Sunday, 27 January 2019

501 The Armageddon Factor: Part Two

EPISODE: The Armageddon Factor: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 27 January 1979
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Michael Hayes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"Six ships? Is that it? The mighty battlefleet of Atrios?"

The Doctor, Romana & Merak return to K-Block, but discover Astra gone, so then return to the Marshal's control room who now treats them like old friends. The Marshal has had K-9 recycled but the Doctor rescues him from the furnace. However Romana notices a device on the Marshal's neck and further investigation of the Marshal's Mirror, which he continually stands in front of, reveals a skull hidden behind it. The Doctor promises the Marshal a psychological deterrent against the Zeons but needs to speak with one. The Marshal says he knows of a secret transmat to Zeos but when the Doctor investigates he is captures by the same black clad strangers who kidnapped Astra and transmatted away....

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The thing I remember most about this episode is the lengthy sequence where K-9 is sent along a conveyor belt to the scrap metal furnace. Five & Half year old Philip loved it. Forty Five & a Half year old Philip looks at it and thinks "Filler". It serves no purpose to the plot and all it adds is a bit of quickly forgotten about peril. Worse still watching K-9 passing from left to right does rather remind people of The Generation Game!

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I suppose you could argue that it illustrates the dire straits that the Atrians are in that everything must be recycled but the presence of only 6 Atrian battleships also makes this point quite clearly.

THE MARSHAL: Now, Doctor, you shall see the mighty battlefleet of Atrios, the weapons that are available to you.
THE MARSHAL: The new architect of our victory. Shapp, order the counter-attack.
SHAPP: Yes, sir. Base to fleet, commence attack. Attack, attack, attack.
DOCTOR: Six ships? Is that it? The mighty battlefleet of Atrios?
THE MARSHAL: It does the people no good to know the truth, Doctor. They live on hope, nothing else. It's been a long, hard struggle. Production is slow, losses are crippling, but we fight on. That's the main thing.
THE MARSHAL: To win. What else? War is an expensive business, Doctor, but worth it.
The main source of mystery here comes from the Marshal of Atrios and the missing Princess Astra:
ROMANA: Doctor, when you went into the furnace after K9, the Marshal almost went berserk at the thought you might be killed.
DOCTOR: He did? How very considerate of him.
ROMANA: No, it wasn't. Because what he said was, the Doctor must not die. Not yet.
ROMANA: And listen, I saw something at his throat like a little black cylinder.
DOCTOR: What, a device of some sort? Something you weren't meant to see?
ROMANA: Yes, yes, I'm sure of it.
DOCTOR: A control device?
ROMANA: Yes. If the Marshal's a puppet, who's pulling the strings?
DOCTOR: Yes, and what's behind that mirror he's so fond of looking at?
MERAK: Questions, questions.
ROMANA: Shush.
MERAK: And no answers. MERAK: We're no closer to finding Astra or whatever it is you're looking for. Well, are we?
DOCTOR: Merak, I believe we're closer to finding Princess Astra than we realise. What worries me is, are we supposed to?
ROMANA: A trap.
DOCTOR: Who's pulling the wool over who's eyes? Are we supposed to fall for the Marshal's bluff or is he supposed to fall for our?
MERAK: Listen, Doctor, you said a minute ago that we were close to finding Astra. Please tell me where she is or where you think she is.
DOCTOR: It wouldn't make any difference. Even if I told you, you couldn't reach her.
MERAK: Why not?
DOCTOR: Because I think that Astra's on Zeos.
The Marshal's revealed to have a device on his neck and be talking to a skull through a two way mirror so he's clearly up to no good!
MERAK: It's the Marshal.
ROMANA: It's a two-way mirror.
MERAK: What's that?
ROMANA: Shush.
THE MARSHAL: It's done. The Time Lord suspects nothing. I've directed him to the transmat point in K block where your agents will be waiting.
ROMANA: Time Lord? How does he know?
MERAK: What?
ROMANA: Shush.
THE MARSHAL: My lord, once you have the secrets of time, please, give me my victory. I've waited so long. Please, my lord.
MERAK: He said K block. Astra was in K block.
ROMANA: We'd better warn the Doctor. Come on.
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Astra's only appearance this episode comes from a broadcast to Atrios urging them to lay down their arms!

ASTRA: People of Atrios, lay down your arms. Surrender. Resistance is useless. The Zeons can never be defeated. They have taken me captive. My people, my people, they have sworn to destroy Atrios unless you surrender now. If you love me, my people, save me. Save yourselves. Hand over the Marshal and surrender. Surrender now. The war is over.
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Our old friend Mister Harry Fielder makes a rare credited speaking appearance as a guard in this episode. Aitch had previously been a Central European Guard in The Enemy of the World, a Wheel Crew member in The Wheel in Space, a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen, a Guard in The Seeds of Doom where he actually got a credit in part 4, a Guard in The Deadly Assassin part one, a Sevateam Tribesman in Face of Evil, a Titan Base Crewman in The Invisible Enemy part one, a and a Levithian Guard in The Ribos Operation. He'll be back as a Tigellan in Meglos and a Security Guard in Castrovalva part one. His Blake's 7's include an Armed Crewman in Space Fall & Cygnus Alpha, a Scavenger in Deliverance and a Federation Trooper in Weapon, Trial, Voice from the Past, Children of Auron, Games, Warlord and Blake. In Space: 1999 he's a Medic in The AB Chrysalis, Security Guard in Catacombs of the Moon, Gerry in The Beta Cloud, a Command Centre Technician in The Lambda Factor, Security Guard George in The Seance Spectre, a Survey Team Member in The Immunity Syndrome and a Medic in The Dorcons. In a long career he's been in absolutely everything!.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the Blake's 7 episode Horizon was shown.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

500 The Armageddon Factor: Part One

EPISODE: The Armageddon Factor: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 20 January 1979
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Michael Hayes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"People of Atrios, once more the hated forces of Zeos clamour at our gates. Once more, they shall not pass!"

Approaching the planet Atrios, at war with it's close neighbour Zeos, the Tardis is attacked by a nuclear warhead. On Atrios opposition is growing to the Marshal's military leadership of the war, lead by Princess Astra and Surgeon Merak. Under the Marshal's orders Astra is led astray by her guard and shut in a highly radioactive area. Arriving on Atrios, The Doctor breaks into the sealed K-block , where he & Romana see the missing princess Astra, but they are captured by The Marshal and accused of being spies alongside surgeon Merak. Astra is abducted by a black robed & masked figure. The Doctor, Romana & Merak are freed by K-9 but when they flee they discover the Tardis gone.

Bit of a setup episode with little indication of where the sixth and final segment of the Key To Time is. But the situation, two planets at war with each other, is clearly explained and a hint is dropped that Zeos isn't where it should be.

The Marshall: People of Atrios, once more the hated forces of Zeos clamour at our gates. Once more, they shall not pass. Be brave, my people. Be steadfast, be strong. This rain of death which the Zeons pour upon us, will it extinguish the flame of liberty, my people? No, our sun will rise again, and Atrios from its ashes will rekindle a mighty resolve, an implacable wrath, crushing the hated Zeon beneath the heel of Atrios! Even now we know the Zeon will to fight is failing. They cannot go on. Our ships dominate their skies. All I ask, my people, is that you, who have suffered so much, clench the jaw, grimly endure a short while more, until we can deliver the final blow which will bring Zeos to its knees. Victory will be ours!

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The layout in the Atrian war room gives away who's in charge here: the Princess stands at the back as a Figurehead while the Marshal gets a nice comfy chair!

Two notable landmarks are reached this episode. Firstly it's Doctor Who's 500th episode, and secondly it's Tom Baker's 119th episode bringing him level with Patrick Troughton but still behind Jon Pertwee on 128 and William Hartnell on 134.

HEROINE: Darling.
HERO: Oh, my love.
HEROINE: Don't go.
HERO: I must.
HEROINE: But you'll be killed!
HERO: Perhaps.
HEROINE: I can't bear it. I love you.
HERO: There is a greater love. Men out there, young men, are dying for it. Dying so that Atrios might live.
HERO: You must be strong. We must all be strong and play our parts until victory is won, evil vanquished, and peace restored. Then, and only then, my darling, can we love again. I must go. Kiss the children for me. Tell them their daddy will return before long.
'Hero', the male actor in the public information film that opens the show is Ian Liston, better known amongst sci fi fans for playing Wes Janson, Rogue 3's/Wedge's Snowspeeder gunner in The The Empire Strikes Back.

'Heroine' meanwhile is played by Susan Skipper. She was Chadwick's Secretary in Sweeney!, the first film adaptation of the TV series, and later appeared regularly in Don't Wait Up as Madeline, he elder Dr Latimer's secretary and the younger Dr Latimer's eventual second wife.

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The ill fated guard in this episode is John Cannon who was, most prominently, the possessed technician Elgin in The Hand of Fear part 2. Prior to that he'd been in Monster of Peladon as a Miner.and returned as a Passer by in The Talons of Weng-Chiang, a Trog in Underworld and a Technician in The Pirate Planet. He will later be a Guard in The Creature from the Pit, the executioner in Shada, an Extra in Time-Flight, Striker's Helmsman in Enlightenment and Sir Raulf Fitzwilliam's 1st Servant in The King's Demons. Blake's 7 include a Federation Trooper in Project Avalon, Cevedic's Heavy in Gambit, a Labourer in The Harvest of Kairos and a Federation Trooper in Children of Auron while he's got a Moonbase 3 appearance as a Technician in Castor and Pollux as well as an appearance in The Empire Strikes Back as a Holographic Imperial Officer. Away from science fiction he worked with acclaimed Doctor Who director Douglas Camfield as a Legionnaire in Beau Geste (TV Mini-Series), he was in I, Claudius as a Cake Ship slave in A Touch of Murder, Porridge as Prison Inmate in A Night In, The Professionals as Huey in It's Only a Beautiful Picture and two appearances in The Sweeney as a constable in Supersnout and a Policeman in Thou Shalt Not Kill, where he also worked with Camfield.

Amongst the uncredited guards we have Peter Roy. He was a Greek Soldier in The Myth Makers, an Extra in The Highlanders, an Airport Police Sergeant in The Faceless Ones, a UNIT / Bunker Man in The Invasion, a Guard in The Seeds of Death, a Space Guard in The Space Pirates, an uncredited extra in Doctor Who and the Silurians, Technic Obarl in Hand of Fear, a Guard in The Face of Evil, an Extra in The Sun Makers, a Galifreyan Guard in The Invasion of Time and a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara. He returns as a Policeman in Logopolis, an Ambulance Man in Castrovalva, a Man in Market in Snakedance and a Walk on in Resurrection of the Daleks. Like many extras at this time he has Blake's 7 form too appearing as a Citizen / Prisoner in The Way Back & Space Fall, an Alta Guard in Redemption, an Albian Rebel in Countdown and a Federation Trooper / Rebel in Rumours of Death. He was in Doomwatch as a man in Project Sahara and Flood. In the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy he plays the Limousine Chauffeur in episode 2. He's got a notable role in the James Bond film Thunderball where he played British Secret Agent 006. He has a less obvious appearance in Return of the Jedi as Major Olander Brit but that hasn't stopped the character from getting a Wookipedia page!

Also appearing as a guard is Barry Summerford He'd already been a Golden Age Man in Invasion of the Dinosaurs part six, an Elite Guard in Genesis of the Daleks, a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen part one, Private Thurston in Terror of the Zygons part two, a UNIT Communications Soldier in The Seeds of Doom part six, a security guard in The Hand of Fear, a Steaming Audience Member in The Sun Makers part four and a Shrieve in The Ribos Operation. He'll be back as another Guard in The Creature from the Pit part one and a Foster in The Keeper of Traken part one. His Blake's 7 include a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Rebel in Pressure Point, a Rebel in Voice from the Past, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Federation Commando in Volcano, a Monster in Dawn of the Gods and Tando in Blake making him one of the four actors to appear in both the first and last episodes. He was also in the Castor and Pollux episode of Moonbase 3 as a Technician and played the same role in a later episode, View of a Dead Planet.

Our final guard this episode, but there's another familiar face in he next, is Richard Sheekey.He'd been in - The Talons of Weng-Chiang as a Beat Policeman and returns in State of Decay as a Guard. He'd been in Doomwatch as a man in Flight Into Yesterday and appears in two Blake's 7 episodes: Cygnus Alpha as a Prisoner and The Harvest of Kairos as a Federation Trooper.

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Finally appearing as the Mute that teleports away with Princess Astra is Derek Suthern who first appeared as a Path Lab Technician in The Hand of Fear followed by a Mentiad in Pirate Planet and a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara. He's in the next season 3 times as a Guard in The Creature from the Pit, a Mandrel in Nightmare of Eden and a Guard in The Horns of Nimon and would have made a fourth appearance as a Krarg in Shada if that hadn't have been cancelled. That also deprives him of appearances in five consecutive Doctor Who stories as he then plays a Argolin Guide in The Leisure Hive, the first story of the next season. He returns at the end of that season as PC Davis in Logopolis part one followed by playing a Cricketer in Black Orchid and a Man in Market in Snakedance. In Blake's 7 he was a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Federation Trooper in Trial & Countdown, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Hommik Warrior in Power and a Space Princess Guard / Passenger in Gold. He appears in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me as an Atantis Guard and is in Fawlty Towers as a Hotel Guest in both The Germans and The Psychiatrist.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the Blake's 7 episode Weapon was shown.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

499 The Power of Kroll: Part Four

EPISODE: The Power of Kroll: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 13 January 1979
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"If you fire that rocket, it's not just the monster that'll die. You'll destroy a civilisation as old as your own!"

Several of the Swampies pursuing the Doctor & Romana are seized by Kroll and the rest flee. Thawn plans to use the next orbit shot from the refinery to attack Kroll, and destroy the Swampies in one go. The Doctor & Romana return to the refinery and witness Dugeen standing up to Thawn's plans. He forces Fenner to cooperate at gunpoint, but the Doctor sneaks into the rocket silo to sabotages the launch. The wounded Dugeen tries to about the launch but is killed by Thawn. The Doctor's sabotage halts launch with 3 seconds to go as Kroll submerges. Thawn goes to check the ignition and catches The Doctor & Romana leaving the rocket launching chamber. The Swampies invade the refinery. As Thawn returns to the control room with the Doctor & Romana, Fenner detects Kroll approaching the refinery. The Swampies enter, slaying Thawn, as Kroll attacks the refinery. The Doctor has Fenner operate the base centrifuge, the noise of which drives Kroll away. The Swampie leader Ranquin believes that Kroll has heard his prayers but his followers realise it was the machinery. Ranquin is taken by Kroll. The Doctor tests his theory and touches Kroll with the tracer, transforming it into the fifth segment of the Key To Time. Fenner realises the rocket firing bay is blocked, but the computer is trying to run the next launch sequence. The Doctor sabotages the computer deactivating the launch sequence. They leave Fenner behind awaiting a pick up from the authorities. The Doctor explains how Kroll consumed the High Priest's object of power, the fifth segment, and used it to grow to giant size.

We start the episode with the very real and very very large threat of Kroll:

FENNER: It's over two miles away.
THAWN: Still, if it's as big as we think it is. Dugeen, train the receptor aerial on that settlement.
DUGEEN: Right.
FENNER: What are you going to do?
THAWN: Just checking that the next orbit shot is charged and ready to fire.
FENNER: It's not due for another two hours.
THAWN: It might be early this time, Fenner.
DUGEEN: Look at that!
FENNER: It's a lot bigger than we thought.
THAWN: A hundred tons of hydrogen peroxide will still vapourise it.
FENNER: What's that supposed to mean?
THAWN: I'm going to drop our next orbit shot into the neck of that overgrown jellyfish.
DUGEEN: You can't!
THAWN: Bearing ninety seven, maximum depression.
DUGEEN: You're mad. Think of the settlement!
THAWN: Dugeen, have you never heard of the expression killing two birds with one stone?
FENNER: Now, Thawn, you think what you're doing.
THAWN: I have thought.
FENNER: Because you could kill us all. The atmosphere here is thin already. Now a fireball that size could asphyxiate us.
THAWN: I don't think so.
FENNER: You don't think so. Have you worked out the risk?
THAWN: Countdown commencing. Now get to your places.
DUGEEN: You're mad. Fenner, we've got to stop him.
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Thawn's obviously taken a dive off the deep end now and his desire to be rid of the monster and the Swampies leads him to murder Dugeen:

DUGEEN: Thawn, you can't kill innocent people!
THAWN: They're Swampies.
DUGEEN: Call them what you like, they're no different from you or me.
THAWN: They are very different, Dugeen! Now get back to your place.
THAWN: Are you refusing to obey orders?
DUGEEN: On moral grounds, sir. Look, if you fire that rocket, it's not just the monster that'll die. You'll destroy a civilisation as old as your own.
THAWN: I don't count the Swampies as being civilised. You're talking like one of those cranks from Sons of Earth.
DUGEEN: They're not cranks. All life began on Mother Earth. All life is sacred!
THAWN: I'm giving you one last chance, Dugeen.

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THAWN: Now then, Fenner, do you want to give me an argument?
FENNER: Countdown in two minutes.
THAWN: Right. Now, keep a track on that thing.

FENNER: Thirty seconds. Burner eight hundred, increasing.
THAWN: Dugeen, get back.
DUGEEN: You can't do it, Thawn.
THAWN: Touch that abort button and I say I'll kill you.
DUGEEN: Then kill me, but you're not going to kill the others.
THAWN: I warned him, Fenner. You heard me warn him.
FENNER: That was murder. That was cold-blooded murder.
THAWN: The countdown! Look, he hasn't aborted. It hasn't stopped.
FENNER: The master cut-out's failed. Then you shot him for nothing, didn't you. Didn't you!
THAWN: But I don't understand. There was no delay in the cut-out.
FENNER: According to the computer, there's a fault in the primary ignition panel.
THAWN: Well, I'll soon fix that.
FENNER: Too late.
THAWN: What?
FENNER: Come and look at this. It's submerging again, back into the mud, and you're not going to hit it there.
THAWN: If that spineless fool hadn't interfered
FENNER: He'd be alive now, wouldn't he, and I'm reporting you for murder.
THAWN: It was justifiable homicide! You heard me warn him not to touch that abort panel. It was an act of sabotage.
FENNER: He didn't like your methods. That did not make him a saboteur.
THAWN: He was a plant from the Sons of Earth! It's obvious that he was sent here to cripple this project any way that he could.
FENNER: You don't kill a man because you suspect he belongs to the Sons of Earth.
THAWN: All right, Fenner. That will sound very good when we get back. But remember this. If we don't get back, it'll be his fault and not mine.
Thawn isn't the only leader having trouble as there's dissent in the Swampie ranks too:
RANQUIN: What's that?
SKART: It is only the machinery, Ranquin.
RANQUIN: This place is an abomination.
SKART: Yeah, on Delta Magna all the dryfoots live in these metal boxes.
RANQUIN: When we have completed our task here, I will ask Kroll to destroy it all.
VARLIK: Ranquin, why should Kroll do as you ask?
VARLIK: Well, if he's the Great One and you're but his Servant.
RANQUIN: While the People of the Lakes serve and do honour to Kroll, he will protect us against those who invade our waters.
VARLIK: Kroll destroyed our village. Was that to protect us?
RANQUIN: These are blasphemous questions, Varlik!
VARLIK: I'm only asking what must be on all minds.
RANQUIN: We promised Kroll the lives of the two dryfoots who profaned his temple. We failed to keep that promise. I tell you Kroll will not rest easily beneath these waters until he has eaten of their souls.
In a way Ranquin is right, as Kroll shows up very shortly afterwards and starts tearing the refinery to pieces!

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But that gives the Doctor an unexpected opportunity:

ROMANA: Where are you going?
DOCTOR: To test a theory. All theories have to be tested sometime, and this seems as good as any. You stay here in case I'm wrong.
ROMANA: About what?
DOCTOR: The Symbol of Kroll's power.

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Sure enough, just like Cessair of Diplos' power came from the third segment of the Key To Time, Kroll's comes from the fifth segment and when he comes into contact with the tracer it returns to it's natural form and Kroll is destroyed.

So we've defeated the monster but suddenly the computer wants to launch the rocket automatically and we must stop it, which looks like an obvious bit of padding at the end. It timed at just over 21 minutes so was under running a tad even with a lengthy reprise and the padding added on but there was some action in it, we got some of the message behind the story coming through with Thawn racist attitude to the Swampies and we got to do something with the series story for the quest for the Key to Time. Not a bad episode!

The first and last episodes of Power of Kroll aren't too bad at all. The middle two episodes, less so, but I found them much better this time round. But it's not a popular story and blame for is usually laid at the door of director Norman Stewart, especially since he also directed the #1 Turkey from the previous season, Underworld. But I'm not sure it's his fault at all: he makes great use of the location and the model work isn't bad either. Neither does writer Robert Holmes have to shoulder the blame as there is some good stuff going on here with an underlying anti-racism message. I know the script was written in a hurry to cover a script that fell through and perhaps, like Seeds of Doom, it could have done with another pass or two by the script editor before reaching the screen but I don't think there's anything basically wrong here. Holmes takes leave of the show for a while following this story, but he'll be back in a few years time.

Power of Kroll was novelised by Terrance Dicks. It was released on video in June 1995 on the same day as the following story, the Armageddon Factor, to form the final pair of stories from the Key to Time season released, with The Ribos Operation & The Pirate Planet coming out in April of the year and followed by Stones of Blood & Androids of Tara in May. The Key To Time season was a set of releases which came with a specially designed spine picture that ran over all six title. While there has never been a video boxset release of the Key To Time, it's only ever been available as a boxset on DVD. In October 2002 all six Key To Time stories were released in Region 1 with minimal extras & restoration to help satisfy the American demand for Tom Baker stories. The Key to Time was then released as a special edition, numbered & limited to 15,000 with brand new extras in Region 2 on the 24th September 2007, which sold out very quickly with this set commanding a premium price on eBay for quite some time. The Key to Time Box Set was reissued in a non limited edition in November 2009 and can now be had for a very reasonable price.

Two days after this episode was broadcast the Blake's 7 episode Shadow was shown.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

498 The Power of Kroll: Part Three

EPISODE: The Power of Kroll: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 January 1979
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: Norman Stewart
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)

"By the powers that I hold, I shall learn the truth. But if the dryfoots are not found and sacrificed according to the Holy Ritual, then all my people will suffer the anger of Kroll!"

Harg is pulled into the pipes to his death. The Doctor, Romana & Rohm-Dutt are tied up inside the temple with the sun shining on the creepers they are tied to and stretching them to death. The Doctor becomes interested in the source of Kroll's power, a holy relic which it swallowed. Rohm-Dutt reveals that Thawn paid him to supply the Swampies with weapons so he had an excuse to wipe them out and that the "Sons of Earth" group, the supposed weapons suppliers could be discredited. Kroll is measured by the refinery radar and found to be over a mile across. A storm hits the area, rocking the refinery platform. When the temple window breaks and the room is flooded with water, the Doctor, Romana & Rohm-Dutt are able to escape, but their absence is quickly discovered. As they reach the edge of the swamp the water starts to bubble & Rohm-Dutt is seized by one of Kroll's tentacles. The Doctor & Romana steal a boat to escape from the Swampies but find their escape blocked but Kroll who has risen to the surface.

DUGEEN: Six hundred yards.
THAWN: Six? From the end of its tentacles, that makes it, it must be nearly a mile across!
DUGEEN: Not far off. The central mass is a quarter of a mile in diameter by about a hundred and forty feet high.
THAWN: That radar doesn't show enough detail.
DUGEEN: I've counted thirty tentacles on one side alone.
FENNER: Well? Anything fresh?
THAWN: It still hasn't moved.
DUGEEN: Probably doesn't need to move much. We were just trying to decide what it'd look like out of the water.
FENNER: Very big and very ugly. What do you think it looks like?
Robert Holmes' brief for the story was to come up with the largest monster yet seen in Doctor Who. Over the years the Kroll creature, and director Norman Stewart's split screen filming techniques to show it, have come in for some unfair criticism but you know what? I don't think it looks too bad so far, especially in the long shots we've seen where it dominates the screen.

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Before this the Doctor, Romana & Rhom-Dutt have had to escape from being sacrificed to Kroll, in Romana's case for the second time!

ROHM-DUTT: Varlik. Varlik? What is this seventh ritual?
VARLIK: It is the slowest of all.
ROMANA: I knew it.
VARLIK: I tried to persuade Ranquin that only Rohm-Dutt deserved to be punished by the seventh ritual and that you others should die by the first. That's very easy. They just throw you down the pit and drop rocks on you.
ROMANA: Oh, thank you. It's nice to know who your friends are.
The Doctor uses it as an opportunity to solicit information:
DOCTOR: Ranquin, what was the secret of Kroll's power?
RANQUIN: What do you know of that, dryfoot?
DOCTOR: I've read about it somewhere.
RANQUIN: Kroll had the power of the Symbol. He sees all.
DOCTOR: Yes, I know Kroll has it now, but what was it?
RANQUIN: The Symbol was a holy relic brought here by our ancestors at the time of the settlement.
DOCTOR: Yes, but what was the power?
RANQUIN: He who holds the Symbol can see the future. The power revealed how the dryfoots would destroy Delta Magna with their fighting and their greed and the evil of their great cities. That is why my people came to settle here.
DOCTOR: Your people were evicted from their homeland, Ranquin. You had no choice.
RANQUIN: What do these questions matter to you who are already dying?
DOCTOR: I like to get things straightened out.
ROMANA: Must you use expressions like that?
RANQUIN: Your mind is bent, dryfoot. It's well that you die.
DOCTOR: He's got narrow little eyes. You can't hypnotise people with narrow little eyes.
ROMANA: Oh, that's what you were trying to do.
DOCTOR: Yes, trying to persuade him to untie us. Our only chance.
ROHM-DUTT: How long have we got?
DOCTOR: I don't know the contraction rates of creeper, or the breaking point of bones and ligament.
ROHM-DUTT: I can feel it dragging already.
DOCTOR: Sorry you didn't stay on Delta Magna now, eh? Who paid you to bring the natives guns?
ROHM-DUTT: Thawn. He wanted an excuse to wipe them out.
DOCTOR: And who do they think brought them?
ROHM-DUTT: I told them the guns were sent by the Sons of Earth. Oh, I got a signed receipt, too, for Thawn to use to discredit them.
DOCTOR: Why the Sons of Earth?
ROHM-DUTT: Do you have to keep asking questions at a time like this now?
DOCTOR: No, no, no, no, shush. Why did Thawn want to discredit the Sons of Earth?
ROHM-DUTT: They're a crank organisation. They support these primitives. They want Thawn's company to pull out.
ROMANA: Why do they call themselves the Sons of Earth? Not that I care very much.
DOCTOR: No, no, no, no, that's a very good questions. After all, none of them can ever have seen the Earth.
ROHM-DUTT: Mother Earth, they call it. They believe colonising the planets is a mistake. They want us all to return to the Earth and starve. Oh! Oh! My ankles are breaking!
DOCTOR: Imagination.
3c 3d

Their method of escape is one of the daftest things I've seen for a long while. In the middle of the strongest storm the moon has ever witnessed the temple window breaks. Is it the force of the storm that does it? No: it's the Doctor suddenly being able to project a high frequency note. Bwah? No previous hint the Doctor could do that, and it's not even necessary, the storm could have quite easily smashed the window! I'm sensing some Tom improvisation in rehearsals here!

So Thawn is behind the plan to supply guns to the Swampies and his motives are also revealed:

THAWN: It still hasn't shown up. Where is it?
FENNER: It's gone right off the screen now.
DUGEEN: Just ploughed straight on. It must be somewhere under the swamp by now.
THAWN: Can't you get a track on it?
DUGEEN: At a viscosity level of forty percent solids, this box goes blind.
FENNER: You know, the incredible thing is, it didn't even slow down. It seems to be able to move as easily through swamp as through water. It was on a bearing of ninety seven degrees. Hmm. Do you know where that's taking it?
THAWN: Where?
FENNER: Straight to the settlement.
DUGEEN: That could just be a coincidence, Fenner.
FENNER: Oh yes, it could have headed off in any direction. It so happens it's heading for the settlement, so the Swampies have some problems.
DUGEEN: How could it possibly know there's anything there? The settlement's two miles away.
FENNER: How did it know that Harg was in the pump chamber? It seems to have a highly sensitive mechanism for detecting food.
THAWN: In which case, the Swampies most certainly do have some problems.
FENNER: You know, I don't particularly like the Swampies, but I can't say I really hate them.
THAWN: Oh, I don't hate them, Fenner. I just want them removed permanently. I spent many years persuading the Company to back this project, and now that we're on the verge of success I'm not going to be stopped by lily-livered sentimentalists wailing about the fate of a few primitive savages.
Playing Thawn is Neil McCarthy who was previously the convict Barnham, who had his "evil impulses" removed in The Mind of Evil. He can also be seen in The Professionals as Sam Armitage in It's Only a Beautiful Picture, Clash of the Titans as Calibos and Time Bandits as the 2nd Robber.

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Playing Fenner, in his last Doctor Who appearance, is regular Doctor Who guest Philip Madoc. He's taking the place of Alan Browning at the last minute when he dropped out. It's been speculated over the years that Madoc thought he was playing the larger role of the lead villain Thawn. Madoc had previously been in writer Robert Holmes' first Doctor Who story, The Krotons, as Eelek also appearing in The War Games as the War Lord and The Brain of Morbius as Mehendri Solon, as well as appearing in the second 1960s Dalek Movie: Dalek Invasion of Earth 2164ad as Brockley.

He's been in loads of television including UFO as Straker's ex wife's new partner in A Question Of Priorities and the first episode of Space: 1999, Breakaway, as Koenig's predecessor Commander Gorski. I recently saw him in Midsomer Murdersplaying Barnaby's former (Welsh) DCI in The Axeman Cometh, a barking episode involving a rock group. But not half as barking as Country Matters is! Those are just the ones off the top of my head: checking IMDB also found me an Out of This World, as George Mathias in Target Generation, five roles in The Avengers, another UFO as Captain Steven in Destruction, The Sweeney as Det. Supt. Pettiford in Golden Fleece, Porridge as Williams in Disturbing the Peace and Survivors as Max Kershaw in The Chosen.

He's got a talent for playing German officers and in this role he can be seen in one of the most repeated clips on television. He plays the commanding officer of the U-Boat crew captured by the Walmington-on-Sea home guard in the Dad's Army episode "The Deadly Attachment".

Dugeen too was meant to be played by another different actor: Martin Jarvis, previously of the Web Planet & Invasion of the Dinosaurs, but he too dropped out at a late stage. Jarvis was replaced as Dugeen by regular K-9 voice actor John Leeson, who was not required in his usual role in the series. Away from the K-9 role Leeson provided the voices of the Dalek Battle Computer and, uncredited, other Dalek voices to Remembrance of the Daleks. He'd also been in Dad's Army as the 1st Soldier in Sons of the Sea, but is most famous for playing Bungle in Rainbow. He's appeared twice in Blake's 7 playing Pasc in Mission to Destiny and Toise in Gambit. He worked on the well remembered children's TV series Jigsaw as the voices of Jigg, Pterry & Biggum and used his years of anonymity as a voice artist well as Jeremy Beadle's regular hatchet man in stunts on Beadle's About!

0 Dugeen 0 Harg

Grahame Mallard plays Harg, the refinery worker dragged to his death at the start of this episode. He'd been in The Sweeney as Ingram in Faces.

Three episodes in and no sign of the fifth refinery crew member mentioned in episode one!

Two days after this episode was broadcast the first episode of the second series of Blake's 7, Redemption, was shown.