Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Sunday, 20 September 2015

405 Terror of the Zygons: Part Four

EPISODE: Terror of the Zygons: Part Four
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 405
STORY NUMBER: 080
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 20 September 1975
WRITER: Robert Banks-Stewart
DIRECTOR: Douglas Camfield
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Terror of the Zygons

"You can't rule a world in hiding. You've got to come out onto the balcony sometimes and wave a tentacle, if you'll pardon the expression."

The Zygons hide themselves from human monitoring

BROTON: The humans will be following our course by their radar. Transmit a jamming signal.
ZYGON: Immediately, Commander.
DOCTOR: You've been hiding too long, Broton. It's become a habit.
BROTON: What do you mean?
DOCTOR: I thought the plan was to conquer the world.
BROTON: The plan has not changed.
DOCTOR: But you can't rule a world in hiding. You've got to come out onto the balcony sometimes and wave a tentacle, if you'll pardon the expression.
BROTON: In a few hours there will be no further need of secrecy. Have no doubt, Doctor.

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Sarah & Harry search the castle for a clue to Broton's plans discovering that the Duke is the president of the Scottish Energy Commission.
HARRY: Any news of the spacecraft, sir?
BRIGADIER: It was last reported heading south over Leicestershire, and then they lost it. We've also had a report of a large underwater object travelling south at high speed.
SARAH: Guess what.
The Zygon craft touches down in a quarry near London.

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The Zygon ship looks fabulous this episode, better than when it rose from the lake in episode 3!
The Skarasen is tracked travelling towards London. Broton explains the Zygons' plan to the Doctor:
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DOCTOR: Social call?
BROTON: You admire our technology, human?
DOCTOR: Well, I'm not human, and I've seen better.
BROTON: Better than this?

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DOCTOR: Very good, very good. Almost impressive. But why bother?
FORGILL: It is necessary to activate a body print every few hours, otherwise the original pattern dies and cannot be used again.
DOCTOR: Ah. So you still have a use for the real Duke.
FORGILL: One.
DOCTOR: Formal occasion?
FORGILL: Perhaps.
DOCTOR: I gather we've landed. Where are we?
FORGILL: You like asking questions.
DOCTOR: Well, it's the only way to learn. When does this great operation begin, this conquest of the world?
FORGILL: Phase one is already complete.
DOCTOR: And what are you going to do with it when you've got it? Isn't it a bit large for just about six of you?
FORGILL: Other Zygons are on their way. When our planet was destroyed in a recent catastrophe, a great refugee fleet was assembled.
DOCTOR: Hmm. And they're coming here at your invitation.
FORGILL: Exactly, Doctor. It will be many centuries before the fleet arrives. In that time, the whole of this Earth must be restructured.
DOCTOR: I'll say one thing for you, Broton. You think big.
FORGILL: Polar icecaps must go, the mean temperature raised several degrees, thousand of lakes with the right mineral elements constructed. I shall recreate my own planet here on Earth.
DOCTOR: Using forced labour.
FORGILL: That is my intention. Human labour and Zygon technology. The task is challenging, but not impossible.
DOCTOR: You're underestimating human beings, Broton.
FORGILL: We shall see. Tomorrow I demonstrate my ultimate power.

The Brigadier is contacted by the Prime Minister about what action he should take.
SARAH: Any news?
BRIGADIER: Nothing on the spaceship, but we've had another report on that underwater object. It's been sighted off the coast. The Navy are sending some frigates from Chatham.
BENTON: UNIT Headquarters. Who? Oh, yes, he's here. Just a moment, please. It's for you, sir. The Prime Minister.
BRIGADIER: Lethbridge Stewart speaking. Oh, absolutely understood, madam. No public announcement. Yes, madam. Discreet action. Discreet but resolute.

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A crucial bit of Doctor who predicting the future!

At the point this story was made & broadcast in 1975 Harold Wilson was serving his second term as Prime Minister. He was succeeded in 1976 by James Callaghan who was in turn succeeded in 1979 by the UK's first female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, then the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party. She is the obvious candidate for the female Prime Minister in question but the superb Doctor Who Discontinuity Guide posits a scenario in the Doctor Who universe where world events conspire to bring Shirley Williams to power.

The Doctor interferes with the Zygon equipment broadcasting a signal from the Zygon ship that gives away it's position to UNIT.
BENTON: Well, I've checked the triangulations, sir, and I make it about, about here.
BRIGADIER: Just beyond Brentford. A disused quarry. We've got them, Mister Benton!

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The episode may claim the quarry is in Brentford but just like the Scotland locations in the story it's in Sussex.

The Zygons believe the Doctor has been killed as the Duke leaves
FORGILL: Excellent. It is time for me to place the activator on the target. Humanity is at our feet.

FORGILL: In two minutes, close down dyastetic transmission and maintain monitor contact.
ZYGON: Understood. Commander.
FORGILL: Open the escape hatch. When phase two is completed, I shall broadcast my demands to the world.

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This jumped out at me: as Broton is leaving the Zygon ship he puts his bowler hat on casually like he's going off to work for the day.

Class.

The Doctor's alien physiology allows him to survive and free the other prisoners of the Zygons.
vlcsnap-2015-02-14-09h31m47s199 DUKE: Who are you?
DOCTOR: His Grace the Duke of Forgill, I presume?
DUKE: Yes. Where the blazes am I? DOCTOR: On a spaceship.
DUKE: Spaceship?

This is the first time we've met the actual Duke, it's been Broton posing as him throughout the story so far. he does however show exactly the same attitudes as his impersonator did in the previous episode!

The Doctor simulates a fire alert which summons the Zygon crew allowing them to escape. The Doctor sets the ship to self destruct as they leave .
DOCTOR: Come along, quick. Break that vacuum mechanism to jam the door.
CABER: This one?
DOCTOR: Yes, that one, man. Get on with it.
CABER: Is that broken enough?

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DOCTOR: It's more than enough.
DOCTOR: Right, let's see what other damage we can do. Anybody know what this is?
DUKE: I haven't the faintest idea.
LAMONT: You tell us.
DOCTOR: I will. It's a self-destructor, and it works like this.
DOCTOR: Right, we've got about sixty seconds before the whole ship blows up.

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This is also the first time we've met the real versions of both Sister Lamont and Caber and they seem much more friendly as humans compared to their harsher Zygon impersonators.

The Zygon ship explodes as the Brigadier & UNIT arrive.

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DOCTOR: Was that bang big enough for you, Brigadier?
HARRY: Nicely done, Doctor. That's the end of the Zygons, eh?
DOCTOR: Not entirely. Broton escaped and he still has control of the monster.

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Lovely bang to destroy the ship but such a shame to see such a nice model get blown to pieces!

The Brigadier & Sarah recall some information that allows them to pinpoint Broton's target
DOCTOR: He plans to attack some target in London.
SARAH: Close to the Thames, huh?
DOCTOR: Exactly. And this time it'll be something really spectacular.
BRIGADIER: I've just remembered. When I spoke to the PM earlier, she was about to leave for Stanbridge House. And that's on the river.
DOCTOR: What's happening there?
DUKE: The Fourth International Energy Conference. The place'll be full of VIPs from all over the world. It's a meeting of crucial importance.
DOCTOR: Ah. That could be it, Brigadier.
BRIGADIER: Yes, but he'd need a pass to get in. The security's very tight.
SARAH: But he'll have a pass. The Duke, the real Duke, is President of the Scottish Energy Commission.
DUKE: That's right, I am.
DOCTOR: Well, come on. Let's get to London.

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Now here's a thing: we've already seen that the Duke shares his counterparts incredulity with their being aliens, does he also oppose the Oil Company? And if so does that raise the possibility that the real Duke is an environmentalist and supporter of alternative energy?

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Stanbridge House is on the Thames in London albeit in it's guise as Millbank Tower, previously seen as the International Electromatics headquarters in The Invasion, a story also directed by Douglas Camfield

Broton plants the activator in the cellar.
As the seventh Doctor will say:

"Great place to hide things in cellars"

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Benton reports the monster has been sighted again.
And that's the last time we see UNIT HQ till it's reappearance in the Five Doctors!
The Doctor, Sarah & UNIT search the building....
DOCTOR: Not much light.
SARAH: Maybe somebody should tell the Energy Congress.
....but are found by Broton.
BROTON: I thought you were dead.
DOCTOR: Loose thinking, Broton.
BROTON: This time, I shall make certain.
DOCTOR (to Sarah): Get the Brigadier.

But of course she doesn't which means she gets grabbed by Broton! What is it about companions that they can't follow instructions?

Broton and the Doctor struggle but Broton is shot & killed by the Brigadier. The Doctor finds the signalling device and throws it into the Thames where it is caught and eaten by the Skarasen which then retreats up the river to the sea.
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SARAH: It's huge! Where's the signal device?
DOCTOR: He's chewing it.
SARAH: It's going back under the surface.
DOCTOR: He'll go home now he's eaten the device.
HARRY: Home?
DOCTOR: Loch Ness, Harry. The only home he knows.

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The Skarasen effects are a tinsy bit ropey in places here but have a look at that shot of the Doctor throwing it the tracking device: There's three separate elements to it: the London skyline background, with the Skarasen monster in front of it, and the in studio Doctor and set in the foreground all composited together. It's a very ambitious shot because the varying quality of the differing elements draws attention to it's limitations. Even having just the Skarasen against a filmed location background exposes the limits of what they were trying to do!

The Doctor, Sarah, Harry & Brigadier return with the Duke to Scotland so the Doctor can find the Tardis. Harry & the Brigadier decide to take the Train home while Sarah is persuaded to travel back in the Tardis....
DUKE: Tell me, I imagine the whole business caused quite a stir.
BRIGADIER: No, the Cabinet's accepted my report and the whole affair's now completely closed.
DUKE: You mean it never happened.
BRIGADIER: Well, a fifty foot monster can't swim up the Thames and attack a large building without some people noticing, but you know what politicians are like.
DUKE: Yes, quite. By the way, I was coming to meet you people. I could swear I caught a glimpse of the monster in the Loch.
SARAH: But you're not sure.
DUKE: The sun was in my eyes.

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DUKE: Now, where is this contraption of yours?
DOCTOR: My contraption, your Grace, is this way. I think. Follow me. Come on.
DUKE: That's the Tardis?
DOCTOR: Yes, that's the Tardis. And I'm going to pilot it all the way to London. I can be there five minutes ago.

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SARAH: Just a minute, Doctor. I thought you couldn't do that.
DOCTOR: Of course I can. Coming?
BRIGADIER: No, thank you.
HARRY: I think I'll stick to InterCity this time, Doctor.

That marks the departure of Ian Marter as companion Harry Sullivan, returned to Earth by the Doctor. He'd be back for UNIT's next appearance in The Android Invasion.
DOCTOR: Sarah?
SARAH: Er.

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DOCTOR: No?
SARAH: All right. Providing we do go straight back to London.
DOCTOR: Oh yes, we will. I promise.

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DUKE: Well, I'll be. Do they have return tickets?
BRIGADIER: Yes, I imagine so.
DUKE: You should have taken them and got your refund, man. I thought you were a Scotsman.

Top, top story. Love it to bits, some superb acting especially from Nicholas Courtney and lead guest star John Woodnutt who's playing both Broton and the Duke of Forgill.

The Zygons are probably the greatest and best remembered "one appearance only" monster in original Doctor Who. One of them nearly had a appearance as a prisoner in Shada, but this, bar another flashback cameo in Logopolis, is their only appearance in the classic series. Their shape shifting ability would you think make them an easy monster to bring back. Indeed they might have worked a lot better instead of the broadly similar Slitheen in the new series. It's somewhat a surprise that it took until 2013 for them to return but when they do they're given a starring role in The Day of the Doctor, the 50th Anniversary Special.

This is the last time we'll see the Brigadier for a good few years: It's unclear why Nicholas Courtney didn't appear in Android Invasion but the extended career summary in Doctor Who Magazine 436 makes it clear that his marriage was collapsing at the time so I suspect that that might be a factor. By the time Seeds of Doom came around at the end of the season Courtney would be performing in a stage show in Canada. He gets a brief flashback appearance in 1981's Logopolis but it wouldn't be until 1983's Mawdryn Undead that Courtney would return to the show as we would see the Brigadier again.

The aforementioned Seeds of Doom in five stories time would be the next jobs on Doctor Who for Terror of the Zygons writer Robert Banks-Stewart and it's director Douglas Camfield. It would also be the last work both men would do on the show.

Terror of the Zygons was novelised by Terrance Dicks and released under the title Doctor Who & The Loch Ness Monster. This might have to draw attention to the famous element of the tale but I suspect also served to distinguish it from the similarly named Terror of the Autons which was already in print. Terror of the Zygons was released as a compilation video in the UK in 1988, but had appeared the year before in Australia. It's not the only story to be released outside the UK first: Deadly Assassin was first released in the USA and Talons of Weng Chiang was released in Australia & the USA before the UK. An episodic video version followed in 1999. In many ways, Terror of the Zygons was the main reason Phil still has a VCR: it was the planned last DVD release for the range, allegedly because the brand manager had a friend who loved it and was holding it back to wind him up! However animated reconstructions and episode recoveries mean the title of last classic Doctor Who DVD is currently held by the similarly Douglas Camfield directed The Web of Fear but should in a few weeks time pass to The Underwater Menace whose episode 2 remains the only existing episode of Doctor Who not yet released on DVD.

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