Doctor Who – Daughter of the Gods

Daughter of the Gods by David K Barnes

“Why don’t I remember this?”

When Zoe reattaches an old piece of equipment to the TARDIS console, she, Jamie and the Doctor are very lucky to avoid a collision.

But the place they find themselves in may be even more dangerous – because there they encounter another Doctor, a space pilot named Steven…and a young woman called Katarina who really shouldn’t be there….

Katarina is having bad dreams that she is dead. She tries to explain this to her two lords Steven and the Doctor, but neither understand and chalk it up to culture shock from retrieving her from the time of the Trojan Wars. But there is something more to Katarina’s dreams and it is all coming to a head.

The story begins with the Doctor’s junk drawer-room where he puts all the assorted bric-a-brac that he accumulates throughout his travels. While e is entertained with a remote control car, Zoe is more concerned with a device that belongs in the console; an instrument that would alert the travelers to another vessel in the time space vortex. As she installs the device, it picks up another craft that looks hauntingly like a Police Box. The vessels collide, causing a crash landing.

After exiting the TARDIS in search of a dematerialization circuit to fix the ship, the travelers are caught up in a mass evacuation led by a very familiar face, Steven Taylor. But if Steven is here, thinks the Doctor, ‘he’ must also be here and he doesn’t remember ever travelling to this planet. Jamie is separated from the others and narrowly fends off a gang who are troubling a young woman, Katarina. Katarina is on her way to her temple and brings Jamie along as it will be a safe place from the chaos on the planet. When Jamie sees that the temple is the TARDIS wheels start to turn in his head. Is she from his future or past? How does she know the Doctor? It’s quite a quandary.

While the Doctor attempts to explain himself to Steven without giving too much away, he is interrupted by a face on a video screen proclaiming that everyone must exit the planet. The face is his, or at least it was. It’s his previous self, the Doctor.

Daughter of the Gods is an incredibly ambitious story, combining the first two eras of the classic program, something that has never been attempted before. Bringing the world of the First Doctor to that of the Second Doctor is a bit of a head spin and the two incarnations of course do not get along.

It is a delight to hear Frazer Hines and Peter Purves pull double duty as Jamie and Steven as well as the Second and First Doctors respectfully. They pull off the mannerisms and vocalizations with ease and make you yearn for this adventure to be on the small screen. What a fifth anniversary this would have been. The inclusion of the Daleks is icing on the celebratory cake and they bring the required source of menace to tale.

If you are a fan of 60’s Dr Who, this is an audio story that belongs on your shelf. It’s available for download directly from BigFinish.com.

Doctor Who and The Faceless Ones

Story 035
Written by David Ellis and Malcolm Hulke
Transmitted 8 April to 13 May 1967

The TARDIS lands at Gatwick airport, directly on a landing strip in the path of landing planes. Immediately in danger of being arrested, the crew scatter in different directions to avoid the airport police. Polly hides in a nearby building only to witness the brutal murder of a man by a strange weapon that electrocutes its victims. The building belongs to Chameleon Tours, an independent travel agency that is up to something nefarious and strange and far more deadly than anyone can imagine.

The Doctor and Jamie investigate the murder after reuniting with Polly and decide to find someone in authority to report the murder. Polly is incapacitated and taken prisoner by Spencer, a member of Chameleon Tours. The Doctor and Jamie are immediately in hot water as they have no passports and appear suspicious, especially since they are somehow connected with the police box that appeared on the tarmac. The Commandant wants to arrest the Doctor and Jamie but relents to the Doctor’s insistence to see the corpse Polly found in Chameleon Tours.

The body is missing and the Doctor looks more suspicious and guilty of hi-jinx. Seeing no other possibility, the Doctor and Jamie run off into the airport to disappear in the crowd. Meanwhile Spencer and his superior Captain Blade attend to a deformed creature covered in bandaged and bundled into an overcoat and cap to hide his features. They bring him to the infirmary where, through the use of high technology, he is transformed into a doppelganger of a member of the airport control staff. It appears that the name Chameleon Tours is not a randomly chosen epithet.

The Doctor and Jamie try to unravel the mystery of Chameleon Tours with varied results. They find Polly but she claims to be someone else entirely and has no knowledge of the TARDIS crew but lets it slip that she knows of a murder. Jamie meets the spunky Samantha Briggs who is searching for her brother who disappeared on a Chameleon Tours plane. The Doctor finds an advertisement that attracts young people for budget foreign travel and suspects that Chameleon Tours is sweetening their offerings for no good use.

Inspector Crossland arrives to investigate his missing partner (the initial victim that Polly saw get murdered) and Chameleon Tours as well. He sees some sense in the Doctor’s suspicions and convinces the Commandant to give him free rein to see what he can turn up. The Doctor narrowly escapes a freezing death while gathering data and exposes the doppelganger in the airport control.

Jamie boards a Chameleon Tours plane to find out where the planes actually go and is trapped on board then the passengers are reduced in size as the plane breaks the atmosphere to dock with a space satellite orbiting the Earth. Jamie is trapped by the crew and placed in a room with two misshapen Chameleons. The Doctor interrogates the doppelganger and manages to get the reason why Chameleon Tours is abducting young people. Their home planet suffered a cataclysm so they are using the young people of Earth to replace their population through the chameleon technology allowing them to assume their forms.

The Doctor pretends to be a chameleon himself to get aboard a plane and arrives on the satellite where he meets their leader using the form of Inspector Crossland. He uses some crafty double thinking to buy some time for the crew if Gatwick airport to find the original bodies used by Blade and Spencer. This ploy proves too dangerous to Blade and he relents, promising that he will return the shrunken humans to regular size. The Doctor finds Jamie, Ben and Polly in storage lockers and they return to Gatwick.

Back on terra firma, the TARDIS crew is happy to be free of the clutches of the Chameleons. Ben and Polly are so happy that they decide to stay in 1967 England. Since they left around the same time, it’s like they never left. The Doctor and Jamie are left to find the TARDIS which has mysteriously disappeared. But that’s another adventure…

Restored in animated form by a team of 16 animators, The Faceless Ones has been released on DVD for new fans to discover. The animation is on par with the recently released Macra Terror and a delight to see. An atmospheric and creepy story (the thrumming bass and trilling musical cues of the Chameleons is highly effective). This is a great Troughton story and sees the great man in prime form; investigating, running from authority and challenging alien invaders. The TARDIS crew is minimized in this story as Michael Craze and Anneke Wills’ contracts had expired, making their abrupt departure and reduced screen time overall a bit jarring. Of course this allows for Frazer Hines to shine as Jamie and we get to see one of the program’s best companions (in my opinion) come to the fore.

Part of the ‘monster season,’ The Faceless Ones is a classic adventure and belongs in any Who fan’s collection.

Doctor Who Missing Episodes- The Underwater Menace

DrWho_PatrickTroughtonPatrick Troughton is regarded as the most important actor to play the role of Doctor Who. Having influenced nearly every one of his successors from Peter Davison to Matt Smith, he set the standard in the blend of a weird alien persona who could be silly, intense and charming all at once. Sadly, most of the stories that he appeared in are lost.  Only half of his catalog has been released on DVD, much of it with gaps filled by narration or cartoons. In 2013, two of his stories (Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear) were made viewable with the discovery of nine parts, a major boon for fans.

To date, The Underwater Menace is the only story with a recently reclaimed missing episode not to be released on DVD. According to rumor, the folks at 2|Entertain were prepared to explore adding animated sequences to fill in the blanks for this classic story.

A rare vintage newspaper clipping from The Underwater Menace

A rare vintage newspaper clipping from The Underwater Menace

A 4-part story screened from 14 January 1967 to 4 February 1967, this was the third outing for Troughton as the Doctor, who was still finding his footing as the cosmic hobo. At this stage, there was a lot of quirkiness, silly hats and cross-dressing still to be worked through. This version of the Doctor was still in progress and to add to the challenge, a third companion, Jamie McCrimmon was added to the mix!

07_underwater_menace_-_troughton

The Underwater Menace is set in Atlantis, a mythical civilization guarded by men in wet suits, a general population bedecked in seaweed and shells and… the Fish People. Lording over them all is the great god Amdo, a deity represented by a massive stone idol. Challenging Amdo is the mad Professor Zaroff, who has plans to raise the sunken continent to the surface from which he will rule the world. The story isn’t generally regarded as a ‘classic’ due to the runaround plot and Joseph Furst whose performance as Zaroff stretches to outer space, but Underwater Menace does have some of the most iconic imagery of 1960’s Doctor Who in a long sequence following the Fish People in their habitat.

Episode 2 was discovered in 2011 and marks the earliest complete episode of the second Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton. This would join episode 3 which is already in the ‘vault.’ At this time, there are no plans to release this on DVD.

If, like many fans, you want to see this adventure released on DVD, let BBC Worldwide know by contacting them at this site.

Doctor Who and The Macra Terror

‘The Macra Terror’

click for more by this artist

click for more by this artist

Story 034
Written by Ian Stuart Black, directed by John Davies
Originally transmitted 11 March to 1 April 1967

The Doctor and his companions visit a holiday colony where all seems to be peaceful and harmless, but something sinister lurks beneath the surface and it will take all of the Doctor’s cunning and persistence in order to defeat a horrific menace.

Doctor Who is a lot of things to a lot of people. For decades, it was a national heritage in the United Kingdom. In the US of the 1970’s, it was an obscure program played on PBS stations featuring a curly haired guy in a scarf fighting what looked like trash barrels and sock puppets. In more recent years, Doctor Who has taken a new place in the pop culture zeitgeist alongside Star Wars, Star Trek and the like. It’s a wild and immense science fiction epic that is weird, imaginative and multi-faceted with stories reaching back throughout generations of fans. It’s really like nothing else out there.

A serial program, Doctor Who ran from 1963-1989 with stories stretched out between four to six weekly installments (sometimes much longer epics, on a few occasions just one part). Accompanied by traveling companions from the past and future, the Doctor would land in one situation after another to encounter strange monsters from the dawn of time, creatures made of fear and some that looked more at home in a psychiatrist’s handbook. In the 1960’s, Doctor Who was undergoing a shift in tone that made it more intense and provocative while retaining the status of a family program.

The Macra Terror featured a holiday camp on an alien world with wicked secrets and mind-blowing monsters. Sadly, like many stories of this era, it is lost. This story along with many others were trashed and remain unseen to anyone not fortunate to see it when it was initially screened. All that remains are some photographs from viewer’s TV screens and audio recordings made by fans on magnetic tape (yes… people really did this and without that level of dedication we would have no inkling to what many adventures of this period were like).

Arriving in the middle of a colorful parade, the Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie are cheerfully greeted as unexpected guests. This is in sharp contrast to the usual situation in which the Doctor is almost immediately suspected as a murderer or spy. But its apparent almost at once that the Doctor is out of place. After receiving a mechanized beauty treatment that straightens his messy mop of hair, irons out his trousers, polishes his shoes and mends his frock coat… he leaps into another machine intended to enhance fitness and is a sloppy mess in no time.

The second incarnation of the Doctor is still regarded by fans as the most important of the program’s 50 plus year-long history. Appearing to be a buffoon, this incarnation of the Doctor is shrewd and may seem over-excitable and frantic at times, strangely eccentric at others but underneath it all is a brilliant mind. A short time after being introduced in Power of the Daleks, a story about conspiracy and intrigue in which the Doctor was the only person crying wolf, we find him once again taking a stand against the status quot.

the_macra_terror_by_briarnoir-d5trerpAs the Doctor slowly uncovers the mystery of the colony, he finds that the general population is sedated into compliance through electronic suggestion. He witnesses the betrayal of Ben Jackson first hand when he fails to prevent his brainwashing. But when Ben rescues Polly (who he was always sweet on) in the tunnels from a massive monstrous crab he snaps out of it.

The Macra themselves are enormous. Roughly the size of a compact car, they were only glimpsed briefly on screen through the deadly mist that they thrived on. Ruling the colony from below through a puppet government, the Macra survived on the backs of the people unaware that they were aiding a race creepy giant crabs. It’s such a brilliant story idea that it has been used several times since.

The Macra Terror 1Long time fans of Doctor Who will no doubt sense echoes of The Macra Terror in The Sun Makers, The Happiness Patrol and of course Gridlock. When Sydney Newman first envisioned the Doctor, he thought of him as something of a revolutionary and anti-establishment figure. Stories such as The Macra Terror play this notion very well,  where the Doctor seems to be in the minority as the only sane man in a crazy world.

Patrick Troughton is in fine form and after finding his balance between the comedic performances in the Highlanders and Underwater Menace to the multi-faceted master planner in the Moonbase. Anneke Wills and Michael Craze continue to do the heavy lifting in this story as two of the most overlooked companions of the program’s legacy. Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon is still staggering about as the script writers were expected to squeeze him into an already overloaded script. He wouldn’t really come into his own until after Ben and Polly left unceremoniously in the Faceless Ones.

Written by Ian Stuart Black, the same man behind the Savages and the War Machines, there is a connecting thread of subterfuge, conspiracy and a society poisoned from within embedded in this script. An inspired classic, we may never have the opportunity to see the Macra Terror in all of its glory… but having witnessed two stories from the Second Doctor’s era surface last year, stranger things have happened!

What are your thoughts on this long lost story?

Doctor Who and The Enemy of the World

‘The Enemy of the World’

DrWho_EnemyoftheWorldStory 040
Written by David Whitaker, Directed by Barry Letts
Transmitted: 23 December 1967 – 27 January 1968

“People spend all their time making nice things and then other people come along and break them.”

The Doctor lands the TARDIS on the beach in a nondescript time and place. Exalting in his good fortune, he takes to the surf in his long underwear, much to the confusion of his companions Jamie and Victoria. Shortly thereafter they are shot at from a hovercraft bearing three men armed with high powered rifles. They have landed in a hostile world where one man is either the savior of the world or its greatest foe, the man named Salamander… who shockingly looks exactly like the Doctor.

Written by one of the best authors and script editors of the programs history, David Whitaker, The Enemy of the World is a cynical adventure story with a stress on espionage. The Doctor spends most of the story in the company of Giles Kent who is determined to convince the Doctor of Salamander’s evil schemes and hidden agenda while Jamie and Victoria try to uncover the truth by infiltrating the world leader’s lair. Salamander is a man so dangerous that anyone who gets close to him soon ends up dead and he seems to have the ability to cause natural disasters at his slightest whim. Giving so much screen time to the companions is an unusual choice to make (and one that Whitaker also made in Evil of the Daleks) but since Troughton is playing both the villain Salamander and the hero, it grants him a number of prime opportunities to show off his acting chops.

A gifted character actor, Patrick Troughton was already known to audiences for his roles as the title character in Robin Hood, The Scarlet Pimpernel and several Shakespearean productions. After Doctor Who he continued to develop his career, a trick that few actors who had played Doctor Who have managed to pull off. I have only watched Troughton in a few of his other roles (Jason and the Argonauts, Adam Adamant Lives! and the Omen) so it was a real treat to see him spread his wings here with the part of Salamander. It was also nice to see Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling get some more time on screen not asking the Doctor what was going on.

This leaves the ‘what is going on’ job to the viewer at home who, after several months of essentially the same base under siege story, must delve into the web of lies that surrounds each part of this adventure. The addition of the double act of the Doctor as Salamander adds to the drama and when the evil mastermind suddenly activates a hidden switch to access a subterranean lair… The Enemy of the World takes a sharp turn and things start to get crazy (in a good way).

It’s important to note that The Enemy of the World is of its time and spread out over six parts, the action can get sparse. Like any Doctor Who beyond four parts, I highly recommend not watching it in one sitting. The script and the direction are in fine form, with Whitaker’s usual blend of taut tension and sharp humor. Making his directorial debut, future producer Barry Letts brings a pacey touch to the production that fits perfectly. In the hands of another director, this story would have been dreadful but with Letts at the helm it is quite good. The supporting cast is very strong with Mary Peach a stand out performance as Astrid Ferrier, a strong female character *without a love interest* (I’m looking at you, Russel T Davies and Steven Moffat).

Four of the six episodes have been missing from the archives until they were found by Phil Morris earlier this year. Finally the story can be watched in its entirety for the first time since it was originally shown. There are so many episodes still missing from the BBC archives that are landmark stories such as Power of the Daleks, but The Enemy of the World has traditionally not held high esteem among fans. An unusual story that stands out in the ‘monster season’ that also featured Ice Warriors, Cybermen and Yeti, The Enemy of the World is a thrilling cloak and dagger tale with not a single monster to be seen.

Released on DVD this month, The Enemy of the World is a great gift for the Doctor Who fan who has everything, but in the rush to the shelves, the DVD has no extras, not even the usually exhaustive subtitles detailing the production of the episodes, the reception at the time and much more. I highly suspect that a box set is on the way next year of this story and The Web of Fear, only with all of the extras and commentary noticeably absent the first time around. Speaking as someone who paid ‘good money’ for VHS tapes of Doctor Who, this was an unwelcome step back in time, but… it’s still a chance to watch a long lost story, so I cannot fault it.

Recommended:

Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors

Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited 1-4

Doctor Who: The Nameless City: Second Doctor

Doctor Who: The Enemy of the World Audiobook

Read more Doctor Who reviews here!

Doctor Who Web of Fear and Enemy of the World – FOUND!

DrWho_50th_LogoAfter years of anticipation and a few months of rumors concerning all 106 episodes having been discovered… there is finally some satisfaction. 9 episodes, previously thought lost forever have been formally announced for release on iTunes, to be followed by DVD. The moment was celebrated by a press conference with Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling.

(clip from Kasterborous)

dRwHO_Enemy_of_the_WorldThe Enemy of the World
Story 040
Written by David Whitaker, directed by Barry Letts
Transmitted 23 December 1967 to 27 January 1968

The Doctor thinks that he has landed on a pleasant beach. Fetching a bucket and spade he sets to enjoying the situation which is totally ruined when he is fired upon and chased by a pair of low flying helicopters. Taken in by one of his pursuers, it is explained that the Doctor is a dead ringer for Salamander, who is described as the deadliest man o the planet. Ruling the United Zones Organisation, Salamander seems benevolent by the Doctor’s judgement, but the others insist that he is up to no good. Anyone who gets close to Salamander is found dead in short order. The only solution is to get someone on the inside, and the Doctor is the perfect candidate.

After taking on the characteristics and appearance of Salamander, the Doctor infiltrates the world leader’s inner circle only to find a den of corruption, assassination and cruelty. But beyond that is the deadliest secret of all which could destroy the entire planet. Fury from the Deep
One of the most bizarre Doctor Who adventures, The Enemy of the World is part espionage, part political thriller, it is also written by one of the luminaries of Doctor Whom script editor during the Hartnell era, David Whittaker. There is plenty of humor, richly written characters and plenty of action-fueled drama. It is also one of the very few ‘double’ stories in Doctor Who lore, alongside The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve and Meglos. An adventure without any monsters, The Enemy of the World stands out among the other stories that year such as The Tomb of the Cybermen, The Ice Warriors and Fury from the Deep.

After the monumental find in Ethopia, Enemy of the World is finally complete. It has been remastered and made available on iTunes, with a DVD release scheduled in the UK for 25th of November.

2013 Trailer

DrWho_EnemyoftheWorld_DVD

Pre-Order Enemy of the World on DVD

dRwHO_WEBOFFEAR The Web of Fear
Story 041
Written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln, Directed by Douglas Camfield
Transmitted 3 February to 9 March 1968

The TARDIS is ensnared in a web, preventing it from landing until London has been completely overcome by the marauding Yeti, robotic creatures under the control of the Great Intelligence. The Doctor had previously defeated the Great Intelligence in Tibet with the help of Professor Travers (played by Victoria-Deborah Watling’s father, Jack), an explorer in search of the Abominable Snowman. Revived by the Great Intelligence, the Yeti are spraying a mind-warping web throughout the network of tunnels. Arriving thirty years after they had last seen him, Travers is a crotchety old man and part of a special team attempting to contain the Yeti menace in the London underground. The Doctor and his companions arrive during the systematic destruction of the tunnels to halt the progress of the insidious web. Their numbers reduced, the team must endure the claustrophobia of the tunnels and the company of cloying TV pressman Harold Chorley who is determined to get a story out of all this.

But not only is the Great Intelligence’s army of indestructible Yeti gaining a foothold, it has also taken over one of the members of the resistance. When it becomes clear that the Great Intelligence has taken over one of them, paranoia runs rampant within the Doctor’s team and the military. To make matters worse, a decidedly suspicious soldier makes his way past the Yeti and their webs, a man named Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart.

One of the most iconic stories of the 1960’s, the Web of Fear scared the living daylights out of kids back in the day. It was so popular that despite a lack of repeats the Yeti are considered one of the most successful monsters of the 1960’s. Part of the memorable ‘monster season’ that also included Ice Warriors, Cybermen and more, Web of Fear stands out as a tension-filled thriller with a remarkable atmosphere and a knock-out monster. It so wonderfully recreated the London Underground (which was off-limits to the camera crew) that the BBC received a complaint for filming their against struct instructions!

Previously, only the first episode had survived the junking of the BBC archives, but today that has changed as the BBC announced episodes 2, 4, 5 and 6 are now back in hand. Remastered with increased picture and sound, Web if Fear is finally available for viewing for the first time in 45 years.

2013 Trailer

Pre-Order Web of Fear on DVD

Pre-Order Web of Fear on DVD

Previous to this announcement there was a vague promise of ‘more to come’ from this find, but it is looking like this may be the entire haul. I have heard rumors (I am getting sick of that word) there are more exciting announcements coming… but this could be it.

From Big Finish:

DrWho_BF_TroughtonIt’s an exciting time to be a Doctor Who fan – nine episodes thought lost forever are back in the BBC archives and available to buy! But they’re not the only Lost Stories available. This weekend you can get the first two series of The Lost Stories for £5 each (£12.50 box sets) or £80 for all 14!

Over the years, many Doctor Who tales have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another, and we’ve been recreating them using existing scripts and concepts to finally make these Lost Stories a reality. This weekend you can hear stories originally intended for the First, Second, Sixth and Seventh Doctors in our special offer! Each two-disc release is £5 on CD and download, and the First and Second Doctor box sets are £12.50. You can also buy the entire bundle for £80 by clicking on the ‘Bundles’ button.

The titles available are:

The Nightmare Fair

Mission to Magnus

Leviathan

The Hollows of Time

Paradise 5

Point of Entry

The Song of Megaptera

The Macros

The First Doctor Box Set (containing Farewell, Great Macedon and The Fragile Yellow Arc of Fragrance)

The Second Doctor Box Set (containing Prison in Space and the Daleks pilot)

Thin Ice

Crime of the Century

Animal

Earth Aid

http://www.bigfinish.com/ranges/released/special-offers

Doctor Who The Moonbase and Underwater Menace announced as final classic DVD releases

Last week, Doctor Who fans were both excited and saddened to read the following in twitter:

Restoration Team : Ace colourist Jonathan Wood grading extras for Moonbase and Underwater Menace. Our final DW DVDs! pic.twitter.com/P3lEsAyJ3s

DrWho_Moonbase

This will apparently mark the conclusion to the DVD run that began many moons ago in 2001 with the simultaneous releases of The Five Doctor,s Spearhead from Space and Robots of Death. The range has continued throughout the years with Scream of the Shlaka, Terror of the Zygons, the Special Edition of the Green Death and The Tenth Planet (with newly created animated sequences) still to come. But this could be the end that fan knew was coming all along, Despite rumors of recently recovered missing material and a plea for a DVD release of the Crusade starring William Hartnell and Julian Glover… it may finally be coming to a close.

Fan trailer by biggerbaddaddy

The second Cyberman adventure, The Moonbase is in many ways a rehash of their ‘base under siege’ premiere The Tenth Planet, only with greater production resources and set on the moon instead of the arctic. Even so, it is a beloved adventure and one that I would be happy to see expanded upon. I am less fond of The Underwater Menace, as it is an early experiment in the Troughton era and ventures a skoch too far into comedy and farce for my liking, but perhaps I need to give it another look?

click here for my article on The Moonbase

click here for my article on The Moonbase

The existing material from The Moonbase has already been released as part of the Lost in Time collection, but one of the missing parts to The Underwater Menace was found earlier this year. I am thinking both will be released on one disc much like Galaxy 4 was lumped into the Aztecs Special Edition DVD after a lost episode was recovered (what a surprise that was!) .

Details are still forthcoming so it is anyone’s guess is Moonbase/Underwater Menace will be released together (no release date is available at this time for the Underwater Menace) or if this is indeed the end of the classic range.

Doctor Who and The Ice Warriors- animation preview

Aside from the Daleks (who appeared over 15 times on TV against the Doctor from 1963-1989), there are very few returning monsters from the classic Doctor Who series. Among those hallowed ranks are the Cybermen (featured in 10 classic stories- including The Five Doctors), the Sontarans (in 4 classic adventures) and the Ice Warriors (who faced the Doctor in four classic adventures). Of these examples, all but the Ice Warriors have seen a triumphant return to the TV screens, but next year all of that is about to change when a new version of the green-armored Martians challenge the Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and their very first outing sees a DVD release, with added animated material.

The Ice Warriors are almost forgotten these days, but there was a time when these hulking behemoths were beloved monsters among viewers. Horrifying lumbering creatures, the Ice Warriors hailed from Mars. The Doctor’s first recorded encounter with them was set around Brittanicus Base of the distant future when humanity battled against the inevitability of a second ice age. As the ice caps melted and migrated, a Martian landing craft was unearthed, along with its crew of cybernetically enhanced warriors. Written by Brian Hayles (who had also written The Celestial Toymaker), the Ice Warriors was screened in six parts from November to December, 1967.

The Ice Warriors was part of Doctor Who’s fifth season, one that had more monsters (Cybermen, Yeti, and a seaweed creature) on screen than had been witnessed in a long time. It is still recognized as one of the stand out years of the program’s history. So popular were the Ice Warriors that they came back two years later in the Seeds of Death. Later still the Ice Warriors were seen again in 1972’s Curse of Peladon and also in 1974’s Monster of Peladon.

To date, two episodes of the Ice Warriors remain missing, but thanks to a team of skilled animators, they live again!

IceWarriors

Via Doctor Who TV:
“We’ve been discussing the various ways Qurios could reconstruct these episodes for over three years” said Dan Hall, Managing Director of Pup Ltd Media Consultancy, producer of the DVD. “So it’s really, really satisfying to finally see them animated. Qurios have a great track record in excellent and innovative animations”.

(full article on The Ice Warriors here)

Currently, there are 106 missing episodes from 1963-69, mainly impacting the run of Patrick Troughton who played the Doctor from 1966-69.

The following stories from the First Doctor era starring William Hartnell are still incomplete: Marco Polo, The Reign of Terror, The Crusade, Galaxy 4, “Mission to the Unknown”, The Myth Makers, The Daleks’ Master Plan, The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve, The Celestial Toymaker, The Savages, and The Smugglers

From the Second Doctor era starring Patrick Troughton, these gems are lacking material: The Power of the Daleks, The Highlanders, The Underwater Menace, The Moonbase, The Macra Terror, The Faceless Ones, The Evil of the Daleks, The Abominable Snowmen, The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear,  Fury from the Deep, The Wheel in Space, Invasion and The Space Pirates.

As the Ice Warriors are set for a major come back in 2013, this DVD release should receive special attention.

The Ice Warriors of 2013

The Ice Warrior of 2013

Doctor Who series 7 part 2

Doctor Who Series 7 Part 2 Promo

Doctor Who and The Power of the Daleks

The Power of the Daleks

Story 030
Written by David Whitaker (with additions from Dennis Spooner)
Directed by Christopher Barry
Transmitted 5 November – 10 December 1966

“Why do human beings kill human beings?”

On the distant planet Vulcan, civil unrest threatens the peace of the Earth colony. While the Governor struggles to maintain control amidst rumors of rebel factions , Professor Lesterson has made an amazing discovery. After cheating death through a kind of renewal, the Doctor encounters his deadliest of enemies, but he is as unsure of his capabilities as his companions are. Can he realize his personality in time to put a stop to the Daleks setting a foothold on Vulcan in their quest to universal conquest?

After three successful years as the leading actor in Doctor Who, William Hartnell was ushered from his post and replaced. There were many sore feelings from Hartnell who had grown proud of his part in developing the program, but we can take some solace in the fact that he cited Patrick Troughton as the only person capable of taking over from him. Sydney Newman took some convincing, however, and even Troughton was unsure of taking on such a high profile role.

After several talks with Innes Lloyd, Troughton had many outlandish ideas on how he should play the Doctor. Being a character actor, he approached the challenge by offering up one weird concept after another (a wind jammer or an Arab… if his later statement was not in jest which I suspect it was). Being the first major change in the character that we now take for granted, it was a decision rapidly becoming muddled by committee-style discussions. In the end, Lloyd and Troughton crafted the identity between the two of them as a Charlie Chaplin-like cosmic hobo.

Much to Troughton’s reluctance, large parts of his characterization came from his own personality (something that became more common in later actors who were cast as The Doctor). A deeply private man, he preferred to keep his professional and home life separate, but in this case they become closely related as his acting as the Doctor was less of a performance and his cast members became like a second family.

The pain and confusion of the Doctor’s first ‘regeneration’

The first regeneration was traumatic for the viewers as well as the characters of the Doctor and his companions. Ben and Polly had seen their friend deteriorate before their eyes, even admitting to them that ‘this old body of mine is wearing a bit thin.’ In his place was a stranger, experiencing intense pain and confusion as thoughts flooded through his newly made brain.

The concept of regeneration was more fully explained as we understand it now much much later in the program’s history. In this instance, the Doctor implies that it is a renewal and that it was accomplished with the help of the TARDIS. The Doctor’s personality is not the only that had changed. His body had changed and his abilities had grown, including a kind of telepathy. This is where many of the Doctor’s later abilities were born and his alien physicality developed.

Previously, the Doctor was more or less a human-like being with alien origins. He required food, rest and even had one heart (as established in the Sensorites). The second Doctor is a whole new kettle of fish and a more fantastical character than his predecessor, adding the ‘pixie’ qualities of a children’s literature hero to the Doctor as he had been known.

While Ben and Polly look on, the Doctor consults his 500 year diary

The Doctor doesn’t even seem to have retained the knowledge of his previous self, referring to himself in the third person, often needing to reference his diary to check his memory. This was a very clever way of mirroring the audience’s reluctance to accept Troughton by making him off-center and apparently deranged. The refined dress of the First Doctor was replaced with a battered parody two sizes too big. The Doctor’s signet ring fell from his fingers and the new Doctor took up a recorder, much to the chagrin of his companions.

Who was this Doctor? Even he didn’t know.

Donning the infamous ‘stovepipe hat,’ the Doctor takes a walk through the mercury swamp of Vulcan

Traipsing along the planet surface, the Doctor attempts a few hops and jumps and soon meets another person who seems overjoyed to see a friendly face, then he is shot in the back and promptly dies. Looking for clues, the Doctor finds a forgotten button torn from someone’s clothing and a badge declaring the victim as ‘Chief Examiner’ affording him ‘every access.’ Thus does the Doctor becomes involved in the conspiracy for control in the colony. Taking on the identity of Chief Examiner, someone no one was expecting and someone no one can identify, the Doctor is allowed the run of the place and treated with near immunity and respect.

Soon, the Doctor meets Lesterson who is greedily examining a strange capsule found embedded in the planet’s crust. Aided by the beautiful but cunning Janley, Lesterson has tunnel vision regarding his discovery of the Dalek capsule. He cannot accept the warnings of the Doctor or the manipulations of Janley and her rebel faction friends.

Lesterson and Janley conduct experiments with a Dalek

The script for Power of the Daleks was written by David Whitaker without any understanding of who the new Doctor was going to be and what he would act like. Terry Nation was busy with other projects including the beginnings of ‘The Destroyers,’ a spin-off using the Daleks outside of Doctor Who. As the production proceeded, it became clear that much revision was needed, but script editor Gerry Davis was unable to take on the work on Whitaker’s scripts. Dennis Spooner (who had worked on many previous stories including parts of The Daleks’ Master Plan) was called in to polish it up, fleshing out the Doctor, supporting characters and adding lots of humor.

It’s difficult to tell what parts of the produced story are from Whitaker’s pen and what is from Spooner’s, but it’s a marvelous tale. Because of the importance of Power of the Daleks as the ‘first regeneration story,’ it is often over-looked for any other qualities. The fact that almost all material remains lost of this six parter (only short sequences are viewable at this time) only makes the story more obscure. John Peel novelized the story but that book has gone out of print. An audio CD with linking narration by Aneke Wills is also hard to find at a reasonable price. All that said, there is an incredibly small group of fans who have had a chance to experience this story in any way.

The Doctor is recognized by a Dalek, Ben (and the audience?) is finally convinced that the ‘impostor’ is the genuine article

When it becomes clear that the capsule is a Dalek escape craft, the Doctor starts to worry, but is not sure how to proceed. He is reluctant to act directly, but knows that he must stop anyone from attempting to harness their power and that is surely just what Lesterson plans to do.

The Doctor witnesses the revival of the Daleks

There are several angles to this story that strike me as interesting, including the anarchist forces of the rebel faction and the threat that even a peaceful Dalek poses to the laborers. I’m not sure how much was included on purpose and how much seeped its way into the script, but it strikes me as one of the only poignant Dalek stories with something to say in addition to entertain and scare the pants off of the viewers at home.

The Doctor leads Ben and Polly into the Dalek capsule

Security chief Bragen is making a bid for power and with Janley’s help, hopes to use Lesterson to mobilize and arm the Daleks as weapons in their acts of violence. Overworked and paranoid, Lesterson is easily manipulated, but the Daleks are shown at their most manipulative and devious. Playing the role of eager servant, they wait for the key moment to act. There is a wonderful moment as a Dalek watches the rebels firing on the other colonists as they move against the Governor’s forces and asks why humans would kill other humans.

The Daleks were chosen to accompany the arrival of a new Doctor to reassure the audience that while Hartnell had left, the program was still the same. There are several iconic moments in this story, starting with the Dalek identifying the Doctor as he screams to warn the colonists. Troughton’s horrified expression in the Dalek’s tunnel point of view was frozen in the viewers’ minds for quite some time, as was another scene in which the Daleks are seen working an assembly line, dropping weird alien beings into the Dalek casings.


Troughton is absolutely stunning in this premier story, earning his place as the finest actor to play the role to date. His performance runs the gamut from playful child to courageous hero and brilliant scientist as well as a truly weird and alien being. Confined to a room, the Doctor wonders if he can get Lesterson to listen then gleefully realizes that ‘Lesterson listen’ is a great tongue-twister. To Ben’s anguish, Polly joins in and the pair become giddy. The introduction of the recorder, a musical instrument that the Doctor seems to rely on to focus his thoughts while causing frustration for everyone else, is another nice touch. In a short amount of time, Troughton has the new Doctor’s many facets explored on screen, showing the audience that there is so much more to the Doctor than had previously been thought possible.

The Doctor toots on his recorder (at Ben’s annoyance)

Power of the Daleks is a very intelligent and gripping adventure that touches on the deviousness of the human mind and the mistrust in society. By the time the Daleks start firing on the humans, there’s hardly anyone left that could be viewed as acceptably appealing. There are a few things that are confusing continuity-wise, such as how or why the Daleks have become forgotten by humans or what time period this story is meant to be set in. The fact that the Dalek identifies the Doctor on sight without any prior knowledge is also interesting and means that the Daleks are viewing their subjects in more ways than just visually.

There are several missing stories from Doctor Who in the 1960’s and everyone has their own choice for which story they’d like to see in its entirety; the grandeur of Marco Polo? The creepiness of The Web of Fear or the simple massive wealth of the Daleks’ Master Plan? It really doesn’t matter what you choose, but personally I’d love to see this story as it deserves more attention and respect than just being the first story of the second Doctor.

Power of the Daleks is an examination of the human soul and the evil inherent in modern society. For that reason alone it is one of the best Dalek stories ever made and remains lost in so many ways that very few fans can possibly know this.

Fan-made prequel animation using Nicholas Briggs’ The Dalek Conquests

Recommended:

Doctor Who, the Power of the Daleks Audio CD

Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks – download

Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks – John Peel novelization

Doctor Who – the Scripts: “The Power of the Daleks”

Doctor Who – Lost in Time Collection of Rare Episodes DVD