tirsdag den 31. marts 2009

Who Review #68 - Frontier in Space

The TARDIS makes a forced materialisation when it nealy crashes into an Earth spaceship in hyperspace. A sound is generated and the humans see a Draconian battlecruiser; when Jo and the Doctor meet some of the crew, Jo sees a Drashig and the crew see draconians. Back on Earth, the Draconian ambassador and the President of Earth argue: they accuse each other of breaking a peace treaty and of attacking each other's ships. The Doctor and Jo are held in a cell; there, the Doctor suggests the sound is used to trigger a fear response, so people see what they fear most. The attacking ship docks, Jo and the Doctor are led to the hatch and Ogrons break in. The Doctor is shot with a stun gun; the Ogrons steal the cargo, including the TARDIS. The Earth rescue ship docks and Jo and the Doctor are accused of aiding the Draconians.

The Doctor and Jo are arrested and locked in a cell again. The ship returns to Earth; and there, the prisoners are taken before the President, Ge. Williams and the Draconian Ambassador. The accusations continue whilst the Doctor tries to explain a third party must be at work, wishing to cause a war. The Draconians discuss the attacks at the embassy; they plan to break the Doctor and Jo out of detention so they can question them. They capture the Doctor, whilst Jo remains in the hands of the humans. The Doctor tries to convince the Draconians but they believe him to be working for Williams; the Doctor fights his way out and is recaptured by humans. Back at the cell, Jo hears the same noise as she did on the Earth ship. Ogrons blast their way into the complex.

The Ogron attack is foiled. The humans saw Draconians, not Ogrons, and so the diplomatic relations break down further, whilst the Doctor is subjected to the Mind Probe. (Good old Mind Probe! A classic in the show.) The Doctor destroyes the mind probe when he tells them the truth; but he is still not believed. The Doctor is sentanced to imprisonment on the Moon. There the Doctor meets Professor Dale and Patel, who are imprisoned for membership of the anti-Govt. Peace Party. The President sees the commisioner from Sirius 4, who has come to collect Jo and the Doctor - it is the Master! He takes Jo and tells her that he was surprised to see the Ogrons return to their home planet with the TARDIS. The Doctor begins planning an escape with the Professor and is believed when he explains the third party at play. One of the guards, Cross, has left two space suits ready for the two of them. Cross locks the airlock and starts to pump out the air; the airtanks are empty.

The Doctor and the Professor are saved by the Master. The Doctor is released into the Master's custody and is reunited with Jo on the Master's spaceship. The Master is taking them to the Ogron planet and intimates that his employers are interested in the Doctor. The Doctor cuts his way out of the cell they are in; then he dons a spacesuit and goes outside the ship. The Master makes a slight course correction, leaving the Doctor stranded. He uses his air as a rocket to propel himself back. Back on the ship, Jo, the Doctor and the Master are captured by Draconians. Ogrons track the ship and follow.

The Draconians lead the prisoners to the Emperor. There the Doctor, as a noble of Draconia, addresses the Emperor, explaining what he has seen. Ogrons raid the throne room and retrieve the Master; one is left behind, though, and the Emperor sees that the sound has been used to trick the Draconians. The Doctor, Jo and the Prince head back for Earth with the Ogron. However, the Ogron ship picks them up. They recapture the Ogron and take Jo, just escaping an Earth Battlecruiser. The Prince, General Williams, the Doctor and soldiers plan to head for the planet of the Ogrons. The Master tries to hypnotise Jo but she has learnt to avoid that since the last time (Terror of the Autons). So the Master starts to use the fear inducing machine.

Despite seeing a Drashig, a Mutant and a Sea Devil, Jo overcomes the machine. Ogrons destroy two more ships and the cry for war grows stronger. Jo gets food and begins to dig her way out of her cell. The Doctor gets closer to the planet, after they all narrowly escaped being destroyed by an Earth cruiser. Jo radios her position and the trap is sprung as the Master counted on her escape. The Earth group is attacked but the Ogrons run when a creature they fear attacks them. The real force behind the plan to cause war arrives - the Daleks! The Master is allowed to keep the Doctor, whilst the Daleks return to their invasion force. The humans and Draconians escape, and will tell their governments about the Master and Dalek plan, when the Doctor uses the fear inducer, only reversed, to appear as a Dalek to an Ogron. Jo and the Doctor find the TARDIS but he is seriously injured in a struggle; he sends a message to the time lords

This episode would be the last to feature the Master for a number of years - very sadly, Roger Delgado was killed in a car crash shortly after filming. Delgado was the best Master in my opinion - he had such striking, dark features, a marvellous voice and his character wasn't as camp as later versions of the Master.

Frontier... drags a little in places (the Doctor and Jo spend a lot of time being moved about from one prison cell to another!) but is an enjoyable bit of space opera. The Draconians are nice monsters; they aren't really evil or enemies at all, and they are portrayed as an honourable race. (Their culture is based on samurai, really.) Jon Pertwee was particularly fond of the Draconians.

I wonder why the Peace Party were mentioned at all in the script because we don't hear anything at all about them after the Master takes the Doctor into custody. It's all a bit strange really given the people sent to the penal Moon base are political prisoners and there because they protested against the Government.
******

Who Review #67 - Carnival of Monsters

The Carnies, Vorg and Shirna, turn up on the Minorians planet, to show off their monster peepshow. The TARDIS materialises on a ship on the Indian Ocean, not the famous blue planet Metebelis 3. The Doctor and Jo watch two passengers and a crewman return to a lounge after dinner. Suddenly a dinosaur (a Plesiosaur) emerges from the water. They meet the passengers but are regarded as stowaways. The Doctor points out a metal plate to the crewman Andrews but he can't see it. The ship is the SS Bernice, which vanished in 1926 and on the date the Doctor espies on the wall. They get out of the locked cabin and head back to the lounge where they see the three people do exactly the same thing again and once more see the dinosaur. They return to the hold and see a giant hand remove the TARDIS.

The Doctor and Jo meet up with the passengers again and go through the same procedure again. Vorg shows the Minorians the peepshow, where he has the scope set on the ship. Shirna is surprised to see the Doctor and Jo and points out they are new. Jo and the Doctor climb into the machinery of the miniscope. The Minorians plan to destroy the craetures in the scope because it breaks quarantine. The eradicator doesn't destroy the scope. The Minorians Kalik and Orum begin to plot as the eradicator is their only major weapon; they fear the Carnies might be spies. Vorg sets about repairing the scope; he spots Jo and the Doctor crawling about in the circuits. The TARDIS returns to its normal size outside the scope. Jo and the Doctor move into another section of the scope - a wetland area, inhabited by the Drashigs.

A Drashig follows the outward scent of the two; they make a run for it. Kalik is interested in the Drashigs' fearful reputation when Vorg explains. Vorg saves the Doctor and Jo, putting his hand in and shooing the Drashigs. They escape the Drashigs and head for the cave and circuits; resting, the Doctor realises they are in a miniscope. The Drashigs follow the scent and start breaking out of their area and into the miniscope's circuits. Kalik plans to overthrow his brother Zorb. Jo and the Doctor make it back to the ship; Jo is captured and once again goes through being accused of being a stowaway. A Drashig breaks through the hull; dynamite is used against the Drashigs and damages the miniscope. The crew repeat the thing and forget about the Drashigs; The Doctor stumbles out of the miniscope and returns to his normal size.

The Doctor is angry at Vorg for running the miniscope; the latter explains the scope is breaking down and that will kill all the lifeforms in it. Orum has tampered with the eradicator as he and Kalik plot further. Jo is captured and locked in the cabin, where she promptly escapes using her skeleton keys. Kalik and Orum plan to let Drashigs out of the scope, whilst the Doctor wants to return inside. Vorg kills the Drashigs that get out of the scope; and he then flicks a switch on a device which returns the Doctor and Jo to the outside and the creatures back to their time. The humans onboard the SS Bernice are back in 1926 and close to their port of call. The TARDIS takes off as Minorian matters are settled.

Carnival is a bit of fun; Leslie Dwyer (Vorg) and Cheryl Hall (Shirna) are a marvellous double act. The Drashigs are a superb creation and realised well; it's a bit of a shame that they never returned, considering some of the less succesful creatures, which the pleisour was an example of and an omen of what was to come in the Dinosaur Invasion!

Robert Holmes has some social commentary weaved in - how we get our entertainment from TV, for example. The plot to overthrow Zorb and the role of the Functionary Mionrians didn't really seem to have much point; so those subplots seem daft.
******

Who Review #66 - the Three Doctors

Picture: Jon Pertwee (left) and Patrick Troughton (from the bbc.co.uk website).

This story aired from the 30th December 1972 - 20th January 1973 and was a celebration of ten years of the show. (November 1973 would have been more fitting, of course, but the show had a run/TV schedule from - roughly - January to April during the Pertwee era.)

And what a way to celebrate - have all the Doctors in an episode: tetchy, elderly statesman Hartnell; clown and quicksilver Troughton; tall, dandy Pertwee. Sadly, William Hartnell was seriously ill by this time and, even sadder, he died a couple of years later. His small, pre-recorded, scenes were nonetheless true to his characterisation of the Doctor.

A piece of equipment, studying cosmic rays, has landed on farmland; Dr.Tyler drives down to retrieve it. A game warden, Ollis, touches the machine and vanishes. Tyler contacts UNIT about the warden's mysterious disappearance and because he has been getting strange readings and images. Tyler develops an image, which shows the face of Ollis; he is touched by some crackling substance and vanishes too. The Doctor investigates the place where Ollis vanished; the area crackles with radiation. The blob thing crawls out of a pipe back at UNIT and the Doctor and Jo see Bessie vanish. The Doctor sees the image developed by Tyler and checks the cosmic ray machine, which crackles with radiation. The Doctor is convinced that something alien is searching for him and that the beam on Tyler's images is the means it has used to reach Earth. UNIT HQ is then attacked by blob like creatures, which suddenly appear. UNIT engage in their usual pointless fire fight (bullets never work against aliens!) with heavy casualties. Benton, Jo and the Doctor are forced into the TARDIS as the original blob enters the Doctor's lab. ("Well Sergeant; aren't you going to say it's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside? Everyone else does," "Pretty obvious, isn't it!") The Doctor sends an SOS/report to the Time Lords. The Time Lords are being drained of energy; the source of the lightbeam is a black hole. The cosmos is in danger, so the Time Lords send the Doctor help - they send the Doctor! (Patrick Troughton. From now on, I'll say Pat, Jon and Bill for clarity.) A recorder materialises in the TARDIS and then Pat. Jo is confused; Benton recognises Pat and asks where he came from; Jon is infuriated by the scruff. Jo tries to get an explanation. Pat says they are the same time lord, whilst Jon says

Jon: I am he and he is me
Jo: and we are all together, goo-goo keechoo
Jon: what?
Jo: it's a song by the Beatles
Pat: oh? How does it go? [puts recorder to lips]
Jon: please do be quiet!

Pat explains the situation - he has been sent so the Doctor's effectiveness will be doubled. ("Halved!" says Jon.) Pat and Jon have a telepathic conference, where they exchange information on the situation. The Time Lords look on in dismay as Pat and Jon argue because Pat started playing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little star on his recorder", much to the annoyance of Jon. They decide to get Bill too, as a means of holding the other Doctors in order. Bill appears on the TARDIS monitor.

Bill: You're my replacements? A dandy and a clown! Have you done anything?
Pat: We've assessed the situation.
Bill: Just as I thought - nothing!

Bill tells Pat and Jon that the blobs are a time bridge and that they should cross that bridge. Pat tosses a coin and puts it away before the result can be seen, saying hard luck to Jon. Jon leaves the TARDIS, Jo runs out after him and both vanish.

Benton and Pat examine the blob; the Brig goes to the lab and stares in disbelief at the figure he met in the London Underground, during the Yeti business, and again with the Cybermen. the Brig thinks the TARDIS has changed the Doctor's appearance again. Jo and Jon have travelled into the black hole, where they find themselves on a desolated landscape. (Otherwise known as a trusty quarry, used by the BBC for alien worlds.) They see part of the lab and find Bessie. Pat sets up a mechanism in order to hold the blob subdued; however, it reacts to the machine and forces the Big, Benton and Pat into the TARDIS. (The Brig looks at the TARDIS interior and doesn't believe it; Pat offers him a jelly baby. Tom wasn't the first!) Jon and Jo meet Tyler. A figure watches them and is pleased he has a time lord in his power. Pat wants to find his recorder; he has lost it. Jo, Jon and Tyler are taken to the figure's citadel. Bill (trapped in a time eddy) instructs Pat to turn the TARDIS force field off. The TARDIS and "Liberty Hall" (aka UNIT HQ) vanish.

Jo, Jon and Tyler are led into a hall, where they meet a Time Lord, Omega. Jo and Tyler are put in a cell whilst jon talks with Omega. Omega made time travel possible for the Time Lords; he was a solar engineer who created the energy which made the Time Lords who they are. Jon says he respects Omega; Omega says he was abandoned and should be worshipped as a god. The world of Omega is a world of anti-matter. He has brought Jon because he needs his help. The Brig is in for a shock; he thinks UNIT HQ and they have been brought to Cromer in Norfolk. The Brig has a look round and finds Ollis; they watch as blobs take Pat and Benton away. They follow. Omega wants revenge. Omega understands that Pat and Jon are the Doctor; thunder peels and they are led away to the cell as Omega is angry. Jo reckons Omega cannot be as all powerful as that, otherwise why bring the Doctor(s) to the black hole? She also says the Doctors can summon up a door to the cell; they use their telepathic abilities to make a door to the cell. They head back to Omega and the Doctors will use their will against him. (Jo, Benton and Tyler escape and meet up with Ollis and the Brig.) Omega sets Jon up in a fight against a projection of the dark side of his mind.

Jon is released when Pat says Omega will lose his one chance of freedom if he destroys Jon. Pat wants Omega to summon up a recorder. Omega is angry; Jon is too, until Pat says he is testing Omega, because he has noticed this anti-matter world has quakes when Omega is angry. Omega explains that this anti-matter domain of his exists because of his will; he cannot escape it because it would collapse the moment he relinquished his will. That is why he has the Doctors; they will take over his place, letting him escape. Pat and Jon remove Omega's mask - they see there is nothing corporeal left of him; only his will exists now. Omega, upon seeing this, wants to destroy everything. Pat and Jon run during Omega's anger. Jon, Pat, Jo, the Brig and co. run into the TARDIS. Pat and Jon remove the force field generator and discover Pat's recorder - it has fallen into it and is still matter, not anti-matter. They land the TARDIS at Omega's citadel. Jo and co. return to Earth via the singularity,and the Doctors escape in the TARDIS, just as Omerga reaches for the recorder. There is a massive explosion and the Time Lords have a new source of power. Bill and Pat return to their time streams. Jon looks gloomy; Jo asks what's up a, and he tells her he feels sorry for Omega. The Time Lords finally lift their exile on the Doctor and he is free to move through time and space again.

The Three Doctors is a lovely story. Troughton and Pertwee played off each other well; it was a fun idea to have them bickering half the time. Pat looked like he hadn't left the show at all - he fell right back into his loveable clown role. I liked Omega, as he is such a tragic villain and the BBC's costume dept. came up trumps with his mask. The blobs aren't all that fantastic to look at but they are fun though, making a sort of upset stomach noise! I suppose some of the weakness of this story is that the supporting cast get very little to do but any and all weaknesses pale because of the Doctors, together!
******

mandag den 30. marts 2009

Signs you aren't....


(picture from chessbase.com)

a) following fashion
b) following chess

The pretty lass there is a supermodel (catwalks, Vogue, Max Factor ads, etc) and a pretty decent female chess player. Ms. Carmen Kass.

Ms. Kass has been modelling and playing chess for years now. Nothing new...except for me.

Who Review #65 - the Time Monster

The Doctor has a nightmare where he seas volcanoes, the Master and a crystal shaped like a trident. The Master is masquerading as a Professor Thascales and has a trident shaped crystal; he is working on a new machine: TOM-TIT (transmission of matter through intersticial time). The Brig and Benton head off to watch a demonstration of the machine. The Doctor makes a sensor to detect time disturbances, in order to alert him when the Master's TARDIS is used. TOM-TIT is operated by the Master's research associates, Ruth and Stewart, and the time sensor starts operating. The Doctor and Jo head off to locate the source of the time disturbance and discover it is at the lab where TOM-TIT is. The Master (concealed in a protective suit) strats his demonstration for the Brig and co.; he summons Kronos as the power builds dangerously high.

Jo and the Doctor arrive at the lab; where time is influenced and Stewart is aged. The machine is turned off; Stewart says he has seen Kronos, and the Doctor learns of Thascales - Greek for Master. The Brig orders Yates to bring in UNIT troops and bring the TARDIS. The Doctor examines TOM-TIT and spots the crystal of Kronos. The Doctor tells Ruth about the Chronovores, creatures outside time and space which feed on time; the whole of creation is in danger if the Master uses the crystal to summon Kronos. They turn on the machine in an attempt to understand the massive power build up. The Doctor is convinced the actual crystal is back in time, in Atlantis, and is connected to the one in the machine. In Atlantis, a crystal glows and a priest awaits Kronos. The Doctor talks to Stewart, who has begun to recover. The Master returns to the lab, after luring Benton away (he thinks) by immitating the Brig's voice in a phone call; Benton doubles back. The Master knocks out Benton and starts the machine. A light fills the room and the face of the priest in seen.

Krasis, the High Priest of Poseidon, materialises in the lab. Benton escapes and warns the Doctor. The Master, using information from Krasis's seal, starts the machine again and summons Kronos. There is another disturbance in time, which slows time down near the lab and which returns Stewart back to normal. Kronos returns to his domain. Krasis tells the Master that his crystal is but a piece of a bigger crystal, which is in Atlantis. King Dalios guards the secret of the crystal, and begins to share it with Hippias. In the tunnels, by the crystal, is a creature, the guardian of the crytal. The Doctor makes a gizmo to spoil the Master's plans but it soon goes to pieces. UNIT drive up to the lab; the Master summons a Knight who charges them and forces the troops to drive off the road. Then they are attacked by roundhead soldiers; but then they disappear, to be replaced by the sound of a Doodlebug. The engines cut and it falls on the UNIT position, exploding. The Brig tries to hail Yates, but there is no answer.

The UNIT men make it out, their transport destroyed and some men injured. The Master prepares to leave for Atlantis; the Doctor materialises around the Master's TARDIS, which leads to trouble as the TARDIS is also inside the Master's TARDIS, leading to multiple rooms (a bit like what we see later in the Tom Baker story Logopolis). Benton, Ruth and Stewart make for the lab but the Master gets away in his TARDIS. They talk via their intercoms; they have placed time locks on each other. The Brig and his men are frozen in time; Ruth tries to rectify the situation by using TOMTIT. It doesn't work, instead it turns Benton into a baby! The Doctor is forced to leave the TARDIS; he warns the Master about the destruction, but he summons Kronos who takes the Doctor into the time vortex. Then the Master ejects the TARDIS and Jo into the vortex as well.

The Doctor communicates telepathically, via the TARDIS, with Jo. She is instructed to pull a lever; the Doctor is saved from the time vortex. Hippias begins to argue with Dalios because the rains have not fallen and food grows short. The Master, Krasis, the Doctor and Jo arrive in Atlantis. The Master tries to hypnotise Dalios but without luck; the Master is arrested. The Queen (the gorgeous Ingrid Pitt) is enamoured with the Master; they begin to plot. The Doctor talks with Dalios about Kronos; only Dalios has seen Kronos, so he begs the Doctor to help him prevent the chronovore's return. Both the Doctor and the Master want to get to the crystal under the citadel, where it is guarded by the Minotaur (David Prowse, Darth Vader in Star Wars) . Jo hears that the ueen intends to send Hippias to slay the Minotaur; she send Lakis, the Queen's handmaiden, to tell the King and Doctor whilst she follows Hippias. Krasis throws Jo in the corridors and locks the door; the Minotaur roars at it approaches her.

Jo runs and is pursued by the creature. The Doctor rushes to her aid. Hippias fights the Minotaur, saving Jo's life, but is killed. The Doctor knocks out the Minotaur and finds the crystal. The Master has taken charge and takes the crystal. The Doctor, Jo and Dalios are thrown into a cell; Dalios is dying and he sees the doom of Atlantis. He begs the Doctor to save the city and passes on. The Master promises the Atlanteans that they will see Kronos; he loses favour with the Queen when Dalios's death is reported, but it's too late - Kronos appears and Atlantis is destroyed. The Master escapes with Jo as his prisoner. The Doctor threatens the Master with a time ram (the TARDIS's will exist in the same space-time coordinates, leading to their mutual destruction and saving the universe from Kronos. Jo operates the switch when the Doctor hesitates. They end up in a nothingness outside of reality. Kronos appears (in the shape of a female.) She promises them freedom because they released her; the Doctor saves the Master from eternal torment at the hands of Kronos. He escapes in his TARDIS. Ruth and Stew use TOMTIT to heal the time rift. The Brig rushes in and is perplexed: where is the Master; what is Jo wearing; where's Benton? Baby Benton returns to his normal, adult self.

The Time Monster is a mixed bag. Some of it is really awful and just plain tedious. The Doctor's gizmo - made of a bottle, some forks and tea leaves - is not going to be saved by suspending disbelief. There is a lot of padding. Reviewers have noted that this story tries out plot elements from the Dæmons again (not surprising as Sloman wrote both stories); it isn't anywhere close to the magic of that story. Kronos appears as a guy dressed in some sort of white chicken suit and flaps about, looking silly.

One of my Whovian friends, in Mississippi, is always saying: "the only bad Doctor Who is no Doctor Who", so on that motto I'll go quickly to what I liked.

The ending is the funniest of the lot - was Benton still in a nappy? Ingrid Pitt just oozes sex appeal - no surprise there. The Master and the Doctor have some good, verbal sparring moments.

Classic Jo
Her mini and platform boots.

Not a good end to the season but that was to be made up for in the next story for sure...!
******

søndag den 29. marts 2009

Who Review #64 - the Mutants

The opening scene of this story is, I feel, inspired by Monty Python. An old, bearded man, in tatty clothes, is heard running towards us across a foggy wasteland. When he finally comes into view and runs up to the camera, you half expect him to say: "It's!"

The man, a "Mutt", is persued by three soldiers. They report that the mutant is dead, cause unknown. The Doctor receives a globe from the Time Lords; it contains a message which he must deliver to someone. The Time Lords steer the TARDIS to a spaceship. A conference is being held where Solonians are seeking independence from the Overlords. Both regard the mutants as diseased creatures who should be killed. Varan, a solonian, is working with the Marshall. A mutant, that came aboard as Varan's bodyguard, is killed because he is a Mutant. The Doctor and Jo are escorted by the guards. Another solonian, Ky, blames the Marshall for creating the mutants because of atmospheric experiments. The Earth's empire is collapsing so they are letting Solos go. The Doctor and Jo are questioned by the Earth Administrator and the Marshall. The Doctor presents the globe but it doesn't open, so it isn't intended for the humans. The Overlords and Solonians begin the independence conference. Ky protests and the Marshall orders his arrest; in the confusion, Varan's son assassinates the Earth Administrator as per the Marshall's instructions. Ky runs from the conference hall, where he passes the Doctor and Jo - the globe opens. Jo is taken hostage by Ky but the guards are ordered to shoot anyway.

Ky and Jo teleport down to Solos. The Marshall wants to know what is in the globe and forces the Doctor to work on opening it otherwise he will not search for Jo, who will die from the poisonous air on Solos. The Marshall kills Varan's son, to stop him talking. Varan runs as the Marshall orders him killed. Jo is taken to a cave by Ky, where she can breathe normally; she tells him that the globe is for him. The Doctor meets Varan and he explains the murder; the Marshall pretends that Jo is in safety and that Ky left her. One of the guards, Cotton, tells the Doctor the truth about Jo and tries to help the Doctor. The Doctor sets up a power failure in order to get off Skybase; Varan grabs him and is going to kill him.

The Doctor and Varan are teleported to Solos. He asks him to take him to Ky as he wants to help the Solonians. In the cave, Jo and Ky see a firestorm and a fully developed mutant. Ky explains that all this is a result of the Marshall's attempts to make the air breathable for the humans. The Marshall orders rockets be used on the atmosphere to change it, which will also wipe out the solonians. The Doctor and Varan find Ky who is surrounded by mutants; they scare them off. Jo walks along some passages and finds a cavern with pulsating crystals on the walls; she collapses and a figure in a protective suit picks her up. The globe opens when the Doctor gives it to Ky; it contains tablets with language from the solonians' past. Ky doesn't understand the old language. Varan leaves for his people in order to launch an attack on the Marshall and humans. The Marshall wants to use gas weapons on the caves to drive out mutants, Ky and the Doctor. The solonian summer is starting and there are more mutations. The Doctor and Ky move towards the cavern. Cotton and Stubbs go after the Doctor. They meet up with the Doctor, Ky and Jo. The Marshall sets off the grenades and seals them all in.

The suited figure signals to the Doctor and co. to follow. They go to a safe room; the figure is Professor Sondergard, an anthropologist. He has hidden in the caves because he tried to report to Earth about the slave status of solonians but the message was intercepted by the Marshall. He looks at the tablets and tries to translate. The mountain begins to quake; Ky, Jo, Cotton and Stubbs evacuate to Varan's village, whilst the Doctor remains with Sondergard to unravel the mystery of the tablets. The tablets tell a story of the four seasons on Solos; the Doctor makes for the cavern, which is radioactive. There he picks up a rock from a glowing pile and leaves again. Varan takes Jo and co. captive and prepares to attack the Skybase. An investigator is on his way to Skybase; the Marshall orders the rockets used as fast as quickly as possible. The Doctor discovers that the mutation is a part of the solonians natural cycle, which happens because it is an adaptive change to the seasons. The crystal the Doctor has can only be analysed on the Skybase; it plays a role in the mutation and he needs to find out how. The Marshall's men attack Varan's party. A hole is made in the Skybase hull, sucking Varan into space; the rockets are launched.

Jo and co. manages to get out of the room and seal the door; they are taken captive by the Marshall, tried and sentenced to death. The rockets have malfunctioned and exploded on the planet, contaminating it. Jo bluffs that she knows about the investigator, and Ky trumphantly says the Doctor and Sondergard are both alive. The Doctor heads off for Skybase alone. The Marshall and guards go to Solos to hunt down the Doctor. He gives them the slip and teleports. He is pursued and captured, then forced to work on a "particle reversal unit". Jo manages to set the captives free and they inform the investigator's ship of what is happening; Stubbs is killed. They re soon recaptured; the Marshall takes Jo with him. Sondergard explains what is happening to the mutants: the atmospheric changes have messed up the solonians natural cycle; he asks for their help in finding the Doctor. The Doctor uses the reveral unit to return the atmosphere to normal solonian levels but the Marshall wants him to continue, turning the atmosphere into one breathable by humans. Ky, Cotton and Jo are put in a radiation chamber; the investigator's ship arrives and needs refuelling, which places the three in mortal danger.

The investigator and the Marshall discuss matters; the latter tries to cover his tracks. The Doctor is forced to support the Marshall's explanation because of Jo's safety. Cotton and co. find a way out of the room and to safety. They make their way to the hearing; the Doctor then lays the charges against the Marshall and his scientist before the investigator. Sondergard makes his way to the Skybase. A mutant follows but is killed by the Marshall; the investigator releases the guards and places the troops under his command. The Doctor analyses the crystal - it is a biocatalust for the solonian cycle. Jo and Sondergard are taken to the radiation room again, with Ky and Cotton. Sondergard gives Ky the crystal and that, plus the radiation, accelerate his metamorphosis into a mutant. The Marshall arrests the investigator and his men and reveals his true nature. Ky mutates further into a glowing humanoid figure. The Marshall is killed by Ky. Sondergard remains on Solos to help the solonians; Cotton is put in charge of the Skybase where he will assist Sondergard and Ky before the humans return home, leaving Solos independent.

This Bob Baker and Dave Martin script is certainly one of the more overtly political stories in Who, with its implied references to apartheid, racism and colonialism.

There are some great characters too. Stubbs and Cotton make a nice duo; the Marshall is an odious villain. The sets and shots in the caves were nicely done, and the mutant costumes were a great design.

The story isn't a typical monster yarn so it might not interest all; I liked it though.
******

lørdag den 28. marts 2009

Who Review #63 - the Sea Devils

A ship is attacked by an unseen creature. The Doctor and Jo visit the Master who is in prison, on an island. He is in fact plotting with the help of the governor Trenchard. The Doctor learns that a number of ships have gone missing; a lifeboat was found capsised with burn marks on the bottom. The Doctor goes to the Naval Base in order to study the lifeboat. The Master finishes watching the Clangers and gets to work on admiralty charts provided by Trenchard; he notes that a sea fort, being used as a solar energy station, lies at the middle of where the ships have gone missing. The Doctor talks with Capt. Hart and says the ships have been deliberately sunk. The men at the fort are attacked by a Sea Devil. The Doctor and Jo go to the fort; their boat is sunk. They hear something coming towards them.

One of the humans is alive and tells the Doctor about the Sea Devil. The Doctor goes to get a radio when he sees and is persued by a sea Devil. He runs back to the quarters and barricades the door. He rigs an electrical wire to the door, which gives the Sea Devil a shock. It runs off. The Doctor concludes that the Sea Devils are related to the Silurians and have been awkon by the re-building of the fort. They get picked up by air-sea rescue.
Trenchard goes to the Navy base and smuggle is the Master, who is dressed as a naval officer. He collects some supplies and, as he leaves, is spotted by Jo. The alarm is sounded and the Doctor talks to a petty officer who was attacked; he realises that Trenchard and the Master must be in cahoots. Back at the prison, the Doctor sees Trenchard and also sees the Master is back in his cell. The Doctor asks Jo to get on to UNIT. The Master asks to see the Doctor, alone; he knocks out a guard and takes his knife and gun. The Master and Doctor fight; the Doctor disarms him but, as he turns his back, the Master throws the knife.

The Master misses and Trenchard comes in and places the Doctor under arrest. The guards try to detain Jo but she manages to get away. Trenchard sees the Master, who is busy making a device. Capt. Hart orders a submarine to patrol the area around the fort. The Doctor is taken to see the Master; the latter is planning to make contact with the Sea Devils and help them take over the world. Suspicions rise at the navy base when Trenchard says Jo and the Doctor went back to London, and that they didn't return the borrowed jeep; Hart drives to the prison. Jo sneaks into the Doctor's cell and takes his handcuffs off. Trenchard gives Hart a cover story and the Captain leaves. The submarine picks up a contact but the controls begin to go. The Master is tricking Trenchard with a story about enemy saboteurs. Jo and the Doctor escape. The submarine is attacked by Sea Devils. Jo and the Doctor make for the beach; the Master operates his machine and a Sea Devil emerges from the waves.

The Doctor and Jo negotiate a minefield with the Sonic Screwdriver. He then uses it to blow up mines to scare off the Sea Devil. Hart sets up a search for the missing sub. A Sea devil orders the sub to a new bearing. Jo and the Doctor talk to Hart about what is happening; the Captain doesn't believe him. (Classic Pertwee - he scoffs a plate of sanwiches in Hart's office.) The sub heads for the fort; meanwhile the Master tests his calling device. More Sea Devils emerge from the water. Trenchard begins to doubt the Master and tries to call the Minister to warn him about the Sea Devils. They have entered the prison and are killing the guards. Trenchard is killed too; the sea Devils collect the Master. Hart assembles his forces and they go to the prison, but they are too late as the Master and the Sea devils are gone. A ship is sent to the fort and the Doctor uses a diving bell to examine the seabed around the fort. A Sea Devil looks through the window of the diving bell; radio contact with the Doctor is lost. The bell is hauled up but it is empty.

A parliamentary private secretary, Walker, has come to take charge. The Doctor and the Sea Devil leader talk; the Sea Devils plan to reawaken and take over the planet. The Doctor tries once more to broker a peace; the Master tells the leader that the Doctor is their enemy. Walker orders that the Sea Devils be attacked. The Master wants to start a war but the Doctor succeeds in reaching an agreement with the sea devil leader; but the naval attack starts. The Sea Devils change their mind; the Doctor is sent to be killed. He manages to escape when some of the ceiling falls on his guards. The Master comes up with a ruse - bodies and debris float to the surface, so the Navy are fooled. Walker agrees to cease fire. The Master needs equipment to repair the hibernation units so the Sea devils plan an attack on the Navy base. The Doctor releases the sub captain and they head for the submarine. The sub crew receive a morse message and overpower and kill their Sea Devil guard. The Sea Devils create a force field to stop the craft; they blast a way out with torpedoes. Jo and the Doctor are reunited; he talks to Walker and says he will try to negotiate a peace. On the way out, they encounter a Sea Devil, its weapon pointed at them.

The Doctor uses his karate to overpower the Sea Devil but is knocked out by a second. The Sea Devils capture the Navy base. The master and Doctor talk; the Master wants the Doctor to help him revive the creatures. Jo and Hart plan an escape; Jo gets out of the room via a ceiling ventilator. She talks with the Doctor, who is planning a diversion. He turns on the Master's device and it emitts a signal that disorientates the Sea Devils. Jo escapes with Hart and a number of seamen; they launch a counter attack. The Master heads off in a speed boat, persued by the Doctor. The Sea Devils return to the sea and the base recaptured. The Doctor is taken prisoner by the creatures. Walker requests a nuclear strike against the sea devil base. The Doctor tries once more, but fruitlessly, to gain the leader's trust; the Master and Doctor are placed in a cell. The Doctor has managed to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow on the Master's machine - and it is going to blow up. The Doctor uses the Sonic Screwdriver to open the cell and the y find sub escape gear. They are picked up by hovercraft. The Sea Devil base explodes. The Master escapes though.

The Sea Devils doesn't reach the same level as the Silurians, alas, but it does have some really good parts, albeit later on when they appear in number and the pace picks up. (The first few episodes do drag on a bit.) The Royal Navy helped in the making of the story so there is some good location filming and lots of Navy gadgetry on display.

Malcolm Clarke's incidental music is one of the most memorable scores in the show's history, combining as it does some very high pitched electronic sounds with a sort of farting sound for the music accompanying a sea devil.

The Sea Devils themselves are a lovely addition to the Whoniverse of monsters. Once again, though, who is the monster - them or us? Walker is an absolutely odious pen pusher, who is more concerned about the marmalade or tea than his act of murder when the sea base is attacked.

******

Who Review #62 - the Curse of Peladon

The scene is a castle, on top of a mountain. Hepesh and Torbis are arguing in front of the King of Peladon; the question at hand is membership of the Galactic Federation. Torbis is for, Hepesh against. The King is resolute - Peladon will apply. Torbis is struck down and killed by Aggedor as he walks from the throne room; Hepesh says the curse of Peladon is upon them. The TARDIS materialises close to the castle; unfortunately, it has landed on the end of a cliff and as Jo and the Doctor jump out, they see the ship plunge. They climb up the mountain towards the castle. Hepesh and the King welcome the delegate Alpha Centauri; they await the last delegate, from Earth. Jo finds a tunnel and the two set off down it, reaching the castle. They see a statue of Aggedor and then move on. Hepesh and the King talk; Hepesh continues to argue against the Galactic federation, as he doesn't trust them or their motives. The Doctor pulls on a lamp and a door opens to the castle corridors; they see an Ice Warrior. They try to head back to the tunnel but are taken by guards. The delegates (Ice Warriors, Alpha Centauri and Arcturus) are in the throne room, where Hepesh tells them of the death of Torbis and the curse of Peladon. The Doctor and Jo are led into the room, where he is mistaken as the Earth delegate and he presents Jo as a princess and observer. As the delegates move out of the throne room, a statue of Aggedor falls down towards them.

None of them are killed or injued. (The champion Gron moves off from the ledge.) Hepesh proclaims this is the curse of Peladon. The King calls the delegates back. The delegates are not certain about accepting Peladon into the federation. They adjourn to discuss the situation. Peladon develops a crush on Jo, but tries to use her as a means to influence the delegates, which she refuses. Hepesh orders Gron to kill the Doctor. The Doctor has found an Ice Warrior ship key on the balcony, where the statue was pushed from. The Doctor suspects the Ice Warriors are up to their old tricks. They hear an alarm - Arcturus's life support system has been tampered with. The Doctor saves him and whilst Hepesh and delegates enter, Jo slips off to look for the missing circuit from the life support system. She finds it in the Ice Warriors' room; she is caught. The delegates are suspicious of the Earth delegates. The Doctor follows Gron to some caves; the champion has something to show him. Jo clambers out of the Ice Warrior room, sees Aggedor and then tries to explain what she has seen to the Ice Warriors. The leader says that the tampered circuit was not crucial for Arcturus's life support. The Doctor moves along the tunnels; seeing a lever, he opens a door into the Temple of Aggedor. There he is seized by Hepesh and his guards. He is rought before the King, who orders a death sentence.

The Doctor is tried and, at the interception of Jo, Peladon changes the sentence to a trial by battle. The Doctor will face Gron in a battle to the death. Peladon proposes to Jo, who runs away. Hepesh gives the octora map and wants him to escape. They talk; Hepesh does not want Peladon to be enslaved by the Federation and says they are not lone in countering this. The delegates discuss leaving; Jo storms out. In his cell, the Doctor puts together a device, which has a spinning mirror. Jo is called into the Ice Warriors' quarters; the Leader explains he has voted against leaving and wants to save the Doctor. All this is heard by Arcturus, who has a listening device at the door. The Doctor sees Aggedor; meanwhile, soldiers are sent by Hepesh to get the Doctor. He is subduing Aggedor with the spinning mirror and a Venusian lullaby; but Jo uses fire to scare the creature off because she thought the Doctor was in danger. The Doctor tells Peladon that Aggedor is an animal and is being used by someone to wreck the Federation negotiations. The Doctor, though, is ordered to be led away to face his trial by combat with Gron. They fight and the Doctor wins, refusing to kill the King's champion. A weapon is drawn at the Doctor and a shot is fired.

The Ice Warrior kills Arcturus, who tried to kill the Doctor. He tells Peladon that Arcturus and Hepesh have been plotting against him. The situation is dire: civil war is likely, the federation will reject Peladon's application and the Ice Warriors and Arcturus are old enemies. Gron beckons to the Doctor; he puts a rock in a door to the passages and the Doctor follows. Hepesh prepares his soldiers. The Doctor follows Gron. There is a fight in the throne room. Hepesh tries, by force, to end the federation deal.The Doctor spins his miiror again when faced with Aggedor. The delegates are taken to the thone room, where Hepesh tells them to go and leave Peladon. The Doctor arrives with Gron and Aggedor. Aggedor kills Hepesh. His dying words are he only wanted to save Peladon. The Doctor and Jo g0 back to the TARDIS; he realises that the Time Lords brought him there. Peladon asks Jo to stay; she, tearfully, declines. Jo and the Doc take off as the real Earth delegate and the others look on.

The story is a bit political: the UK and the Common Market. (It was 1972 back then.)

The sets are wonderful - dark, gloomy and what's around the corner scary. The, as has sometimes been said, menagerie of monsters is a thrill. It must have been a shock back then to see the Ice Warriors as friendly.

I like this one.

****
**




Classic Jo Grant
Doctor: [choosing a tunnel to follow] Eeny, meeny, miny, moe
a creature roars
Jo: [startled] Meeny?

Who Review #61 - the Day of the Daleks

Season nine opened with the return of everyone's favourite monster. (We last saw the Daleks - being destroyed - in Evil of the Daleks from season four.)

Sir Reginald is attacked by a man; the man disappears though into thin air. The Doctor is still trying to get the TARDIS working again; he and Jo see themselves shortly, from another time stream. The Brig asks for the Doctor's help. Sir Reginald is a key figure in a peace conference to prevent WWIII. (A rehash of a plotline from Mind of Evil.) A figure appears in a field where it is soon knocked out by ape like creatures. The Doctor, Jo and the Brig see Styles, whilst UNIT search the grounds of the country house where the peace meeting is to be held. Benton finds a black box which contains a sophisticated machine; the injured man is taken to hospital . A black clad figure receives a report from the apelike creatures. The Doctor examines the weapon found by the man; it is an advanced weapon from the earth's future. He also examines the black box, which is a primitive time machine. It starts working and the man in the ambulance vanishes. The black clad figure is informed of a time transference; he looks at a monitor and a Dalek orders a report. The Doctor and Jo spend the night at the country house. In the morning, a group of humans materialise in a tunnel. At UNIT, the Brig learns that the international situation has grown worse and war looks inevitable. A human enters the house and fights the Doctor; he pleads to the Doctor to turn the time machine switched off. The black clad figure has located the time-space coordinates and reports to the Daleks. They chant that all enemies of the Daleks must be exterminated.

The Doctor talks to the humans. They believe him to be Styles and a criminal. They want to execute him. He explains that Styles in Beijing, that he isn't Styles and that he wants to know who they are and when they are from. The humans bind him and Jo in the celler. The Doctor surmises the humans are from the 22nd Century and killing Styles is vital to them because they want to change history. The Daleks tell their human servant that they have a machine that will trace the humans. One of the humans, Shura, tries to get contact with his future fellows but is injured by the ape creatures (Ogrons). The Brig calls the house and the Doctor, with a gun at his head, says everything is fine; enough to alert UNIT something is up. Jo threatens to smash the time machine in order to rescue the Doctor, but she is moved into the future. There she meets the black clad figure - the Controller. He tells her that the humans are criminals; Jo tells the controller the exact place and time she came from and where the humans materialised. Ogrons attack the house. The two humans run, the Brig turns up and the Doctor makes for the tunnel, where he sees a Dalek.

The Doctor runs and is brought forward to the 22nd Century with the humans (Anat and Boaz). He explains he knows of time travel, the Daleks and wants to find Jo. They are split up though when they run from Ogrons. The Controller reports and mentions that Jo's friend is the Doctor; the Daleks say he is a known enemy and must be found The Doctor observes that humans have been reduced to the status of slaves. The controller continues to treat Jo as a privileged guest, in order to gain her trust. The Doctor is captured and interrogated; the controller interupts and sends the Doctor to join Jo and orders he be treated well. A rebel reports this to Anat and co. but is killed by an Ogron before he can finish. The Doctor explains to Jo that the Daleks are in control of Earth. The Doctor is taken for processing because the Daleks wish to confirm his identity. They chant he is the Doctor and will be exterminated.

The controller stops them because he believes the Doctor can help him crush the rebels. The rebels plan an attack and to rescue the Doctor. The controller and the Doctor talk. The Doctor learns how the Daleks gained control of Earth: the end of the 20th Century saw war and the next hundred years were abject misery, with 7/8ths of the world population wiped out. The Controller says he has been saving lives by aiding the Daleks because nothing can be done to fight the daleks.The rebels raid the base and set Jo and the Doctor free; the Doctor persuades them to spare the Controller's life. Styles is set to return to the house. The Doctor learns from the rebels that Styles lured leaders to a peace conference where he killed everyone in an explosion, which started the war; so the rebels went back in time to try to kill Styles before the explosion and alter history. The rebels want the Doctor to kill Styles. Shura, the stranded human in the 20th Century, makes for the house, armed with Dalekanium explosives. The Doctor realises that Shura is the cause of the war; the rebels have created a time paradox: they went back in time to stop the war but they in fact caused the war by killing Styles themselves in an explosion. The Doctor and Jo head for the 2oth Century; before they depart, they meet the Controller in the tunnel - he thanks the Doctor. The Controller is shortly afterwards exterminated. The Daleks and Ogrons go back to the 20th Century; the Doctor finds Shura, whilst the Brig and co. evacuate Styles and the delegates. Shura lets everyone go and explodes the bomb, destroying the Dalek force and saving the future. The Doctor tells Styles that his work is vital as they have seen what could happen if he were to fail.

The Dalek voices are rubbish and it is obvious that the BBC budget didn't extend to more than three Dalek "costumes". The human rebels are generally a bland bunch. Only Aubrey Woods as the Controller sticks out from the supporting cast - he is rather good. The classic sci-fi time paradox is used and given a twist here because the Daleks invaded Earth in the 22nd Century before, in the Hartnell era. It isn't adequately examined, thus makes no sense. It needs us fans to use our Whovian knowledge and fantasy. My explanation - the Daleks invaded Earth and a group went back in time (before the Doctor, Susan and co arrived) and killed Styles, thus altering that future but not changing its overall shape as the daleks still invaded, only with better circumstances for them. The future humans involvement was stopped by the Doctor, thus the time stream returned back to the Daleks invading but being defeated by Hartnell's Doctor. Hmmmm... something along those lines.

One cannot help but feel a bit disappointed by this story though.
******

fredag den 27. marts 2009

Who Review #60 - the Dæmons

A man leaves his local with his dog; the night is stormy. Suddenly, the dog yelps. The man looks in the graveyard and collapses in fear at some unseen menace. The local witch Ms. Hawthorne discusses the man's death with the local GP - he died of a heart attack. Hathorne is convinced something evil is at work. Nearby, an archaeological dig is taking place at the Devil's Hump. Jo talks to the Doctor back at UNIT and says it is the dawning of the age of Aquarius. She says some things could be magic; Bessie suddenly drives off and beeps when told off by the Doctor. The Doctor pulls out a remote control. The Doctor is suddenly interested in the dig when he learns it is taking place at Devil's End. The TV broadcast (on BBC 3!) shows the Professor talking about the dig and Hawthorne comes on and protests as there is great danger. The Doctor absolutely agrees with her and he and Jo set off for Devil's End to stop the dig. Hawthorne is nearly killed by a policeman who is taken over by an evil spirit; he comes to because Hawthorne uses her magic to ward off the evil. A unnatural wind turns the signpost, so the Doctor takes a wrong turn. Hawthorne wants to see the new Vicar, Mr. Magistar - the Master! He fails to hypnotise her. The Doctor arrives in the evening and asks for directions to the digs. One of the locals informs the Master of the Doctor's arrival; then moves off to join others for a satanic rite led by the Master. The Professor gets ready to open the Devil's Hump. The Doctor rushes up, but is too late. A strong gust of wind blows everyone over. The Master laughs as he summons Azal, whilst a stone gargoyle in the church comes alive. Jo examines the Doctor; it looks like he is dead.

Yates and Benton see Jo and the Doctor on TV. The Doctor has been frozen. The Master concludes his sabbat. Yates and Benton plan to head off to Devil's End in the morning. The Doctor slowly recovers in an inn bed. A policeman sees a huge figure and is trod on; Yates and Benton see giant hoof marks from the air. They arrive at the inn; Benton goes to look at the hooves. On his way, he hears Hawthorne calling for help. He gets her out of a chest and see the chamber where the sabbats are held. The Verger holds them at gunpoint; Benton nearly disarms him but is knocked out when is accosted by elementals. There is a heatwave and something kills the Verger. The Doctor regains consciousness. A milkman drives into a heat barrier; he gets out before his van explodes. Hawthorne gets Benton back to the inn. There she says she has seen the Devil and tells the Doctor that the vicar is called Magister. The Doctor says what she saw is not the Devil and realises the vicar is the Master. The Brig makes his way down to Devil's End where he sees the milkman. The Brig tries a different road but the heat barrier is there too. The Doctor and Jo go up to the dig; inside they find a spaceship which has reduced its size. As they talk the gargoyle from the Church enters.

The Doctor holds up some iron and sings a Venusian lullaby ("Close your eyes my darling, well three of them at least"), which frightens the gargoyle; the Master calls off the creature. The Master talks to the squire and orders him to call a village meeting. Hawthorne brings over her collection of occult material for study; the Doctor discusses what they are up against; it is a race of alien creatures called the Dæmons who have helped human society progress in the past; but there is a danger that humanity will be destroyed. The Brig reports that the entire village is covered by a heat barrier. At the village meeting, the Master goes through the villagers' skeletons and says they should obey him. The Dæmon will be summoned three times, explains the Doctor. The Doctor has an idea how the Brig can get through; he drives to the barrier to explain. The inn keeper warns the Master of the Doctor's plan. The squire plans to leave but is vapourised by the gargoyle, forcing the villagers to follow the Master. Somebody takes the UNIT helicopter and sets off after the Doctor and Jo (who are in Bessie). The pilot tries to force Bessie into the heat barrier but crashes into it itself and explodes. Jo is knocked out after falling from the car. Yates, who followed on motorbike, takes Jo back to the inn in Bessie, whilst the Doctor takes the bike to the barrier. He gives instuctions on how to build a machine to make a hole in the barrier. The Master prepares another sabbat; Azal appears and the Master is in grave danger.

Jo comes to and makes her way to the cavern in the Church. The Master talks with the Dæmon, Azal; he wants Azal's power but the Dæmon knows of the Doctor and would speak with him too. Azal says he will appear once more and will destroy humans if he thinks them a failure. Yates follows Jo to the Church. The Doctor is shot at returning from the barrier. The villagers begin to celebrate May Day, with a pole and Morris Dancers, on the green. The Doctor is tied to the pole and be burnt as a witch. Hawthorne tries to talk with the villagers; she says the Doctor is a great wizard and asks him to shatter a lamp and move the weather cock on the Church, which he does with the help of fine shots by Benton, who is using a silencer. The Doctor then summons Bessie, using his remote control. (Benton: "How on earth did you do that?"; Doctor: "Elemental, my dear Benton!") The Master summons Azal.

Jo and Yates are taken captive and she is prepared as a sacrifice. The Doctor explains what is happening to the villagers, amongst which is the use of emotions to create psionic forces, the Dæmon science. The Doctor says the UNIT forces must get through the barrier at once, as Yates warns Jo is to be sacrificed. They head for the Church, but are stopped by the gargoyle, which vapourises the inn keeper. The machien disorientates Azal and the gargoyle, opens up a hole in the barrier but explodes. The Doctor takes the opportunity to enter the Church. The UNIT forces make their way through to the village. The UNIT forces are held at bay by the gargoyle in a fire fight (with the usual UNIT casualties). The Master wants Azal to destroy the Doctor, but he refuses. The Doctor and Azal talk; he wants the Dæmon to spare humanity. Azal offers his powers to the Doctor but he refuses to accept. Azal then offers his powers to the Master and will destroy the Doctor. Jo steps in front of the Doctor, preparing to sacrifice herself for his life. Azal cannot comprehend Jo's actions and begins to consume himself; the gargoyle falls lifeless and the Church explodes. The Master tries to take Bessie but the Doctor uses his remote again; the Master is arrested. The Doctor and all celebrate May Day, well- except Yates and the Brig who nip off to the pub for pint.

Guy Leopold's story is an absolute joy. There is very little to criticise; the scenes with the gargoyle and Azal are a bit weak. The location shooting at "Devil's End" (the village of Aldbourne in Wiltshire) was a nice change to extensive studio work and the (by now) infamous quarry used for alien worlds. The story itself has lots of familiar elements: what makes science science?; Erich von Danekin and godlike aliens; a dose of satanism.

The Dæmons was also one of the cast's favourites. There is a lovely documentary called "Return to Devil's End", presented by Nicholas Courtney, which is also worth a watch.

The Brig is largely absent from the action in this story which is a good thing because it allows Yates and Benton to be developed. Benton is, without a doubt, far smarter than the Brigadier. He catches on to what the Doctor is saying, even though he doesn't fully understand, in a way the Brig doesn't. And Benton smiles, until given a look by his COs, at something humerous.

In a way, the Brigadier becomes more of a comedy character from this story onwards. Take this classic line, when faced with the gargoyle: "Jenkins! Chap with wings, there . Five rounds rapid!"

There is something Monty Pythonesque about episode one, in the scenes with a BBC 3 reporter (sci-fi becoming reality!). It really has the feel of a skit where Michael Palin could be the reporter. You half expect Terry Jones to appear in drag, as one of the pepper pots, and say: "He's not Mr.Magister! He's the Master and he's been a very naughty boy!" Whereupon the Brigadier walks into shot and says: "Right, stop that! This story is getting silly. Let's cut to some precision UNIT drilling."

There is a sprinkling of humour in the story. Such as Miss Hawthorne (slightly dotty, but sweet, played well by Damaris Hayman): [knocking out the inn keeper] "I hit him with my reticule. On these occasions, the outcome is a certainty!"

A classic Pertwee story, ending season 8 on a high note.
******

Who Review #59 - Colony in Space

The Time Lords discover that the Master has stolen information about the Doomsday Weapon. Jo steps into the TARDIS for the first time and is amazed that it is bigger inside out. Suddenly the TARDIS dematerialises as it is operated on remote control by the Time Lords, just as the Brigadier enters; he orders the Doctor to return at once. They land on the planet Uxarieus in the 25th Century. They are taken captive by a human. Colonists have been hearing and seeing a giant lizard. The Doctor and Jo learns of the mining corporations. The Doctor studies the crop figures and warns thay the Colonists are in danger of starving to death. Jo is taken to the mess hall where she hears that Earth is overpopulated, the plant life destroyed and the planet polluted, whilst the Government is totalitarian. The Leesons are killed in their domecile. The Doctor talks to the leader Ashe (John Ringham) about the farming situation when the alarm is raised. He and Ashe investigate the scene. The Doctor notes inconsistencies - the monster lizard is too big to make claw marks like those on Jane. The Doctor, later, tells a meeting of Colonists that thecrops are being drained by an unnatural force. A stranger walks into the camp, saying his colony have been killed by lizards. Ashe and the Doctor return to the dome and here the Doc sees two of the primitive inhabitants. Ashe leaves the Doctor to investigate further; the latter is then attacked by a robot.

The robot is stopped by an Interplanetary Mining Company (IMC) employee; he escorts the Doctor back to his ship. The IMC man, Caldwell (Bernard Kay - "Dr.Zhivago", Saladin in the Crusades, Coronation Street) , says that they understood the planet to be uninhabited and that they only have just arrived. Frictions are growing in the colony over the attacks, the primitives and the food crisis. The Doctor notices the TARDIS has gone on his way to the IMC ship. Caldwell discusses the killings with his commander Dent and Morgan (Tony Caunter, Roy in "EastEnders"); the latter killed the Leesons because they saw him, whilst Dent says that the planet is extremely rich in minerals and will double the company profits. The Doctor argues that the IMC leave. Dent orders Morgan to return the Doctor to the dome, hinting the monsters might return. Jo helps Mary (Helen Worth, Deidre in Coronation Street") . Norton, the stranger, is making a quick recovery and is given a guided tour. He murders Jim with a primitive's spear; he lies to Ashe, framing the primitve. The relay circuits have been destroyed by the saboteur Norton, which means the colony will run to a standstill. Caldwell tries to stop the murder of the Doctor; Dent says if he rocks the boat he will never work again. At the dome, Morgan operates the robot - which has claws this time - and points a gun at the Doctor, saying it is business and not personel.

The Doctor uses his karate to disarm Morgan and grab the remote control for the robot. The IMC ship lands clo to the colonists. Dent tells Ashe that the IMC have mining rights, whilst Ashe says they have colony rights. An adjudicator is sent for. The Doctor returns and informs the colonists of the IMC robot and murder. Jo suggests that she and Winton find proof aboard the IMC ship; Norton reports to Dent on the plan. Dent is ready and takes Jo and captive. The Doctor repairs the relay circuit and begins to suspect Norton. The Doctor is summoned by Dent, who informs that Jo is chained to an IMC bomb. Winton greases Jo's hands and she slips out of her manicles.She breaks the chains but trips the bomb; Dent is informed and an IMC guard shoots Winton and recaptures Jo. Caldwell pretends to kill Winton and the other IMC men head off; he tries to persuade Winton to get the colonists off before any more are murdered. Winton returns to the colony and tells all and wants to attack the IMC ship. The Doctor goes to Caldwell and informs him of the ttack, because he wants Jo and also to prevent any carnage. The primitives kill the IMC guard and take Jo. The Doctor cannot prevent Winton's attack so he agrees to help. The colonists seize control of the IMC ship. The Doctor wants to go to the primitive city. Jo is led into the city.

The Doctor sets off. The adjudicator arrives. On the bridge, Winton discovers a projector that makes an image of a lizard. In the city, Jo sees a different sort of creature, which is in charge of the primitives. However, Morgan grabs a pistol and theatens to kill Winton; the IMC disarm the colonists. The Doctor makes contact with the primitives and enters the city. Ashe meets the adjudicator, who is the Master. The Doctor is locked in with Jo; in their cell, they discover that the primitives once had a technologically advanced society that was destroyed. The other creature (a white clad midget with a big brain) enters and points to a picture of sacrifice. The Master starts to hear the cases put forward by Ashe and Dent. The Doctor uses a bit of magic to distract a primitive guard, then karate, to get out of the cell but their escape is foiled. Theyare taken to a room which is full of sophisticated equipment; there they see an even smaller, white clad brain creature (on a sort of throne) which starts to talk to them. The leader primitive lets the Doctor and Jo go, with a warning that they will be killed if they ever return to the city. They return to the colony and see the Master. He and the Doctor talk; he points out that his forged documents are immaculate, whereas the Doctor has no papers at all. The Master rules in favour of the IMC. Winton plans another attack; he impersonates the Master and lures the IMC men to the colony. The Doctor listens in on the Master and Ashe; the Master is interested in the primitive city. The colonists and IMC engage in a fire fight, where Norton is killed. The Master walks in on Jo and the Doctor and points a gun at them, saying they are going to be victims of stray bullets.

Ashe comes in and tries to stop the killing. The IMC are overpowered and detained. The Master says he will be able to prevent the colonists being wiped out by a battle fleet. The Master is believed instead of the Doctor. The Master's TARDIS is disguised as a spaceship and the Doctor and Jo enter it. Dent wants a check of the adjudicator, whilst they wait in orbit. Dent discovers the Master is an imposter and the IMC head back to the planet. the Doctor finds out that the Master has been to a number of planets and wonders what he is looking for. Jo triggers an alarm and both of them are knocked out by a gas defence in the Master's TARDIS. Ashe explains where the primitive city is to the Master. He returns to his TARDIS and wants the Doctor to guide him to the city. the IMC return and another fire fight ensues until Morgan threatens to kill Ashe; the colonists are disarmed. Ashe and Winton are tried by the IMC; they are found guilty and a death sentance suspended if the colonists leave in their spaceship - it is old and a deathtrap. The Master and the Doctor make their way into the city. IMC enter the Master's TARDIS; the Master goes to pressa button to release poison gas that will kill Jo, who is captive there.

The Doctor disarms the Master using his karate. The Master and Doctor are taken prisoner by the primitives and placed in a cell. The Master explains that this culture has a Doomsday Weapon and he plans to use it. The IMC herd the colonists aboard their ship. Caldwell and Jo drive off to the city. The colonist spaceship takes off and explodes. The Master and Doctor have escaped their cell and are in the heart of the Doomsday Weapon. The Master offers the Doctor a half share in the Universe. Jo and Caldwell enter the city, whilst Morgan and a squad are sent off by Dent. The leader creature prevents the Master taking control of the weapon and instructs the Doctor to set a self destruct mechanism. The city explodes. A fire fight ensues between Morgan and his IMC men and colonists. Morgan is killed and the Master escapes in the confusion. Ashe sacrificed his life to fool the IMC; Winton is the new leader. With the machine destroyed, the crops will grow. The TARDIS is found and put in the base. The Doctor and Jo take off. Caldwell remains on in the colony. The TARDIS materialises just after the Brigadier tells the Doctor to return at once. The Doctor smiles at Jo and says she shouldn't try to explain.

Colony in Space is another Malcom Hulke script (others were the War Games and the Silurians). It has been called a dull story by some but I don't think that is entirely fair. I think it is more of a bifurcated story, in that the first half has some implicit politics whilst the second half, when the Master arrives, is mere action. Hulk, like others, portrays a gloomy future for the Earth: one of massive overpopulation, pollution and a Big Brother government. The IMC are corporate capitalism - Dent says what is good for the IMC is good for Earth, which sounds so much like the market sloganising we hear today. Colony... is a sort of wild west settler type story, with natives and a group of colonists being harassed by the railroad. The primitves don't play too much of a role, but we could read between the lines that they reflect on us with our nuclear arsenals and what could happen to civilisation.

There is a marvellous cast who put in good showings.

Whilst not a classic, and it does feel like it drags its heels at times, I like this story.
******

Who Review #58 - The Claws of Axos

A UNIT monitor picks up an object heading towards Earth. It is a spaceship, with some tendril looking creatures aboard. At UNIT HQ, a Mr. Chin wants to know who the Doctor is; he comes in and says goodmorning. A meeting has been called by the Brig, with Yates, Benton, Jo, the Doctor and CIA agent Bill Filer present. (Chin is ruffled when he discovers he hasn't the security clearance.) However, the alarm is raised about the UFO. It lands in the South East of England. Chin, from the MOD, gets the authority to launch a missile strike; the ship disappears though before the missiles hit. The missiles are destroed by abort procedure. The UFO is picked up again close to a power plant and Chin announces he has emergency powers. A curious tramp is caught by a tendril coming out of the UFO and dragged inside. The tramp is analysed and rejected - he is absorbed. Bill also goes to the ship and is captured. UNIT, the Doctor and Jo go to the ship. Chin, his boss Sir George (Donald Hewlett, "It Ain't Half Hot Mum") and a scientist Winser meet up with them there. There is a message from the ship: Axos is calling Earth, their spaceship is depleted of energy. Yates and Benton examine the body of the tramp, found nearby. It crumbles to dust. Inside the ship, the Doctor is subjected to analysis and the Axons register his alien nature. Jo sneaks into the ship too, where she hears Bill. who is held captive along with the Master. The Doctor, Brig, Chin and co. meet the Axons - a humanoid race with golden hair and a goldenlike body. The male Axon (Bernard Holly) explains that his ship is organic and absorbs energy but it is depleted and that his world has been destroyed by solar flares; he offers axonite as a gift to the humans in return for energy. The Doctor is immediately suspicious as to why the Axon ship couldn't have recharged itself. Jo comes across a tendriled creature.

The Doctor, Brig and male Axon rush to the area where Jo cried out. She explains what she saw. The Axon says she is close to the energy centre so must have hallucinated. Bill shoots a control ganglian so that the tentacles holding him and the Master relax; they are quickly recaptured by the Axons. UNIT are placed under arrest by the regular army, led by Capt. Harker (Tim Piggot-Smith). Chin takes the axonite, which he has secured the rights to for the British Govt. The Axons copy Bill. The Master has brought the Axons to Earth; they are after the minerals. The Doctor is allowed to study the axonite with Winser, whilst Jo is hld with UNIT. The copy of Bill is sent to get the Doctor, who the Axons know is also a Time Lord. Bill escapes from the ship; the Master is released in order to help worldwide distribution of axonite, but the Axons keep his TARDIS to ensure his cooperation. He hypnotises a UNIT driver. Bill goes to the energy station and fight the fake Bill, which falls into the light accelerator and is destroyed. The UNIT driver takes the TARDIS. Bill tells the Doctor and co. that the Master is there, that Axons are parasites and not humanoid. The Master hypnotises a UNIT radio operator and orders him to send a message to the UN. The Doctor puts axonite in the light accelerator. Winser tries to stop this but it turned to dust. The Doctor realises that axonite and the Axons are all one and the same entity. Jo and Bill, who have managed to escape, and the Doctor are faced by a few of the tendril creatures.

The creatures return to their humanoid form and take the Doctor and Jo. The Brig sends a message that Chin has made an illegal unilateral deal; but he finds out that message has already been sent. the Brig is given his powers and the UNIT men are released. The male Axon has though made a cover story to dupe Chin - they arrived at the plant because a dangerous experiment on the axonite was taking place. Inside the Axon ship, the Doctor is told that the Axons plan to suck Earth dry of all energy and every living cell, and that it must be activated within 72 hours. Chin begins to arrange worldwide distribution. The Master has the TARDIS brought to the light accelerator and enters the ship. The console is a mess and the Master is flabbergasted at the Doctor's attempted repairs. The Axons want the secret of time travel; they threaten to age Jo to death so the Doctor reluctantly agrees. The male Axon goes to nuclear reactor. Bill recovers and relates what has happened to the Brig. The Axon has changed into its creature form and enters the nuclear reactor to absorb energy required for time travel. The Master is not having much luck with repairing the TARDIS; he is captured by the Brig., Yates and Benton. But they are forced to let the Master go if he prevents the overload of the nuclear reactor. The Master's plan disorientates Axos and allows the Doctor and Jo to make a run for it. The Master goes to feedback the power which will destroy Axos and also kill the Doctor and Jo.

Jo and the Doctor get out of the ship. Axos stabilises the problem and locates the power source; they plan to destroy the light accelerator. Sir George solves the problem but is killed. The Doctor wants the Master as the two can defeat Axos; the Doctor tells the Master that if they fix the TARDIS they can both escape. They use the light accelerator trigger. The station is overrun by Axons and the TARDIS dematerialises, landing in Axos. The Doctor makes a deal with the Axons - the TARDIS will join with Axos and then destroy the High Council of the Time Lords. The Doctor creates a time loop, which will trap the Axons forever. He manages to escape. The station explodes and the TARDIS materialises in the debris.

This is the first story from duo Bob Baker and Dave Martin. It is relatively straight forward and therein lies alot of its qualities - no convoluted plans or such, just a galactic parasite that gains trust whilst hiding its true intentions. "V" comes to mind; it has that sort of plot line too.

There is some good dialogue, especially in the scenes with the bureaucratic twit Chin and his Minister. The design of the Axon ship and the Axons themselves (in the humanoid and tendril covered monster form) are excellent - although the colours and patterns suggest a bit of acid might have been used in the design process!
******

torsdag den 26. marts 2009

Who Review #57 - The Mind of Evil

This six parter only exists in b/w.

The Doctor and Jo are called in to observe a new machine at Stangmoor Prison. The Keller machine removes negative impulses from criminals, leaving them balanced and social people once more. Something goes wrong though during Professor Kettering's demonstration on one of the prisoners. The Doctor regards the machine as a menace to mankind. Dr. Summers (Michael Sheard, Star Wars) is called because a man is dead; his face shows terror and there are bites and scratche marks too. The Doctor suggests an immediate postmortem. The Brigadier is busy because there is a peace conference and also because UNIT is given the task of guarding a missile. Chin-Lee, a Chinese delegate, complains to the Brig about missing documents and that if there is any lapse in security, the Chinese will withdraw from the conference. Outside, she burns the documents and returns to her car awaits; she has a metal disc behind her ear. The man who died died of heart failure from fright. He was scared of rats and the marks are consistent with rats. The Doctor regards the Keller machine as the cause and a danger. Chin-Lee phones the Brig - the Chinese delegate is dead. There is a riot at the prison, the Keller machine starts operating and Kettering dies from drowning. The Brig and UNIT investigate the crime scene and he interviews Chin-Lee. The Doctor only manages the prison Governor to suspend use of the Keller machine; he learns that the machine was installed a year ago by a Professor Keller and his chinese, girl assistant. The Brig has discovered that Chin-Lee has lied about the time she called and reported the time of death. Jo visits the prisoner who was tested; he is in sick bay. There is another riot whilst the Doctor is examining the control circuits of the Keller machine; it pulsates and he begins to see fire.

Jo enters the room, distracts the machine and the Doctor recovers. The Doctor is scared of fire because he saw a world destroyed in a terrible catastrophe. Yates has come to the prison because the Brig wants the Doctor's help; Jo remains at the prison to keep an eye on affairs. Benton is tailing Chin-Lee but is suddenly attacked by the machine (from a distabce) and collapses. Outside the UNIT HQ, a man is working on a telephone cable; he places a bug - it is the Master. He listens in on Yates discussing plans for the missile transport. The Doctor and Brig. go to see the new Chinese delegate Fu Peng. (Doctor: He must be Hokkien; Brig: No Doctor, he's Chinese.) The prisoner Barnham (Neil MaCarthy, "Zulu") is completely drained of evil impulses; meanwhile another prisoner escapes and helps the others take over. The Doctor is convinced the Chinese delegate was killed by the Keller machine; and he is convinced Chin-Lee was the chinese assistant. She is meeting the Master, who orders her to murder the American delegate. She phones the delegate to come to the Chinese hotel suite; there, the pulsating sound of the Keller machine can be heard and the American sees a Chinese Dragon.

The Doctor, the Brig and Fu Peng enter the room and disturb her. All three see the Dragon for a short while. The American is in shock, whilst Chin-Lee collapses. They discover a mental amplifier, which the Doctor is connected to the Keller machine. When she comes to the Doctor starts to question her about Keller and Stangmoor prison.Jo is locked in a cell as Mailer tries to broker a deal with the Governor. The Doctor and Chin-Lee go to see the Brig; he receives a call from Yates, which the Master listens to. Upon hearing the Doctor's explanation, he orders his driver to take him to Stangmoor. When Chin-Lee is questioned she cannot remember Keller; the Doctor realises that Keller and the Master are the same man. The prisoners are rushed by the guards. Keller sees the Governor and learns that the Doctor is on his way. The Master sees Mailer and gives him weapons, as he wants his help; they use gas to overwhelm the guards, Mailer shooting some in the escape. The Doctor is captured and taken to the Master. The Master wants to steal the missile UNIT are transporting, use it on the peace conference and plunge the world into war; furthermore, he wants the Doctor's help with the Keller machine. The Doctor tries unsuccesfully to escape. He is strapped next to the machine and the mental amplifier placed behind his ear. The machine starts pulsating and the Doctor sees fire and hears a Dalek saying exterminate.

The Doctor passes out and the prisoners, and Master, are affected by the machine. The Master manages to turn it off and examines the Doctor. He comes to and warns the Master that the machine cannot be controlled and that the parasitical creature living in it feeds on evil and will soon feed on the mind of the Master. The Doctor is thrown into the cell with Jo. The Master goes to the machine and tells the creature it is his servant; the machine starts up and he sees the Doctor laughing hysterically. The Master struggles out of the room and locks it. The Doctor is slowly recovering but needs rest; he is tended to by a worried Jo. The Master explains his plan to Mailer: the convicts are to hijack the missile, which is being carried in a lightly guarded convoy near Stangmoor. Jo and the Doctor overwhelm their guards and escape from their cell. The convoy is attacked; Yates is shot before he raise the alarm with the Brig. However, he struggles onto a motorbike and follows the hijacked missile. The Brig and UNIT move in. Yates is captured. Benton tells the Brig he saw a Black Mariah, which leads the Brig to think of Stangmoor. The Doctor and Jo try to put the Keller machine out of action but it has begun to teleport itself. It kills two convicts and then materialises and begins to attack them.

Barnham enters and the machine teleports itself. His pure mind has saved them. The Doctor and Jo are taken prisoner again. UNIT have Stangmoor under surveillance and plan to take the prison. Yates escapes. The Doctor begins working on the machine with the Master; he has made a device with a coil to set up a field around the machine, putting it temporarily out of action. The Doctor is taken back to his cell, where he tells Jo of the time he was in a cell with Sir Walter Raleigh. The Brig. dresses in a boiler suit and flat cap, pretending to be delivering supplies to Stangmoor; the truck he is driving contains UNIT soldiers, who engage in a fire fight with the convicts. The vastly superior (ha!ha!) UNIT troops overwhelm the convicts. Mailer takes the Doctor and Jo hostage; Jo tries fruitlessly to overpower Mailer. A pistol fires.

The Brig. shoots Mailer. The Master has gone to the hanger, containing the missile. Yates radios in the position. The Keller machine breaks out of the coil and begins to teleport and feed again. The Doctor and Jo are attacked and are saved by Barnham (again). the Doctor dismantles the machine and observes the black blob parasite inside it. The Master talks to the Doctor on the phone; the latter will exchange the dematerialisation circuit for the missile. Barnham protects everyone from the machine so long as he is close to it, so the Doctor plans to destroy the machine and the Master in one go. The Doctor and Master talk; the machine starts to pulse, debilitating the Master as the Doctor works on the abort circuit on the missile. Barnham is killed trying to stop the Master trying to escape. The missile and the Keller machine/parasite are destroyed, but the Master escapes with his TARDIS dematerialisation circuit. He calls the Doctor and says he will return someday and destroy the Earth and wishes the Doctor fun with his exile.

This second story from Don Houghton is fun viewing so it almost makes one forget the weaknesses in it, of which there are many. The cliffhangers are repetitive with the threats from the Keller machine. It is a bit far fetched to suppose a missile will be moved close to a prison, with few guards, precisely during a peace conference. Yates is shot but has an amazing recovery.

The Chinese are the first "communists" on the show, with their Mao suits and red star cap badges. Chin Lee (played by Houghton's wife) mentions Imperialism. The Doctor mentions he is on friendly terms with Mao himself - a bit strange given his history; another example of tht strange propensity of the Doctor to hang out with authoritarians, the Institution, etc.

Fun but not brilliant in the end.
******

Who Review #56 - Terror of the Autons

Picture: How Radio Times showcased the new season and a new enemy back in 1971.

Season eight starts with the introduction of three marvellous, new characters: Richard Franklin as UNIT Captain Mike Yates; Katy Manning as companion Jo Grant; and that classic of Doctor Who villains, Roger Delgado as the Master.

A TARDIS materialises at Rossini's Circus. The man who steps out is clad in black, with a dark goatie (with shades of grey at the sides) and hypnotic eyes. The figure tells Rossini that he is known as the Master and then hypnotises him. The Doctor is working on a piece of equipment when Jo Grant comes in. It goes up in smoke and Jo uses an extinguisher on it; he gets a little irritated and says he doesn't want to be interupted. She is his new assistant. Jo tells the Doctor that the Nestene Energy unit has been stolen. The Master goes to a radio telescope and shoots its operator; he then takes out the Nestene Energy Unit and connects it up to the radio telescope. It starts to pulsate. The Doctor complains to the Brigadier about Jo. The Brig relates that Liz always said what the Doctor only needs is someone to pass him test tubes and tell him how brilliant he is, something Jo can do; also, she got the job because of a family connection. The Doctor reluctantly accepts Jo. They head off for the radio telescope. (Thousands of Whovians shout: beware of the Master and Radio telescopes, Doctor!) A Time Lord warns the Doctor that the Master has arrived on Earth. The Master has set a trap - a volatiser rigged to the door. The Doctor manages to catch it before it falls and defuses it. He meets the Director and Capt. Yates. They find the body of the technician, shrunken and put in his lunchbox. The Doctor explains the Nestene threat to Jo. She investigates a plastics factory, where the Master has hypnotic control of Farrell; she is captured and hypnotised by the Master - Jo is ordered to return to UNIT with a negative report; he is also busy making Autons. A UNIT box is recovered and Jo goes to open it; the Doctor realises it is a bomb.

The Doctor manages to throw it out a window before it explodes. He realises she has been hypnotised and sets to work helping her recover. The Master has a plan of making things to destroy mankind. Farrell Sr. talks to his son and wants to stop him changing production. Sr. is not susceptible to the Master's hypnosis, he gives Sr. a troll doll, saying it is a new product. A missing radio astronmer's car is found in a field; the field is where Rossini's circus had been. The Doctor sets off to investigate the circus. In Farrell Sr.'s car, the heat makes the troll doll come alive; he opens a window and the troll collapses inert again. The Master has set a trap, using Phillips, the missing scientist. Jo follows the Doctor to Rossini's. The Doctor is tied up by Rossini and Tony, the Strong Man (Roy Stewart - the Tomb of the Cybermen) when he is seen examining the Master's TARDIS, which is disguised as a horsebox. Jo reports the situation to the Brigadier; she sees Phillips. The troll doll is put above a heater, back at Farrell Sr.'s house; it comes alive and strangles him. Jo knocks out Tony and unties the Doctor. Phillips runs in with a grenade, under the hypnotic control of the Master; the Doctor breaks the control but Phillips is killed when he tries to get rid of the grenade. The Doctor goes into the Master's TARDIS and takes the dematerialisation circuit. An angry group of circus artists starts to threaten them. A police car arrives and the policemen take Jo and the Doctor. He looks at a policeman, then grabs hold of the policeman's mask - they are left looking at the blank face of an Auton.

The Doctor and Jo rush out of the car. Yates and the Brig followed them and pick them up. The Brig, tries to hold a discussion meeting on the Master and the Autons, but the Doctor is terribly rude. After an irritated Brig walks off, the Doctor tries to use the Master's dematerialisation circuit in the TARDIS, but to no avail as the circuit is a newer model. He exits the ship in a cloud of smoke; but he smiles because the Master's TARDIS is now useless. The Master has made plastic daffodils which Auton clowns hand out. The Doctor hears of the death of Farrell Sr. and visits his widow. There he learns that a Col. Masters is a new partner at the plastics factory. Mrs. Farrell gives the Doctor the troll doll. A telephone man (the Master in disguise) wires in a new telephone at the UNIT lab; Yates boils some water and the nearby troll starts to move. The Doctor and Brig go to Farrell's factory, but find it deserted. The Doctor picks up a plastic daffodil for further examination. Jo is saved by Yates who shoots the troll. In the factory, the Doctor and the Brig narrowly escape being shot by an Auton, hidden in a safe. Back at the lab, the Doctor receives a call. It is from the Master, who sends a signal that activates the plastic chord, which tries to strangle the Doctor.

The Brigadier rips the chord out of the wall. The Doctor receives word that plastic daffodils are being handed out on a promotional tour. The coachload of Autons is in a quarry; the Brig. orders a RAF strike on the coach. Jo tries to hail the Brig via radio. The signal activates the daffodil which fires a film of plastic over her face. The Doctor manages to get it off her. The Master enters the lab and confronts the Doctor; the Doctor holds the dematerialsation circuit to stop the Master shooting. Jo enters and the Master threatens to kill Jo. She mentions the RAF strike and the Master decides to keep them alive a little while longer. They drive to the quarry, forcing the Brig to abort the strike. The Doctor is able to send a message via Bessie's breaklights. the Brig gets the message stating the daffodils are dangerous and the radio telescope must be guarded. Jo knows escapology and undoes her ropes. The coach heads for the telescope and Jo and the Doctor jump. The Autons and UNIT have a fire fight (with the usual high casualty rate for UNIT). The Master operates the dish but is persuaded by the Doctor to expell the Nestene becuse they would kill all of them. The Autons fall lifeless. They think they have killed the Master when he approaches, makes for a gun and is shot by Yates. It is Farrell though, in a plastic mask. The Master escapes in the coach. The Doctor smiles when he says the Master is trapped - he gave him his dematerialisation circuit. The Master's circuit is in the Doctor's possession.

Terror...by Robert Holmes is a great story. Jo Grant is simply a sweetheart from the second she enters the Doctor's lab, whilst the Master is a different league of villain altogether- cunning, ruthless and suave. (His sudden change of mind at the end of episode 4 is the major failing, storywise.)

The problem of making Terror different to Spearhead from Space was solved beautifully - rather than masses of Autons roaming about, the weapons would be everyday objects. The idea of killer dolls and daffodils or chairs that suffocate (Farrell Sr.'s partner is killed by one) is terrifying. In fact, Barry Letts recounted the complaints over the troll and the Auton policeman: one of his friend's children wouldn't take a teddy to bed in case it came alive and strangled him; and Scotland Yard were furious that police were made to look scary.

There were numerous, marvellous lines in the dialogue:

Classic Jo
Jo: [big smile and twinkling eyes] I'm your new assistant.
Doctor: [looking aghast] Oh no!....I really don't think your suitable.
Jo: I'm a fully qualified agent....
Doctor: What I need is a scientist
Jo: I took general science at A-Level

a little later,

Doctor: I thought you took an A-Level in science?
Jo: I didn't say I passed.

One of the other negative features of the story is one the characteristics of the Doctor himself. He is terribly brash and rude to Jo, the Brig and almost everyone; plus he seems remarkably chummy with "the Institution". (He mentions being at a club with a Lordship. There are other instances of this which I will mention later on.)

The introduction of Delgado's Master is a highlight of this great story - he has his own little incidental music tune, and of course his catchphrase: "You will obey me!"
******

Who Review #55 - Inferno

A man at a new drilling station, nicknamed the Inferno, touches some green ooze coming out of an outflow pipe. It burns him and his skin starts to turn green. Sir Keith has sent for an oil expert Greg Sutton because he wants an expert on site. Inferno is run by the ambitious Stahlman. The man, Slocum, goes crazy and attacks a plant worker, killing him. The murder weapon is still warm and, when found, was red hot. The Doctor and UNIT have come to Inferno; the Doctor wants to follow the penetration of the Earth's crust; Inferno is trying to reach a new source of gas for energy. The Doctor has also brought the TARDIS console as he needs power to continue breaking the Time Lord punishment.Sutton meets the Doctor, Petra and Stahlman - the latter is infuriated by all the experts and Sir Keith. The Doctor starts a test run with the console; meanwhile, Slocum, who has turned green and hairy, kills another plant worker and ups the power, with adverse effects on the TARDIS console. For a brief moment the Doctor is transported to a limbo place in space-time; he is brought back when Liz cuts the power. There is an alarm at the drill head. The Doctor, the Brig. and Benton rush to the power room and are confronted by Slocum.

A UNIT soldier shoots Slocum, and the Doctor is able to turn down the power. Sutton talks to Petra; he wants her to convince Stahlman to implement safety precautions at Inferno. The technician and the UNIT soldier, Wyett, are both effected by Slocum and vanish. The Doctor sees Wyatt and gives chase. Wyatt, too, has turned green and homicidal. He falls from a height trying to kill the Doctor. Sir Keith shows Sutton, Stahlman and the Doctor a sample of the green ooze, which is red hot. The Doctor ventures that it won't cool and he thinks he has seen something similar at Krakatowa. Liz draws the Doctor's attention to the main computer, which is giving off danger warnings. Stahlman refuses to listen to the Brig, the Doctor or anyone else with regard to Inferno, his mind obsessed by drilling. Stahlman puts the jar of ooze away and is contaminated. Stahlman cuts the power to the hut where the Doctor was working on the TARDIS console; he notices his hand is turning green. He then removes a circuit from the computer; he is caught by the Doctor, but manages to conceal the circuit when confronted. The Doctor has surrepticiously switched the power back on to the TARDIS. Liz and the Brig. return to see the Doctor and Bessie dematerialise.

Stahkman refuses to reconnect the power source, which means the Doctor is trapped wherever he is; he has also stepped up the pace of the drilling. Sir Keith intends to return to London and talk to the Minister to stop Stahlman. The Doctor materialises in the hut but notices small changes - the door won't open automatically and a poster displays a man with the phrase "Unity is Strength" underneath. Outside, soldiers begin shooting at him. He escapes in Bessie and then hides; spotted, he runs and is attacked by two of the infected men one seems to be knocked out by a fire extinguisher. The Doctor is captured when he sees Liz, only she is in a uniform and her hair has changed; she blows a whistle and points a gun at him. The Doctor is taken to see the Brigadier, only he has an eye-patch and is Brigade Leader. The Doctor realises he has crossed into a parallel universe. Here, Liz isn't a scientist, she is a section leader, and Britain is a fascist state; they also have an Inferno project and a Stahlman, but Sir Keith was killed in a car crash on his way to London. The Doctor notices the computer isn't working and ir ironic towards Stahlman. He is led away for interrogation, believed to be a spy. This Stahlman is also infected by the ooze. The Doctor explains what he has seen at his Inferno and considered more and more a spy by the Brigade Leader. The Inferno starts to develop an emergency situation; the Doctor uses his Venusian karate to get past Benton and run to the control room. As he tries to find the microcircuit for the computer, Benton holds a rifle to his head. Either the Doctor goes now or he will be shot then and there.

Liz stops Benton and allows the Doctor to repair the computer. The Doctor meets Sutton; the former suggests what can be done to avert the situation. Liz begins to wonder, especially when the Doctor explains Liz is a scientist and discovers that this Liz read Physics at University before becoming a Section Leader. Sutton is a rebellious man, who thinks Stahlman is mad and the Inferno dangerous, but is informed that the Party can easily dispense with him. The Doctor is interrogated again. Stahlman wants the Doctor liquidated. Liz comes to the cell and talks to the Doctor, convinced he is a cracpot free speach activist. Back in our universe, Liz worries about the Doctor; the Brig. tries to comfort her. Stahlman is continuing with Inferno unabated; Sir Keith prepares to leave for London. Back in the other universe, the Doctor's cellmate is infected; it kills a guard and the Doctor takes the opportunity to escape. He hops into the back of a jeep and finds some protective clothing, which he uses as a disguise to re-enter the Inferno, where the final drilling countdown has begun. He tries to stop the drilling; Stahlman points a gun at him.

The countdown reaches zero, the crust is penetrated and the station shudders from an explosion. Stahlman enters the drillhead, followed by Sutton and the Doctor in order to stop the emergency. Stahlman attacks them and then locks off the drillhead. The Doctor tells Sutton, Liz, Petra and Brigade Leader that this is the end of their world. More and more infected "men" turn up. Only the fire extinguishers are effective. The Doctor explains his world again; he mentions the TARDIS could send him back and save his world. He uses the console storage energy to dematerialise and arrives a few seconds ahead in the future. He wants power for the console but the Brigade Leader will only help if the Doctor takes them with him. At the control centre, more of the creatures emerge from the drillhead. (In the real world, Sir Keith is involved in a car accident.) Petra, Sutton and Liz agree to help the Doctor get back, just as the creatures begin to smash their way through a door in to the group.

They break out of the room, using a fire extinguisher; Sutton goes for the ooolent, whilst the Doctor repairs the master switch to the power. They make it to the power room. The Earth continues to convulse. The wiring is set up to connect the nuclear power store to the console. The Brigade Leader plans to force the Doctor to take them or else he will kill him. Sutton hopes the Doctor will be succesful in the real world. The power doesn't switch on and explosions get closer and closer. However, Petra manages to rewire and the Doctor sets to leave. The Brigade Leader threatens him but the Doctor cannot take anyone otherwise the time paradox would be disasterous. Liz shoots the Brigade Leader, the Earth cracks open but the Doctor can't dematerialise as the console is acting too erratic. A wall of magma approaches the hut.

The Doctor arrives in the hut, with the console and Bessie. Liz finds him and Benton fetches the Brig. Inferno is three hours from penetrating the crust and Stahlman still refuses to liste; he is growing more and more ill from the infection. There is an alarm at the drillhead. The Doctor begins to come to slightly and says all systems must be reversed. He passes out again. The crisis is averted by Petra, following the Doctor's instructions. The Doctor comes to and is pleased to see the real Liz and Brigadier; he explains the parallel world. Sir Keith enters the hut; the Doctor realises that not everything is running similarly, there are an infinite number of universes and thus free will is not an illusion. The Doctor tries to stop the drilling but everyone thinks he is ill. Stahlman closes the drillhead. The Doctor knocks out his guards with more Venusian karate and runs into the infected techician, who he disables with a fire extinguisher. Stahlman has turned into a creature now and enters the control room but the Doctor disables him too with a fire extinguisher. The Inferno is ordered shut down but it continues drilling because the controls have been smashed. The Doctor stops the drilling with 35 seconds remaining. Sir Keith gives orders to shut down Inferno. The Doctor gets angry at the Brig and takes off with the console, only to land a few hundred yards away in a rubbish tip. He comes back and asks his dear friend for help in retrieving the console.

The excellent season seven ends on a cracking note with this Don Houghton story. It has some familiar elements: parallel worlds, where things are the same but not quite the same anyway; a Big Brother, Orwellian society; apocalyptic disaster befalling the entire Earth; and some hints of Gaia. The creatures don't really seem to serve any role - what is the ooze and why do people transform into green, hairy, homicidal monsters anyway? - other than to highten the dangers for the Doctor and the others in both worlds. In fact, the monsters have been criticised by other fans as silly and unnecessary, although I have imagined if the story would work without the monster threat, a threat similar to horror films with zombies, in the sense that there is a wall of monsters threatening a trapped band of humans who will change if attacked.

The great twist is we see the parallel world destroyed which hightens the urgency when the Doctor returns and we see similar things happening. (Some scenes are redone with different costume and slightly modified dialogue, which is a nice touch!) This is the first time the show made use of parallel worlds, picking up on the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics.

The regulars and supporting cast are a pleasure. Courtney swivelling around in his chair to reveal himself as the eye-patch wearing Brigade Leader is one of many fine moments. And we get attached to the parallel world characters and feel sorry for their horrible end - it is such fun to see actors play such double roles.

Classic Liz
Her blue mini-skirt
Her cropped, dark wig, military uniform (with short skirt) and boots - very sassy, in a kinky way!

Caroline John left the show here to raise a family. That was of course lovely for her but a bit of a shame for us; it could have been nice to develop her character a bit more. Producer Barry Letts later recounted that they deliberately introduced the scientific Liz to get away from the rather chauvinist girly type, however this was fine if you knew something about science or sci-fi; they were going to write her out anyway so viewers could get a handle on what was being discussed. The result was the introduction in season eight of one of my absolute favourite companions: Jo Grant. Terrance Dicks also recounted that having the Doctor saving his girl companions was almost the sacred formula of all action drama - e.g. the heroine tied to the circular saw by a moustached, top hat and cloak wearing villain. It may be a sacred formula if you want to keep on portraying girls as unable to do anything, so that doesn't wash from the gender equality perspective.
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