Sunday, 24 November 2019

518 Nightmare of Eden: Part One

EPISODE: Nightmare of Eden: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 24 November 1979
WRITER: Bob Baker
DIRECTOR: Alan Bromly
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 8.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Nightmare of Eden

"Interfere? Of course we should interfere. Always do what you're best at, that's what I say!

The spaceliner Empress comes out of Hyperspace into orbit around the planet Azure but due to an error by the co-pilot Secker it collides with and ends up fused with another ship the Hecate. The Tardis arrives and, seeing the unstable matter interface between the ships, the Doctor decides to interfere and poses as an investigator from Galactic insurance & salvage. He meets captain Rigg, the commanding officer of the Empress, and Mr Dymond, the owner of the Hecate. The Doctor comes up with a plan to separate the ships. Secker is told to take the Doctor to the power room, but behaving oddly, leaves him. The Doctor & K-9 follow and discover Secker using the banned drug Vraxoin. Romana meets Tryst, and his assistant Della, engaged in a survey using his CET machine which keep matter in a crystal in the machine. The Doctor tells Rigg that he thinks Secker is using Vraxoin. The drugged up Secker wanders into an unstable matter interface. The Doctor asks Tryst about where he has visited, but Dymond is keen to get his ship separated so he has Rigg take him to the Power Unit. Tryst reveals to Romana that a member of their crew was killed on the journey. Romana examines the projections of the planets Tryst has been to and catches sight of someone inside the Eden projection. Della reveals that it was on Eden the lost their other crew member. Trying to reach the power unit the Doctor finds his path blocked by a matter interface. He hears a scream and a bloodied Secker falls out of the interface. Returning to where Secker keeps his drugs the Doctor is shot. Tryst is shown Secker, who dies, and guarantees to Rigg he has only bought recording not live specimens aboard. Romana & K-9 find the Doctor. Romana wonders if the creatures could have escaped from the machine through the unstable matter interface and is sent to examine the CET machine where she is attacked by something in the Eden projection. K-9 starts to cut his way through to the power room but once the hole is complete a rampaging monster is revealed

1y 1z

Ooops, you can see the outline of the section the Doctor & Rigg remove before K-9 starts cutting it!

1 a 1 b

That's not a bad episode, plenty going on with some reasonable, if functional & unspectacular, sets. Most of the performances aren't bad but Lewis Fiander's accent as Tryst is more than slightly dubious and reminds me a lot of Gag Halfrunt from the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio Series

There's some nice ideas floating around in Bob Baker's first and only solo story for Doctor Who. )

0 Writer 6o

All of Bob Baker's previous stories for the show - Claws of Axos, The Mutants, The Three Doctors, The Sontaran Experiment, Hand of Fear, Underworld and the Armageddon Factor - had been written in partnership with Dave Martin.

The fused ships coming out of Hyperspace is good but the CET Machine is startlingly reminiscent of the Scope seen in Carnival of Monsters. The drugs angle to the plot is a surprisingly adult one for Doctor Who to be tackling at this time.

1 planet a Retha 1 planet b Piri

Do some of the Backgrounds of the environment shown from the CET machine look familiar? They're from footage from model sequences created for several Space 1999 episodes: The planet Retha from Full Circle, Piri from Guardians of Piri and Terra Nova from Matter of Life & Death together with a new set for Eden!

1 planet c Terra Nova 1 planet d Eden

Captain Rigg of the Empress is played by David Daker who was Irongron in director Alan Bromly's only previous Doctor Who story The Time Warrior. He'd previously been in UFO as a SHADO Guard in Flight Path, the last episode of Porridge, Final Stretch, as Jarvis and Time Bandits as Kevin's Father. He's probably best known for playing Harry Crawford in Boon.

0 Rigg 0 Secker

His copilot Secker is played by Stephen Jenn. He would appear in Blake's 7: Ultraworld as Ultra 2 in that show's third season broadcast early the next year.

The Hecate's captain Dymond is played by Geoffrey Bateman. You can see him in The Professionals episode Backtrack as Anson.

0 Dymond 0 Crew

Richard Barnes is the only credited Crewman in this episode and thus is the one on the right who speaks! there's two other uncredited crewmen, Simon Sutton, who returns as the lookout in Planet of Fire, and Mark Kirby, who was in 2 Blake's 7 episodes: Killer as Communications Technician / Firefighter and Gambit as a Customer / Gambler. However I'm not sure which of them the actor to the left of the picture is!

Australian Actor Lewis Fiander plays the scientist Tryst. He can be seen in The Sweeney television episode In from the Cold as Ashby-Jones and their second film, Sweeney 2, as Gorran.

0 Tryst 0 Della

Jennifer Lonsdale plays Tryst's assistant Della. She appears as a technician in all 6 episode of the widely derided science fiction sit-com Come Back Mrs. Noah as a Technician.

The Stewardess was Sally Sinclair who was the Levitating Girl in Talon of Weng Chiang. In Blake's 7 she was a Mutoid in Pressure Point and a Space Rat in Stardrive.

The Computer Voice was Pamela Ruddock.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

517 The Creature from the Pit: Part Four

EPISODE: The Creature from the Pit: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 17 November 1979
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit

" I'm afraid you have only twenty four hours to live!"

The creature uses the shield to communicate using the Doctor's larynx introducing itself as Erato, a high ambassador from Tythonus. Erato came to Chloris to propose a trading agreement for the metal, abundant on Tythonus, for Chlorophyll, which is found on Chloris. Adrasta, holder of the monopoly on metal on Chloris, imprisoned it in the pit. Angry at the deception Adrasta has perpetrated the guards sets the wolf weeds on her killing her. Erato is freed from the pit. The Doctor reveals the shell they found was Erato's spaceship. Romana works out the noise the shell was making was distress signal. The bandits plan to steal Erato's photon drive, which the Doctor has entrusted to Organon. The Tythonians have set a Neutron star on a course for Chloris' sun in retaliation for the treatment of their ambassador. The Doctor plans to get Erato to weave a layer of aluminium round the star to divert it's course, but it is discovered the photon drive is missing. Kerala retrieves the drive, killing the bandit's leader, and the Doctor convinces her to turn it over to him. Erato's repaired ship lifts off and successfully wraps the star in aluminium, diverting it's course and saving Chloris. The Doctor brings the people of Chloris a trading agreement from Erato.

Hmmm. I dislike this episode an awful lot. The main thrust of what's been going on, the Creature in the Pit, is all wrapped up terribly quickly as Erato uses the device to communicate and reveals what happened to him

ERATO: Please allow me to explain. This is not the Doctor speaking. I am simply using his larynx. We Tythonions don't have them.
ROMANA: Ask its name.
ERATO: My name is Erato.
ROMANA: Where does it come from?
ERATO: I am from the planet Tythonus.
ROMANA: Then what are you doing here skulking about in a pit eating people?
DOCTOR: Oh, please! You put that very crudely.
ERATO: To skulk about in pits, as you so crudely put it, is not my normal habit. I most emphatically do not eat people. I live by ingesting chlorophyll and mineral salts. I would have you know that I am the Tythonian High Ambassador.
ORGANON: Really?
ERATO: I am. I was on a trading mission to this planet when I
DOCTOR: Of course! I should have guessed instantly. It's all the fault of that woman Adrasta.

4a 4b

DOCTOR: Erato came here fifteen years ago to propose a trading agreement. Tythonus is a planet rich in metallic ores and minerals. Am I not right, K9?
K9: Checking data banks. Affirmative, master.
DOCTOR: That was a good guess.
ADRASTA: Fools! You listen to the opinions of an electric dog?
DOCTOR: The Tythonions exist on ingesting chlorophyll. Large quantities of it, judging by their size. Now, there's a superabundance of planet life on Chloris, so
ROMANA: So Erato came here to offer you metal in return for chlorophyll. Of course!
DOCTOR: Right. But who was the first person he met?
ORGANON: The person who held the monopoly of metal here.
DOCTOR: Right. And did she put the welfare of her struggling people above her own petty power? No. She's tipped the ambassador into a pit and threw astrologers at him.
HUNTSMAN: Is this true, my lady?
ADRASTA: Not a word of it. It's a pack of lies.
DOCTOR: Let's see if Erato agrees with me, shall we?
ADRASTA: That won't prove anything! You just take hold of that thing and say exactly what you like. You expect intelligent people to fall for your childish tricks?
DOCTOR: Well, it's very simple. Why don't you come over here, take hold of the communicator and we'll hear the truth from your larynx.
ADRASTA: What? No. Don't talk such rubbish. Huntsman, I order you to kill the Doctor!
HUNTSMAN: My lady, I think we want to hear the truth of this. Go and speak with the Creature.

ERATO: Your deductions are, of course, correct. We are running dangerously short of chlorophyll on Tythonus, and have more metal than we need. Reports reached us of this planet Chloris which had precisely the opposite problem, and we thought that a trading agreement would be mutually beneficial.
ADRASTA: It's lies, lies! It's all lies!
ERATO: No, it is you who are lying. Unfortunately, I ran foul of this evil woman who tricked me into the Pit. If you will forgive me, I have a score to settle.

So having got the explanations for what going on out the way in the first 1/3 of the episode the rest seems like something added onto the end to extend the story for 2/3 of an episode. Out of nowhere seemingly the entire planet is in danger and The Doctor must save it!
ERATO: What I have to tell you is no more pleasant for me than it will be for you, but it has passed beyond my
DOCTOR: Oh do get on with it.
ERATO: I'm afraid you have only twenty four hours to live.
DOCTOR: Shush. Romana, the communicator.
ERATO: I came as an ambassador to buy chlorophyll, but Adrasta imprisoned me. However, she failed to prevent the other half of my ship from communicating that fact to my brothers on Tythonus. They will have taken that as an act of aggression and responded accordingly.
By firing a Neutron Star at Chloris? Surely someone would have noticed an object moving across the night sky towards the plane and growing bigger? Or are we relying on Astrologer Organnon being the only one who looks up? And if Chloris is destroyed then the chlorophyll the Tythonions want is going to get destroyed too! Nobody's going to win!

4c 4d

This element of the plot comes from absolutely nowhere! Did they get quite late in the day and realise the script was running short or something and need some extra scenes primarily set in the Tardis bolted on? It desperately needed some form of signposting earlier in the story which it didn't get so blame has to be laid at the fee of writer David Fisher and Script Editor Douglas Adams, both of whom should have picked this flaw up!

Creature from the Pit's execution isn't the best but the concepts are good: Evil beautiful woman with trapped good but hideous alien is reminiscent of Galaxy Four while the idea of a plant rich but metal poor civilisation coming into contact with one with the opposite problem is clever as is the idea that the first person the ambassador from the metal planet coming into contact with is someone with the monopoly on metal and thus an interest in preserving the status quo. After this it all falls apart with especial blame being laid at the feet of the monster. Not my favourite story.

This is the last Doctor Who story directed by Christopher Barry. His complete Doctor Who CV reads The Daleks (episodes 1,2,4,5 only), The Rescue, The Romans, The Savages, The Power of the Dalek, The Dæmons, The Mutants, Robot, The Brain of Morbius & The Creature from the Pit. He's also directed for Moonbase 3 and The Tripods, plus a range of other BBC productions over the years.

Creature from the Pit was adapted by it's original author David Fisher in 1981. It was was released on VHS in July 2002 and on DVD in May 2010.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

516 The Creature from the Pit: Part Three

EPISODE: The Creature from the Pit: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 10 November 1979
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 10.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit

"How are we going to talk to each other, eh? Why can't we talk to each other? How do you communicate with your own kind?"

Driving Organon and the guards out of his cave the creature seals the entrance with metal. One of the guards informs Adrasta. The Doctor attempts to communicate with the creature, deducing it has chlorophyll in it's veins. The creature creates a metal shape in the rock which the Doctor recognises as a shield hanging on Adrasta's palace wall. As he does so the shield lights up, but just then the bandits arrive in the palace and start to loot it, taking the shield. Detected they flee into the mines. The Doctor finds pieces of the shell he saw on the surface in the cave, and Romana finds the cave blockage is also the same material. Two of the bandits become entranced by the shield and carry it away. With the metal weakened the Doctor bursts through, with Adrasta wanting to know how he communicated with the creature. Adrasta sends K-9, Romana & the guards to kill the creature, but they cannot find the creature. Adrasta starts to panic, and accidentally reveals the creature is a Tythonian. The Doctor and Romana attempt to escape using K-9, but as they do the creature approaches. The Doctor deduces that Adrasta put it in the pit. Adrasta holds the Doctor at knife point demanding that Romana has K-9 kill the creature. The bandits arrive and place the shield on the creature to Adrasta's screams of NO!

The more we find out about the creature in the pit the more intriguing it gets.

DOCTOR: Pure cadmium. That didn't come from this mine.
DOCTOR: A nugget of iron. Iron ore I could understand, but pure iron? I wonder where it came from?
DOCTOR: Hello. Friend. Friend. It's all right, it's all right. Look, you can see I'm not armed, eh? I won't hurt you. How could I hurt you? I mean, how? You've got beautiful skin. Extraordinary skin. Green veins. Chlorophyll? I wonder. Well, if it's chlorophyll you need, you've come to the right place. Chlorophyll? I wonder. No, don't get frightened. It's all right, it's all right. Shush. Shush.
DOCTOR: There. There, that's not so bad now, is it. Good girl. Good boy. You're a problem, you know. You're aware of me, yet you haven't got any eyes. Haven't got a mouth. At least, not one that I can see. Come to think of it, you haven't even got a head. So how do we communicate, hmm? Telepathy?
DOCTOR: Hello? I am the Doctor. Friend. Friend.

3a 3b
We will not pass further comment on what Tom Baker appears to be doing to the creature's appendage while attempting to communicate with it, but I believe the actor himself has something to say on the matter in Doctor Who: The Tom Baker Years.
DOCTOR: Hello. I am the Doctor. Friend. Friend. Nothing. Not a thing. How are we going to talk to each other, eh? Why can't we talk to each other? How do you communicate with your own kind?
DOCTOR: Steady. Steady, friend. You don't know your own. Easy. Friend. Friend.
DOCTOR: What's that? A picture? I've seen that somewhere before.
3c 3d

Yup, obeying Chekov's Gun to the letter, it' been hanging on the wall behind Adrasta's throne for 2 and a bit episodes. And Because the secret of comedy is timing at precisely the moment we find out what it's use is the Bandits finally show their relevance to the plot by half inching it. Fortunately the two who lay fingers on it are seemingly possessed by the device and then spend the rest of the episode wordlessly carrying it about!

However it appears as if Adrasta may have may have known what her ornament was for all along:

ADRASTA: I demand you tell me how you broke through the shell.
DOCTOR: Ah. I asked the Creature very nicely. My pleasure, it said.
ADRASTA: Liar! The Creature can't talk without..... Guardmaster, take a look!
KARELA: I'll go with him.
ORGANON: Your luck's still holding out.
DOCTOR: It is, rather, isn't it.
ORGANON: You must have been born under a particularly favourable conjunction of celestial circumstances.
DOCTOR: I was.
ORGANON: What sign were you born under?
DOCTOR: Crossed computers.
ORGANON: Crossed what?
DOCTOR: Computers. It's the symbol of the maternity service on Gallifrey.
GUARDMASTER: It's all clear, my lady.
ADRASTA: No sign of the Creature?
ADRASTA: Why did it let you get away? Why didn't it kill you?
DOCTOR: I don't know. Why don't you ask it? Incidentally, how did you know with such certainty that creature couldn't talk, eh? What do you know about it? And why do you want it killed so badly, hmm?
ADRASTA: You ask too many questions, Doctor.
More emerges when she is confronted with the creature:
ADRASTA: No! Get away from me! Ah!
DOCTOR: Frightening, isn't it?
ADRASTA: Don't let it get me. You mustn't let that thing get me! It'll kill me!
DOCTOR: What? An evil thing, killing. Why should it want to kill you? It didn't want to kill me, did you, old fellow? Do you know something? I believe he wants to kill you.
ADRASTA: Keep it away from me. It's, it's going to eat me.
DOCTOR: Oh, come on. You know it really doesn't eat people, don't you? But you know what it does eat and you haven't been letting it get any, have you. No, you just stuck it in a pit and threw people at it.
ORGANON: She did indeed.
DOCTOR: Yes, I wouldn't be surprised if it wanted to kill you. I wouldn't be surprised at all.
ADRASTA: Now, Doctor, I mean to have that creature dead. Romana, train K9's ray on it. Now!
DOCTOR: Don't do it, Romana.
ADRASTA: Or the Doctor dies. Six seconds, Romana.

3w 3x

ADRASTA: Get away from here! Get away! Or the Doctor dies.

3y 3z

ADRASTA: No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!

Unfortunately the story as it's unfolding on the screen is a little pedestrian to say the least.

With this episode, his 135th, Tom Baker takes the record for the longest serving Doctor in terms of episodes. He'll eventually extend that record to 172 broadcast episodes (or 178 ish if you count Shada) and nobody will ever get remotely close to braking that record again.

Although the actress playing Adrasta, Myra Frances doesn't have any Doctor Who form, indeed the only thing I can find that we might have seen her in is Survivors, lots of the rest of the cast do.

1 Adrasta 1 Karela

Playing Karela, her assistant, is Eileen Way who was the Old Mother in the very first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child, and was first character to die in the entire series. Although she hasn't been in the TV show since she played the old woman in the Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. film. She also appears in By the Sword Divided, which features many Doctor Who personnel, as the nurse Minty. A late entry on her CV is a role Russell T Davies children's drama series Century Falls.

Completing Adrasta's staff in David Telfer who plays the Huntsman, the Wolf Weeds human controller.

1 Huntsman 1 Torvin

From the bandits, John Bryans, playing their leader Torvin, was Senator Bercol during the first two series of Blake's 7 (Seek Locate Destroy & Trial) returning in the third series as the torturer Shrinker (the superb Rumours of Death).

Edu is played by Edward Kelsey who was a slave buyer in The Romans & Resno in The Power of the Daleks. He was in the first season Doomwatch episode The Red Sky as Captain Tommy Gort which you can see on The Doomwatch DVD and in the first episode of the second series of The Tripodsas Professor Bernstein but to people of my generation he's best remembered as the voice of Colonel K & Baron Silas Greenback in Danger Mouse.

1 Edu 1 Ainu

Ainu is played by Tim Munro who'll return as Sigurd in Terminus.

The Bandits ranks are boosted by a number of extras including Laurie Goode. He'd previously been a Mutt in The Mutants and a Time Lord in The Invasion of Time. He'll be back as a Tigellan in Meglos, a Peasant in State of Decay, a Tharil in Warriors' Gate, a Sailor on the Shadow in Enlightenment. a Colonist in Frontios and a British Unit Trooper in Battlefield. He'd been in Survivors as a Looter in The Chosen and would appear in Blake's 7 as a Hi-tech Patient in Powerplay, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as a Jogger in the sixth episode and Star Cops as the Dealer in Little Green Men and Other Martians. Another Bandit, Nick Joseph, is making his Doctor Who debut here but will return as Hardin's Aide in The Leisure Hive, a Cricket Player in Black Orchid, a Lazar in Terminus and a Luddite in The Mark of the Rani. He appears in the final season of Blake's 7 as an Animal in Animals and Muller's Corpse / the android in Headhunter. Jerry Judge is also making his Doctor Who debut as a bandit: He'll be back as a Kinda in Kinda, the Buccaneer First Officer in Enlightenment, the Man-At-Arms in The King's and a Soldier in The Caves of Androzani.

Somewhere amongst Adrasta's masked guards are the familiar features of John Cannon. He'd been a Miner in The Monster of Peladon, Elgin in The Hand of Fear, a Passer by in The Talons of Weng-Chiang, a Trog in Underworld, a Technician in The Pirate Planet and a Guard in The Armageddon Factor. He'll be back as an Extra in Time-Flight, a Striker's Helmsman in Enlightenment and Sir Raulf Fitzwilliam's 1st Servant in The King's Demons. He was a Moonbase 3 Technician in Castor and Pollux and is a Prison Inmate in the Porridge episode A Night In. He was in The Sweeney twice as a Constable in Supersnout and a Policeman in Thou Shalt Not Kill, in which he's directed by Doctor Who director Douglas Camfield. In I, Claudius he's a Cake Ship slave in A Touch of Murder. His Blake's 7 are 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. He's in The Professionals as Huey in It's Only a Beautiful Picture and the same year plays a Holographic Imperial Officer in The Empire Strikes Back. Camfield uses him again as a Legionnaire in Beau Geste.

Another guard is played by regular extra 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 Hand of Fear, a Steaming Audience Member in The Sun Makers part four, a Shrieve in The Ribos Operation part four and a Guard in The Armageddon Factor part one. He'll be back as 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.

A third guard Derek Suthern first appeared as a Path Lab Technician in The Hand of Fear, followed by a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara and a Mute in The Armageddon Factor. He's in this season 3 times returning as 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 Atlantis Guard and is in Fawlty Towers as a Hotel Guest in both The Germans and The Psychiatrist.

Finally Guardmaster Tommy Wright has an appearance in The Professionals to his name as a Race Official in Wild Justice.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

515 The Creature from the Pit: Part Two

EPISODE: The Creature from the Pit: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 03 November 1979
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 10.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit

"I see a creature coming to you from beyond the stars!"

The Doctor survives by clinging to a ledge, breaking his fall, before falling the remaining way to the pit's floor. Adrasta plans to put Romana to work on the shell and to break K-9 up for the metal that forms his construction. The Doctor encounters the creature in the pit, a huge glowing green monster. Romana convinces Adrasta that the knowledge she needs is in K-9. In the Pit the Doctor encounters Organon, an astrologer that Adrasta threw into the pit for telling her that she would have visitors from beyond the stars, the Doctor deducing that Adrasta is a afraid of alien visitors. The Bandits plan to attack the palace to steal the metal contained within. Organon tells the Doctor how Adrasta owns the only metal mine on the planet and thus has a monopoly. Romana attempts to escape but gets no further than the throne room. The Doctor wonders how the creature got in the pit. Adrasta interrogates Romana and plans to use the Tardis to journey to the stars to get more metal. She then decides to use K-9 to kill something huge which is now superfluous. Assessing a secret corridor they enter the mines. The Doctor & Organon stumble into the huge chamber containing the creature which reaches out and consumes the Doctor.....

2y 2z

There's some good ideas bubbling away in the background of this one including the female dominated society and the metal shortage.

ADRASTA: Ah, your curious tin animal.
ROMANA: What are you going to do with him?
ADRASTA: On our planet, my dear, metal of whatever sort is valuable. Far too valuable for mere toys. Guards, break up the tin dog. Smash it to pieces.
ROMANA: But you can't break up K9!
ADRASTA: Don't worry, my dear. We'll keep every piece of precious metal.
Then there's the creature in the story's title:
ROMANA: What is that thing in the pit?
ADRASTA: We call it the Creature.
ROMANA: Ah, that's original. But what kind of creature is it?
ADRASTA: Hard to say, really.
ROMANA: Why is that?
ADRASTA: Our researchers divide into two categories. The ones who have got close enough to find out something about it.
ADRASTA: And the ones who are still alive.
ROMANA: But you must know something about it.
ADRASTA: It kills people. What more is there to know?
ROMANA: Where does it come from? Is it a native of this planet?
ADRASTA: I'm sorry about your friend, my dear, believe me, but you saw for yourself, he hurled himself into the Pit. He wasn't
It's appearance, a big green blob with an extremely phallic looking appendage, leaves a lot to be desired! Wait till you see what Tom does to that later! Years later the special effects team still recall this story will a distinct lack of fondness as recounted in some detail on the Team Erato documentary on The Creature from the Pit DVD.

Then there's a failed escape attempt in this episode: Romana first discusses her escape plan with K-9 and then it fails. An obvious attempt at time wasting!

Then there's the silliness with the books:

DOCTOR: Everest In Easy Stages.
DOCTOR: It's in Tibetan!

2a 2b

DOCTOR: Pi-e pa-ha. Do not be afraid.

There is a tinsy tiny chance that this scene is meant to be a reference to the theme of communication which emerges next episode but for my money it's always felt like a throw away joke!

Fortunately some entertainment is at hand courtesy of the episode's most recognisable guest star:

DOCTOR: Thank you. Thank you. And thank you for saving me from that creature.
ORGANON: Oh, don't mention it, sir. As my dear mother always used to say. Born under the sign of Patus, middle cusp she was. If you can help anybody, like preventing them from being eaten by a monster, then do so. They might be grateful. So I did.
DOCTOR: Indeed you did, and I am grateful, and your mother was obviously a very fine woman. I'm the Doctor. Who are you?
ORGANON: Organon, sir.
DOCTOR: Organon?
ORGANON: Astrologer extraordinary. Seer to princes and emperors. The future foretold, the past explained, the present apologised for.
DOCTOR: What are you doing down here?
ORGANON: A small matter of a slight error in a prophecy.
DOCTOR: Ah. Well, I guess it could happen to anybody.
ORGANON: Why, are you in the business yourself, sir?
ORGANON: Seeing into the future?
DOCTOR: Oh, well.
ORGANON: Crystal ball man, are you? Or do you favour goat entrails?
DOCTOR: No, I tend to use a police box affair.
ORGANON: A police box affair?
DOCTOR: Yes. What about your prophecy? Did it by any chance concern the Lady Adrasta?
ORGANON: Oh, you've met her.
ORGANON: A difficult woman. Very literal mind. I told her that she would have visitors from beyond the stars.
DOCTOR: Ooo, a bit rash, wasn't it?
ORGANON: Well, it seemed a safe enough bet at the time. It's a great attention-getter, you know. I do it very well.
ORGANON: I see a creature coming to you from beyond the stars. I've done it in all the courts on the planet. It usually goes down very well.
DOCTOR: Yes, I can see it might. But the Lady Adrasta?
ORGANON: Oh, she grew very nasty. What sort of creature, she wanted to know. Well, I stalled a bit. You know, a little professional
DOCTOR: Vagueness.
ORGANON: Discretion.
ORGANON: And she threw me down here, with that thing. Where are you from?
DOCTOR: Me? Oh, from beyond the stars, you know.
ORGANON: Oh, so I was right!
ORGANON: And then Adrasta grew nasty with you and threw you down here as well?
DOCTOR: Me? No, no, no, no, no. I jumped.
ORGANON: Jumped?
DOCTOR: Yes. Do you think she's frightened of someone coming from beyond the stars?
ORGANON: I should say so. Was she frightened of you?
DOCTOR: No, no, no. I don't think it was me she was expecting.
2c GB1 2d GB2

By far the most recognisable face in this story is someone who could have been in Doctor Who hundreds of times, but this is actually his first & only appearance: playing the astrologer Organon, with more than a hint of William Hartnell, is Geoffrey Bayldon. It seems that every time the Doctor was cast his name was mentioned in connection with the role! Years later he would play an alternate version of the first Doctor in two Big Finish audio plays. By this point he was famous for playing the lead role in Catweazle and had recently appeared in the film version of Porridge. He was, at the time this series was made, appearing in Worzel Gummidge, as the Crowman, with third Doctor Jon Pertwee. He had appeared in the celebrated An Age of Kings playing, like many of the cast, several roles across the series, played Tirayaan in The Tomorrow People story Into the Unknown, Number Eight in Space: 1999 second season story One Moment of Humanity and featured on the big screen as Q in the original version of Casino Royale. Constantly in demand he was still working well into his 80s. His partner was actor Alan Rowe, who appeared in Doctor Who four times: as Doctor Evans in The Moonbase, Edward of Wessex in The Time Warrior, Skinsale in Horror of Fang Rock and Decider Gariff in Full Circle. Bayldon was interviewed by Toby Hadoke for Who's Round 117 and died aged 93 on 10th May 2017.

This is Tom Baker's 134th episode of Doctor Who which brings him equal with William Hartnell's episode count.