Sunday, 26 November 2017

466 The Sun Makers: Part One

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

"Perhaps everyone runs from the tax man?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 19 November 2017

465 Image of the Fendahl: Part Four

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Further explanations follow:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 12 November 2017

464 Image of the Fendahl: Part Three

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 12 November 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"I think it's the Fendahl. It grows and exists by death!"

Leela finds the Doctor knocking him away from the skull and severing it's influence. The Doctor thinks the skull is a creature called a Fendahl that feeds on life energy. The Doctor believes they have 100 hours of the scanners operations before it starts causing real problems but Fendelman explains to Colby that they've used nearly 99 hours of scan time already. Stael has bought a bound Thea to a chamber under the house. He intends to use her to control the ancient power he worships. The Doctor goes to see Mrs Tyler and speaks to her about her experiences. Stael tells Fendelman to turn the scanner off, holding them at gunpoint but Colby co-operates. They are taken to the room bellow the house where Thea is chained to a pentagram on the floor and chained up as the other cult members arrive at the house. The Doctor & Leela travel in the Tardis to the fifth planet of the solar system, the Fendahl's home, but find it's been time looped. Fendelman realises his name is a result of the Fendahl's manipulation and that he, and all mankind, have been used. John & Mrs Tyler enter the house hearing the gunshot as Stael kills Fendelman. The Doctor & Leela join them as an eerie noise echoes down the corridor. They find themselves immobilised as a Fendahleen monster approaches them.....

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Hmmm. Quite a lot of information dumping this episode.

First up the Doctor realises what the Skull is doing:

DOCTOR: You're becoming a metracion generator, aren't you.
LEELA: Is it alive?
DOCTOR: Yes. It's using appropriate genetic material to recreate itself.
LEELA: What is it?
DOCTOR: Shush. I think it's the Fendahl. It grows and exists by death.
LEELA: Most creatures do. That is what you told me.
DOCTOR: The Fendahl absorbs the full spectrum of energy, what some people call a life force or soul. It eats life itself.
LEELA: That must be what the old woman saw.
LEELA: Huge and dark, she said. Hungry for her soul.
DOCTOR: And she's still alive?
DOCTOR: Take me to her.
LEELA: What about that?
DOCTOR: It's indestructible.
LEELA: Well, what about the sonic time scan?
DOCTOR: No, no, first thing's first. Fendelman can operate that before the implosion for about a hundred hours, give or take a few minutes.
LEELA: But he might already have used his hundred hours.
DOCTOR: That's a risk I'll have to take. Come on, let's go.
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This episode plays an old trick by introducing a countdown to try to give things a sense of urgency.

COLBY: What's that for?
FENDELMAN: That is a running log. Some of the scanner components have a limited life.
COLBY: Ninety eight hours fifty six minutes forty three point seven seconds. You've been busy with this equipment.
FENDELMAN: It has been a joy.
Unfortunately the machine the count down relates to spends a large proportion of the episode switched off! Maybe mentioning that Earth could stand around 100 hours of the time distortion effect earlier in the story might have been a better idea?
TYLER: Is this him? Is this your man? Oi, do you know what's going on? My Gran in hell of a state.
DOCTOR: Come on, Mrs Tyler, wake up.
LEELA: Come on, old woman, wake up. Wake up now.
TYLER: Oi, what do you think you're doing? Leave her alone.
DOCTOR: Do you know what's wrong with her?
TYLER: Well, no, but
DOCTOR: I do. Make some tea.
DOCTOR: Tea. She does drink tea?
TYLER: Well, yeah.
DOCTOR: Off you go and make some. Use the best china. Four cups laid out on a tray. Off you go. Oh, and some fruitcake.
TYLER: Anything else?
DOCTOR: I love fruitcake. Come on, Mrs Tyler. This is no way to behave when you've got visitors. We've come for tea.
LEELA: And fruitcake.
DOCTOR: And fruitcake.
Liz joined me during this episode and remarked that Ma Tyler (Daphne Heard) and Jack Tyler (Geoffrey Hinsliff, who she failed to recognise despite many years of her Mum & sister watching Corrie) are probably the best Yokels seen in Doctor Who so far. And she's right, they are. They get the country feel down to a tee without edging too far into comedy. We also spotted the "Jack/John" interchangeability going on in this episode. When we named our son Jonathan my Mother would not have it that Jack was an acceptable diminutive form of the name!

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DOCTOR: Throw in the apple cores very hard, put the lot in a shallow tin and bake in a high oven for two weeks. It's too late. She's slipping away. Come on.
MARTHA: Here, just a minute.
DOCTOR: What is it?
MARTHA: That ain't the way to make a fruitcake.
DOCTOR: Mrs Tyler!
MARTHA: Here, well, if you'm going to stay, you may as well sit yourselves down. I'll have the tea ready in a jiffy.
TYLER: It's here, Gran.
MARTHA: But that ain't the best china, John. And there's fresh cake in the other tin. Why, I'm sorry. When did I ask you to tea? I ain't never seen you afore in my life.
DOCTOR: You were slipping away, Mrs Tyler.
MARTHA: Slipping away?
DOCTOR: Yes, psychic shock. I needed something normal to bring you back to reality. How long have you lived here, Mrs Tyler?
MARTHA: Why should I tell 'ee ought?
DOCTOR: Tell her I'm trying to help.
TYLER: He's only trying to help, Gran.
MARTHA: You mind your place, John.
TYLER: Oh, now, no, we won't have none of those games. Now, Ted Moss and his cronies is up to something. It's something bad, and you're involved. Now, you tell him what he want to know.
MARTHA: I ain't involved in anything. I were consulted. A lot of people consult me. You know I've got the second sight.
DOCTOR: Yes. So you've lived in this cottage all your life, haven't you, Mrs Tyler.
MARTHA: Why should I tell 'ee ought?
DOCTOR: Well, telepathy and precognition are normal in anyone whose childhood was spent near a time fissure, like the one in the wood.
TYLER: He's as bad as she is. Here, what's a time fissure?
DOCTOR: It's a weakness in the fabric of space and time. Every haunted place has one, doesn't it? That's why they're haunted. It's a time distortion. This one must be very large. Large enough to have affected the place names round here. Like Fetchborough. Fetch. An apparition, hmm?
MARTHA: How do 'ee know so much?
DOCTOR: I read a lot. What did you see in the wood, Mrs Tyler?
MARTHA: I didn't see ought with my eyes.
DOCTOR: Then with your mind. Did it have a human shape?
DOCTOR: Mrs Tyler, I must know. Did it have a human shape?
MARTHA: No, it didn't.
DOCTOR: Mrs. Jack, do something for me.
TYLER: If I can.
DOCTOR: It could be dangerous.
DOCTOR: I want you to keep an eye on the Priory. I must know who comes and goes. We'll be back tomorrow sundown.
TYLER: Right.
MARTHA: Here, girl.
MARTHA: Take this. 'Tis a charm will protect 'ee. I cast it for Ted Moss, but 'tis too late for him.
LEELA: Thank you.
TYLER: Yes, Gran?
MARTHA: I seed that figure he spoke of in a dream. 'Twere a woman.
And there's only one other woman in the show and that's Thea Ransome and she's being held in a cellar by Stael who has taken a dive off the deep end:
STAEL: Thea.
THEA: Max.
STAEL: I'm glad you are awake, Thea. I want you to understand why I brought you here. You are the medium through which the ancient power of this place is focused.
THEA: What are you doing?
STAEL: The scanner awoke the power. You know about the scanner, of course. I've been watching you for some time, you see. Through you, I shall conjure and control the supreme power of the ancients.
THEA: Oh, Max, don't be so ridiculous.
STAEL: You will sleep now, while we prepare.
THEA: Max! Max, you're a fool.
STAEL: I shall be a god!
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FENDELMAN: There, Colby, do you see it?
STAEL: Turn it off!
FENDELMAN: Where have you been, Stael. I needed you here.
STAEL: Turn off the scanner!
COLBY: Doctor Fendelman, I think you have an industrial relations problem.
FENDELMAN: What are you talking?
FENDELMAN: Have you lost your mind?
STAEL: The scanner.
COLBY: Relax, Max. I'll do it.
FENDELMAN: Why, Stael?
STAEL: I am not yet ready. My followers are not yet here.
COLBY: Followers? Well, that's impressive.
STAEL: Shut up, Colby, or I will kill you now. Outside, both of you.
FENDELMAN: Is this some sort of joke, Max?
COLBY: Oh no, Max isn't famous for his sense of humour, are you, Maxie?
STAEL: I shall not warn you again, Colby.
COLBY: You're going to kill us anyway, aren't you?
STAEL: That depends on whether I enjoy having you worship me.
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The Doctor Meanwhile unexpectedly discovers the Time Lords involvement in their events:

DOCTOR: The fifth planet's a hundred and seven million miles out and twelve million years back, so we've no time to lose.
LEELA: Do you think this thing, the Fendahl, comes from the fifth planet?
DOCTOR: Well, it came from it a long time ago, before your species evolved on Earth.

LEELA: There was something chasing me. I, I couldn't move. Just a dream, I suppose.
LEELA: Hey, what's wrong?
DOCTOR: I've been checking the old data banks. There's no record at all of a fifth planet.
LEELA: Does that matter?
DOCTOR: Well of course it matters! We Time Lords are a very meticulous people. You have to be when you live as long as we do. All information is recorded.
LEELA: Perhaps there wasn't any.
LEELA: Information.
DOCTOR: Of course. That's why there's no record of the planet.
DOCTOR: That impression's produced by a time loop.
LEELA: Time loop?
DOCTOR: Yes, a time loop. All memory of a planet's been erased by a circle of time, making data and its records invisible. Only a Time Lord could do that.
LEELA: That's very clever.
DOCTOR: That's criminal! We've been on a wild goose chase. We'd better get back. Let's hope we're not too far round that time loop.
LEELA: Is there anything I can do?
DOCTOR: Yes. No, no. I'll just set the coordinates and we're on our way.

STAEL: The waiting is over. Prepare yourselves.
FENDELMAN: Don't do it, Stael!
CORBY: Shut up, you fool. Let him electrocute himself.
FENDELMAN: He will kill us all. Listen to me, all of you! He is a madman!
FENDELMAN: You must stop him! Stop him now, before he plunges everything into chaos and death!
COLBY: I'll plunge you into chaos and death if you don't shut up.
FENDELMAN: You don't understand. I see now what will happen.
STAEL: You do?
FENDELMAN: Max, listen. The Doctor asked if my name was real. Fendelman. Man of the Fendahl. Don't you see? Only for this have the generations of my fathers lived. I have been used! You are being used! Mankind has been used!
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At this point Stael decides he's had enough of Fendelman and shoots him, before kicking off the ceremony which end up summoning the creature The Doctor and company encounter

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More stuff resembling the Daemons: a female sacrifice and an older woman involved in witchcraft to go with the occult symbolism and the cult in a basement!

So who do have we got in the coven?

Ray Knight was a Soldier in Robot and a Sorenson Monster in Planet of Evil. He'll be back as a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, Lexa's Deon in Meglos, the Policeman with Bike in the first episode of Logopolis, a Trion in Planet of Fire and a Member of Glitz's Crew in Dragonfire part one. He's been in Blake's 7 as a Federation Trooper in Countdown, a Rebel in Rumours of Death and a Federation Trooper in Warlord. Douglas Stark was also a Sorenson Monster in Planet of Evil and later plays a Cricketer in Black Orchid. Jay McGrath's Doctor Who career stretches back further appearing as a Worker in The War Machines and a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians. He's back as a Dead Androgum in The Two Doctors part one.

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Inside the Fendahleen costume is Visual Effects man Peter Wragg. His first IMDB credit is in 1966 working on the film Thunderbirds Are Go followed by Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. This is his first Doctor Who, as the visual effects assistant, uncredited, but he's later credited as the visual effects designer on The Visitation, Resurrection of the Daleks and The Trial of a Time Lord parts five to eight, Mindwarp.What he's best known for is being the Visual Effects Designer for Red Dwarf for which he built Red Dwarf itself and many smaller models including Blue Midget and Starbug.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

463 Image of the Fendahl: Part Two

EPISODE: Image of the Fendahl: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 05 November 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Image of the Fendahl

"There are four thousand million people here on your planet, and if I'm right, within a year there'll be just one left alive. Just one."

The Doctor escapes the power holding him. Leela was shot at by Ted Moss, she wrestles the gun from him but both are caught by Jack Tyler wanting to know what they are doing in Gran's cottage on the estate. Colby find Ransome in an entranced state and entering the kitchen they find security team leader Mitchell dead, also with a blister on his neck. The Doctor enters as Thea collapses to the floor glowing with snake like creatures materialising near her before vanishing. The Doctor identifies them as embryo Fendahleen from the destroyed fifth planet in the solar system. Doctor Fendelman has the Doctor locked up. Leela tells her story to Jack Tyler who sends Ted Moss, who'd come for something from Mrs Tyler, on his way. Colby decides to call the police but finds the phone line cut. Fendelman tells them he believe the skull is extra terrestrial in origin. The Doctor escapes and overheard Stael & Moss talking: they are both members of a local coven. Ted Moss' Gran returns, scared out of her wits. Fendelman has found a pentagram in the structure of the skull by X-raying it. Thea finds herself drawn towards the X-Ray image, but is found by Stael who chloroforms her saying she is the chosen one. The Doctor finds the skull which starts to glow in his presence and draws his hand towards it....

In an odd way this episode is feeling a little "bitty" and didn't flowing that well for me so far. Sorry. It's not got a lot of The Doctor in it and not a lot of Leela in the episode, and they spend no time together.

COLBY: It's Mitchell. That expression, it's the same as the other one.
THEA: There's a blister on the back of the neck. Could be a birth mark, I suppose.
COLBY: How can you be so dispassionate? The man's dead, Thea.
THEA: Adam. Adam.
COLBY: Thea?
DOCTOR: Don't touch her. I said don't touch her! How many deaths have there been?
COLBY: Deaths?
DOCTOR: Like this.
COLBY: Two. Now, look
DOCTOR: No, no, no, no, no, you look

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COLBY: What was it?
DOCTOR: They look like embryo Fendahleen to me.
DOCTOR: Come and sit down. You'll be all right.
COLBY: Embryo what?
DOCTOR: Embryo Fendahleen. A creature from my own mythology. Supposed to have perished when the fifth planet broke up. At least, so they said.
COLBY: A creature from mythology? Do you know what you're talking about?
DOCTOR: Well, you saw it. If it survived twelve million years, it's energy reserves must be enormous.
COLBY: Twelve million? Why did you say twelve million?
DOCTOR: What? Well, about twelve million. That's when the fifth planet broke up. There are four thousand million people here on your planet, and if I'm right, within a year there'll be just one left alive. Just one.
COLBY: What are you, exactly? Some sort of wandering Armageddon peddler, hmm?

This is the point it goes wrong for The Doctor:
DOCTOR: Who's in charge round here?
DOCTOR: Ah, Doctor Fendelman, I presume. Is that really your name, Fendelman? Now listen, Fendelman, I want you to do two things. Dismantle the scanner and run some tests on Miss Thea. Start with an x-ray of her skull. Now
FENDELMAN: I will give the orders around here. Take him away. Lock him up somewhere.
DOCTOR: Is this the way you treat all your house guests?
FENDELMAN: Only the uninvited ones whom I suspect of murder.
DOCTOR: But she needs help!
FENDELMAN: Take him away!
STAEL: It is just the same as before.
FENDELMAN: This is a terrible thing. Terrible.
COLBY: This time I will call the police. Come along, Thea.
FENDELMAN: As you wish, Adam. But how will you explain to them that you did not call them before?
We've not had the Doctor locked up for a bit have we? Robots of Death?

Leela meanwhile has met local Jack Tyler, who has seen off Ted Moss, the man from the council in the first episode who shot at Leela at the end of episode 1.

TYLER: Nasty piece of work. Him and some others from the village, they er. Well, I'm not sure exactly, but the thing is that I think my Gran's involved in whatever it is. Now, she's a good old girl but, well, she was brought up in the old ways, you see.
LEELA: The old ways?
TYLER: Yeah, the old superstitions and that. See, he called her Mother Tyler. Now that ain't 'cos he likes her. That's, that's the old religion. Look, there's something nasty going on. Do you know what it is? Have you been sent with this Doctor bloke to sort it out?
LEELA: Well, the Doctor came to stop the sonic time scan.
TYLER: Oh. What's one of them?
LEELA: He said it would cause a, a direct continuum ex, implosion.
TYLER: Damn, girl, you don't half tell some whoppers, don't you.
LEELA: Whoppers?
TYLER: Aye. Don't matter.
LEELA: Listen. I'm sure the Doctor can help you. Oh, he's very difficult sometimes, but he has great knowledge and gentleness.
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Cue shot of the Doctor being anything but gentle and kicking the **** out of some boxes in frustration at not being able to escape!

This actually helps highlight something that happens a little later: The Doctor does escape, following a click at the door. Someone has let him out! But who?

Meanwhile things have gone from bad to worse for the sensible pair of scientists

THEA: Adam, can't you be serious just for a minute?
COLBY: I am serious. The place is surrounded by guards, we're beset by a wandering lunatic and we have a pair of corpses on our hands. And on top of all that, the telephone seems to be very dead. Thea, we're trapped.
THEA: It was planned.
COLBY: By Fendelman.
THEA: No. No, not by Fendelman. He's just part of it, doing what was planned for him. Don't you see? For him. That would fit. That would explain it.
COLBY: Explain what?
THEA: Adam, you haven't asked me whose plan it is. Why don't you ask me? Go on, ask me who planned it.
COLBY: Stop it. Stop it!
THEA: I did. Do you understand? I did.
COLBY: Now be reasonable, Thea. How could you have? You're as sane as anyone here. Except. Come on. Come on.
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Fortunately their employer seems in the mood for explanations, albeit seemingly unlikely ones:

FENDELMAN: This skull that you found is, I believe, extraterrestrial in origin.
COLBY: An alien space traveller? Hence the guards. Next of kin come for the remains? You're expecting an attack by little green men from, er, Venus?
FENDELMAN: Don't talk like a fool, Colby! You're not a fool!
COLBY: No, I'm not. That skull is human. It's a skull like yours and mine. Modern man. Homo sapiens!
FENDELMAN: Exactly. It is also twelve million years old. Millions of years older than the earliest of man's known ancestors.
COLBY: You think we're all aliens?

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COLBY: Circumstantial. It's all circumstantial.
FENDELMAN: It is the only logical explanation, Adam. Man did not evolve on Earth, of this I am sure. There is something else that I have not told you. With the scanner, I have traced what I now believe to be the moment of death of this alien traveller. At that moment, there is an enormous surge of power the like of which I have not seen before. It was this that first attracted my attention. It is an inpouring of energy. A concentration of power as though to store. Now I ask myself, where would this power be stored? And why? These questions I could not answer until I had x-rayed the skull.
COLBY: You x-rayed the skull? When?
FENDELMAN: Stael and I have been doing experiments in secret for some time.
COLBY: Thank you.
FENDELMAN: No, no, no, you are right. But from the beginning I had the feeling that this was so important that it must be kept secret. And now we have these murders and this mysterious intruder.
COLBY: He said something about x-rays.
THEA: Will you excuse me?
COLBY: Oh, I'm sorry, Thea. Are you still feeling ill?
THEA: No, it's all right. I'm just a little tired. I think I'll go and lie down.
FENDELMAN: You are looking very pale, my dear. Perhaps you have been working too hard. I will ask Stael to look in on you later...... There is no doubt that this intruder has been spying on us.
COLBY: Yes. Well, after the x-rays, what did you find?
FENDELMAN: I will show you. Come.

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FENDELMAN: There. Do you see it?
COLBY: It looks like a pentagram. It's the way the fragments have been assembled.
FENDELMAN: No. It is part of the bone structure itself. I believe it to be a form of neural relay, and this is where the energy is stored. It is interesting, is it not, that for as long as man can remember, the pentagram has been a symbol for mystical energy and power.
COLBY: All right, let's assume that's the how. You're still left with why.
FENDELMAN: A beacon.
COLBY: What?
FENDELMAN: Suppose the energy is still within this neural circuit and can only be released by the intelligent application of applied advanced technology.
COLBY: You mean the release of that energy would act as a signal that there was intelligent life on this planet?
FENDELMAN: And at last, mankind would meet its
COLBY: Next of kin?
FENDELMAN: Destiny, Adam. Its destiny.

Now I always get slightly uneasy when I see things like pentagrams and other occult symbology, but Doctor Who has been there before in The Dæmons where it exposed the mystical being there as being an alien and it looks like they're taking a similar angle here too. In that story the Master was working with a local cult group and sure enough there's one here too:
STAEL: You should not have come here.
MOSS: Well, I had to warn you.
STAEL: There are security guards now.
MOSS: City boys. I know how to get past them.
STAEL: It was a stupid risk. Fendelman is already suspicious and uneasy. Why do you think he sent for the guards?
MOSS: I had to warn you about the Doctor.
STAEL: What doctor?
MOSS: Well, there's this bloke calls himself a doctor. Tall, curly hair. He's got a girl working with him. And I told him where to find this place. Well, I didn't realise. I tried to stop him after. They know all about us. 'Tis true. They're investigators. They come to investigate.
STAEL: I will deal with them. Now go, quickly. STAEL: Are all our friends prepared?
MOSS: They're waiting for the word.
STAEL: When the time comes, we must be twelve.
MOSS: We know you lead the coven now, but we know the old ways. Thirteen be the number.
STAEL: A place must be left for the one who kills.
Meanwhile Thea has gone looking for the Doctor and finds only an empty room where he was locked up:
THEA: Hello? Are you there? Please, I need help.
This bit of the story has always bothered me: could what happens to Thea after this have been avoided if the Doctor had still been there? We still don't know how he escaped but when Thea runs into Stael he drops a hint that he might have been responsible.
STAEL: Thea.
THEA: Max! You frightened me. Do you have to creep about like that?
STAEL: I apologise. What are you doing here, Thea?
THEA: I was, I was looking for the stranger. Do you know where he is?
STAEL: It is not important.
THEA: Well it is to me. I must find him. I think he can help me.
STAEL: Why should you need help, Thea? Anyway, the stranger has escaped. He can do nothing.
Stael's not searched the room that we've seen so how does he know the Doctor has escaped? If he has, why hasn't he raised the alarm? These questions suggest that Stael is the on who let the Doctor out. We already know he's up to something behind Fendelman's back with Moss and the cultists.

It's at this point things go really wrong for Thea as he cloroforms her!

STAEL: It is too late. Too late for all the meddling fools.
THEA: What are you talking about, Max? Get out of my way.
STAEL: There's no need to be afraid of me, Thea.
THEA: Please, Max!
STAEL: It is fitting that you should be the key to my power.
THEA: Max, don't be such a fool.
STAEL: The chosen one.
Meanwhile the Doctor's found the skull:
DOCTOR: Oh. Oh. Would you like a jelly baby? No, I don't suppose you would. Alas, poor skull.
The "Jelly baby" is obviously a liquorice allsort!!

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The Skull's obviously somewhat offended at this judging by what it does to him!

Dr. Fendelman is played by Denis Lill who'll return as Sir George Hutchinson in The Awakening. He's probably most famous for his role as Charles Vaughan in Survivors. He's one of the few people to have appeared in The Professionals, playing Josef Merhart in Hijack, and it's sequel CI5: The New Professionals, where he played Eliz Risha in Hostage. He's done comedy too appearing as Sir Talbot Buxomly, a member of Parliament, in Dish and Dishonesty, the opening episode of Blackadder the Third, which my history teacher wanted to show us as a text on electoral reform, and as Beadle in Blackadder's Christmas Carol. He's been in Red Dwarf playing the Simulant Captain / Death in Gunmen of the Apocalypse and has a recurring role in later series of Only Fools and Horses where he plays Alan Parry, Rodney's Father In Law. He used to live in my former home town of Kingston and one of my brothers went to school with his daughter!

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Wanda Ventham plays Thea Ransome. She'd previously appeared in The Faceless Ones as Jean Rock and returns to Doctor Who as Faroon in Time and the Rani. She'll be familiar to science fiction fans as Col. Virginia Lake in the first episode of UFO, a role which becomes a regular in the second half of the series but also appears in the mising second season Out of the Unknown episode The Eye as Josephine. She's the mother of Benedict Cumberbatch, TV's Sherlock and has, along with her husband Timothy Carlton appeared as their son's character's parents in The Empty Hearse and His Last Vow. She too has had a recurring role in Only Fools and Horses where she plays Pamela Parry, Dennis Lill's character's wife!

Probably the most famous face in this, to the general public at least, is Geoffrey Hinsliff, playing Jack Tyler. He'll be back as Fisk in Nightmare of Eden but most people will know him for the several years he spent playing Don Brennan in Coronation Street. Before his soap fame he appeared in UFO as the Hotel Clerk in Confetti Check A-OK, I, Claudius as Rufrius in Fool's Luck and The Professionals as the Sergeant in When the Heat Cools Off.

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Jack Tyler's Gran, Martha Tyler, is played by Daphne Heard who's well known for her role as Mrs. Polouvicka, Richard DeVere's mother in To the Manor Born

Council Worker and Coven Member Ted Moss is played by Edward Evans. He's got an Out of the Unknown to his name appearing as Tom Palfrey in the missing fourth season episode The Sons and Daughters of Tomorrow. He was in Doomwatch twice and both his appearances exist and can be found on The Doomwatch DVD: he was in The Battery People as Dai and The Inquest as the Coroner.

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There's two uncredited security guards in this episode. Geoffrey Witherick has previous Doctor Who form to his name appearing as a Cricketer / Reveller in Dalek Masterplan episode 8: Volcano, a Guard in The Massacre 4: Bell of Doom, a Man in Market in The War Machines episode 3, a Villager/ Coven Member in The Dæmons, a guard in Frontier in Space and a Security guard in Image of the Fendahl part two. He's been in Doomwatch as well, as a Man in Burial at Sea, but his episode is missing. The other security guard, John Emms, had also been in Doomwatch appearing as a man in Re-Entry Forbidden, and his episode survives on the above DVD.