Thursday, 19 January 2023

591 Snakedance: Part Two

EPISODE: Snakedance: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 19 January 1983
WRITER: Christopher Bailey
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Mara Tales (Kinda / Snakedance)

"Look, all I want's a little information. What possible harm is there in that?"

Nyssa is sent to search for Tegan but, although she finds her briefly, Tegan goes to hide in Dugdale's hall of Mirrors where she confronts the Mara within her. The Doctor goes to see Ambril, the Director of Historical Research, who isn't helpful and throws the Doctor out but his assistant Chela supplies the Doctor with a Crystal, as used by the Snakedancers, which may have some relation to the great crystal the director keeps that was removed from the Mara's cave. The Doctor attempts, and eventually manages to persuade the crystal to respond telepathically. He goes to seek Ambril out again but Ambril has him arrested and flung in a cell. Tegan has Dugdale take her too the Mara's cave, but discovers the crystal missing. They summon Lon, who the Mara possesses, and reveal a hidden chamber in the cave containing archaeological treasures which the Mara controlled Tegan & Lon will use to force Ambril to bring the great crystal to the cave for use in the forthcoming ceremony to commemorate the Mara's banishment.

Some nice imagery here again with Tegan arguing with a version of herself with a snake's skull for ahead, and some great acting by Janet Fielding as the possessed Tegan.

2e Skull Tegan 2f Possessed Tegan

The Doctor's first meeting with Ambril does not go well:

2g 2h

AMBRIL: Now take this, for example. It dates from the middle Sumaran era and unusually is mentioned quite specifically in the Legend. Oh, there can be no doubt. The reference is to the Six Faces of Delusion. Now count. One, two, three, four, five. You will observe there are five faces, not six as the Legend would have it. Now, my point is this. I do find it quite extraordinarily difficult to take seriously a Legend that cannot even count accurately. Of course, artistically speaking, it's an entirely different matter. The piece is exquisite. An undoubted masterpiece.
DOCTOR: What is it?
AMBRIL: Hmm? Headdress.
DOCTOR: Try it on.
DOCTOR: Try it on.
AMBRIL: Certainly not. Whatever for?
DOCTOR: Please. I want to show you something, then I'll go and leave you in peace.
AMBRIL: Very well.

2i Mask 1 2j Mask 2

DOCTOR: Now, count the faces again.
AMBRIL: Do as he says.
CHELA: One, two, three, four, five.
DOCTOR: And one makes six. The sixth Face of Delusion is the wearer's own. That was probably the idea, don't you think?
AMBRIL: Get out! Go on, get out!

The scene says an awful lot about Ambril and his close mindedness.

As well as Martin Clunes, playing Lon, there's another young actor in this story who's gone on to wider recognition: Jonathon Morris who plays Chela. By this point he'd already been in the Douglas Camfield directed Beau Geste amongst others but was a few years away from gaining national recognition as Adrian Boswell in Bread.

c2 Chela 1 Bob

But oddly when I watch this neither of them jump out at me as being exciting. No. That's because I know that Lon's bodyguard is comedian, TV presenter and former GLR late night DJ Bob Mills. I know none of you will have ever heard of him (unless you watched In Bed with Medinner or Win, Lose or Draw) but that radio show he did was fabulous. I've still got odd things I won off that show for knowing rubbish including that Millsy himself had been in Doctor Who. IIRC he'd asked a question about what connected Brian Cant, Chris Tranchell & Chloe Ashcroft and knowing the answer got me on the air!

Tanha’s Bodyguard is played by regular extra at this time Barney Lawrence who had been a Marshman in Full Circle, a Guard in State of Decay, a Foster in Keeper of Traken, the 2nd Kinda Hostage in Kinda, the Male Android Silhouette in Earthshock and Air Steward Dave Culshaw in Timeflight, He goes onto play 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.

c2 T Bodyguard c2 Worthies 1
We have several long standing extras amongst the guests at the party & dinner, who the paperwork labels as "worthies"

Jean Channon first appeared in Doctor Who as a Parisian Woman in The Massacre. She then plays a Passenger/Plague Victim/Passersby in The Silurians, Hilda, the girl in the Lotus Position in The Green Death, a Masquer in The Masque of Mandragora, a Passser By and one of Audience/Dancing Girls/Stagehands in The Talons of Weng-Chiang, a Passenger in Nightmare of Eden and a Castrovalvan in Castrovalva. She returns as a Lazar in Terminus and then in the very last story of the original series as the Woman at Telephone in Survival. In Blake's 7 she is a Zondawl Citizen in Warlord.

Sheila Vivian was a Control Room Assistant in Ambassadors of Death, Female Guest in Masque of Mandragora, a Citizen in Keeper of Traken and a Castrovalvan Woman in Castrovalva. She was in Doomwatch as a Woman in Burial at Sea.

Derek Hunt 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, a Passenger in Nightmare of Eden, and James the Footman in Black Orchid. He returns as 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.

Brian Moorehead was an extra in Robot, a Guard in State of Decay and a Gundan in Warriors' Gate. He's in Blake's 7 as a Hooded Figure in Cygnus Alpha and a Federation Officer in Trial. He was previously in Quatermass II as the 1st Guard in The Mark and a Paratrooper in The Destroyer.

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