OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 592
STORY NUMBER: 125
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 25 January 1983
WRITER: Christopher Bailey
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Mara Tales (Kinda / Snakedance)
"He's not important. Only the Great Crystal is important. I need the Great Crystal!"
Nyssa tries to rescue the Doctor as Lon tries to convince Ambril to use the great crystal in the ceremony, using the unearthed artefacts to coerce him. Chela takes The Doctor some Dojjen's writing which convinces the Doctor that the crystal is important. Nyssa is found searching Dojjen's disc and imprisoned with the Doctor. Lon takes a blindfolded Ambril to the caves and ensures his co-operation by telling him that he'll never see the artefacts again. The Doctor works out the crystals are man made and created the Mara by absorbing the evil impulses from their users. Ambril lets slip the Doctor was asking about the crystals so the Mara controlled Tegan orders him killed. Ambril announces Lon will take part in the ceremony using the great crystal. A worried Chela frees the Doctor & Nyssa, but they are apprehended by Lon in the corridor and orders them killed.
The Doctor spends an episode in a cell thinking. And that's about it. Nyssa's not in it much, Tegan's hardly in it all it's mostly Martin Clunes strutting his stuff trying to force Ambril's co-operation. Something of nothing really.
Ambril's fall is rather set up by Chela reading from the still barely seen Dojjen's writings:
CHELA: Where the winds of restlessness blow, where the fires of greed burn, where hatred chills the blood, here in the Great Mind's Eye, here in the depths of the human heart, here is the Mara.
It's a relatively easy task for the possessed Lon to reel him in:
AMBRIL: My Lord, I am bound by an oath. An oath I had to swear on taking office. An oath dating back to the time of the destruction of the Mara.
LON: But you do know where the Crystal is.
AMBRIL: Oh, my Lord, not even the Federator himself may see the Great Crystal, though I am gratified by your awakened interest.
LON: Well, you know how it is. With time on one's hands, one pokes around. Surprising, really, what one can turn up.
AMBRIL: Where did you find it? Oh, my Lord, I'm sorry, but you understand what a discovery like this means to me.
LON: Is it valuable?
AMBRIL: Beyond price.
LON: And rare?
AMBRIL: It's unique, my Lord.
LON: How strange. As far as I could see, they did seem to be scattered around rather.
AMBRIL: Scattered? They? How many?
LON: I didn't count them.
AMBRIL: Many, though? Many? Lots? My Lord, tell me!
LON: Perhaps you'd like me to show you where they are.
The chances are if anyone has seen any of a Peter Davison story it's a bit on Snakedance. Why? Because it's the first major TV role for Martin Clunes, playing Lon, who has gone onto general fame via Men Behaving Badly and Doc Martin. By the time 1983 had drawn to a close he'd found regular work in No Place Like Home and a few years later I can remember him as Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps in Jeeves & Wooster.
Lon's mother Tanha is played by Colette O'Neil. I've never seen her in anything else but she was in one of the wife's favourites, Shetland not long before her death
Ambril is played by John Carson. He has a rare double on his CV appearing in both Out of This World as Roger Carter in Impostor and Out of the Unknown as Allen Meredith in This Body Is Mine. That episode is one of the few colour episodes that exists and can be seen on the Out of the Unknown DVD Set.
Brian Miller, playing the hall of mirrors owner Dugdale, is the husband of Elisabeth Sladen who played Sarah-Jane Smith. This is his first Doctor Who, but he'll be back in Resurrection of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks as a Dalek voice as well as making an appearance in the Sarah Jane adventures opposite his wife.
They aren't the only Husband & Wife to both appear in Doctor Who by any means. Caroline John (Companion Liz Shaw) appeared opposite her husband, Geoffrey Beevers in Ambassadors of Death with Beevers becoming the third Master in Keeper of Traken. Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor) did 2 years acting alongside his future and now ex-wife Lalla Ward (Romana II). We've just seen future Doctor Who Colin Baker for the first time: his ex-wife Liza Goddard will be along shortly. Finally, as widely documented, tenth Doctor David Tennant met his wife Georgia Moffett (Peter Davison's daughter, not born at the point this episode was made) on the set of the Doctor Who story "The Doctor's Daughter".
The heard but not seen Puppeteer at the Punch & Judy show is Barry Smith who was the partner of Alan Judd who played Dortmun in Dalek Invasion of Earth.
A number of children are in the audience of the show: Daniel Chamberlain, Cassie Shilling, Taba Bura, Nicola Appleby and Maxine Jeffrey all appear only in this episode.
Jamie Farrar & Cye Humphries, the two children on the right, are both in the next episode as well.
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