Sunday, 17 December 2017

469 The Sun Makers: Part Four

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

"Nobody understands business is business!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 10 December 2017

468 The Sun Makers: Part Three

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sunday, 3 December 2017

467 The Sun Makers: Part Two

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EPISODE: C1 Aftermath

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

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

EPISODE: C2 Powerplay

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

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

EPISODE: C3 Volcano

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

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

EPISODE: C4 Dawn of the Gods

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

Terry Scully (Groff) Seeds of Death: Fewsham

EPISODE: C5 The Harvest of Kairos

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

Andrew Burt (Jarvik) Terminus: Valgard

EPISODE: C6 City at the Edge of the World

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

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

EPISODE: C7 Children of Auron

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

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

EPISODE: C8 Rumours of Death

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

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

EPISODE: C9 Sarcophagus

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

No Doctor Who cast involved.

EPISODE: C10 Ultraworld

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

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

EPISODE: C11 Moloch

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
BROADCAST ON: 17/03/1980

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

EPISODE: C12 Death-Watch

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

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

EPISODE: C13 Terminal

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

No Doctor Who cast involved.

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

Sunday, 26 November 2017

466 The Sun Makers: Part One

EPISODE: The Sun Makers: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 26 November 1977
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Sun Makers

"Perhaps everyone runs from the tax man?"

On the human colony on the planet Pluto citizen Cordo hears of his father's death but when he goes to pay the death taxes he finds he hasn't enough money. In despair he goes to throw himself off a tower block but is prevented from doing so by the arrival of the Doctor & Leela. He tells them how the company runs the planet, are responsible for the artificial suns and tax the population to death. The Tardis is detected and the Gatherer investigates with the Doctor, Leela & Cordo fleeing to the under city, where Cordo goes to join a group of outlaws. They are captured and taken to the group's leader Mandrel. K-9 exits the Tardis and is detected by the Gatherer. The Doctor is sent to use a stolen Consumcard, with the threat that if he's not back within a certain time they will kill Leela. K-9 finds the Doctor & Cordo but the stolen Consumcard is detected and the Doctor is gassed.

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Ah now that's just fabulous, really is. For a episode that opens with someone's father dying....

WOMAN: Citizen Cordo, District Four?
WOMAN: Congratulations, Citizen. Your father ceased at one ten.
CORDO: All was well?
WOMAN: A fine death. Body weight was eighty four kilos at termination.
CORDO: I'm gratified.
WOMAN: Gatherer Hade is waiting for the death taxes.
CORDO: Yes, I have them here.
WOMAN: Pay them at the Gatherer's office.
.... moves into despair at not affording taxes ....
HADE: Is this your account, Citizen? I see you selected the golden death, with four mercy attendants.
CORDO: Yes, your honour. I always pledged that when his death day came he would not suffer.
HADE: Compassion is a noble thing, Citizen. Also costly. A hundred and seventeen talmars.
CORDO: One hundred and seven? No, it can't be.
HADE: See the account.
CORDO: But there's a mistake. Eighty, they said. Eighty for the golden death.
HADE: The Collector recently raised death taxes seventeen percent.
CORDO: I didn't know, your Honour.
HADE: It was bulletined.
CORDO: But I didn't see it.
HADE: It is every citizen's duty to know the tax rates.
CORDO: I've been working double shifts to earn the money.
HADE: Four mercy attendants is now a further eighteen talmars. Disposal fee ten talmars plus of course an ad valorum tax of ten percent. Total one hundred and thirty two talmars. It's all here, you see, and said we put your father's personal contribution of seven talmars. Only seven talmars, Citizen? Must have been a poor man.
CORDO: He was a municipal servant for forty years, your Honour. He cleaned the walkways.
HADE: And then there's the recycling allowance on his death weight of eighty four kilos. That is eight talmars. Leaving a debt of a hundred and seventeen.
CORDO: Please, I have only eighty six. It has taken me years to save it.
(Hade picks up the pouch by its strap with his long staff of office.)
HADE: How do you propose to settle the thirty one talmars outstanding?
CORDO: Well, I can't. Your Honour, I have nothing.
HADE: Taxes are the primary consideration, Citizen. I see that you are a D grade worker in the Foundry.
CORDO: Yes, your Honour.
HADE: Fortunately, as the Gatherer, I have certain powers. I will encourage your supervisor to allow you increased output.
CORDO: But, your Honour, I already work a double shift now! I have only my three hours sleep time away from the Foundry.
HADE: Twenty one hours a week. You must manage without sleep time until the debt is paid.
CORDO: It will kill me!
HADE: Take your Q capsule.
CORDO: But your Honour, the high medical tax on Q capsules!
HADE: Citizen Cordo, you complain too much. Thank the Company you're warm and fed.
CORDO: Praise the Company.
HADE: You may go.
....and gets to an attempted suicide ....
DOCTOR: Magnificent view, isn't it. How high is this building?
CORDO: A thousand metres.
DOCTOR: A thousand metres? My. Are we interrupting something?
CORDO: What would you say, Citizen?
DOCTOR: Somehow I have the impression you're thinking of killing yourself.
CORDO: It's the taxes.
CORDO: It's the taxes. I can't pay the taxes.
DOCTOR: Oh, the taxes. My dear old thing, all you need is a wiley accountant.
CORDO: Then there's the medical tax on Q-capsules, and work tax on extra hours, so I could never clear the debt. You see, the Company charges fifty percent compound interest on unpaid taxes. I'm only a grade D work unit, three talmars a shift. Three talmars. That's not enough.
LEELA: What is he saying, Doctor? I do not understand.
DOCTOR: He can't make ends meet. Probably too many economists in the government.
LEELA: These taxes, they are like sacrifices to tribal gods?
DOCTOR: Well, roughly speaking, but paying tax is more painful.
LEELA: Then the people should rise up and slaughter their oppressors!
DOCTOR: Well, if little Cordo's at all typical, they haven't any spirit left for fighting.
...then followed up by a bit of cashpoint fraud, it rolls along at a nice pace and is bright and funny. Of particular note is Richard Leech's fabulous performance as the Gatherer. As he & Marn find the Tardis and speculate on why it's here it forms a perverse commentary to the story.
MARN: How did it get here?
HADE: Oh, use your intelligence, Marn. We detected an air space violation. Clearly a sky freighter.
MARN: But what is it, your Honour?
HADE: Obviously a container. See the lock?

HADE: It's an intriguing case, Marn.
MARN: Your Honour, it's inconceivable. To flout so many regulations.
HADE: Exactly. I smell something very big. Perhaps another Kandor conspiracy.
MARN: What was that?
HADE: Oh yes, Kandor.
MARN: I never heard of it.
HADE: Yes, it wasn't made public at the time in case it gave others ideas. Kandor was an executive grade in Megropolis Four who falsified computer records for the enrichment of himself and his fellow conspirators. Altogether he defrauded the Company of millions of talmars.
MARN: Praise the Company. What happened to him?
HADE: He survived three years in the Correction Centre.
MARN: Three years? A record.
HADE: He was very strong.

MARN: I can easily trace the delivery and freighter records.
HADE: Whatever programme the freighter used will self destruct in print.
MARN: You mean the instruction will not be retained in records? But that's another illegal
HADE: Does the robber hesitate to break a window? We're not dealing here, Marn, with some snivelling tax defaulter. This is a carefully planned criminal enterprise.
MARN: To what end, your Honour?
HADE: To defraud the Company of its rightful revenues by smuggling contraband goods into the Megropolis. I see the magnitude of the offence astounds you.
MARN: Well, it's hard to believe such depths of criminality.
HADE: It exists, Marn. It exists. Despite the screening and the Preparation Centres and the air conditioning, criminal deviants occur in every generation. Enemies of the Company. On old Earth they had a saying. There's one rotten acorn in every barrel. We must find this filth, Marn. Find it and crush it.
MARN: The Company be praised. How should it be done?
HADE: I have a plan.

I'm reminded somewhat of Paul Whitsun-Jones in the Mutants. There the character was nasty and malicious, here it works.

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I'd not seen Richard Leech in anything else until quite recently when I saw him playing Uncle Harry in the 5th episode of Smiley's People. He featured in the BBC production of Paul of Tarsus, alongside Patrick Troughton as Paul, where he played James of Nazareth. I've never seen Jonina Scott, Marn, in anything else.

I saw the cash machine at the end of this episode and thought "isn't 1977 a little early for cash machines?" A little research reveals the first one was used in the UK in 1967! The design for the consumcard owes something to the Barclaycard, then coming into popular use in the UK.

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A couple of notes on the end credits: firstly there's no script editor credited because Robert Holmes is the writer of this story. Holmes apparently wrote this story following a particularly nasty encounter with the taxman! I also see a first visual effects credit for Peter Logan who I believe to be the same Peter Logan who appears with his exploding paste on Braniac Science Abuse

As we previously said the production order for this season was vastly different from the transmission order. Sunmakers was recorded third, after Horror of Fang Rock (broadcast first) and before Image of the Fendahl (broadcast third, before this story). Apparently Sunmakers was due to be broadcast third but someone realised that meant there were two "humans in space" stories on the trot so it was swapped with Image of the Fendahl.

DOCTOR: It's that confounded paint. It's always jamming things up. Stay calm. I'm going to materialise and take a reading.
LEELA: Where are we?
DOCTOR: We're still in the Solar System. Pluto?
LEELA: Pluto?
DOCTOR: Yes, Pluto.
K9: Ninth planet. Was until the discovery of Cassius believed to be the outermost body in the system. It has a diameter of three thousand
Having been to Saturn's moon Titan in Invisible Enemy we now find ourselves on Pluto, but not Pluto as we'd know it and as New Horizons has visited.
DOCTOR: Breathable atmosphere. That's wrong.
LEELA: There are buildings.
DOCTOR: Pluto's a lifeless rock.
More oddities follow:
DOCTOR: I'm interested in this Undercity. Always like to get to the bottom of things.
LEELA: Come on. CORDO: But you don't understand, Citizens. My father looked in once. He said there is no light, nothing. It is not possible to imagine such a thing.
LEELA: You mean it is dark.
CORDO: What is dark?
LEELA: Well, at night, when the sun has gone.
DOCTOR: He means there's no night on this planet, Leela. That's why the concept of darkness frightens him.
LEELA: But that is not possible. Every planet must have a night.
DOCTOR: Not if the sidereal and axial rotation periods are the same, or if there's more than one sun.
CORDO: There are six.
DOCTOR: What, six suns on Pluto?
CORDO: Well, everyone knows that. Each Megropolis was given its own sun.
DOCTOR: In-station fusion satellites. Galileo would have been impressed.
It's quite possible that my earliest memory of Doctor Who, of the Doctor meeting K-9 in a tunnel, comes from this episode.

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The round tunnels with the odd wall structure are part of Camden Town Deep Level Shelter in London. Another Deep Level Shelter, at Goodge Street, serves as the fictional location for the army headquarters in Web Of Fear. Meanwhile The former Wills Tobacco Factory in Bristol provides the building top location seen in this and other episodes.

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I didn't think I'd seen Roy Macready, playing Cordo, in anything else. His CV included the 13th episode of Rentaghost series 7, which I probably saw as a child. I then discovered he played building supervisor android 80H in Luna, a little remembered ITV Children's sit com devised by ex Monkee Micky Dolenz!

I can see plenty of familiar names & faces here we've looked at a few time before: Max Faulkner, a Rebel, was last in The Face of Evil as Tribesman and next plays Nesbin in The Invasion of Time. Peter Roy, listed by IMDB as an Extra, was a guard in The Face of Evil and is next on our screens as a Gallifreyan Guard in The Invasion of Time. Stuart Fell, a Guard, was most recently seen as a Tesh Guard in The Face of Evil and also returns in The Invasion of Time, where he's a Sontaran. James Muir, a Worker, was a Brother in The Masque of Mandragora and isn't in The Invasion of Time either: you need to wait till The Pirate Planet for his next role where he's one of the Technicians on Zanak.

The three returnees from Face of Evil, regulars though they are, might be down to that story's director, Pennant Roberts, also durecting this tale.

Three more extras appear in this episode according to IMDB who we don't see do often: Barbara Bermel is a Rebel in tunnel: she'd been a Villager in Planet of the Spiders, an Android Villager in The Android Invasion, a Masquer in The Masque of Mandragora part four and a member of the Sevateem in The Face of Evil. She'll be back as a Court Lady in The Androids of Tara and a Lazar in Terminus. Elsewhwere she was a Woman in Doomwatch: Flood, a German Woman in Fawlty Towers: The Germans, and a Thulian in Space: 1999: Death's Other Dominion, which also features Adrienne Burgess, who plays Veet.

David Cleeve is An Other, one of the rebels in the tunnel. He'd been a UNIT Soldier in The Time Warrior part one, an Ice Warrior in The Monster of Peladon, a Thal Soldier in Genesis of the Daleks, a Radation Suit Man in The Hand of Fear part and returns as a Deon Guard in Meglos.

Kelly Varney is an Extra, again possibly one of the rebels. He'd been a Spiridon in Planet of the Daleks and an Army Soldier in Invasion of the Dinosaurs. He's in Blake's 7 as a Prisoner in Project Avalon, presum,ably the one who is used as the test subject, and a Native in Horizon. He's in another Terry Nation series too appearing as Tom Walter in Survivors: Bridgehead and as a Technician in Moonbase 3: Castor and Pollux.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

465 Image of the Fendahl: Part Four

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 19 November 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"The Fendahl is death. How do you kill death?"

The Doctor blasts the Fendahleen monster with John Tyler's shotgun filled with rock salt enabling them to escape. Thea is transformed into a glowing gold being. She consumes the cult, turning them into small Fendahleen monsters. The Doctor & Leela free Colby but are unable to save Stael who is beginning to transform but he kills himself with his gun, preventing Thea's complete transformation. The Doctor deactivates the scanner. Mrs Tyler seeks out salt for the Doctor, with Jack loading some into his cartridges. The Doctor tells Colby of how the Time Lords destroyed the fifth planet to kill the Fendahl but it had already travelled to Earth, possibly via Mars, and had effected mankind's evolution. Leela & Jack destroy a Fendahleen that approaches the lab. The Doctor sends Jack & Ma Tyler away. The Doctor has Colby run the scanner for two minutes and leave, having set it to self destruct three minutes later. He & Leela venture into the cellar, armed with salt to protect them from the Fendahleen. They seize the skull, placing it in a radiation proof box, and flee the house, subjected to psychic assault by the Fendahl core. A huge explosion consumes the house, the Fendahl core and the remaining Fendahleen. The Doctor takes the skull and dumps it into a star going supernova.

Huzzah, that was a bit more like it. Things finally get going with a bit of action, some humour between Colby & the Tylers (I can see young Rusty D sitting at home and thinking "oooh, that's a good surname!") and it just worked.

Stael's death, at his own hand to prevent him becoming part of the Fendahl, stuck with me as a child reading the book:

DOCTOR: Come on. Come on. It's too late. You've seen her eyes.
STAEL: The gun.
STAEL: Give me the gun.
DOCTOR: It won't have any effect on her.
STAEL: It's on the altar. It's not for her. It's for me.
DOCTOR: I'm sorry.
STAEL: Thank you.
Stael in many ways brought his death on himself by tampering with forces he did not understand. Thea Ransome on the other hand is very much an innocent victim here:
DOCTOR: What's in the cellar is the Fendahl, the gestalt.
TYLER: The what?
COLBY: A gestalt is a group creature. It's made up of separate parts, but when they join together they make a new and much more powerful creature.
TYLER: He reads a lot, you know.
DOCTOR: Shush. Got it. According to the legends of Gallifrey, and the superstitions of this planet, it's fairly certain that the Fendahl is made up of twelve Fendahleen and a core.
COLBY: Thea.

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DOCTOR: Well, yes, what was Thea. It's no longer Thea no more than. I killed one, and Stael shot himself. There are only ten left.
LEELA: Are you saying the Fendahl is not yet complete?
DOCTOR: Yes, we've still got a chance

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Further explanations follow:

COLBY: Did you say that about twelve million years ago, on a nameless planet which no longer exists, evolution went up a blind alley?
COLBY: Natural selection turned back on itself and a creature evolved which prospered by absorbing the energy wavelengths of life itself?
COLBY: It ate life? All life, including that of its own kind?
DOCTOR: Yes. In other words, the Fendahl. And then the Time Lords decided to destroy the entire planet, and hid the fact from posterity. They're not supposed to do that sort of thing, you know.
COLBY: So when the Time Lords acted, it was too late. The Fendahl had already come here.
DOCTOR: Yes, probably taking in Mars on it's way through.
COLBY: Then it got itself buried, but not killed.
DOCTOR: The Fendahl is death. How do you kill death? No, what happened was this. The energy amassed by the Fendahl was stored in the skull and dissipated slowly as a biological transmutation field. Now, any appropriate lifeform that came within the field was altered so that it ultimately evolved into something suitable for the Fendahl to use.
COLBY: Are you saying that skull created man?
DOCTOR: No, I'm saying it may have effected his evolution.

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DOCTOR: That would explain the dark side of man's nature. But it's just a theory.
COLBY: A pretty wild one.
DOCTOR: It's more fun that way.

DOCTOR: Almost there. Oh, if you want an alternative explanation, the Fendahl fed into the RNA of certain individuals the instincts and compulsions necessary to recreate. These were fed through the generations till they reached Fendelman and people like him.
COLBY: Well, that's possibly more plausible.
DOCTOR: Or on the other hand, it could all be just a coincidence. Finished.

Unfortunately we get another alien race possibly affecting human evolution like the Daemons. Did the Chronovore Kronos, in The Time Monster, do it too? They'll be another along shortly in the form of Scaroth in City of Death!

Remember the countdown provided by the power usage and then abandoned last episode? We get a proper countdown here!

DOCTOR: Perfect. Right, now this is what I want you to do. Give Leela and me time to get down to the cellar, and then switch on the scanner beam. With luck it should confuse things down there long enough for us to grab the skull and get away.
COLBY: Well then what?
DOCTOR: Listen. This is important. Be sure to operate the scanner beam for only two minutes, then switch if off and you go.
COLBY: But why?
DOCTOR: Because I've rigged that to set off a controlled implosion three minutes after you switch off the scanner. We need three minutes to get clear.
COLBY: A big bang?
DOCTOR: Pretty big. Big enough to blow this place to atoms.
LEELA: Then why don't we leave the skull here?
DOCTOR: Oh no, too dangerous. It could pop up anywhere and start the whole thing over again. Come on.
LEELA: Good luck.
DOCTOR: Psst. Remember, three minutes.
And a nice big bang at the end of it too!

I'm trying to work out why I don't like this story so much and I'm pretty certain it's down to the occult trappings involved which just don't sit well with me. In past viewings I just didn't engage with the first three episodes that well. I'm also not 100% sure it was a good idea to remove K-9 just after introducing him, setting a rather bad precedent: Power of Kroll, Destiny of the Daleks, City of Death and the Leisure Hive !!!!!

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Image of the Fendahl is the first Doctor Who directing job for George Spenton-Foster but it's the last script for the series from Chris Boucher who would go on to script edit Blake's 7 and create Star Cops. It's also the last serial script edited by Robert Holmes although the following story The Sunmakers, which was written by Holmes himself, was made before this one. He'll continue to contribute scripts to the show right up until his death in 1986.

Image of the Fendahl was novelised by Terrance Dicks and I have distinct memories buying it on a holiday to Littlehampton when I was younger. It was released on video in March 1993 and on DVD in April 2009.