Sunday, 26 March 2017

452 Talons of Weng-Chiang: Part Five

EPISODE: The Talons of Weng-Chiang: Part Five
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 26 March 1977
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 10.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: Revisitations 1: The Talons Of Weng-Chiang, The Caves Of Androzani & Doctor Who - The Movie

"Liberation, Mister Sin! Freedom! I can become whole again. Whole and alive! Oh, how I have dreamt of this moment. To be free of this putrefying carcass, to fashion myself anew in some distant time and place. And I can do it now, now that at last I have the time cabinet. I promise you, Mister Sin, we shall not remain long among these filthy barbarians."

Returning to Litefoot's house, the Doctor & Leela find that the time cabinet has gone. Finding the empty laundry basket the Doctor works out that it was Chang's "dummy" that let the Chinese men in and that is actually a device called the Peking Homunculus from the 51st century. "Weng Chiang" is pleased to have regained the cabinet but becomes furious when he realises his servants have forgotten the bag containing the key when they moved him from the theatre! The Doctor attempts to trace the cabinet back to the laundry, fearing it's use will cause a massive explosion. Jago finds the missing bag and goes to find the Doctor at Litefoot's house. In the laundry the Doctor & Leela discover the dying Chang, missing his leg and high on opium. He tells them that Weng Chiang can be found at "The House of the Dragon". Jago & Litefoot follow Chinese men searching the Palace Theatre but are taken prisoner by them, revealing to "Weng Chiang" that the bag is at Litefoot's house. The Doctor returns to find them gone and a note left for them. In the bag he finds a Trionic Lattice, the key to the Time Cabinet. They wait in the house for Weng Chiang to collect the key. Jago & Litefoot attempt escape but are recaptured. "Weng Chiang" breaks into Litefoot's house, but is unmasked by Leela revealing a hideously deformed face.

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For what's considered one of Robert Holmes and Doctor Who's great pairing it's taken FIVE whole episodes for Jago and Litefoot to actually to meet!

JAGO: Thank you. Kindly tell your employer that Mister Jago wishes to see him urgently.
JAGO: Your employer, Professor Litefoot. Come along, man. Hurry. Chop-chop.
LITEFOOT: May I ask, sir, who you are?
JAGO: Confound your insolence, sir. Just announce me.
LITEFOOT: Consider yourself announced, sir. I'm Litefoot.
JAGO: Why, dash me optics. I should have realised. That brow, those hands. England's peerless premier professor of pathology. Henry Gordon Jago, sir, at your service.
LITEFOOT: Mister Jago, just tell me what all this is about.
JAGO: The Doctor.
JAGO: This bag.
JAGO: Shall we go inside?
We'll forgive Jago for mistaking Litefoot as his butler: he is wearing an apron and carrying a dustpan at the time!
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JAGO: Found this in my cellar. Thought the Doctor might be interested. It could have something to do with those Chineses.
LITEFOOT: Chinese?
JAGO: Yes. I had thought of communicating directly with Scotland Yard, where as you know he's held in the highest esteem.
LITEFOOT: The Doctor is?
JAGO: Oh yes, of course. It's my opinion he solves half their cases and then lets them take the credit for it, don't you agree?
LITEFOOT: I have no idea.
JAGO: Oh, why, it stands to reason. I mean, they're policemen. We all know they're solid, sterling, fellows, but their buttons are the brightest thing about them, don't you agree? Now, the Doctor's a real detective.
LITEFOOT: Yes, he's certainly very active. How did you learn of my connection with him, Mister Jago?
JAGO: Well, I enquired at the local station and they told me you'd been seen together. The most formidable combination in the annals of criminology. It's a great honour and privilege for me to be working with you on this devilish affair.
LITEFOOT: Oh, well, thank you. Yes, well, I'm sure the Doctor will be very interested in these things. Unfortunately, he isn't here at present.
JAGO: I know, the sleuth that never rests, eh?
LITEFOOT: Well, he did remark that sleep is for tortoises. You know, Mister Jago, I can't for the life of me discern what purposes these articles might serve.
JAGO: It's a queer lot of paraphernalia. I thought so meself.
LITEFOOT: And you think they were set aside by Weng-Chiang, this murderous lunatic the Doctor is now hunting?
JAGO: Well, they're nothing to do with the theatre, I'm sure of that. I found the bag amongst a pile of our old junk.
LITEFOOT: In that case, Mister Jago, is it not possible that someone plans to return for it?
JAGO: Yes, yes, good point. We must tell the Doctor.
LITEFOOT: Or take a hand ourselves.
JAGO: Why?
LITEFOOT: Well, the Doctor isn't here. If you and I keep a discreet watch on the theatre, we might get a chance to nab this fellow, should he return.
JAGO: You're suggesting a pernoctation, Professor, but alas, unfortunately the nocturnal vapours are very bad for my chest.
LITEFOOT: Oh, come on, man, you can wrap up. I'll lend you some extra clothing.
JAGO: Very kind, I'm sure.
LITEFOOT: Now, you write a note to the Doctor, you'll find pen and paper in that drawer, and I'll look you out a cape. We might be lucky, Mister Jago. And if we are, I've a few lumps to repay.
There's quite a bit of filler here. Weng Chiang's got his box back but to prevent him using it the key's been lost, left in the bag that Litefoot's found!

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WENG: Liberation, Mister Sin! Freedom! I can become whole again. Whole and alive! Oh, how I have dreamt of this moment. To be free of this putrefying carcass, to fashion myself anew in some distant time and place. And I can do it now, now that at last I have the time cabinet. I promise you, Mister Sin, we shall not remain long among these filthy barbarians. But where is the bag? Answer me, you fools! Where is the bag?
HO: It was. We did not.
WENG: The bag, you cowering oaf!
HO: It was left behind, great lord.
WENG: What? What! Lee! Lee, I told you to take it out to the carriage! I ordered you! You know the penalty for failing me? Take the sting of the scorpion!
Then there's the sequence towards the end of the episode where Litefoot & Jago plan their escape, spend some time executing it and then promptly get recaptured!
LITEFOOT: Dammit, Jago, I don't see any way out of this. I think we're done for.
JAGO: You're forgetting the Doctor, Professor.
LITEFOOT: There's no hope of him finding this place. How can he?
JAGO: Oh, the trained mind. A fleck of mud here, a speck of paint there. Clues that speak volumes to a trained investigator like him. I'll wager he's on our tracks this very minute.
LITEFOOT: I say, Jago, look at this.
JAGO: What of it?
LITEFOOT: Don't you see what it is? It's a dumb waiter!
JAGO: Yes, of course I know that, but frankly I'm not very peckish at the moment. I'm surprised you should think of food at a time like this.
LITEFOOT: My dear man, I'm not thinking of food. I'm thinking that if we take that shelf out and squeeze ourselves in, we can make a surreptitious exit from this establishment via the dining room.
JAGO: By jiminy, you're right! We'll teach those blighters a lesson yet. They picked the wrong man when they decided to cross swords with me.
LITEFOOT: After you, Mister Jago.
JAGO: Oh, those ropes don't look too sound, do they.
LITEFOOT: He that is down need fear no fall.
JAGO: Hmm?
LITEFOOT: A quotation. Bunyan.
JAGO: Ah, very comforting.
JAGO: Mind your elbow, Professor.
BOTH: Heave!

JAGO: This isn't the dining room.
LITEFOOT: This isn't the way out, either.

Unexpectedly we run into Li H'sen Chang again!
LEELA: That smell. It's like decaying fruit.
DOCTOR: Papaver somniferum.
LEELA: What?
DOCTOR: Pipe of poppy. It's opium, a narcotic drug. Ah, we've found another warren. Weng-Chiang will show his hand again.
LEELA: More girls?
DOCTOR: Yes. He'll try to build his body levels before he has to use the zigma beam. He'll kill again tonight, but where?
CHANG: At the House of the Dragon, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Good evening, Mister Chang. We thought you'd gone to join your ancestors.
CHANG: Not yet. Not quite.
LEELA: Your leg!
CHANG: A singular sight, I fear. It is too late, Doctor, and I feel no pain. The opium.
LEELA: How did you get away?
CHANG: When the rat took my leg, I regained consciousness in a charnel house, putrefying human remains.
DOCTOR: Yes, rats don't keep a very hygienic larder.
CHANG: I lay there, Doctor, and cursed Weng-Chiang, my benefactor, who had brought me to this fate. Hatred of him gave me the strength to drag myself away. The rats had gone. I came here to destroy the false god. The last act of the Great Chang.
LEELA: You should have done that before.

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CHANG: I believed in him. For many years I believed in him.
DOCTOR: It was a good act, Chang.
CHANG: Until he shamed me. I lost face. The whole theatre saw my failure.
DOCTOR: Tell me about the House of the Dragon.
CHANG: Next month, the Great Chang would have performed before the Queen Empress at Buckingham Palace. I, the son of a peasant.
DOCTOR: The House of the Dragon, where is it?
CHANG: It is his fortress, prepared over many months by the Tong. Beware the eye of the dragon, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Li H'sen, come on. Come on.
CHANG: Soon I shall join my ancestors. Already I can see them. They walk to greet me from the Palace of Jade. They are smiling and carry gifts of food and flowers. Now I cross the golden bridge of the gods.
DOCTOR: Li H'sen! Come on, man, the house.
DOCTOR: What? What?
(Chang reaches down and touches the Doctor's boot, then dies.)
DOCTOR: Boot? Shoe? Spat?
LEELA: Earth?
DOCTOR: He's left us a Chinese puzzle.

One puzzle is solved though during this episode, what Mr Sin is!
DOCTOR: Professor, how did they get in?
LITEFOOT: I've, I've no idea. I locked and bolted all the doors as soon as you left. Thank you, my dear.
DOCTOR: Were they all Chinese?
LITEFOOT: Tong-wallahs. Criminals. The gutter scrapings of Shanghai.
DOCTOR: And one midget.
LITEFOOT: Yes. My dear Doctor, how on Earth did you deduce that one of my attackers was a midget?
DOCTOR: Elementary, my dear Litefoot. He came in the laundry basket and let the others in.
LEELA: The same creature that attacked me!
DOCTOR: The Peking Homunculus.
DOCTOR: Yes, the time of manufacture, its disappearance, it all fits.
LEELA: Doctor, what is the Peking
DOCTOR: Homunculus.
LEELA: Homunculus.
DOCTOR: It was made in Peking for the Commissioner of the Icelandic Alliance. It was in the Ice Age, about the year five thousand.
LITEFOOT: Preposterous.
LEELA: Shush. Go on, Doctor.
DOCTOR: The Peking Homunculus was a toy, a plaything for the Commissioner's children. It contained a series of magnetic fields operating on a printed circuit and a small computer. It had one organic component. The cerebral cortex of a pig. Anyway, something went wrong. It almost caused World War Six.
DOCTOR: Yes, somehow the pig part took over. So Weng-Chiang has brought the Peking Homunculus back through time. He could have done. It disappeared completely. It was never found.
LITEFOOT: I say, I may have had a bang on the head but this is a dashed queer story. Time travel?
DOCTOR: Unsuccessful time travel, Professor. Findicker's discovery of the double nexus particle sent human science up a technological cul-de-sac.
LITEFOOT: Are you following this?
LEELA: Not a word.
DOCTOR: This pig thing is still alive. It needs an operator, of course, but the mental feedback is so intense that somehow the swinish instinct has become dominant. It hates humanity and it revels in carnage.
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Playing the character still known as "Weng Chiang" is actor Michael Spice who previously voiced Morbius in The Brain of Morbius. He's got a Blake's 7 to his name voicing the Nova Queen Pilot in Star One, which was directed by David Maloney, the director of this story and the producer of Blake's 7.

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Playing Lee, Chang's erstwhile assistant, is Tony Then. Like several of the rest of the cast he'd been in Gangsters, written by Philip Martin, who wrote Doctor Who's Vengeance on Varos and Trial of a Timelord 5-8 Minwarap, and starring Maurice Colbourne. Then played a Triad member there in two episodes. He can be found on the big screen in The Rocky Horror Picture Show where he plays a Transylvanian alongside the bald headed Hugh Cecil, a Technix in the Dalek Masterplan, Stephen Calcutt, a Muto in Genesis of the Daleks, a Mute in The Armageddon Factor, a Marshman in Full Circle and a Tribe member/Snake in Kinda and Henry Woolf, the Collector in the Sunmakers. Also in the Rocky Horror Floor Show Audience is Lewis Alexander, a Senior Army Officer in The War Machines: Episode 3, Ernest Blythe a Coven Member in The Dæmons: Episode Five and Juba Kennerley an Old Man in The Massacre 2: The Sea Beggar. But by far the most famous actor from Rocky Horror to appear in Doctor Who is Patricia_Quinn who plays Magenta, a domestic, in Rocky Horror and Belazs in Dragonfire.

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Weng Chiang's other servant is Ho, played by Vincent Wong. IMDB thinks he's in episode 1 but I'm not able to spot him there. He has previously been a Chinese Delegate in Day of the Daleks episode four and will return as the Chinese Captain in Enlightenment. Like Tony Then he has an appearance as a Triad Member in Gangsters on his CV. He had previous science fiction experience on his CV appearing in Space: 1999 as a Medic in Force of Life & Alpha Child and Toshiro Fujita in Black Sun & End of Eternity. He was Mr. Kamikaze Monty Python's Flying Circus How to Recognise Different Parts of the Body, a Japanese Tourist in The Sweeney episode Supersnout, two roles in The Professionals as a Kidnapper in Take Away, directed by Doctor Who's Douglas Camfield, and Colonel Lin Foh in Discovered in a Graveyard, and Pan Duc Lao in the Black Canary episode of Jonathan Creek.

Elsewhere in this episode we have Arnold Lee playing a Coolie. IMDB thinks he's a Chimney Sweep in episode 1, but I can't spot him and in his case we've got a good idea what he looks like from other roles. Somewhat surprisingly he's the only member of this story's cast to have featured in Marco Polo, playing a Mongol Warrior in The Singing Sands. He later returns as a Seabase Crewmember in Warriors of the Deep. Outside of Doctor who he can be found in Return of the Jedi as Rayc Ryjerd, Jabba's Smuggler. He's been in the Blake's 7 episode Gambit as a Customer/Gambler and was also in The Professionals episode Take Away, with Vincent Wong, as Chi Sang.

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