Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Sunday, 5 February 2017

445 The Robots of Death: Part Two

EPISODE: The Robots of Death: Part Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 445
STORY NUMBER: 090
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 05 February 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Michael Briant
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 12.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations 3: The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Three Doctors & The Robots of Death

"That's your great theory, is it? Well, my friend, robots cannot kill. Their prime directive!"

The Doctor survives by using a blowpipe to breathe and is rescued & captured by supervisor SV7 who identifies the body as Kerril. Leela works her way back to the room they were captured in where she finds Cass' body and is grabbed by a black robot, D84, who interrogates her before turning her over to Commander Uvanov who tells her that D class Dum robots can't speak. Both are taken to the crew room while the crew argue. Few of them even begin to believe the Doctor's story. A robot is instructed by an unseen human to kill Zilda as the Doctor & Leela are imprisoned in the robot storage bay. Poul visits them, but Leela is wary because "he moves like a hunter". The Doctor tells Poul he believes a robot could have killed them in violation of the robotic laws. He frees them to assist him and they re-enact Chub's murder with Poul realising he would need to summon a robot to help him with his task. Zilda breaks into Uvanov's quarters and is distressed by documents she finds, accusing Uvanov of murder. When Poul arrives he finds Uvanov standing over Zilda's dead body. Poul assumes Uvanov killed her and has him confined to quarters, with Toos taking command. The Sandminer's motors jam & overload causing it to rock violently. The Doctor & Leela come to the bridge as Dask reports to Toos that Borg is dead. Toos orders the motors shut down but the robots are unable to comply as the readings head way over the safety margins pushing the Sandminer closer towards exploding.

Another cracking episode! Starts as a murder mystery and then goes disaster movie towards the end!

The crew automatically see the new arrivals as to blame.....

LEELA: Are you all right?
DOCTOR: I'm fine.
UVANOV: Cass is dead.
LEELA: That one's ready to kill. I had to restrain him.
DOCTOR: Shush. It's because they're frightened. That's why they're dangerous.
BORG: She murdered him, didn't she.
POUL: How do you know he was murdered?
BORG: It's obvious.
ZILDA: You marked Cass for death.
BORG: What are you talking about?
POUL: You did put a corpse marker on him.
BORG: Well, yes, but I didn't mean anything by it.
DASK: Was Cass the same as the others?
UVANOV: Yes, exactly the same. And who are you?
DOCTOR: I'm the Doctor. I assume you're in command here.
UVANOV: Yes. What are you doing here?
DOCTOR: Just standing here talking to you.
UVANOV: I should be very careful if I were you.
DOCTOR: No doubt you would.
UVANOV: What are you doing on this mine?
DOCTOR: Well, we're travellers. We came here by accident.
UVANOV: Oh, I see. A hundred million miles of uncharted desert and you just stumbled across us?
DOCTOR: Well, it's a small world.
UVANOV: Yes. I suppose it's also a coincidence that as soon as you two arrive, three of our people are killed? Well?
DOCTOR: Oh sorry, I thought it was a rhetorical question. Yes, it's just a coincidence.
But to be fair Uvanov isn't the first person to be suspicious of the Doctor arriving unexpectedly!
BORG: Why are we wasting time on them? We know they're guilty.
ZILDA: We don't know anything of the sort.
POUL: We just hope they're guilty.
BORG: He was hiding Kerril's body in that hopper and got trapped when it was turned on. Now that's a fact.
DOCTOR: No, that's an inference. I wasn't hiding that body, I was finding it, and I'd say it was put there for precisely that reason. Someone wanted to kill me, too.
ZILDA: The murderer?
POUL: No. The others were strangled. Why should he be any different?
DOCTOR: To put suspicion onto me.
POUL: Why bother? You're a stowaway. What could be more suspicious than a stowaway?
DOCTOR: A dead stowaway.
ZILDA: It's possible, you know. He could be telling the truth.
TOOS: As a lie, it's pretty feeble.
UVANOV: Ever hear of the double bluff?
DOCTOR: Well, yes, now you come to mention it, I do remember once
UVANOV: Lock them up in the storage bank. Put a guard on them.
BORG: I agree with the Commander.
ZILDA: Well it gets you out of an awkward situation, doesn't it?
BORG: Why don't you shut your mouth.
TOOS: Why don't you shut yours.
BORG: What? She's as good as accusing me of murdering my friends.
ZILDA: You never had any friends.
UVANOV: Have you quite finished? Look, either one of us murdered them or they did. Which do you think is the more likely?
DOCTOR: Er, ahem. There is one other possibility you seem to have overlooked.
BORG: We've heard quite enough out of you.
DOCTOR: You know, you're a classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain.
BORG: Stinking murderer!
Their case isn't helped by Leela being discovered with a Dead Body.
LEELA: Doctor, you were right. There was a body. Two of the robots, they took it to a special place.
D84: Please do not cry out. It is important that I am not found here.
LEELA: Obviously.
D84: If I had killed him, would I not have killed you too?
LEELA: You still haven't explained what you're doing here.
D84: You have not explained what you were doing here.
LEELA: Oh, well I was looking for the Doc. I don't have to explain anything to you. You're just a mechanical man. You're not real.
D84: Do you know what this is?
LEELA: No.
D84: I must ask. I must ask that you tell no one about me.
LEELA: Is there anyone left alive to tell?
It's at this point Uvanov walks is and Leela proceeds to further undermine their story:
UVANOV: Oh, so we've caught one..... But not soon enough, though.
LEELA: I didn't kill him. Ask this thing.
UVANOV: You'll have to do better than that. Who are you?
LEELA: Leela. Who are you?
UVANOV: Why did you kill him?
LEELA: You try that again and I'll cripple you.
UVANOV: Why did you kill him?
LEELA: I didn't! Tell him.
UVANOV: That is a single function labour robot, D class. D for dumb. It can't speak.
LEELA: Has anyone told him that?
UVANOV: You have cost me and company a great deal of money and you have killed three people. Can you think of any good reason why I should not have you executed on the spot?
LEELA: No, but you can, otherwise you'd have done it.
UVANOV: Now don't get clever with me.
Now we know D84 can speak so there's obviously more to that robot that meets the eye. At this point Poul enters but I'd like to suggest he's been in earshot for a bit and heard some of that conversation.
POUL: We've caught the man, too. Seems he killed Kerril. Poor Cass. You must be stronger than you look. LEELA: You must be stupider than you look if you think I did that.
UVANOV: Where is this man?
POUL: They're taking him to the crew room now.
UVANOV: Well, come on, then.
POUL: Why do you use these? Robot deactivation discs. There was one on Kerril, too.
UVANOV: You fool! What did you have to tell her that for?
POUL: I assumed she knew.
UVANOV: If we could have got her to tell us what those corpse markers were, we'd be halfway to a confession.
POUL: Halfway to two confessions. Dask knew what they were.
UVANOV: Which rather rules him out. He would hardly have admitted it if he was responsible.
POUL: Have you never heard of the double bluff?
UVANOV: You seem very keen to spread suspicion, Poul. Could it be that you have got something to hide?
POUL: We've all got something to hide. Don't you think so, Commander?
UVANOV: Bring that!
LEELA: I didn't kill him. I didn't kill him!
POUL: No. Pity, but no.
Later events would suggest that maybe Poul overheard Leela claiming that D84 could speak which then lends weight to her arguments. We know Leela is a warrior and quite capable of killing Cass, a slightly overweight middle age man.

The Doctor's argument and this encounter with Leela sway Poul towards talking to the prisoners:

POUL: I'd like to help you.
DOCTOR: You could undo these clamps.
POUL: You said there was a possibility that we had overlooked. What is it?
LEELA: Be careful of him, Doctor. He's not what he seems.
POUL: Why do you say that?
LEELA: Well, you move like a hunter. Watch all the time.
DOCTOR: Are you a hunter, Poul?
POUL: Never mind about me. What matters to you is Commander Uvanov. I know him, and I know it's only a matter of time before he decides that it's a waste of food, water and labour keeping you alive.
DOCTOR: That concerns you?
POUL: I don't think you did it. I know she couldn't have strangled Cass, not without knocking him out first, and there's no sign of that. So tell me what you know and I'll try to help you.
DOCTOR: Well (cough) Thank you. One of your robots could have done it.
POUL: That's your great theory, is it? Well, my friend, robots cannot kill. Their prime directive.
DOCTOR: I know, I know, I know. It's the first programme that's laid into any robot's brain from the simplest Dumb to the most complex Super Vic. But suppose, suppose someone's found a way of bypassing it.
POUL: It's impossible. It's just impossible!
DOCTOR: Bumble-bees.
POUL: What?
DOCTOR: Terra insects. Aerodynamically impossible for them to fly, but they do it. I'm rather fond of bumble-bees. Come on. There's something I want to look at.
So we return to the scene of the crime:
POUL: The first murder happened here.
DOCTOR: Tell us about it. What was his name?
POUL: His name was Chub, a government meteorologist. I don't know much about him, he wasn't part of the team, just along to study the storms.
DOCTOR: Who found him?
POUL: I did. I heard him scream. I came looking. It was odd, that, because he was strangled like the others.
DOCTOR: So whoever killed him was strong. Too strong for him to resist.
LEELA: He could have been taken by surprise.
POUL: He had time to scream.
DOCTOR: What do you think he was doing here?
POUL: Oh, we were on a run up to a storm. He came to get an instrument package to send up in one of his weather balloons.
DOCTOR: Where was he found?
POUL: He was lying there.
DOCTOR: Is that one of his packages?
POUL: I think so. Yes, yes it is.
DOCTOR: Good. Imagine you're Chub. There's a storm coming up. Pass me one of those packages.
(Poul reaches for the box, but it won't move.)
POUL: It seems to be stuck. It must be jammed at the back.
DOCTOR: Come on, come on. In those circumstances you're in a hurry. What would you do?
POUL: Well, I'd call. I'd call for a robot.
The consequences of this are huge:
DOCTOR: What did you call those robots?
LEELA: Creepy mechanical men.
DOCTOR: Yes. You know, people never really lose that feeling of unease with robots. The more of them there are, the greater the unease and of course the greater the dependence. It's a vicious circle. People can neither live with them nor exist without them.
LEELA: So what happens if the strangler is a robot?
DOCTOR: Oh, I should think it's the end of this civilisation.
Meanwhile there's more personal rivalry brewing on board.
UVANOV: There are fewer of us now. We'll each get a larger share, if that's any consolation.
ZILDA: No, Commander, that isn't any consolation.
UVANOV: Tell me, Zilda. Why do you hate me?
ZILDA: You flatter yourself.
UVANOV: Well, let me tell you something. By the time this trip is over, I'll have more money than you or your fancy family ever dreamed of.
ZILDA: May I go now, Commander?
Unfortunately just as Zilda makes a discovery which may explain their enmity she leaves us too:
ZILDA: You did it, Uvanov.
UVANOV: Zilda, is that you?
ZILDA: You thought you'd get away with it, didn't you.
UVANOV: What are you doing in my quarters?
ZILDA: You filthy murderer!
UVANOV: Toos, take over.
ZILDA: You filthy, disgusting man and animal.
TOOS: Uvanov's on his way down. What's wrong, Zilda?
ZILDA: Ah!
TOOS: Zilda?
DASK: The killings. They've affected her mind.
TOOS: No, she's found something out.
To paraphrase The Mary Whitehorse Experience: "Dead, Dead, Dead, Chub died first." They're dropping like flies in this story the order being Chub, Kerril, who we never saw alive, Cass, Zilda & Borg. It's a shame cos Borg was my lead suspect from part one! As far as we know there's just Uvanov, Poul, Toos & Dask left alive so, unless there's someone else on the sand miner we've not seen yet, one of them must be responsible for ordering the robots to kill. Which one is it? Effectively it's Doctor Who's version of a murder mystery, with Ten Little Indians/And Then There Were None frequently sighted as an influence. The clues are there, with a big hint being given when we see the trousers of whoever is dispensing the Corpse Markers.

vlcsnap-clue vlcsnap-group

Now is there anyone dressed like that on board?

But beyond that Poul's got a secret, Uvanov's got a secret which involves Cass & somebody dying and D84 is trying to his that he can actually talk!
Oh look, there's our old friends, the computer panels from UFO again on the sand miner bridge!

vlcsnap-ufo2 vlcsnap-ufo3

Among the departed in this episode is Brian Crouches, here playing Borg, who was Travis in the second series of Blake's 7. So it's time to look at that second series and see who else we know that was involved. Still at the helm as producer & script editor are David Malone, who'll be directing the next Doctor Who story that we watch, and Chris Boucher, who wrote this one and it's predecessor The Face of Evil.

EPISODE: B1 Redemption

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
BROADCAST ON: 09/01/1979

Sheila Ruskin (Alta One) The Keeper of Traken: Kassia
Harriet Philpin (Alta Two) Genesis of the Daleks: Bettan
Roy Evans (Slave) The Daleks' Master Plan as Trantis, The Green Death as Bert & The Monster of Peladon as a miner


EPISODE: B2 Shadow

DIRECTED BY: Jonathan Wright Miller
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 16/01/1979

Vernon Dobtcheff (Chairman) The War Games: Chief Scientist


EPISODE: B3 Weapon

DIRECTED BY: George Spenton-Foster Director: The Image of the Fendahl & The Ribos Operation
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 23/01/1979

John Bennett (Coser) Invasion of the Dinosaurs: General Finch & Talons of Wang Chiang as Li H'sen Chang
Scott Fredericks (Carnell) Day of the Daleks: Boaz & Image of the Fendahl: Maximilian Stael


EPISODE: B4 Horizon

DIRECTED BY: Jonathan Wright Miller
WRITTEN BY: Allan Prior
BROADCAST ON: 30/01/1979

William Squire (Kommissar) The Armageddon Factor: The Shadow
Brian Miller (Assistant Kommissar) Snakedance: Dugdale and Resurrection of the Daleks & Remembrance of the Daleks: Dalek voices. Married to Elizabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)


EPISODE: B5 Pressure Point

DIRECTED BY: George Spenton-Foster
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
BROADCAST ON: 06/02/1979

Jane Sherwin (Kasabi) The War Games: Lady Jennifer Buckingham. Former Script Editor/Producer Derrick Sherwin's wife.
Yolande Palfrey (Veron) Trial of a Timelord 9-12 (Terror of the Vervoids): Janet


EPISODE: B6 Trial

DIRECTED BY: Derek Martinus Directed: Galaxy Four, Mission to the Unknown, The Tenth Planet, The Evil of the Daleks, The Ice Warriors & Spearhead from Space
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 13/02/1979

John Savident (Samor) The Visitation: The Squire
Peter Miles (Rontane) Dr. Lawrence in Doctor Who and the Silurians, Professor Whitaker in Invasion of the Dinosaurs & Nyder in Genesis of the Daleks


EPISODE: B7 Killer

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
WRITTEN BY: Robert Holmes The Krotons, The Space Pirates, Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons, Carnival of Monsters, The Time Warrior, The Ark In Space, Pyramids of Mars, The Deadly Assassin, The Talons of Wang-Chiang, The Sun Makers, The Ribos Operation, The Power of Kroll, The Caves of Androzani, The Two Doctors, Trial of a Timelord 1-4: The Mysterious Planet & Trial of a Timelord 13 The Ultimate Foe.
BROADCAST ON: 20/02/1979

Morris Barry (Wiler) Directed: The Moonbase, The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Dominators. Appeared in The Creature from the Pit as Tollund


EPISODE: B8 Hostage

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
WRITTEN BY: Allan Prior
BROADCAST ON: 27/02/1979

John Abineri (Ushton) Fury from the Deep: van Lutyens, The Ambassadors of Death: General Carrington, Death to the Daleks: Railton & The Power of Kroll: Ranquin
Kevin Stoney (Joban) Mavic Chen in The Daleks' Master Plan, Tobias Vaughn in The Invasion and Tyrum in Revenge of the Cybermen
Andrew Robertson (Space Commander) Pirate Planet: Mr Fibuli


EPISODE: B9 Countdown

DIRECTED BY: Vere Lorrimer
WRITTEN BY: Terry Nation
BROADCAST ON: 06/03/1979

Tom Chadbon (Del Grant) City of Death: Duggan & Trial of a Timelord: Murdeen
Paul Shelley (Provine) Four to Doomsday: Persuasian


EPISODE: B10

DIRECTED BY: Voice from the Past
WRITTEN BY: George Spenton-Foster
BROADCAST ON: Roger Parkes

No Doctor Who cast members involved


EPISODE: B11 Gambit

DIRECTED BY: George Spenton-Foster
WRITTEN BY: Robert Holmes
BROADCAST ON: 20/03/1979

Denis Carey (Docholli) Professor Chronotis in Shada, the Keeper in The Keeper of Traken and the old man in Timelash.
Aubrey Woods (Krantor) Day of the Daleks: The Controller#
John Leeson (Toise) K9 in the Invisible Enemy Onwards
Sylvia Coleridge (Croupier) Seeds of Doom: Amelia Ducat
Deep Roy (Klute) Talons of Wang Chiang: Mister Sin
Paul Grist (Cevedic) Claws of Axos: Bill Filer


EPISODE: B12 The Keeper

DIRECTED BY: Derek Martinus
WRITTEN BY: Allan Prior
BROADCAST ON: 27/03/1979

Bruce Purchase (Gola) Pirate Planet: The Captain
Arthur Hewlett (Old man) State of Decay: Kalmar and Terror of the Vervoids: Kimber
Ron Tarr (Patrol leader) Destiny of the Daleks: Prisoner


EPISODE: B13 Star One

DIRECTED BY: David Malone
WRITTEN BY: Chris Boucher
BROADCAST ON: 03/04/1979

Gareth Armstrong (Parton) Masque of Mandragora: Giuliano
Michael Spice (Nova Queen Pilot ) Brain of Monster: Voice of Morbius & Talons of Weng-Chiang: Magnus Greel

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