Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Sunday, 21 January 2018

472 Underworld: Part Three

EPISODE: Underworld: Part Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 472
STORY NUMBER: 096
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 21 January 1978
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Myths & Legends: The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon

"Do not worry. He has saved many fathers!"

I could just cheat, say I'd seen it and copy the synopsis from elsewhere? No? Oh well....

The gas clears allowing the Doctor to recover and Herrick to be rescued by his crew mates. The guards are overcome by the gas the Doctor has had sucked out the mines. Idas takes the Doctor & Leela to the citadel where the guards are about to sacrifice his father in a chamber nearly identical to the Minyan flight deck. They are captured as the enter the P7E, but Idas disrupts his father's sacrifice enabling them and some of the slaves to escape. They are rescued by the Minyans but Herrick is captured and interrogated by the Seers who reveal that while Guards & Slaves are true Minyans they have evolved. The Doctor & Leela hide in mine carts and are pushed toward the darkened entrance to the P7E

I watched it, I can't unwatch it. Still there was a bit of shooting this episode. But WORST CLIFF HANGER *EVER* - where was the drama there?

The whole thing is appallingly lit: I moan about things being too brightly lit but here it's hard to make out any details at all in a great many scenes, especially in the badly CSO'd tunnels. Oh for a bit more money to decamp to Chislehurst caves where the Mutants was filmed. The same is true of the Citadel itself, very under lit, which tries to hide, unsuccessfully, that it's a redress of the set for Jackson's ship, the R1C. Why bother hiding it as there's a blatantly good reason why it is the same set redressed?

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Then we have the unmasking of the seers Ankh & Lakh. You're expecting them to be human beings just like the guards Rask & Tarn but they're some form of cyborg. Unfortunately the head design looks like a cross between something out of King of the Rocket Men, which at that time would be regularly shown on the BBC, and Wordy from Look and Read. You've got the Magic E song in your heads now, you can thank me later.

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And as for the dreadful lift music as the Doctor, Leela and Idas float down the shaft ...... ugh.

Some more Greek mythology for you: Idmon and Idas are two names taken directly from the Greek while the Oracle, presumably a computer, I really can't remember or care, is named after the ancient source of prophetic knowledge. The most famous Oracle was at Delphi and she was named Pythia, a name that will later resurface in the Gallifreyan mythology in the New Adventures Novels.

About the only good thing here is some continuity to the previous story:

LEELA: Revolution! Wait, Idas. Has no one ever thought of revolution? Has no one ever rebelled?
IDAS: My father did.
Leela obviously remembers what they did in The Sunmakers.

Two new actors this week, and we don't see either of their faces but we have seen them both before:

Frank Jarvis, Ankh, was a Corporal in DW: The War Machines and returns Skart in The Power of Kroll, the second and final directing job for this story's debut director Norman Stewart. Jarvis is best known for playing Roger in The Italian Job but also appears in The Sweeney as a Prison Officer in Contact Breaker and in The Professionals as Patterson in Look After Annie, Musgrave in Not a Very Civil Civil Servant and Dale in Stopover.

We saw Richard Shaw, Lakh, as Lobos in The Space Museum & Cross in Frontier in Space. His first brush with science fiction was in the late 1950s when he play Sladden in Imps and Demons, The Enchanted, The Wild Hunt & Hob, the third to sixth episodes of Quatermass and the Pit.

Amongst the uncredited Trogs we have John Cannon, a familiar face due to his appearance as Elgin in Hand of Fear part 2. He'd also been a Miner in The Monster of Peladon and a Passer by in The Talons of Weng-Chiang and returns as a Technician in The Pirate Planet, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor, a Guard in The Creature from the Pit, an Extra in Time-Flight, Striker's Helmsman in Enlightenment and Sir Raulf Fitzwilliam's 1st Servant in The King's Demons. His Blake's 7 include a Federation Trooper in Project Avalon, Cevedic's Heavy in Gambit, a Labourer in The Harvest of Kairos and a Federation Trooper in Children of Auron while he's got a Moonbase 3 appearance as a Technician in Castor and Pollux. He's got a Porridge to his name as a Prison Inmate in the superb A Night In, a Constable in Supersnout and a Policeman in Thou Shalt Not Kill for The Sweeney, Huey in It's Only a Beautiful Picture for The Professionals as well as an appearance in The Empire Strikes Back as a Holographic Imperial Officer and 3 episodes as a Legionnaire in Beau Geste for Douglas Camfield.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the fourth Blake's 7 episode Time Squad was shown.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

471 Underworld: Part Two

EPISODE: Underworld: Part Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 471
STORY NUMBER: 096
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 14 January 1978
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Myths & Legends: The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon

"The Quest Is The Quest!"

The cannon penetrates the accreting mass and they escape, sighting & crashing on a planet that has formed round the P7E. The ship ploughs through the surface of the planet becoming wedged in more solid rock closer to the P7E. In the cave tunnels the Trog underclass mine under the guards, who in turn are the slaves of the Seers who serve the Oracle. The Minyans venture into the tunnels, followed by the Doctor & Leela, who meet escaped Trog Idas. Herrick encounters a guard, causing the guard's superiors to pump gas into the tunnels. The Doctor adjusts mining equipment to suck the gas out of the tunnels, but is overcome before he can finish the job.

Part 1 was slow and boring..... but nowhere near as bad as this. Just a bunch of wandering around in tunnels and pumping gas through them, in itself an awful effect. Dire.

The observant among you might spot that the guards weapons are Minyan shield guns, minus the shield......

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James Marcus, Rask, was a peasant in the Doctor Who serial Invasion of the Dinosaurs. His CV includes UFO as a SHADO Operative in Mindbender, The Sweeney as Myles in Cover Story, directed by Douglas Camfield who obviously liked him because he used him again for the and The Professionals episode Take Away where he plays D.C. Jack.

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Godfrey James, Tarn, has a CV as long as your arm involving virtually anything I've ever watched. The earliest thing of interest in it is an appearance in Out of This World, the ABC predecessor to Out of the Unknown, where he was in the now missing episode Cold Equations as Perry. He was then in UFO as Game Warden Mitchell in The Square Triangle, The Sweeney as Charley Smith in Big Spender, Space: 1999 as the Alien Transporter in the excruciating The Rules of Luton, The Professionals as Ross Kilpin in No Stone, The Tripods series 2, episodes 2 & 3 as Commander Goetz and A Very Peculiar Practice as Sweet in May the Force Be with You.

Norman Tipton, on the left as Idas, is one of the few actors to play a supporting role in more than one episode of Blake's 7, appearing as Artix in Spacefall & Cygnus Alpha, which were broadcast on the Mondays before & after this episode. He can also be seen in Yes Minister: The Economy Drive as the Photographer. His father Idmon is played by Jimmy Gardner who was previously Chenchu in Marco Polo

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Jay Neill, Guard Klimt, was previously a Pikeman in The Masque of Mandragora & Silvey in The Invisible Enemy. At the start of his career he made several appearances in Doomwatch as a Man in Project Sahara, Laing in The Battery People, a Man in By the Pricking of My Thumbs..., a Young Man in Flight Into Yesterday and a Man in Flood. He has a Yes Minister to his name as a Bodyguard in The Death List.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the third Blake's 7 episode Space Fall was shown.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

470 Underworld: Part One

EPISODE: Underworld: Part One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 470
STORY NUMBER: 096
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 07 January 1978
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Myths & Legends: The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon

"The Quest is The Quest!"

The Tardis stops on the edges of the cosmos where K-9 detects a spaceship nearby. Narrowly escaping a nebula that is sucking them in they materialise on the ship which the Doctor establishes is from Minyos. The Time Lords actions on Minyos, which led to the populace destroying their planet, led to the Time Lord policy of non interference. On the flight deck the aged Tala is injured as the ship is sucked into the nebula. The Doctor arrives and is attacked by Herrick. Leela goes to attack him but is stopped by the crew's pacifier ray. Tala is taken away to regenerate. They have been tracking a missing ship, the P7E which is carrying the future of their race. They have been on this quest for 10,000 years, regenerating many times. K-9 takes control of the ship and steers it out of the nebula. He reactivates many of the damaged systems, and the restored tracking system locks onto the P7E. They locate the ship in the nebula which the Doctor believes formed round her. They enter the nebula, but the weight of the ship attracts rock to it's hull dramatically increasing it's weight. They use the laser cannon to try to burn their way out but it starts to disintegrate

Slow and boring. Ugh. In some ways it reminds me of those Troughton episodes which attempt to show off the reality of working in space. But there is some nice stuff in here: The ship looks nice, even if I can't get a clear screenshot of all of it this episode, as do the shots of the rocks building up round it.

JACKSON: If that's where P7E is, that's where we go.
DOCTOR: But that could mean destruction.
JACKSON: No, Doctor, it'll mean the end of the Quest. If P7E went in there, so can we.
DOCTOR: But P7E didn't go in there. She couldn't have! She must have been there at the beginning and the nebula formed around her.
HERRICK: How does he know that?
DOCTOR: It's elementary physics. The still centre of a raging storm. P7E might be in there and she might be safe, but if you go in after her, it could mean destruction.
JACKSON: Doctor, if P7E is there, we must find her. That is our purpose. Destruction is a chance we take. The Quest is the Quest.
JACKSON: Main systems functional. Then why aren't we moving?
DOCTOR: Don't you know? What's the normal hull thickness?
JACKSON: Three metres twenty.
DOCTOR: K9! Present hull thickness?
K9 [OC]: Hull thickness seventy metres, increasing.
JACKSON: Seventy metres!
DOCTOR: We're being turned into a planet.
JACKSON: But that's impossible!
DOCTOR: No, it's not impossible, Jackson. It's simply gravity. This ship's a large, heavy object surrounded by smaller, lighter, objects. Our gravitational pull is greater than theirs. We attract them. They stick to us. It all snowballs.
K9 [OC]: Eighty metres, increasing.
DOCTOR: We're being buried alive. If it wasn't for this layer of debris, the asteroid belt would have smashed us to pieces. Still, you can't have everything, can you.
The theory behind that is scientifically sound too: Accretion Theory is how planets are believed to be formed and Doctor Who returns to this idea in the Christmas Invasion. For more buy The Planets on DVD.

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Against that the look of the ship and the feel of Dudley Simpson's music is very Blake's 7. Yeah, I'm sorry but I will keep harping on about it: the two series are intimately linked in feel at this stage of Doctor Who's production and indeed this episode is the first broadcast after Blake's 7's first episode, The Way Back, aired on 2nd January 1978.

As you'll see this story is essentially a giant rip off of any Greek Myth going. At the time Classics was still taught in schools so I suspect a lot of the viewers watching would have got it. The quest at the centre of the story is essentially the story of Jason and the Argonauts and the quest for the Golden Fleece and by this point the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts, which features second Doctor Patrick Troughton, would have been airing on television regularly. Substituted for the Golden Fleece is Minyan Race Memory bank.... (Minyan = Minoan, as in Minotaur) Hmmm where have we seen a Race Memory Bank before? Hand of Fear, also written by Bob Baker & Dave Martin. Jason becomes Jackson, while Herrick, Orfe & Tala are adaptations of the Argonauts Heracles/Hercules, Orpheus and Talaus. Meanwhile elements of The Odyssey are also included: the quest taking a long time (10 years vs 10,000 years) and the objective being the P7E/Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. Odysseus himself has an on-screen Doctor Who appearance in The Myth Makers, where he was played by Ivor Salter.

You know for every source that Robert Holmes "paid homage to" it's surprising that he never went near Greek Myths. As far as I'm able to tell this story wasn't commissioned under his watch and is wholly the responsibility of incoming script editor Anthony Read, an experienced writer an script editor who was lured back to the BBC by producer Graham Williams. Interestingly when Read leaves the script editor's post and writes for the show he produces a tale based on another Greek myth: Theseus and the Minotaur becomes Horn of the Nimon.

A few episodes back I pointed out that we'd got halfway through the number of episodes broadcast in Tom Baker's stay as the Doctor. Well if you throw in the missing six episodes of Shada, which we'll be talking about at the start of May, that makes this episode, his 89th, the half way point in Tom's reign.

Settle yourself in: virtually the entire cast of this story have Doctor Who form or have done something interesting!

James Maxwell, here playing Jackson, has two episodes of Out of the Unknown to his name: he was in The Dead Past as Jonas Foster and The Fastest Draw as Peter Stenning. The Dead Past exists and can be seen on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. He was also in the second series Doomwatch as Dr. Whittaker in The Iron Doctor which you can see on the Doomwatch DVD set. He has found infamy post mortem for allegedly haunting Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre!

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Alan Lake, Herrick, was already well known as Diana Dors third husband. By this point he had appeared in Ringer, the first regular episode of The Sweeney as John Merrick. A few years later he'd guest star in Aftermath, the third season opening episode of Blake's 7 as Chel.

Jonathan Newth, Orfe, now has sci fi form appearing since this story in The Day of the Triffids, as Dr Soames, and Nightmare Man, as Colonel Howard, both of which have strong Who connections behind the scenes. He can also be found in The Professionals: It's Only a Beautiful Picture as James Tibbs

1 03 Orfe 1 04 Tala

Meanwhile the agent of Imogen Bickford-Smith, Tala, on hearing that Louise Jameson was shortly departing Doctor Who was quick to proclaim his client as the new companion! You can see her in Fawlty Towers:The Psychiatrist as the Girlfriend and she's in The Professionals too appearing as the Blonde in The Untouchables.

Tala starts the story as an old woman before regenerating into a much younger form:

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The Doctor has explained that his people had had some prior contact with the Minyans:

DOCTOR: It was what happened on Minyos that led to our policy of non-intervention.
LEELA: Huh?
DOCTOR: Yeah. Well, the Minyans thought of us as gods, you see, which was all very flattering and we were new at space-time explorations, so we thought we could help. We gave them medical and scientific aid, better communications, better weapons.
LEELA: What happened?
DOCTOR: Kicked up out at gunpoint. Then they went to war with each other, learnt how to split the atom, discovered the toothbrush and finally split the planet.
LEELA: So this ship must have got away before the planet was destroyed.
DOCTOR: Yes.
LEELA: That was a hundred thousand years ago. Nobody lives for a hundred thousand years. Do they?
It would appear as if the Minyans also obtained the ability to regenerate from the Time Lords too!

Five days before this episode was broadcast the Blake's 7 episode The Way Back was shown with the second episode Space Fall following 2 days after.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

469 The Sun Makers: Part Four

EPISODE: The Sun Makers: Part Four
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 469
STORY NUMBER: 095
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 17 December 1977
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Sun Makers

"Nobody understands business is business!"

The Doctor escapes just in time but Mandrell calling his communicator alerts the Collector & Gatherer to his presence and they send guards to investigate. Bisham reports that the PCM levels are falling dramatically. The Doctor decides to infiltrate the Collector's palace and take control of the public video system. The Collector is agitated at the reports of unrest. Once in the palace the Doctor opens the Collector's safe, but Leela accidentally triggers a booby trap and is stunned. The Doctor broadcasts his message to the Megropolis. Marn is found by the revolutionaries and elects to join them. The Gatherer finds workers on the rooftop of his building but they throw him off it and he falls to his death bellow. The Doctor confronts the Collector who tells him the company, based on the planet Usurius. He recalls that Usurians are a sort of poisonous fungi. The Collector tells how the moved the humans from the Earth, to Mars and then to Pluto. When Pluto's resources are exhausted Pluto and the humans will be abandoned. When the revolution nears the Collector's palace he prepares to release a poison into the atmosphere but is stopped by the Doctor & Leela. The Doctor feeds a growth tax into the Collector's computer forcing him to revert back to his true form and giving the people control of the city.

And all over in a bit of a rush with very little opposition. Indications are, especially given the scene where everyone is running around everyone yelling for K-9, that this episode might have been running a little short. In many ways it's quieter then the others but still has the same levels of humour: Liz joined me for it and was giggling at some of the bits where when she'd watched the story previously she hadn't liked it. The long confrontation between the Doctor & The Collector is especially fun, and explains a lot of the questions about what the company are and how the humans got to Pluto:

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COLLECTOR: Kindly make less noise.
DOCTOR: Oh, I was just checking the books.
COLLECTOR: Your appearance is not unexpected.
DOCTOR: I'm not the Auditor, I'm the Doctor.
COLLECTOR: I know. If you intend to kill me, as you see, I'm unarmed.
DOCTOR: No, I won't kill you. Just close you down.
COLLECTOR: An idle boast. Other competitors have tried. Would you care to see our prospectus?
DOCTOR: Oh, delighted, delighted. Hmm. Company solidly based. You've a widely diversified operational field. Yes.
COLLECTOR: You're a fool, Doctor. I shall have you steamed for your interference.
DOCTOR: Yes, I cut the answering service not to interrupt our little conference.
COLLECTOR: Very well. I see I underestimated you. What are your terms?
DOCTOR: Tell me about the Company.
COLLECTOR: Ah, you're interested.
DOCTOR: Yes.
COLLECTOR: Oh, an excellent outfit to work for, Doctor. Progress from medium to senior management level can be remarkably rapid for the talented executive.
DOCTOR: Yes, cut the sales talk. Where's the Head Office?
COLLECTOR: Usurius.
DOCTOR: Ah. I might have guessed from your squiddy little eyes. Hmm.
COLLECTOR: You are acquainted with our species?
DOCTOR: Oh yes, oh yes. The Usurians are listed in Professor Thripsted's Flora and Fauna of the Universe under poisonous fungi.
COLLECTOR: I don't entirely like your attitude. If you want to get on in the Company you have to what? What? Are you mad?
DOCTOR: Quite mad. Mad as a hatter. Tell me, how did you get control of humanity?
COLLECTOR: A normal business operation. The Company was looking for property in this sector, Earth was running down, it's people dying. We made a deal.
DOCTOR: Go on.
COLLECTOR: Yes. We moved them all to Mars. After our engineers had made that planet habitable for their species.
DOCTOR: And then taxed the life out of them. I mean, to recover your capital costs.
COLLECTOR: Quite so, quite so. Then, when the resources of Mars were exhausted in their turn, we created a new environment for them here on Pluto.
DOCTOR: Phew. What about the four intervening planets?
COLLECTOR: They weren't considered viable by our engineers.
DOCTOR: So then you really put the screws on. I mean, the running costs must be very high.
COLLECTOR: Six suns to be fueled and serviced.
DOCTOR: Six suns. Six! My, my. And so when this planet's exhausted you can move your slave labour force elsewhere?
COLLECTOR: Alas, no. There is nowhere else that is economic. This branch will close.
DOCTOR: Leaving the humans to die.
COLLECTOR: When the suns have run down, yes. A matter of a few years without fuel. They're not a good workforce in any case. Many of our other operations produce a much higher return with less labour.
DOCTOR: You blood-sucking leech! You won't stop until you own the entire galaxy, will you. Don't you think commercial imperialism is as bad as military conquest?
COLLECTOR: We have tried war, but the use of economic power is far more effective.
DOCTOR: You
DOCTOR: Ah. The revolution's getting nearer. What's the Company policy on that?
COLLECTOR: It will be quelled. Business will continue as usual.
DOCTOR: Oh, wake up. Wake up. Look at the facts.
This wakes up a guard the Doctor has previously hypnotised who looks suspiciously like stuntman & supporting artist Stuart Fell!

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COLLECTOR: I know the facts.
DOCTOR: You and a handful of bureaucrats won't put the people back in chains now.
COLLECTOR: Then they will die.
DOCTOR: Oh, it's you again. What did I say?
COLLECTOR: Our conference has gone on too long, Doctor. It is time to implement contingency plan A.
COLLECTOR: This switch controls the sprinkler valves throughout the City.
DOCTOR: Rain stops play. I don't think that'll damp down this revolution.
COLLECTOR: The sprinklers will release dianene, a deadly poison. Within ten seconds, everyone in the City will be dead.
DOCTOR: Except you.
COLLECTOR: Exactly. I do not breathe air.
DOCTOR: No, but this chap at my shoulder, he breathes air.
COLLECTOR: Kill him!
DOCTOR: Don't be a fool.
COLLECTOR: Guard, kill him!
DOCTOR: Good throw! Good throw.
Leela's thrown her knife at the guard, hitting him.
DOCTOR: What's contingency plan B?
COLLECTOR: Nobody understands business is business.
LEELA: What do we do now, Doctor, kill him?
DOCTOR: You'll like this bit. You'll like it.
COLLECTOR: Nine zero nine! A mistake in the Megropolis Six analysis. Recheck!
COMPUTER: Nine zero nine. Recheck. Megropolis Six analysis confirmed correct.
COLLECTOR: Commander! Arrest these idiots. I have a problem. Nine zero nine. Megropolis Four analysis. Mistake. Recheck
COMPUTER: Nine zero nine.
CORDO: Collector, in the name of the work units, I order
LEELA: People, Cordo.
CORDO: Yes. In the name of the people I order you to be tried by
DOCTOR: Cordo, I don't think he's listening.
COLLECTOR: Negative surplus. Inflationary spiral uncheckable. Negative growth! This branch is no longer viable. We are bankrupt. Business failure. Closure imperative. Cut losses. Liquidate. Immediate liquidation.
Fab effect here as the Collector shrinks, becoming a green blob that disappears down the plug hole under his chair:

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BISHAM: I'm sorry I'm late. What happened?
MANDRELL: Well, I don't know.
DOCTOR: I do. He's gone back to his natural form. He was only held in that state by particle radiation. That's why he never left that machine.
LEELA: You mean he's in there now?
DOCTOR: Oh, yes.
LEELA: Well, we could make a hole in it.
CORDO: Do you think he'll come out again?
DOCTOR: Well, you could put the plug in if you want.
COMMANDER: I don't understand. Why was it necessary for him to make himself look human?
DOCTOR: Well, if you'd seen a Usurian you'd know what I mean. They look like sea kale with eyes. I mean, would you take orders from a lump of seaweed? Huh? Hmm? Cordo?
Of the other two Company officials seen in the story, Gatherer Hade meets his fate at the hands of a mob who throw him off a roof!

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Richard Leech giving it his full range of Frankie Howard face pulling there. He's been a top turn throughout this story!

Hade's assistant Marn has looked cleverer than her boss throughout and correctly reads the situation, throwing in her lot with the rebels!

Meanwhile I spot a reference to an earlier Holmes Doctor Who story:

LEELA: Doctor! What is this?
DOCTOR: What, that? It's a safe. Company vault.
LEELA: Doctor, is there
DOCTOR: Shush.
LEELA: Is there something behind the door?
DOCTOR: What was that?
LEELA: I heard nothing.
DOCTOR: Neither did I.
LEELA: Then why are we whispering?
DOCTOR: I always whisper when I'm opening safes.
The Doctor's safe cracking was last seen in Terror of the Autons. This time there's just an energy field waiting for them, then it was a whole Auton folded up in the safe!

There's not a lot of returning actors credited in this story: just Tom Kelly, who plays a Guard in the next episode. He was also a Guard in the Doctor Who serial The Face of Evil and will be a Vardan in The Invasion of Time. He was in the Blake's 7 episode Spacefall as Nova, both of which are directed by this story's director Pennant Roberts. He also appears in Sapphire & Steel The Railway Station as the Soldier / Sam Pearce. You can hear him interviewed by Toby Hadoke in Who's Round 158.

Uncredited in this episode is frequent supporting artist Barry Summerford as a Steaming Audience Member. We last saw him in The Hand of Fear as a Security guard and he's next seen in the The Ribos Operation as a Shrieve.

Not exactly your average Doctor Who story at all, much more light and humorous than many. But it works, especially coming as it does after the very dark Image of the Fendahl. I loved it and thought it was great fun. The story came about as a result of an encounter between Robert Holmes and the tax man. Holmes certainly seems to take great joy in humorously pointing the finger at the tax system during it.

There's also an element of our departed script editor pointing the finger at his employers, with the company seen as an allegory for the BBC! A sly hint at this can be seen with the revolving globes during the public video system announcement, very similar to the BBC idents at the time!

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After Sunmakers Doctor Who took it's now traditional Christmas break during which Robots of Death was repeated as two fifty minute compilation episodes. This was the last time there would be Doctor Who repeats at Christmas breaking a tradition that stretched back to the Daemons in 1971.

The Sunmakers was the last Tom Baker story to be novelised, inevitably by Terrance Dicks, in 1982. That left three stories in his reign un-novelised and we'll come to the first of these very shortly. It was released on video in 2001 and on DVD in August 2011.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

468 The Sun Makers: Part Three

EPISODE: The Sun Makers: Part Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 468
STORY NUMBER: 095
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 10 December 1977
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Sun Makers

"What have we got to lose?"
"Only your claims!"

Leela is captured by the guards but K-9, Bisham & Cordo escape. The outlaws aren't convinced by the Doctor's story and are about to torture him when Cordo returns. Leela is examined by the Collector's medics who discover she has no identity number. The Doctor, Bisham & Mandrell come up with a plan to take over the PCM main control and stop the gas being pumped into the atmosphere. The Collector interrogates Leela. The Doctor starts to take an interest in the company and who they actually are. He dispatches the outlaws to incite the populace to revolution. The Collector crushes the Gatherer's notions of a rebellion forming and tells him of the Doctor's past activities. The Collector decides to have Leela executed by Public Steaming, intending to trap the Doctor when he rescues her. The Doctor deceives the camera system observing him to believe he is pacing on the same spot while he, K-9, Cordo, Bisham & Mandrell break into central control, overpowering the operators, Synge & Hackett, and shutting down the PCM distribution. Hearing of Leela's execution the Doctor plans a rescue. K-9 travels through a vent and blasts a valve. The Doctor enters the steamer through an access tunnel but is told he has only 2 minutes to rescue Leela. But while inside the condenser system runs wild approaching a catastrophic explosion.....

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Ah we've not seen this for a while. As soon as the Doctor is able to he decides to overthrow the government.

GOUDRY: He's asking us to help him!
CORDO: No, no, he's not.
DOCTOR: No, no, I'm not. I'm not, Goudry. I'm asking you to help yourselves. Nothing will change round here unless you change it.
CORDO: We have the two guns, and there's K9 upstairs.
VEET: Two guns? What will we do with two guns against all those guards?
DOCTOR: You can't do anything, but there are fifty million people in this city. Think how the guards will react to that number.
GOUDRY: It's crazy talk. Rebellion? No one would support you.
DOCTOR: Given the chance to breathe clean air for a few hours, they might. Have you thought of that?
There's been a bit of the Doctor showing up on alien planets and overthrowing corrupt regimes: Web Planet, The Ark, The Savages, The Macra Terror, The Krotons & The Mutants spring to mind. Up there with Alien Invasion & Base Under Siege it's one of the show's staples yet they've not had a go at doing it for a while now, the Mutants being the last example I can remember.
CORDO: It's true. If we all act together, there's nothing the Company can do.
VEET: If we all act together.
GOUDRY: Yes, let's fight the Company.
VEET: Fight, yes.
DOCTOR: What is this Company? Can anyone tell me that?
MANDRELL: Well, it's just the Company.
GOUDRY: It gave us the suns.
DOCTOR: Shush. I mean, who runs it? What's it for?
BISHAM: It makes a profit, that's what it's for. And the, er, Collector is a sort of high official. There's nobody else.
DOCTOR: A profit?
BISHAM: Yes.
DOCTOR: But who gets the profit? Where does it go?
VEET: Not to us.
BISHAM: They're not questions we've ever thought about. I mean there's no answer.
DOCTOR: Wouldn't it be interesting to find the answer?
Good question, and ones we don't necessarily get answers to. But very relevant today.
LEELA: Get this thing off me!
COMMANDER: The terrorist, Excellency.
LEELA: Let me go!
COLLECTOR: Name.
COMMANDER: Answer his Excellency.
LEELA: I will split you.
COMMANDER: Your name!
LEELA: Leela.
COLLECTOR: Place of birth.
LEELA: I don't have to answer.
COLLECTOR: Place of birth.
LEELA: I don't know. I'm a member of the Sevateem.
COLLECTOR: The Sevateem?
LEELA: My tribe. Tell this gorilla to take his paws off me.
COLLECTOR: Zero zero five on Sevateem.
COMPUTER: Zero zero five. Sevateem. Negative report. Semantic analysis suggests linguistic corruption. Inferences degenerate unsupported Tellurian colony.
There's a nice nod to an earlier Holmes tale: the Collector's computer makes reference to it being a Tellurian colony: Tellurian is the name used for the humans in The Carnival of Monsters.
COLLECTOR: How did you get to Pluto?
LEELA: By accident, as usual.
COMMANDER: Answer respectfully!
LEELA: The Doctor brought me in a machine called a Tardis, if that leaves you any the wiser.
COLLECTOR: What is the Doctor?
LEELA: He is a Time Lord.
COLLECTOR: You were in that criminal attack on the Company Correction Centre. Why?
LEELA: Well, I heard the Doctor was in trouble, so I came to rescue him, but when I got here he'd been set free, so we
COLLECTOR: This interview is terminated. Remove her.
COMMANDER: Erased, Excellency?
COLLECTOR: Not as of now. Place her under pending.
COMMANDER: Immediately, Excellency.
LEELA: Put me down!
COLLECTOR: I'll issue an invoice for erasure by close of business today. Zero zero five. The Time Lords. Specifically one known as the Doctor.
COMPUTER: Zero zero five. Time Lords. Oligarchic rulers of the planet Gallifrey. The planet was classified grade three in the last market survey, its potential for market development being correspondingly low.
But whoever the company are they've heard of the Time Lords and The Doctor:
HADE: Your Hugeness sent for me?
COLLECTOR: You ordered a prisoner to be released from Correction today. Why?
HADE: I can explain, your Amplification. He is the Ajack conspirator sent here to foment rebellion. It is my intention to follow him through the tracker system and identify his contacts.
COLLECTOR: There is no rebellion, Hade, and your so-called Ajack is an alien who landed on this planet by mistake. He is a Time Lord known as the Doctor.
HADE: But how? Your Vastness is certain?
COLLECTOR: I simply checked Company records. This Doctor could be a problem.
HADE: In what way, your Voluminousness?
COLLECTOR: He has a long history of violence and of economic subversion. He will not be sympathetic to my Company's business methods.
HADE: If there's anything I can do to help the Company? Long life the Company.
COLLECTOR: Issue hourly bulletins. Five thousand talmars reward for information leading his capture, dead or alive.
HADE: Magnificent.
COLLECTOR: The money to be paid from your private purse.
HADE: Argh!
COLLECTOR: You spoke?
HADE: Merely a cry of gladness at being so honoured.
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Because Robert Holmes, the inverter of the tissue compression eliminator, is writing this we need to have a novel way to die: So let's steam Leela alive!

COLLECTOR: Also, bulletin information that the Doctor's companion is to be publicly executed for her crimes against the Company.
HADE: Praise the Company for ever and ever. Er, where will the execution be held?
COLLECTOR: In the Exchange Hall. Admission by ticket only, five talmars. Proceeds to the Company Benevolent Fund.
HADE: Enormity will attend?
COLLECTOR: Naturally. The execution will take place during the first work shift. Announce a two hour public holiday without pay.
HADE: The work units will cry with delight. Such generosity is unparalleled.
COLLECTOR: I compute a point oh four seven percent drop in production, which is within acceptable limits. Also, station extra security units in all the subways around the Exchange.
HADE: Extra units, your Globosity?
COLLECTOR: The computer character analysis indicates that the Doctor will try to prevent the execution. With luck, we'll roll two of them into the steamer.
That then leads to a commentary on the lack of attendance at televised sporting events:
COLLECTOR: A poor turnout, Hade.
HADE: Five talmars for only one execution. If we could have offered more victims, made a bigger show of it. Of course, when they can see it all for nothing on the bulletin screens
COLLECTOR: Not the same thing at all. No sense of a shared experience.
And a dig at Hi-Fi fanatics, then enjoying Quadrophonioc Sound, an early version of Surround sound.
COLLECTOR: This is the moment I get a real feeling of job satisfaction. Are the microphones wired in?
HADE: All round the condenser, most Merciful. We're looking forward to excellent duodecaphonic sound.
Shall we sneak a comedy joke in too? The two technicians at PCM control are called Synge & Hackett which is surely a tip of the hat to comedy act Hinge & Brackett!

And, while we're putting Leela in danger, we can send the Doctor into rescue her in pure 1940s serial style as the cliffhanger at the end of the episode!

The lead guest star for the serial is Henry Woolf who plays The Collector. He's probably best known on television for his role in Rutland Weekend Television but you may have seen him in The Sweeney as Jimmy Dancer in I Want the Man. On the big screen he was one of the Transylvanians in The Rocky Horror Picture Show but he's led a long and varied career as you can find out when Toby Hadoke interviews him in Who's Round #155.

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Playing the Guard Commander is Colin McCormack. He's been in most of the big TV action series of the 70s appearing in The Sweeney: The Bigger They Are as David Wade, The Professionals In the Public Interest as Edwards then The Ojuka Situation as The Inspector. He was a Bodyguard in Yes Minister: The Death List, the same episode which featured Michael Keating as a Police Constable. He's also in Inspector Morse: Death Is Now My Neighbour as Hargreaves.

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Derek Crewe who plays Synge in this story can be seen as Lefty in two early The Tomorrow People serials: The Slaves of Jedikiah & The Vanishing Earth.

William Simons - Mandrel - is known outside of Doctor Who for playing PC Alf Ventress in Heartbeat. He's also got an appearance in The Sweeney: Money, Money, Money as Maurice Pope.

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Adrienne Burgess, who plays Veet here was in the Blake's 7 episode Shadow as Hanna and can be seen as a Revered One in Space: 1999: Death's Other Dominion, which is a great episode!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

467 The Sun Makers: Part Two

EPISODE: The Sun Makers: Part Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 467
STORY NUMBER: 095
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 03 December 1977
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Sun Makers

"That's what the Centre's for, correcting people. He won't live long after that!"

My list of episodes tells me this is Tom Baker's 86th episode, which is half way through the number of episodes starring him broadcast!

Cordo flees as the unconscious Doctor is taken away to the correction centre. The Gatherer takes his suspicions of rebellion, sparked by the Tardis' arrival, to the Collector. The Doctor recovers finding himself in a straight jacket with fellow prisoner Bisham. As Leela's time runs out Cordo returns and tells the outlaws what happened. Bisham explains to the Doctor about PCM being pumped into the atmosphere, which he believes eliminates airborne infections. The Doctor recognises it as an anxiety inducing agent. Leela & Cordo go, with K-9, to free the Doctor. The Doctor is freed by the Gatherer who believes he can use the Doctor to find the rebels. On the way to the correction centre Leela starts to feel afraid but K-9 informs her of the presence of the gas interfering with her nervous system. They break into the correction centre but finding the Doctor gone they free Bisham. The Doctor returns to the undercity and is angry that Leela has left to try to find him, but worried by his reappearance with money they threaten him and accuse him with being a spy for the Gatherer. Attempting to escape the correction facility Leela, Cordo, Bisham & K-9 are found by guards.....

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Love it, love it, love it. Rolls along nicely, Tom's superb, the "greek chorus" commentary provided by The Gatherer & Marin is on completely the wrong track and is barkingly amusing.

HADE: Ah, Citizen Doc-Tor. Welcome. Come in, sit down.
DOCTOR: Thank you.
HADE: No, no, no. Please, please.
HADE: Citizen Doc-Tor. An unusual name.
DOCTOR: Yes, especially for an Ajack.
HADE: Indeed. There are so many Wurgs and Keeks in Megropolis Three I sometimes wonder how my distinguished colleague, Gatherer Pile, manages to keep track of you all.
DOCTOR: Indeed. But how very clever of you to know my name.
HADE: Well, it's here, on your ConSumCard.
DOCTOR: Ah.
HADE: The cause of your unfortunate experience, of which I trust there are no ill effects?
DOCTOR: Oh, not at all, not at all. Your guards were entirely charming, and so attentive.
HADE: I am gratified. I brought you here, Citizen Doc-Tor, first of all to give you the thousand talmars you requested.
HADE: And also to apologise for any inconvenience. To err is computer.
DOCTOR: To forgive is fine?
I'd heard this scene loads of times but had never twigged the Gatherer Pile/Gather a pile (of money) joke till Doctor Who Magazine's Fact of Fiction drew my attention to it.

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CORDO: The guard, he's gone!
LEELA: We should have killed him. He will have raised the alarm.
BISHAM: Well, there's no turning back.
CORDO: If we're caught in this corridor, we'll have no chance, Leela.
LEELA: What do you suggest?
CORDO: We must be daring. If we take the P45 return route they'll never expect to find us there.
The P45 gag was slightly more obvious though! Once again the The former Wills Tobacco Factory in Bristol provides locations for this episode, in this case the long corridor, presumably the P45 route mentioned above, seen in the episode's close!

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Look carefully at the circuit board pattern in the Collector's office & the Correction Centre: it's traced from a real circuit board and there's an AMD logo clearly visible!

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The same Doctor Who Magazine article mentioned above identifies the Correction Centre Guard who is shot by K-9 as Cy Town: he's been a Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a Medical Orderly in The Mind of Evil, an Extra in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen and a Brother in The Masque of Mandragora and a Bi-Al crewman in The Invisible Enemy as well as being a Dalek Operator in Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks and Genesis of the Daleks. He'll repeat that role in Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks as well as appearing as a Passerby in Attack of the Cybermen, Harold V.'s Brother in The Happiness Patrol and a Haemovore in The Curse of Fenric. He was in Doomwatch playing a man in Flood and a Technician in all six episodes of Moonbase 3.

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The Doctor's fellow prisoner, Bisham, is played by David Rowlands who was the Hairdresser in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy episode 6!

DOCTOR: Going for a little hop. Good for the circulation. What did they get you for?
BISHAM: Curiosity.
DOCTOR: That's a crime here?
BISHAM: Yes. I was an executive grade at the chemical plant in charge of PCM production. I got curious about some of the other products.
DOCTOR: Go on.
BISHAM: Well, there were some tablets labelled For Official Use only, for the Gatherers and the other Company staff. I wondered what they were, so I took some.
DOCTOR: Ah.
BISHAM: I felt completely different, as though I'd never really been alive until then.
DOCTOR: So you carried on taking them?
BISHAM: Of course I did. I suppose they noticed the difference in me and kept watch. The MegroGuards came for me during my last sleep time.
DOCTOR: What does PCM stand for?
BISHAM: Pentocyleinicmethylhydrane.
DOCTOR: What?
BISHAM: You know something about chemistry?
DOCTOR: Enough to recognise an anxiety inducing agent when I smell one.
BISHAM: No, no, it eliminates airborne infections.
DOCTOR: That's what they tell you. It also eliminates freedom.
Gas released into the air to control the populace? Did Chris Boucher give Bob Holmes a sneak peak at the script of the soon to be transmitted Blake's 7 episode 1: The Way Back?

In fact this is the last Doctor Who story to be transmitted before Blake's 7 started.

And speaking of which, Ladies and gentlemen: Mister Michael Keating, here playing Gourdy, is the only actor to appear in every episode of Blake's 7, where he plays Vila. He's got a missing Doomwatch to his name, playing Stephen Grigg in Enquiry, which was directed by Pennant Roberts, and a Yes Minister playing Constable Ross in The Death List, towards the end of his Blake's 7 fame. Nowadays he's more recognisable for his occasional appearances in East Enders as Reverend Stevens.

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So it's a very good time for the third of our regular looks at the Blake's 7 cast & crew to see who we recognise. Still at the helm as producer & script editor are David Maloney, in his final season, and Chris Boucher. This is the first series without Gareth Thomas as Blake.

EPISODE: C1 Aftermath

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
BROADCAST ON: 07/01/1980

Alan Lake (Chel) Underworld: Herrick
Richard Franklin (Federation Trooper) Mike Yates
Michael Melia (Federation Trooper) The Visitation Terileptil Leader


EPISODE: C2 Powerplay

DIRECTED BY: David Maloney
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
BROADCAST ON: 14/01/1980

Michael Sheard (Klegg) He's been in The Ark as Rhos, The Mind of Evil as Dr. Roland Summers, Pyramids of Mars as Laurence Scarman, Invisible Enemy as Supervisor Lowe, Castrovalva as Mergrave & Remembrance of the Daleks as the Headmaster.
John Hollis (Lom) The Mutants: Professor Sondergaard
Primi Townsend (Zee) Pirate Planet: Mula
Helen Blatch (Receptionist) The Deadly Assassin: Matrix Voice & The Twin Dilemma: Fabian



EPISODE: C3 Volcano

DIRECTED BY: Desmond McCarthy
WRITTEN BY: Allan Prior
BROADCAST ON: 21/01/1980

Michael Gough (Hower) Celestial Toymaker: The Toymaker & Arc of Infinity: Hedin


EPISODE: C4 Dawn of the Gods

DIRECTED BY: Desmond McCarthy
WRITTEN BY: James Follett
BROADCAST ON: 28/01/1980

Terry Scully (Groff) Seeds of Death: Fewsham


EPISODE: C5 The Harvest of Kairos

DIRECTED BY: Gerald Blake Directed Abominable Snowmen & Invasion of Time
WRITTEN BY: Ben Steed
BROADCAST ON: 04/02/1980

Andrew Burt (Jarvik) Terminus: Valgard


EPISODE: C6 City at the Edge of the World

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 11/02/1980

Colin Baker (Bayban) Arc of Infinity: Maxill & The Sixth Doctor
Valentine Dyall (Norl) The Armageddon Factor, Mawdryn Undead, Terminus & Enlightenment: The Black Guardian
John J. Carney (Sherm) The Time Warrior: Bloodaxe


EPISODE: C7 Children of Auron

DIRECTED BY: Andrew Morgan Directed Time and the Rani and Remembrance of the Daleks.
WRITTEN BY: Roger Parkes
BROADCAST ON: 18/02/1980


Michael Troughton (Pilot Four Zero) son of Patrick
Ronald Leigh-Hunt (CA One) The Seeds of Death: Commander Radnor & Revenge of the Cybermen: Commander Stevenson


EPISODE: C8 Rumours of Death

DIRECTED BY: Fiona Cumming Directed Castrovalva, Snakedance, Enlightenment & Planet of Fire
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 25/02/1980

John Bryans (Shrinker) Creature from the Pit: Torvin
Donald Douglas (Grenlee) The Sontaran Experiment: Vural
David Haig (Forres) The Leisure Hive: Pangol


EPISODE: C9 Sarcophagus

DIRECTED BY: Fiona Cumming
WRITTEN BY: Tanith Lee
BROADCAST ON: 03/03/1980

No Doctor Who cast involved.


EPISODE: C10 Ultraworld

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
WRITTEN BY: Trevor Hoyle
BROADCAST ON: 10/03/1980

Ian Barritt (Ultra 3) The Unicorn & The Wasp: Professor Peach


EPISODE: C11 Moloch

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
WRITTEN BY: Ben Steed
BROADCAST ON: 17/03/1980

Deep Roy (Moloch) Talons of Weng Chiang: Mr Sin
Davyd Harries (Doran) The Armageddon Factor: Shapp

EPISODE: C12 Death-Watch

DIRECTED BY: Gerald Blake
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 24/03/1980

Stewart Bevan (Max) The Green Death: Professor Cliff Jones
David Sibley (Commentator) Pralix: The Pirate Planet


EPISODE: C13 Terminal

DIRECTED BY: Mary Ridge Directed Terminus
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation Last Blake's 7 script
BROADCAST ON: 31/03/1980

No Doctor Who cast involved.

It'll be a while before the final one of these comes up during the Two Doctors!