Friday, 22 February 2019

236 The Seeds of Death: Episode Five

EPISODE: The Seeds of Death: Episode Five
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 February 1969
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Michael Ferguson
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks)

"Our warriors will land here, on the moon. When the seed pods have done their work on Earth it will be time to commence the second stage of our plan!"

Fewsham attacks the Ice Warrior distracting it long enough for the increased heat to start to have an effect. The warrior attacking Jamie and Miss Kelly is also overcome as the Doctor came round. The Ice Warrior in London reaches the weather control station and destroys the control mechanism. Fewsham returns the others to Earth, saying he'll follow courtesy of a timer mechanism. Slaar reduces the Moonbase temperature and tells Fewsham more Ice Warriors are coming. The Doctor collects a sample of the foam. Miss Kelly finds away to route essential T-Mat functions via satellite. The Doctor discovers the foam absorbs oxygen. Absorb enough Oxygen and Earth's atmosphere would become similar to Mars. He finds the fungus foam can be destroyed by water. Jamie & Zoe go to the weather bureau to pass the Doctor's instructions for rain on to them. They find bodies, the wrecked controls and the Ice Warrior. The Grand Marshall reports the Martian fleet is nearing the moon. Fewsham broadcasts the lunar control room to Earth but is killed by the Warriors who sever the link. The Doctor comes up with a plan to deceive the Martians with a false homing signal. Finding out that Jamie and Zoe have gone to the Weather Control where the Warrior was sighted the Doctor races there, but finds the door locked as he is overcome by foam ..........

5y 5z

Another decent pacey adventuring episode. A few things caught my eye in this episode. Has the Ice Warrior entering weather control got proper mouth make up on? I've looked at the Ice Warrior mouth make up ever since while watching Monster of Peladon years one caught my eye as apparently having a green piece of cardboard across it's mouth.

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Radnor's boss shows up in this episode so we've now got three older characters running around in these silly plastic outfits which looks like they have their underwear on the outside of their trousers! That reminded me of the how the actors playing the Sensorites looked and made me wonder if the costumes here were recycled from there!

We finished looking at all the human members of the cast who'd appeared so far last week so today we'll look at the Martians.

Alan Bennion makes his Who debut this story as the "Ice Lord" Slaar. He'll be back every time the show needs an Ice Lord appearing as Izlyr in The Curse of Peladon and Azaxyr in The Monster of Peladon.

1 y 5 Warriors -->

Two of the Ice Warriors, Tony Harwood & Sonny Caldinez, were in the previous eponymous Ice Warriors story.

Harwood, Rintan in the Ice Warriors, was a Cyberman in Tomb of the Cybermen and a Yeti in the Abominable Snowman. He'll be back as the cameoing Ice Warrior in the War Games and Flynn in The Ambassadors of Death (Director: Michael Fergusson).

Caldinez, Turoc in the Ice Warriors, had previously been Kemel in Evil of the Daleks will return as Ssorg in Curse of Peladon and Sskel in Monster of Peladon. Outside of Doctor Who he appears in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun as Kra, Hawaii Five-O as Code #42 in Nine Dragons, Raiders of the Lost Ark as the Mean Mongolian, Neverwhere as the Market man in Knightsbridge and The Fifth Element as Emperor Kodar Japhet.

The third Ice Warrior actor, Steve Peters, was billed as Alien in the first episode to disguise which monsters were in the story. He's easier to pick out than the others as he's the Ice Warrior seen in the location sequences in episode 4! He's already been an extra in The Romans and the leader Roboman in Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. and will return as a Pirate Guard in The Space Pirates, and as both astronaut Lefee and his alien substitute in The Ambassadors of Death, which features Ric Felgate, who played Brent in the first four episodes here, as Van Lyden, one of the other missing astronauts/aliens and is directed by this story's director Michael Ferguson. He was in two now missing third season Out of the Unknown episodes appearing as a man in 1+1=1.5 and a Plainclothes Man in The Yellow Pill, both of which are also directed by Michael Fergusson! He can be found in the Doomwatch episodes You Killed Toby Wren as a Man in Laboratory and The Inquest as a Man and appears as a Technician in the Moonbase 3 episodes Departure and Arrival & Behemoth.

4 IW Location 2 5 Grand Marshall

Meanwhile the Grand Marshall is Graham Leaman who has already been the Controller in The Macra Terror & Price in Fury from the Deep and will return as Time Lords, possibly the same Time Lord, in Colony in Space & The Three Doctors. Early in his career he was a recurring bit part player in Hancock's Half Hour. He appears in two Doomwatch episodes You Killed Toby Wren as Professor Eric Hayland and Cause of Death as Wilfred Ridge, leading character John Ridge's dying father.

Hugh Mortonplays Sir James Gregson in just this episode. I can see an episode of Z-Cars The Great Art Robbery on his CV which was directed by Michael Ferguson as well as the film version of Quatermass and the Pit. He was later in The Professionals as Smithson in It's Only a Beautiful Picture.

5 Gregson 5 Worker

Peter Whitaker briefly appears as the Weather Station Worker. He'd previously been, also briefly, Inspector Gascoigne in The Faceless Ones episode 1. He returns as 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's in Doomwatch as the Ministry Inspector in Train and De-Train and as a Man in Flood plus appears as a Scientist in the Blake's 7 episode Project Avalon.

This episode exists as a high quality 35mm film print that was in the BBC Film & Video library when Ian Levine arrived to buy episodes in 1978.

Friday, 15 February 2019

235 The Seeds of Death: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Seeds of Death: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 15 February 1969
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Michael Ferguson
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks)

"It's killed them. It's killed them all!"

When the seed explodes it produces a gas killing technician Brent. Commander Radnor has the air vented. The Ice Warriors dispatch more seeds to T-Mat centres all over Earth. Outside the London T-Mat control the vented gas settles on the ground and turns to foam. Slaar orders the Doctor t-mated into space but Jamie & Phipps rescue him by opening the back of the T-Mat capsule. Bubbles form in the foam exploding and spreading the foam further. Reports come in of other T-Mat technicians killed, like Brent, by Oxygen starvation. An Ice Warrior T-Mats into the London HQ rampaging through the complex killing several guards. Zoe volunteers to climb through the narrow vent to get to heating controls in Moonbase control. The Ice Warrior continues it's rampage outside T-Mat Control on into the foam. Professor Eldred realises that the Ice Warriors have only had pods sent to currently cold cities. Miss Kelly & Jamie are found in the energy store by an Ice Warrior. Technician Fewsham provides a distraction to allow Zoe to turn up the temperature control but she is caught returning to the vent...

Oooh, the Doctor's unconscious all episode, can you tell that Troughton's off on a fishing holiday again this week? Actually the absence is significant as it's the last time a member of the regular cast takes a week's holiday from the show! Substituting for him is Tom Laird who we'll see again shortly as a Roman Soldier in The Wars Games.

4 StandIn 1 7 Brent

Brent, killed in the opening moments of this episode is played by Ric Felgate who was Roy Stone in The War Machines and returns as Van Lyden in The Ambassadors of Death. All three stories are directed by Michael Ferguson. There's a family connection there however: Ric Felgate was married to Michael Fergusson's first wife's sister as Michael Fergusson confesses in Toby Hadoke's Who's Round 180.

Phipps is played by Christopher Coll. A recurring part in Z-Cars brought him into contact with this story's director Michael Ferguson and also Christopher Barry who cast him as Stubbs in The Mutants.

When I last watched the next episode for blogging purposes I noticed that Zoe said that Phipps was killed in this episode, which I'd missed. I've found it now, it's quite close to the end and possible to miss.

1 6 Phipps 1 5 Fewsham

Terry Scully plays the cowardly Fewsham. He too had worked with Michael Fergusson, and Christopher Coll, on Z-Cars earlier in 1968. Earlier in his career he appeared in the acclaimed An Age of Kings BBC production of William Shakespeare plays where he played King Henry VI amongst other roles. He was in five episodes of Survivors, Genesis, Spoil of War, Law and Order, The Future Hour & Revenge, as as Vic Thatcher and appeared in Blake's 7 Dawn of the Gods as Groff.

With Troughton away we get lots of activity helping to make up for the first few episodes. There's three main lines of action with Jamie, Zoe, Miss Kelly & Phipps fighting the Ice Warriors on the moon and Radnor & Eldred providing exposition in T-Mat control.

4a 4b

The third line of action opens up when the Ice Warrior T-Mats to Earth and then goes on a rampage outside as we go on location for the first time since The Invasion! Filming occurred on Hampstead Heath on the 19th September 1968.

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This involves another outing for the foam machine, much used in season 5 and last seen simulating lava in The Dominators/The Mind Robber.

4 Location 6 4 Location 3

It's also the only time the Ice Warriors get go on location and we know that Steve Peters, who later plays on of the other astronauts in the Fergusson directed Ambassadors of Death, is the actor inside the costume on this occasion.

4 IW Location 1 4 IW Location 2

Director Michael Ferguson makes great use of the alien showing it wading through the foam, in silhouette and from a distance.

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There's a number of other actors on location as security guards. We know Derrick Slater is there because he gets to speak and is thus credited!

4 Guard Slater 4 Guards

According to Richard Bignell's Doctor Who On Location the other actors involved were Alan Chuntz, who was Harvey in episode 1, Derek Chafer, who we last saw as a Cyberman in The Invasion episode 6, and Jimmy Haswell. It's his first appearance in some while having been a Guard in The Massacre but IMDB think he's in 3 stories out of 6 now returning as a Pirate in The Space Pirates, a Prisoner in The War Games and Corporal Champion in The Ambassadors of Death, Michael Fergusson's next Doctor Who job, before taking another absence followed by playing a Beat Policeman in The Talons of Weng-Chiang. He'd also appear in the missing Out of the Unknown The Yellow Pill (director M Fergusson)as a Plain clothes Man and the Blake's 7 episodes The Harvest of Kairos as a Labourer and Children of Auron as an Auron Technician.

However since Chafer & Haswell are credited by IMDB as extras on Space Pirates episode 4 and not for Seeds of Death 4, I'm a little suspicious about their credits there! I can also see see the third Ambassadors of Death Astronaut, after Steve Peters & Rik Felgate credited to that story, and not this, so there's another little alarm bell about the accuracy of some of the IMDB credits around now!

4 Guard 2 4 Guard 1

There's also some guards briefly featuring in the studio and this is probably where IMDB got their credit for Peter Roy as a Guard from episode 1 from. We listed his extensive CV recently in The Invasion episode 7. Rather unhelpfully they don't list any uncredited guards for this episode.

Hurrah, it's also a return for our old friends the Power Station panels! They've been in the Moonbase control room every episode but this is our first real good look at them.

The white one is a familiar site from Salamander's Office in the bunker in Enemy of the World and makes a fleeting appearance in web of Fear 1.

4 Panel 1 4 Panel 2

If the black panel has appeared before then it was in Fury From The Deep, where the black versions of the panels make their Doctor Who debut. It's very similar to a white one we've seen before as far back as The War Machines, with the "BBC Schools Clock" pattern of round dots but that one had two square meters next to each other instead of above like here.

Friday, 8 February 2019

234 The Seeds of Death: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Seeds of Death: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 08 February 1969
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Michael Ferguson
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks)

"Your leader will be angry if you kill me, I'm a genius!"

Phipps accidentally makes contact with Doctor's rocket. Once the T-Mat is reactivated, the Ice Warriors reveal themselves. The technicians from earth killed and Miss Kelly taken prisoner. The Doctor & Jamie realise from Phipps description that the invaders are Ice Warriors. Phipps reconnects the transmitter to guide them in to land. The Doctor goes to rescue Phipps while Jamie & Zoe refuel the rocket. The Doctor finds Phipps who tells him what has happened and goes to deactivate the T-Mat. Zoe finds the rocket is damaged and can't take off so she and Jamie search for the Doctor. Phipps & The Doctor free Miss Kelly but the Doctor is captured and pleads for his life

WARRIOR: You must be destroyed.
DOCTOR: You've got no orders to kill me. Your leader will want to speak to me!
WARRIOR: Humans are our enemies!
DOCTOR: But I can be useful to you, like Fewsham. Your leader will be angry if you kill me. I'm a genius.
WARRIOR: Genius? You will come with me.
3a 3b

The Ice Warriors instruct Fewsham to dispatch their cargo to Earth. The Doctor is interrogated by Slaar. The Ice Warriors bring a casket of white seed pods to the T-Mat to be sent to Earth. Jamie & Zoe find Phipps & Miss Kelly. They plan to turn Moonbase's heating up to hinder the Ice Warriors. Fewsham distracts their guard so the Doctor can examine the seed pods. Slaar catches him and gets the Doctor to pick one of the pods up which explodes gassing him. An Ice Warrior find Jamie, Zoe, Miss Kelly & Phipps in the Power Room but they kill it using the solar energy supply. The Martians have the first seed pod T-Mated to T-Mat control in London where it starts to grow...

3y 3z

Ah that's a bit more like it. The Tardis crew are finally in the centre of the action getting to interact with what's left of the moonbase crew and the Martians. We also actually get to see the Seeds in the story's title too!

Poor Michael Ferguson, who previously directed one of my favourite Hartnell's The War Machines, has been trying his best with clever shots and some decent model work but he's not had anything decent to work with until now. However in this episode he does produce a Doctor Who cliche for the first time that we've seen: The Doctor repetitively runs up and down the same corridor set, but filmed from different angles, to make us think he's running down different corridors. This trick may have been used previously but lost: This is the first time I can recall seeing it.

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We also get a good look at the Ice Warrior's guns here. The lozenge shaped weapon on the forearm is now replaced by a tube having exactly the same effect. It's these tubes I associate with being the Ice Warriors weapons.

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The reason for the difference can be put down to the Ice Warriors in their eponymously titles first story being from an earlier point in time, having been trapped in the glacier from an earlier Ice Age. These Ice Warriors are from the era th story is set and, chronologically speaking, it's the first time we see humanity meeting the Ice Warriors in the original Doctor Who series. However their one new series appearance in Cold War pre dates this with the events of that episode being set in 1983.

Part of the reason my opinion has jumped up this episode might be to do with who actually wrote it. Brian Hayles, the credited writer, has a mixed record for the show in my opinion. We'll ignore the Celestial Toymaker as at least two people rewrote it after he finished it, but the Smugglers is one of my favourite historical stories. The Ice Warriors however was a little variable, but the first two episodes of this story were horribly slow. As of this episode script editor Terrance Dicks steps in and redrafts all the remaining instalments. The story of what happened runs something like this:

Brian Hayles' first go at a second Ice Warriors tale was originally commissioned as The Lords Of The Red Planet in 1967 shortly after The Ice Warriors aired. However the then production team of Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin weren't happy with the story he produced and recommissioned him to write the Seeds of Death. You can find out more about Lords of the Red Planet, by buying the Nothing At The End Of The Lane Prison in Space scriptbook which contains the script for Prison in Space and also looks at the intended story for this slot.

Seeds of Death itself had a somewhat difficult development with the question as to whether Frazer Hines, who played Jamie, was going to leave or not hanging over and affecting it's writing. The idea was a new companion, Nik would have been introduced in a previous and Hayles' version of the story was written to feature him. When Hines decided to stay, causing the loss of at least one previous story, Hayles ran into trouble which led to Dicks stepping in.

These days a TV script goes through myriad revisions by the writer, a lot easier when they're word processed. Terrance Dicks has said his preferred method for working was to give the author one, maybe two, stabs at the script and then if it wasn't working take away the script and sort it out him self which would appear to be exactly what happens here.

Some inspiration for this serial must be drawn from the US Apollo space program which would out a man on the moon during the year that Seeds of Death was transmitted. Lots of elements of the journey to the moon and landing have the hint of a basis in real life. Doctor Who had already been to the Moon in 1967's the Moonbase.

Episode 3 of the Seeds of Death is the only episode of this story that was missing from the BBC Film & Video library in 1978. A copy was recovered from BBC Enterprises, along with duplicate 16mm prints of the rest of the episodes a short while later.

Friday, 1 February 2019

233 The Seeds of Death: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Seeds of Death: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 01 February 1969
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Michael Ferguson
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks)

"Hello, Earth Control this is Moonbase. Emergency, Emergency!"

Hahahaha. I pressed the Play All option on the DVD for episode 1, but I've dropped into the Select Episode menu to pick episode two. There's the audio for a trailer for the story playing over the selection screen.

The Ice Warriors force technician Fewsham to fix the damaged emergency T-Mat link. Eldred says he's too old to go up in his rocket so the Doctor, Jamie & Zoe volunteer. The rocket is prepared for launch. The Ice Warriors on the moon hunt the missing technician Phipps. The Ice Warriors tell Fewsham they do not need an army to take Earth and it will be there's for the taking very soon. The rocket launches, but the video communication link cuts out. The Doctor temporarily restores communication before smoke fills the cabin. The emergency T-Mat link is reactivated: Miss Kelly and a technician team use it to go to the moon. Phipps attempts to contact Earth control. Phipps kills an Ice Warrior using solar power but in the process cuts out the homing beam that the Doctor's rocket is homing in on leaving them unable to land....

Another slow episode here. There's more Doctor, but he's separated from the main action for most of the episode. Even when he travels to the moon someone else from Earth gets there first. But the Ice Warriors have more of a screen presence here even if they do look like they're waddling down the corridors of the moonbase. Like the Ice Warriors point of view shots in episode one, there's a couple of nice little touches here. I liked the round monitor screen showing the action as the countdown occurred.

2 Monitor 2 QR2

However some of the other screen effects are a trifle odd and I swear one of them looks like a QR code/Datamatrix, one of those black & white squares you can read with a mobile, pop up on the screen (thanks to Mohamed Ansar and Tim Walker for reminding me what they were called when I couldn't remember!)

I quite like spotting reused props in the series, and there's a few oddities in Eldred's museum that LOOK like they should be from something but I can't identify.

The first are the two models on the tabletop. They look very well made so I'm thinking Thunderbirds/Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons or Out of the Unknown

2 Prop 2 2 Prop 1

The second is a robot in the corner of the room! No idea where that might be from!

Episode 2 of the Seeds of Death exists as a high quality fine grain 16mm print. When Seeds of Death was released as a compilation video in the 1980s the jump in quality from episode 1 to 2 was huge and noticed by almost everyone who watched it.

Ronald Leigh-Hunt plays Commander Radnor here and will be back as Commander Stevenson in Revenge of the Cybermen. He plays Attlebish in the Out of the Unknown episode The Naked Sun, which although missing is reconstructed on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. You can also see him in The Professionals episode Stake Out as Doctor Binney and Blake's 7 Children of Auron as C. A. One.

1 1 Radnor 1 2 Eldred

Professor Eldred is played by Philip Ray who was born in 1897 and so is one of the earliest born actors to appear in Doctor Who! his onscreen career goes all the way back to 1935 when he made an appearance in a film called 1935!

Louise Pajo plays Gia Kelly. She's got two episodes of UFO to her name appearing as a nurse in Kill Straker! and as Miss Scott in Court Martial.

1 3 Kelly 1 4 Technician

Monique Bryant appears throughout this story, uncredited as a Technician. She was in the previous Ice Warriors story in a similar role and returns as a Woman Watching Show in Snakedance. she's also been in Blake's 7 as a Mutoid in Project Avalon and Moonbase 3 as a Technician in Achilles Heel, Castor and Pollux & View of a Dead Planet. IMDB think she's Michael E Briant's wife.

Providing the voice of the T-Mat computer is John Witty who seem to specialise in similar voice roles. He was in Out of the Unknown 1+1=1.5 as a Computer voice and Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em as the Computer Voice in The Labour Exchange.

Two technicians are listed on this episode. Royston Farrell was a Guardian in The Return & The Bomb, the third & fourth episodes of The Ark. He'll be back as a Technician in The Claws of Axos and a Guard in The Curse of Peladon. Eric Kent is making his Doctor Who debut as another Technician. He returns in The Time Monster as a Roundhead Soldier. He's got 3 Doomwatch to his name appearing as a Man in The Islanders, a Passer-by in The Human Time Bomb and a Detective Constable in Fire and Brimstone. He appears three times in The Sweeney tv series as a Man Playing Slot Machine in Jigsaw, Haskins' driver in In from the Cold and a Flying Squad Officer in Victims plus is Eric in the film Sweeney 2. He's a prison inmate in the first series of Porridge appearing in The Harder They Fall, A Night In and The Hustler and a Prisoner in Blake's 7. On the big screen he's a Dig Site Worker in the dreadful The Terrornauts and was in the film version of Quatermass and the Pit as a Sapper.

But possibly the biggest named debut in this story goes to an uncredited voice: Michael Wisher! It's not 100% clear which voice he's doing here but, knowing they're dubbed in later stories, I think it could be the individual Ice Warriors. He'll return as John Wakefield in The Ambassadors of Death, Rex Farrel in Terror of the Autons, Kalik in Carnival of Monsters and a Dalek Voice in Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks, Death to the Daleks and Genesis of the Daleks where he plays his career defining role as Davros, the Daleks' creator. He returns in the next story, but filmed prior, Revenge of the Cybermen, as Magrik and then plays Morelli in the first three episodes of Planet of Evil before voicing Ranjit in the fourth. Elsewhere he was in Moonbase 3 Departure and Arrival as Harry Sanders and voiced Daleks for their 1973 Blue Peter and 1975 Jim'll Fix It appearances.