Friday, 29 March 2019

241 The Space Pirates: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Space Pirates: Episode Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 March 1969
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Michael Hart
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)

"Oh, come on now. If I was in cahoots with the pirates, why would I be trying to rescue you?"

The Tardis crew find the injured Lt Sorba, seized from station Alpha 4. General Hermack retrieves Major Warne and they pursue a Beta Dart used by the pirates. The Doctor opens the audio lock on the door of the cell they fell into. They find Clancy and escape to Madeline Issigri's office telling her of the pirates on Ta but when Caven enters killing Sorba they realise she's in league with them.

Finally an episode that's a bit more like what it should be. Yes they're in a cell for much of the episode but they're trying to escape and then do something when they do get out.

Last story we got a Moonbase and weather control, harking back to Troughton's fourth story, The Moonbase. Now we get this:

JAMIE: Oh, look, Doctor, will you stop it?
ZOE: What's that noise? It's getting on everybody's nerves.
DOCTOR: You want to get out of here, don't you?
JAMIE: Oh, that's not going to get us out.
DOCTOR: Yes, Jamie, it is! An audio lock is a simple solenoid switch which is only activated by a particular sound. It's just a question of finding it, that's all.
JAMIE: Oh look, I can't stand any more!
DOCTOR: Jamie! Jamie!
(Jamie snatches the tuning fork and throws it down. A section of wall slides open.)
DOCTOR: Jamie, you found the right note!
That's a rehash from Power of the Daleks where the Doctor attempts to escape his cell, which also has an audio lock. He uses a glass of water to generate the note there!
HERMACK: Switch video through here. We might as well all enjoy this.
Oh if only we could!

I've recognised another actor in the series! Jack May, playing General Hermack was a noted voice actor who I recalled as being the voice of voice of Igor in Count Duckula when I last blogged this story. Since then I've looked at his substantial IMDB entry! He was in the acclaimed An Age of Kings BBC production of William Shakespeare plays and, like many of the cast, performed multiple roles over the plays. He then appeared in A for Andromeda as Major Quadring in The Miracle & The Last Mystery followed by the Out of the Unknown episode Stranger in the Family where he played Evans. This first season episode exists and can be seen on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. He has a recurring role in Adam Adamant Lives! as the butler William E. Simms and appears in the UFO episode Confetti Check A-O.K. as the English Delegate. I really should have remembered his performance as Garkbit, the head waiter at the Restaurant At The End Of The Universe in the TV Version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

4 May 1 4 May 2

Jack May, playing General Hermack, Theoden What I did recall is that he appeared in one of my favourite radio series: He's Theoden in the acclaimed Radio 4 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings which also features Donald Gee, Major Ian Warne, as Radagast the Brown. Other Doctor Who personnel involved include Gerard Murphy (Richard in Silver Nemesis) as the Narrator, Bill Nighy (the guide in Vincent & The Doctor) as Sam, David Collings (Mawdryn in Mawdryn Undead) as Legolas, Peter Howell (The Investigator in the Mutants) as Saruman, Philip Voss (Acomat in Marco Polo & Wahed in The Dominators) as the Lord of the Nazgûl, Michael Spice (the voice of Morbius in The Brain of Morbius and Magnus Greel in The Talons of Weng-Chiang) as A Nazgûl/Háma and Stephen Thorne (Azal in the Daemons, Omega in the Three Doctors and an Eldred in Hand of Fear) as Treebeard. It's fab, buy the CDs.

So back to Phil's 2011 listen to this story for blogging purposes. If you recall I was binging the last four episodes on a train journey from Swindon to Richmond to get them out the way:

Right my packed Train has just pulled out of Didcot Parkway. I fell over getting on the train at Swindon and had to turf someone out the disabled seating. Time for Space Pirates 4
It's been 3 weeks since we last heard of Lieutenant Sorba, who was left behind with a crew of guards on station Alpha 4 and presumed dead. I'd forgotten about him and not realised it was the same character who I heard briefly in in episode 1! He's played by Nick Zaran, but is one of two major character in this story we have no visual record of. If you want to see what the actor looks like to give you a clue then he's got some pictures on

IMDB reckons that Bill Richards is a Pirate in this episode. He'd been a sailor in Flight Through Eternity, the third episode of The Chase and a Monoid in The Ark and would return as a Union Soldier in The War Games. He's also down as appearing in episode 1, which is a possibility but I'm always suspicious of episode 1 imdb supporting artist credits as extras for the entire story tend to be logged against the first episode.

I'm also suspicious of the presence of James Haswell & Derek Chafer who IMDB both list as extras. Jimmy Haswell. If he's in this episode then it's his third appearance in having been a Guard in The Massacre and a similar role in the location sequences in Seeds of Death 4. IMDB think he's in 4 stories out of 6 now he also returns as a Prisoner in The War Games and Corporal Champion in The Ambassadors of Death 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 as a Plainclothes Man and the Blake's 7 episodes The Harvest of Kairos as a Labourer and Children of Auron as an Auron Technician. Derek Chafer has a large Doctor Who CV. He's worked for Douglas Camfield on Doctor Who playing a Saxon in The Time Meddler, which was his first appearance on the show. He returns as a Greek Soldier in The Myth Makers, a Guard in The Masscre, a Lynch Mob Member in The Gunfighters, a Cyberman in The Moonbase episode 3 & Invasion 7 and, like Jimmy Haswell, a guard in the location sequences in Seeds of Death 4. It's the Seeds of Death roles for both of these which make me suspicious as to their appearance here as neither Chafer or Haswell have an IMDB credit for that episode and do here so I'm thinking that someone confused the stories when making the IMDB entries. He returns a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode, a Prisoner in The Mind of Evil, a Guard in The Curse of Peladon, an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks, a Guard in The Monster of Peladon and and the Armourer in The Masque of Mandragora. The year after this episode was shown Chafer would appear in the missing third season Out of the Unknown episode 1+1=1.5 as a Man and has three Doomwatch appearances as Men in Project Sahara, Re-Entry Forbidden and The Red Sky all of which can be seen on The Doomwatch DVD.

However we're on more solid ground with Steve Peters, who was also in the Seeds of Death 4 location sequences as the Ice Warrior, and is playing Pirate Guard here. He's got a speaking line somewhere so gets a credit and I can see his name right the way back in the Doctor Who Program Guide! He'd previously been an extra in The Romans and the leader Roboman in Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. as well as an Ice Warrior in Seeds of Death and would return as both astronaut Lefee and his alien substitute in The Ambassadors of Death. 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 Ferguson, who helmed Seeds of Death and Ambassadors of Death! 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.

Friday, 22 March 2019

240 The Space Pirates: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Space Pirates: Episode Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 March 1969
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Michael Hart
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.4 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)

"That's what this whole spaceship's made of, tillium. Lasted me a lifetime round the galaxy. Makes a lousy cup of tea!"

Clancy has just stunned Jamie: he rescues them from the station segment, deploying copper needles which immobilise Major Warne's ship. Zoe works out where the space pirates went: The planet Ta where Clancy wishes to hide under the nose of Madeline Issigri. Pirate leader Craven orders his subordinate Dervish to route the space station segments to Lobos, where Clancy's headquarters is located, to throw suspicion on him. Once on Ta The Doctor, Jamie & Zoe leave the ship but are chased by pirate guards and end up falling down a chasm.

Oooooh Clancy is annoying! It's a somewhat eccentric performance from Gordon Gostelow with an awfully annoying accent! He's heavily featured in this episode which, combined with the rather rough quality of the audio recordings, makes it a job to follow what's going on. Thankfully I've found the scripts online!

3 Clancy 1 3 Clancy 2

Gostelow is not an actor I'm familiar with but, like Jack May who plays General Hermack, he appears in the acclaimed An Age of Kings BBC production of William Shakespeare plays.

Not a lot of the credited cast of this story have prior/future Who form. Donald Gee playing Major Warne in this Troughton's penultimate story later returns as Eckersley in The Monster of Peladon which is Pertwee's penultimate story.

3 Gee 3 Layton

One if the most recognisable faces here is obscured by a moustache the owner doesn't usually wear! George Layton (2nd March 1943) plays Technician Penn. Famed for his role as medical student Paul Collier in Doctor in the House he's got an extensive TV CV both writing and performing. He memorably appears as Australian Ray Stackpole in Golden Fleece & Trojan Bus, two episodes of The Sweeney.

Now we're back on audio we can pick up the story of how Phil listened to these episodes for the first version of this blog which was published daily.

As you'll know I try to watch/listen to an episode of Who every day, and then write about it. Sometimes I'll do more than one and that's why at time of writing, I'm 50 episodes in front (Enemy of the World 4 went up today) Having watched Space Pirates 2 at the weekend and thoroughly despised the experience, a train journey on a Bank Holiday Monday has given me the opportunity to deal with the remaining four episode of this story and the last four missing episodes. We start with Philip on Swindon station and Jamie lying on the floor.....

Friday, 15 March 2019

239 The Space Pirates: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Space Pirates: Episode Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 15 March 1969
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Michael Hart
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 6.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Lost In Time

"Not only do I think that Milo Clancey is in league with the argonite pirates, I think he is the mastermind behind the whole organisation, which is precisely why I let him go!"

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are trapped in their section of the space station running out of air. The V-Ship encounters Milo Clancy in his ship the Liz-79. General Hermack dispatches Major Warne in a minnow ship to follow him but proceeds himself to Ta, where he speaks to Madeleine Issigri, the head of the Issigri Mining Corporation formed by her father and Clancy. Clancy finds the space station segment and enters it, shooting Jamie.

I know what we'll do: after having the Tardis crew absent for most of the first episode, lets lock them in a room for the second separate from the rest of the story and what little action there is!

2 Tardis 2 Crew 2

The space ship crew are as wooden as my dining room table. Yes that is a domestic television set behind Hermack & Warne there! And as for the "eccentric" Milo Clancy he's nothing but an annoying imitation of a wild west prospector!

3 Clancy 1 2 Model 1

The model work of Warne's Minnow launching I liked, but that leads to him spending the rest of the episode sitting by himself and, like the pirates in episode 1, wearing a stupid helmet!

2 Warne Pilot 2 V Ship

While I liked the Minnow launch the X-ship itself doesn't do anything for me. It's just too flat and lacking in detail.

I'm sorry it's just a boring, awful, episode. I'll be honest: Given the opportunity to have a missing episode of any other story back in return for this I'd happily sling this into the incinerator. It's a shame it exists and none of Power of the Daleks or Fury from the Deep does.

Me and Space Pirates 2 have history. It was on the Troughton Years VHS and I hated it then. Why was this on the tape and not Web of Fear 1? It has been speculated that it owes it's early release on video to being the only surviving episode of the first Doctor Who story that John Nathan-Turner worked on as a floor assistant. Eleven years later JNT would become Doctor Who's producer and in 1991 he was helping BBC Video with their Doctor Who range and was responsible for producing the Years tapes of orphaned episodes from missing stories.

And speaking of orphaned episode, this is the last one. So we bid farewell to the mighty Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD which contains the most recent release of Space Pirates 2 as well as 17 other orphaned episode, those from the stories of which 50% or less existed at the time of it's release. The episodes on lost in time are:

The Crusade: 1 & 3
The Daleks’ Master Plan: 2, 5 & 10
The Celestial Toymaker: 4
The Underwater Menace: 3
The Moonbase: 2 & 4
The Faceless Ones: 1 & 3
The Evil of the Daleks: 2
The Abominable Snowmen: 2
The Enemy of the World 3
The Web of Fear: 1
The Wheel in Space: 3 & 6
The Space Pirates: 2
At the time four stories with missing existed with more than 50% of their episodes
The Reign of Terror: 1, 2, 3 & 6
The Tenth Planet: 1, 2 & 3
The Underwater Menace: 2 & 3
The Ice Warriors: 1, 4, 5 & 6
The Invasion: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 & 8
These stories were released on DVD with animated reconstruction as was The Moonbase.

Since then Enemy of the World has been returned complete and at the same time Web of Fear 1 has been reunited with four of it's missing episodes. Web of Fear's DVD budget and limited pre release time meant that it got a Telesnap reconstruction. When the returned Underwater Menace 2, paired with the existing episode 3, got an eventual DVD release they too were accompanied by reconstructions rather than animation. The returned Galaxy Four episode 3 meanwhile was released on a DVD with a special edition of the Aztecs.

I love my existing Lost In Time set and dig it out regularly but as several of the episodes on it are now on story DVD releases and there's one orphan episode elsewhere perhaps it's time for a new edition of Lost in Time consisting of the following episodes:

The Crusade: 1 & 3
Galaxy Four: 3
The Daleks’ Master Plan: 2, 5 & 10
The Celestial Toymaker: 4
The Faceless Ones: 1 & 3
The Evil of the Daleks: 2
The Abominable Snowmen: 2
The Wheel in Space: 3 & 6
The Space Pirates: 2
New commentaries for these episodes would give an incentive to Doctor Who fans to buy this set.

Isn't it odd The Crusade hasn't got a DVD release with animation/reconstruction when the other two 2 episode existing out of 4 stories have? The Crusade was certainly sold abroad wider than the two Troughton tales so the chances of it's recovery are somewhat better, maybe that's influenced the decision?

With that little milestone out the way we'll be counting down the remaining missing episodes: Four, and they're all in this story. From the start of the next story every Doctor Who episode exists. But there's another count running too: there's only fourteen Troughton episodes left for us to enjoy.

Friday, 8 March 2019

238 The Space Pirates: Episode One

EPISODE: The Space Pirates: Episode One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 08 March 1969
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Michael Hart
SCRIPT EDITOR: Derrick Sherwin
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume 5 (1967-1969)

"In this sector for some time now, Earth Government has been aware that a highly organised gang of criminals have been roaming the space ways, and preying upon defenceless cargo ships." For the first time this season we're listening on CD instead of watching an episode!

Space Beacons are being destroyed and plundered for the argonite used in their construction. A V-ship from Earth investigates and, having narrowly missed the gang of space pirates, starts putting teams onto the remaining space beacons in the area. The Tardis arrives on beacon Alpha 4 but so do the pirates who kill the team, led by Lt Sorba, that had been left there. The Pirates break the space station up with the Tardis crew trapped in a different section to their ship!

The Space Pirates: Not to be confused with the CBeebies show of the same name or the Doctor Who serial the Pirate Planet. In fact listening to it the thing that came to mind was Star Trek with the concept of a patrolling space fleet. However it's virtually impossible for Star Trek to have had an influence on this Doctor Who story as it hadn't yet been shown in the UK. That would soon change so it's not inconceivable that the Doctor Who team may have had a sneak peak at the BBC's new American import. Indeed there's something "Captain's Log" about Hermack's little scene setting speech:

HERMACK: "In this sector for some time now, Earth Government has been aware that a highly organised gang of criminals have been roaming the space ways, and preying upon defenceless cargo ships. The main target of these criminals is argonite, the most valuable mineral known to man and so far only found on the planets of the Fourth Sector. A government space beacon marking the approaches to the planet New Sarum has ceased transmitting its navigation signal. These beacons, as you know, are constructed of argonite. It is my belief that the criminals are attacking the government navigation beacons and plundering the argonite."
The noise the pirates use to detonate the explosives sounds very familiar, I'm pretty certain it's the Yeti spheres' beeping communication noise.

1a 1b

The Space Pirates is a six part story but only episode 2 survives today making it the least complete season six story. Beyond that episode there are very very few visual references for this story as it was broadcast after John Cura stopped taking telesnaps for the program. However a small amount of model footage & a spacewalk sequence for this episode exists, most of which is from the opening moments of this episode, and can be found on the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD.

Some publicity photos were taken, which appear on the BBC website, and they give us our only look at Space Pirates Dervish & Caven, who's costumes make them look like refugees from a 1930s Flash Gordon serial!

1 Dervish Caven 1 Caven

Dervish, with the moustache, is played by Brian Peck. He'd been in the film version of Quatermass and the Pit as a Technical Officer and appears in the missing Doomwatch episode - Without the Bomb as Dr. James Fulton. One of his Z-Cars episodes, Appearance in Court, is one of a number from 1962 that feature Dudley Foster as Detective Inspector Dunn. Foster is playing the other Space Pirate here, Maurice Caven, but his CV features nothing else I've seen him in.

I'm always a little suspicious of IMDB entries for the first episode of a story as they appear to lump into them extras credits from other episodes. However we know there are other pirates with Caven & Dervish, not least the two in spacesuits that we can see footage of. A consultation with m'learned colleagues suggests the actors in question are John Caesar & Les Conrad. John Caesar was previously a Man in Market in The Romans, an Egyptian Warrior in The Dalek Masterplan, Monoid Four in The Ark, a Cowboy in The Gunfighters, a Guard in The Macra Terror and returns as C.P.O. Myers in The Sea Devils and the R / T Soldier in Invasion of the Dinosaurs. He's also been in A for Andromeda as a MP Corporal in The Monster.

1c 1f

The other spacesuited pirate is Les Conrad. He was previously a Tavern Customer in The Massacre and returns as an 1862 Union Soldier in The War Games episode four, an Alien Guard in The War Games episode seven, a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death & Terror of the Autons, a Prisoner in The Mind of Evil, a Thal Survivor in Genesis of the Daleks and Mestor's Guard in The Twin Dilemma. That story features a pair of twin with the same surname and m'learned colleague Mr Hadoke confirms that they are his sons. He was in the A For Andromeda squeal The Andromeda Breakthrough as a British Soldier in Gale Warning, Doomwatch Burial at Sea as a Man, Blake's 7: Gold as a Space Princess Guard / Passenger and the Douglas Camfield Beau Geste adaptation as a Legionnaire .

The most notable person in this episode that we don't have a picture of is Nick Zaran who plays Lieutenant Joe Sorba, the head of the team deposited & massacred on Beacon Alpha Four. No can see pictures of him from other productions on

There's a few uncredited Space Guards in this episode who are possibly the team left with Sorba on Alpha 4. Peter Roy was a Greek Soldier in The Myth Makers, an Extra in The Highlanders, an Airport Police Sergeant in The Faceless Ones, a UNIT / Bunker Man in The Invasion and a Guard in The Seeds of Death. He returns as an uncredited extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians, Technic Obarl in Hand of Fear, a Guard in The Face of Evil, an Extra in The Sun Makers, a Gallifreyan Guard in Invasion of Time, a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor, a Policeman in Logopolis, an Ambulance Man in Castrovalva, a Man in Market in Snakedance and a Walk on in Resurrection of the Daleks. Like many extras used by Doctor Who in the seventies he has Blake's 7 form too appearing as a Citizen / Prisoner in The Way Back & Space Fall, an Alta Guard in Redemption, an Albian Rebel in Countdown and a Federation Trooper / Rebel in Rumours of Death. In the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy he plays the Limousine Chauffeur in episode 2. He's got a notable role in the James Bond film Thunderball where he played British Secret Agent 006. He has a less obvious appearance in Return of the Jedi as Major Olander Brit but that hasn't stopped the character from getting a Wookipedia page!

It's Clive Rogers first Doctor Who appearance that IMDB is aware of. They think he returns as a Sniper in The War Games episode two, a Resistance Man in The War Games episode five, a Brother in The Masque of Mandragora and a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet as well as appearing in the second season Doomwatch episode The Iron Doctor as a Visitor which you can see on The Doomwatch DVD.

Among the Space Corps Technicians, presumable the Spaceship crew, we supposedly have Neville Simons, also making his Doctor Who debut. He'll be back as in the War Games as a German / Roman Soldiers / Alien Student (IMDB can't make it's mind up) and as Michaels and his Alien Astronaut counterpart in The Ambassadors of Death. Now this credit make me think. The other two astronauts both appear in The Seeds of Death, directed by Michael Ferguson as is The Ambassadors of Death. There's also a number of people credited on IMDB for episode 4 of this story that we know were in Seeds of Death, because the location paperwork says so, and aren't credited there. So I have a little doubt as to if this chap is actually here!

It's a quick return to scripting duties for Robert Holmes here, fresh from his debut show the Krotons. While this serial was in production Terrance Dicks was busy sorting out The Seeds of Death and writing The War Games with Malcolm Hulke so Derrick Sherwin is one last time credited as Script Editor. However he's by this point effectively producing the show due Peter Bryant's ill health. This is the last story for which Bryant will be credited as Producer.

1y 1z

First time Doctor who director Michael Hart is in charge for this serial. Although he spent a decent amount of time working at the BBC, including directing both Compact & Z-Cars, this is his only engagement for the show.

This episode is the last one recorded in Lime Grove Studio D which had been a regular recording venue for the series since the very first episode. From now on the series would be usually recorded at BBC Television Centre. This story also sees the first work on the show for floor assistant John Turner. More commonly credited as John Nathan-Turner, he would become Doctor Who's producer a decade later.

Given what will come later it's only fair I tell you that when I blogged this episode the first time I listened to it at 8am one Saturday morning riding a number 13/14 bus to the Morrisons in Swindon. That saddens me a bit as it makes me realise quite how much my mobility has decreased in the intervening years.

Friday, 1 March 2019

237 The Seeds of Death: Episode Six

EPISODE: The Seeds of Death: Episode Six
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 01 March 1969
WRITER: Brian Hayles
DIRECTOR: Michael Ferguson
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
RATINGS: 7.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations Box Set - Volume 2 (Seeds of Death, Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks)

"I ordered you to be destroyed!" "Well, you weren't very successful, were you?"

Jamie distracts the Ice Warrior and at the last moment Zoe opens the door to admit the Doctor. They find Weather Control's solar energy room securing themselves inside. The Warrior hunts down the human guards. The Doctor rigs up a solar energy weapon and uses it to kill the Warrior. Miss Kelly duplicates the Ice Warriors homing beam for the satellite. The Doctor works to bypass the weather controls to make it rain. The rocket containing the satellite lifts off. The Doctor T-Mats to the room with his solar energy device to knock out the Martian homing device. He kills the Warrior in the control room and is working on the Martian homing device when Slaar returns destroying his weapon. The Ice Warrior fleet is drawn away by the satellite towards the sun: The Doctor's sabotage was successful. Jamie gets Zoe to T-Mat him to the moon where he and the Doctor distract a Warrior causing Slaar's death before dealing with the final Warrior. As normality is restored The Doctor and friends sneak away to the Tardis

In the Second Doctor's fourth story we ended up on a moonbase dealing with weather control. For his ante-penultimate we've ended up on a Moonbase throughout and, at the end, the solution to the problem of the seeds is provided by weather control. In The Moonbase the weather control was provided by the Graviton on the moon whilst here the precise mechanics aren't discussed and seem to be happening at a much more local level.

One minor oops in this episode:

KELLY: We finished and installed the homing device. It's working perfectly.
DOCTOR: Well done.
KELLY: Doctor?
DOCTOR: Yes, Miss Kelly?
KELLY: I know we're sending up a false signal, but aren't some of the Martian ships bound to follow the right one?
DOCTOR: There isn't going to be a right one. There's only going to be ours, the wrong one, and that's going to lead the entire Martian fleet into an orbit around the sun.
ZOE: What about Slaar's signal?
How does Zoe know the Ice Lord is called Slaar? He's not been named previously in the story!

The Doctor seems to acknowledge it's use too

DOCTOR: Oh, obviously that has to be stopped.
ELDRED: But how?
DOCTOR: Well, as soon as the satellite is up, I shall T-Mat myself to the moon and destroy their homing device.
KELLY: They'll kill you on sight.
DOCTOR: Oh, I don't think so. I've rigged up a rather interesting little device here.
KELLY: What's it for?
DOCTOR: Well, it's a development of the solar energy device that you so successfully used on the moon, only I've succeeded in rendering it portable. I've got a solar battery.
Which brings me on to the major problem I have with this episode: how much killing the Doctor does. It's rare to see him kill a creature, and when he does it's not usually as up close and personal, yet here he personally "shoots" three Ice Warriors with the solar energy weapon. It's positively bloodthirsty compared to how he normally is!

6a 6b

This story has been a reminder, almost at it's last breath, that 60s Doctor Who is mainly an episodic beast rather than a series of serials. The first two episodes were very slow, with the main cast separated from the action and were rather poor. The last four are pacey action episodes that have engaged me more. Here we can credit it to Terrance Dicks taking over writing duties, but for most of the sixties it was down to Doctor Who being recorded an episode a week. This schedule was having an exhausting effect on the actors: we've been turning over at least one companion a year since the start and already this season both Patrick Troughton and Fraser Hines have announced they would be leaving with Troughton very much blaming the production schedule. As we enter the Seventies the production pattern for the show would change and the show would loose the individual feel of each episode. As a complete story, however, Seeds of Death is holed bellow the waterline by those first two episodes which by knowing I have to get through them first deter me from wanting to watch the story more often.

We do have to note a few minor milestone here: Seeds of Death is the last Troughton story to feature a monster protagonist. It's also the end of a 14 episode existing run from Invasion 5, through to 8, all four episodes of the Krotons and all 6 episodes of this story.

6c 6d

Seeds of Death was the last Ice Warriors story to be novelised, being adapted by Terrance Dicks, and was released as Target book number 112.

Seeds of Death was released on video in 1985, becoming the fourth Doctor Who story issued on that format after Revenge of the Cybermen, an edited down Brain of Morbius and Pyramids of Mars. It was the first six parter, the first black & white story and thus the first Troughton story to be sold on Video. Like all the Doctor Who stories sold in the eighties it was edited into a compilation version , the only black & white story to suffer this fate, and was one of only three compilation videos not to get an episodic re-release. The other two were the Time Warrior & Talons of Weng Chiang.

It was the second Troughton story to be released on DVD and has had a special edition version released as part of Doctor Who Revisitations Volume 2 with Carnival of Monsters & Resurrection of the Daleks.