Sunday, 19 January 2020

526 Shada: Part One

EPISODE: Shada: Part One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 526
STORY NUMBER: 109
TRANSMITTED: Unbroadcast (planned for 19th January 1980)
WRITER: Douglas Adams
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: Unbroadcast
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Shada

"Professor, you know that perfectly well. Rassilon had powers and secrets that even we don't fully understand. You've no idea what might have been hidden in that book!"

A museum, filled with the Doctor's old foes. An aged Fourth Doctor/Tom Baker wanders around recalling those he beat until he comes across the Krarg, his foe from Shada, the unfinished Doctor Who story.

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And thus, to some excruciating late 1980s Doctor Who music, opens the video and first DVD for Shada. Doctor Who fans are used to dealing with bits of stories, with much of the early years of Doctor Who missing and just solitary episodes of stories remaining. But even then Shada is an odd beast: the six part story that was meant to close Season 17, is unique in that filming was started but aborted after the location work and the first of three studio sessions. What is left is most of the first two episodes and little pieces of the remainder.

Last time I blogged this story, with the video and scriptbook, I attempted to treat it as a proper story. Easy enough for the first two episodes, where we could look at the cast and location filming onscreen. Episode 3 onwards it got a little more difficult. Since then however a new DVD version has been issued animating the rest of the story to a new soundtrack featuring as much of the remaining original cast as possible but most importantly including both Tom Baker and Lalla Ward which to my mind makes it as close to a definitive version as we are likely to get. However it's a bit of shock to loose the Tom introduction we're familiar with, replaced by a 1970s BBC Globe with Toby Hadoke continuity and a pre title sequence featuring some new model work!

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On the Think Tank Space station Doctor Skagra uses a sphere like device to drain the minds of his colleagues and leaves in his spaceship for Earth, leaving an automated quarantine message running. In Cambridge 1979, Professor Chronotis has a visit from one of his students, Chris Parsons, who accidentally leaves with the wrong book. The Doctor & Romana, after enjoying a spot of punting during which they're observed by Skagra & distracted by voices from the sphere he's carrying, visit the professor. Chris discovers that the book is written in a completely alien script. Chronotis reveals to Romana that he is an elderly Time Lord who has retired to Earth and has been living in the same Cambridge rooms for 300 years. The Doctor asks him why he was summoned by him to Cambridge but the Professor can't initially remember, later recalling he needs the Doctor's help finding the book. Chris analyses the book using various instruments which make it smoke and glow. Skagra steals a car and the driver's ability to drive. The Professor reveals the missing book is one he brought back from Gallifrey. Skagra drives out to a field where his spaceship is concealed, invisible from the human eye. The Professor confesses the book he took was The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey, which dates back to the time of Rassilon, and is known to have incredible power. Skagra receives word that all is ready from his carrier ship, commanded by a massive Krarg.

Hmmm. Of all the episodes of Shada this is the most complete: there's only two cuts away to Tom's narration in the VHS version. The first is Chris analysing the book in the lab which is restored for the new 2017 version - the lab throws in a Power Station control panel as a little joke!

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The telephone box sequence threw me slightly but checking the scriptbook I see that was originally set in the lab.

The other major piece of missing footage was the closing sequence of the episode with Skagra on the bridge of his ship talking to his allies the Krargs on the carrier:

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I'd felt for a while that so,me of the pacing feels a bit odd which I didn't think was helped by Keff McCulloch's music on the VHS version, replaced by a new Mark Ayres score in the style of then current composer Dudley Simpson on the 2017 DVD version. But I think the main problem is some poor editing of the material: the 2017 version times in at 28 minutes before you get to what would have been the end of the first episode! The opening scene just drags and could use a trim (What did the scientists think Skagra was doing when he drained their minds? They've obviously entered whatever experiment he's carried out cooperatively), the stealing a car sequence is just odd with a lingering shot of the retreating car. The Tardis parked in the corner of Chronotis' rooms is handled very oddly indeed, a brief glance from the Professor then it just sits there till Chris sees it and the Professor dismisses it as "someone must have just left it there". Of course he knows the Doctor, and would know what his Tardis looked like, so maybe he's just being dismissive and nonchalant about the oddness.

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As for oddness..... what on Earth is Skagra wearing and why is nobody in Cambridge giving him funny looks? Deary me!

The "milk, one lump or two" joke used here may be familiar to you. For why see later on in the story.... Equally you may well have seen the punting scene in this episode: it was reused as part of the Five Doctors to cover the absence of Tom Baker. Douglas Adams reuses his earliest published work during this episode too with the joke about the man who has forgotten what word his mind is like (sieve).

The majority of the cast in this story appear in this episode: Playing the lead role of Professor Chronotis is Denis Carey. This would have been his first Doctor Who role but he'll return as the Keeper in The Keeper of Traken and as the Old Man in Timelash, again directed by Pennant Roberts who helms this story. Carey can also be seen in I, Claudius where he's Livy in What Shall We Do About Claudius? and Blake's 7 where he plays Docholli in Gambit.

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The Villainous Skagra is played by Christopher Neame who also has a Blake's 7 to his name playing Colonel Quute in the season 4 episode Traitor. A few years later would emigrate to America and make a career out of playing villains, usually English, on the American small & large screen. He appears there in Babylon 5 playing Knight Two in And the Sky Full of Stars, Star Trek Voyager as Unferth in Heroes and Demons and Star Trek: Enterprise as the German General in both parts of Storm Front.

Playing College porter Wilkin is Gerald Campion who had obtained fame a generation earlier in the Television version of Billy Bunter.

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One of the scenes not filmed for this episode would have featured one of the Krargs: these would be voiced by James Coombes, who later plays Paroli & voices the Sentinel 6 satellite in Pennant Roberts's Warriors of the Deep and appears in the Robin of Sherwood stories Herne's Son and The Time of the Wolf as Grendl. The unfilmed Krarg leader would have been played by our old friend Harry Fielder according to the production paperwork. He'd appeared twice with the Second Doctor Patrick Troughton as a Guards in the European Zone in Enemy of the World, returning as a Wheel Crewmember in Wheel in Space. His one appearance with Jon Pertwee is as a Guard in Pertwee's last story Planet of Spiders and He appears much more regularly with Tom Baker's Doctor starting a a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen after which he gets a run of credited appearances as a Guard in Seeds of Doom, a Guard in Deadly Assassin and the Second Assassin in Face of Evil, before returning to the supporting artists as a Titan Base Crewman in Invisible Enemy and a Leviathan Guard in Ribos Operation. He's credited again as a Guard in The Armageddon Factor. He returns as a Tigellan in Meglos and a Security Guard in Castrovalva. He was also a regular extra in Blake's 7 appearing as an Armed Crewman in Space Fall & Cygnus Alpha, a Scavenger in Deliverance and a Federation Trooper in Weapon, Trial, Voice from the Past, Children of Auron, Games, Warlord & Blake. From my youth I remember him as the security guard in CBTV but in a long career he's been in everything!

At the start of the episode you see the scientists working with Skagra to achieve his goal: A S T Thira, G V Santori, L D Ia, I Akrotiri & Doctor A St John D Caldera. In amongst them, in the middle of the first photo, is a young Graham Cole making what would have been his first Doctor Who appearance. He returns as a Zero Gravity Squash Player in The Leisure Hive, a Marshman in Full Circle, the Melkur statue in The Keeper of Traken & Time Flight, a Kinda in Kinda, a Cyberman in Earthshock & The Five Doctors, Crewmember in Resurrection of the Daleks and a Jacondan in The Twin Dilemma. He was also in Blake's 7 as one of Gerren's Associates in Games and a Federation Trooper in Blake. Nowdays he's best known for having played PC Tony Stamp in The Bill for over 25 years!

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Kenneth Sedd had been a Wheel Crewmember in The Wheel in Space and a Bi-Al Member in The Invisible Enemy. He returns as an an Argolin Guide in The Leisure Hive, one of the Airport Management in Timeflight and a Guest Gambler in Enlightment. He's also in Doomwatch as a Man in You Killed Toby Wren, Flight Into Yesterday, The Inquest & The Logicians, a Barman in High Mountain and a Man in Club in The Killer Dolphins. He appears in our favourite Adam Adamant Lives! episode D for Destruction as a TA Soldier and in A Sinister Sort of Service as an S.S. Guard. He was a long term associate of comedian Benny Hill appearing frequently in his programs.

I think he's sitting clockwise from the chap with the moustache and can be seen to the left of centre in the second photo. I'm told that the chap clockwise of him, with a moustache, Skagra is Terence Creasy but I'm not so sure: he was a Crewman in Nightmare of Eden and returns as and one of Lexa's Deons in Meglos. He was in Blake's 7 as a Kezarn Native in City at the Edge of the World and a Rebel in Rumours of Death. In Hi-de-Hi! he plays Yellowcoat Gary.

That leaves Norman Bradley, who had been a Skonnan Guard in Horns of Nimon and returns as a Holiday Maker in Leisure Hive, a Cyberman in Earthshock and a Guard in The Five Doctors, and Tony Graham, who I can't find on IMDB and has no other Doctor Who appearances.

On location we have a David Cole playing a student, but the problem here is we believe there are TWO David Coles who have worked on Doctor Who. There is a David Cole who played Billy Clanton in 1966's Gunfighters He was born on April 8, 1936 so, aged 43, is likely to have still been working at this time. During this period there's a supporting artist under this name playing a Crewman in Nightmare of Eden, a Student in Shada, a member of the Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive, a Savant in Meglos, a Citizen in Full Circle, a Kinda in Kinda, a Student in Arc of Infinty, a Schoolboy in Mawdryn Undead, a Mutant in Mawdryn Undead, One of Ranulf's Knights, a Spectator & a Beggar in King's Demons and a Trooper in The Awakening. Some of those could well be the David Cole from the Gunfighters but The Students in Shada & in Arc of Infinity and the Schoolboy in Mawdryn Undead would seem to require a much younger actor and indicate that there is a second one so who knows quite how these roles are split!

Other students include Richard English & Harry Bunges, both of whom are also passerbys in episode 2.

We also have a Don played by Colin Thomas who was a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians, Sole in The Face of Evil, a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet and a customer in Cafe in The City of Death - is he the only person apart from Tom Baker and James Muir in all three Douglas Adams stories? He returns as Foster in Keeper of Traken, a Logopolitan in Logopolis, a Gallifreyan in Arc of Infinity, an Elder in Planet of Fire and a Pallbearer in Remembrance of the Daleks.

Two days after this episode was planned to be broadcast the Blake's 7 episode Volcano was shown.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

525 The Horns of Nimon: Part Four

EPISODE: The Horns of Nimon: Part Four
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 525
STORY NUMBER: 108
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 12 January 1980
WRITER: Anthony Read
DIRECTOR: Kenny McBain
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 10.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Myths & Legends: The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon

"The great journey of life must continue!"

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A moment's silence please as we start this episode: This is the last broadcast appearance of the iconic Tom Baker tunnel title sequence which has been with us for 144 episodes. It's retirement here leaves it 8 episodes shy of the record held by the original title sequence used on all 134 First Doctor episodes and the first 18 Second Doctor episodes.

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The Doctor stuns Soldeed and starts to make repairs to the equipment, but needs K-9. Soldeed escapes, pursued by Seth wielding Soldeed's staff. Romana finds herself on the dying planet Crinoth where she meets Sezom, who was used by the Nimon like Soldeed is on Skonnoss. He rebelled against the Nimon and uses a local mineral Jasonite to enhance the power of his staff to harm them. Seth & Teka are separated in the Power Complex, and Teka is captured by Soldeed. The Doctor bring the capsule back but find 2 Nimon within so returns it to Crinoth. Sorak reactivates K-9 who goes to the Power Complex to seek the Doctor. Knowing there is a problem, the Nimon on Crinoth prepare their final contingency plan to make the great journey of life continue. Sezom gives Romana some Jasonite and then distracts the Nimon guarding the capsule allowing Romana to get aboard but pays with his life. The Doctor brings Romana back to Skonnos., but they are captured by the Nimon. Seth frees them using Soldeed's staff enhance with the Jasonite. K-9 arrives to help the Doctor while Romana & Seth go to free the Anethians from the larder. Soldeed finds them, and tries to stop them but Seth kills him as he overloads the reactor. The Anethians are freed and K-9 navigates their way out of the changing maze escaping just as the Power Complex goes critical destroying the Nimon within. The Doctor & Romana observe Crinoth exploding on the Tardis scanner as Seth travels home in the Skonnan battlecruiser, repainted white.

Yup, liked that, decent episode which kept moving at a decent speed. That strobing red light when the Power Complex is overloading is annoying though!.

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Still we get a nice big explosion at the end!

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Now it would be fair to say that Graham Crowden hadn't given a restrained performance in the first three episodes. However that turns out to be just a bit of a run up for the moment when Soldeed discovers there's more than one Nimon and he takes the inevitable dive off the deep end into pure madness!

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ROMANA: It's all over, Soldeed. You're finished.
SOLDEED: No, the Nimon will fulfil his great promise! The Nimon be praised!
ROMANA: The Nimon be praised? How many Nimons have you seen today?
SOLDEED: Don't dare blaspheme the Nimon.
ROMANA: How many!
SOLDEED: Skonnos will
ROMANA: How many Nimons?
SOLDEED: Three. I have seen three.
ROMANA: Well, I've just seen a whole lot more rampaging down the corridor. Face it, Soldeed, you're being invaded.
SOLDEED: He said he was the only one. The last survivor of his race.
ROMANA: He told you what you wanted to hear, promised you what you wanted to have.
SOLDEED: So this is the great journey of life?
ROMANA: They're parasitic nomads who've been feeding off your selfishness and gullibility.
SOLDEED: My dreams of conquest. You have brought this calamity upon me!
ROMANA: You've brought it on yourself!
SOLDEED: You will die for your interference!
ROMANA: Stop him!

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You fools. You are all doomed. Doomed!

Brilliant stuff, a superb over the top performance as a mad Doctor Who villain. Love it.

Some more adapted names for you: Crinoth is obviously Corinth, while Jasonite's origins must surely lie with the Greek hero Jason. Sezom is perhaps less obvious, but when you think of characters associated with great journeys then the biblical Moses springs to mind.

Playing Sezom, Soldeed's predecessor as the Nimon's pawn on Crinoth, is John Bailey. He first appeared in Doctor Who playing the commander of the first expedition to the Sensesphere in A Desperate Venture the sixth episode of the 1964 story The Sensorites. He then returns in 1967's The Evil of the Daleks as Edward Waterfield.

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The Nimon which appears in all four episodes of this story is played by Robin Sherringham. He was in the famed missing Out of the Unknown story The Prophet as one of the Robots whose costumes were later repainted turned up in Doctor Who The Mind Robber as the White Robots. You can see some Telesnaps from this episode on Wikipedia. Bob Appleby plays one of the newly arrived Nimon in episode 3 & 3, and he'll be back in The Trial of a Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids as a Vervoid. The other newer Nimon, Trevor St. John Hacker returns as a Trooper in Resurrection of the Daleks and the Second Thomas Allman in Red Dwarf The Inquisitor. All three Nimon are voiced by Clifford Norgate who will return to voice the Generator in the next transmitted Doctor Who story, The Leisure Hive.

Horns of the Nimon has copped some flack over the years but I'm really quite fond of it: it's a nice retelling of the Theseus & The Minotaur myth, combined with the concept of a locust like species leaping from planet to planet and stripping them bare, with a brilliant crackpot performance from guest star Graham Crowden. It was the only serial that season I watched first time out after Destiny of the Daleks and when I found a source of taped Doctor Who while at University I made an effort to get it.

This is the only Doctor Who directed by Kenny McBain who would later go on to produce ITV's Inspector Morse. Likewise it's the only solo script written by former Script Editor Anthony Read, but as we've noted he did have a hand in the "David Agnew's" Invasion of Time. It's also the last episode to be scored by Dudley Simpson who had worked on the show since Planet of Giants. As we've said it's the last episode broadcast using the Tunnel tittle sequences and it's the last broadcast episode for producer Graham Williams and Script Editor Douglas Adams.

At 20 weeks the broadcast (I keep using that word today) Season 17 is the joint shortest of Doctor Who so far, tying with Season 12 (Robot-Revenge of the Cybermen). Following it was the longest break to date of 32 weeks with no new Doctor Who, though both Destiny of the Daleks & City of Death had a repeat during this period. The reason for the shortness of the season and the length of break was that industrial action at the BBC forced the cancellation of the next story, Shada by Douglas Adams, halfway through recording. But what was recorded of Shada does exist and over the next six weeks we'll look at that material, what should have been made and the various attempts at completing the story.

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

While Doctor Who was off air during the summer, the second Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back was released in the UK. Many Doctor Who actors are involved and for an attempt at compiling a list see Episode 321: The Mutants part 4.

The Horns of the Nimon was novelised by Terrance Dicks and released in October 1980. I've got very clear memories of buying a copy of this and Invasion of Time from a book fair in Perranporth while on holiday visiting my Aunt, Uncle & Grandmother. It was one of a number of remaindered Doctor Who novels given away by Doctor Who magazine and following the promotion a large amount of left over stock, all of this novel, were pulped. It was the final fourth Doctor story to be released on video in June 2003 and on DVD on 29th March 2010 as part of Doctor Who - Myths & Legends with The Time Monster & Underworld.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

524 The Horns of Nimon: Part Three

EPISODE: The Horns of Nimon: Part Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 524
STORY NUMBER: 108
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 05 January 1980
WRITER: Anthony Read
DIRECTOR: Kenny McBain
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Myths & Legends: The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon

"You call this a maze? It's a cheat! The walls keep changing!"

Welcome to the first episode of Doctor Who shown in the 1980s!

The Doctor interrupts the Nimon allowing Romana, Seth & Teka to escape but the remaining Anethians stay rooted to the spot. The Nimon deems that five crystals will suffice. Soldeed & Sorak examine the Tardis. The Doctor finds his friends. The hymetusite crystals are fed to the Nimon's furnace, with the Nimon being delighted that operational power level has been achieved. The Doctor remembers what the power complex reminds him of: a giant positronic circuit. He summons K-9 but he is captured and immobilised by Soldeed. The Doctor thinks that the power complex is focussed on the Black Hole and using it as a gateway to Hyperspace. Soldeed orates to his generals about the power the Nimon will give them. Soldeed & Sorak are alarmed when the antennae on the complex start to glow. The Doctor & Romana observe as a capsule materialises in the centre of the power complex containing a two more Nimon who tell the first one that Crinoth is finished. The Doctor realises the Nimon are invading but while Romana examines the capsule the Doctor accidentally transports it away but before it can be retrieved they are interrupted by Soldeed who damaged the equipment and swears to kill the Doctor....

After a rather long reprise, which lasts till 2:23 into the program, we get what is essentially a big run around the Nimon's Power Complex (Labyrinth) culminating in a revelation that there's more than one Nimon and they're mounting an Invasion. It's not the worst third episode but until quite close to the end it is just running around.

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But the answers start to come as the episode progresses:

ROMANA: I've never seen anything quite like this before.
DOCTOR: No. I thought for a moment it was a giant transmat.
ROMANA: No transmat pad.
DOCTOR: That's right. It's a direction beam of some kind, though.
ROMANA: Hmm. It seems to be pumping out energy over vast distances.
DOCTOR: Yes. Wait a minute. That's some kind of bearing. Of course! It's focused on the black hole.
ROMANA: Our black hole?
DOCTOR: Well, we said it was artificially created.
ROMANA: From here?
DOCTOR: Yes.
ROMANA: But why? What good is a black hole to anyone?
DOCTOR: It could be a gateway towards hyperspace.
ROMANA: With an exit somewhere else.
DOCTOR: Yes.
ROMANA: Where?
DOCTOR: I don't know, but I'll tell you something interesting. When I mentioned the black hole to Soldeed, he didn't seem to know what I was talking about.
ROMANA: Ah, well, people often don't know what you're talking about.
DOCTOR: Exactly. If Soldeed doesn't know about the black hole, what does he think all this if for?
NIMON: Welcome to Skonnos, my friends. Welcome to the new home of the Nimon race, the next step in the great journey of life.
NIMON 2: You have done well, but you're only just in time. Crinoth is finished.
NIMON: Now that you're here, come. We can begin the migration with all speed.

ROMANA: It's a space capsule.
DOCTOR: Yes.
SETH: I don't understand. There's no engines.
DOCTOR: It wouldn't need engines, would it, Romana.
ROMANA: The energy beam. The black hole.
DOCTOR: Two black holes. One at the beginning of the journey, one at the end, and a hyperspatial tunnel in between.
ROMANA: And that beam providing the motive power.
DOCTOR: Yes.
TEKA: I don't understand.
ROMANA: The Nimons have found a way of leaping across the universe as far as they want, instantaneously.
DOCTOR: That's right.
TEKA: I thought there was only one Nimon.
DOCTOR: So did Soldeed. They've been terribly clever. Fiendishly clever.
TEKA: Seth, what's happening?
DOCTOR: Invasion.
SETH: Invasion.
DOCTOR: Yes, it happens all the time. When a race runs out of space or destroys its home, it has to find somewhere else to live.
SETH: Skonnos?
DOCTOR: Yes.
SETH: But it's already inhabited.
DOCTOR: Yes.
TEKA: Then how many more are coming?
DOCTOR: Well
ROMANA: To make all this worthwhile, there must be thousands.
DOCTOR: Millions.
TEKA: What, two at a time?
DOCTOR: Well, as more arrive, they'll build more transmats and increase exponentially. You don't imagine this is the only planet that's been tricked, do you? We've got to stop them.

Which leads to the Doctor coming up with a plan!
ROMANA: Doctor?
DOCTOR: It's all right.
ROMANA: Oh, I wish you wouldn't do that.
DOCTOR: I think I've found the main power control.
ROMANA: Really?
DOCTOR: Yes. If I can reverse the flow, the energy will go back to where the space-time tunnel begins.
ROMANA: Crinoth.
DOCTOR: Yes. I might even be able to send the Nimons back again.
ROMANA: Brilliant.
One, with an eye on the Third Doctor, is forced to wonder what flow the Doctor reversed.....

Unfortunately it all goes wrong when Romana is inside the capsule when it disappears and Soldeed damages the equipment!

Simon Gipps-Kent, playing Seth, had done a lot of child acting in the 1970s featuring in The Tomorrow People as Paul in The Doomsday Men and Quadrophenia as a Boy at Party. He later appears in the unscreened The Black Adder pilot as Rudkin but he doesn't reprise the role at any point in the first series and I can find no record of another actor playing it. His career dried up in the early 80s and he died of a morphine overdose on 16th September 1987.

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Seth's female companion, Teka, is played by Janet Ellis who had done some acting during the 1970s, including a memorable appearance in The Sweeney as Susie in Hard Men. By the time this episode aired she was presenting Jigsaw (which also featured Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy and then went on to present Blue Peter. Nowadays she's most famous for being the mother of popstar Sophie Ellis Bextor. Janet Ellis' father is Mike Ellis, a BBC visual effects designer, who will later operate Drathro in parts 1-4 of Trial of a Timelord.

The last time I watched this story I thought I'd recognised one of the female Anethian extras in it so I dug out the DWM with the archive in (247) to get their names: Rachael Wheeler, Zena Daire & Katy Jarrett.

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I identified the young lady in question as Katy Jarrett. It turns out she had another job at around the same time as this story was filmed: She was Zuckuss in The Empire Strikes Back, where she works under her given name Catherine Munroe. She's got a website at http://www.cathymunroe.com/ and her CV there reckons she's in Full Circle too, but I've not managed to spot her there. IMDB think she was a tourist in Silver Nemesis: She was scheduled to be part of a group of Tourists in that story but the actors planned to be used were replaced with cameos from those connected with the show. She does return as a Daymaid in Ghost Light. There's an interview here where she talks about working on Empire Strikes Back. IMDB used to credit her with playing E-3PO, the silver protocol droid on Bespin, but she believes she played Wiorkettle, one of the aliens on Bespin instead and I see since I last blogged this story that's been corrected. She can also in Roger Moore James Bond film Octopussy as a Circus Guest, Supergirl as an Argonian Citizen and Agatha Christie's Miss Marple: The 4:50 from as Miss Marple's Housemaid Mary.

Never did mange to pin down where I recognised her from though as it's certainly none of those, though I have since managed to spot her Miss Marple appearance.

Of the other two female Anethians Rachel Wheeler returns as a Customer in Arc of Infinity. There are five Rachel Wheelers on IMDB but none of them look like being this one. Zena Daire is on IMDB but hasn't been in anything else I recall.

The male Anethians are Nicholas Drake and Daniel Tabori.

The Anethian Corpses in the Nimon's larder are played by Gary Gold, Jane Foot and Debbi Thomson.

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Soldeed's general Sorak is played by Michael Osborne who had in the Square of Troy in The Myth Makers and a Guardian in The Ark. He was also in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as a Naval Lieutenant.

None of the Skonnan Elders in this story are listed on IMDB but the Doctor Who Appreciation Society Production File comes to our rescue.

Derek Chafer was a Saxon in The Time Meddler, a Greek/Trojan Soldiers/People in Square in The Myth Makers, a Guard in the Massacre, a Settler in The Gunfighters, a Cyberman in The Moonbase, a Guard in Fury from the Deep, a Cyberman in The Invasion, a Miner, Issigri HQ in The Space Pirates, a Military Policeman & a Unit Soldier in The Silurians, a Prisoner in Mind of Evil, a Primitive in Colony in Space, a Guard in Curse of Peladon, a Warrior in the Mutants, an Exxillon in Death to the Daleks, a Guard in Monster of Peladon, a Soldier, Armourer & Brethren in Masque of Mandragora, a Levithian Guard in Ribos Operation and a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara, He returns as Doctor Body Parts & a Pangol Doctor in The Leisure Hive and a Gundam in Warriors Gate. In Out of the Unknown he was a Man in 1+1=1.5 and in Doomwatch he was a Man in Project Sahara, Re-Entry Forbidden & The Red Sky. In Monty Python's Flying Circus he was the Gasman in Dinsdale!

Roy Brent had been a Man in Firing Squad & Prison Sentry in The War Games, an Auton/Hospital Porter in Spearhead from Space, a Control room Assistant & UNIT Soldier in The Ambassadors of Death, a UNIT Soldier in Claws of Axos, a Miner in Monster of Peladon, a Double for Noah/Libri in Pallet in Ark in Space, one of the Collector’s Escort in The Sunmakers, a Shrieve in The Ribos Operation and a Guard in Creature from The Pit. He returns as a Resistance Fighter in Trial of a Timelord: Mindwarp. In Monty Python's Flying Circus he was an Armoured Knight in Njorl's Saga.

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Ronald Mayer had been an Auton/Commissionaire in Spearhead from Space, a Man in Pub/Coven & Villager in The Daemons and a Time Lord in The Deadly Assassin. He's been in Quatermass and the Pit as a Journalist in The Wild Hunt and a Dead Photographer in Hob.

Eric French was an SRS Bouncer/Officer/Audience member in Robot. In Blake's 7 he's a Goth Guard in The Keeper and in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy he's the G'Gugvunt Leader in the fourth episode.

Roy Seeley was a Noble in Androids of Tara. He returns as the Doctor Body Parts & a Pangol Doctor in The Leisure Hive, a Logopolitan in Logopolis, a Time Lord in Trial of Time Lord Mysterious Planet & Mindwarp, and a Crimson Time Lord in Trial of Time Lord Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe. In Blake's 7 he's an Arbiter in Death-Watch. In Star Wars he was a stand-in for Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca.

Ray Lavender was the Taran Wood Beast and a Gracht Guard in Androids of Tara, He returns as one of the Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive, a Snakedancer in Snakedance. In Blake's 7 he's a Guard in City in City at the Edge of the World.

Trevor Wedlock was a Noble in Androids of Tara an returns as a Technician in Vengeance on Varos.

David Harris had been a Tourist in Louvre in City of Death.

Donald Groves is making his debut here and returns as a Foster & a Citizen in Keeper of Traken and an Elder in Planet of Fire. He'd been in Porridge as Trevor, Lukewarm's other half, in Men Without Women. He was in Doomwatch as a man in No Room for Error & Flight Into Yesterday.

Robert Barker & Peter Jackson have no imdb entries or other Doctor Who appearances.

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

Sunday, 29 December 2019

523 The Horns of Nimon: Part Two

EPISODE: The Horns of Nimon: Part Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 523
STORY NUMBER: 108
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 December 1979
WRITER: Anthony Read
DIRECTOR: Kenny McBain
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Myths & Legends: The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon

"The great pact nears it's completion! The Nimon be praised! Skonnos shall rise and conquer!"

The Pilot puts Romana in the hold with the Anethian sacrifices. The Doctor puts the Tardis into a spin allowing the Asteroid to knock it out of the pull of the black hole. The Nimon reminds Soldeed of his agreement to provide the required tribute and speaks once again of the Great Journey of Life. Soldeed plans to attack Aneth, thinking they have rescued the children. Teka tells Romana that Seth will destroy the Nimon. Skonnos detects the missing ship and prepares for the ceremony to mark the fulfilment of their pact. Soldeed is angry that two of the hymetusite crystals are missing, used by Romana to power the ship but the pilot claims responsibility. Soldeed sends both the Pilot & Romana into the power complex with the Anethians and the hymetusite to face the Nimon. The Doctor makes makeshift repairs to the Tardis and sets course for Skonnos. The Pilot wanders the maze of the Power Complex, briefly catching sight of the Anethians but he, and Romana & the Anethians find the walls are shifting around them. The Doctor sights the Power Complex from orbit, reminding him of something. Materialising on Skonnos the Doctor is immediately arrested. The Anethians find the husk of a body that decays at the touch, which Romana believes has had the life sucked out of it. The Doctor confronts Soldeed with the accusation that someone is building a black hole nearby. Soldeed claims not to have seen Romana but when Soldeed's general produces the Doctor's grativic anomaliser he knows she is nearby. Soldeed drives the Doctor into the Power Complex. Romana and the Anethians find the Nimon's larder where it keeps previous Anethian sacrifices in suspended animation. They are captured by the pilot, who summons the Nimon, who kills him then turns on Romana & the Anethians.....

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Ah now we're talking proper mythology, with Romana and the Anethians wandering the Power Complex (Labyrinth) with the Nimon (Minotaur) in the centre. The shifting walls is a nice touch and very well done on screen.

There's some genuine horror too as the corpse falls to pieces on them!

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I seem to recall a similar effect in The Claws of Axos being whited out for being too graphic!

Then there's the slow realisation that the Anethians are destined for the Nimon's larder when they discover their predecessors in cold storage!

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I'll talk about the rest of the cast later, but really this story is dominated by one actor:

Lord Nimon? Lord Nimon? It is I, Soldeed!
Ladies and Gentlemen, playing Soldeed we have the late, great Graham Crowden!

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At this point it his career he's probably best known for his theatre work, even though he'd been working on TV since the early 1950s! He had a memorable appearance as the Slade Prison Doctor in the Porridge Christmas Special "No Way Out", which gets an airing in our house every Christmas! He had been offered the role of the fourth Doctor when Jon Pertwee left the series but had turned it down, not be willing to commit to three years in a role.

Recognition would follow sometime after this story. First he was cast as Dr. Jock McCannon in A Very Peculiar Practice then Tom Ballard in Waiting for God, both of which have a fair few Doctor Who connections.

A Very Peculiar Practice stars (by then) former Doctor Who Peter Davison alongside David Troughton (Enemy of the World/War Games/Curse of Peladon/Midnight/son of Patrick Troughton. Also featured were Trevor Cooper (Revelation of the Daleks), Hugh Grant (Curse of Fatal Death), Geoffrey Beevers (Ambassadors of Death/Keeper of Traken/husband of Caroline John (Liz Shaw)), Chris Jury (Greatest Show in the Galaxy) and Tim Munro (Planet of the Daleks). Female lead in the first series is Amanda Hillwood, Morse's 2nd pathologist (we've had Frost and Barnaby's pathologists in recent episodes of Doctor Who) and is married to Max Headroom's Matt Frewer. If you haven't seen A Very Peculiar Practice then it's currently available on DVD (at long last!)

Waiting for God was a long running sitcom set in a retirement home. Amongst the regular cast are Daniel Hill (Shada), Andrew Tourell (Black Orchid) and Michael Bilton (The Massacre/Pyramids of Mars/The Deadly Assassin)

Which brings us nicely back to the accusations of comedy levelled frequently at this season. One of the worst examples occurs in this episode as the Doctor's repairs to the Tardis fail: the accompanying sound effect is taken straight from light entertainment's repertoire.

(The Doctor has a new arrangement of the equipment and wires linked into the time rotor.)
DOCTOR: Right, K9. Without our grativic anomaliser, this is the best we can do. Let's give it a try, shall we? Ah, come on, old girl.

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DOCTOR: That's very odd. Wouldn't you say that was odd, K9?
K9: Odd not computable, master.

While trying to find out if the mineral Hymetusite had a classical origin to it's name (I didn't find anything) I discovered that the sound effect used here has a name! It's called Major Bloodnok's Stomach which was first used in an episode of The Goon Show!

Not many of the extras for this story are listed on IMDB, with just a couple of the Skonnan Guards getting a mention. The Doctor Who Appreciation Society Production File supplies the rest of the names:

Peter Roy was a Greek Soldier in The Myth Makers, an English Soldier in The Highlanders, an Airport Police Sergeant & Chauffeur in The Faceless Ones, a UNIT & Bunker Man in The Invasion, a Security Guard in The Seeds of Death, a Passenger/Plague Victim/Passersby/Ambulance Man/Policeman in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a Policeman in Mind of Evil, Technic Obarl in Hand of Fear, a Guard in The Face of Evil, a Guard in The Sun Makers, a Galifreyan Guard in The Invasion of Time, a Gracht Guard & one of Zadek's Guards in The Androids of Tara and a Guard in The Armageddon Factor He returns as a Policeman in Logopolis, an Ambulance Man in Castrovalva, a Man in the Cave Crowd in Snakedance and a Van Driver 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!

Jim Delaney had previously been a English Soldier in The Highlanders, a Confederate Soldier & Resistance Man in The War Games, a UNIT Soldier & Plague Victim in The Silurians, a Passerby in Mind of Evil, a Presidential Guard in Frontier in Space, a Time Lord in Deadly Assassin, a Coven Members in Image of the Fendahl and a Noble in Androids of Tara He returns as a Logopolitan in Logopolis, a Time Lord in Trial of Time Lord: Mysterious Planet & Mindwarp and a Crimson Time Lord in Trial of Time Lord: Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe. In Adam Adamant Lives! he's a TA Soldier / RA Major in D for Destruction. In Yes Minister he's the Permanent Secretary in The Compassionate Society and in the 1989 Batman film he's the Election Ceremony Patron.

Making his return to Doctor Who is Joe Santo who was a Resistance Men in The War Games, a UNIT Soldier in The Ambassadors of Death and the Exit guard in the Mutants He later plays a Tharil in Warrior's Gate and an Alphan Servant in Trial of a Timelord: Mindwarp. He was in Doomwatch as a Man in The Islanders, In the Dark, High Mountain & Enquiry, Moonbase 3 as José in View of a Dead Planet, Blake's 7 as a Scavenger in Deliverance and Fawlty Towers as the Laundry Van Driver's Mate in The Kipper and the Corpse.

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Paul Barton was previously a UNIT Soldier and a Silurian in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a Roundhead in The Time Monster, a Courtier in The Masque of Mandragora, a guard in Face of Evil, Marn’s Attendant in The Sunmakers and a Skonnos Guard in The Horns of Nimon. He returns as a Citizen/Unbeliever in Planet of Fire and a Walk on in Remembrance of the Daleks. He was in Doomwatch as a Man in Hear No Evil, Invasion and No Room for Error and appears in Moonbase 3 as a Technician in View of a Dead Planet.

Derek Suthern He first appeared as a Path Lab Technician in The Hand of Fear returning as a Mentiad in Pirate Planet, a Gracht Guard & Zadek Guard in The Androids of Tara, a Mute in The Armageddon Factor, a Guard in The Creature from the Pit, and a Mandrel in Nightmare of Eden. He would have made a fourth consecutive appearance this season 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 returns as an Argolin Guide in The Leisure Hive, the first story of the next season. At the end of that season he plays PC Davis in Logopolis part one followed by a Cricketer in Black Orchid, a Policeman in Time-Flight, 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 Atlantis Guard and is in Fawlty Towers as a Hotel Guest in both The Germans and The Psychiatrist.

David Glen had been a Tourist in Louvre & a Plain-clothes Detective in Louvre in City of Death. In Blake's 7 he was a Laboratory Technician in Seek-Locate-Destroy, Frell, the Technician at Autopsy in Killer, a Crimo in Hostage, a Servalan's Bodyguard in Star One and a Federation Medic in Children of Auron.

Norman Bradley is on his Doctor Who debut and returns as a Young Scientist in Shada, a Holiday Maker in Leisure Hive, a Cyberman in Earthshock and a Guard in The Five Doctors

Terry Gurry was in Douglas Camfield's Beau Geste as a Corporal and By the Sword Divided a Lt. Truscott in Ring of Fire and Not Peace, But a Sword.

Finally I can't find Edmund Thomas in anything I've seen.

This is the last episode of Doctor Who shown in the 1970s.