Tuesday, 1 March 2022

576 Black Orchid Part One

EPISODE: Black Orchid Part One
TRANSMITTED: Monday 01 March 1982
WRITER: Terence Dudley
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 9.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Black Orchid

"Good lord! Er, I'm so sorry. Do forgive me for staring. You look exactly like my fiancé. It's quite uncanny!"

In a country house a male nurse is murdered by an unseen assailant. The Tardis arrives at Cranleigh Halt railway station where the Doctor, in a case of mistaken identity, is invited to take part in a Cricket Match and then, following a decent performance, back to Cranleigh Manor for a fancy dress ball where it is discovered that Lord Charles Cranleigh's fiancée Anne is the exact double of Nyssa. Lord Cranleigh's mother shows the Doctor the Black Orchid, a flower brought back from the Amazon by her now deceased elder son George, a famous botanist. A figure, tied up in attic slips his bonds and escapes. The Doctor is given a Harlequin outfit while Nyssa & Anne wear identical costumes. The Doctor discovers a secret passage in his room and explores it, but while he is gone his costume is stolen. Lady Cranleigh is called away during the ball by an Amazonian, Latoni, who tells her his friend has escaped. A man dressed as the Harlequin arrives at the ball and dances with one of Anne/Nyssa. The Doctor finds a secluded attic room, and then a dead body in the house. The Harlequin dances Anne into the house where he assaults her, and then strangles a servant. Anne faints and the Harlequin moves in to strangle her.....

This isn't a bad episode at all.... now we look at it knowing what the unseen figure is but at the time when I first saw this I was wondering what sort of alien being the Cranleighs had in their attic! But oh dear, we're back with doubles again. We've done this a few times recently: We had a double of the Doctor in Meglos and a projection of Adric disguising he'd been kidnapped in Castrovalva.

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Now we get an exact double of Nyssa, with special effects and double Vanessa Paine helping actress Sarah Sutton play two roles at once!

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Not only that but there's someone doing dastardly deeds while wearing a costume the Doctor was scheduled to be wearing!

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Doubles appears to be a favourite of the current production team: we'll see it again in various forms in Arc of Infinity, Mawdryn Undead, Kings Demons & Resurrection of the Daleks plus it had at one point been planned as a plot element for The Five Doctors as well. Perhaps a slight amount of overuse?

This is also the one time the main supporting cast get to change their costumes this season, swapping them for party clothes. Nyssa's is an exact duplicate of Anne's, adding to the confusion between the two.

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I'd never spotted before, but Adric's attached his badge for mathematical excellence to his party costume!

The cricketing aspect of this episode ties in with the Doctor's costume but does throw up a problem. In Four to Doomsday the Doctor claims to have taken 5 wickets for New South Wales with his Chinamen. The Chinaman is a left handed slow bowler's delivery, here he is bowling with his right arm and, or so he claims, fast.

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Peter Davison genuinely dismissed one of the batsmen in this sequence and is obviously very pleased with the feat.

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He is confused at one point with the other cricketing doctor, W.G.Grace, who had been dead for some years by the time this story takes place in the 1920s.

The Railway station used in this episode was filmed at Quainton Road near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire which as well as bring part of BR was at one point also a far flung outpost of the Metropolitan line.

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It's popular with Television programs due to it's proximity to London and having steam locomotives on site. I've seen it used in Midsomer Murders, Poirot and Taskmaster.

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The steam footage here is actually taken from another BBC program, God's Wonderful Railway. The Police Station, seen in the second episode, is filmed nearby.

The Cranleigh Manor exteriors were shot at Buckhurst House, which is located in Buckhurst Park, the major location for Castrovalva.

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Withyham Cricket Club, where the match was played, is also part of the same estate.

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Lots of actors in this episode, so much so that I'll come onto the main guest cast in episode two.

We'll start with the ones I can identify: the Station Master in Jim Morris - who I can't find on IMDB. He was previously a Foster in Keeper of Traken and returns as a Businessmen Passenger in Time Flight.

c1a Station Master c Tanner

The Chauffeur Tanner is played by Timothy Block: you can see him in The Professionals episode Cry Wolf as Smith.

The servant Brewster is played by Brian Hawksley. He plays the Bookseller in the opening episode of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. He was in The Professionals twice: first as the Man in Raincoat in Stake Out and then as Ben in Weekend in the Country. In Yes Minister he was Sir George Conway in Jobs for the Boys and in it's sequel Yes Prime Minister he played Gerald, Chairman of the British Tobacco Group, in The Smoke Screen.

c Brewster c1b Digby

Briefly seen at the start of the episode, and we only catch his face when he's dead, is the servant Digby played by David Wilde. He'd been a Courtier The Masque of Mandragora and a Technician in the Armageddon Factor. He returns as a Body in Vengeance on Varos and a Red Guard/Native/Worker in Trial of a Timelord Mysterious Planet. In Doomwatch he was a Passer-by in The Human Time Bomb.

Also short-lived is Footman James, appearing at the end of the episode and played by Derek Hunt, He had been an Atlantean Guard in Underwater Menace, a British Soldier in No Man's Land, British Soldier in The War Games, a Regular Soldier in Spearhead from Space, a Unit Soldier in the Silurians, a Technician in Inferno, a UNIT Man in Day of the Daleks, a Prison Guard in Frontier in Space, a Guard in Planet of Spiders, an Android Mechanic & Android Soldier in Android Invasion, a Bi-Al Member in Invisible Enemy, a Time Lord in Invasion of Time, a Technician/Guard/Citizen in The Ribos Operation and a Passenger in Nightmare of Eden. In Snakedance he plays a Worthy then a Guard in Planet of Fire and a Time Lord in all 14 episodes of Trial of a Timelord: we know he's an Orange Time Lord in Terror of the Vervoids & The Ultimate Foe so assume he's wearing the same colours the whole story.

c Footman James c Maid

Ann’s Maid is played by Caron Heggie who also evaded my efforts to find her on IMDB. However it appears she also acted under the names of Caroin Scott and used the name Caron Cantor after she married into a show business family.

The other Maid played by Amanda Carlson is difficult to spot in the finished episode but is in the deleted scenes serving at the party's buffet.

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Conmpletely excised from the finished program, but again visible in the deleted scenes is the Policeman at Station played by Reg Woods. He'd been a Palace Guard in Androids of Tara, a Bearer in Creature from the Pit, would have been a Krarg in Shada, then played a Pangol Body Part & Member of Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive and a Guard in State of Decay. He returns as a Security Guard in Timeflight and a Member of Striker's Crew in Enlightenment. In Blake's 7 he's a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Rebel in Voice from the Past, a Menial in Ultraworld, a Space Rat in Stardrive and a Space Princess Guard / Passenger in Gold. He's also in The Professionals episode Black Out in what IMDB describes as "Bit Part" and the Fawlty Towers episode The Kipper and the Corpse as a Hotel Guest.

Two actors are down as Umpires/Guests. It's possible to work out which is which as Brychan Powell has some photos on Google from when he died and he's obvious the moustachioed umpire with jumpers tied round his middle. He had previously been a Daleks' Guard and Russian Aide in Day of the Daleks, a Solonian in The Mutants, the Prime Minister in The Green Death, a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, a Noble in The Androids of Tara and a Logopolitan in Logopolis. He returns as a Businessman Passenger in Time Flight and a Citizen Unbeliever in Planet of Fire. In Doomwatch he was a man in Flood.

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By a process of elimination the other Umpire is Charles Millward He too returns as a Businessmen Passenger in Time Flight, and a Time Lord in The Five Doctors.

The DWAS production file labels 5 actors solely as Cricketers.

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Lionel Sansby was a UNIT Soldier in the Silurian, one of the Complex Personnel in Hand of Fear, a Passenger in Nightmare of Eden and would have been a Krarg in Shada He returns as a Passenger in Time Flight, one of the Men in the Cave Crowd in Snakedance, and as a Lazar in Terminus. In Blake's 7 he was a Federation Trooper in Seek-Locate-Destroy and in Doomwatch he was a Man in No Room for Error.

Stuart Myers also made his debut in the Silurians where he was a Plague Victim, UNIT Soldier & Technician. He then played a Unit Soldier in Ambasasdors of Death, an Axon in Claws of Axos, a Draconian in Frontier in Space, the Photographer in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a Titan Base Crewman in Invisible Enemy, one of the Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive and a Foster in Keeper of Traken. He returns as a Bucaneer Oficer in Enlightenment, a Citizen/Unbeliever in Planet of Fire, a Resistance Fighter/Alphan in Trial of a Timelord 5-8 Mindwarp and a Customer/Mercenary in Dragonfire. In Blake's 7 he was a Crewman in Space Fall and in Moonbase 3 a Technician in Outsiders and Castor and Pollux. In Monty Python's Flying Circus he's a Water Rat in Spam and a Tour de France Man in Bed / Man in Computer Hamlet. He plays a briefly seen humanh Mos Eisley denizen in Star Wars: there's a picture on his Aveleyman entry which also lists an unnamed role in The Sweeney episode Payoff.

Douglas Stark was a Sorenson Monster in Planet of Evil, a man in Image of the Fendahl, and a Guide in The Leisure Hive. He returns as one of the Management in Time Flight, a Soldier in Caves of Androzani, Mercenary in Dragonfire and a Pallbearer in Remembrance of the Daleks.

Derek Suthern is, we think, the player facing the Doctor's opening delivery who gets clean bowled. He was a Path Lab Technician in The Hand of Fear, a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, a Gracht Guard in The Androids of Tara, a Mute in The Armageddon Factor, a Guard in The Creature from the Pit, a Mandrel in Nightmare of Eden and a Guard in The Horns of Nimon. He was only stopped from appearing in FIVE consecutive stories by his role as a Krarg in Shada not being broadcast: he's the Krarg that was recorded rampaging round the decaying Think Tank in episodes 4 & 5. He then played an Argolin Guides in The Leisure Hive and the ill fated PC Davis in Logopolis. He returns as a Policeman in Time Flight, Man in Market in Snakedance. In Blake's 7 he plays a Federation Trooper in The Way Back, a Scavenger in Deliverance, a Federation Trooper in both Trial & Countdown, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit, a Hommik Warrior in Power and a Space Princess Guard / Passenger in Gold. He too was in The Spy Who Loved Me as an Atantis Guard. He's a Hotel Guestin the Fawlty Towers episodes The Germans and The Psychiatrist and appears as an Atantis Guard in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

Nick Joseph had been a Bandit in Creature from the Pit and the Earth Scientist who was Hardin's Aide in The Leisure Hive. He returns as a Lazar in Terminus and a Miner The Mark of the Rani. In Blake's 7 he was the Android / Muller's Corpse in - Headhunter and an Animal in Animals. He's an Armoury Officer in The Spy Who Loved Me and features in the closing scene of Star Wars as a rebel office now called Arhul Hextrophon..... and his close up photo lets us identify him as the wicketkeeper when Peter Davison is bowling!

Cricketers Close Up 1 Cricketers Close Up 2

No idea who this chap is though: he's the only other player on the field with a decent close up and I can't spot him elsewhere so assume he's one of the other three actors above.

Some of the Cricketers are also down as Guests, presumably at the Ball.

Rory O’Connor was previously a Golden Age Man in Invasion of Dinosaurs. In Blake's 7 he was a Salvage Man in Dawn of the Gods and in Moonbase 3 he was a Technician in Castor and Pollux and View of a Dead Planet.

Gus Roy had been a Technician in The Pirate Planet and a Gracht/Zadek Guard in Androids of Tara,

More of the Cricketers are also down as Dancers at the ball:

I can't find Adrian Gibbs, who was Rysik in Full Circle and The Watcher in Logopolis.

However Fernand Monast, , who is the man dancing with Lady Cranleigh, had been in State of Decay as a Guard and returns as a Colonist in Frontios and as the Space Station Professor shot dead by Sontarans in The Two Doctors.

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The Cavalier, who can be most clearly seen in the deleted scene on the Black Orchid DVD is John Asquith, who will be the rear half of The Myrka in Warriors of the Deep. He's paired there with William Perrie and together they also play Dobbin in Rentaghost! My grateful thanks to David Brunt, who wrote the DVD subtitles for Black Orchid, for pointing both of those two out to me!

There's a bunch of actors identified as Cricketer/Spectators. I suppose this could mean they're on the field but it's equally likely they could be those in Cricket Gear at the Pavillion.

Kevin O’Brien was a Member of the Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive and a Citizen in Full Circle. He's back as Trooper Collis in Earthshock, the Photographer in Time Flight, a Guard in Arc of Inifinity, a Vanir in Terminus, one of Ranulf's Knights in Kings Demons, a Crewmemebr & Soldier in Resurrctuion of the Daleks, a Guardolier in Timelash, a Resistance Fighter in Trial of a Timelord: Mindwarp and a Court Guard in Trial of a Timelord: Terror of the Vervoids & Ultimate Foe. In Blake's 7 he was a Technician in Dawn of the Gods and he plays a Hell's Angel in Red Dwarf: Meltdown.

Mitchell Horner had been a Squash Player in The Leisure Hive. He returns as a 1977 Schoolboy and a Mutant in Mawdryn Undead, and a Vanir in Terminus.

Alan Talbot returns in Snakedance as one of the Crowd in Caves and The Mark of the Rani as Tom. In the Timothy Dalton James Bond film The Living Daylights he is Koskov's KGB Minder.

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Among the female Guests/Spectators I can't see anything on Rosemary Lyford's CV that I've seen and can't find Lindy Salmon and Jane Sherbourne at all!

Lisa Clifton returns the next story as Trooper Seaton in Earthshock and was in Blake's 7 as a Spacerat in Stardrive while Sheila West was in Blake's 7 as a Hi Tech Patient in Powerplay

There's three actresses listed as Spectators/Dancers:
Annette Lyons I saw in By the Sword Divided as the Street Girl in Cromwell at Arnescote but I can find no record of Christine Kendall or Nola Haines

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