Tuesday, 8 March 2022

578 Earthshock Part One

EPISODE: Earthshock Part One
TRANSMITTED: Monday 08 March 1982
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Peter Grimwade
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 9.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Earthshock

"Destroy them, destroy them at once!"

This is one of those occasions where I'm going to say go away and order the DVD NOW if you haven't yet seen it. Trust me on this one. You will be making an excellent choice.

We need to look at this episode in two halves. I say halves but it really splits into "most of the program" and "the last 20 seconds". Why will become obvious..... As it is we're going to have to do this one blow by blow......

On Earth, in the year 2526, Professor Kyle has called in the Army to help search her seven colleagues lost surveying a fossil rich cave region.

A big hello here to the Helmets worn by the troopers. They'll go into the costume store and reappear again and again.

Helmet c1a Scott

Lieutenant Scott is played by actor James Warwick. By the time Earthshock was shown he was probably most famous for playing male lead, Michael Gaffikin, in Douglas Camfield & Robert Holmes' The Nightmare Man. Before that he'd been in the fourth episode of Rentaghost as Stanley. He's one of the few actors from Doctor Who with a Babylon 5 episode on his CV, appearing in Exogenesis as Matthew Duffin. He has also voiced Qui Gon Jinn in many Star Wars computer games and contributed voices to the Iron Man and Fantastic Four cartoon series.

Sergeant Mitchell is played by Ann Holloway, who's married to Simon Rouse who we recently saw in Kinda.

c1c Mitchell c1b Kyle 1

Clare Clifford, playing Professor Kyle, is another member of the Doctor Who guest cast with Angels on her CV, where she appears as Shirley Brent. She works again with Peter Davison in the Holding the Fort episode All Boys Together where she plays Davina Mulholland. In the last episode of Drop the Dead Donkey The Final Chapter she played Lavinia. Clare Clifford now works as a stand up comic.

The sole location work for this story is the surface scenes at the mouth of the cave dig which were filmed at Springwell Quarry in Rickmansworth, previously used for Omega's world in The Three Doctors and appears in the Blake's 7 episodes Cygnus Alpha and Orac.

Quarry 1 Quarry 2

In the caves below two black clad figures wander the tunnels.
Dimly lit tunnels! Wooo! You might think this isn't an obvious thing to celebrate but it enhances the atmosphere no end when you can't quite see what's happening in the tunnels and that *something* should be there. Sadly as Doctor Who goes on there's an increasing amount of overlighting sets so stuff filmed in a tunnel like this you'd be able to see everything in perfect detail. Credit to director Peter Grimwade (Full Circle, Logopolis, Kinda).

Scott's line here "I realise going down again must be hard" is one of the all time greatest double entendres in the entirety of Doctor Who.

The party of army troopers, led by Lieutenant Scott, makes it's way into the tunnels.
Of course the only real problem with dimly lit sets is when they obscure your view of something, in this case the only decent front on shots of most of the troopers!

1 1 Trooper q1

There's 14 in the squad, so with two - Walters and Snyder - left on the surface that means 12 have come down below into the caves. All the troopers have name badges and as they file past the camera all you can see clearly on the DVD is the last half of the last one, with the clearer picture on the Blu Ray giving us another name badge in full.

2 3

As the characters pop up in the episode, we'll do our best to identify them, but it's all dark tunnel photos so....However the male trooper, above right is probably Marshall, who we see more clearly in later episodes.

4 5

The chap on the right above is Collis, he looks similar in build to when we see him in longer shot later in the episode. I put on the making of documentary on the blu ray on and there's a brief shot where his name badge comes in focus!

6 7

This last chap has a badge that ends in "ter"

Thankfully the Production subtitles on the Doctor Who - Earthshock DVD do have a complete list of the troopers names, including the two not mentioned in the dialogue, and told me who was playing them too!

So the complete squad, of seven men and seven women is:

Scott Mitchell
Walters Snyder
Collis Bane
Carter Bailey
Jones Seaton
Brooks Foster
Marshall Austin
There's only one male trooper with a badge ending in "ter", possibly two if you count Walters but we know who he is, what he looks like and that he stayed on the surface, so our chap on the end must be Carter!

Identifying which actor is playing which trooper in a scene is not helped by one male trooper being played by a different actor on location and in studio then two of the female troopers being played by different actresses on different days of the studio sessions!

The two trooper, Walters & Snyder, left on the surface detect odd momentary flares on their lifeform scanner.

Scope (2) 1 Flare

The Doctor & Adric argue in the Tardis with Adric insisting he wants to return home to E-Space. The Doctor says no but Adric insists on making the calculations.

This is the first time we've seen Adric's bedroom in the Tardis. Instead of the traditional walls with roundels he's got our old friend the tessellating triangle/hexagon patterned panels seen ad nauseam since The Mutants.

Adric Room 1 Adric Room 2

Adric has been collecting keepsakes: in his room is the Death Mask from the destroyed robot in The Visitation Mask, a Kinda Necklace from Kinda, and a Privateer gun from Warriors Gate.

The Black Orchid book The Doctor brings Adric was a gift from Lady Cranleigh at the end of the previous story.

One of the troopers, Bane, is injured and she is taken back towards the surface while the communications between surface and the party underground are disrupted.
Trooper Bane is played by Anne Clements. Like almost all the Female trooper, I've not seen her in anything else, which is a shame because the actresses playing the featured ones, Mitchell, Snyder & Bane, all give great performances.

c1e Bane Collis

I knew the Trooper accompanying her was Collis from the dialogue but not which actor was playing, which was really bugging me, so once again thanks to the Production Subtitles for telling me that he is Kevin O’Brien who had been a Member of the Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive, a Citizen in Full Circle and a Cricketer/Spectator in Black Orchid. He returns as the Photographer in Time Flight, a Guard in Arc of Infinity, a Vanir in Terminus, one of Ranulf's Knights in Kings Demons, a Crewmember & Soldier in Resurrection 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 & The Ultimate Foe. In Blake's 7 he was a Technician in Dawn of the Gods and in Red Dwarf he was a Hell's Angel in Meltdown.

The Doctor materialises in tunnels and the Doctor goes out for a walk, with Nyssa & Tegan accompanying him, leaving Adric in the Tardis to make his calculations.
The Doctor's Line "I'm going out, I may be sometime" is a famous quote from Captain Oates, a member of Robert Scott's Terra Nova Antarctic Expedition, as he walked from his tent in a blizzard to die.

Note that the commanding officer of the Troopers is also a Lieutenant Scott!

On the surface the scanning team pick up the Doctor, Nyssa & Tegan in the tunnels, and transmit the position to the troopers in the tunnels. Snyder leaves Walters on the surface and descends to help the wounded party.
Snyder is played by Suzi Arden: again I've not seen her in anything else.

c1c Snyder 4 c1d Walters 1

Walters is played by Steve Morley who wet on to portray Sgt. Stuart Lamont in The Bill

Nyssa finds dinosaur bones in the tunnel walls leading the Doctor to explain to her that he believes the Dinosaurs were wiped out by an Asteroid impact.
Hang Chekov's Loaded Gun on the wall.....

Dinosaur impact new theory, nature, Alvarez etc The extinction of the Dinosaurs was topical when this story was being written with the publication in Nature of the Alvarez hypothesis that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a large asteroid. Two of the team who worked one the research geologist Walter Alvarez and chemists Helen Vaughn Michel may well have inspired the names of Walters & Mitchell, two of the more prominent troopers.

The wounded party encounter the black figures in the tunnels and their signals flare & disappear on the life form scanner as Snyder hears their screams before her signal too disappears.
The shot of Snyder's remains with her name badge lying in a gooey mess stayed with me as a child: for some reason the white panel, with that black font reminded me of a Smarties packet!

Snyder Badge Android 1

There's two of these black clad figures identified as Male and Female. The actor playing the male is Barney Lawrence who had been a Marshman in Full Circle, a Guard in State of Decay, a Foster in Keeper of Traken and the 2nd Kinda Hostage in Kinda, He returns as Air Steward Dave Culshaw in Timeflight, Tanha’s Bodyguard in Snakedance, a member of Striker's crew in Enlightenment, a Marine Guard in Warriors of the Deep, and a Trooper in Resurrection of the Daleks. He was in Blake's 7 as a Federation Trooper in Time Squad & Bounty, a Guard in Traitor and Zukan's Technician in Warlord.

The female black clad figure is Caroline Mary Simmons.

The troopers stop to rest and Walters informs Scott of the disappearance of Snyder & the wounded party. Sgt Mitchell takes a couple of troopers back to look for the missing men.
Trooper Carter is played by Mark Straker. You can see him in Ashes to Ashes as a Doctor in the eight episode of the second series.

7 c1h Bailey

We know the female trooper in Mitchell's party is Bailey, she's named in the dialogue. Who it is on screen above is more questionable.... Linda French played Bailey on Location and on the first studio day. When recording of the cave scenes stretched into the second studio day she was unable to return and was replaced by Jennie Persiva, who I can't find on IMDB, but who was previously a Tourist in The Louvre in City of Death.

Walters detects more scanner flaring close to Mitchell. Scott, Kyle & the Army party arrive at the dig site as Mitchell's team find the remains of their colleagues. They encounter the black figures and report to Walters but are cut off. The Doctor, Nyssa & Tegan enter the dig chamber and are captured by Scott and his party who blame them for the deaths of Kyle's team and Scott's missing soldiers. The Doctor protests his innocence. In the Tardis Adric detects an odd signal.
The music heard here is a little audio clue to what's coming.
The rockfall in the cavern is cleared, personal effects of the missing archaeological team are found and a hatch is uncovered. The Doctor is ordered to open it but as he goes to they are attacked by the black clad figures.
At this point some footage has been lost, possibly never recorded, of two troopers meeting their fate. One of these is the female trooper Seaton who, like Bailey, was played by a different actress on the two studio days. On location and in studio day 1 Seaton is played by Lisa Clifton, a Guest/Spectator in Black Orchid and a Spacerat in the Blake's 7 episode Stardrive. On studio day 2 Seaton is played by Mary Eveleigh who was a Citizen in Keeper of Traken and a the Woman on Stairs at Milliway's in episode 5 of the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: you can see a picture of her in that role as Watching Blake's 7 who thinks she's in also in Blake's 7 Moloch as one of the women on Sardos. Oddly enough they think another of the troopers is in the same episode....

The other trooper slain here is Jones, unnamed in dialogue, played by Miles Ross. He returns as a 1983 Schoolboy in Mawdryn Undead, one of both Wrack's & Striker's Deck Crews in Enlightenment, a Retainer in King's Demons and an orderly in Frontios.

The remains of the troopers are briefly glimpsed on the cave floor at the start of the battle!

1b remains 1a laser blasts

The troopers return fire while everyone takes covers and the Doctor identifies their attackers as androids.

Loved those laser blasts as a child.

By this point there's just four of the troopers left with Scott, plus Walters on the surface. None of the survivors has thus far played a large a part for us to identify them but they are:

Foster Lynne Brotchie survives into episode 2 but is killed in an unfilmed scene early in the episode. I can't clearly identify a picture of her later in the story, whereas the other three Troopers I can.

Austin Nikki Dunsford had been a Citizen in Full Circle. In Blake's 7 she was a Hi-tech Patient in Powerplay and Watching Blake's 7 thinks she's the Mutoid in Moloch.

1 Trooper Austin 1 Trooper Marshall Location

Brooks is played by Steve Whyment had been a Citizen Keeper of Traken, Security Guard in Logopolis and a Kinda in Kinda, the last two both also directed by Peter Grimwade, He returns in the Crowd in the Marketplace in Snakedance. In Blake's 7 he was in Stardrive as a Space Rat, Warlord as a Federation Trooper and Blake as a Plantation Bounty Hunter.

On film Trooper Marshall is played by Ian Ellis who had been a Citizen in Full Circle and a Kinda in Kinda. He can be seen very briefly at the start of this episode guiding the party climbing the slope. In Blake's 7 he was a Hi-tech Patient in Powerplay and a guard in Traitor. A former child actor, he had appeared in The Day the Earth Caught Fire as Michael Stenning.

1 Trooper Marshall 1 Trooper Marshall & Austin

He failed to turn up for his studio make up test and was replaced for the studio sessions by was played by Jonathan Evans in the the studio. He was also a Kinda in Kinda. There's a John Evans listed as an undertaker in Remembrance of the Daleks, which might well be him too, but I think it's less likely that he's the John Evans listed as a Saxon in The Time Meddler or as one of the Airport Personnel in the Plane in The Faceless Ones.

Kyle recognises the androids as the killers and wonders why they were attacked by them, saying that there's no reason for them to do so. The Doctor replies that whoever's controlling the Androids thinks there is.....
Dimly lit tunnels, an almost unseen menace stalking & killing people, the Doctor mistaken as a murderer. It's all fabulous stuff and a really decent episode of Doctor Who. Doctor Who does Troopers in the future hunting for something years before Aliens. Top work from Peter Grimwade. But just a few seconds later and you'll have forgotten all but the sketchiest of details due to what happens next .. ...
Everything the Androids see is relayed to a control room elsewhere where three giant silver figures stand watching. Their leader orders the androids to "Destroy them, destroy them at once!"

1y 1z

Yes, the Cybermen are back! For the first time since 1975 (excepting the cameo in Logopolis and the planned appearance in Shada) the Cybermen are in a Doctor Who story. There's a generation of children who would have grown up not knowing who the Doctor's second greatest enemy was because the show had lost it's reliance on returning monsters after after Tom Baker's first year. Since then the Daleks have been in the show once in 7 years and the Sontarans once. The Master's appeared four times but three of them have been in the relative recent past. But I saw this and I knew immediately who these silver robot things were. By the time Earthshock came out I'd probably read several Doctor Who books with the Cybermen in: Revenge & Tomb were in my local library and The Cybermen (Moonbase) was an early purchase all of which featured a very similarly styled Cyberman on the cover.

And the lengths that the BBC went to to conceal their presence was huge: The live feed from the cameras wasn't shown on monitors in TV Centre as recording happened. John Nathan-Turner turned down a Radio Times cover to promote the story. David Banks and Mark Hardy were credited in that week's Radio Times as "Leader" and "Lieutenant" respectively without a hint of the word Cyber being used. But it did the trick: the buzz in the playground the next day was "Did you see Doctor Who last night? The Cybermen are back!"

Earthshock is perhaps the last time that Doctor Who manages to do anything big in secret without people knowing about it and, as we'll see, it does it twice. The New Series has had two goes. One worked: nobody knew Billy Piper was in series 4 until she appeared in the closing moments of Partners in Crime. The other earlier one, the appearance of the Daleks in Army of Ghosts/Doomsday they very nearly got away. Unfortunately at the National Television Awards, shortly before the show aired, a Dalek was requested for some publicity photos. The props department sent the black Dalek Sec which at that point hadn't appeared in the series cluing fans in that the Daleks were coming back. Surprisingly this wasn't picked up on in the press who at the time were taking a big interest in the series to the extent that certain details were showing up in National Newspapers only known to certain high ups at the program. You can read Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter by Russell T Davies for constant references to plot details being given away and RTD wondering how the press had got hold of the information. Since that book was published Christopher Eccleston revealed he had been phone hacked.....

Since this is the first appearance of the new Cybermen we need to say a big hello to the actor playing the Cyberleader, David Banks. He'll return to the role for all of the Cybermen's appearances during the 1980s and his excellent performance will do much to shape the perception of the Cybermen.

Banks' usual companion Cyber Lieutenant Mark Hardy isn't present during this brief scene. Instead there's two supporting artists playing the Cybermen: The first Jeff Wayne, who was a Mentiad in The Pirate Planet, a Pangol Doctor image in Leisure Hive and the Scytheman in The Visitation. He'll be back as a Trooper in Resurrection of the Daleks. In Blake's 7 he's a Federation Trooper in Blake.

The second Cyberman is Peter Gates-Fleming He had been a Tigellan in Meglos, 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.

Peter Gates-Fleming replaced Michael Gordon-Browne on the production. When Gordon-Browne had the back of his Cyberman helmet screwed on he suffered an attack of claustrophobia and had to be released! He'd been in Doctor Who before as a Time Lord in Invasion of Time, a Mute in the Armageddon Factor, a Tigellan in Meglos, a Tharil in Warriors' Gate and a Foster in Keeper of Traken. He 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.

When I did the original daily version of the Doctor Who episode blog, I got a few blog entries written in advance. Over time the lead has got quite substantial. The first time I got to 50 episodes ahead I thought I was doing well. Then I got to 100 hundred episodes and spotted that I was getting close to only needing to watch 4 episodes a week for the rest of the blog's time period. I started the Davison episodes in the last weekend in February 2012 and shortly afterwards I spotted that the 30th anniversary of this episode was fast approaching. Consequently I managed to watch it on the morning of 8th March 2012, exactly 30 years after it originally aired!

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