Sunday, 20 January 2019

500 The Armageddon Factor: Part One

EPISODE: The Armageddon Factor: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 20 January 1979
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Michael Hayes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"People of Atrios, once more the hated forces of Zeos clamour at our gates. Once more, they shall not pass!"

Approaching the planet Atrios, at war with it's close neighbour Zeos, the Tardis is attacked by a nuclear warhead. On Atrios opposition is growing to the Marshal's military leadership of the war, lead by Princess Astra and Surgeon Merak. Under the Marshal's orders Astra is led astray by her guard and shut in a highly radioactive area. Arriving on Atrios, The Doctor breaks into the sealed K-block , where he & Romana see the missing princess Astra, but they are captured by The Marshal and accused of being spies alongside surgeon Merak. Astra is abducted by a black robed & masked figure. The Doctor, Romana & Merak are freed by K-9 but when they flee they discover the Tardis gone.

Bit of a setup episode with little indication of where the sixth and final segment of the Key To Time is. But the situation, two planets at war with each other, is clearly explained and a hint is dropped that Zeos isn't where it should be.

The Marshall: People of Atrios, once more the hated forces of Zeos clamour at our gates. Once more, they shall not pass. Be brave, my people. Be steadfast, be strong. This rain of death which the Zeons pour upon us, will it extinguish the flame of liberty, my people? No, our sun will rise again, and Atrios from its ashes will rekindle a mighty resolve, an implacable wrath, crushing the hated Zeon beneath the heel of Atrios! Even now we know the Zeon will to fight is failing. They cannot go on. Our ships dominate their skies. All I ask, my people, is that you, who have suffered so much, clench the jaw, grimly endure a short while more, until we can deliver the final blow which will bring Zeos to its knees. Victory will be ours!

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The layout in the Atrian war room gives away who's in charge here: the Princess stands at the back as a Figurehead while the Marshal gets a nice comfy chair!

Two notable landmarks are reached this episode. Firstly it's Doctor Who's 500th episode, and secondly it's Tom Baker's 119th episode bringing him level with Patrick Troughton but still behind Jon Pertwee on 128 and William Hartnell on 134.

HEROINE: Darling.
HERO: Oh, my love.
HEROINE: Don't go.
HERO: I must.
HEROINE: But you'll be killed!
HERO: Perhaps.
HEROINE: I can't bear it. I love you.
HERO: There is a greater love. Men out there, young men, are dying for it. Dying so that Atrios might live.
HERO: You must be strong. We must all be strong and play our parts until victory is won, evil vanquished, and peace restored. Then, and only then, my darling, can we love again. I must go. Kiss the children for me. Tell them their daddy will return before long.
'Hero', the male actor in the public information film that opens the show is Ian Liston, better known amongst sci fi fans for playing Wes Janson, Rogue 3's/Wedge's Snowspeeder gunner in The The Empire Strikes Back.

'Heroine' meanwhile is played by Susan Skipper. She was Chadwick's Secretary in Sweeney!, the first film adaptation of the TV series, and later appeared regularly in Don't Wait Up as Madeline, he elder Dr Latimer's secretary and the younger Dr Latimer's eventual second wife.

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The ill fated guard in this episode is John Cannon who was, most prominently, the possessed technician Elgin in The Hand of Fear part 2. Prior to that he'd been in Monster of Peladon as a Miner.and returned as a Passer by in The Talons of Weng-Chiang, a Trog in Underworld and a Technician in The Pirate Planet. He will later be a Guard in The Creature from the Pit, the executioner in Shada, an Extra in Time-Flight, Striker's Helmsman in Enlightenment and Sir Raulf Fitzwilliam's 1st Servant in The King's Demons. 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 as well as an appearance in The Empire Strikes Back as a Holographic Imperial Officer. Away from science fiction he worked with acclaimed Doctor Who director Douglas Camfield as a Legionnaire in Beau Geste (TV Mini-Series), he was in I, Claudius as a Cake Ship slave in A Touch of Murder, Porridge as Prison Inmate in A Night In, The Professionals as Huey in It's Only a Beautiful Picture and two appearances in The Sweeney as a constable in Supersnout and a Policeman in Thou Shalt Not Kill, where he also worked with Camfield.

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

Also appearing as a guard is Barry Summerford He'd already been a Golden Age Man in Invasion of the Dinosaurs part six, an Elite Guard in Genesis of the Daleks, a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen part one, Private Thurston in Terror of the Zygons part two, a UNIT Communications Soldier in The Seeds of Doom part six, a security guard in The Hand of Fear, a Steaming Audience Member in The Sun Makers part four and a Shrieve in The Ribos Operation. He'll be back as another Guard in The Creature from the Pit part one and a Foster in The Keeper of Traken part one. His Blake's 7 include a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Rebel in Pressure Point, a Rebel in Voice from the Past, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Federation Commando in Volcano, a Monster in Dawn of the Gods and Tando in Blake making him one of the four actors to appear in both the first and last episodes. He was also in the Castor and Pollux episode of Moonbase 3 as a Technician and played the same role in a later episode, View of a Dead Planet.

Our final guard this episode, but there's another familiar face in he next, is Richard Sheekey.He'd been in - The Talons of Weng-Chiang as a Beat Policeman and returns in State of Decay as a Guard. He'd been in Doomwatch as a man in Flight Into Yesterday and appears in two Blake's 7 episodes: Cygnus Alpha as a Prisoner and The Harvest of Kairos as a Federation Trooper.

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Finally appearing as the Mute that teleports away with Princess Astra is Derek Suthern who first appeared as a Path Lab Technician in The Hand of Fear followed by a Mentiad in Pirate Planet and a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara. He's in the next season 3 times as a Guard in The Creature from the Pit, a Mandrel in Nightmare of Eden and a Guard in The Horns of Nimon and would have made a fourth appearance as a Krarg in Shada if that hadn't have been cancelled. That also deprives him of appearances in five consecutive Doctor Who stories as he then plays a Argolin Guide in The Leisure Hive, the first story of the next season. He returns at the end of that season as PC Davis in Logopolis part one followed by playing a Cricketer in Black Orchid and a Man in Market in Snakedance. In Blake's 7 he was a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Federation Trooper in Trial & Countdown, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Hommik Warrior in Power and a Space Princess Guard / Passenger in Gold. He appears in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as an Atantis Guard and is in Fawlty Towers as a Hotel Guest in both The Germans and The Psychiatrist.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the Blake's 7 episode Weapon was shown.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

499 The Power of Kroll: Part Four

EPISODE: The Power of Kroll: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 January 1979
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"If you fire that rocket, it's not just the monster that'll die. You'll destroy a civilisation as old as your own!"

Several of the Swampies pursuing the Doctor & Romana are seized by Kroll and the rest flee. Thawn plans to use the next orbit shot from the refinery to attack Kroll, and destroy the Swampies in one go. The Doctor & Romana return to the refinery and witness Dugeen standing up to Thawn's plans. He forces Fenner to cooperate at gunpoint, but the Doctor sneaks into the rocket silo to sabotages the launch. The wounded Dugeen tries to about the launch but is killed by Thawn. The Doctor's sabotage halts launch with 3 seconds to go as Kroll submerges. Thawn goes to check the ignition and catches The Doctor & Romana leaving the rocket launching chamber. The Swampies invade the refinery. As Thawn returns to the control room with the Doctor & Romana, Fenner detects Kroll approaching the refinery. The Swampies enter, slaying Thawn, as Kroll attacks the refinery. The Doctor has Fenner operate the base centrifuge, the noise of which drives Kroll away. The Swampie leader Ranquin believes that Kroll has heard his prayers but his followers realise it was the machinery. Ranquin is taken by Kroll. The Doctor tests his theory and touches Kroll with the tracer, transforming it into the fifth segment of the Key To Time. Fenner realises the rocket firing bay is blocked, but the computer is trying to run the next launch sequence. The Doctor sabotages the computer deactivating the launch sequence. They leave Fenner behind awaiting a pick up from the authorities. The Doctor explains how Kroll consumed the High Priest's object of power, the fifth segment, and used it to grow to giant size.

We start the episode with the very real and very very large threat of Kroll:

FENNER: It's over two miles away.
THAWN: Still, if it's as big as we think it is. Dugeen, train the receptor aerial on that settlement.
DUGEEN: Right.
FENNER: What are you going to do?
THAWN: Just checking that the next orbit shot is charged and ready to fire.
FENNER: It's not due for another two hours.
THAWN: It might be early this time, Fenner.
DUGEEN: Look at that!
FENNER: It's a lot bigger than we thought.
THAWN: A hundred tons of hydrogen peroxide will still vapourise it.
FENNER: What's that supposed to mean?
THAWN: I'm going to drop our next orbit shot into the neck of that overgrown jellyfish.
DUGEEN: You can't!
THAWN: Bearing ninety seven, maximum depression.
DUGEEN: You're mad. Think of the settlement!
THAWN: Dugeen, have you never heard of the expression killing two birds with one stone?
FENNER: Now, Thawn, you think what you're doing.
THAWN: I have thought.
FENNER: Because you could kill us all. The atmosphere here is thin already. Now a fireball that size could asphyxiate us.
THAWN: I don't think so.
FENNER: You don't think so. Have you worked out the risk?
THAWN: Countdown commencing. Now get to your places.
DUGEEN: You're mad. Fenner, we've got to stop him.
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Thawn's obviously taken a dive off the deep end now and his desire to be rid of the monster and the Swampies leads him to murder Dugeen:

DUGEEN: Thawn, you can't kill innocent people!
THAWN: They're Swampies.
DUGEEN: Call them what you like, they're no different from you or me.
THAWN: They are very different, Dugeen! Now get back to your place.
THAWN: Are you refusing to obey orders?
DUGEEN: On moral grounds, sir. Look, if you fire that rocket, it's not just the monster that'll die. You'll destroy a civilisation as old as your own.
THAWN: I don't count the Swampies as being civilised. You're talking like one of those cranks from Sons of Earth.
DUGEEN: They're not cranks. All life began on Mother Earth. All life is sacred!
THAWN: I'm giving you one last chance, Dugeen.

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THAWN: Now then, Fenner, do you want to give me an argument?
FENNER: Countdown in two minutes.
THAWN: Right. Now, keep a track on that thing.

FENNER: Thirty seconds. Burner eight hundred, increasing.
THAWN: Dugeen, get back.
DUGEEN: You can't do it, Thawn.
THAWN: Touch that abort button and I say I'll kill you.
DUGEEN: Then kill me, but you're not going to kill the others.
THAWN: I warned him, Fenner. You heard me warn him.
FENNER: That was murder. That was cold-blooded murder.
THAWN: The countdown! Look, he hasn't aborted. It hasn't stopped.
FENNER: The master cut-out's failed. Then you shot him for nothing, didn't you. Didn't you!
THAWN: But I don't understand. There was no delay in the cut-out.
FENNER: According to the computer, there's a fault in the primary ignition panel.
THAWN: Well, I'll soon fix that.
FENNER: Too late.
THAWN: What?
FENNER: Come and look at this. It's submerging again, back into the mud, and you're not going to hit it there.
THAWN: If that spineless fool hadn't interfered
FENNER: He'd be alive now, wouldn't he, and I'm reporting you for murder.
THAWN: It was justifiable homicide! You heard me warn him not to touch that abort panel. It was an act of sabotage.
FENNER: He didn't like your methods. That did not make him a saboteur.
THAWN: He was a plant from the Sons of Earth! It's obvious that he was sent here to cripple this project any way that he could.
FENNER: You don't kill a man because you suspect he belongs to the Sons of Earth.
THAWN: All right, Fenner. That will sound very good when we get back. But remember this. If we don't get back, it'll be his fault and not mine.
Thawn isn't the only leader having trouble as there's dissent in the Swampie ranks too:
RANQUIN: What's that?
SKART: It is only the machinery, Ranquin.
RANQUIN: This place is an abomination.
SKART: Yeah, on Delta Magna all the dryfoots live in these metal boxes.
RANQUIN: When we have completed our task here, I will ask Kroll to destroy it all.
VARLIK: Ranquin, why should Kroll do as you ask?
VARLIK: Well, if he's the Great One and you're but his Servant.
RANQUIN: While the People of the Lakes serve and do honour to Kroll, he will protect us against those who invade our waters.
VARLIK: Kroll destroyed our village. Was that to protect us?
RANQUIN: These are blasphemous questions, Varlik!
VARLIK: I'm only asking what must be on all minds.
RANQUIN: We promised Kroll the lives of the two dryfoots who profaned his temple. We failed to keep that promise. I tell you Kroll will not rest easily beneath these waters until he has eaten of their souls.
In a way Ranquin is right, as Kroll shows up very shortly afterwards and starts tearing the refinery to pieces!

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But that gives the Doctor an unexpected opportunity:

ROMANA: Where are you going?
DOCTOR: To test a theory. All theories have to be tested sometime, and this seems as good as any. You stay here in case I'm wrong.
ROMANA: About what?
DOCTOR: The Symbol of Kroll's power.

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Sure enough, just like Cessair of Diplos' power came from the third segment of the Key To Time, Kroll's comes from the fifth segment and when he comes into contact with the tracer it returns to it's natural form and Kroll is destroyed.

So we've defeated the monster but suddenly the computer wants to launch the rocket automatically and we must stop it, which looks like an obvious bit of padding at the end. It timed at just over 21 minutes so was under running a tad even with a lengthy reprise and the padding added on but there was some action in it, we got some of the message behind the story coming through with Thawn racist attitude to the Swampies and we got to do something with the series story for the quest for the Key to Time. Not a bad episode!

The first and last episodes of Power of Kroll aren't too bad at all. The middle two episodes, less so, but I found them much better this time round. But it's not a popular story and blame for is usually laid at the door of director Norman Stewart, especially since he also directed the #1 Turkey from the previous season, Underworld. But I'm not sure it's his fault at all: he makes great use of the location and the model work isn't bad either. Neither does writer Robert Holmes have to shoulder the blame as there is some good stuff going on here with an underlying anti-racism message. I know the script was written in a hurry to cover a script that fell through and perhaps, like Seeds of Doom, it could have done with another pass or two by the script editor before reaching the screen but I don't think there's anything basically wrong here. Holmes takes leave of the show for a while following this story, but he'll be back in a few years time.

Power of Kroll was novelised by Terrance Dicks. It was released on video in June 1995 on the same day as the following story, the Armageddon Factor, to form the final pair of stories from the Key to Time season released, with The Ribos Operation & The Pirate Planet coming out in April of the year and followed by Stones of Blood & Androids of Tara in May. The Key To Time season was a set of releases which came with a specially designed spine picture that ran over all six title. While there has never been a video boxset release of the Key To Time, it's only ever been available as a boxset on DVD. In October 2002 all six Key To Time stories were released in Region 1 with minimal extras & restoration to help satisfy the American demand for Tom Baker stories. The Key to Time was then released as a special edition, numbered & limited to 15,000 with brand new extras in Region 2 on the 24th September 2007, which sold out very quickly with this set commanding a premium price on eBay for quite some time. The Key to Time Box Set was reissued in a non limited edition in November 2009 and can now be had for a very reasonable price.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the Blake's 7 episode Shadow was shown.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

498 The Power of Kroll: Part Three

EPISODE: The Power of Kroll: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 January 1979
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"By the powers that I hold, I shall learn the truth. But if the dryfoots are not found and sacrificed according to the Holy Ritual, then all my people will suffer the anger of Kroll!"

Harg is pulled into the pipes to his death. The Doctor, Romana & Rohm-Dutt are tied up inside the temple with the sun shining on the creepers they are tied to and stretching them to death. The Doctor becomes interested in the source of Kroll's power, a holy relic which it swallowed. Rohm-Dutt reveals that Thawn paid him to supply the Swampies with weapons so he had an excuse to wipe them out and that the "Sons of Earth" group, the supposed weapons suppliers could be discredited. Kroll is measured by the refinery radar and found to be over a mile across. A storm hits the area, rocking the refinery platform. When the temple window breaks and the room is flooded with water, the Doctor, Romana & Rohm-Dutt are able to escape, but their absence is quickly discovered. As they reach the edge of the swamp the water starts to bubble & Rohm-Dutt is seized by one of Kroll's tentacles. The Doctor & Romana steal a boat to escape from the Swampies but find their escape blocked but Kroll who has risen to the surface.

DUGEEN: Six hundred yards.
THAWN: Six? From the end of its tentacles, that makes it, it must be nearly a mile across!
DUGEEN: Not far off. The central mass is a quarter of a mile in diameter by about a hundred and forty feet high.
THAWN: That radar doesn't show enough detail.
DUGEEN: I've counted thirty tentacles on one side alone.
FENNER: Well? Anything fresh?
THAWN: It still hasn't moved.
DUGEEN: Probably doesn't need to move much. We were just trying to decide what it'd look like out of the water.
FENNER: Very big and very ugly. What do you think it looks like?
Robert Holmes' brief for the story was to come up with the largest monster yet seen in Doctor Who. Over the years the Kroll creature, and director Norman Stewart's split screen filming techniques to show it, have come in for some unfair criticism but you know what? I don't think it looks too bad so far, especially in the long shots we've seen where it dominates the screen.

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Before this the Doctor, Romana & Rhom-Dutt have had to escape from being sacrificed to Kroll, in Romana's case for the second time!

ROHM-DUTT: Varlik. Varlik? What is this seventh ritual?
VARLIK: It is the slowest of all.
ROMANA: I knew it.
VARLIK: I tried to persuade Ranquin that only Rohm-Dutt deserved to be punished by the seventh ritual and that you others should die by the first. That's very easy. They just throw you down the pit and drop rocks on you.
ROMANA: Oh, thank you. It's nice to know who your friends are.
The Doctor uses it as an opportunity to solicit information:
DOCTOR: Ranquin, what was the secret of Kroll's power?
RANQUIN: What do you know of that, dryfoot?
DOCTOR: I've read about it somewhere.
RANQUIN: Kroll had the power of the Symbol. He sees all.
DOCTOR: Yes, I know Kroll has it now, but what was it?
RANQUIN: The Symbol was a holy relic brought here by our ancestors at the time of the settlement.
DOCTOR: Yes, but what was the power?
RANQUIN: He who holds the Symbol can see the future. The power revealed how the dryfoots would destroy Delta Magna with their fighting and their greed and the evil of their great cities. That is why my people came to settle here.
DOCTOR: Your people were evicted from their homeland, Ranquin. You had no choice.
RANQUIN: What do these questions matter to you who are already dying?
DOCTOR: I like to get things straightened out.
ROMANA: Must you use expressions like that?
RANQUIN: Your mind is bent, dryfoot. It's well that you die.
DOCTOR: He's got narrow little eyes. You can't hypnotise people with narrow little eyes.
ROMANA: Oh, that's what you were trying to do.
DOCTOR: Yes, trying to persuade him to untie us. Our only chance.
ROHM-DUTT: How long have we got?
DOCTOR: I don't know the contraction rates of creeper, or the breaking point of bones and ligament.
ROHM-DUTT: I can feel it dragging already.
DOCTOR: Sorry you didn't stay on Delta Magna now, eh? Who paid you to bring the natives guns?
ROHM-DUTT: Thawn. He wanted an excuse to wipe them out.
DOCTOR: And who do they think brought them?
ROHM-DUTT: I told them the guns were sent by the Sons of Earth. Oh, I got a signed receipt, too, for Thawn to use to discredit them.
DOCTOR: Why the Sons of Earth?
ROHM-DUTT: Do you have to keep asking questions at a time like this now?
DOCTOR: No, no, no, no, shush. Why did Thawn want to discredit the Sons of Earth?
ROHM-DUTT: They're a crank organisation. They support these primitives. They want Thawn's company to pull out.
ROMANA: Why do they call themselves the Sons of Earth? Not that I care very much.
DOCTOR: No, no, no, no, that's a very good questions. After all, none of them can ever have seen the Earth.
ROHM-DUTT: Mother Earth, they call it. They believe colonising the planets is a mistake. They want us all to return to the Earth and starve. Oh! Oh! My ankles are breaking!
DOCTOR: Imagination.
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Their method of escape is one of the daftest things I've seen for a long while. In the middle of the strongest storm the moon has ever witnessed the temple window breaks. Is it the force of the storm that does it? No: it's the Doctor suddenly being able to project a high frequency note. Bwah? No previous hint the Doctor could do that, and it's not even necessary, the storm could have quite easily smashed the window! I'm sensing some Tom improvisation in rehearsals here!

So Thawn is behind the plan to supply guns to the Swampies and his motives are also revealed:

THAWN: It still hasn't shown up. Where is it?
FENNER: It's gone right off the screen now.
DUGEEN: Just ploughed straight on. It must be somewhere under the swamp by now.
THAWN: Can't you get a track on it?
DUGEEN: At a viscosity level of forty percent solids, this box goes blind.
FENNER: You know, the incredible thing is, it didn't even slow down. It seems to be able to move as easily through swamp as through water. It was on a bearing of ninety seven degrees. Hmm. Do you know where that's taking it?
THAWN: Where?
FENNER: Straight to the settlement.
DUGEEN: That could just be a coincidence, Fenner.
FENNER: Oh yes, it could have headed off in any direction. It so happens it's heading for the settlement, so the Swampies have some problems.
DUGEEN: How could it possibly know there's anything there? The settlement's two miles away.
FENNER: How did it know that Harg was in the pump chamber? It seems to have a highly sensitive mechanism for detecting food.
THAWN: In which case, the Swampies most certainly do have some problems.
FENNER: You know, I don't particularly like the Swampies, but I can't say I really hate them.
THAWN: Oh, I don't hate them, Fenner. I just want them removed permanently. I spent many years persuading the Company to back this project, and now that we're on the verge of success I'm not going to be stopped by lily-livered sentimentalists wailing about the fate of a few primitive savages.
Playing Thawn is Neil McCarthy who was previously the convict Barnham, who had his "evil impulses" removed in The Mind of Evil. He can also be seen in The Professionals as Sam Armitage in It's Only a Beautiful Picture, Clash of the Titans as Calibos and Time Bandits as the 2nd Robber.

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Playing Fenner, in his last Doctor Who appearance, is regular Doctor Who guest Philip Madoc. He's taking the place of Alan Browning at the last minute when he dropped out. It's been speculated over the years that Madoc thought he was playing the larger role of the lead villain Thawn. Madoc had previously been in writer Robert Holmes' first Doctor Who story, The Krotons, as Eelek also appearing in The War Games as the War Lord and The Brain of Morbius as Mehendri Solon, as well as appearing in the second 1960s Dalek Movie: Dalek Invasion of Earth 2164ad as Brockley.

He's been in loads of television including UFO as Straker's ex wife's new partner in A Question Of Priorities and the first episode of Space: 1999, Breakaway, as Koenig's predecessor Commander Gorski. I recently saw him in Midsomer Murdersplaying Barnaby's former (Welsh) DCI in The Axeman Cometh, a barking episode involving a rock group. But not half as barking as Country Matters is! Those are just the ones off the top of my head: checking IMDB also found me an Out of This World, as George Mathias in Target Generation, five roles in The Avengers, another UFO as Captain Steven in Destruction, The Sweeney as Det. Supt. Pettiford in Golden Fleece, Porridge as Williams in Disturbing the Peace and Survivors as Max Kershaw in The Chosen.

He's got a talent for playing German officers and in this role he can be seen in one of the most repeated clips on television. He plays the commanding officer of the U-Boat crew captured by the Walmington-on-Sea home guard in the Dad's Army episode "The Deadly Attachment".

Dugeen too was meant to be played by another different actor: Martin Jarvis, previously of the Web Planet & Invasion of the Dinosaurs, but he too dropped out at a late stage. Jarvis was replaced as Dugeen by regular K-9 voice actor John Leeson, who was not required in his usual role in the series. Away from the K-9 role Leeson provided the voices of the Dalek Battle Computer and, uncredited, other Dalek voices to Remembrance of the Daleks. He'd also been in Dad's Army as the 1st Soldier in Sons of the Sea, but is most famous for playing Bungle in Rainbow. He's appeared twice in Blake's 7 playing Pasc in Mission to Destiny and Toise in Gambit. He worked on the well remembered children's TV series Jigsaw as the voices of Jigg, Pterry & Biggum and used his years of anonymity as a voice artist well as Jeremy Beadle's regular hatchet man in stunts on Beadle's About!

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Grahame Mallard plays Harg, the refinery worker dragged to his death at the start of this episode. He'd been in The Sweeney as Ingram in Faces.

Three episodes in and no sign of the fifth refinery crew member mentioned in episode one!

Two days after this episode was broadcast the first episode of the second series of Blake's 7, Redemption, was shown.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

497 The Power of Kroll: Part Two

EPISODE: The Power of Kroll: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 30 December 1978
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 12.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"Well, does it matter? Hmm? Does it really matter? You know what I think? I think that Kroll's still around and he's just about due for his fourth manifestation!"

Romana is saved from the creature by the Doctor who exposes it as a disguised Swampie. Dugeen detects movement at the bottom of the swamp. The Swampies receive word from within the refinery that they will be attacked at dawn. Romana admits she's lost the Tracer but the Doctor reveals he's picked it up. The Doctor finds an underground passage from the Swampie temple. His disappearance is noticed at the refinery with Thawn believing he's in league with the Swampies. The Doctor finds a history of the Swampies and, after reading it, believes Kroll is due to return. The Swampies prepare ton attack Thawn but Rohm-Dutt's weapons misfire. Thawn's Swampie helper is grabbed by a tentacle as Kroll rises from swamp. Returning to the base Thawn plans to wipe out the Swampies and destroy Kroll with depth charges. Romana deduces that Kroll is producing the methane that Thawn's men are harvesting. They and Rohm-Dutt are captured by the Swampies. The Doctor, Romana & Rohm-Dutt are sentenced to death by the Swampies, who speak to hem of Kroll's appearance. In the refinery, Harg is dragged into the pipes by one of Kroll's tentacles.

Things move on somewhat this episode, but it's mainly a whole lot of talking.

The Doctor's discovery of the history of the Swampy tribe buried in a shaft provides some new information for us:

ROMANA: What's that you've got?
DOCTOR: I think it's an illustrated history of the tribe. A sort of Bayeux tapestry with footnotes.
ROMANA: Oh, a sort of Holy Writ.
DOCTOR: I think it's atrociously writ, but the pictures aren't bad. Look. That shows them being evicted from Delta Magna.
ROMANA: Where they originally came from.
DOCTOR: That's right, yes. They were given this moon as a sort of reservation. Look, there you are. There's Kroll in his aquarium. What did I tell you? Sucker marks.
ROMANA: What's the footnote?
DOCTOR: Hmm? Let me see. And Kroll. When Kroll awakened, he saw that the people were fat and indolent, and then Kroll became angry and he struck them down, swallowing into him the symbol of his power and killing all who were in the temple, even Hajes the priest. Great was the lamentation of the people but Kroll returned to the water and slept.
ROMANA: Oh, I like a book with a happy ending.
DOCTOR: Thus was the third manifestation of Kroll. Well, he's obviously one of those monsters who's not always about the place.
ROMANA: No, just pops up every couple of centuries.
DOCTOR: Yeah. Still, a dormancy period of that length would indicate a creature of massive size.
ROMANA: You think Kroll really exists?
DOCTOR: Well, does it matter? Hmm? Does it really matter? You know what I think? I think that Kroll's still around and he's just about due for his fourth manifestation.
ROMANA: Well, if we had any sense, we wouldn't stay.
DOCTOR: Yeah. Let's get out of here. Come on!
Though I do wonder about him dropping it back down said shaft into water when he's done with it.

Sure enough Kroll does show up and he's HUGE, dominating the horizon. In the process the swampie working at the refinery, Mensch, gets killed by it.

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A visibly shaken Thawn witnesses Kroll's appearance and immediately seizes on it as an opportunity to deal with the Swampies:

FENNER: So, was Mensch killed?
THAWN: I think so. I didn't stay to watch. Oh, the size of that thing was unbelievable.
HARG: Why haven't we come across it before, sir?
THAWN: It's probably a deep water thing.
HARG: Even so, it's odd we haven't spotted it before now if it's as big as you say it is.
FENNER: You saw nothing of the Doctor?
THAWN: No. He'd obviously arrived there already. The Swampies were waiting for us.
FENNER: So he did warn them.
THAWN: And they were armed!
FENNER: The Swampies with guns?
THAWN: Yes! Rohm-Dutt was with them, so they're obviously all in this together.
FENNER: Yes, so they were the Doctor's friends.
THAWN: Yes, they must have arrived in the same ship. And it's got to be the Sons of Earth who are behind this. They're the only people with the resources or indeed the motive.
HARG: Shouldn't we send for reinforcements, sir? A police unit?
THAWN: No! The authorities are far too soft. Besides, once they start interfering, you can never get rid of them. We'll handle this one by ourselves, and in my way.
FENNER: Your way?
THAWN: Final! We get rid of the problem once and for all.
THAWN: It's the only way.
HARG: What about that, that creature, sir?
THAWN: Well, we've got to deal with that first, that's obvious. It's out there lurking somewhere, so once we've located it we can then finish it off with depth charges.
FENNER: I'll see what the underwater scanners are registering.

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Sure enough something is down in the lake.....

DUGEEN: What's the problem?
FENNER: Scanners twelve and fourteen are not registering anything.
DUGEEN: Well, they were all right when I left them.
FENNER: They're not now.
DUGEEN: They're still functioning.
THAWN: Then why aren't we getting an image?
DUGEEN: Because, because something is blotting them out. Look, I'll try a transverse. There.
FENNER: What do you make of that?
DUGEEN: Well, that's what's covering the scanners. It's probably just a mass of sediment thrown up when the lake bed moved.
THAWN: That's what I saw.
FENNER: Those scanners are four hundred yards apart!
THAWN: I tell you that is what I saw! That thing is alive!

John Abineri, playing the Swampie leader Ranquin, was previously in Fury from the Deep as van Lutyens, The Ambassadors of Death as General Carrington and Death to the Daleks as Richard Railton. He has an Out of the Unknown to his name playing Colonel Chalmers in Thirteen to Centaurus which you can see on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. He's been in both of Terry Nation's BBC sci fi series playing the recurring role of Hubert Goss in 17 episodes of Survivors and Ushton in the Blake's 7 episode hostage. He was in Gangsters, by future Sixth Doctor story write Philip Martin and featuring Lytton actor Maurice Colbourne, as the Consortium MD in Incident Six and The Moon Stallion, by former Doctor Who writer Brian Hayles and starring future companion Sarah Sutton, as Sir George Mortenhurze. People of my age would recall him for playing Herne the Hunter in Robin of Sherwood and would have seen him as Rimmer's Dad in the Red Dwarf episode Better Than Life. But Abineri has probably been seen by most people as the Ambassador's Butler in the original Ferrero Rocher advert!

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Playing Rohm-Dutt is actor Glyn Owen. He was in the late 1950s adaptation of The Invisible Man playing Ronald Smith in The Rocket and goes on to appear in Out Of The Unknown's predecessor, Out of This World playing Frank Nelson in Impostor. He also does the double of Terry Nation series appearing in Survivors as Bernard Huxley in The Future Hour and Blake's 7 as Commander Leylan in Space Fall & Cygnus Alpha. He was in The Sweeney as Wally Hough in Money, Money, Money and The Professionals as Barry Martin in Rogue. He's most famous for appearing with Maurice Colbourne in Howards' Way as Jack Rolfe.

Frank Jarvis plays the swampie Skart, who was previously a Corporal in The War Machines and Ankh in Underworld. He'd been in The Italian Job as Roger, one of the drivers, The Sweeney episode Contact Breaker as a Prison Officer and three episode of The Professionals as Patterson in Look After Annie, Musgrave in Not a Very Civil Civil Servant and Dale in Stopover.

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The Swampie Varlik is played by Carl Rigg who was in The Sweeney as Det. Sgt. Kent in The Placer and also has a Howards' Way as a stain on his CV playing Eckhardt Sahnn in the third episode of the fifth series.

The swampie on the refinery, Mensch, is played by regular stuntman Terry Walsh In a long career he's been a Militiaman in The Smugglers, a Soldier in The Web of Fear, a UNIT Soldier in The Invasion, The Ambassadors of Death & Inferno, an Auton Policeman in Terror of the Autons, a Stangmoor Man in The Mind of Evil episode three and a UNIT Motorcyclist in The Mind of Evil episode four, IMC Guard Rogers in Colony in Space, Castle Guard Barclay in The Sea Devils, an Overlord/Solos/Skybase Guard in The Mutants, the Window Cleaner in The Time Monster, a Guard in The Green Death, a Warehouse Looter in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, Jack in Death to the Daleks part one, the Burning Exxilon in Death to the Daleks part three and a Zombie in Death to the Daleks part four, the Guard Captain in The Monster of Peladon, the Man with Boat in Planet of the Spiders part two, S.R.S. Meeting Security in Robot part three, a Wirrn Operator in The Ark in Space, Zake in The Sontaran Experiment, a Thal Soldier/Muto/Kaled Scientist in Genesis of the Daleks, a Crew Member in Planet of Evil, the Executioner in The Masque of Mandragora and a Guard in The Face of Evil. He'll be back as Doran in The Creature from the Pit. He has served as a regular fight arranger and stunt man in the series, notably doubling for both Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker.

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In amongst the Swampies are Philip Bird who'll feature as Sharpe in the Sapphire & Steel story The Man Without a Face.

Another of the Swampie extras is Mark Hardy who we'll see more of shortly as the Cyber Lieutenant in Earthshock, The Five Doctors & Silver Nemesis.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

496 The Power of Kroll: Part One

EPISODE: The Power of Kroll: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 23 December 1978
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 6.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"Tell me, would you let a small band of semi-savages stand in the way of progress?"
"Well, progress is a very flexible word. It can mean just about anything you want it to mean."

The Tardis lands on the moon Delta 3, where the indigenous inhabitants "the swampies" are being armed for insurrection by gun-runner Rohm-Dutt who is being hunted by refinery workers Thawn and Fenner. The Tracer gives Romana very odd readings and while attempting to take some on higher ground she is captured by Swampies, dropping the tracer. The Doctor meanwhile is shot at & captured by Thawn & Fenner and taken to the methane refinery where they work with Dugeen & Harg. Romana is taken to the temple of Kroll for sacrifice and tied to a stake. One of the Swampies working on the refinery signals his brothers on the shore. The Doctor escapes and makes for the Swampie settlement as the monstrous thing approaches Romana....

This episode is the only one from this story I can remember seeing as a child, on a small Black & White set at my Uncle Brian's house in Woking. The scenes of Romana being tied to what I thought was a bonfire stand out for me!

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What I couldn't see on a black and white TV set was just how green the Swampies were!

I quite enjoyed the episode this time round!

THAWN: You've shot the wrong man!
DOCTOR: Not quite. You shot the wrong man's hat, though!
There might be a little joke when The Doctor first meets the refinery workers but there's quite a serious idea at the centre of this episode. Enslaved populations rebelling are at the heart of many a Doctor Who story, the difference here being that the humans are the ones doing the enslaving, which I suppose invites comparison with The Mutants. There's a racist streak running through the humans too towards those they're sharing the Delta 3:
THAWN: We produce a hundred tons of compressed protein a day and then shoot it into Delta orbit every twelve hours.
FENNER: That's what makes the operation viable. If we used freighters it wouldn't be a commercial proposition.
THAWN: Of course, the plant is fully automated. The computer controls the orbit shot, but we like to double check.
DOCTOR: Very sensible.
FENNER: If there's a misfire then we have a manual override system.
DOCTOR: And just the six of you here?
THAWN: No, five.
DOCTOR: Oh no, I make it six. One, two, three
THAWN: Oh, you're counting Mensch. He's a Swampie.
DOCTOR: Doesn't he count?
DOCTOR: Ah. Why are his friends attacking you?
THAWN: Because they're ignorant savages.
DUGEEN: They were the first on Delta Magna.
FENNER: I don't think we owe them very much for that.
DUGEEN: We took their planet. Now they're afraid we'll take what they've got left.
This last comment would seem to indicate the humans have invaded the moon but the situation is worse than that:
MENSCH: My people are calling Kroll. They're making a blood sacrifice.
DOCTOR: Who's Kroll?
THAWN: Oh, it's their name for a giant squid. Centuries ago, when we resettled the Swampies from Delta Magna, we shipped along a couple of specimens just to keep them happy.
DOCTOR: Yes, but just the same, a blood sacrifice. I don't like the sound of that.
THAWN: Don't be stupid. You'll never cross those swamps on your own.
DOCTOR: What? Look, I have a shrewd idea who it is that might be being sacrificed, and Romana's not the easiest of guests.
So the humans took the Swampies original world, Delta Magna, from them, exiled them to it's moon and are now oppressing them there now they've found a natural resource to exploit!
THAWN: Don't you worry about the Swampies. We'll look after them, provided they see reason.
DOCTOR: What, teach them to carry trays?
FENNER: Why not? Tell me, would you let a small band of semi-savages stand in the way of progress?
DOCTOR: Well, progress is a very flexible word. It can mean just about anything you want it to mean.
The Doctor is very rightly not happy about this!

But to jump back briefly:

DOCTOR: And just the six of you here?
THAWN: No, five.
DOCTOR: Oh no, I make it six. One, two, three
THAWN: Oh, you're counting Mensch. He's a Swampie.
DOCTOR: Doesn't he count?
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I count just FOUR human refinery staff: Thawn, played by, Neil McCarthy, Fenner, Philip Madoc, Dugeen, John Leeson and Harg, Grahame Mallard. Who's the fifth?

ROMANA: Was it absolutely necessary to land in a quagmire?
DOCTOR: Well I told you it was a bit swampy. It's not the Tardis' fault, anyway. These marshes go on for miles. A little water doesn't hurt.
ROMANA: Try telling that to K9. He's marooned.
DOCTOR: Yes, well, we won't be here long enough to need K9. Come on.
This episode, bar the refinery scenes, was nearly all filmed on location in Suffolk over a period of 18th-28th September 1978. Director Norman Stewart, who previously directed Underworld, sacrificed one of his studio recording sessions to get extra time on location and from this episode that looks like a decent decision.

The Maltings, an area of marshland on the bank of the River Alde, near to the village of Snape, forms the location for the scenes set in long grass and open water!

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With the number of boats and hovercraft used their this almost feels like a Jon Pertwee episode!

Iken Cliff provides the location for the majority of the scenes with the Swampies, both the daylight scenes with Rhom-Dutt and the night time sacrifice seen at the end of the episode.

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Sunday, 16 December 2018

495 The Androids of Tara: Part Four

EPISODE: The Androids of Tara: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 16 December 1978
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Michael Hayes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"Next time I shall not be so lenient!"

Romana is returned to Castle Gracht where the count intends to marry her to the Prince, kill the Prince, marry Romana, kill her and inherit the throne. The Doctor, Farah & Zadek plan an assault on Castle Gracht. Grendel has one last attempt to persuade the real Princess Strella to cooperate telling her she has become dispensable. Grendel uses the Princess' life to blackmail Romana into cooperating. Under cover of darkness the Doctor crosses the castle moat in a boat with K-9 who begins to cut their way into the castle. Romana & The Prince are taken to their wedding ceremony as the K-9 breaks through the wall, being left in the boat by the Doctor. As the wedding ceremony begins the Doctor searches the palace finding the Key To Time segment that Romana had confiscated from her. At a crucial moment the Doctor interrupts the ceremony and engages the Count in a sword duel, allowing Romana & Reynart to escape admitting Zadek, Farah & the Prince's troops to Castle Gracht. Romana saves Strella from one of the Count's guards. The sword duel takes in much of the castle, finishing on the battlements with Grendel diving in the moat to escape promising that next time he will not be so lenient. Strella is reunited with Reynart as the Doctor & Romana take their leave, suddenly remembering that poor K-9 is still stuck in the boat!

Another fab episode, albeit one with a very slow start before the sword fight. But even then there's some great dialogue as Reynart & Romana figure out Grendel's cunning plan!

REYNART: Romana!
ROMANA: Are you all right?
REYNART: I thought you'd escaped.
GRENDEL: She had, but I knew Your Majesty couldn't live without her, so I brought her back for you.
ROMANA: Why do you torment him?
GRENDEL: Oh, now that's really most unfair, my dear. I'm really quite hurt. All I'm doing is to restore to His Majesty his bride-to-be.
GRENDEL: You'll make a lovely couple.
ROMANA: What's his idea? Is it a joke?
REYNART: Oh, no. Grendel doesn't joke about political power.
ROMANA: Then what's his plan?
REYNART: To become legal, rightful King of Tara. You see, if you marry me you will automatically become Queen, but five minutes after the wedding you would almost certainly be a widow.
ROMANA: He'd kill you?
REYNART: He would. And the moment you're widowed, Count Grendel, that well-known champion of widows and orphans, would step in and marry you, thus becoming Consort of the rightful Queen of Tara.
ROMANA: And then it would be my turn for an unfortunate accident.
REYNART: Precisely.
Sure enough:
GRENDEL: Ah, Archimandrite. Welcome.
ARCHIMANDRITE: What is so urgent that I must leave my duties and hurry here like this?
GRENDEL: I'm sorry, Archimandrite, but there is a ceremony you must perform.
ARCHIMANDRITE: Here? What ceremony?
GRENDEL: A marriage.
ARCHIMANDRITE: Your own chaplain could have done that.
GRENDEL: Not this marriage.
ARCHIMANDRITE: Why? Who is to be married, and to whom?
GRENDEL: The King to the Princess Strella.
GRENDEL: He has placed himself under my protection, your Eminence. Sadly, I have to tell you he is sick. In fact, he's very near to death.
ARCHIMANDRITE: Oh, dear, dear, dear. He did not look well at the coronation. Not himself at all.
GRENDEL: No. No, I did note that, Archimandrite.
ARCHIMANDRITE: But near to death, you say?
GRENDEL: Indeed he is. It would be as well if you stayed here. I fear he will be in need of the funeral rites very soon after the wedding.
GRENDEL: Mmm, yes. And after the funeral rites, there will be a second wedding for you to perform.
ARCHIMANDRITE: A second wedding? May I ask whose that will be?
GRENDEL: My own. I shall be marrying the poor King's widow.

Unfortunately the flaw in the plan comes in the form of an unexpected wedding guest:
GRENDEL: Remember the Princess.
ARCHIMANDRITE: Do you, Reynart, King of Tara, take this woman, the Princess Strella, to be your lawful wedded wife? Your Majesty?
ARCHIMANDRITE: And do you, Strella, Princess of the Royal House of Tara, take this man, Reynart, King of Tara, to be your lawful wedded husband?

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ROMANA: Doctor!
DOCTOR: No, she doesn't. Hello, everyone. Sorry I'm late. If there's something I always enjoy, it's a good wedding, isn't that true, Romana? Now, listen. Have you got to the bit where you ask them if there's any just cause why they shouldn't be joined in
GRENDEL: You seem to make a habit of interfering in my affairs, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Yes, yes, I do really.
GRENDEL: Well, you've done it for the last time.
ARCHIMANDRITE: Stop! This is a solemn ceremony!
ROMANA: Not any more, it isn't.
GRENDEL: Leave him, leave him. he's mine. Defend yourself, sir.
DOCTOR: I haven't brought my sword.
GRENDEL: Well, I've no wish to kill a man without a weapon in his hand. Here.
ROMANA: Doctor, he's the best swordsman on Tara.
DOCTOR: Is he?
ROMANA: Do you know what you're doing? Good luck.
GRENDEL: I shall give you a fencing lesson before you die. En garde!

We've seen the Doctor use a sword before, he fought with The Master during The Sea Devils and I'm pretty certain this Doctor used one as some point in Masque of Mandragora.

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The episode is dark right the way through and the night time setting, plus the addition of a helmet, helps disguise that a stuntman is playing Grendel through the extensive sword duel!

It's a decent end to the story with some action to entertain us in which we also get to see Romana meeting her double for the first time.

STRELLA: Who are you?
ROMANA: Well, that's a very long story.
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By the end of the episode they're getting on like a house on fire with Strella teaching Romana the fine art of Tapestry making!

ROMANA: But there are so many different types of stitch. It must take years to learn the art.
STRELLA: It's really only a question of patience and a certain delicacy of touch. I'm sure you can manage it. Go on. That's right. Very good.
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FARRAH: You know, you almost have to admire the man.
ZADEK: Admire him? I should have killed him when he walked in here, flag of truce or no flag of truce.
FARRAH: You've got to admit, sir, it takes courage to walk in here, to distract our attention while his men kidnap Miss Romana. I mean, it takes nerve.
ZADEK: Nerve is one quality Grendel has never been short of.
Peter Jeffrey has obviously had the time of his life with this part and leaves us with one of the greatest departing lines of any villain in Doctor Who!

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DOCTOR: It's all over, Grendel. That's Zadek and his men. Listen! You might as well surrender now.
GRENDEL: Surrender? You forget, Doctor, I'm a Gracht. We never surrender.
GRENDEL: Next time I shall not be so lenient!
DOCTOR: Grendel, you forgot your hat!
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Of all the fourth Doctor tales I've seen so far this one has been the one that's stood out as being better then I was expecting..... which is a little odd as I recall it quite fondly from when I saw it twice as a child! It's the first time I've seen it episodically for a bit and I'm guessing this is one of those that work better one episode at a time rather than watched all the way through like we tend to do with DVDs.

< Androids of Tara was the second story from this season, after The Pirate Planet, to be repeated during the summer of 1979, broadcast for a second time on Thursday at 6.55 from the 9th to 30th August that year. Androids of Tara was novelised by Terrance Dicks and released in April 1980. Androids of Tara was released on video in May 1995 on the same day as Stones of Blood to form the second pair of stories from the Key to Time season released, with The Ribos Operation & The Pirate Planet coming out the previous month and Power of Kroll & Armageddon Factor the next. The Key To Time season was a set of releases which came with a specially designed spine picture that ran over all six title. While there has never been a video boxset release of the Key To Time, it's only ever been available as a boxset on DVD. In October 2002 all six Key To Time stories were released in Region 1 with minimal extras & restoration to help satisfy the American demand for Tom Baker stories. The Key to Time was then released as a special edition, numbered & limited to 15,000 with brand new extras in Region 2 on the 24th September 2007, which sold out very quickly with this set commanding a premium price on eBay for quite some time. The Key to Time Box Set was reissued in a non limited edition in November 2009 and can now be had for a very reasonable price.