Saturday, 25 March 2017

155 The Macra Terror: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Macra Terror: Episode Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 155
STORY NUMBER: 034
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 25 March 1967
WRITER: Ian Stuart Black
DIRECTOR: John Davies
SCRIPT EDITOR: Gerry Davis
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 8.5 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Macra Terror: Episode Three

"The Colony. The Colony is happy to obey. The Colony is happy to obey!"

Polly screams that the Macra are in control. She, the Doctor & Jamie are sent to the mine where they were reunited with Medok. The Doctor supervises from the control room while the others go bellow. The Gas mined is poisonous to humans and Polly wonders what it's for. The Doctor deduces a formula from the gauge readings in the control room which infuriates the pilot claiming the formula is a secret known to only 2 people. Jamie steals keys from a guard and makes an escape into a sealed tunnel. Medok follows Jamie and is killed by a Macra. Ben is questioned because he failed to stop Jamie escaping. The Doctor discovers the gas is being pumped into the old tunnel for some unknown reason as Jamie, weakening in the poisonous atmosphere, collapses.

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Somewhat confusing in places. This episode has always been a bit of a struggle for me but watching with the telesnaps helps.

OK, so what's this business with the formula about? It's really not clear from the episode. The Doctor's found scrawling it on a wall:

PILOT: Where did you find it?
DOCTOR: What?
PILOT: The formula.
DOCTOR: In my head. You know.
PILOT: Don't lie. That is a secret known only to three people in the Colony.
DOCTOR: And you're one of them, I'd say.
PILOT: Naturally. And you're not asking me to believe that in a few moments you have been able to work out a formula which it has taken our combined computers years to perfect?
DOCTOR: It does seem rather a tall order.
PILOT: Yes, of course. I know what you've done. You've broken into our secret files, haven't you?
DOCTOR: I wouldn't know how to do that. Take a look.
PILOT: Well, you must have seen the document. That's the exact computation.
DOCTOR: Really? Huh. In that case
PILOT: Do you really mean to say that you worked that out by yourself?
DOCTOR: Well, I did have a little assistance.
PILOT: Yes, I thought so. Who was it?
DOCTOR: Oh, no, no, no. Oh, no. No person. No. I simply mean that I took readings from the various dials. They appeared to be related, so I worked out the principle that controlled them. It was simple really. Like doing a sum backwards.
PILOT: Backwards?
DOCTOR: Yes. You know. Given the answer, what's the question?
PILOT: Wipe it away. Get it off there before anybody else sees it.
DOCTOR: Oh well, if you insist.
I'd always assumed it was some sort of chemical formula used on the dangerous gas which was being mined:
PILOT: The strangers are being sent to you for pit labour. Put them in the Danger Gang.
CONTROL: Your orders are correct, Pilot. The strangers must be sent to explore the new gas reserve. They are dangerous people. They must be disciplined.
OFFICIA: The Danger Gang will do as they are told. It's a punishment for their failure to cooperate.
MEDOK: We do all the dirty work. We go where the gas is worst.
OFFICIA: It's your own fault, Medok. If you obeyed Control...
MEDOK: All right. All right. Forget it. I prefer Control poisoning my lungs to their trying to poison my mind.
POLLY: What's it all for?
MEDOK: For a poisonous gas which we mine from the bowels of this planet, which kills us if we breathe it. No one knows what it's used for.
The Doctor works out what they're doing with the gas:
DOCTOR: Don't you see? Control are not pouring this poisonous gas into the old shaft to kill Jamie. They've quite another reason.
POLLY: Doctor, you've got to do something to help him.
DOCTOR: Before we act, we must think. Now, the Macra that have come to the surface of this planet have not found sufficient gas in the atmosphere, so they've had to get somebody to pump it up from down below.
POLLY: But if it's life and death to them, why do they waste it? Why divert it into the old shaft?
DOCTOR: That's obvious, Polly, obvious. Because there's something trapped down there they wish to keep alive.
So how does the formula the Doctor uncovered fit into the picture? and what is trapped in the old shaft?

Hang on didn't Ben & Jamie get captured and sent down a mine two stories ago in Underwater Menace? A tiny bit repetitive!

An amount of off screen 8mm footage survives from this episode, including a section of the new title sequence. We get to see sections from several scenes, including the Doctor condemning the jingle writer, exploring, trying to break Ben's programming, Polly & Jamie in the tunnels and Polly talking to the Doctor.

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John Harvey plays Officia, surely the laziest character name in Doctor Who ever? Take Official, his job title and lop the last episode off. Harvey previously appeared in The War Machines as Professor Brett. From that story Sandra Bryant, Inferno bar manager Kitty, appears as Chicki in episode 1 and it's co-writer Ian Stuart Black is also responsible for this story.

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Gertan Klauber, who plays Ola, has also been in Doctor Who before playing the Galley Master in The Romans episode 2: All Roads Lead to Rome. His name wasn't familiar to me but I've seen a whole load of other things with him in: He's got several Carry On appearances to his name as well as appearing in The Sweeney as Emilio in Queen's Pawn and two appearances in the James Bond films and Bubi in Octopussy and the Fairground Cafe Owner in The Living Daylights. He's in the final episode of Black Adder the Third, Duel and Duality, playing King George III, a mad Monarch. The thing I can really recall him in though is his appearance in Inspector Morse: The Last Enemy as a German Man mainly because the brief role stands out a mile and yet doesn't seem to have ANY bearing on the actual plot! Most odd.

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A couple of Ola's Guards have previous Doctor Who form: John Caesar was the 2nd Man in Market in The Romans 2: All Roads Lead to Rome, an Egyptian Warrior in Dalek Masterplan 9: Golden Death, Monoid Four in The Bomb and a Cowboy in The Gunfighters. He's back as a Pirate Guard in The Space Pirates episodes 1, 3 & 4, C.P.O. Myers in The Sea Devils episode six and the R / T Soldier in Invasion part one. His 4 appearances in the Sid James sitcom Taxi! caught my eye because two of them, - Sunday Mornings Are for Sleeping and It's a Long Way Home also feature Steve Emerson, another of the guards here on his Doctor Who debut. He'll be back as a Resistance Man in The War Games episode eight, a UNIT Soldier in The Claws of Axos episode four, a Retrograde in Frontios part one & four and a Guard in Revelation of the Daleks part two! The Doomwatch episode he appears in, Burial at Sea, as a Lifeboatman is one of those missing from the archives.

Richard Beale can be heard in this serial as the Broadcast/Propaganda Voice. He previously voiced the Refusian in The Return and The Bomb, the last two episodes of The Ark and appeared in The Gunfighters as Bat Masterson. He'll return to Doctor Who many years later as the Minister of Ecology in The Green Death episode three. Elsewhere he was Saymon in the Blake's 7 episode The Web and Ulf the barge captain in the second and third episodes of The Tripods series 2.

Operating the Macra is experienced Dalek Operator Robert Jewell who performed the role in The Daleks, Daleks Invasion of Earth, The Chase, Mission to the Unknown, Dalek Masterplan & Power of the Daleks as well as both Dalek Movies and the Daleks' appearance in the Out of the Unknown episode Get Off Of My Cloud. He also played Zarbi Operator in The Web Planet and appeared as the Clown in Doctor Who's first Christmas episode, The Daleks' Masterplan 7: The Feast of Steven. His appearance there resulted in the only visual record of that episode that we have. He'll be back as a Dalek during Evil of the Daleks and The War Games. He also appears in the film The Terrornauts as the Robot Operator but don't seek it out as it really isn't any good at all!

What do we see in the pump room? Yes, it's out old friends the Power Room Panels! Here's the one on the left in The Underwater Menace:

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The one in the middle is obscured a bit both times we see it but looks like another one we've seen in the Underwater Menace:

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We'll get a better view of it in a later story!

However the one on the right bellow looks new!

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Saturday, 18 March 2017

154 The Macra Terror: Episode Two

EPISODE: The Macra Terror: Episode Two
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 154
STORY NUMBER: 034
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 18 March 1967
WRITER: Ian Stuart Black
DIRECTOR: John Davies
SCRIPT EDITOR: Gerry Davis
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 7.9 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Macra Terror: Episode Two

"This is an emergency. Control must be believed and obeyed! No one on the Colony believes in Macra! There is no such thing as Macra! Macra do not exist! There are no Macra! "

Medok and the Doctor are found by Ola & the guards and taken to the pilot. Medok claims the Doctor was trying to get him to give himself up. Medok is sent to the correction hospital for treatment while the Doctor is returned to his friends. The Controller instructs the pilot to give the Time Travellers High Powered Adaptation. As they sleep they hear hypnotic voices. Jamie wakes, breaking his conditioning but Ben has fallen under their control. The Doctor deactivates the device conditioning Polly and hypnotically de-programs her. Ben clashes with the others and accuses the Doctor of sabotage. Ola is summoned and takes Jamie & The Doctor away. Medok has resisted treatment and so is sent to the pits for life. Polly seeks her friends but is followed by Ben. While hiding on a construction site she sees a Macra. Ben initially denies their existence but attacks the Macra when it seizes Polly. They encounter a second Macra and make a run for it, but when they return to The Pilot Ben once again denies the Macra's existence. The Doctor insists on speaking to the Controller who is revealed to be an old man, who is promptly attacked by a Macra.

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As this episode unfolds it becomes more and more obvious that something is very wrong in the colony:

DOCTOR: What will happen to Medok?
PILOT: Oh, well, he'll be taken back to the hospital for correction. He'll be given another course of treatment. And when he returns to the Colony, Medok will be a changed man. He will cooperate and he will obey orders. He'll be just like the rest of us.
DOCTOR: Why do you want everyone to be the same?
PILOT: Doctor, this Colony was founded many centuries ago by our ancestors who came from the Earth planet, like your young friends. Our ancestors believed in the virtues of healthy happiness and we have tried to keep their ideals alive. Sometimes, alas, it is necessary to use force. The Doctor will be returning to his quarters now.
VOICE: The Doctor's escort is ready.
PILOT: Well, I'm sorry to have disturbed you, Doctor, and many thanks again for your help.
DOCTOR: Not at all. Thank you. Goodnight.
The Colony's controller seems keen to suppress all knowledge of the crab like Macra, who we only see briefly a couple of times in the episode.
CONTROL: The Doctor and his friends are to be given the advantage of high powered adaption at once. They must begin to think like members of the Colony. They are to have deep sleep and thinking patterns. We cannot have criticism from these strangers! The work to do it, it must begin immediately.
PILOT: Emergency order from Control, top priority. Are all the cubicles connected?
VOICE: The rest cubicles for the four strangers are all connected for deep sleep and thought patterns.
PILOT: Very good. The process is to begin immediately. Your instructions are being carried out.
CONTROL: That is good. This is an emergency. Control must be believed and obeyed! No one on the Colony believes in Macra! There is no such thing as Macra! Macra do not exist! There are no Macra!
The theme of being controlled by an outside influence, recently seen in The War Machines and to a certain extent the Moonbase makes a reappearance as the Doctor and his friends are brainwashed while they sleep.
VOICE: The sleeper must relax and believe. Everything in the Colony is good and beautiful. You must accept it without question. You must obey orders. The leaders of the Colony know what is best. In the morning when you wake up you will be given some work. You will be glad to obey. You will question nothing in the Colony.
The Doctor quickly deals with Polly releasing her from the controlling influence.
DOCTOR: Polly, I think you've been listening to some very bad advice.
POLLY: But I've been asleep.
DOCTOR: Yes, I know you have. Fast asleep. Very fast asleep. Polly, do you smell anything? A sort of sweet perfume?
POLLY: No.
DOCTOR: Never mind. Now, Polly, I want you to forget everything that you've been dreaming.
POLLY: Why do you say that?
DOCTOR: Well, it's just possible that you've been given a series of orders while you've been asleep. You know, do this, do that, do the other thing. My advice to you is don't do anything of the sort. Don't just be obedient. Always make up your own mind.
While Jamie hasn't been affected due to a bad night's sleep.
JAMIE: Hey, what's all the noise?
DOCTOR: Jamie, how did you sleep?
JAMIE: Oh, very badly, Doctor. I told Ben I kept hearing wee voices.
DOCTOR: That's a good sign. That means they haven't been able to get very deeply into your brain.
JAMIE: Ay? I don't understand?
DOCTOR: I'll show you. Watch this.
Ben however has been and is now subservient to the colony's controllers:
BEN: You're fools, all of you! And just look what you've done. You've smashed up all this equipment.
POLLY: Yes, but look here. If they were trying to make us believe a whole load of rubbish
BEN: Rubbish? It's not rubbish. Control knows what's best for us. They want us to cooperate. We should be helping.
POLLY: What's the matter with you, Ben? This doesn't sound like you at all.
BEN: We should learn to obey. The Doctor's causing trouble. I'm going to turn him in.
JAMIE: You don't know what you're doing, Ben.
BEN: Get off me!
POLLY: What's the matter with him?
DOCTOR: I'm very much afraid I'm too late.
POLLY: Ben!
BEN: Let go of me.
POLLY: Ben!
BEN: Guards! Guards!
POLLY: Don't let him go.
DOCTOR: No, it's no use, Jamie.
JAMIE: But we cannot let him go, Doctor.
DOCTOR: You'll have to. Violence will get you nowhere.
POLLY: Doctor, he's going to go and tell the guards. We've got to get you out of here.
DOCTOR: We can't leave Ben.
JAMIE: But he's betrayed you.
DOCTOR: No, no, not Ben. He's not in control of his actions. He's been given a series of instructions and he can't help himself.
However when he goes to find the escaped Polly their encounter with the Macra breaks the control briefly:
BEN: What's the matter with you?
POLLY: There.
BEN: There's nothing there.
POLLY: But there was. I saw it. A huge face, like an insect, or a giant crab. It was horrible and it was looking at us and it had claws. Claws like we saw on the time scanner.
BEN: There's nothing there. Come on.
POLLY: No, not that way.
BEN: Look, you're just trying to dodge off.
POLLY: No, no, please, I'm not. But please look.
BEN: There is nothing there!
POLLY: Ben. What is it?
BEN: I don't know.
POLLY: Well, what are we going to do?
BEN: There is nothing evil or harmful in this colony.
POLLY: How can you believe that stuff?
BEN: It stands to reason. It's safe. There is nothing here!
We can see a glimpse of the Macra in the surviving clips from this episode, excised from the prints by the Australian censor. Unfortunately a combination of mist in the shots and the poor quality of the off cuts means that the views aren't terribly clear but you get the idea of how terrifying they must have been by the way the eyes glow in the darkness!

These clips can be found on disc 2 of the Doctor Who - Lost In Time DVD.

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In fact the best place to see a Macra is probably on Doctor Who - The Space Museum/The Chase DVD which features a colour 8mm film shot in the workshop of Shawcraft Models, who built the original Dalek props and many of the 1960s monsters. Towards the end of the film there's a pretty clear look at the completed models as well as some shots of the props under construction!

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Graham Leaman appears in this episode as the controller. His IMDB entry makes him out to an actor that appeared in many things without ever starring. He's got FIVE Doctor Who credits to his name: in addition to this story he appears in Fury from the Deep as Price, The Seeds of Death as the Grand Marshall and Colony in Space & The Three Doctors as a Time Lord, probably the same Time Lord.

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Peter Jeffrey, the pilot, meanwhile is a genuine star name. He's been in everything and will return to Doctor Who in a scene stealing moustache twirling performance as Count Grendel of Gracht in The Androids of Tara, the fourth story of Season 16's Key To Time. He played Marsham Craswell in the missing third season Out of the Unknown episode Get Off My Cloud which features the Daleks making an early appearance in colour! He's in the third episode of The Sweeney, Thin Ice, as Det. Supt. Pringle and played Oliver Cromwell in the BBC English Civil War drama By the Sword Divided. He's got a great guest role as Eric, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Yes Minister Christmas Special "Party Games" which is well worth watching and not just because there's a large number of Who actors in it including John Nettleton, from Ghost Light, David Warrick, from The Pirate Planet, Rex Robinson, from The Three Doctors, Monster of Peladon and Hand of Fear and André Maranne from the previous story, The Moonbase!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

153 The Macra Terror: Episode One

EPISODE: The Macra Terror: Episode One
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 153
STORY NUMBER: 034
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 11 March 1967
WRITER: Ian Stuart Black
DIRECTOR: John Davies
SCRIPT EDITOR: Gerry Davis
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 8 million viewers
FORMAT: CD: Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967)
TELESNAPS: The Macra Terror: Episode One

"I'm not the one suffering from delusions, it's you. All of you! You don't know what's happening in this Colony!"

First things first: new titles! Macra Terror 1 doesn't exist, but many other later Troughton episodes do so you can see what's going on. It's hard to describe exactly what's happening - so watch it.

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The major feature here is the inclusion of the Doctor's face which becomes a feature of the remaining sequences in the original series. I like the way the face dissolves into the logo too.

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Easily one of my favourite versions of the title sequence!

It's important to note that at this point the music is still that used for the original version: that subtly changes slightly later on. Should you wish to witness this odd pairing of new titles and original version of the music then The Faceless Ones episode one has it and can be watched on Doctor Who - Lost In Time disc 2.

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A man, Medok, stares straight ahead as a heartbeat like sound is heard. Elsewhere a band play and majorettes perform. One man, The Pilot, congratulates another, Barney, on his band for the competition. Medok pushes through the crowd pursued by guards. Barney calls after him assuring him the treatment is for his own good. Medok sees the Tardis materialise and is apprehended by Jamie and Ben. The guard leader, Ola, thanks them and takes them to the city where they are received as honoured guests by the Pilot. A picture of the controller appears on a screen and a voice thanks them. The travellers enjoy the colony's hospitality but elsewhere Medok is questioned: he believes he's seeing creatures invade the camp at night. The Doctor comes to talk to Medok but this allows him to escape. The Time Travellers are taken to the labour centre to learn more of the colony and what they do there. Medok is hiding there and explains to the Doctor that anyone who sees the creatures is detained in the correction hospital. At night the Doctor sneaks out avoiding the guards and find Medok. Together they witness a pair of glowing eyes emerging out of the mist and a giant claw snaps at them.

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Bit of an odd one this. As soon as you encounter the colony with it's sickly sweet holiday camp atmosphere and little songs on the public address announcements you know something can't be quite right. How it ties in to the crab claw we saw at the end of the last episode isn't obvious till the end of the episode. In an odd way this feels more like an episode of The Prisoner, still 6 months in the future at this stage, than an episode of Doctor Who.

The minor character Chicki is played by Sandra Bryant, previously Inferno bar manager Kitty in the War Machines, co-written by this story's author Ian Stuart Black. Chicki will reappear in episode 4 by which point something interesting will have happened.... I haven't been able to spot Chicki in the surviving telesnaps from this episode.

Amongst the Drum Majorettes is Maureen Lane who was previously in The Gunfighters 2 & 3, Don't Shoot the Pianist & Johnny Ringo as a Bar Girl. Somewhere in this episode is Anthony Gardner as Alvis, possibly one of Medok's friends that we can see bellow. He later appears in Blake's 7: The Harvest of Kairos as Captain Shad.

Two long running Who supporting artists make their debut in this series:

Ian Fairbairn, playing Questa, becomes a Douglas Camfield regular appearing first as Gregory in The Invasion, then in my absolute favourite Pertwee story Inferno as Bromley & the Penetration Announcer and in Camfield's Tom Baker swansong The Seeds of Doom as Chester. Camfield also used him for Paul Temple, Van Der Valk, Shoestring, The Professionals & The Onedin Line!

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Terence Lodge, Medok, will later appear in what's one of my favourite Pertwee stories, Carnival of Monsters, as Orum where he's directed by Barry Letts who then cats him again as Moss in the final Pertwee story, Planet of the Spiders, which largely features people who have previously worked on the show during the period Pertwee was starring as the Doctor and Letts was producing the show.

Medok appear in a brief section of location filing at the start of the episode where Associated Portland Cement Company Quarry in Befordshire serves as the planet's surface.

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Saturday, 4 March 2017

152 The Moonbase: Episode Four

EPISODE: The Moonbase: Episode Four
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 152
STORY NUMBER: 033
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 04 March 1967
WRITER: Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Gerry Davis
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 8.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Moonbase
TELESNAPS: The Moonbase: Episode Four

"You are surrounded. All resistance is useless!"

As we kick off let's spare a moments thought for the *LAST* appearance of what's become an old friend: The original Doctor Who title sequence.

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It's started everyone of the show's 152 episodes to date and is the title sequence used on the most number of Who episodes. Tom's is on 144 broadcast episodes and even if you lump all 3 versions of the Starfield sequence together that was only used on 128!

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The Cybermen attack the base's communication aerial cutting them off from Earth. They reactivate Doctor Evans in sickbay, who knocks out his guard and enters the control room. A rescue ship from Earth is spotted, but it suddenly veers off course towards the sun: It has been deflected by the Gravitron under Evans' control. The other controlled crew members are also reactivated but Jamie and Ben barricade them into sickbay. The Cybermen puncture the base's dome with a laser cannon causing it to depressurise and the crew to seize oxygen masks. Fortunately Benoit & Hobson seal the hole with a tea tray over the hole. Evans has been rendered unconscious and the crew seize control of the Gravitron. Cybermen reinforcements arrive but further attempts to attack the dome prove futile as the beam is now deflected by the Gravitron. The Doctor gets the Gravitron lowered to an angle where the Cybermen are repelled from the surface of the moon. As the base crew celebrate, the time travellers slip away and return to the Tardis. In flight the Doctor activates the time scanner to look into the future: they see a giant crab like claw on the scanner screen.

Whereas the first 2 episodes were the Cybermen operating in stealth, then the third had them out in the open, this episode has them attacking en masse.

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Except that en masse doesn't seem to feel that many Cybermen. Claims of "You are Surrounded" are lessened by only showing one small group of Cybermen, albeit with about a dozen actors involved, which makes them a large grouping by Doctor Who monster standards. Personally I felt they worked better up close and personal in the base.

In amongst the attack the shot of their laser cannon being fired is a pretty good effect for the time.

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Is this first time we've seen an actual laser beam in Doctor Who?

Then we get some science in with the dome depressurising after being struck by the laser...

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The tray providing a seal over the hole is quite clever.

However if it is the laser that's struck the dome why has it hit it this time? All subsequent blasts are deflected by the Gravitron!

The guest cast is boosted in the final two episodes by the arrival of the Cybermen! Amongst those on the surface of the moon there's a number of actors who we've seen before in Doctor Who or will see again. Chief amongst them is Reg Whitehead, who was the Cybermen Krail and Jarl in The Tenth Planet. He'll be back as a Cyberman in The Tomb of the Cybermen and as a Yeti in The Abominable Snowmen. John Wills is the first Cyberman to appearing this serial: he was previously in The Chase episode 4: Journey Into Terror as Frankenstein's Monster. He's also got two appearances in The Prisoner as the Second Judge in The Chimes of Big Ben and Number Eighty Six in Once Upon a Time. Keith Goodman was previously an extra in The Savages and returns as a Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians. Sonnie Willis returns in the first two episodes of The Dæmons as a BBC3 TV Crewmember . He's also in Doomwatch as a man in Hear No Evil and a Prison Officer in Fire and Brimstone. Derek Chafer has got the longest Doctor Who history to date of theses Cybermen appearing as a Saxon in The Time Meddler, a Greek Soldier in The Myth Makers, a Guard in The Massacre and a Lynch Mob Member in Don't Shoot the Pianist. He's back as another Cyberman in The Invasion, an Extra in The Space Pirates, a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a Prisoner in The Mind of Evil, a Guard in The Curse of Peladon, an Exxilon in Death to the Daleks, a Guard in The Monster of Peladon and the armourer in The Masque of Mandragora part four. He's been in Doomwatch too as a Man in Project Sahara , Re-Entry Forbidden & The Red Sky and also appears as a man in the missing Out of the Unknown series 3 episode 1+1=1.5. Both Declan Cuffe and Barry Noble are in The Massacre as Parisian Men and The War Machines: Episode 1 as an Inferno Customer with Noble additionally appearing as an Egyptian Warrior in Dalek Masterplan episode 10 Escape Switch, while Terry Wallis is in a later episode of The War Machines as a Soldier.

But by far the most prominent name amongst the Cybermen is one John Levene. During 1967 he gets a recurring role as a background policeman in Z-Cars which brings him into contact with director Douglas Camfield who casts him as a Yeti in The Web of Fear, a role he reprises in The War Games episode 10, and then as Corporal Benton in The Invasion, a role he plays, promoted to Sergeant, for a large part of early to mid 70s Doctor Who. I can see on his CV a small role as an Interceptor pilot in the UFO episode Close Up!

So the Moonbase. Episode one sounds good, episode two is superb, episode three sounds like it's good and episode four has perhaps not survived the test of time lessening it's impact. I'd love to see the missing two episodes, especially episode 3.

The Moonbase, in it's printed form as Doctor Who & The Cybermen, was the second Troughton novel published by Target, but probably my first encounter with the Second Doctor. I may have read Tomb of the Cybermen (also with the wrong Cyberman on the cover) or Web of Fear first, my local library had both in Hardback. Indeed the library's copy of Web of Fear, later sold off, now sits on my book shelves here. I got a copy of Doctor Who and The Cybermen from the book shop in Brook Street, Kingston which later became the Waterstones serving the University and is now one of town's many ex bookshops. My copy has got the older cover on with Troughton's face and completely the wrong style of Cyberman but with the rounded Tom Baker logo rather than the block Pertwee logo or the newer cover with awful gold Cybermen and the neon logo. I loved Doctor Who and The Cybermen, it's a fabulous read and one of my favourite Doctor Who books so I was delighted when it was reissued on 7th of July 2011 alongside Doctor Who and the Daleks, Doctor Who and the Crusaders, Doctor Who and the Abominable Snowmen, Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion and Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters.

The 2 surviving episodes of the Moonbase were released as part of the Doctor Who - The Cybermen - The Early Years VHS (worth it for Roy Skelton giving an airing to two of his more famous non-Who voices at the end) and then on DVD as part of Doctor Who - Lost In Time. All 4 episodes Soundtrack were released on CD as Doctor Who: The Moonbase, and were re-released as part of Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Volume Four(1967). The two surviving episode were then paired with animations to form the Doctor Who - The Moonbase dvd.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

151 The Moonbase: Episode Three

EPISODE: The Moonbase: Episode Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 151
STORY NUMBER: 033
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 25 February 1967
WRITER: Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis
DIRECTOR: Morris Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Gerry Davis
PRODUCER: Innes Lloyd
RATINGS: 8.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Moonbase
TELESNAPS: The Moonbase: Episode Three

"You will remain here. If you leave you will be converted like the others!"

One of the base staff draws a weapon on the Cybermen but is quickly gunned down. The Cybermen, like the Daleks before them, recognise the Doctor. The remaining men with the virus are taken to the Cyberman spacecraft where they are operated on to install a control device. Jamie is recovering in sickbay as Ben & Polly plan how to attack the Cybermen. The Cybermen bring the controlled humans back to the base and use them to control the Graviton, intending to use it to destroy all life on Earth. Polly, inspired by nail varnish remover, is brewing up a cocktail of solvents to dissolve the Cybermen's chest units. The Doctor discovers he can interrupt the Cybermen's control using the base's communication device and wonders why the Cybermen aren't controlling the Graviton: he concludes they have a weakness for gravity. Ben, Polly & Jamie load the cocktail into spray cans. They sneak into the control room and spray it on the Cybermen killing them as the Doctor breaks the Cybermen's control. Benoit goes out onto the surface to look for the missing crew members but is pursued by a Cyberman. Ben follows him outside and kills the Cybermen with more of the cocktail. They return to the base where something is spotted on the moon's surface: An army of Cybermen is approaching the base.

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This sounds and looks from the telesnaps like a cracking episode full of action and Cybermen!

The Cybermen are on screen for most of the episode and up close to the humans in the base, quickly dispatching Bob who tries to attack them in a manner similar to that of the soldier that rushes the Cybermen as they enter the control room in Tenth Planet episode 2.

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Bob might be the only member of the Moonbase crew to die in this story, although the eventual fate of the plague infected and controlled crew members is a little unclear. Interestingly the gun the Cyberman uses to kill Boob doesn't look like the one stored in it's chest unit which we saw being drawn at the end of the last episode!

The Cybermen return quickly to the theme of converting Humans that was previously aired in Tenth Planet:

CYBERMAN 1: You are known to us.
DOCTOR: And you to me.
CYBERMAN 1: Silence. Who is in command?
HOBSON: I am.
CYBERMAN 1: You will be needed.
HOBSON: What have you done with my men?
CYBERMAN 1: They will return.
HOBSON: They're not dead?
CYBERMAN 1: No. They are not dead. They are altered.
BEN: Altered? What have you done to them?
CYBERMAN 1: They are now controlled.
HOBSON: If you do anything to my
CYBERMAN 1: You will do nothing.
CYBERMAN 2: This one has not received neurotrope X. Stand back.
POLLY: Please, leave him alone. His head is hurt. He's had an accident.
CYBERMAN 2: His head? Then he would be of no value. The others are ready for conversion.
CYBERMAN 1: You will now take us to the control centre.
HOBSON: I'll be damned if.... It's through here.
CYBERMAN 2: You will remain here. If you leave you will be converted like the others.
BEN: I don't like that word converted.
We get plenty of opportunity to hear the new Cybermen voices provided by regular Dalek voice artist Peter Hawkins, who also contributed Cyber vopices in the later episodes of The Tenth Planet. For my money the earlier sing song, sampled, voices are better than slightly indistinct electronic drone here which can sometimes make their speech hard to follow. I've never particularly liked it as far back as when I first heard it when Tomb of the Cybermen was recovered and rush released on Video.

Their voices maybe different but their attitude towards non Cyberman life hasn't:

CYBERMAN 1: Silence. We are Cybermen. You will listen.
BENOIT: But you were all killed!
CYBERMAN 1: We are going to take over the Gravitron and use it to destroy the surface of the Earth by changing the weather.
DOCTOR: But that will kill everybody on the Earth.
CYBERMAN 1: Yes.
HOBSON: You're supposed to be so advanced. Here you are taking your revenge like, like children.
CYBERMAN 1: Revenge? What is that?
HOBSON: A feeling people have when
CYBERMAN 1: Feelings? Feelings? Yes, we know of this weakness of yours. We are fortunate. We do not posses feelings.
BENOIT: Then why are you here?
CYBERMAN 1: To eliminate all dangers.
HOBSON: But you'll kill every living thing on the Earth.
CYBERMAN 1: Yes. All dangers will be eliminated.
BENOIT: Have you no mercy?
CYBERMAN 1: It is unnecessary. Keep watch on them.
One truly dire bit of dialogue from the Cybermen as they seem to boast in their own cleverness:
CYBERMAN 3: Operational system four complete. Entry to base now completed.
HOBSON: Entry? How did you get in?
CYBERMAN 1: It was very simple. Only stupid Earth brains like yours would have been fooled.
HOBSON: Go on.
CYBERMAN 1: Since we couldn't approach direct, we came up under the surface and cut our way in through your store room, contaminating your food supply on the way. A simple hole, that's all.
HOBSON: A hole! That explains those sudden air pressure drops we've been recording.
CYBERMAN 1: Clever. Clever. Clever.
Their previous weakness for radiation is recalled, along with a decent reason why it can't be exploited here together with a sensible line of reasoning for the attack they do use.
BEN: Yeah, those Cybermen have got us all worried, mate. We've see them in action before.
POLLY: They must have some weakness.
BEN: They have, don't you remember? They can't stand radiation.
POLLY: But where do we find that here?
BEN: There's the Gravitron power pack but that's thermonuclear. No one can get near it once its going.
POLLY: Why not?
BEN: Well because Duchess, the temperature inside is about four million degrees, that's all.
JAMIE: Well, in my day, they used to sprinkle witches with holy water.
BEN: Fat lot of use that would be on them.
POLLY: Sprinkle. Holy Water. Ben?
BEN: Yeah?
POLLY: What are the Cybermen covered in?
BEN: As far as I know, their suit is a metal of some sort.
POLLY: Oh. What about that thing on their chests? You know, the part which replaces their heart and lungs.
BEN: Some kind of plastic, I think.
POLLY: I thought so. You see, it's simple. Nail varnish remover dissolves nail varnish. Nail varnish is a plastic. So we do what Jamie says. We sprinkle them, see?
The program then takes an opportunity to get some science in:
POLLY: What is nail varnish remover?
BEN: It's a sort of thinner, something like acetone I think.
POLLY: Acetone, of course. Great, we've got some of that. Now, keep your fingers crossed.
(Polly drops some plastic into the acetone and watches it dissolve.)
POLLY: It's works!
BEN: But I still don't know what you're on about.
POLLY: If we can sprinkle some of that on their chest units, it might help to soften them.
BEN: I get it! You mean it'll clobber their controls or something.
POLLY: Yes, that's it.
BEN: Yeah, but how do we know that acetone will dissolve their sort of plastic?
POLLY: I hadn't thought of that.
BEN: Just a moment though, if we make up a mixture.
POLLY: Of all the solvents.
BEN: What have we got?
POLLY: Benzene, ether, alcohol.
BEN: We brew a right old cocktail.
POLLY: Yes. Wait a minute, how are we going to throw it at them?
BEN: Well, in bottles, I suppose. Now just a tick though. I've got a better idea.
The spray bottle used in the episode do look worryingly plastic, like the sort you use to spray plants with, in the telesnaps which might have been part of the reason that Gerry Davis has the fluid loaded into fire extinguishers in the novelization.

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The eventual results are very effective and gory though with foam spurting out of the damaged Cybermen's chests. I'd love to be able to see that sequence!

Ben doesn't come out of this exchange in preparation for the attack very well. First he's not keen on Jamie's involvement, ostensibly due to his recent recovery from, injury but more likely because he sees him as a threat to his relationship with Polly!

BEN: So, get it? This bottle holds the stuff that puts the fire out and this cylinder pushes gas into the bottle so that stuff squirts out here. Now, all we've got to do is to undo it. Phoar. Empty it and fill it with Polly cocktail.
POLLY: I've got it all ready here.
BEN: Good. What did you put in it?
POLLY: Let's think. Benzene, ether, alcohol, acetone and epoxy-propane.
BEN: Blimey, one of them should do it. Now, we'll need another one of these.
JAMIE: Right, I'll get it.
BEN: No, you stay where you are, Jamie.
POLLY: Jamie, you're not well enough.
JAMIE: It takes more than a wee crack on the head to keep a McCrimmon down.
BEN: Look mate, we don't want you cracking up on us. I'm sure Polly's very impressed.
JAMIE: Look, I said I was better. Would you like me to prove it to you?
BEN: Any time, mate.
Ben is then dead against Polly taking part as well. Did he intend to attack the Cybermen by himself? Typically sexist attitude of the time Ben comes from or is he genuinely protective to Polly?
POLLY: Look, come on. Haven't we got enough trouble without you two fighting each other?
JAMIE: I go.
BEN: Oh well, come on then. Not you, Polly. This is men's work.
Polly however is having none of it!
BEN: Polly. I thought that I told you to stay behind.
POLLY: I'm coming with you.
JAMIE: You'll maybe get hurt. Now go back.
POLLY: I'm coming with you and that's flat! You still need someone to look after you
JAMIE: I don't want
BEN: There's no time for arguments. If you're coming, come on.
BEN: Now look, we've only got one chance. When I open the door, drop down as low as you can, aim this things at their chests and squirt like mad. Right?
JAMIE: Right.
BEN: Now get ready.
But as if the weakness in the plastic in the chest units isn't enough they get another as the Doctor reasons why they're using humans in the Gravitron control room instead of taking control in person:
CYBERMAN 1: What is happening?
CYBERMAN 2: There is loss of control.
DOCTOR: Thought so. Sonic control. That should be easy.
(He resets the dials.)
DOCTOR: Funny. Funny. Go to all that trouble to make the men do the work. Why? Do it themselves, easy. They're using the men as tools. Why? Don't know. Yes, I do though. There must be something in here they don't like. Pressure? Electricity? Radiation? Maybe. Gravity! Now there's a thought. Gravity. Oh, yes. Gravity.
So that's radiation, solvents and gravity. The Cybermen are starting to look VERY vulnerable.

The sequence above seems to be showing the Doctor thinking to himself as he works out what's going on, something we don't see too often in Doctor Who being let into the head of the Doctor. There's a similar sequence post regeneration in Power of the Daleks episode 1 as the Doctor regains control of his body.

Although the episode is missing from the BBC archives, a film can for it (sadly empty of film) was found in New Zealand. Several other empty film cans have been found over the years in odd places and in one case the film that was in it (Dalek Masterplan 2: The Day of Armageddon) turned up years later. So I live in hope that somewhere in New Zealand someone is hoarding a copy of this episode as I'd love to have this one back, it sounds great on audio. I'd love to see Ben, Jamie and Polly attacking the Cybermen. Easily in my top ten individual episodes of Doctor Who I'd most like back!

This episode, The Moonbase episode Three, brings to mind the BBC science fiction series Moonbase 3 developed by Doctor Who's producer & script editor team of Barry Letts & Terrance Dicks during the 1970s. Several people, both in front and behind the camera, are involved in both series as you've frequently seen when I go through credits for actors, writers and directors on Doctor Who. I own a copy of the Moonbase 3 DVD but don't think I've ever got further than the first episode, and that's saying something because I've seen the Sensorites 4 times!