Sunday, 29 October 2017

462 Image of the Fendahl: Part One

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 462
STORY NUMBER: 094
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 29 October 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 6.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"You must have been sent by Providence!"
"No, I was sent by the Council to cut the verges."

A research team works on an incredibly ancient skull, older than humanity itself. As they subject it to tests it starts to glow. In nearby woods a hiker encounters a creature in nearby woods which kills him as one of the scientists, Thea Ransome, collapses. The Tardis finds itself dragged off course by a time scan in operation and when the Doctor traces the source to Earth he decides to investigate. The hiker's body is found by the research team who's head, Dr. Fendelman, summons a security team from London and orders Stael to perform an autopsy on the rapidly decomposing body, but no cause of death can be found, bar an odd blister on the neck. Leela & The Doctor encounter local Ted Moss who fills them in on the research establishment. Adam Colby & Thea Ransome object to the security restrictions placed on them and Adam takes the matter up with Dr. Fendelman, he explains his instrumentation can allow him to see into the past. Thea goes to look at the equipment and as she adjusts in the skull begins to glow. Outside the Doctor & Leela are attempting to gain access to the house the research team is based in. They are separated in the grounds: Leela enters the house and is shot at while outside the Doctor remains rooted to the spot as something advances on him.

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Lots of dark woods and glowing skulls with people taking the law into their own hands plus a mysterious force diverting the Tardis off track. Can't really go wrong with that can you?

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The only fly in the ointment is that, for the second story in a row, we have a professor with a slightly dodgy foreign accent!

The scientists roughly divide into two camps, Adam Colby & Thea Ransome, working with the skull, and Doctor Fendelman & Maximilian Steal, doing something slightly sinister with computers.

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This becomes obvious when Colby makes a gruesome discovery in the grounds.

COLBY: There's a corpse by the wood!
FENDELMAN: What sort of corpse?
COLBY: A dead one. What other sort is there?
FENDELMAN: Male or female?
COLBY: Oh, male.
THEA: Do we know him?
COLBY: I never saw him before.
FENDELMAN: How did he die? Are there signs of violence?
COLBY: Well, not exactly. By the look of him, he didn't die easily.
STAEL: It is never easy to die.
COLBY: Well, thank you, Max. I'm going to call the police.
FENDELMAN: No, a moment, a moment. No, we must consider.
COLBY: What's to consider? There's a body out there. We can't just leave it. Or are you breeding vultures in that secret lab of yours, hmm?
FENDELMAN: This is no time for discourtesy, Adam.
COLBY: I'm sorry. It was a shock. He looks terrible. He must have been terrified when he died.
FENDELMAN: Adam, Adam, just think for a moment. These woods, they are supposed to be haunted. Now can you imagine what would happen if there were news of a mysterious death in them?
THEA: Well, there'd be a certain amount of publicity.
FENDELMAN: Publicity? It would be a circus. They attract enough lunatics already without advertising for them.
COLBY: I don't see that we've much alternative.
FENDELMAN: Adam, Adam. Our work is at a critical stage. Your discovery could be one of the most important milestones in human development. Your work will fundamentally affect how man views himself. We cannot be interrupted at this moment of destiny.
COLBY: Yes, but
FENDELMAN: And besides, we wouldn't want your Nobel Prize to be jeopardised by an unfortunate coincidence, now would we?
THEA: What are you suggesting?
FENDELMAN: I'm not suggesting anything. Adam will recover and then he can show us the body. Then we will decide, eh? We could arrange for it to be found somewhere else.
THEA: But that's illegal!
FENDELMAN: A small deception only.
THEA: Adam, you can't possibly
COLBY: It wouldn't make much difference.
FENDELMAN: There, you see? We work something out, eh? Stael. Get on to London. Tell Hartman I want a security team here within two hours. Tell him I want the best men we have and I want them armed. Then I shall want you to do a post-mortem on that body.
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So what's going on and is so important that Fendelman is willing to subvert the law of the land?

The Post-Mortem reveals some interesting findings:

STAEL: I have completed the post-mortem.
FENDELMAN: And?
STAEL: I cannot find the exact cause of death. There is a small blister at the base of his skull, but that can't have killed him.
FENDELMAN: Natural causes, then.
STAEL: There is something strange.
FENDELMAN: Oh, what's that?
STAEL: The outward signs are that the man died quite recently. His watch is still working, he has a Thermos of tea in his pocket which is still hot, yesterday's newspaper. The mud on his boots is still
FENDELMAN: Yes, yes, yes, Stael, get on with it.
STAEL: The body is decomposing.
FENDELMAN: Already?
STAEL: It's falling apart as you watch.
FENDELMAN: The cause?
STAEL: I don't know, but it's as though all the energy has been removed. All the binding force has gone and all that remains is a husk.
FENDELMAN: Are the security team in place?
STAEL: Yes.
FENDELMAN: Good. You will dispose of the body, Stael, and nobody must know of this. Nobody at all.
Meanwhile, despite having the Tardis flight interrupted by the equipment Fendelman & Stael are using the Doctor seems in humorous mood engaging in banter with some cows....
DOCTOR: Good morning, ladies. Now, which one of you has the time scanner, hmm?
LEELA: This doesn't look like the place, Doctor.
DOCTOR: I did say more or less, though this does look rather less than more. You know, I don't think these cows know anything about the time scanner. Never mind. It's a beautiful day. The exercise will do us good. Come on.
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Criticising Leela's ancestors before distracting her....

DOCTOR: Your ancestors have a talent for self-destruction that borders on genius.
LEELA: Listen, Doctor, I do not like the way you keep talking about my ancestors.
DOCTOR: I like your new dress.
LEELA: Thank you.
DOCTOR: It's a pleasure.
.... and finally obtaining some vital information from a seemingly innocent passer by who Leela's decided to capture!
LEELA: Doctor? Doctor!
DOCTOR: Hmm?
LEELA: He came armed and silent.
DOCTOR: You must have been sent by Providence.
MOSS: No, I was sent by the Council to cut the verges.
LEELA: Your Council should choose its warriors more carefully. A child of the Sevateem could have taken you.
MOSS: Escaped from somewhere, hasn't she? If you're her doctor, you shouldn't let her wander around loose. She could do someone a damage.
LEELA: He was not hunting us?
DOCTOR: No. Would you like a jelly baby?
MOSS: You've both escaped from somewhere, haven't you.
DOCTOR: Frequently. What's the nearest village?
MOSS: Fetchborough, about a mile down that way.
DOCTOR: Fetchborough. Tell me about the ghosts.
MOSS: Don't know what you mean. Ain't nothing like that around here.
LEELA: He is lying.
DOCTOR: The strangers, then.
MOSS: What, Fendelman and that lot up at the Priory?
DOCTOR: Yes, Fendelman. Tell me about him.
MOSS: Well, he's foreign, isn't he. Calls hisself a scientist. They do say he's one of the richest men in the world. You wouldn't think so to look at him, scruffy devil. They say he made his money out of electronics, but that don't seem likely 'cos he ain't Japanese.
DOCTOR: Japanese?
MOSS: No. His people dig up bodies.
DOCTOR: They do? Splendid.
LEELA: Grave robbers.
DOCTOR: Or archaeologists. Where is this Priory?
MOSS: Yon side of village.
DOCTOR: And it's haunted, of course.
MOSS: Oh aye, but it's the wood more than the
DOCTOR: Shush. Don't you worry. What's your name?
MOSS: Ted Moss.
DOCTOR: Ted Moss? Hmm. Don't you worry, Mister Moss. We won't tell a soul, living or dead. Come on, Leela.

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Leela's violent tendencies come in for some more criticism later

DOCTOR: What is it?
LEELA: There's a guard. I shall kill him.
DOCTOR: No.
LEELA: Why not?
DOCTOR: You'll upset the dog. Listen, Leela, you simply must stop attacking people.
LEELA: Why?
DOCTOR: Because you'll get us into trouble.
LEELA: Do not worry, Doctor. I shall protect you.
DOCTOR: What? You'll protect me? Come on, we'll circle round the back. Come on!
My memory of past watches of this story is there's some stuff later on that doesn't sit too well with me but I enjoyed this episode immensely!

Even when I can't find an actor has been in Doctor Who before or since it's usually easy to find something about them. For example Security Team leader David Mitchell is played by Derek Martin who goes on to be Charlie Slater in Eastenders. He's been a Doctor Who supporting artist for many years appearing as an Extra in Inferno, a Parisian in Rue des Fosses St. Germain in The Massacre, a Soldier in The Web of Fear, Spearhead from Space, Inferno & Claws of Axos, a Thug in The Ambassadors of Death and a Prisoner in The Mind of Evil. He was in Out of the Unknown as a Guard in The Counterfeit Man which you can see in the Out of the Unknown DVD Set. He's also in The Sweeney as Spooner in Messenger of the Gods and The Professionals as Renshaw in Not a Very Civil Civil Servant.

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But every so often you see an odd claim on Wikipedia that you can't be 100% sure is true. We have the hiker who appears in this episode, played by actor Graham Simpson, who's also in the Blake's 7 episode Weapon (with the same writer & director as this one). Wikipedia believes that this Graham Simpson later became a businessman and went on to chair Watford football club! I've done some research and I'm not 100% convinced the Wikipedia entry is right but neither am I convinced that it's definitely wrong.

Adam Colby is played by Edward Arthur. The most obvious thing I can see on his CV that I've seen is Morons from Outer Space where he plays a Television Interviewer.

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Maximilian Stael is played by Scott Fredericks who previously was Boaz in Day of the Daleks. Like the Hiker he also appears in the Blake's 7 episode Weapon.

Location filming for this story once again takes place at Stargrove Manor, then the home of Mick Jagger. It had been used two years previously as the locations for Pyramids of Mars.

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Sunday, 22 October 2017

461 The Invisible Enemy: Part Four

EPISODE: The Invisible Enemy: Part Four
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 461
STORY NUMBER: 093
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 October 1977
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Derrick Goodwin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Company)

"Now the time for spawning is very close!"

With the Nucleus removed from his brain the Doctor returns to normal. The Nucleus proclaims that the age of the virus has begun and leaves for Titan to spawn. Leela frees the Doctor, and he works out that cells absorbed from the Leela clone have granted him immunity. Duplicating the immunity they free Marius from the Virus' control and they leave in the Tardis with K-9 bound for Titan. Lowe catches The Doctor trying to throw the immunity serum into the Virus's hatching chamber but but K-9 shoots Lowe causing him to fall into the chamber. The Doctor destroys the Titan base to prevent the virus from spreading further by setting a booby trap and he, Leela & K-9 escape in the Tardis to the Bi-Al foundation. Professor Marius tells the Doctor that he needs to leave soon for Earth and gives K-9 to the Doctor & Leela.

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Oh dear. This episode is ruined by the monster: The Virus Nucleus when grown to full size is a giant prawn and looks ridiculous. The poor man inside the suit is regular Dalek operator John Scott Martin and I'm afraid it's not his finest hour. What it reminds me of, well apart from a prawn, is the Argond Dragon costumes worn in The Adventure Game, an effect compounded by the sets of the Bi Al foundation also reminding me of the Arg sets from the same program!

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And as the Nucleus is led through the corridors it's crying out "Faster, we must go faster, the time for spawning is very close" and sounds just like an expectant mother being rushed to hospital. No, this is bad cheap comedy. And talking of cheap what about the special effect that destroys the Titan base? The initial explosion, after the model has been removed from shot, is one of the worst ever a complete damp squid. It should be the big one that follows a few moments later.

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That's before we even consider that the explosion was Leela's idea much earlier in the episode:

LEELA: How much longer?
DOCTOR: We can't rush these things. They're breeding as fast as they can. K9 will tell us when they've got the most powerful strain.
LEELA: Doctor, why don't we just blow up Titan? Nucleus, breeding tanks, everything.
DOCTOR: That's your answer to everything, isn't it, knock it on the head.
LEELA: Effective, isn't it? Smash it once and for all. Well?
DOCTOR: With what? This is a hospital, not an arsenal.
There's a lot of very dangerous things in hospitals, I'm sure they could have found something there to save them, and us, the time and trouble!
LEELA: Is it gone?
DOCTOR: Yes.
LEELA: All of it?
DOCTOR: Yes. Methane atmosphere. Mix well with oxygen and run. That was a good idea of mine, K9, to blow it up.
K9: Affirmative.
LEELA: What do you mean, it was a good idea of yours. It was my idea.
DOCTOR: What was?
LEELA: To blow it up.
DOCTOR: Well then, you should be feeling very happy.
At the end of the episode K-9 departs with the Doctor & Leela. It feels a little bit sudden but it is a late addition to the storyline:
MARIUS: Goodbye, Doctor, and thank you for everything you've done for us.
DOCTOR: It's been a pleasure, Professor. It's been a pleasure. Do you know that without K9 I think we'd have been part of the Swarm by now.
LEELA: We'd never have managed with out him. Her. It. Sorry, K9.
K9: Apologies are not necessary, but thank you, mistress.
MARIUS: I think K9 has taken to you. Oh. Actually, I have to return to Earth shortly and you could do me a great favour if
DOCTOR: What?
LEELA: Take K9 with us?
MARIUS: Yes.
DOCTOR: No.
LEELA: Yes! Oh, please, Doctor, please, please, let's take him.
MARIUS: K9 seems to have made up his own mind. I only hope he's Tardis trained.
But the excruciating "Tardis trained" joke to close with? Ugh. I'm not watching an awful US show that has to close on a joke every week!

There's some good concepts in this story: a controlled Doctor, a virus achieving life size. Unfortunately they reach too far in presenting inside the Doctor's body in episode three and then episode 4 looks like there's no money left at all. Frederick Jaeger's comedy mad professor performance doesn't help either! It's director Derrick Goodwin's sole Doctor Who job and the only science fiction I can spot in a career mainly spent directing & producing comedy.

Invisible Enemy was repeated the next summer on Thursdays from 13 July to 3 August at 7pm. It was novelised by Terrance Dicks and released on video in September 2002. In September 2008 it was released on DVD in Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set with K9 and Company. The initial pressing of the DVD were faulty (see episode 3) and led to a recall & replacement by 2 Entertain which gave everyone who sent off for one a free copy of The Hand of Fear on DVD!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

460 The Invisible Enemy: Part Three

EPISODE: The Invisible Enemy: Part Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 460
STORY NUMBER: 093
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 15 October 1977
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Derrick Goodwin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Company)

"I am the virus of the Nucleus of the Swarm!"

The cloned Doctor & Leela make for the Doctor's brain. K-9 is controlled by the virus and stuns Leela, allowing Lowe & his virus controlled medics enter the ward and take control of Marius. Marius clones Lowe, shrinks the clone and injects him into the Doctor too where he pursues the Doctor & Leela. The Doctor confronts the virus nucleus in the Doctor's brain, while Leela protects them from the pursuing Lowe clone which is consumed by antibodies. As the clones expire the Nucleus escapes through the Doctor's tear duct and is increased to human size by Marius.

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I can see the conversation now: Robert Holmes says to Bob Baker & Dave Martin "Let's do a homage to Fantastic Voyage!" which is what we get here.

The reason for the clones becomes obvious here in order to have the Doctor wandering round his own body. Why not get someone else infected so the real Doctor could be shrunk down and injected into someone else's body?

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In many ways it's similar to Deadly Assassin 3: while the Doctor himself is lying prone take a duplicate of the Doctor, stick him in an unusual environment and throw some threats at him. Unfortunately what they're trying to do needs a few more pounds thrown at it: some not too brilliant sets and far too much dodgy CSO.

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The results here didn't put them off too much so CSO providing the scenery will make a return later in the series and they don't do quite as well then!

Nowadays the technique of CSOing sets in is quite commonly used so in many ways his and Underworld are somewhat ahead of their time!

While we're on the subject of dodgy CSO.... Look at how the picture of Lowe on the screen shifts as the camera position for the main set adjust slightly!

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We will turn our attention and both barrels on the Nucleus next episode!

When this story was released on DVD there was a disc fault at the end of this episode, which necessitated a recall & replacement. Anyone who had to return their copy to 2 Entertain was compensated with a free copy of The Hand of Fear on DVD.

Due to the problems with the previously broadcast story, The Horror of Fang Rock, this story was made first, although it was broadcast second. Following Fang Rock the fourth story, The Sunmakers, was recorded and then the third, The Image of the Fendahl, with the final two stories , Underworld & Invasion of Time, being made in the order they were broadcast.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

459 The Invisible Enemy: Part Two

EPISODE: The Invisible Enemy: Part Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 459
STORY NUMBER: 093
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 08 October 1977
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Derrick Goodwin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Company)

"Affirmative, master!"

The Virus orders the Doctor to attack Leela but after wildly firing the gun he collapses, with a strange hairy growth on his hands. He puts himself into a trance to preserve his strength. Lowe, concealing the growth round his eyes with a visor, helps Leela take the Doctor to the Tardis and they journey to the Bi-Al foundation in the asteroid belt to seek help for the Doctor. He is taken to their isolation ward for treatment while Lowe is sent to the eye section. Professor Marius examines the Doctor assisted by his robot dog/computer K-9, who detects the Doctor's alien origins and the virus infection.

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The Doctor awakes while being examined and deduces how he was infected in the Tardis. Lowe infects the staff treating him. Leela seeks the Doctor but is prevented from seeing him by K-9, until Marius arrives. He wishes to have Leela scanned to discover why she is immune. Lowe and his infected medics approach where the Doctor is being treated. A second shuttle is infected by the organism and crashed into the Bi-Al space station isolating the level the Doctor is on. Lowe's team find a way round through a service shaft. Leela attacks the approaching infected medics. The Doctor has Marius clone himself and Leela. K-9 takes over the defence of the ward. Lowe issues Marius with an ultimatum and gives him 2 minutes to surrender. The Doctor clone fetches some equipment from the Tardis which he uses to shrink both himself and the Leela clone which are injected into the real Doctor as Lowe tells Marius that his time is up.

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Things move on quite a bit in this episode with the Doctor regaining some control of himself:

DOCTOR: Leela, I can't stop it. Got to fight it. Got to fight it.
LEELA: Doctor, what's wrong? Doctor, what was all that?
DOCTOR: I'm fighting for my mind. Whatever it was that attacked Safran and the others is also affecting me.
LEELA: Why not me?
DOCTOR: Perhaps because. Oh! I can feel it gathering strength to attack again.
LEELA: The evil one?
DOCTOR: Some kind of organism that attacks the mind, the intelligence. It's trying to take me over, Leela. It's trying to change me.
LEELA: No, Doctor, please.
DOCTOR: I need help. I must withdraw into myself, save strength.
LEELA: Why not me?
Excellent question from Leela there that will get returned to later.
LEELA: Come with me. The Doctor's ill, very ill. He told me to get help.
LOWE: But there are no facilities here.
LEELA: Well, where, then?
LOWE: The nearest place is the Centre for Alien Biomorphology. But that's in the asteroid belt.
LEELA: We'll take the Tardis. Doctor, we're taking you somewhere to get help, but we need the Tardis. Now, where are we going?
LOWE: The Bi-Al Foundation, asteroid K four zero six seven.
LEELA: What are the coordinates? Doctor, what are the coordinates?
DOCTOR: Vector one nine, quadrant three. Seven four three.
LEELA: Seven four three.
DOCTOR: Eight zero zero.
Want to tell me how, even armed with the co-ordinates, Leela managed to fly the Tardis to the Bi-Al foundation? No I don't know either, and that's the distinct impression I got from the episode watching it!

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This episode is most famous for is the introduction of K-9, Professor Marius' mobile dog shaped computer. He's often presented as Doctor Who's answer to R2-D2 in Star Wars, but at the time of the story's writing Star Wars was still a few months in the future and at the point of broadcast (8th October 1977) had yet to be released in the UK (27th December 1977). The mechanical prop became the bane of the show's existence but it's voice artist, actor John Leeson (who also voices the Virus Nucleus) was a big hit crawling around on the floor in rehearsals in place of the prop. Up until Doctor Who his best known role was as Bungle in Rainbow but while in Doctor Who would also voice Jigg in Jigsaw, a children's series created by former Doctor Who vision mixer Clive Doig, alongside presenter Janet Ellis (Horns of the Nimon) and O-Man Sylvester McCoy (The Seventh Doctor).

LEELA: Doctor!
K9: Negative, negative, negative. No entry. No entry.
LEELA: Look, whatever you are, I
K9: I am K9 and I am warning you.
LEELA: Look, I came to see the Doctor. I arrived with him.
(She points her gun at K9.)
K9: I too have offensive capability. You have been warned. Retreat. Retreat. Patient in total isolation. Contagion risk. Retreat. Retreat.
(Marius enters and pushes Leela's gun down.)
MARIUS: Who are you?
LEELA: I am Leela.
MARIUS: Ah, yes, of course. The Doctor's aide.
LEELA: I think so.
MARIUS: K9, memorise. Friend.
K9: Memorised. Friend.
LEELA: Is that tin thing something to do with you?
MARIUS: That tin thing is my best friend and constant companion. He's a computer. You see, on Earth, I always used to have a dog. But up here, the weight penalty, well, it's just not possible. So I had K9 made up. He's very useful. He's my own personal data bank. He knows everything that I do, don't you, K9?
K9: Affirmative, and more, master.
MARIUS: I'm afraid there's not much I can tell you about the Doctor, yet. You know, I should like to have you scanned and datalysed, just to see why you're immune. You see, if we can isolate that factor, we can inoculate against it. You get it?
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We're still a year (in program time) away from the point where I started watching the show, but this episode represents the first piece of Doctor Who I saw from before I started watching it. In 1980ish a section from this episode, the piece where Leela meets K-9, was played on a Saturday morning TV program. It was almost certainly Noel Edmonds' Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and I suspect was in connection with the BBC announcing plans to write K-9 out of the series which was met with much protest in the media.

K-9 creator Professor Marius is played by Frederick Jaeger who was Jano in The Savages and Sorenson in Planet of Evil. Outside of Doctor Who he was in Out of the Unknown playing Leebig in the missing third season story The Naked Sun and in Doomwatch as Richard Massingham in Waiting for a Knighthood, one of the few existing third season stories that you can see as part of The Doomwatch DVD set. He's also been in The Sweeney as Goldman in Trojan Bus and The Professionals as Schuman in Fall Girl. His performance here is a somewhat stereotypical mad scientist and owes some debt to Professor Heinz Wolff who was making a name for himself on television when this program aired, later going on to present The Great Egg Race.

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Marius's assistant Parsons is played by Roy Herrick who was Jean in The Reign of Terror and one of the voices of Xoanon in The Face of Evil. He has also appears in in Survivors as Lewis Fearn in By Bread Alone & Parasites.

One actor & character is only seen in this episode: Kenneth Waller who plays the medic Hedges. He later plays "Old" Mr. Grace in the famed sitcom Are You Being Served? and Grandad in Bread. You can also spot him in The Professionals as the caretaker in Killer with a Long Arm. Hedges is the taller, older of the two Doctors who Lowe & the Ophthalmologist meet and infect. His younger companion, Cruikshank, who does most of the talking is played by Roderick Smith.

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Meanwhile the Ophthalmologist is played by Jim McManus. He'd previously been in the science fiction disaster movie The Day the Earth Caught Fire, which I really must watch, as the Man at Water Station. You can see him in The Sweeney as Ollie Parsons in Visiting Fireman & the Barman in the second Sweeney film and The Professionals as the Lorry Driver's Mate in Heroes. He's also got an appearance in future Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat's Press Gang as Station Master Dutton in Friends Like These.

There's some familiar names that IMDB has down against episode 1 who are actually Bi-Al staff: Cy Town is there somewhere: 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 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 Guard in The Sun Makers, 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.

One of the other crew members, and I'm not 100% sure which, is Ken Sedd who, like episode 1's Harry Fielder, previously appeared as a Crewmember in Wheel in Space. He spends a large part of his career working with and stunt doubling for Benny Hill. but he also appears in Doomwatch as as an uncredited man in You Killed Toby Wren, Flight Into Yesterday, The Inquest, The Logicians and The Killer Dolphins plus credited as the Barman in High Mountain. Some of these episodes survive and can be found on The Doomwatch DVD.

Somewhere out there is our Pat Gorman as a Medic: I think I found him in this episode but m'learned colleagues disagreed! His Doctor Who and other credits are far too long to list

Unfortunately I don't think I've seen Nell Curran, the Reception Nurse, in anything else. Neither has Elizabeth Norman popped up in anything else I've seen but I'm told she is the wife of Director Derrick Goodwin making his only Doctor Who appearance with this story.

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Which brings us back to matters medical and the thorny issue of the cloning.

DOCTOR: K9. Cloning techniques. Give me a rundown, state of the art so far.
K9: Cloning. Cloning is replication, making a copy of an individual from a single cell of that individual. Clones. Clones retain characteristics of original organism.
DOCTOR: Go on, go on.
K9: Successful experiments first carried out in the year thirty nine twenty two.
DOCTOR: Thirty nine twenty two. Oh good.

DOCTOR: Hurry, K9, hurry.
K9: At present, cloning procedure is possible, but unreliable.

K9: Replicants do not maintain their existence for long because of possible unsolved psychic stress problems.
DOCTOR: How long? How long?
K9: Longest recorded clone life, ten mi
MARIUS: Ten minutes, fifty five seconds.
DOCTOR: Professor Marius, could you clone me?
MARIUS: Certainly. The Kilbracken technique is very simple. But it's a circus trick. It's of no medical value.
DOCTOR: Could you clone me now?
MARIUS: Now?
DOCTOR: Yes. Because if you don't clone me now and the virus gets to me, it'll take the whole centre with it.

DOCTOR: Hurry, Marius. Hurry.
MARIUS: Now, you must realise, Doctor, this is not in any real sense a clone, but a short-lived carbon-based imprint. A sort of three dimensional photograph.
DOCTOR: Leela. I shall need Leela.
MARIUS: Leela? Why? Why Leela?
LEELA: What does he mean, he needs me?
MARIUS: Ah, it must be because you are immune. I think he wants you cloned as well.
LEELA: But what will happen to me? The real me?
MARIUS: Nothing. Nothing at all.
LEELA: But you said it was just short-lived.
MARIUS: Oh, yes. A permanent clonal copy is theoretically possible, but it would take years to achieve because of the experiential gap. Now, you see, in this way, we manage to transfer both heredity and experience, but the transfer is unstable.
LEELA: What?
MARIUS: Well, it means that your photocopy twin will deteriorate and expire after a maximum life of ten or eleven minutes.
LEELA: Oh, well, in that case, if you do not mind, I will not stay to see.

There is a load of rubbish being spouted about clones in this episode and effectively the script does cop to it in Marius' line " Now, you must realise, Doctor, this is not in any real sense a clone, but a short-lived carbon-based imprint. A sort of three dimensional photograph." In which case why call it cloning? Star Trek's transporter accident duplicates are a far more believable way of getting what we see here. And what sort of biological technique produces a duplicate fully clothed? A piece of Tardis equipment is needed to shrink the clones, why not go the whole hog and have a piece of the Tardis produce the duplicate.
LEELA: Doctor? Which one was that?
K9: That was the Doctor two.
LEELA: Can you explain?
K9: Affirmative. The Kilbracken cloning technique replicates from the single cell as a short-lived carbon copy. Efficacy of individuation not completely guaranteed.
LEELA: Can you explain simply?
K9: Negative.
That's because it's a stupid idea that's a bad way of producing what they want in the next episode.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

458 The Invisible Enemy: Part One

EPISODE: The Invisible Enemy: Part One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 458
STORY NUMBER: 093
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 01 October 1977
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Derrick Goodwin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Company)

"Contact has been made!"

As a shuttle ferries a relief crew to the base on Titan it passes through an unidentified organism which infects the crew. Arriving on Titan they kill three of the crew. The station supervisor, Lowe, sees what is happening and sends a mayday call which the Tardis receives. The Tardis passes through the same organism with a strange glow enveloping the Doctor. He too has been infected by the virus and passes out. Leela however proves immune. The Tardis lands on Titan, bearing the Doctor who is to be the host for the virus. The Doctor recovers conciousness , but Leela is worried by his odd behaviour. Lowe confronts the relief crew, killing one of them, and is chased away. The Doctor & Leela find the body, and then the remaining two members of the relief crew who are preparing a hive for the nucleus. The Virus orders Leela destroyed and the controlled Doctor takes a blaster to kill her. Leela finds & rescues Lowe. The Doctor tries to resist the virus. Leela kills one of the relief crew but as he dies he infects Lowe.

1z 1y

As Lowe & Leela try to escape a controlled Doctor advances on Leela bearing his gun .....

The first thing I thought as I saw this was "Have I switched on an episode of Blakes' 7 by mistake?". Of course the BBC's other science fiction show was still a few months in the future when this episode first aired but the effects and sound of the episode are so similar. In particularly the revolving rocks moving towards the screen is reminding me of something Blake's 7.

1a 1b

There's also more than a little bit of Space 1999 here with the shots of the shuttle moving diagonally over the planet and landing on a pad that descends into the ground!

1c 1d

You know what's always annoyed me about the the shuttles in this story: why have they got their bay doors open? It just looks odd!

The shuttles have always reminded me of the ships in Frontier in Space, but I've checked they are different and that's beyond having a different nose on them!

But there are some reused elements here: First we have one of our old friends the UFO control panels:

1 IE UFO 1 IE Panel

Then there's this control panel that's previously been in Ark in Space and Planet of Evil and, prior to both of those, the James Bond film Live and Let Die.

The biggest thing this episode is the return to a more traditional style console room:

LEELA: We've never been in here before.
DOCTOR: You've never been in here before.
LEELA: What is it?
DOCTOR: Number two control room has been closed for redecoration. I don't like the colour.
LEELA: White isn't a colour.
DOCTOR: That's the trouble with computers. Always think in black and white. No aquamarines, no blues, no imagination.
The wood panelled console room, which made it's d├ębut in Masque of Mandragora and was in use in Leela's first few stories had warped in storage necessitating a replacement and the designer opted for the more traditional white.

1 Tardis A 1 Tardis B

It's an interesting moment for me seeing it on screen because this is the control room I was used to when I was growing up and watching Doctor Who, complete with the two part sliding cover for the large monitor screen on one wall. We're getting very close now to the point where there's episodes I saw as a child, in fact the first complete story I ever saw is just one season away. Unfortunately with the new console room comes a very dodgy motion on the time rotor which visibly wobbles from side to side!

As an episode this is competent enough and the idea of the Doctor controlled by an alien force is a good one that I don't think we've seen before. There's a lovely speech by the Doctor at the start which neatly foreshadows what's going on:

LEELA: Have we materialised?
DOCTOR: Yes.
LEELA: Where?
DOCTOR: Solar system, between Jupiter and Saturn. About five thousand AD. Five thousand AD? We're still in the time of your ancestors.
LEELA: Ancestors?
DOCTOR: Yes. That was the year of the great breakout.
LEELA: The great what?
DOCTOR: Mmm. When your forefathers went leapfrogging across the solar system on their way to the stars. Asteroid belt's probably teeming with them now. New frontiersmen, pioneers waiting to spread across the galaxy like a tidal wave. Or a disease.
LEELA: Why disease? I thought you liked humanity?
DOCTOR: Oh, I do, I do. Some of my best friends are humans. When they get together in great numbers, other lifeforms sometimes suffer.
We've seen two of the relief crew before: Brian Grellis plays Safran, the one who survives beyond this episode, and he was Sheprah in Revenge of the Cybermen and will be the Megaphone Man in Snakedance. Like Colin Douglas who was Reuben in Horror of Fang Rock, Grellis appeared in God's Wonderful Railway playing Spider in The Permanent Way Parts 1 & 2. Grellis has an appearance in Out of the Unknown to his name too, playing the Sergeant in the missing third season episode Something in the Cellar and also was in Survivors playing Les Grice in Parasites.

Silvey is played by Jay Neill who was previously a Pikeman in The Masque of Mandragora and returns as Guard Klimt in Underworld. He was a regular supporting artist on Doomwatch appearing in Project Sahara as a Man, The Battery People as Laing, By the Pricking of My Thumbs... as a Man, Flight Into Yesterday as a Young Man and Flood as a Man. All bar the last episode exist and can be seen as part of The Doomwatch DVD

1 Safran Selvey 1 Meeker

The commander of the crew, Meeker, is played by Edmund Pegge who while not being in Doctor Who before has appeared in Barry Letts & Terrance Dicks' Moonbase 3 as Macadam in Outsiders and will appear in the first episode of the David Maloney produced Day of the Triffids as Walter.

By far the most famous face in this episode is our old friend Michael Sheard, back for his fourth Doctor Who guest role as Station Supervisor Lowe. He's been in The Ark as Rhos, The Mind of Evil as Dr. Roland Summers & Pyramids of Mars as Laurence Scarman and will return in Castrovalva as Mergrave and finally, with more than a little bit of an in-joke nod to his role as teacher Mr Bronson in Grange Hill, in Remembrance of the Daleks as the Headmaster. If you don't know who from any of these then you'll have seen him as Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back and Hitler in Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade, one of five times that he plays the Nazi dictator.

1 Lowe 1 Titan

To the right of his quickly massacred Titan Base crew I spot another old friend, Harry 'aitch Fielder. Before this story is done several of Doctor Who's other "Supporting Artists" will have put in an appearance! The chap in the middle, who speaks and thus gets a credit, is Anthony Rowlands who won't trouble us further. But the man on the left is a bit of a poser as there's nobody listed on IMDB it could be. Fortunately m'learned colleague Mr Brunt came to my assistance identifying him as Stuart Myers. There's no IMDB credit for this story for him but amusingly he seems to have been in an episode of Microbes and Men called The Invisible Enemy in 1974 as a Student! IMDB does think he was in Doctor Who and the Silurians as a Technician and Frontier in Space as a Draconian but I'm told he's been in several others: UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians 6, Plague Victim in Doctor Who and the Silurians 6, Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians 7, UNIT Soldier in The Ambassadors of Death 1 & 7, Rolling Axon Glob in The Claws of Axos 2, Draconian in Frontier in Space, Photographer in Invasion of the Dinosaurs 1, Pangol Clone in The Leisure Hive 4, Foster Z in The Keeper of Traken 1-3, Cricketer in Black Orchid 1, Buccaneer Officer in Enlightenment 3-4, Citizen/Unbeliever in Planet of Fire 1-4, Resistance Fighter/Alphan in The Trial of a Time Lord 6-7 and Customer/Mercenary in Dragonfire 1, 3 He also appears in Blake's 7 Space Fall as a crewman, alongside Aitch, and was in Moonbase 3 as a Technician in Outsiders, alongside Edmund Pegge who plays Meeker here, and reappears in the same role in Castor & Pollux.