Sunday, 11 October 2020

538 Meglos: Part Three

EPISODE: Meglos: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 October 1980
WRITER: John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch
DIRECTOR: Terence Dudley
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 4.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Meglos

"Whatever reasons you had for doing this, the fact remains that without the Dodecahedron's energy, in two hours time this city will be dead!"

Romana is taken to the Gaztak ship as the Tigellan underground city's services begins to fail. The Doctor insists to Lexa & Zastor that he didn't take the Dodecahedron and he has only just arrived: he realises he has a doppelgänger. Romana is ordered by the Gaztaks to lead them to her craft, but leads them round in circles in the Jungle. The Meglos Doctor captures one of the Savants, Caris, and has her escort him out of the city. Lexa seizes control, believing that the Dodecahedron has been taken away by their Gods and prepares to sacrifice the Doctor to appease them to guarantee it's return. Romana makes it to the city as it is sealed, finding the de-powered K-9 and bringing him with her. The Gaztaks storm the city allowing the Meglos Doctor to escape and they leave for Zolfa Thura. The Doctor is tied to a stone slab with torches burning the ropes the hold a second slab suspended above him....

3a 3b

That was a bit better than the last two, with some good stuff as Meglos' host struggles against it.

3c 3d

However Romana leading the Gaztaks round the jungle stank of blatant time wasting. Since we've lost time in the last two episodes, having the Doctor & Romana stuck in a time loop, this is unforgivable.

Meglos is the only Doctor Who story to be Directed by Terence Dudley. An experienced director, and producer he had strong links to the Doctor Who world having produced Gerry Davis & Kit Pedler's Doomwatch and Terry Nation's Survivors. In 1981 he was offered the Producer's job on Blake's 7 but turned it down. He would then go on to write three stories for Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday, Black Orchid and The King's Demons as well as the one off K-9 & Company.

3a Director 3b Writers

Meglos is also the only shown Doctor Who story by authors John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch. They contributed a second story, Project Zeta-Sigma, which was planned to open Season Nineteen and introduce the Fifth Doctor. They continued to write for television producing scripts for (amongst other) Robin Of Sherwood: The Betrayal, Peak Practise and Heartbeat.

Flanagan had been an actor. His most notable role up until this point was three episodes of The Sweeney, Jackpot, Thin Ice & Queen's Pawn where he plays DS Matt Mathews. He also appears in Sweeney 2 as Willard. He continues to work as an actor and turns up in the Lewis episode Generation of Vipers as Tony Mangold and in the Inspector Morse prequel Endeavour as Mr. Greaves in Girl.

McCulloch, also has a number of acting credits to his name including a priest, Bishop Tom McCaskell, in Father Ted. According to IMDB he's the brother of actor Ian (Nilson in the Doctor Who story Warriors of the Deep and Greg Preston in Survivors).

At the time this story was written Andrew McCulloch was living at Number 43, Ursula Street, Battersea, London, which was where he and John Flanagan wrote this story. Later on this season the house appears on screen as Auntie Vanessa's house in Logopolis episode 1!

I've had some fun prop spotting in this episode. First one of the Gaztek guns is a guard's gun from The Pirate Planet:

3 PP gun 2 0 PP gun

Another is the co-pilot's pistol from Horns of the Nimon:

3 Horns Horns

The double barrelled gun appears to belong to a Skonnan guard in the same story:

3 Double Gun vlcsnap-2017-10-27-16h02m58s-2017-10-27-16h02m58s795

Several of the Gazteks, including General Grugger, have one of these guns:

gun CityOnTheEdgeOfThe World

Previously seen in the Blake's 7 episode City on the Edge of the World.

There's also a short stubby cylinder of a gun used by one of them in episode 1: that's from Armageddon Factor where both the Atrians and Mutes both have versions of it;

1 gun af4 3

Also we have the panels seen in the Savant power room:

Meglos 2g panel

Bits of those turn up in Destiny of the Daleks, Nightmare of Eden and the Xenon base control room in Blake's 7 series four!

Nightmare Blakes 7 table_zps5ur8lvkp.png~original

Down as Tigellans in all four episodes we have the following actors:

Laurie Goode was a Mutant in The Mutants, a guard in the Time Monster, a Time Lord in The Invasion of Time, a Bandit in The Creature from the Pit. He returns as a Peasant in State of Decay, a Tharil in Warriors' Gate, a Sailor on the Shadow in Enlightenment, a Colonist in Frontios, a worker in Trial of a Timelord: Mysterious Planet and a British Unit Trooper in Battlefield. He's in Blake's 7 as a Hi-tech Patient in Powerplay, Survivors as a Looter in The Chosen and Star Cops as a Dealer in Little Green Men and Other Martians. He was a Looter in the Survivors episode The Chosen, the Jogger in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a Pirate Rat in the The Box of Delights episode In Darkest Cellars Underneath and appears twice in The Sweeney as Laurie in Queen's Pawn and the Supermarket Manager in Trojan Bus.

Michael Gordon Browne had been in Doctor Who before as a Time Lord in Invasion of Time and a Mute in the Armageddon Factor. He returns as a Tharil in Warriors' Gate and a Foster in Keeper of Traken. He then would have been a Cyberman in Earthshock but for his Claustrophobuia and later returns as a Guard in Arc of Infinity. I can also see a Michael Gordon as a Xeron in The Space Museum which might be the same person. In Blake's 7 played a Laboratory Technician in Seek-Locate-Destroy and a Hi-tech Patient in Powerplay.

Geoffrey Whitestone was a Tourist in the Louvre in City of Death and one of the Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive. He returns as one of the Crowd in the Marketplace in Snakedance and the Court Clerk in Trial of a Timelord: Mysterious Planet. In Blake's 7 he was a Star One Technician in Star One.

On debut is Peter Gates-Fleming He replaces Michael Gordon-Browne as a Cyberman in Earthshock and returns as a Gallifreyan in Arc of Infinity, a Colonist in Frontios, a Guardolier in Timelash, a Guard in Trial of a Timelord Mysterious Planet & Mindwarp and a Police Constable in Remembrance of the Daleks. He is also a Federation Trooper in Blake's 7's final episode Blake.

The Ceremonial Deon Guards first appear in this episode

Michael Brydon had been a Tourist in the Louvre in City of Death and returns as a Guard in State of Decay. In Blake's 7's he was a Kairos Guard / Labourer in The Harvest of Kairos and Guard in City at the Edge of the World.

This is Tigellan Guard Simon Shaw's only Doctor Who appearance: he's gone on to be a Television Producer.

David Cleeve is making his last Doctor Who appearance. Previously he had played a UNIT Soldier in The Time Monster, an Ice Warrior in Monster of Peladon, a Soldier, Thal Guard & Thal Soldier in Genesis of the Daleks, a Radiation Suited Man in Hand of Fear and an Other & a Megro Guard in The Sunmakers.

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