Sunday, 14 February 2021

554 The Keeper of Traken: Part Three

EPISODE: The Keeper of Traken: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 14 February 1981
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: John Black
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva)

"It's too late, Doctor. The Source is mine! And soon, very soon, you will feel its power. Now this Traken web of harmony is broken. I am free!"

Kassia has the Doctor, Tremas & Adric locked up. Melkur commands her to engineer her own succession as Keeper. Nyssa helps her father & his friends escape and they return to Tremas' quarters seeking the plans for the source manipulator, suspecting Kassia will attempt to gain control of it and seeking a way to stop her. The old Keeper dies and Kassia is summoned to the chamber as chaos breaks out over Traken. The Doctor and his friends attempt to return to the Tardis but are once again confronted by Melkur who dematerialises from the Grove. As Kassia ascends to the Keeper's throne the Doctor & Tremas attempt to stop her but Katura completes the transition granting her mastery of the source. But Kassia starts to scream as her body vanishes and then a familiar noise is heard as Melkur materialises on the throne.......

3a 3b

Seven year old me watching this: uggh, who is that inside of Melkur, he doesn't look that nice does he? What I didn't spot then was, in the same pull back shot, the roundeled walls behind the figure. Or notice the significance of the noise as Melkur vanished and reappeared again. I didn't know who it was in control of the Melkur. But elsewhere across the land fanboys everywhere were going wild at the return of one of their favourite villains....

Credited as Melkur through the first three episodes is Geoffrey Beevers, bbut actually he's only providing Melkur's voice and it's only now we see him for the first time as the villain within the statue whose identity remains unrevealed and we shall not spoil for those who have not seen the story who should be buying it right now. He previously appeared in Doctor Who as Private Johnson in Ambassadors of Death and is the husband of Caroline John, companion Liz Shaw. Away from Doctor Who you can see him in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as Number Three in episode 6, A Very Peculiar Practice as Sodd in Catastrophe Theory, Yes Prime Minister as the Arts Minister in The Patron of the Arts, Inspector Morse as Peter Foster in Deceived by Flight, Jonathan Creek as Neville Spivey in Jack in the Box and Red Dwarf as the Doctor in Back in the Red: Part 2. You can hear him interviewed by Toby Hadoke in Who's Round 151.

c10 Melkur c9 Melkur 2

Within the Melkur costume and, in my opinion, harshly uncredited is young actor Graham Cole who would later go on to find fame as PC Tony Stamp in The Bill. This isn't his first Doctor Who appearance, he was previously in The Leisure Hive as a Zero Gravity Squash Player, Full Circle as a Marshman and would have been in Shada as a young Think Tank Scientist He'll return in Kinda as a Kinda tribesman (there's two other Bill cast members in that one!), Earthshock as a Cyberman, Time-Flight as Melkur, The Five Doctors as a Cyberman, Resurrection of the Daleks as a Crewmember and The Twin Dilemma as a Jacondan. Over the years Doctor Who has credited actors inside Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Silurians, Yeti and Alpha Centauri who don't speak their lines. Melkur is a central part of the story and his performance is crucial so I think it's rather off that he's not credited here or, as it turns out, in any of his other roles! He was also in Blake's 7 as one of Gerren's Associates in Games and a Federation Trooper in Blake.

The episode has a bit of a slow start, with a legthy reprise, and it's 2:20 before we get anything new.

With Tremas disgraced and imprisoned the remaining consuls have a dilemna

KATURA: And the Keeper?
KASSIA: It is our duty to propose a new successor. Tremas has forfeited his right.
KATURA: Seron is dead.
LUVIC: Then it's got to be one of us.
KATURA: Well, we shall have to decide the issue formally.
KASSIA: But later.
Melkur however is very clear as to who he wants as Keeper:
KASSIA: All is as you predicted, Melkur. Seron is dead, Tremas is in disgrace. He cannot become Keeper now. You've saved him.
MELKUR: And he may continue to live if you continue to obey.
KASSIA: What? Can there be more to be done?
MELKUR: Oh yes, my servant. Much more. The Doctor, he is a great and cunning enemy. While he lives, the cause of Melkur is in doubt.
KASSIA: The Doctor and his young friend.
MELKUR: With them you must finish the job you have begun. And one more thing. You have interfered with the succession. Order must be restored.
KASSIA: A successor is to be chosen.
MELKUR: Will this successor serve us as you do?
KASSIA: I do not know.
MELKUR: But we must know, Kassia. These things must be ensured. I can think of no better Keeper than yourself.
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Kassia's primamry motivation has seemingly been to stay with her husband Tremas. She didn't wnt him separated from her as Keeper and now her ally wants her to assume the position of power, sundered from who she loves.

KASSIA: Consuls of Traken. Recent events have proved that a great evil threatens our Traken Union. It is our clear duty to unite and strive to defeat it. Are we agreed?
KATURA: Yes, Kassia. We're all proud of our liberal tradition, but this superstitious mania, this cult of Melkur, is growing.
KASSIA: Fostered by my husband and the strangers.
LUVIC: It must be stopped.
KASSIA: It will, Consuls, but only if we demonstrate our intention to oppose it. And to do that, we need a Keeper Nominate who will not shirk what must be done.
KATURA: That's certainly true, but I'm far too old and, Luvic.
LUVIC: Oh, I do not have such greatness in me.
KATURA: So there's no great dilemma about the choice.

3c 3d

KATURA: So be it. Consul Kassia, we appoint you Keeper Nominate. Do you accept or reject?
KASSIA: I accept.

Once again we question Melkur's plan in the previous episode. If the intention was to have Tremas enter rapport, then there must have been severe doubt as to if Kassia would have killed him, as she did Seron. As it is her first act as Keeper Nominate is too spare her husbnd's life!
LUVIC: First, the matter of Tremas and the strangers. Kassia?
KASSIA: The strangers must die. Tremas will be of use.
LUVIC: Yes, his contribution to the state has been outstanding.
KASSIA: Their deaths will serve to deter others.
KATURA: Yes. Sadly we must show that our intentions are firm.
LUVIC: Sadly.
But if Tremas had been disposed of in episode two, surely Seron would have been the best of the remaining candidates for the Keepership? So actually that bump in the plan may have worked out better for Melkur!

Of course having thrown the Doctor in the cell he now escapes, with a little help from Nyssa, throwing more spanners into the works for Melkur. This appears to be the moment where he completely breaks Kassia using the collar device he gave her last episode:

MELKUR: I'm disappointed, Kassia. You have failed me.
KASSIA: We will find them. The court is sealed. They cannot escape.
MELKUR: I warned you about the Doctor but you chose to ignore me. Now you suffer!

3e 3f

MELKUR: Rise, Consul. Were you not necessary to our purpose, you would die. KASSIA: Tell me what I should do, Melkur.
MELKUR: First, the Doctor. It is clear now he must be destroyed.
KASSIA: I shall not rest till it is done.
MELKUR: Time presses, Consul. The power of the Keeper is almost ours. Only the Doctor can destroy all that we have planned. He must be found. Must, you hear?

However the Doctor remains free and despite making it to the Keeper's Sanctum in the nick of time he is unable to prevent the tragedy that unfolds:
KATURA: By this act, Kassia, you are physically confirmed as Keeper. Prepare for access to the Source. May you bring peace and blessing for all your time, Keeper.
DOCTOR: Consul, don't do it!
KATURA: You again!
LUVIC: Fosters, these traitors have no business here.
DOCTOR: Consul Kassia has betrayed you all. Don't complete the transition.
KASSIA: Do your duty, Katura. Complete transition!
DOCTOR: Don't listen to her, Consul.
KASSIA: Complete transition!
TREMAS: No, Katura!
KATURA: Transition complete. You now have access to the Source, Keeper.

3g 3h

LUVIC: The Keeper!
TREMAS: We warned you, Consuls.

3i 3j

DOCTOR: It's too late, Tremas. Far too late.

3k 3l

The Doctor is a bit trigger happy with the ion bonder he takes off Nyssa isn't he? He's stunning Fosters with it left, right and centre almost as if this story was written for K-9 being there doing the job. It's Nyssa who gives him the Ion bonder, having taken a couple of pot shots first herself, and between Nyssa & the Ion Bonder that's K-9's plot functions covered!

The writer of this story, Johnny Byrne, was new to Doctor Who but had made a large contribution to the first year or so of Space 1999. He'd script edited All Creatures Great & Small, a series which new Doctor Who producer John Nathan-Turner had been a Production Unit Manager on (several other Who personnel have connections with the series as we'll see shortly). Nathan-Turner had offered him the Doctor Who script editor's position only for Byrne to turn it down but indicate he would like to write for the series.

1 Writer 1 Director

The director of this series, John Black, is someone I know very little about. He has one more Doctor Who tale to his name and bar a few IMDB credits there doesn't seem to be a lot known about him.

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