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 Wilson 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

Doctor Who and The Fury From the Deep

Doctor Who and The Fury From the Deep

Story 042
By Victor Pemberton
Transmitted from 16 March to 20 April 1968

Landing in the North Sea of England of the near future, the TARDIS crew find themselves witness to a mystery. A massive drilling rig is drawing gas from the sea… and something else as well. From the first moment that the Doctor encounters the pipeline, he realizes that something else is inside it, something living… and deadly.

The Fury From the Deep is one of the many Doctor Who adventures from the 1960’s that is missing in its entirety. In this case, only random clips, still images, behind the scenes footage and the audio track exist. In preparing to review this story, I listened to the ancient audio version with Tom Baker providing much-needed narration where the action was unclear. This provided an unusual opportunity as Baker played the narrator as the Fourth Doctor looking back on his old adventure. Offering up longings for his playful second persona and fondness for his companions long gone, this added an extra dramatic element to the story, even if it often seemed that Baker was attempting to steal the spotlight from his predecessor.

Traveling by inflatable dingy, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on a beach full of sea foam. They playfully mess about in the foam (due to the nature of Troughton and Hines, I wonder if that was an impromptu event) before finding the pipeline embedded in the sand. Using a device called the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor examines the pipeline and finds something very troubling. There’s something inside the pipes, something with an eerie pulse, something alive.

Throughout The Fury From the Deep, Victoria signposts her eventual departure from the TARDIS, bemoaning their dangerous lifestyle and endless encounters with monsters and madmen. Jamie takes it all in stride, but it is clear that Victoria is shaken and ready to lead a normal life. We may take this for granted as this sort of thing happened all the time in the Classic Doctor Who (Turlough, Tegan and Nyssa all left to explore their own destinies), but given that most of the modern companions view their travels in the TARDIS as a near-addictive experience which normal life cannot compete with, it speaks to the integrity and sophistication of the old scripts.

The plot of The Fury From the Deep is similar to many many other Doctor Who stories such as the Moonbase, Ice Warriors, Inferno, etc. A very important enterprise run by a skeleton crew is facing grave difficulties, yet the management refuse to acknowledge it and almost immediately place the blame at the Doctor’s feet as he had just arrived. In this case, the operation involves deriving gas from the sea floor and the man in charge, Robson, is a maniacal man in a remarkable repeating nervous breakdown state. Robson is challenged by the more down-to-Earth Frank Harris, who has been carefully tracking steady drops in pressure that threaten the entire operation. Unfortunately, he cannot find his research and his chief recommendation is to stop the pipes immediately and investigate what is causing the interference, something that Robson will not entertain.

A pair of strange devilish men dressed all in white, Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill, are hard at work removing anyone who seeks to investigate the blockage in the pipes and attack Harris’ wife Maggie before she can deliver the much-needed research to her husband. Maggie has already been infected by the properties of seaweed strangely left inside the research notes, leaving her especially weak to attack. Maggie survives the assault of Oak and Quill, but is clearly unsettled and altered by the experience.

Oak and Quill are by far two of the creepiest characters to ever appear in Doctor Who. Looking very inhuman, their behavior is that of killer mimes (yikes… hopefully Moffat won’t steal that). The fact that so much of this story is a mystery adds to the horror and tension as the nature of the creature in the pipes and its relation to Oak and Quill is subtly laid out.

Mister Oak and Mister Quill

Investigating a sample of seaweed in the TARDIS, the Doctor surmises that they are dealing with a very old creature, one that has appeared throughout human history, often as a mythological monstrosity. It’s a lovely touch, something that the new series needs to consider more as a way to lend some credence to the ‘monster of the week’ rather than having it be some bloke in a rubber suit.

As the other rigs fall silent, it becomes clear that the creature interfering with the operation is sentient and an assault is underway. The Doctor seizes control as Robson loses his mind and is then infected by seaweed pumped into his room by Oak and Quill. In a dazed state, Maggie Harris wanders into the sea in answer to an alien heartbeat. The rigging crew are being overcome by the seaweed creature, losing their will to its hive mind that wants nothing less than total domination (another story element that comes up again and again in classic Who).

The struggle to retain individuality while maintaining a place in society seems to be an ongoing theme throughout Doctor Who in its early years. Many of the threats that the Doctor and his companions face are driven by a need to control others, making their will a shared one. This goes beyond empire building or conquering lands, it’s a battle for absolute control. This makes many of these stories more meaningful as the Doctor is very much an isolationist in his own way and forever combating homogeny and uniformity.

In their way, the Cybermen are boogiemen who take people away in the middle of the night to alter them into empty robotic zombies. The Macra Terror was a tale entirely built on conformity. The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear both featured attempts to entirely take over the minds of others. Both the Underwater Menace and Enemy of the World dealt with madmen who were so dominated by a need tp control the world that if they could not have it, no one would.

In the case of The Fury From the Deep, the seaweed creature is more terrifying as it is without a voice through much of the adventure… until Robson becomes its monstrous mouth-piece and spouts the usual ‘your people are doomed’ nonsense common in 1950’s pulps. The story loses something when the monster gains a voice and it’s from that point that the Doctor lashes together a solution cleverly using the pipeline itself as a conduit transmitting a soundwave dispersing the creature’s mass.

The fact that the sound itself is Victoria’s amplified scream always struck me as an in-joke as she was quite the screamer, even by classic Doctor Who standards.

The weed monster

Behind the scenes snapshot of the weed monster

I have always adored Patrick Troughton’s Doctor. He has been called the finest actor to play the part by nearly everyone involved in the series past and present and he possesses an unusually wide range for a TV performance. In parts, the Doctor can be childish and playful while other moments he displays a startling intelligence and cunning that reveals his inner nature. I have respect for just about all of the classic Doctors, but I count the second as one of the finest due to his many faceted persona.

In this story, Troughton gets to be comical, clever and brave as well as delicately sincere in his emotional farewell to Victoria.

Jamie bids a sad farewell to Victoria

Fury from the Deep is a gripping suspenseful adventure that is somewhat let down by the six part format that stretches the drama far too thinly. It seems that characters are left with little to do but run about spouting the same lines for ages, seeking answers that they clearly should have gotten long ago. If I heard poor Frank Harris try to explain to Robson that his wife was ill one more time, for instance, I thought I would lose my mind. The character of Frank Harris starts off as a empathetic one but gradually transforms into a one note shell, endlessly saying the same things.

Despite the set backs, the story was a hit with viewers due in part to the tension-filled mood, the psychological horror of characters like Oak and Quill and of course the Weed Monster, the latest in a series of nightmarish threats that the Doctor would subdue with a device lashed together at the last moment. A relic of the 1968 ‘monster series,’ this story has all the hallmarks of what we have seen before, but like the other stories in that series, these elements are all done very well. Troughton’s energy keeps the plot pumping along and the guest cast is unusually strong.

Directed by Hugh David (who had previously worked on The Highlanders, the serial that introduced the character of Jamie McCrimmon), Fury from the Deep is very stylishly attractive and uses several brilliant effects that make even the few surviving clips impressive.

Reconstructed trailer

Fan-created trailer

The departure of Victoria was the latest in a series of farewells, but it is quite poignant as she and Jamie really fancied each other in an awkward way. Jamie, being a young lad from the highlands of Scotland, regularly wound Victoria up, her being a posh lady. But it was clear that he cared deeply for her and sought to protect her out of a not entirely understood affection. Jamie’s boy-like charm and behavior often masked his rather heroic personality, something that Victoria often took for granted but seems to suddenly recognize once they attempt to say goodbye. As the scene exists only in audio with limited visual stills, you may think that I’m reading a lot into this, but it’s definitely there.

Leaving Victoria behind to lead a new life, the Doctor and Jamie enter the TARDIS to embark on a new adventure, but neither of them is entirely in the usual mood of rollicking devil-may-care excitement. Somberly, the TARDIS dematerializes for another time, another place.

There’s a lot to like in this story, but given that one has to brave an all-audio experience or read the author’s novelized version to see it… that’s asking a lot.  Of all the classic missing stories, I count Fury From the Deep as among one of the many that I hope turn up some day. And given recent findings… maybe I’ll get my wish.

Recommended (reminder: I do not get referral fees from any purchases made from links on my blog)

”]”]

Doctor Who: Fury from the Deep by Victor Pemberton

Doctor Who - Lost in Time Collection of Rare Episodes - The William Hartnell Years and the Patrick Troughton Years

Doctor Who Second 2nd Doctor & Tomb Cyberman Action Figure

Doctor Who Monsters: A Classic Series Bestiary

Lost Doctor Who episodes found!

The first Doctor Who regeneration from William Hartnell to Patrick Troughton, lost in its entirety, recreated here by clips and stills

Much to the shock of some Doctor Who, currently the darling of the BBC and sci-fi TV realm, lasted for over 30 years before anyone had even said the name David Tennant. However, due to the short-sightedness of the BBC, several episodes from the BBC Archives were destroyed with some narrowly escaping the incinerator including the initial Daleks story!

Of the 253 aired installments in the 1960’s, 106 are still missing. This constitutes a large portion of the first two eras of the program and leaves a massive gap in the reign of the second Doctor Who played by Patrick Troughton. Some of the most important episodes of Doctor Who are still missing, from the first regeneration to two of the reportedly finest Dalek adventures. There have been attempts to fill these gaps with off-air clips and audio recordings, novelizations and even animations, but despite these sterling efforts, it’s not the same as the real thing.

But rejoice, as the number of missing episodes of Doctor Who dropped by two as a pair of orphaned adventures was unearthed!

Every fan has his/her dream episodes that they’d like found, such as the remainder of the epic 12 parter the Dalek Master Plan or the legendary Web of Fear, but in the end we should be happy for anything and in this case it’s part 3 of ‘Galaxy 4’ starring William Hartnell and the second part of ‘The Underwater Menace,’ a somewhat derided Patrick Troughton story.

This marks the first complete episode from the bizarre Hartnell story featuring the unlikely mechanical menaces the Chumblies and the Amazonian Drahvins. Prior to today’s announcement, there was little remaining footage of this story but what I have seen is very strange indeed.

The Drahvins of Galaxy Four

‘The Underwater Menace,’ a weird story set in Atlantis under the control of a mad scientist named Zaroff, is now only missing the first and last parts (based on the novelization, these could be the best bits!). The story is full of the most elaborate padding ever used on Doctor Who as mer-creatures swim past the screen on wires for several minutes. I hope that an additional episode will help boost the reputation of this one.

A rare vintage newspaper clipping from The Underwater Menace

The discovery of any missing episodes is cause for celebration as it serves to renew hope that somewhere out there is a complete film can of ‘Marco Polo,’ but in the meantime we can enjoy an early Christmas gift and look forward to a nice DVD release from the folks at 2 Entertain.

Via RadioTimes:

So how did they come to light?
“Through me,” says Ralph Montagu, Radio Times’s head of heritage and a lifelong Doctor Who fan. “I occasionally meet up with a group of film collectors and retired TV engineers at a café in Hampshire.

“A few months ago I spoke to Terry Burnett, who used to be an engineer at TVS [the former ITV franchise based in Southampton]. Somehow Doctor Who was mentioned in passing, and Terry said, ‘Oh, actually I think I’ve got an old episode.’

“I thought it was bound to be something we’ve got already,” says Ralph. “I tried not to get too excited, but he came back the next day and brought this spool with him. It had no label, so I had a look at the film leader and it said ‘Air Lock’. I thought, ‘What’s that?’ I checked online and saw that Air Lock was an episode of Galaxy 4 – a missing Hartnell serial. So then I got very excited.”

Ralph met Terry again a couple of weeks later, “And he said, ‘Guess what I’ve got.’ It was another episode of Doctor Who! Again not labelled on the can, but it turned out to be The Underwater Menace part two.”

The film collector
When I called Terry Burnett last month, he told me: “I’ve been interested in film since about 1947. I’ve built up a modest collection. I buy and sell, and keep the films I like.” So how did he come by these prints? “In the mid-80s, an electrician at TVS was organising a school fête over Marchwood way [near Southampton].

“Everybody down there knew I was a film buff, and he just mentioned to me, ‘I’ve got a box of films if you’re interested.’ So I said, ‘Bring ’em in.’ We did a suitable deal, I took them home and found two Doctor Whos among them. I cleaned them up, showed them in my ‘old Hollywood’ [home cinema] and then they went into my archive. There they stayed until I mentioned them to Ralph.”

It’s likely these prints were returned long ago to the BBC from ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), were subsequently disposed of, but “pulled out of a skip” by an enthusiast. Thanks to Terry they’re in generally good condition, but they do have several unfortunate glitches.

Restoring the film
I looked over the shoulder of Paul Vanezis, a BBC producer involved in their recovery, who pointed out the problems. “Like any old film, Air Lock has a bit of muck and dirt on it, which we can clean.”

Somewhat trickier is “a ‘tramline’ scratch, a vertical line caused in the past by someone who didn’t maintain their projector. On a big close-up [of villainess Maaga] it can be quite distracting, but we’ll try to get rid of it.”

Even more of a challenge is a film break right at the cliffhanger, where companion Steven (Peter Purves) is suffocating in the eponymous air lock. “We’re missing 27 seconds of action completely, as well as the closing credits,” says Paul. “It’s a few shots and one line of dialogue from Maaga. But luckily we have the soundtrack and by using other visual material within the episode, we can re-create it.”

The TARDIS crew encounter a robot nicknamed 'Chumblie' by Vicki

 

A clip from the newly rediscovered Galaxy Four part 3

The Underwater Menace suffers from 20 seconds of cuts made by ABC censors – a scene where a surgeon is trying to inject companion Polly with a syringe. Amazingly, those snippets surfaced separately in 1996 and Paul is hoping to reinsert them where they belong. “My job is liaising with the ABC archive in Sydney because their original transfer was a bit lopsided and zoomed in. They’re rescanning the frames at greater-than-HD quality, so we can match the material.”

The film “wobbles up and down all the way through because of worn sprockets”, plus there’s a tear in the spool halfway through a crowded cave scene. It means one line is missing where companion Jamie says, “How about me, sir?”

“It’s only two seconds, but because it’s one shot with no cutaways, it’s awkward to fix. But it’ll look quite presentable when it’s finished,” promises Paul.

A clip from The Underwater Menace part 2

How do the episodes stand up?
Galaxy 4, a four-part season opener from 1965, is fondly remembered by those fans old enough to have watched it. Various factions vie to leave a barren world before it explodes – a race of bad girls called Drahvins, cute domed Chumbley robots and the benign warthog-like Rills.

To me, listening to the surviving soundtrack, it’s always sounded like a leaden plod, but now we can see fledgeling director Derek Martinus utilising the space and camera flexibility at BBC Television Centre. There are high-angle shots of the Doctor (William Hartnell) and companion Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) running through the Rill Centre.

A neat flashback sequence, with a wobble effect, shows Maaga executing one of her warriors. Surprisingly for the time there’s a shot of the Drahvin’s blood-streaked forehead.

It’s a treat to see one of the rarely glimpsed Rills in action (well, it rocks from side to side behind a sheet of polythene). “It looks like a sort of creepy tree you’d see in a pantomime but it’s quite well done,” says Ralph.

One of the dreaded Rills from Galaxy Four

There’s also ample corroboration of Peter Purves’s complaint that space pilot Steven was particularly wet in this story. He spends most of episode three pretending to be asleep or overcome by the women warriors and trapped in their air lock. “I was appalled because that was not the character I’d agreed to play,” moaned Purves.

Actor Peter Purves who played astronaut Steven Taylor

The Underwater Menace part two is arguably the more intriguing find. Not only is it the first Troughton film print since the recovery of The Tomb of the Cybermen 20 years ago, it’s actually now the earliest surviving episode to feature the second Doctor.

His first 11 programmes are still lost (episode three of this four-parter has been around for a long time). It’s also the earliest featuring Frazer Hines as Jamie. He teams up here in a very fit threesome with Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze), while the Doctor takes on a mad professor trying to raise the sunken city of Atlantis.

Patrick Troughton plays the impish Doctor in the Underwater Menace

Recorded in January 1967 at Riverside studios in Hammersmith, The Underwater Menace is a blend of B-movie material and camp nonsense – an early work from Julia Smith, then a rare woman director at the BBC who, two decades later, created EastEnders.

When I interviewed Julia in 1987, she recalled: “There were awful arguments about how Patrick Troughton should play the part; how quixotic the character should be, whether he should play his flute or not.”

This episode contains a now rare example from the 60s of the second Doctor playing the recorder he was so renowned for. Troughton also indulges in some comedic mischief that is a delight to see. If you didn’t get a ticket to the BFI event, the episodes could be on DVD before too long. Paul Vanezis says, “We’ll probably do a second volume of Lost in Time” – a DVD compiling archival odds and ends.

Further finds?
Sadly, Terry Burnett doesn’t have any other spools secreted away, “but I’ll always keep an eagle eye open in case any do turn up, which of course I’ll pass on to Ralph.” He’s only too happy to have returned this pair. “A lot of effort went into making those programmes and it was very short-sighted of the BBC to throw them out. It’s our television heritage.”

“All Doctor Who fans have dreamed of finding a missing episode and you never know how it’s going to happen,” says Ralph. So does he believe any more film prints are out there? “Well, one or two other leads are being pursued at the moment. More than that I’m not saying!”

Doctor Who and The Ice Warriors

Doctor Who and The Ice Warriors

Story 039
By Brian Hayles
Transmission dates 11th November to 16 December 16, 1967

Earth is facing a second ice age and losing a tense battle with the unrelenting forces of nature. In a final desperate attempt to halt the ever-spreading ice floes, an international project is launched using a system of ionizers. But even that is failing. When a strange ancient warrior is unearthed from the ice, the staff of Brittanicus Base assume that it is a preserved Viking, but the stranger called the Doctor knows that it is something else altogether. As Earth struggles to defeat one threat another arrives in the form of a long forgotten platoon of Ice Warriors from the planet Mars.

The Ice Warriors is part of series 5, also called ‘the monster series’ as it featured several monstrous threats from Cybermen, Yeti, and even a seaweed creature. It fits the model all too familiar with this era of an alien invasion paired with a base under siege. This model was first seen in The Tenth Planet which ended Hartnell’s era and signposted the shape of things to come. It also formed the basis of how Doctor Who is viewed then and today (make of that what you will). A limiting style of adventure, this model demands a stellar script, a strong cast and a memorable monster to make it work. Luckily, this story has a great cast, superb monsters and a script with lots of brilliant concepts (although, like many series 5 stories it does get spread far too thin). One of the few Troughton stories missing only a portion of its episodes, it can still be enjoyed with just a slight interruption where parts 2 and 3 belong.

Another fine mess, the TARDIS landing is a bit off (again)

The TARDIS crew for this adventure consists of Jamie (from the battle of Culloden in 1746) and Victoria (an orphan from 1866). They make quite a pair as Jamie is allowed to be the courageous hero to the screaming lady in distress, Victoria. With only one complete adventure featuring Victoria (Tomb of the Cybermen), Victoria has gotten plenty of stick for being a screamer but after delving into the telesnaps and audio recordings I find her to be an excellent companion who brings out strong qualities in both the Doctor and Jamie.

Jamie and Victoria discuss skirts as a monster waits…

The TARDIS lands outside of a plastic-domed structure during a wicked snowstorm. The landing is an awkward one which leads to several comedy bits as the crew attempt to crawl up the floor of the console room to the find that the craft has landed on its side and is slowly slipping. After venturing into the dome, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria find a completely different setting than they had expected. Rather than an ultra-modern facility, the inside of the dome is a Georgian mansion, preserved with impressive care. If not for the klaxons and flashing alarms, there would be no sign that it was anything but the familiar time period of Victoria’s home.

Inside Brittanicus Base, a perfectly preserved Georgian house

Huddled for warmth outside the dome are a pair of scavengers; Storr and Penley. The pair are very entertaining if a bit catty. I had to stifle a giggle when the Welsh Storr chided Penley for mentioning anything related to his previous life as a technician, stating ‘I thought you’d given all that up!’ It struck me as something more fitting a closer relationship than just a pair of struggling scavengers, but maybe I’m just being juvenile. Storr is another in a long line of questionable broad Welsh stereotypes that litter Doctor Who all the way through the 1970’s (and maybe even 1987’s Delta in the Bannermen depending on your opinion). Nevertheless, he’s a hilarious character who brings some levity to the doomsday scenario that the story is set in. His incessant complaints make him a never-ending source of friction and obstruction for the story, but Penley cares for the garrulous loon anyway.

Penley had been the expert in ionization, has quit the modern world in a statement of revolt, leaving his superior Leader Clent completely clueless as to what to do next. There’s a strong message of social rebellion in many stories throughout the Troughton and Pertwee era that reflects the times but I find it to be more subtle here. In The Ice Warriors, the society of the future is betting its future on the hopes of a computerized system that, at best, holds the impending glaciers at bay. This has forced human society into a state of hierarchical rigidness that few speak out against. This is exhibited in the relationship between Clent who is so dependent on computers that he runs every single task through its databanks and Penley who quits the modern world and madly attempts to live in the tundrous wild where only death awaits.

Storr and Penley living it rough

A non-conformist like the Doctor is a square peg in a round hole for sure. Finding himself in the base and its hectic mad state of panic, he at once offers up suggestions and help, but all of this is of course run by the computer by Leader Clent. The Doctor is sure that he can help Clent in his attempts to stop the glaciers, but must undergo a test of sorts. It’s an interesting bit of exposition that also features some startling dialog. Clent explains that the situation with an unemotional that wavers when he states, ‘then one year… there was no spring.’ It’s a haunting moment that is supported by the Doctor’s fallen face of empathy. Humanity is facing its last days.

The Doctor and Leader Clent discuss the future of the planet

The introduction of the Ice Warriors is actually one of the less important parts of this story in my opinion. Visually impressive, they are nevertheless inferior to the main plot of the glaciers and the anachronistic Georgian headquarters of the high tech base. Strange alien cyborgs, the Ice Warrior recovered from the arctic soon defrosts thanks to a current of electricity jump starting its internal systems. Taking Victoria hostage, the Ice Warrior is soon off to uncover the rest of his crew still frozen inside of their craft.

Played by a trio of massive and gifted actors, the Ice Warriors are a real success because of their presence and body language; lurching about, hissing in hushed tones and strangely tucking their heads into their hair-ringed necks like some kind of gigantic turtle. The costumes were obviously very uncomfortable and hardly fit for the human body. The diminutive main cast only makes the Ice Warriors more threatening on screen. Their deafening sonic blaster is also memorable, and its visual distortion effect an iconic hallmark of Doctor Who in the 1960’s.

The main threat that the Ice Warriors pose is in their craft itself and its atomic engines. Sitting directly in the path of the ionizer, it halts the entire project for the risk it presents. The Ice Warriors themselves don’t get to do all that much until the final part when they attempt a raid on the base.

Victoria meets a deadly Ice Warrior

As a ‘monster story,’ The Ice Warriors ticks all the right boxes. It helps immensely that Hayles’ script had a compelling vision of the future that was far ahead of its time. The plot tends to stagger about from parts three-five but one must remember that at the time Doctor Who was a weekly serial-style program and had to invent reasons to not just resolve the problem in two parts. As such, Victoria gets abducted, Jamie gets wounded, the Doctor gets abducted, etc, etc. It’s a run around and the bleak white landscape, shouting dialog over the howl of the wind and bizarre operatic incidental music can easily put a viewer off. But if you look past all that, you may see an intelligent story with an impressive cast and a classic monster.

A colourised image of Patrick Troughton and two Ice Warriors

One of the more popular monsters of Classic Doctor Who, the Ice Warriors would return three more times to combat the Second and Third Doctor. The Ice Warriors also appeared in the ‘Destiny of the Doctors,’ a kind of trivia/Doom port involving the player piloting a character against Daleks, Cybermen, Mummies and more. It also featured the final appearance from Anthony Ainley as the Master in what can only be called an ‘inspired’ performance. Seriously, the guy goes over the moon several times over.

While they were intended to star in the Sixth (Mission to Magnus) and Seventh (Thin Ice) Doctor’s era, unfortunately neither adventure materialized on screen, though both have been adapted by Big Finish. Of course the Ice Warriors have appeared in novel form and audio adventures such as Red Dawn, so they are still very much a part of the legacy of Doctor Who. They have yet to resurface in the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who, but given their track record I count that as a blessing (look at the mess they made of the Sontarans just for example).

Still missing in its entirety in the BBC archives, The Ice Warriors was released by the BBC in a remarkable VHS set with telesnap reconstructions and a bonus Audio CD of the two missing episodes. Along with The Tenth Planet, this was one of the VHS releases that really got me back into Who. I quite like the new bridging sequences to introduce the telesnaps; starting with a view of the tundra, the POV centers on a fallen wrist communicator displaying a message that the signal has become lost. Very clever.

Clip

In addition to the VHS copy, there is of course the novelization by Terrance Dicks and the BBC Audio CD. After Doctor Who went off the air, a new fanbase arose, giving birth to several wonderful hardbacks such as The Monsters which also covers the Ice Warriors.

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Doctor Who and the Ice Warriors - Target Book

Doctor Who Monster Book: No. 2

Monsters (Doctor Who)

Doctor Who the Handbook: The Second Doctor