just dull!

Friday, 20 April 2018

203 Fury from the Deep: Episode Six

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 20 April 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.9 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Six

"Doctor, what do you think we can do?"
"We make a noise, Miss Jones. We make an awful lot of noise!"

The Doctor & Jamie rescue Victoria using the helicopter Robson flew in on and some guidance from the pilot that brought them. Quill has completely recovered from his weed possession: The Doctor works out Victoria's screams having affected it and records them, playing them into the pipe system driving the weed back, destroying it and freeing those under it's control. Robson contacts the base to let them know that he, Mrs Harris and Van Lutyens are alive, well and back in their right minds. After considering recent events Victoria decides she will be safer staying on Earth with the Harris family and bids farewell to the Doctor & Jamie.

6y 6z

Ah that's not bad at all. Some mucking about with a helicopter at the start before we really get down to business. Unlike many companions, Victoria gets something to do in her final story and that's not pulled out of thin air either:

HARRIS: No. There's not much hope, is there. What can we do? How can we fight this hideous thing?
DOCTOR: You say there's not much hope. I believe there is.
HARRIS: But even if we succeed in fighting of the weed, what about those people already affected by it?
DOCTOR: Well on our way back here we stopped of at the Medicare Centre. The man that Jamie fought with in the corridor has almost completely recovered.
DOCTOR: Yes, the weed growth on his arm has disappeared and died. He's bemused, he's dazed, but he's alive!
HARRIS: But how? Why? What killed the weed?
DOCTOR: Noise! Sound vibrations.
JONES: How did you find out?
DOCTOR: Victoria discovered it.
DOCTOR: Well, yes. You screamed.
VICTORIA: I screamed.
DOCTOR: It's her scream, her particular pattern of sound that does the trick.
Her screams are shown to affect the weed earlier in the story without much attention being drawn to it. Nevertheless Chekhov gun was subtly hung on the wall back in episode 3 in the Tardis lab scene:
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.

6 Vic3 6 Vic1

She has spent a large part of her career as a companion screaming at various alien menaces and being kidnapped by them. She gets held hostage in Evil of the Daleks, Ice Warriors, Web of Fear and this story plus imprisoned in Enemy of the World and possessed in The Abominable Snowmen. She was orphaned on he first appearance, which is what led to her coming under the Doctor's care so to follow that up with all the trauma listed above it's no wonder she's started to have doubts about her travels, also as signposted early on in the story. This isn't an out of the blue departure with a reason suddenly be unveiled as she leaves, like Ben & Polly's was when then discover they're on Earth and in London the very day they departed. There's no reason that couldn't have been mentioned earlier in The Faceless Ones to improve the ending but it wasn't. The Production Team seem to have learnt from that experience and Victoria's departure is better for some foreshadowing.

The confrontation between the weed and the Doctor in the control room as he starts to drive it back is preserved thanks to some film offcuts of recording this scene.

vlcsnap-00015 6_8

In fact so much footage from the Ealing film studio shoot for this story survives that the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD has done a pretty good job of reconstructing the climatic scene with the weed!

We identified the two control room panels shown in the above shot back in episodes 2 and3!

While Doctor Who was recording at Ealing some amateur 8mm footage was shot which gives us an amazing panning view across the entire control room and impeller room set construction:

6_1 6_3 6_4 6_5

So how many of these control panels are there on that set? 2 between Pipes ABC, one to the left of the main door, one to the right of the main door and 2 between Pipes DEF, which we can see above, plus two by the door for the impeller room. That makes 8 by my count, not all of which we've seen, plus a number more in the room on the rig!

6 Rig 2 6 Rig 1
I've enjoyed this story a lot, it's worked well for me, and would love to able to actually see it. There's mystery surrounding what happened to some of the prints of it that were produced: The ABC in Australia have no record of destroying of returning theirs, but don't have them. The New Zealand censors rejected this story completely and it was never broadcast there and the fate of the prints sent to Gibraltar, like many of their later Troughton serials, is completely unknown!

But we have reached a significant landmark in our journey: Fury from the Deep is the last completely missing story: at least one episode exists of every Doctor Who story from here on. In fact there are only 11 missing episodes to go spread out over 4 episodes of the next story, The Wheel in Space, 2 of the Invasion and 5 of the Space Pirates. Some might say it's a shame that all six parts of the Space Pirates aren't missing.

These then are the stories which have no complete surviving episode.

Season 1

Marco Polo (7 episodes)
Season 3
Mission to the Unknown (1 episode)
The Myth Makers (4 episodes)
The Massacre (4 episodes)
The Savages (4 episodes)
Season 4
The Smugglers (4 episodes)
Power of the Daleks (6 episodes)
The Highlanders (4 episodes)
The Macra Terror (4 episodes)
Season 5
Fury from the Deep (6 episodes)
I'll do a complete list of all the missing episodes when we reach the last one, Space Pirates 6, in 40 episodes time.

Fury from the Deep was released as a Target novel with a larger than usual page count and adapted by it's original author and released in October 1986. The audio of the story was one of those released on tape in October 1993 and then, with new narration, released on CD in November 2005 and has since been re-released as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)

Friday, 13 April 2018

202 Fury from the Deep: Episode Five

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 April 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 5.9 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Five

"I have the girl. She is my prisoner. She is my hostage. Do you understand? If you want her to live, come over to us. Come over to us!"

The Doctor works out engineers must have been infected when the weed was first sucked into the system and that it's vulnerable to pure oxygen, but the base's oxygen supplies have been vented by Oak & Quill. Pursuing them Jamie grapples with Quill who is weakened by Victoria's screams and collapses. Robson attacks a guard, kidnaps Victoria and steals a helicopter flying out to the control rig. The weed creature bursts out of the piping in the base. The Doctor and Jamie follow Robson to the control rig where he is waiting for them.....

5y 5z

Oh that's really what Victoria, who's fretting anyway about her dangerous life with the Doctor, needs right now: taken hostage again for the third time in four stories!

The telesnaps for this episode show the BBC's foam machine in full swing, the stuff is everywhere as you can see from that shot of Robson on the control rig above!

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Once again out friends the Australian censor have arranged the preservation of some material by cutting virtually everything showing the weed covering Robson's hands!

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The use of the helicopter is nice and adds an extra dimension to the story. Fraser Hines tells a tale, on The Ice Warriors CD of the helicopter's pilot taking him & Patrick Troughton by air to a party at Victor Maddern's (Robson) House in the country!

Shots of the helicopter launching were taken at Denham Aerodrome while Red Sands Sea Fort, not that far from the Botany Bay beach location seen in this and other episodes, serves as the rig complex.

5j 5i

Control Panels: The picture of Robson above on the rig contains a notable development. It's the first time black versions of these control panels have been seen in Doctor Who! There's two of the more normal ones there as well and we've seen those in The War Machines and the Faceless Ones as well as to the left of the main door in the control room set earlier in the story near Pipeline 1 and the ABC tubes.

1 6 2_6

This episode also gives us our first proper look at the panels to the right of the door, Pipeline 2 and the DEF tubes:

5 DEF2 5 DEF

Both control panels seen there could well also be panels from the Faceless Ones shot above.

We do have very clear pictures of the same areas of the set in episode 6 ..... but they're on film there and, confusingly, the panels used are in slightly different locations! Another reason to want this story back is to get a clear look at these things!

Following his appearance on screen in The Moonbase, Victor Pemberton becomes the first person to appear in and write for Doctor Who. He'd submitted a story idea to David Whitaker, the first Doctor Who script editor, for The Slide where a village is taken over by a sentient form of mud. He rejected it, but Peter Bryant, then a BBC radio script editor, had it made for radio where it was broadcast during February and March 1966. When Bryant took charge of Doctor Who he got Pemberton, having recently departed the assistant script editor role, to adapt The Slide for the program. It would be Pemberton's only Doctor Who television credit, but he would go on to write The Pescatons, a story recorded on record featuring the Tom Baker Doctor with Sarah-Jane Smith. In later life he would turn his hand to writing historical romantic fiction and at one stage I caught my mother reading one of his books! He was the partner of David Spenser, who played Thomni in The Abominable Snowmen earlier this season.

The Web of Fear, and it's sequel The Invasion, are usually held up a templates for the Pertwee years with the Doctor allied with the army fighting against an alien invasion. But Fury from the Deep is a template for a certain type of Pertwee: Someone, usually scientists somehow connected to the energy business, burrows into the earth and digs something up/unleashes something hidden within the Earth. This plot re-appears several times in the next few years: The Silurians, Inferno, The Daemons, The Sea Devils, The Green Death and Terror of the Zygons. An element of the plot, digging something up accidentally, has already been seen this season in The Ice Warriors but with Fury's near present setting it could almost be a Pertwee story, you could see it being transported wholesale into his isolation on Earth with relatively few changes.

Terrance Dicks credits Malcolm Hulke with saying that there's two types of story for the trapped on Earth Third Doctor: Alien Invasion and Mad Scientist, and then breaking this with The Silurians, digging something up out the ground, but really it had already been done with this story!

Friday, 6 April 2018

201 Fury from the Deep: Episode Four

EPISODE: Fury from the Deep: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 April 1968
WRITER: Victor Pemberton
DIRECTOR: Hugh David
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)
TELESNAPS: Fury from the Deep: Episode Four

"This is a struggle for power! Matter over mind. I'm convinced all these people Mrs Harris, Chief Robson, Mister Van Lutyens, have all been overcome in this struggle and goodness knows how many more people!"

Control is struggling to raise two more rigs. Victoria can't sleep, she's starting to be bothered about all the trouble the Tardis crew keep finding themselves in. Harris, searching for his wife, finds Robson on the beach. Van Lutyens goes to inspect the impeller but is grabbed by the seaweed. The Doctor and Jamie descend to help him. Megan Jones, the gas company head, and her aide Perkins arrive. She doesn't believe Harris' stories about the weed. Mr Oak & Mr Quill have assumed responsibility for the lift to the impeller, trapping Jamie & The Doctor. All they can find of Van Lutyens is his torch. They escape via a ladder. A helicopter visits the rigs and finds them covered in foam and weed. Harris wants to blow them up but a distraught Robson arrives keen to protect his life's work. He leaves as the Doctor arrives who says he believes Van Lutyens is dead and Robson is controlled by the weed. Jamie searches out Victoria and finds her in the pipeline room. She identifies those who took her there: Oak & Quill. The control rig calls the base: They are being overrun by foam and weed which is then found in the observation pipe in the base.

4y 4x

And the tension mounts as the weed closes in.....

What we do also have here is some nice foreshadowing of the sixth episode as Victoria twice passes comment on the dangers of her life in the Tardis.

VICTORIA: Jamie. Jamie? Jamie, you asleep?
JAMIE: I'm just resting my eyes.
VICTORIA: I don't know how you can with all this trouble going on.
JAMIE: Oh, don't worry. The Doctor will work something out. He always does.
VICTORIA: Yes. What then?
JAMIE: What do you mean, what then?
VICTORIA: Where will we be next?
JAMIE: Oh, Victoria, you know better than to ask a question like that. We never know where we're going to land one place to the next. It's half the fun, isn't it?
JAMIE: Victoria, what's the matter? You've been acting very oddly ever since we got here.
VICTORIA: Oh it's nothing. It doesn't matter.
JAMIE: Look you'll worry the Doctor if
VICTORIA: Jamie, I said it was nothing. Just go back to sleep.
JAMIE: Aye. Well I wouldn't worry about that old bit of sea weed. The Doctor'll work something out.
VICTORIA: Yes, but will he? There's so many questions. The weed grows. Feeds off natural gas. But how fast does it grow? What happens to those that touch it? Oh, Jamie. Jamie, I'm frightened!

4a 4b

DOCTOR: Oh, I'm sorry, Victoria. Did I startle you?
DOCTOR: Where's Jamie?
VICTORIA: Up there. He's still asleep. Nothing would wake him except a bomb dropping.
DOCTOR: Oh good.
VICTORIA: Doctor, what's happening?
DOCTOR: Well, I'm not sure, Victoria. I'm not sure. Looks so peaceful out there, doesn't it?
VICTORIA: I heard that noise again.
VICTORIA: Well, what are they doing about it?
DOCTOR: Well, we have to wait.
VICTORIA: Wait? But what for? For one of those awful creatures to come and attack us all?
DOCTOR: Now, Victoria, it's not as bad as all that, you know.
VICTORIA: Isn't it? Even you don't know really how bad is it, do you?
DOCTOR: Well, no, not exactly.
VICTORIA: Every time we go anywhere something awful happens. Daleks. Cybermen.
VICTORIA: Yes, and Yeti. Why can't we go anywhere pleasant, where there's no fighting. Just peace and happiness.

And then later with Jamie:
VICTORIA: Oh Jamie, why are we always getting into trouble like this? It's the same everywhere we go.
JAMIE: How do you mean?
VICTORIA: I don't know. I'm just fed up. I'm tired of one crisis on top of another. I just want some piece and quiet.
JAMIE: But, Victoria, are you not happy with the Doctor and myself?
VICTORIA: Oh yes, yes, I am. But I just...
Recently companions have disappeared without warning: here there's some foreshadowing. If they'd have had Ben & Polly finding out that it was the day they left London in Faceless Ones 1 or 2 that would have made their departure in episode 6 of that story less a surprise.

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Quite a bit of this episode survives thanks to our scissor happy friends the Australian censors who hacked a bit out of almost all the episodes. Some of Van Lutyens in the impeller shaft can be seen, including the lingering shot of his discarded torch as he's dragged down to his doom. Then we can see The Doctor & Jamie, also in shaft, fighting against the weed and foam. All this footage is on Doctor Who - Lost In Time and it looks pretty grim stuff. Any chance someone can find a copy so we can see what the rest of the episode looks like?

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Joining the cast this week is Margaret John as Megan Jones, who was previously mentioned in part 1. It's her only classic Doctor who part but she reappears in modern Doctor Who as Grandma Connolly in The Idiot's Lantern. She was in the very first episode of Blake's 7, The Way Back, as the Arbiter and has two episodes of Doomwatch to her name appearing in Friday's Child, the missing second episode, as the Defending Solicitor and Waiting for a Knighthood as Mrs. Joan Simpson, which exists and can be seen on The Doomwatch DVD.

0_Megan Jones 0_Perkins

Her assistant Perkins is played by Brian Cullingford who later appears as a technician in the missing third season Out of the Unknown episode Immortality Inc. He's the second assistant called Perkins we've seen recently. There was also one in Patrick Troughton's second story, The Highlanders, and that story was the only previous job for this story's director, Hugh David.

Chief Baxter, glimpsed briefly on the screen, is played by Richard Mayes. He was in The Murderer, an episode of the early TV science fiction serial A for Andromeda as the Teacher. This is one of the episodes which also features Peter Ducrow, the guard in episode 1, as Doctor Hunter.

0_Baxter 0_QuillOak

Mr Oak, the smaller, rounder and more vocal of our pair of villains, is played by John Gill who had had a career stretching back to the very early 1950s. He appeared in This Sporting Life, which starred first Doctor William Hartnell, and worked solidly through to the late 1990s when he was in his mid 80s!

Meanwhile the tall, thin silent Mr Quill is played by Bill Burridge. He'd already been an extra in The Savages and the masked priest who is assigned to sacrifice the Doctor and his companions in The Underwater Menace part 2. He'll return as a villager/coven member in The Dæmons episodes 3-5 and Frontier in Space episode 2 as a Draconian. He too has a pair of Doomwatch episodes to his name appearing as a man in both Hear No Evil and Flood, neither of which survive.