Sunday, 29 January 2017

444 The Robots of Death: Part One

EPISODE: The Robots of Death: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 January 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Michael Briant
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 12.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations 3: The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Three Doctors & The Robots of Death

"You all know that Chub is dead. One of you killed him!"

On a giant robotic sand miner, crewed by Robots under the supervision of a small group of humans, Commander Uvanov is pursuing a mineral rich storm when it is discovered that one of the crew, the scientist Chubb, has been murdered by being strangled. The Tardis materialises in on of the sand scoops, and the Doctor & Leela are saved from being killed when Uvanov reluctantly aborts the pursuit of the storm to investigate the death. The Doctor & Leela are captured by the robots and locked up but quickly escape. They try to return to the Tardis but are separated with Leela finding Chubb's body being kept in a store room while the Doctor finds a second body in a sand scoop. As he investigates the scoop starts to fill with sand burying him and the body.

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My friend Naomi, she who refuses to watch Planet of the Spiders, once told me that her earliest memory of Doctor Who was the Doctor drowning in baked beans. We're pretty sure she's talking about the end of this episode.

Oh that episode is fabulous. The script is great, dropping in little details to illustrate the society the people are from, their relationships and how they interact with the robots:

CHUB: There was a Vic therapist in Kaldor City, specially programmed, equipped with vibro-digits, subcutaneous stimulators, the lot. You know what happened, Borg? Its first client wanted treatment for a stiff elbow. The Vic therapist felt carefully all round the joint and then suddenly just twisted his arm off at the shoulder. Shumf! All over in two seconds.
BORG: I've never heard that.
CHUB: Kaldor City.
DASK: What was the reason?
CHUB: Reason? It was haywire. I wouldn't let a robot work on me, not for the zelanite in this ship.
BORG: Shut up, Chub. Thank you, V16.
DASK: A Vic class robot has over a million multi-level constrainers in its circuitry. All of them would have to malfunction before it could perform such an action.
TOOS: That's your trouble, Dask. You take all the magic out of life.
CHUB: They go wrong, my friend. It's been known.
DASK: Only when there's an error in programming. Each case on record
CHUB: This was a case. Tore his arm off.
POUL: We're turning. Has anyone noticed?
ZILDA: I heard it was a leg.
Borg doesn't seem to be that popular!
V32: No instrument pack report yet, sir.
UVANOV: Chub. Get after him.
POUL: It's all right, I'll go.
UVANOV: Scientists. How can I run a mine with amateurs.
ZILDA: Chub's all right.
UVANOV: Why? Because he's from one of the founding families?
ZILDA: I didn't mention his family.
UVANOV: One of the Twenty? You know, it's amazing the way you people stick together. No, it's not amazing, it's sickening.
ZILDA: I hope you're watching the traverses, Commander.
UVANOV: Please, don't worry about my job, Zilda. What's she blowing, Toos?
TOOS: The spectrum is muddy. Could be some zelanite, some keefan, traces of lucanol!
UVANOV: Ah, money in the bank. Cheer up, Zilda. I'll make you rich again.
This introduces the concept that some of the people onboard are from a higher social caste than others.
UVANOV: Right, we'll make a start, then.
DASK: Right.
UVANOV: Now, you all know that Chub is dead. One of you killed him.
ZILDA: One of us, surely.
UVANOV: That's what I said.
POUL: You did say one of you.
UVANOV: All right then, one of us killed him. The question is, which one?
TOOS: And why?
UVANOV: Well, this is a two year tour. Maybe Chub was just beginning to get on somebody's nerves.
ZILDA: He was certainly getting on yours.
UVANOV: Yes, but we all know where I was.
BORG: I was on the power deck.
UVANOV: Was Dask with you?
BORG: Yes.
DASK: Not all the time. I went to check the syncro-relays.
BORG: Now look, I had nothing against Chub. Okay, he talked too much but
ZILDA: Anyway, the time Poul heard the scream.
CASS: Ah, ah, says he heard the scream. Let's keep the point open.
POUL: Why should I lie?
UVANOV: Now you interrupted Zilda. Founding Family people never interrupt each other. Isn't that right, Zilda?
POUL: Someone interrupted Chub with both hands.
UVANOV: Please, Poul. We're all waiting for Zilda.
ZILDA: I was simply going to say the scream could have been arranged.
TOOS: How?
ZILDA: A communicator recording.
UVANOV: What would be the point?
ZILDA: To give somebody an alibi, Commander. You sent Poul to look for Chub. You could have arranged it all.
TOOS: You mean the poor man might have been dead when Poul heard the scream?
UVANOV: Nice try, Zilda. Now, does anybody know what this is?
DASK: It's a corpse marker.
DASK: Robot deactivation disc. They use them in the construction centres. If ever we used the stop circuit and turned off all our robots, they'd have to go back to a construction centre for reactivation. On arrival, each would be marked with a disc like that to show it was a deactivated robot. The technicians call them corpse markers. It's a sort of a joke.
POUL: It seems our murderer has a sense of humour.
UVANOV: That was on the back of Chub's hand.
BORG: Not just a murderer, then. Seems like one one of us is a maniac.
CASS: Use your brain, Borg. We would know, wouldn't we?
BORG: But we don't. Do we?
More detail about the Founding Families, more antagonism. An early hint that Borg is possibly responsible as he places the Corpse Marker on Cass.
LEELA: But those creepy mechanical men
DOCTOR: Yes. I have seen a similar sort of thing on Korlano Beta. The mine passes over the surface searching for useful ores. Naturally, the heavier elements tend to sink into the substratas, so a really good sandstorm is a bonus. It stirs things up a bit.
LEELA: Sometimes you talk like a Tesh.
DOCTOR: Thank you.
LEELA: It was not well meant. Are the mechanical men friendly?
DOCTOR: Robots don't have feelings. It's the people they serve we must hope are friendly.
And finally an explanation of why the storm the miner is chasing is important.

The way this episode is shot by returning director Michael Briant looks superb: there's a couple of great shots mixing model work and live action with a CSO insert of the bridge set inside the model sand miner and the Doctor wandering around the sand miner:

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Then there's a lovely aerial shot in the console room, sadly the last appearance of the secondary control room which warped in storage rendering it unusable, and the robot point of view shot as it kills Chubb.

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And we get one of the greatest double entendres in Doctor Who

First we'll find the Tardis and then we'll have a little scout round

The acting is great all round thanks to one of the best Doctor Who guest casts that we'll quickly see whittled down. Several of them we know from Doctor Who or prominent roles elsewhere: Russell Hunter, playing Commander Uvanov is famous for playing Lonely in Callan.

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Toos is played by Pamela Salem who we've just heard as a Xoanon voice in Face of Evil. She'll be back as Professor Rachel Jensen in Remembrance of the Daleks. If you're about my age you may remember her as Belor in Into the Labryinth. She was also Moneypenny in the "unofficial" James Bond film ,Never Say Never Again.

Likewise we also heard Rob Edwards, seen briefly here as Chub, as another Xoanon voice in Face of Evil. I'd not heard of Edwards from elsewhere but I can see an appearance in Gangsters, written by Philip Martin, who wrote Doctor Who's Vengeance on Varos and Trial of a Timelord 5-8L Minwarap, and starring Maurice Colbourne who appears as Lytton in Resurrection of the Daleks and Attack of the Cybermen. I had seen him in By the Sword Divided where he plays the pivotal figure of Protestant John Fletcher who married one of the Catholic Lacey daughters in the opening episode setting up tensions that run through the series. Many Doctor Who luminaries appear in the show and it famously donated one of it's sets to become Davros' command centre in Revelation of the Daleks. More recently he's appeared in The Thick of It as Secretary for Defence Geoff Holhurst alongside Twelth Doctor Peter Capaldi.

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David Collings, as Poul, was previously Vorus in Revenge of the Cybermen and will be Mawdryn in Mawdryn Undead as well as being famous for playing Silver in Sapphire & Steel. He was also Legolas in Radio 4's Lord of the Rings and is in the final Blake's 7 episode, Blake, as Deva.

David Bailie, who plays Dask here, was in Blake's 7 too appearing in Project Avalon as Chevney.

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Brian Crouches, as Borg, is the second Travis in the second season of Blake's 7 which means next week it's time for another look at Doctor Who Cast & Crew in Blake's 7 this time, rather fortunately, looking at season 2. You can hear Brian Crouches interviewed in Toby Hadoke's Who's Round #83.

Rounding out the humanoid crew we have two actors without any other major Doctor Who or Sci Fi connections. Cass is played by Tariq Yunus who also was in Gangsters appearing in the first six episodes. I can see a The Professionals on his CB where he's Georgio in Blind Run and a Minder appearance as Chris in Back in Good Old England.

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Curiously Tania Rogers, who plays Zilda, also has both series on her CV appearing in Minder as Ruth Reynolds in Don't Tell Them Willie Boy Was Here and as a girl in The Professionals Fugitive.

Finally appearing as the corpse, who apparently is Kerril who we never see alive, is extra Peter Sax who's got nothing else on his IMDB CV!

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What's that I can see sitting on those two consoles at the rear of the bridge? Answer next week!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

443 The Face of Evil: Part Four

EPISODE: The Face of Evil: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 January 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil

"Destroy and be free! Destroy and be free!"

The Tesh & the Sevateem battle as the Doctor confronts Xoanon. He tries to compare the computer but Xoanon triggers a countdown to an atomic explosion. The Doctor is opposed by Tesh & Sevateem that have fallen under Xoanon's control but when Neeva is killed fighting off Xoanon's monsters he interrupts Xoanon's control allowing the Doctor to complete his work causing Xoanon's circuits to explode. Coming round two days later he speaks with the repaired Xoanon who is now trying to work with the united Sevateem & Tesh. The Doctor leaves to depart in the Tardis but discovers he has some company....

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LEELA: Doctor?
DOCTOR: Leela. What are you doing here?
LEELA: I thought you might need an escort. The creatures are still out here. DOCTOR: You don't need that, Leela. The phantoms were merely projections of Xoanon's disturbed subconscious. He's better now.
LEELA: I suppose you're always right about everything.
DOCTOR: Invariably. Invariably. Goodbye.
LEELA: Take me with you.
LEELA: What? Well. You like me, don't you?
DOCTOR: Well, yes, I suppose I do like you. But then, I like lots of people but I can't go carting them around the universe with me. Goodbye.
DOCTOR: Come out of there. Out. Come out! Don't touch that! Don't touch
Last time I saw this I couldn't care by this point, but it's worked a bit better this time. Not much mind. There's some great ideas here in this story but the execution is horrible with some truly dreadful comics and a rather rushed confusion which is pulling new things, like how the Doctor wipes his memory print and Xoanon's attempt to destroy them all, out of nowhere.

There's been a hint in a previous episode that the two separate tribes, the Sevateem and Tesh is all some massive experiment.

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LEELA: Why did you do all that?
XOANON: Could you be more specific?
LEELA: Keep us ignorant and afraid. Make us hate one another.
XOANON: I created a world in my own image. I made your people act out my torment. I made my madness reality.
DOCTOR: But you told yourself you were breeding a race of superhumans.
XOANON: Independence, strength, boldness and courage in one tribe. Self-denial, control, telepathy in the other.
DOCTOR: Hostility and conflict to speed up the process until you were ready to select the best of both.
LEELA: It's horrible.
DOCTOR: Yes, it is horrible. Isn't it horrible?
XOANON: But it's over now. We are all free, thanks to you, Doctor.
Still leaves a slightly bad taste in the mouth especially given the description in episode 3:
DOCTOR: Ah. Well, it has a sort of logic. Outside the barrier, physical courage and strength, inside the barrier, paraphysical achievement and the sort of psi power you used against Leela. It's an experiment in eugenics.

Given the team's recent encounter with Mary Whitehorse and the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association you can understand why the title was changed from the original "The Day God Went Mad".

We get yet another Xoanon voice in this episode from Roy Herrick who was Jean in The Reign of Terror and will shortly be Parsons in The Invisible Enemy.

No I'm afraid that Face of Evil is, in my book, the worst fourth Doctor story yet. Fortunately there's far better stuff just round the corner.

Face of Evil was novelised by Terrance Dicks and released on video in 1999. It was released on DVD on March 5th 2012.

Face of Evil was slightly surprisingly repeated on BBC4 on the 27th & 28th December 2015. The channel schedulers had wanted an original Doctor Who story screened over the festive period, presumably with the caveat that it needed to be a four parter, and got this which started on New Year's Day 1977. Face of Evil getting a BBC repeat produces a nice little statistical oddity in that it gives us out longest run of DW episodes repeated on the BBC from Hand of Fear (BBC4, 2011) through Deadly Assassin (BBC 1, 1977) to Robots of Death (BBC1, 1977) a run of 16 episodes beating the 14 from Kinda to Earthshock (BBC1, early 80s). The record for most repeated episodes in a season still stands at 20, from various reshowings of everything bar Frontier in Space in Season 10.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

442 The Face of Evil: Part Three

EPISODE: The Face of Evil: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 15 January 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil

"Who are you? Who are you? Who are you?"

Venturing through the mouth the Doctor & Leela find a spaceship and meet it's occupants the Tesh. The Tesh & the Sevateem are descendants of the original crew: The Tesh from the technicians that stayed with the ship and the Sevateem from the survey team that went to survey the planet. Xoanon is the ship's computer repaired long ago by the Doctor but now suffering from a split personality. It has been conducting a eugenics experiment using the Sevateem & Tesh and has now sent the monsters to kill the Sevateem. Using the communications equipment to speak to the high priest Neeva the Doctor summons the Sevateem through the mouth of the stone face. The Doctor goes to confront Xoanon but is mentally assaulted by the computer forced to the floor as it bellows "who am I?"

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That's one big information dump trying to explain what's going on, most of it achieved through the Doctor's dialogue with Leela:

DOCTOR: I remember now. The Mordee expedition. And I thought I was helping them.
LEELA: Doctor, what are you doing? Will you please help me find this Tesh?
DOCTOR: Tesh? How did you know it was a Tesh? Have you ever seen a Tesh?
LEELA: Well, the skin was loose and shiny, as we're told, and it had two heads, one inside the other.
DOCTOR: That was a protective suit and helmet. Must be another environment through there.
DOCTOR: Another shrine. Seems the Tesh are as ignorant of their origins as your people are.
LEELA: What are their origins?
DOCTOR: How does the litany go? That bit about Paradise. Leela, you said you knew it. You said you were taught it as children.
LEELA: I do, I do. Wait a minute. The Sevateem were sent forth by God
DOCTOR: Slowly, slowly.
LEELA: The Sevateem were sent forth by God to seek Paradise. The Tesh remained at the place of land.
DOCTOR: Yes, exactly. That means the Sevateem explored the planet, while the Tesh remained to work in the ship in the place where it landed. Here.
LEELA: We're the same people?
DOCTOR: Yes, the Sevateem were the survey teams and the Tesh were the technicians. You're all human beings from this colony ship.
LEELA: So what happened? Doctor, what happened?
DOCTOR: I'm rather afraid I did. I misunderstood what Xoanon was.
LEELA: Xoanon? You mean
DOCTOR: At the time, I didn't think he was a being at all. These terminals are dead.
LEELA: What did you think he was?
LEELA: Doctor, what is Xoanon?
DOCTOR: A machine that's become a living creature. An old mission computer with schizophrenia. Not a very pretty thought, is it. Not my fault.
LEELA: How is it your fault?
DOCTOR: When I was here before, I programmed Xoanon for the Mordee. Unfortunately I forgot to wipe my personality print from the data core. Or did I really forget? I forget if I forgot.
LEELA: You're not making yourself very clear, Doctor.
DOCTOR: It may have been my own egotism. Anyway, now it has a split personality and half of it is mine. Is that clear?
The concepts are good but the execution, especially those appalling Tesh uniforms and make-up, lets it down.

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path5 We get a much clearer look at the Spacesuit we saw the tattered remains of in previous episodes here and sure enough, yes that is what I thought it was!

They first appeared in the 1960 BBC serial Pathfinders in Space where you can see they have an air hose attached to the bottom of the helmet:
They then return as the delegate probably called Beaus in Mission to the Unknown & The Dalek Masteplan. Beaus' hose is now attached to the middle of his faceplate.

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When the hose is removed that leaves a hole that's easy to spot when they then crop up in consecutive Pertwee stories as various spacesuit helmets in Frontier in Space and Planet of the Daleks. Somewhat amusingly the spacesuit the helmet is paired with there, which originally appeared with a different helmet in Ambassadors of Death, will pop up later in this story!

Note the two holes under the helmet from the original Pathfinders air hoses on the photo bellow:

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vlcsnap-2015-04-29-10h20m52s39 These holes can clearly be seen on the Android Invasion version. It appeared then that the faceplate with the hole has been removed and replaced with a new differently shaped faceplate that doesn't quite cover the front of the helmet necessitating the insertion of some silver gauze at the bottom!

However the Tesh spacesuit above clearly has the hole for Beaus' hose which suggests that this is the Beaus helmet which was not recycled for Android Invasion and the ones in that story are refitted versions of the original Pathfinders helmets, not previously reused in Doctor Who!

Two of the Xoanon voices are provided by actors from the next story:Rob Edwards and Pamela Salem are both in Robots of Death as Chubb & Toos respectively with Salem returning as Professor Rachel Jensen in Remembrance of the Daleks. A third voice is provided by Tom Baker and the fourth by Anthony Frieze, the winner of a competition to visit the Doctor Who studios.

Playing the Tesh captain Jabel is Leon Eagles. I can see Chocky's Challenge, written by future Doctor who script editorAnthony Read on his cv.

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I recognise Stuart Fell as the Tesh Guard who Leela throws: He's been a regular stuntman on the show for many years. Somewhere in this serial as a guard, which could be a Sevateem tribesman or tesh, is another of the regular stunt team Terry Walsh who frequently doubled for Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. Listed as a Tesh is Timothy Craven, formerly a Cell Guard in Frontier in Space episode two, Robinson in Invasion of the Dinosaurs part six and Short in Robot part two.

So when did the Doctor first come to the planet? A question that has exercised many fans' minds over the years. Some suggest a trip soon after his regeneration during Robot. I'm not sure that quite works, I can't see a suitable point for it to have happened.

A better scenario would be (see Pyramids of Mars 3) for the Doctor to have dropped Sarah off in 1975 at the end of Planet of Evil, had some adventures including his earlier visit here, and then picked her up again in 1980 thus fixing the UNIT Dating problems in one swoop as well as creating a space for him to visit the Mordee expedition. This is my personal favourite theory for what happened.

A third option involves adventures between Deadly Assassin and here. This idea has some appeal to me: not only does The Doctor leave Galifrey alone but he arrives here alone: who knows how long he'd been travelling for by himself? Centuries even. From this point on the Doctor doesn't refer to UNIT and recently seen events, from our point of view, so much so it's plausible that a large amount of time may have passed for him. The show taking a break between these two stories as well makes it all the more tempting to imagine that all sorts of things may have happened between them that we don't see.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

441 The Face of Evil: Part Two

EPISODE: The Face of Evil: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 08 January 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 11.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil

"If he can be killed, then he is not the Evil One, because the Evil One is a god!"

The Doctor & Leela return to the village where he discovers that the tribe's holy relics are remnants of a survey expedition and that a transceiver allows the high priest Neeva to speak directly to their god Xoanon. Xoanon speaks to them using the Doctor's own voice. The Doctor is captured by the tribe but after surviving their endurance test is freed. As the Doctor & Leela journey to the stone Doctor's face, climbing through it's mouth, Xoanon sends monsters to attack the tribe.

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Another flat episode I'm afraid.

DOCTOR: I like the hat. Very fetching.
LEELA: That was the Hand of Xoanon.
DOCTOR: That was an armoured space glove, or what was left of one.
And I'm sorry that cricket glove on Neeva's helmet is just silly. By comparison to that the Spacesuit helmet is positively sane!

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But they, like what's revealed to be medical equipment in Neeva's room, are hints as to the Tribe's origin:

DOCTOR: You know, we're very lucky they carried these things. Let's hope we can profit from the misfortunes of those travellers.
LEELA: I don't understand.
DOCTOR: I mean the planetary survey teams. That's where your tribe got its name from. Sevateem, survey team. The question is, were you here before them?
CALEB: Are we their captors or their children?
DOCTOR: You catch on quickly. Certainly they never returned to base.
The Doctor uses the word "Flapdoodle" during this episode: No Tom's not making words up to embroider the script, it's a Victorian expression meaning rubbish, foolish talk or nonsense.
DOCTOR: So that's a Horda. Well, it doesn't look to formidable. What do I do, fight it or eat it?
CALEB: They'll strike at anything that moves, except each other. Ten of these can strip the flesh from a man's arm almost before he can cry out.
DOCTOR: I take it there are more than ten in there.
ANDOR: The pit is full of them.
The Horda don't look too bad but they do make me think of an organic Cybermat!

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Playing the Sevateem's priest, Neeva, is David Garfield who was previously Von Weich in The War Games. He looks nothing like his earlier roll here, save for the bald head, resembling more the present day comedian Andy Parsons. Before he appeared in Doctor Who he was in The Prisoner's first episode Arrival as a Hospital Attendant.

The actor playing Calib, one of the Sevateem, was also in the the War Games: in that story Leslie Schofield played Leroy, an American Civil War Soldier. Schofield is probably best known for playing Chief Bast, the imperial officer in Star Wars who recommends the evacuation of the Death Star. His most famous role in a long television career is probably as Jeff Healey in Eastenders from 1997-2000. His time on the show overlapped with Louise Jameson's and they departed the series in the same episode on 3rd August 2000. His credits prior to Doctor Who include the surviving Out of the Unknown fourth seasons story Deathday where he plays Det. Sgt. Roberts. This story was adapted by Doctor Who's Brian Hayles, the creator of the Ice Warriors and can be found on the DVD set. He'd been in Doomwatch: Say Knife, Fat Man as Harry, which is a missing episode of that series, and The Sweeney: Country Boy as Ian Ross. Following this story he becomes the third member of this story's cast to appear in Blake's 7: Space Fall where he plays Sub-Commander Raiker.

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I think the tribesman on the right is Brett Forrest, given that he's credited and the Tribesman has dialogue. He too was in Blake's 7: Space Fall where he played Krell. Sure enough Space Fall is directed by this story's Pennant Roberts and he's reusing actors he's familiar with from here.

Onto the group shot photo bellow: I'm pretty sure that's Max Faulkner as a tribesman (IMDB says Guard) to the left of this photo. He'd previously been a UNIT Soldier in The Ambassadors of Death, an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks, a Miner in The Monster of Peladon, the Second Guard Captain in Planet of the Spiders, a Thal Guard in Genesis of the Daleks, a Crew Member in Planet of Evil and was last seen as Corporal Adam in Android Invasion. He'll be back as a Rebel in The Sun Makers and Nesbin in The Invasion of Time.

To the right of the same photo is Peter Roy, previously a Greek Soldier in The Myth Makers, an Extra (soldier?) in The Highlanders episode 1, an Airport Police Sergeant in The Faceless Ones episode 1, a UNIT / Bunker Man in The Invasion episode 1, a Guard in The Seeds of Death episode one, a Space Guard in The Space Pirates episode 1, an uncredited extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 6, Technic Obarl in The Hand of Fear part one, a Guard in The Face of Evil part one, an Extra in The Sun Makers part one, a Gallifreyan Guard in The Invasion of Time part one, a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara part one, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor part one, a Policeman in Logopolis part one, an Ambulance Man in Castrovalva part one, a Man in Market in Snakedance part one and a Walk on in Resurrection of the Daleks part one, He's got two Doomwatch to his name as a man in Project Sahara and Flood, and a number of Blake's 7 as a Citizen / Prisoner in The Way Back, a Prisoner in Space Fall, an Alta Guard in Redemption, an Albian Rebel in Countdown and a Federation Trooper / Rebel in Rumours of Death plus an appearance as the Limousine Chauffeur in the second TV episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Like Leslie Schofield, he too has a Star Wars role appearing in Return of the Jedi playing Major Olander Brit.

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I'm pretty sure that's Mike Mungarvan as a Guard/Tribesman on the right having compared the photo to others online. He'd been a Mutt in The Mutants and would return as an Outsider/Outcast Time Lord in The Invasion of Time, a Druid in The Stones of Blood, a Dalek Operator in Destiny of the Daleks, a Plain Clothes Detective in Louvre in City of Death, an Arglin / Pangol Image in The Leisure Hive, a Citizen in Full Circle, Kilroy in Warriors' Gate, a Kinda Hostage in Kinda, Ranulf's Knight in The King's Demons, a Soldier in Resurrection of the Daleks, a Jacondan in The Twin Dilemma, an Extra and Duty Officer in The Trial of a Time Lord, a Lakertyan / Tetrap / Genius in Time and the Rani and a Poilceman in Silver Nemesis. He's been in Blake's 7 too as a Prisoner in The Way Back and Space Fall, the fifth cast member of this story to appear there, an Alta Guard in Redemption, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Helot in Traitor and a Rebel Technician / Federation Trooper in Blake, making him one of the, if I recall correctly, four actors to appear in both the first and last episodes of the series.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

440 The Face of Evil: Part One

EPISODE: The Face of Evil: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 01 January 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Pennant Roberts
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 10.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil

" There are phantoms in the beyond."

The Doctor arrives on a planet and meets Leela, a female savage who has been cast out by her tribe for blasphemy against their God Xoanon. She identifies the Doctor as "The Evil One". The Doctor is found by the tribe and taken captive to their village but freed by Leela. She takes the Doctor to a nearby mountainside and shows him his own face carved there.

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Hmmm. Tom's on fine form throughout this episode but somehow it's not setting my world on fire. And I don't know why. Like Masque of Mandragora something is not there, something is missing. The head at the end is a nice striking image, obviously inspired by Mount Rushmore. My mind keeps wanting to link this story to the similarly named Planet of Evil from the previous season but there's very little connection between them at all bar a studio bound space jungle set and that they are, unfortunately, my two least favourite stories from Tom Baker's first three years.

Right through the episode we get the hint that there's more going on here than meets the eye, with lots of high technology littering the Sevateem camp, including the throne that Andor, played by Victor Lucas, is sitting on.

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The Doctor passes comment on it:

DOCTOR: Andor, please listen to me. I am not the Evil One. I am a traveller, that's all. Your tribe has obviously been visited by travellers before.
ANDOR: Before? But that is impossible.
DOCTOR: They're space travellers, Andor. Men from another world. The whole place is littered with their equipment, their weapons and tools. Your legend of a captive god is obviously related to them in some way.
He then recognises the gesture Lugo makes at him when he's captured:
DOCTOR: That gesture you did. Yes, that's the one. It's presumably to ward off evil. It's interesting because it's also the sequence for checking the seals on a Starfall Seven spacesuit. And what makes that particularly interesting is that you don't know what a Starfall Seven spacesuit is, do you.
With hind sight the biggest clue here is provided by the sheet of metal being used as a gong:

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But what really caught my eye was that ridiculous helmet on Neeva's back. I think that's a Pathfinders spacesuit helmet previously seen in Dalek Masterplan on Beaus, Frontier in Space on the Doctor, Planet of the Daleks on a dead Thal and most recently in Android Invasion where it formed the head of the Android!

DOCTOR: Hello. Hello, did I startle you? Don't be afraid. I won't hurt you.
LEELA: The Evil One.
DOCTOR: Well, nobody's perfect, but that's overstating it a little. I'm the Doctor. What's your name?
LEELA: Leela.
DOCTOR: Leela. A nice name, Leela. I never met anyone called Leela. Would you like a jelly baby?
LEELA: It's true, then. They say the Evil One eats babies.
DOCTOR: You mustn't believe all they say. No, these are sweets. They're rather good. Go on, have one
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We get a few firsts in this episode though: Most obviously it's the introduction of Leela, who'll be the Doctor's new companion, as played by Louise Jameson. It's a role that would really launch a successful television career including Tenko, Bergerac & Eastenders from 1998-2000 as Rosa Di Marco.

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The Doctor seems to take an instant liking to Leela and even if you haven't seen the story or any of it's successors before your "new companion alert" should be flashing. There is something he dislikes about her and that's her use of Janis thorns to paralyse and kill people. He puts a stop to that at once!

DOCTOR: That wasn't necessary. Who licensed you to slaughter people? No more Janis thorns, you understand? Ever.
A little tip of the hat to james Bond there? It's the début for writer Chris Boucher who was obviously a big hit with the production team becoming only the second writer to write two consecutive stories, after Ian Stuart Black wrote the Savages & the War Machines in 1966. In fact he writes three of the next six stories before being stolen away to serve as Blake's 7's Script Editor.

It's also a début for director Pennant Roberts who would go on to work on Blake's 7 too. Pennant Roberts has some of Doctor Who's all time greatest turkeys to his name as we shall see. But there's also Pirate Planet and I can forgive anything for that.

Onto the cast: Leela's father Sole is, briefly, played by Colin Thomas. He'd previously been an uncredited UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians episode 3 and would return as Station Policeman in The Talons of Weng-Chiang part one, a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, a Foster in The Keeper of Traken, a Time Lord in Arc of Infinity, an Elder in Planet of Fire and a Pallbearer in Remembrance of the Daleks.

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Brendan Price plays tribesman Tomas who tries to assist Leela. He'd been in The Sweeney as Ian Pinder in On the Run and had done a Space: 1999, Catacombs of the Moon, where he played a Security Guard.

Oddly enough Lloyd McGuire, who plays Lugo, was in the same Space 1999 episode as the First Engineer. He's previously been in Terry Nation's Survivors where he played George in the two part Lights of London.

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And yes that is our mate supporting artist Harry Fielder playing the warrior who gets shot with the crossbow - see his website for pictures and an amusing anecdote which he retells on the DVD commentary. Harry had previously been a Central European Guard in The Enemy of the World, a Wheel Crew member in The Wheel in Space, a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen, a Guard in The Seeds of Doom where he actually got a credit in part 4 and a Guard in The Deadly Assassin part one. He'll be back as a Titan Base Crewman in The Invisible Enemy part one, a Levithian Guard in The Ribos Operation, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor part two, a Tigellan in Meglos and a Security Guard in Castrovalva part one. His Blake's 7s include 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 and Blake. In Space 1999 he's a Medic in The AB Chrysalis, Security Guard in Catacombs of the Moon, Gerry in The Beta Cloud, a Command Centre Technician in The Lambda Factor, Security Guard George in The Seance Spectre, a Survey Team Member in The Immunity Syndrome and a Medic in The Dorcons. In a long career he's been in absolutely everything!.

One of the guards here is Tom Kelly who'll return as a Guard in The Sun Makers and a Vardan in The Invasion of Time. He's also in Blake's 7 as the ill fated Nova in Space Fall and plays the Soldier/Sam Pearce in Sapphire & Steel story 2: The Railway Station. You can hear him interviewed in Toby Hadoke's Who's Round #158.

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Andy Dempsey is another Sevateem tribesman. IMDB has him down as Lugo's Warrior but the only point I can find him he's with Calib. He's been in The Time Monster as an Atlantean Guard and would appear in Blake's 7 as a Hooded Figure in Cygnus Alpha and then as a Federation Trooper in Bounty. He has a recurring role in Space 1999's first season as a Main Mission Operative appearing in Force of Life, Collision Course, War Games, Death's Other Dominion, Voyager's Return, Alpha Child, Dragon's Domain, Mission of the Darians, Black Sun, Guardian of Piri, End of Eternity, Matter of Life and Death, Earthbound, The Full Circle, Another Time, Another Place, The Last Sunset, The Infernal Machine, Ring Around the Moon, Missing Link, Space Brain, The Troubled Spirit, The Testament of Arkadia and the Last Enemy which think is every episode bar the first, Breakaway!

I can't find Barbara Bermel, another Sevateem, in this episode but she's been a Villager in Planet of the Spiders, an Android Villager in The Android Invasion and a Masquer in The Masque of Mandragora. She's later a Rebel in tunnel in The Sun Makers, a Court Lady in The Androids of Tara and a Lazar in Terminus. Her Space 1999 is as a Thulian in Death's Other Dominion!

Another actor I can't spot is Peter Dean, playing a Tribe Member. He goes on to be Pete Beale in Eastenders.