The Curse of Peladon

Brian Hayles

peladon 1

‘I thought you would bring me the crown of kingship. Are you going to bring me death instead?’ King Peladon

29th January – 19th February 1972

The 500 Year Diary

15th September 3885 eve

Took Jo for what she called a ‘joyride’. She was all dolled up for a night out with Mike Yates. Lucky really, considering what happened next. Anyway, the interstitial beam synthesiser had a tiny fault; perhaps that’s what caused the TARDIS to land on the edge of a mountain and fall down to the bottom. Thankfully the TARDIS is indestructible, but we need help getting it so up we go to the citadel at the top of the mountain.

Eventually, we find out way into King Peladon’s throne room where we’re confused with an Earth delegation. Jo has to become Princess of TARDIS and snootily makes comments about my landing! Anyway, a lot of bickering ensues as the delegates – an Ice Warrior called Izlyr, Alpha Centauri, Arcturus and High Priest Hepesh are arguing over Peladon’s entry into the Galactic Federation.

As we leave the throne room to go to the conference room, the statue of their royal beast Aggador topples to the floor…

 

15th September 3885 night

Manage to push everyone out of the way so no-one is hurt, but this no accident. Hepesh seems to think it’s the curse of Peladon, but after some investigation, we find a trisilicate device. The Ice Warriors. I knew it! And how did I get involved in all this?

Next thing, Arcturus is attacked. Manage to save him. Again, Hepesh goes on about Aggador, but I’m sure it’s the Ice Warriors.

I’m grabbed by Grun, the King’s Champion, who leads me through the tunnels under the citadel until he abandons me at the sound of roars. I wander for a bit chased by this beast until I find myself in the inner sanctum of the temple of Aggador. The crime for this desecration is death!

 

16th September 3885 am

The King changes the sentences to trial by combat. With Grun. Oh dear!

I’ve realised that Hepesh might be behind all of this. He’d rather live in a cave than have Peladon join the Federation. So he helps me to ‘escape’ into the tunnels.

Prior to leaving, I’ve prepared my sonic screwdriver to become a hypnotiser. When I come across the beast, I use it to calm it along with a Venusian lullaby. The whole thing nearly puts Jo under too!

Rather than escape, we go to King Peladon to tell him the truth about ‘Aggador’ and the tunnels (that he doesn’t know exist?). However, my trial must continue as I fight Grun in a cage. Of course, I win, but then Arcturus powers up his weapon…

 

16th September 3885 pm

So Hepesh and Arcturus were in it together. It was Ssorg, the other Ice Warrior, who saved me. The King seems a bit lost without him. But he must be decisive or Hepesh will destroy everything.

I go off to follow my new best friend Grun into the tunnels whilst leaving Jo in charge of the conference. Things must be desperate!  Anyway, I come across Grun – he was attacked by Hepesh . Once again, I come across the beast and hypnotise him with more singing.

I lead him into the throne room for a final confrontation with Hepesh, who has taken over. True to his beliefs up to the end, he is killed by his Aggador. Shame really. It’s very fond of me now; it’d make a good pet.

So we’re ready for the King’s coronation – my first since Elizabeth I (or was it Victoria?). Leave the King and Jo alone… I think they’ve taken a bit of a shine to each other. As we’re about to join the procession, it appears the real Earth delegate has arrived. Luckily, the TARDIS has been retrieved and we make a quick getaway. I have a feeling that once again the Time Lords ‘flew’ me here to sort out a crisis.

peladon 2

Time Space Visualiser

Cue BBC sound effects of a storm, if you are around my age, you know the one I mean, and let’s throw some rice at a model of a castle on a mountain. It is a strange start to a Pertwee story, to have a couple of either ancient or alien people (we don’t really know at this stage) arguing with each other. This is happening because the Doctor is taking Jo for a quick spin in the TARDIS before dropping her of as she is ‘all dolled up for a night on the town with Mike Yates.’ So is she boffing him then? I am suddenly reminded of Capaldi and Clara.

The TARDIS is going, it lands on said ricey mountain top, then it falls. Ok it is clearly a model but quite a good sequence. As the Doctor and Jo begin a mountain climb we learn that the arguing pair at the start of the story were Hepesh and Torbis, a priest and a chancellor, advisors to King Peladon. The argument that inspired the story, should we join the Common Market (now the EU) has not gone away. In this case though it is about Peladon joining the Galactic Federation. An imaginative array of delegates have arrived on Peladon, including the Suzie like Alpha Centuri. Sarah and I loved her.

Arcturus is a delegate from, well, Arcturus from what we can tell. He gets the conference off to a great start by destroying an artefact! Also joining them are the Ice Warriors, for the first time in colour and back with their sixties music. Only persons of royal blood may enter the Throne Room so Jo is introduced as Princess Josephine of TARDIS. One flash of Peladon’s eyes in her direction though and Mike Yates is soon forgotten. Love the King’s thigh high boots and hot pants.

Jo investigates footprints behind the Throne Room. The story is full of secret tunnels and passages with torch levers behind curtains. This was the highlight of the story for me as a child and was the focus of Doctor Who games. The rest of the story focuses on suspicion and accusation, hypnotising Aggedor and lots of hiding or being imprisoned in the secret passages. Not quite sure how the torch mechanism works. The Doctor closes the door with a torch that Gum kept open with a rock. Why was the rock needed?

The Ice Warriors seem to have the Hand of Omega in their room. They also seem to share a bed. They start as villains and end as heroes. Jo holds a vote and everyone raises their hand. Does Alpha Centuri have six votes? Hepesh finally goes megalomaniacal and shouts at everyone but Aggedor, finally released from his control kills him. There is some very touching nonverbal communication between the Doctor and Jo when Hepesh dies. The TARDIS is returned, there is a coronation, a quick ‘Doctor Who’ joke and they leave.

It would be interesting to go back to Peladon in a few hundred years to see what happened after! The story probably does drag a little in places, but the races on display here are some of the most imaginative for a while and there is genuine diversity in their design and motivation.

peladon 3

Cliché Counter

Good old Hepesh. Like so many before and after, the old ways are the best. Progress is bad. Science is wrong and as for the Federation, Aggedor be praised. ‘You’re a wily old bird, aren’t old you, Hepesh?’

Notable Firsts

The first trip to Peladon.

Son of Patrick, David Troughton makes his first notable appearance in Doctor Who. He was in Enemy of the World and The War Games, though these were only minor roles and I missed them so thought it worth mentioning here.

Enlightening Dialogue of the Week

King Peladon: There is no plot! I am being completely honest with you!

False Hair Moment of the Week

It is not facial hair this time, but Dickie Davies style stripy wigs. Also worth mentioning that Jo seems to get her hands on a pair of hair straighteners before climbing back into the citadel.

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Five Word Lords

Imaginative aliens and plot twists

 

 

Day of the Daleks

Louis Marks

day 1

1st – 22nd January 1971

‘Who-eh-ver-is-op-per-rate-ing-the-time-mah-chine-is-an-eh-ne-my-of-the-Daleks.-All-eh-ne-mies-of-the-daleks-must-be-deh-stoyed!-Exterminate them!’

Dalek

The Memory Cheats

This was the first time I saw the Daleks. I was hyped by the BBC who must have trailed the story extensively over the Christmas period. I can remember thinking in my addled five year old brain, that the Doctor owned the Daleks and kept them in that little metal room.

I always seem to enjoy watching this around New Year and this time I am watching in January 2016. 45 years on from transmission. It is all very exciting as the Daleks are back after a five year gap and finally in colour on TV and what colour shall we paint them? Grey and black! Oh, and you can have a gold one! This is a bit sad to admit but when I rented the VHS copy from my local video shop I copied it onto my own VHS edited with episode endings. It was a very rough edit I have to say and some of the cuts were very bumpy.

The 500 Year Diary

13th September 1974 am

Whilst working on the TARDIS, managed to come across another version of myself and Jo! Anyway, interrupted by the Brigadier and told about strange goings on at Auderley House – the location of yet another peace conference. Why can’t these humans get on with each other?

Apparently the conference organiser, a Sir Reginald Styles, was attacked by a ‘ghost’. By the time we get there he’s denying it, but someone was there – not a ghost – but a real life person. We then capture a man with a gun which must be from the Earth’s future alongside a crude time machine which initially was still working… until I … pushed the button.

Styles is out of town and so Jo and I stay in the house enjoying wine and gorgonzola cheese. In the morning, a soldier bursts in but I manage to pin him to the Chesterfield with some Venusian karate.

 

13th September 1974 pm

Another two guerrillas turn up. They’ve got Jo. They seem to think I’m Styles. Anyway, we manage to convince them otherwise, but they tell us nothing in return. Instead we’re tied up and left in a cellar. I think they’re fanatics wanting to change history. But they can’t go back to the 12th September because of the Blinovitch Limitation Effect.

In order to get UNIT off their backs, I talk to the Brigadier telling him to tell the marines. That will get him going. Next thing Jo has escaped and used the time travel device. I need to find her… unless she’s lost in the vortex. They tie me up again!

I manage to escape, high kick an Ogron of all things before killing another one with a gun. Very unlike me. I follow the guerrillas to nearby tunnels where I see…. A Dalek!

 

13th September 2074

Manage to hook up with the guerrillas and am taken two hundred years into the future. I must find Jo, especially if there are Daleks here!

As I move around, I see slave labour – old men and women – as people move rocks. Then a bang on the head.

I awake being interrogated by a guard. He’s then relieved by another men who is part the rebel group. Then the Controller arrives. He’s very charming with shiny skin. He takes me to Jo and we have wine. He tells me that everything is fine, but he’s not in charge – the Daleks are!

We escape, but only to be recaptured. I’m interrogated by the Daleks who recognise me!

 

14th September 1974

The Controller intervenes to save me. The Daleks tell me they have discovered time travel and they will use it to conquer the universe. They won’t succeed.

The Controller tells us about the last 200 years. Wars broke out. Ions of people killed and then the Daleks came. Only a handful of quislings like him manage to keep on the right side of the Daleks. Next thing, the guerrillas are back and capture us.

They want me to go back in time and murder Styles. I won’t do it! I agree with the ends, but not the means! Anyway talk about why Styles. Apparently this grumpy politician planted a bomb at his peace conference and killed all the delegates and started a war. Unlikely. I find out that one of the guerrillas is still in the 20th century with a bomb. Eureka! It wasn’t Styles; it was this Shura who blew up the house leading to this history. They’re caught in a temporal paradox!

We return to the 20th century and eventually convince Styles and the delegates to get out of the house. Ogrons and a rather small Dalek force invade the house… must talk to the Brigadier about the security arrangements here – hardly anything round the back of the house where all the action has taken place!

Anyway, we lure the Daleks into the house. Shura blows it and himself up. History is altered. Not the day of the Daleks. For now….

day 3

Time Space Visualiser

A uniformed guerrilla attempts an assassination on Sir Reginald Styles ahead of a peace conference and mysteriously vanishes. The guerrillas are from the future and are travelling back to change their past. By mistake Jo activates the device the guerrillas are using and ends up being transported.

Meanwhile, back in the future, the Daleks are working with the amazing Aubery Woods. He is great as the misguided human Controller who thinks he is doing the right thing by working with the Daleks. They have spotted the use of the time device and set up a Vaginator to intercept the next transmission which obviously intercepts Jo, so she ends up in the future. The Controller also has a group of beautiful futuristic staff who move their hands around over their devices looking in to time.

The Doctor examines the time device which contains a mini dematerialisation circuit exactly the same as the one from the TARDIS but smaller. Really? Rassilon should have copyrighted it!  So is this all part of the 2152 invasion of Earth? The Daleks later tell the Doctor they have invaded Earth again but then we find out that following the conference a period of wars break out that leave the human population decimated and living in holes. So where does the first invasion fit in to this timeline? It’s not often we see the Doctor wielding a gun and here he quite happily shoots an Ogron.

The story is laced with several sinister undertones. Despite the fact it mostly involves rock moving, the vision for Earth’s future is bleak. It reminds me a little of the Federation in Blake’s Seven with threats to characters’ families. There are several powerful scenes and I love the artsy direction with all those zooms and focussing. The location shots add atmosphere and it is a great timey-wimey tale. The only disappointing feature is the Daleks. They rarely feature and the attack on Audley House is frankly embarrassing. They were meant to have another story on their own and were inserted into this story instead. It is just a shame that the triumphant return to the show after so long is such a damp squib. I still love them though.

day 2

Where is UNIT Headquarters This Week?

Not sure geographically, but he seems to have a new lab and the console is out again. It gives that strange hum from the first episode of the show. The continuity of sound is really comforting.

Innuendo Bingo

A pervy man with a phallic whip interrogates the Doctor.

Jon Pertwee’s Vehicle of the Week

The Doctor and Jo escape from the complex and find a handy trike with very big tyres. Even handier, the guard comes into shot and then waits for the Doctor to escape before giving chase.

Cliché Counter

My two all-time favourite Doctor Who clichés are in this story.

‘Work targets are not being met and the human slaves are close to dying.’ What is it that they have to do? Move rocks!

‘Exterminate him.’

‘No! He may be useful.’

Well actually the evidence suggests not, and if you kill him now when he is week you will save yourself so much trouble in the future.

In the fooooter …

… women talk like robots. Sexy ones. Men wear vampish nail varnish. We will all wear foundation that shimmers like silver and cigars are back on!

Insert the Device

Activate the magnetron!

This week we will also be mostly using the mind analysis machine.

Notable Firsts

I think this is the first time we have seen a flashback sequence of past Doctors. And I love the fade into the title sequence here. Even though it was probably incidental due to CSO bleeding.

The first of (currently three) serials to start with the ‘Day of the …. ‘ prefix.

Greyhound to trap one.

The Ogrons. A slightly politically incorrect race who seem to exist just to serve others.

Dalekanium. Although in this story it is a type of metal, rather than the really strong metal that Daleks are made from.

A favourite Pertwee phrase is uttered for the first time, The Blinovitch Limitation Effect. It basically means timey wimey wibbley wobbly stuff.

From this story until the end of the Third Doctor era there was a little illustration to accompany each episode listing in the Radio Times. They were drawn by Frank Bellamy I think. I used to cut them out and keep them!

The Five Word Lords

Maybe Daleks are actually nocturnal.

 

 

 

 

Season Survey: Season Eight

Spencer

Best Actor Roger Delgado. Utterly convincing in his characterisation of the Master complete with signature theme. Subtle and not as deranged as future incarnations. Great costumes & fabulous moustache.
Best Actress Katy Manning. One doctor, one female companion for the first time. And it works. Jo Grant is so likeable despite being a clumsy oaf and such a contrast to Liz Shaw. She screams a bit, but so would I! Her utter belief and loyalty to the Doctor is totally believable.
Best Supporting Male With so many male regulars, there aren’t a lot of other meaty male characters. Most of them are just foils for the Master and get killed off. Jointly go to John Levene and Richard Franklin for an all-round good effort. They’re great in the Daemons!
Best Supporting Female Damaris Hayman. Great casting as a white witch and makes the most of the part.
Best Story The Daemons. Identified by the UNIT ‘family’ as a favourite and it’s a lovely ensemble piece. Looks good. Some good effects shots
Worst Story Colony In Space. Bit hard to care for a load of colonists and mining and dodgy aliens. And Gail off of Coronation Street.
Season Highlight The Master! The whole Doctor & Moriarty thing is an excellent idea and gives us a new level of threat.
Worst Disappointment I like the Mind Of Evil, but it’s the same cliffhanger over and over again.
Oh That’s Really Shit Award! The Master! Just kill the Doctor! How many chances do you have? How many times do you threaten to do it?
Overall Comment Some great stuff in this season. Very colourful with a bunch of regulars … it’s almost a soap opera!

 

Paul

Best Actor: Roger Delgado

What a masterclass in villainy. So beautifully underplayed and sinister. None that follow manage to convey quite this iconic understatement of the Doctor’s greatest foe and it is this portrayal that  ensures the Master just keeps coming back.

Best Actress: Katy Manning

Not a lot of choice for this category anymore as we only really have the one companion and there were very few other recurring female leads, Something to do with the seventies I think. We are about to go on a three season journey with Jo however, and Katy Manning plays her so well and in Mind of Evil she emerges from companion type to intelligent heroine.

Best Supporting Male: John Levene

Not an amazing character, Doctor Summers, but charged with believability thanks to this Doctor Who perennial Michael Sheard. Bernard Holley gets a mention too as Axos, such a haunting voice. Benton has his best season yet though and was brilliant in The Daemons.

Best Supporting Female: Damaris Hayman

What a great character and so brilliantly played. I liked her when I was six and can see why now.

Best Story: The Daemons.

The Mind of Evil is a great exploration into fear and a very chilling tale but it is this quintessential Pertwee story that does it for me. The UNIT family, a sleepy English village, great performances from the regulars and shouty Stephen Thorne.

Worst Story: The Colony in Space

Not awful, but over long. Those big headed aliens still freak me out though.

Season Highlight: The Master

What a creation that still lives on today. How did the show manage for eight years without him?

Biggest Disappointment: The Master’s TARDIS

OK so I know we don’t have much money, but a horse box? It is quite cool when the doors go red and match the exterior in Colony in Space but it is a shame that now we have a working TARDIS we don’t really see it often.

Oh That’s Really Shit Award! : The Master’s Plans

All of them. They are all shit and all the same.

Overall Comment:

We leave Earth for the first time in colour, but generally this is an Earthbound season with some intriguing twists on the alien invasion trope. Axos is particularly inventive and very psychedelic. Most notably though, with the introduction of Roger Delgado, Katy Manning and Richard Franklin this season is the story of the UNIT family.

 

Colony in Space

colony-4

‘I don’t believe it! It’s bigger inside than out!’

Jo

10th April – 15th May 1971

The 500 Year Diary

3rd March 2472 am

At last, finally left Earth. Admittedly at the behest of the Time Lords operating the TARDIS by remote control, but it’s good to get out! And with Jo… she’d never even been in the TARDIS before. She was initially rather scared, but tool it all in her stride eventually.

Unfortunately, the planet we’ve landed on is a rather drab place. Uxarieus. Why do the Time Lords want me to come here? There is a small group of human settlers struggling to make a colony in space, but that’s it?

The colonists are on the verge of starvation and also being attacked by massive lizards. There are a group of primitives too, but what does it all mean? There is no reason why crops can’t grow.

While I’m investigating the murder of some colonists, a huge robot bursts into the dome!

 

3rd March 2472 pm

The robot belongs to IMC, the Interplanetary Mining Corporation, and controlled by a man called Caldwell who seemed surprised that there are colonists here. I end up accompanying him back to his ship. On the way, I notice the TARDIS has gone!

In the ship, I watch television. Warfare. Rising population. Not a great time to be on Earth. No wonder people are desperate to get out and why the IMC are keen to exploit planets for much needed duralinium.

The IMC team is led by a rather officious man called Dent accompanied by a surly Morgan who wants me to show him the wrecked dome – he reminds me of a used car salesman. On the way we meet some not very friendly primitives. Anyway, once we’re at the dome, Morgan summons up a robot with massive claws and points a gun at me.

 

4th March 2472 eve

Kick the gun out of Morgan’s hand and manage to control the robot. Phew!

Back to the colony where Dent and the colony’s leader, Ashe, are discussing who should be on the planet. As far as I’m concerned, the IMC are using scare tactics to get rid of the colonists. Anyway, an Adjudicator has been called.

Repair the power supply, which Norton – a man who came traumatised from a different colony – was trying to repair. Or was he? He’s not to be trusted. Mary, Ashe’s daughter, comes in with a message. A lovely girl, with the energy of a spring gale. Dent wants to see me. About Jo. Apparently, she was trying to rob the spaceship and unless I co-operate, he’ll detonate the bomb she’s attached to.

Winton managed to escape from the bomb, but without Jo. He seems determined to start a war. They were rescued by this Caldwell. That’s our way in… from the inside. We manage to get into their ship, but it turns out Jo has gone. Probably taken by the Primitives.

 

5th March 2472 am

Go to the Primitives’ city to try and rescue or bargain for Jo. I’m taken to this room where I’m reunited with JO. Interestingly, there is a record of their civilisation. Some catastrophe has obviously happened which has caused their race to decline. Anyway, it looks like we’re going to be their next sacrifice.

We manage to escape from the room with some conjuring distractions only to be recaptured again. We’re taken to a tiny alien… a Guardian who lets us go. He recognises my superior intellect (although Jo is of no value).

Get back to the Dome and the Master is there posing as the Adjudicator! What’s he doing here? Now the Time Lords intervention makes sense.  Anyway, as the Adjudicator he rules in favour of the IMC. Just what is he up to?

The IMC and colonists start shooting at it. Go to stop the senseless killing only to have the Master raise his gun at us.

 

5th March 2472 pm

Ashe and Mary’s timely intervention stop us from being shot. For now. Winton has successfully defeated the IMC and forced them to leave the planet.

The Master is taking rather a lot of interest in the Primitives’ city. Need some evidence. Decide to get into the Master’s TARDIS using the key I stole during that Nestene business. His TARDIS is disguised as a space rocket. Must get my chameleon circuit fixed….

Inside his TARDIS, he has a number of filing cabinets with lots of interesting information and he seems to have visited several planets lately. He must be looking for something. Jo manages to trip the alarm and we’re gassed.

Next thing, the Master is waking me up and wanting me to take him to the Primitives’ city leaving Jo as a hostage in his TARDIS. On the way, we’re attacked by Primitives with a massive boulder. As we arrive at the entrance to the city, an alarm goes off. The Master can see that someone is going to rescue Jo. He goes to press the button that will release lethal gas.

 

20th March 1974

Kick the button out of the Master’s hand. We’re then captured by the Primitives and taken into the city.

The Master explains what he’s doing here. He wants the Doomsday Weapon which was created by this civilisation. He wants the power to make any star turn supernova thus holding the universe to ransom. Absolute power. He offers me a partnership, but I want to travel the universe, not rule it! Just as he’s about to kill me, the Guardian appears and explains that the radiation from the weapon destroyed their planet and civilisation. He asks me to destroy the weapon, which I do.

We escape only to get embroiled in a yet another gunfight between the IMC and the colonists, which the colonists win. However, the Master escapes. No doubt I’ll bump into him again soon. And my TARDIS is back to.

So with the Doomsday Weapon destroyed, crops will grow. It appears that Ashe made the ultimate sacrifice to save his people. Mary doesn’t seem too upset though. Anyway, they have enough evidence to convince the real Adjudicator.

And so we arrive back in UNIT HQ seconds after we left. No point explaining that to the Brigadier though!

colony-2

Time Space Visualiser

The Time Lords are back and we spend a bit of time on the still to be named Gallifrey in front of a Time Space Visualiser. I think one of those Time Lords was also in The War Games. The Doctor has been allowed to leave Earth to find The Master who has stolen a secret file on the doomsday weapon. This was the title of the target novelisation which I had although don’t think I ever got passed chapter two!

The Doctor and Jo are off on a trip in the TARDIS and it still has the second Doctor’s roundel wallpaper. It is so bizarre to suddenly see the TARDIS land in colour for the first time on an alien world. It lands so abruptly. It is weird for me to watch this now as what would have been my first alien voyage in the TARDIS.

All the stars are in this one. It’s Gail off of Corrie! Itoxtyl is back, there is Prentice Hancock, Bernard Kay and Morgan was off of EastEnders I think. Unfortunately Jo is captured while investigating the IMC ship and chained to explosives. Not sure if the UN would approve! There is a lot of hair and fighting in this story. The story see saws around between the colonists and the IMC. The Doctor gets a chance to do a bit of gurning.

If you want to know why Delgado is the original and best Master watch the scene with the Doctor early in episode 5. And his TARDIS has the best filing cabinets!

More classic Hulke comment, this time it is the rights of colonists over the invaders. It is not clear why the colonists have a given right to the planet rather than the indigenous people. Although they really do not seem to do a lot. There are three types of Uxerians. Primatives, High Priests and a squashy doll who sits in a cupboard with cute little puppet hands. They just seem to hide away talking telepathically and move things with their brains.

An overly long story and I usually feel with Hulke there is enough story to fill the episodes, but I think this one would benefit by being a couple of episodes shorter.

colony-3

Hairdoo of the Week

Not much from the Brigadier this week, but the wig department of the BBC still have plenty to do as Dent has one of the best syrups of this season to date.

Where are UNIT headquarters this week?

We finally see a repeat of the Doctor’s laboratory, I think this one was in Ambassadors of Death.

Notable Firsts

The first TARDIS trip to an Alien planet in colour and it’s a gravel pit!

Jo’s first trip inside the TARDIS.

It is the first time we see the iconic Pertwee Sonic Screwdriver.

We learn the Master and the Doctor were friends at school.

In the fooooter . . .

. . . we will have entertainment consoles which are very footeristic devices that control flat wide screen tv’s on the wall. (yeah, like we would ever put TVs on the wall!).

We will also still use reel to reel tapes.

And ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ will still be a catch phrase!

And we will go back to using the teleprinter.  – ‘Torquay United – one, Hamilton Academicals – three.’

Catchphrase Error of the Week

The Doctor informs us that he is every kind of scientist. It’s all in him!

‘If you strike me I can have you executed on the spot.’

Everyone knows it’s ”If you strike me down now I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.’

Cliché Counter

The Doctor gets to visit an alien planet other than Earth for the first time since he went to Ta in the Space Pirates. And … it is a gravel pit! (Hello fact fans – not sure if the War Zone counts as an alien planet, but if it does, then that was the last alien planet. )

In this week’s exciting adventure with a megalomaniac, The Master finally decides to have a go in his TARDIS and disguises it as a spaceship. But guess what? He arrives in disguise as the Adjudicator. We cannot see his face initially so are left wondering who on Uxerius it could be. Surprised when he was revealed as the Master? I nearly fell off the sofa. (Except the Time Lords did mention he might be popping along back in episode one!) What is his plan this time? Well he wants to rule the Universe of course. And the Doomsday Weapon would enable him to do that. The Master decides he has bitten off more than he can chew for a change so tries to get the Doctor to help him. ‘Not on your Nellie says the Doctor and promptly sets the weapon to self-destruct thus solving everyone’s problems before the master runs away in his TARDIS.

‘Think of it Doctor. I am offering you a half share in the universe. ‘

‘What time will you be ruling the Universe? ‘

‘About 8:30.’

‘Do you mind if I don’t?’

Five Word Lords

Anticlimactic baptismal Third Doctor voyage.

 

 

The Claws of Axos

claws-1

‘Overweight, underpowered and a museum piece. No proper stabiliser. Oh… let’s try again. Might as well try to fly a second hand gas stove.’  The Master

13th March – 3rd April 1971

The Memory Cheats

This is my first memory of the TARDIS interior, and now I know why. It would have been the first time I saw it. I have a vivid memory of the cliffhanger with Axon Monsters all over the TARDIS console. In 1975 Weetabix ran a promotion where they produced four stand up character cards in every box with a scene on the back of a box that you could move your characters around. You had a Dalek on each one and three other characters. I had more Axon Monster cards than any other monster.

The 500 Year Diary

5th March 1974 am

Yet another annoying civil servant… a Mr. Chinn. I’ll have to get onto Tubby Rowlands about him. He’s complaining that I’m unknown to the government and therefore a security risk. If only I could leave. Get away from his petty obsessions. English for the English!

Anyway, news comes in of a UFO coming it fast. I work out it’s heading for the south coast of England bringing with it freak weather conditions. Chinn goes to destroy it, but when that fails, he’s rather indecisive about blowing up the missiles. Idiot!

We go along to find out what it is. I work out the UFO has buried itself in the ground. We get a message – ‘Earth. Axos calling Earth. Fuel systems exhausted. Request immediate assistance. Immediate assistance. Axos calling Earth, Axos calling Earth. Fuel system exhausted.’ A cry for help?

We enter this spaceship, but I’m immediately struck by pain. A strange place indeed… all organic.  The rather weird, classical looking Axons appear and offer the gift of Axonite which they demonstrate on a frog, making it grow and shrink. Immediately, the eyes light up of Chinn and those around him. Unlimited food… unlimited power more like.

5th March 1974 early pm

We hear Jo. Silly girl… she was told to stay put.  Thankfully, she’s fine, but claims to have heard an American chap called Filer and an’ awful thing’. I pretend I don’t believe her, but I do really.

Chinn has acquired Axonite on behalf of the British government and has the Brigadier arrested under the Emergency Powers Act.

Agree to help Mr. Hardiman and Dr. Winser with his experiments into Axonite. Winser is a rather petulant man who wants to take charge. Clever though in that he is investigating the possibility of time travel. And he won’t use the light accelerator to crack down the Axonite particles, content to use a spectroscope set of all things. Persuade him to convince the powers that be to get my TARDIS down to assist.

Filer appears to have escaped from the spaceship, but then attacks me! It’s a duplicate and the real Filer comes in and kills him. The real Filer reports that the Master was with the Axons… apparently, they’re scavengers. We’ve got to stop Chinn distributing the Axonite – they’re trying to trick us.

With Winser away, I use his precious equipment to analyse the Axonite, but things get out of hand as I activate it instead. This causes the death of Winser who then turns into a monster. He is joined by others.

5th March 1974 eve

We’re surrounded by the Axons and taken back to their ship where we’re held captive in the claws of Axos.

The Axons are pretty insistent with their interrogation. And they’re pretty evil too as they plan to take over the Earth and travel through time and space. Despite my denials, I have to agree in the end because they age Jo before my very eyes.

I give them the equations … 10 to the 9th power mega K-tons. Not enough. They’re going to add the output of the Nuton Power Complex which they just take and absorb, but then something goes wrong. We use the opportunity to escape, but things start to spiral out of control.

6th March 1974 am

Jo is becoming more and more panicky. Need to give her a slap and a times tables test to sort her out! We escape!

I trick the Master into thinking I want to fix the TARDIS in order to escape the Earth. What I actually want is for him to fix the TARDIS so I can send Axos into a perpetual time loop. After a few machinations, manage to do this. Luckily, managed to boost the circuits so I could escape the time loop too, otherwise I’d be there for eternity. Not sure where the Master is, but I’m 90% sure he’s trapped with the Axons.

So back on Earth with the crisis averted. Had planned to escape, but the Time Lords have obviously programmed the TARDIS to return to Earth. Seems like I’m some kind of galactic yo-yo!

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Time Space Visualiser

A UFO heads toward Earth and UNIT is of course involved. There are people giving directions into microphones including a very assertive woman. It’s all going smoothly. There is also a random scavenger, Pigbin Josh, walking around in the snow. Of course he can’t speak and he gets fronded. The American man gets fronded too just as UNIT arrive.

Back at base the man from It Ain’t Half Hot Mum is taking control. Mr Chin is still ranting. They all enter the ship which detects that the Doctor is extra-terrestrial, probably due to the large amount of gurning he does. The Axons offer some axonite which is placed on a handy podium. Meanwhile we discover the American, Bill is captured alongside … The Master (surprise. I thought we’d seen the last of him now he has a working TARDIS! ) and an Axon Monster appears.

They hear Jo’s scream and go off to investigate. Bill is with the Master and shoots a tentacle. Axonite is going to save the world as an energy source, but it needs to be distributed worldwide. Then the axons have to be reabsorbed. A process that leaves them looking like Bella Emberg. The Brigadier is arrested by Chin. The Doctor is suspicious about the Axons. Meanwhile, Bill has found a Top of the Pops studio. The Master is in league with the Axons who want to eradicate all life on Earth.

The Doctor chats time travel with a scientist and seems to think Axonite may get his TARDIS going. The UNIT soldier guarding the Axon spaceship is useless as the Master and the real Bill escape, his double having left to collect the Doctor. A struggle ensues and the double comes off worse. Then who should arrive but. The Axons don’t like it when The Doctor puts axonite in the light accelerator. Suddenly they are surrounded by Axon Monsters. Thank goodness for the repersonalisation as the monsters turn into the golden axon creatures instead.

As Chin Becomes more embroiled in the Axon plot, the Doctor and Jo are at the mercy of Axon claws. The Axon plan is finally revealed to the Doctor and we learn that through greed, Chin has potentially stopped the spread of Axonite. However the UN have other ideas. A rather hollow TARDIS is transported to the facility and the Master is in disguise. He manages to gain entry to the TARDIS and we see the console room. The Axons can remove the blocks on the Doctor’s memory. Jo is aged to death. The Master offers his help in exchange for freedom. He is able to destroy Axon but the Doctor will also be killed. Except he escapes by giving Jo a quick mental maths test.

I have always had a fondness for this story. I know it has its difficulties but with the dulcet tones of Bernard Holley and the performances of the regular actors are spot on. It is very atmospheric with the snow. There is a lot of political comment, the most obvious being the Doctor’s rant at Chinn’s racist ‘England for the English.’ I also rather like the concept of Axos. It makes a change to have a genuinely realised alien environment. It is also an original concept to have Axos as a parasitical entity that roams the galaxy, rather than a planet.

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Cliché Counter

Despite being able to use his TARDIS, the Master is back with a plot even more ridiculous than the last one. He has teamed up with a race of aliens and seems intent on destroying the Earth. He seems to have moved on from wanting to rule it. Of course whatever the plan was with these aliens has gone awry and he is captured by them. Whatever else can he do but team up with the Doctor to sort the problem out. Did I miss anything?

Jo has discovered a crucial piece of information about the real intentions of the Axons but everyone thinks she is hallucinating. Silly girl.

Out of the BBC box of stereotypes this week comes Pigbin Josh. What an amazing addition this character is. He was basically created as cannon fodder as he spends most of his time mumbling incoherently before getting killed. He even says ‘Ooh-ahhh-ooh-ahh!’

Innuendo Bingo

Episode 1 13:50

The Doctor: Well your missiles couldn’t find the target, what chance bazooka’s?

Where exactly are UNIT headquarters?

UNIT are once again based in a new headquarters. They also have another grumpy official, Mr Chin, shouting at everyone.

Notable Firsts

We get our first call to greyhound from trap one.

The first trip in the colour era inside the console room. Hence my vivid memory of the axon monsters inside the TARDIS. . It was my first trip inside the TARDIS.

Bob Baker and Dave Martin write their first Doctor Who story.

This Weeks False Moustache

Fighting with the Brigadier over the Mastix jar this week is Bill Filer with his wonderful sideburns.

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Five Word Lords

Lasting psychedelic images, big concepts.

 

 

 

Mind of Evil

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‘We believe what our minds tell us to.’

The Doctor

30th January – 6th March 1971

The 500 Year Diary

6th November 1973 am

Off to a demonstration of the Keller Machine at Stangmoor Prison – a rather unfortunate device which claims to remove evil influences from the brain. It was developed by a Professor Emil Keller, about a year ago but he wasn’t at the demonstration today and neither was his Chinese assistant; instead his place was taken by a Professor Kettering. Unsurprisingly, the demonstration went wrong when one of the ‘subjects’, Barnham, went into a coma. This machine is a menace to mankind.

Later on a young man is found dead near the machine, covered in scratches. From the post mortem, he died of a heart attack, but had no history of heart trouble. It’s like he was killed by rats and the shock killed him, but apparently there are no rats in the prison! Kettering insults me by saying I am not a scientist. I point out that I have been a scientist for several thousand years!

The prisoners start rioting and then Kettering dies, next to the machine. It’s all looking rather suspicious, but no-one seems convinced. Apparently it’s up to the Home Office to decide to decommission the thing! The Governor agrees to suspend its use.

I go to make the machine safe, but it turns itself on and I see fire. I feel burning.  The agony…. The pain….

 

6th November 1973 pm

Jo interrupts the machine. The fear I felt in my mind was very well and could have killed me – I was reminded of the parallel universe where I saw that world destroyed in flames. Jo tells me that Kettering died of drowning… he had a morbid fear of water. The machine is the mind of evil, preying on the fear of those it attacks. Before I get the chance to deal with it, the Brigadier summons me back to London as the world peace conference is going very badly – the Chinese delegate is dead. Get the opportunity to use some Venusian Karate on Captain Yates… perhaps I shouldn’t shoot the messenger!

So off to Cornwall Gardens… been here before with that business with WOTAN. The Brigadier’s having much luck with the new Chinese delegate, Fu Peng. I speak to him in Hokkein and we get on famously, telling him how I accompanied Mao on the Long March.

Try to convince the Brigadier there’s a possible connection between the machine and the unexplained death of the delegate. When he tells me they’ve lost track of a suspicious Chin Lee, I’m convinced of the connection! 

They find her eventually heading towards the Chinese delegate’s suite.

 

7th November 1973

We burst into the American delegate’s suite where we are face to face with a dragon. This turns out to be Chin Lee, wearing a telepathic amplifier which must be connected to the Keller Machine.  I calm her down and she tells us that she was at a prison with Professor Keller who I deduce, through his use of hypnosis, is the Master! So he’s been around long before that business with the Nestene consciousness.

Word comes from the prison. There’s been rioting and Jo’s been taken hostage. Back I go and come face to face with the Master who has taken over the prison. He tells me of his plan to capture the missile currently being transported by UNIT (I know, in the middle of a peace conference!) for decommissioning and he’s going to use it to destroy the peace conference and plunge the world into war. Two plans to destroy the Earth at the same time. Perhaps he’s not certain if either will succeed.

I’m handcuffed to the machine. It starts up. I see and feel flames again. Cybermen, a War Machine, Daleks. Exterminate, exterminate….

 

8th November 1973 am

Despite wanting to kill me, the Master restarts one of my hearts. He thinks he can control the machine, but he can’t. No-one can! I’m taken to a cell with Jo in to recover. She almost kills me by forcing me to take some medicine!

Recovering, we make our escape and hold out in the Governor’s office. We see the Master leave. That’s my chance to sort that machine out once and for all, but it appears to be mobile. It had disappeared from the process room, but then it reappears and starts attacking both Jo and me!

 

8th November 1973 pm

The machine disappears – probably had more evil minds to feed on elsewhere… well it is a prison after all.

Tried to bargain with Mailer to no avail. Just got locked up again! And then Jo beats me at draughts – well I am more used to three dimensional chess. Make an uneasy alliance with the Master to try and control the machine. Come up with a temporary solution by placing an electric current in a coil alternating on much the same frequency as the beta rhythms of the human brain, but that won’t hold it for long.  Indeed, it had another go at me… an image of Koquillion came from my mind from my terrifying encounter on Dido.

As I’m telling Jo about my encounter with Sir Walter Raleigh, we hear gunshots. Next thing, Mailer bursts and threatens to shoot us. Jo attempts to knock him over. He only needs one of us. He points his gun at me. A shot rings out.

 

8th November 1973 eve

The Brigadier has shot Mailer. I wish for once he would arrive before the nick of time. Grumpily, I point out that the missile and the Master are still out there.

The machine manages to escape and proceeds to cause more havoc around the prison. Once again, it attacks Jo and me, but then Barnham comes in and it stops. He’s the answer… all his evil impulses were removed… as long as he’s around, we’re safe! It seems the only way to destroy the mutation inside the machine is by massively electrocuting it or through an atomic explosion.

The Master calls me – claiming to be an old friend. Bargain with him. The missile for his dematerialisation circuit. That’s all very well and good, but I can’t let him loose on another planet with the whole of time and space at his disposal. I come up with a plan.

I meet with the Master at the hanger where we set the Keller machine on him. This gives me the opportunity to reset the abort mechanism. As we escape to the helicopter, Barnham stops to help the Master thus giving him a chance to escape. He gets run over for his efforts. Poor chap.

Anyway, the missile and machine are destroyed, but unfortunately the Master has the dematerialisation circuit. He calls me up to gloat and more threats to destroy the Earth and me. Have I beaten him? He’s got his TARDIS back. He’s free to come and go where he pleases, while I’m stuck here on Earth…. with the Brigadier! 

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The Time Space Visualiser

I have not seen this story since transmission so it will be like watching a brand new story for me. After watching, the only scene I remember was the Doctor being shot on the stairs in the prison at the end of episode five. I can remember my Dad reassuring me that everything would be alright as the Doctor had two hearts.

After the colour and jolly humour of Terror of the Autons it is full on horror again here back in the style of season seven as the Doctor is investigates The Keller Machine. A charming devices that offers surgery free lobotomy to remove the evil impulses from the brain. What could possibly go wrong? Meanwhile UNIT are busy keeping the peace at the first world peace conference. Incredibly, both these unrelated events are both part of a plan developed by the evil Master.

It emerges that The Keller Machine has a Room 101 effect as Linwood is found dead next to it with what are identified as scratches from rats in his face. They were his greatest fear. There is a lot of talk of an alien creature in the machine. I wonder what type of creature it is. In a six episode story, they are bound to have time to explain that one later! Keller was the Master all the time.

The nature of good and evil are explored. What makes a person good is not the ability to remove there evil impulses but to develop morality so they learn to ignore them. Whilst I am happy to poke fun at the convoluted elements of the plot, as with so many stories in this era, they are entertaining because of the action and the acting. It probably makes it hard to watch more than a couple of episodes I one go, but they were intended to be watched one a week, and watching this way, or one a day resolves the plodding plotting problem. It is great to see Michael Sheard again too.

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Notable Firsts

Subtitles are used when the Doctor speaks with Fu Peng. I am fairly sure they have not been used before.

Sexist Moment of the Week

Mike Yates sees Chin Lee and observes, ‘She’s quite a dolly.’

Cliché Counter

The Master is back with a plot even more unnecessarily complicated than the last one. He intends to start World War Three. Not really sure why, but it gives him the chance to wear a rubber mask. He takes over a prison and gets all the prisoners to do his work, captures an alien creature and hides it in a machine, hypnotises a delegate to the world peace conference and plans to steal a nuclear bomb. Needless to say the scheme is too unwieldy and eventually the Doctor has to come along to help sort it out. The Doctor nearly manages to kill the master but the Master escapes. Never mind as soon they will get a chance to have another jolly meeting.

Where exactly are UNIT headquarters?

The Doctor has a new laboratory every week and the headquarters of UNIT never seem to be in the same location twice. Spearhead from Space had them in an office block, and the Doctor had a nice lab in Inferno with a stained glass window. Did they have a building in every county?

Innuendo Bingo

Episode 2 7:20

Benton: I got this sort of throbbing in my head.

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Five Word Lords

Horrific action and espionage romp.

Terror of the Autons

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‘Who the heck are you?’

‘I am usually referred to as the Master’

‘Oh, is that so? ‘

‘Universally.‘

Rossini and the Master

2nd – 23rd January 1971

The 500 Year Diary

13th August 1973 am

Got a new assistant today. It’s been a while since Liz returned to Cambridge. Didn’t really want one, particularly as this Jo Grant is hardly a scientist (she failed science at A level) but as the Brigadier pointed out, Liz often said I needed someone to pass me test tubes and say how brilliant I am. Good point, I suppose. Plus the Brigadier wanted me to tell her ‘no’; despite my fighting alien menaces over many years, I couldn’t really be that cruel.

Quite settled now in the new laboratory overlooking the river. Think the Brigadier prefers the new uniforms too. However, he’s still a buffoon as he loaned the Nestene sphere to a museum and now it’s been stolen! There then follows news on missing scientists at Beacon Hill radio telescope.

On investigating, I’m warned by a Time Lord in a bowler hat and pinstripe suit that one of my old acquaintances is on Earth. The Master! That Jackanapes! It was pointed out that his cosmic science degree was a higher class than mine, but as I pointed out I was a late developer. The Master … what does he want. Trouble. And he’s already started by booby trapping the door. Luckily, managed to prevent it exploding AND destroy the thing before UNIT get hold of it. It appears the Master also has a new weapon of destruct that can shrink people.

The Master must be in league with the Nestenes… a list of plastic factories is required. They find a box with UNIT on it in one of the radio telescope scientist’s abandoned car. It’s brought to the laboratory, where Jo starts to open it. But stop! It’s a bomb!

 

14th August 1973 pm

Manage to chuck the bomb out the window before it explodes. My new assistant has already been hypnotised and goes into post hypnotic alienation… schizoid disassociation is the current jargon. Despite my best efforts, can’t seem to break the hold the Master had on her. She remembers nothing.

Benton worked out that there was a circus where they found that car. Could be significant. It’s moved to Tarminster and so I go to investigate (not knowing at the time that Jo had sneaked into the back of Bessie). Turns out the Master’s TARDIS is there, disguised as a horse box. Then captured by the owner Rossini and his strongman, until Jo intervenes.  Then Professor Peters, the radio telescope scientist, tries to blow us all up with a grenade, but he has a change of heart… at the cost of his own life.

Quickly sneak into the Master’s TARDIS to help myself to his dematerialisation circuit before we’re confronted by a mob.  Thankfully the police arrive and we’re taken away… but to a quarry. Are these policemen? No, they’re Autons!

 

16th August 1973 am

Manage to escape and with the Brigadier and Captain Yates’ help, we escape only to be subjected to an interminable briefing by the Brigadier.

Try the Master’s materialisation circuit in my TARDIS. It doesn’t work – it’s a mark two. Have a little sulk. Jo accuses me of being childish. What’s wrong with being childish? I like being childish.

Despite constant monitoring there’s nothing to report. Another civil servant, Brownrose, turns up and is rather dismissive. Tell him I know old Tubby Rowlands, that shuts him up. He brings news on unconnected asphyxiation deaths across the Home Counties… well one connection, a Farrel and a MCDermott who worked at the same plasdtics factory. We talk to Farrell’s widow … he didn’t like the new man in charge… Colonel Masters…. I knew it!

She gives us an odd looking troll doll that was given to her husband. Despite dissecting it, can find nothing inside it. The Brigadier and I go to investigate the plastics factory, but they’ve cleared out apart from one persistent Auton in a safe!

When we return, Captain Yates and Jo were using my Bunsen burner to make cocoa which caused the doll to attack, but that serendipitous act helps us to discover heat is a trigger for the doll. And then there’s this plastic daffodil….

I get a phone call. It’s him. The Master. What does he want? Simply to say goodbye… the phone wire starts to strangle me.

 

16th August 1973 pm

The Brigadier comes in and cuts the connection.

It turns out there’s a promotional tour. Weird masked men are handing out plastic daffodils. The Brigadier decides to blow it up… typical military mind. As Jo and I investigate the daffodil, she is attacked by one as it sprays out plastic to cover her mouth. Lucky I was there or she would have been unconscious in 2 minutes, dead in 10. But why has no-one found any evidence… because the covering is dissolved by carbon dioxide.

The Master is here… but he won’t kill me because I have his dematerialisation circuit. Instead, after Jo blurts out the coach will be destroyed in an air strike, he decides to take us hostage and have us killed there. Why he doesn’t just kill me there and then, it would save a lot of bother. He’s already tried about 5 times. Once in the coach, manage to use my Morse code trick using the brake pedals to get the Brigadier to abort the air strike.

With Jo’s escapology skills, we escape the coach. I confront the Master in the radio telescope control room where he is giving the final signal top the Nestenes, who he is in alliance with. Manage to persuade him that perhaps they won’t be the most trustworthy allies and that’s he expendable. After not much convincing, he agrees and helps me to reverse the signal and send them back into space. He really didn’t think THAT through. Anyway, he’s a slippery devil as he disappears once more apparently onto the bus.

He comes out with his hands up. I’m not so sure. He then attacks and is shot. But it’s not him. It’s a mask. It’s young Mr. Farrell. A shame, but the terror of the Autons is over.

Jo reckons the Master has left Earth, but he can’t as I have his dematerialisation circuit. He’s stranded here like me. He’ll turn up again… I’m sure. In fact, I’m rather looking forward to it.

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The Time Space Visualiser

A very colourful title sequence and the theme tune mix is almost back to the original. This is followed by circus shots. Then a caravan appears to an almost TARDIS like sound. What was that all about? Could the Monk be back? We find out quite quickly that it is some bloke called the Master. His TARDIS can still change its shape and he emerges from a horsebox. Jo appears and we realise that Liz has been unceremoniously dumped in Cambridge without so much as a by your leave. How irritating she seems at first after the confidence and intelligence of Liz. She failed all her exams. She can open safes though.

It is not long before we realise the Autons are back and become only the fifth returning villains in the shows history to date. For all the Doctor’s anti-establishment protestation, he seems very comfortably part of the establishment as he is part of Tubby Roland’s circuit. The Doctor clears everyone from the lab at the end of part 3 for his first conversation with the Master and to provide a cliffhanger. Michael Wisher is back, although does not last long and becomes one of many people to be killed in the story although it is Mike Yates who kills him as he is used as a Master decoy, disguised by the Master as the Master. If you follow my drift.

Despite the slightly bizarre plot in terms of what is the Master actually up to this is a captivating story. There is a bit of gurning, some wonderful interplay between the regulars and some frightening moments. It just seems a bit strange that following the death and destruction, the Doctor is already looking forward to his next encounter with the Master. He will not have long to wait.

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Cliché Counter

A megalomaniac villain who wants to rule the world or universe but obviously will be foiled by the hero who of course cannot be killed by the villain no matter what he tries.

This introductory story tells you everything you need to know about the Master. He is the Doctor’s old school pal. He is fiendishly evil and has a multitude of ways in which he can kill people including shrinking them and the use of Karate. However, he cannot seem to bring himself to successfully dispatch the Doctor, although he tries on at least four occasions in just this story. The most important thing, though, is the ridiculous schemes he develops that clearly take forever to set  up and have little in the way of understandable outcomes.

Why is he a successful character? Roger Delgado. Despite using every villainous cliché in the box, Delgado’s performance is a triumph and he creates a wonderful foil for the Doctor so well, the character keeps returning over forty years on.

Notable Firsts

This story sees the completion of the ‘UNIT’ family with three of the major players making their first appearance. Jo Grant, the first Doctor Who Companion I remember. Roger Delgado as the original and best Master. Richard Franklin also makes his debut as Captain Mike Yates. He was the posh totty.

Is that the first look at the dematerialisation circuit?

It is the first time I have heard the call sign ‘Hello greyhound, this is trap one.’ And it is Jo that gets to say it.

Innuendo Bingo

Episode One 3:32

The Doctor: Now look at it, you ham fisted bun vendor!

Episode Three 17:51

Jo: I don’t think the Doctor would approve of that.

Mike: What?

Jo: Making free with his Bunson burner!

Amazing Guess of the Week

At the end of episode one, under hypnosis, Jo brings the Doctor a bomb. The Doctor manages to work out she is hypnotised and therefore must be carrying a bomb. Is this just to provide a cliffhanger? Maybe bomb recognition is a Time Lord power. Possibly his hearing is more acute and he could hear it ticking.

Fascinating Facts

Tony Hart off of Vision On, and later Take Hart, made the prop for the little monster that starts moving when it heats up by adding a couple of extra bits of plasticine to his lovable creation, Morph.

Vital Statistics

282/827 episodes watched. If all of televised Doctor Who to date were a 75 cl bottle of wine I would have drunk 25.5 cl so far.  

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 Five Word Lords

Gruesome deaths. Colour separation overload.

 

Season Survey: Season Seven

Paul

Best Actor: Jon Pertwee

As the first Doctor I remember this portrayal is imprinted on my brain. Pertwee has less screen time in his first season than any of his predecessors yet he quickly embraces the part. There is some comedy but not too much. He delivers his lines with sincerity and command. It is also very clear where the seeds of the twelfth Doctor’s disdain for the military are sown. Pertwee’s anger is often masked by charm, but it is very much in evidence in these stories.

Best Actress: Caroline John

Underrated and overlooked. I can barely remember her as a child, but I was only five. When she came back for The Five Doctors, I didn’t know who she was. Since watching her stories again in the nineties I obviously grew to love her and it is a shame she was written out so soon.

Best Supporting Male: John Abineri

Olaf Pooley as Stahlman was slightly hammy, but nonetheless a strong consistent performance. Hugh Burden as Channing was extremely chilling. But John Abineri’s Carrington is a studied convincing portrayal of a man’s slide into megalomania and is the stand out performance of the season for me.

Best Supporting Female: Sheila Dunn

I really struggled with this. Couldn’t really give it to Betty Bowden for the three lines she had in Spearhead and whilst I loved the posh mission control in Ambassadors I have chosen Sheila Dunn because apart from Caroline John, was there anyone else of note in Season Seven who was female?

Best Story: Inferno

It is really hard to pick a winner here as all the stories are so fresh and ground-breaking.

Worst Story The Silurians

Not really the worst as it is better than so many of the fifty preceding stories. It was just such a standout season.

Season Highlight: Liz Shaw’s Boots

Not really, I just liked that as a headline for the real highlight which was the alternate Earth and all the wonderful alternate counterparts within.

Biggest Disappointment: Where did all the women go?

We thought finding strong female characters in the preceding six seasons was hard. This is the seventies. Twenty-five years after women were really allowed out of the kitchen but not onto Doctor Who sets it would seem. Unless they wore a head scarf, were posh totty or were married to the director.

Best Cliffhanger: Inferno Episode 4?? Or episode 5??

Almost gave this to Spearhead 2 with Ransome and the dummy starting to move. This one though is a double whammy, with the Brigade Leader being ordered to shoot the Doctor who then pulls a gun on the Doctor as well, the countdown approaches zero and there is all that noise.

Oh That’s Really Crap Award! : Probably the Primords in Inferno. The story didn’t need a monster of the week. They do not advance the plot and it just makes me think of B Movie versions of Jekyll and Hyde.

Overall Comment:

Someone, I think it was Terrance Dicks, said that in Science Fiction we go to them or they come to us. This season sticks us on Earth. They come to us at the beginning. ‘They were here before us – who knew?’ is closely followed by ‘We try to go to them but they intercept us on the way’ in the middle and finishes with ‘we pop next door and it is all very different.’ Doctor Who really grows up and the story writing is consistently high. Two of the big Third Doctor era’s themes of contempt for authority and the damage the human race has done to the planet are very much in evident. The production team took the series into a brave new world with excellent results.

Spencer

Best Actor Jon Pertwee – brings a whole new dimension to the character. With a bit of style, panache and action. And a proper scientist too. Great interplay between him and the rest of the cast. He plays those indignant moments very well. Also plays the humorous moments well too.
Best Actress Caroline John – I love Liz Shaw. A real shame she wasn’t continued because I think the dynamic was excellent with them being equal. A more mature approach and able to sort herself out. The cynicism at the beginning is great until logic takes over. Is she a lesbian? Jury’s out on that one.
Best Supporting Male Olaf Pooley as Stahlman/nn. Proper irritated acting and love his strange ‘hearing noises’ acting. Believable and can play Primords too.
Best Supporting Female Sadly not the farmer’s wife in Spearhead or countdown woman from Ambassadors, but has to be Sheila Dunn. Not a massive choice this season, but again plays it very well with subtle differences between the alter egos.
Best Story Inferno – tis one of my all-time favourites. Banged out all 7 episodes in one sitting. Clever, well-acted, great tension, good direction, amazing!
Worst Story The Ambassadors Of Death – not really sure what it was all about really. Who were the aliens? What happened next? Who were the baddies? And it seemed to go on forever with not a lot happening.
Season Highlight The cliffhanger to episode 5 of Inferno.  Oh and the dummies coming to life in Spearhead.
Worst Disappointment Liz Shaw not getting a leaving scene (although won’t know that until the next story)
Oh That’s Really Shit Award! Again nothing of real note – at a push the converted Primords look a bit silly with their pearly whites. Should have kept them as the jabbering humans – they were much more terrifying!
Overall Comment Season 7 is what they would call a proper reboot. In colour – more action – Earthbound – more grown up. Love it! 3 of the 4 stories are just amazing – 2 of them contribute to the ongoing mythology of the series.

A very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Blogset.

We will be back in January with season eight.

 

Inferno

inferno-3‘Same time, same place, only a different dimension. It was a parallel world, Liz. Terrible things are happening there. Terrible things. It wasn’t this Earth, and yet it was. I didn’t go backwards into the past, or forwards into the future. I slipped sideways.’

The Doctor 

9th May – 20th June 1970

The Time Space Visualiser

The final special title sequence and we are back in a refinery with mad singing from the Doctor. Two scientists passing unconvincing pleasantries. The drilling rate has been slowed down. Green slime oozes from the drill bit. It effects unconvincing scientist and there is a shouty man in charge. Professor Stahlman, All is going well in Doctor Who land so it’s time for Benton to put up a picture for the Brig. Not sure why he is making himself so at home in the drilling facility. ‘I can see why you grew the moustache!’ says the Doc to the Brig. He may save the world every week but he can’t tell a moustache from a hairy caterpillar that has crawled onto the Brig’s top lip.

How many times are we going to hear the word penetration. That is what they are trying to do to the Earth’s crust. I count eleven, but I am obsessed. The Doctor reiterates that he is not a big fan of computers and we learn he is working on a project using nuclear power to get the TARDIS going. The sonic screwdriver is back and it makes a great noise. I hope his project does not cause any problems like sending him off into a parallel world or something. Cue gurning. Bromley is on the phone trying to reassure someone. It’s a trim phone. I really wanted a trim phone!

So several of the scientists start running around in green looking a bit like that bloke off of vision on. The professor gets even angrier with the Doctor and the Doctor disappears taking Bessie with him. Professor Stahlman holds the jar of goo and then his hands start going green. No matter. He has a lovely pair of white gloves. Meanwhile the Doctor wakes up having had a dream about a mirror ball to find some strange things happening in his hut. There is a picture of George Roper declaring unity is strength and the sonic screwdriver no longer opens the door. Also there are strange symbols everywhere. He is then chased and shot at by a mystery military organisation whose guns make the same noise as those in old westerns.

Enter Liz Shaw in a wig and thigh high boots. What a twist all of this. Then he is taken to whom he thinks is the Brig. The Doctor works out he is in a parallel Earth. Liz’s wig gets less cohesive as the Earth gets hotter. The story then becomes a showcase for the acting talents of the regular cast who all shine as there other selves. The Doctor seems to have added the Vulcan death grip to his martial arts repertoire.

Again, as with The Silurians, the Doctor fails. This time catastrophically, as the parallel world is destroyed. Fortunately, he gets a second go as he gets back to his own Earth and ensures the drilling is stopped. It is a great opportunity for the regulars to show off their acting skills which they all do. It is a treat for the audience as well. It is interesting to note the character traits of the parallel characters. The Brigade Leader’s cowardly end, for example. It also makes us wish we had a parallel Doctor. The story is fast paced with lots of action , another refinery and a great car chase. Easily in the top four stories of season seven.

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Catchphrase Error of the Week

“There’s been a murder, Liz”

Everyone knows it is just “There’s been a murder” and said in a Scottish accent. Not a bad go though.

Cliché Counter

Not a ‘Who’ cliché this but a horror one as a hairy hand appears around a pillar.

‘Just 35 seconds to go’

Does it ever add to the tension when the whatever it is that is threatening the end of the world as we know it is stopped at the last minute? Too make it a true cliché it would have had to have been in the last second.

Notable Firsts

Sir Keith played by Christopher Benjamin. Later to play Jago from Talons of Weng Chiang and Hugo in The Unicorn and the Wasp.

Venusian Karate. The Doctor’s interstellar Martial Art is used for the first time in this story against Professor Stahlman.

Lookie Likee

Private Wyatt is surely Nicholas Lyndhurst

Innuendo Bingo

Episode 3 5:11

The Doctor: Who’s been messing about with my equipment.

Episode 7 6:00

Greg Sutton: That flange could blow at any moment.

Fascinating Facts

Richard and Esther Shapiro were watching an old videotape of this story in February 1984 while they were putting together the storylines for season 6 of Dynasty. They thought it would be a great idea to have a parallel world in Dynasty. In the event, as they were already planning for Fallon to be kidnapped by Aliens they decided they were going for too much Science Fiction so instead they just used Crystal’s double, Rita. However, in an interview with TV Zone in 1997, Linda Evans admitted she studied Caroline John’s performance as reference material.

If this were Star Trek …

In the conversation between Section Leader Liz and the Doctor in episode 4, she asks the Doctor what the other Liz does on his Earth.  If this were Star Trek, she would ask the Doctor, ‘Was she beautiful?’

This Weeks False Moustache

This week the Brigadier has a few episodes off funny facial hair as the Brigade Leader and has to make do with an eye patch. The Hair and Glue department at the BBC do not get the week of though, in fact they have to work overtime on all the hairy Primords.

Bonnie Tyler Quote of the Week

‘We’re sitting on a powder keg.’ So Greg sings in his Karaoke attempt early in episode 6.

Enlightening Dialogue of the Week

Gold:               No. Well, goodbye, Doctor.

The Doctor:      Goodbye, Sir Keith.

Gold:               Goodbye, Miss Shaw.

Liz:                  Bye bye, Sir Keith.

The Doctor:      Goodbye, Brigadier

What is this, The Waltons? All these goodbyes and this is Liz’s final scene in the show which passes without a mention!

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The 500 Year Diary

15th March 1973 am

At a drilling complex near Eastchester. The Brigadier is down here on a security detail whilst the rather ill-tempered Professor Stahlman drills down to the Earth’s crust mining for Stahlman’s gas. I’m only here to use the power for my own project – to get the TARDIS console going again with Liz’ help.

Not everyone here at the ‘Inferno’ is surly. Sir Keith Gold is a rather reasonable fellow, concerned about aspects of the operation. He’s drafted in Greg Sutton to advise, but it’s unlikely the Professor will listen to anyone, apart from his assistant, Petra Williams.

Funny goings on as a technician is killed by another technician, Slocum, but Stahlman remains unconcerned… fellow’s liver must be playing him up.

As I try a test flight on the console, there is a power surge and end up being pulled apart in a dimensional void. Luckily, Liz manages to reduce the power, but what happened? Alarms are going off – the drill is in danger of shutdown. When we go to the power room, we notice the power is at maximum. Just as we attempt the lower the extremely hot switch, in bursts a rather crazed looking Slocum.

 

15th March 1973 pm

Try to calm Slocum down, but he’s shot at by Private Wyatt who is attacked. Eventually Slocum is stopped, but a huge burn mark is left on the wall. He also was making some strange noises – I heard noises like that at the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.

Whilst walking around the towers of the complex, I encounter Private Wyatt attacked by Slocum. He has also changed and attacks me until he falls off the tower.

Back at the control centre, Stahlman continues to ignore the advice from the computer and wants to accelerate the drilling. A strange green liquid has been found coming up from number 2 outlet pipe and placed in a jar although the outside is cracking. Stahlman foolishly grabs hold of it. I wouldn’t have done that! In addition, I’m convinced he’s sabotaged the computer by removing the microcircuit – I catch him trying to smash it up, which he tries to hide in his pocket… with success.

He orders power to my experiment to be cut. How petty! Anyway, I secretly turn it on, send Liz on a wild goose chase before having one more go on the console. It starts to shudder and shake and just as the Brigadier & Liz come into the hut, I’m off!

 

23rd July 1972

Woke up in the hut, someone’s had a bit of a tidy up. Added to that the sonic screwdriver won’t open the door which has some sort of triangular symbol with three arrows. Very odd.

Next thing, I’m shot at! What’s going on? Manage to shake them off in Bessie and hiding in a dustbin. As I watch the soldiers from the top of the cooling tower, there’s Private Wyatt again. But how can it be?

Eventually some sanity when I come across Liz in some ridiculous get up, except she doesn’t know me and takes me to the Brigade Leader who is actually the Brigadier with a scar and an eye patch. Well, I’ve worked out what’s going on – I’m in a parallel space-time continuum – the TARDIS console has hopped me sideways. I’m in the Republic Of Great Britain where the Royal Family have been executed. Pity. A charming family.

They’re more advanced with the drilling in this universe. Everyone’s counterpart is here – smarter and more regimented. Stahlman or Stahlmann’s still the same although Sir Keith Gold has been killed. Because of my prior knowledge, they think I’m a spy.

I need to try and help as there’s some sort of crisis at the drill head. I escape from Benton and d towards the computer, broken in this universe too. Except Benton aims a gun right at my head.

 

24th July 1972 pm

Saved by ‘Section Leader’ Shaw. She appears reasonable and lets me repair the computer and help with the immediate crisis which I solve by cleverly suggesting that they push all the coot down the outlet pipe and then draw up all the debris from the bottom of the shaft through the inlet pipe. Is Stahlmann grateful? No. Ungrateful nitwit.

They’re still convinced I’m a spy and I have to go through this ridiculous interrogation which involves a table lamp and lots of shouting. Only the equivalent Liz seems to possibly believe me. Confront Stahlmann about his hand and being infected, but cleverly he has hidden it with a bandage.

Throw me into a cell, where I’m to sit and wait, except the fellow next to me has been infected. Manage to escape in the subsequent kerfuffle and hide in a Land Rover driving to the control centre. Disguise myself as a technician to get inside. The noise! The sound of the Earth screaming out its rage!

Despite my best efforts, it’s too late. I can’t escape, I can’t stop the drilling. The countdown to penetration zero continues.

 

24th July 1972 eve

And so we reach penetration zero. Predictably, there’s an explosion and earth tremors. Mr Sutton thinks he can cap the bore so in we go to the drill head except Stahlmann attacks us and locks himself inside the drill head.

The Earth is doomed. There’s nothing I can do, except…. Yes… return to the other universe and stop it happening there! I can save a world! I need to convince the others to help me, which they agree to except the Brigade Leader wants to come with me, which is just impossible – the dimensional paradoxes would shatter the space-time continuums.

As I start to explain my plan, the creatures outside start to break in.

 

24th July 1972 eve

We escape the creatures, using fire extinguishers and coolant pipes.

Outside the sky is red and air is blisteringly hot. Tremors come and go knocking people to their feet.

We manage to get to the shed with the TARDIS console in and wait whilst Petra tries to reconnect the power, except she can’t. Oh well, she tried. I probably wouldn’t be able to convince the other world anyway. The Brigade Leader and Sutton start fighting, but Petra sneaks out to try again.

She’s a genius. She gets it working and the power to the console comes through. The Brigade Leader, a real coward, threatens me unless I take him with me. Liz saves me by shooting him. Time is running out as the lava flows towards the shed.

 

19th March 1973

It worked. I’m back. In my delirious state, I manage to prevent one disaster by telling them to reverse all systems.

Feeling better. Visited by Sir Keith. He’s not dead! So there is a chance… An infinity of universes, ergo an infinite number of choices. So free will is not an illusion after all. The pattern can be changed.

At the Control Centre, I start smashing at controls ordering Stahlman to stop, but they think I’m just ill so they cart me off. I escape again and find that Stahlman has changed, but he is shot. We go to shut down, but there’s a problem… a bit of rewiring and we stop the drilling with 35 seconds to spare. Phew!

The whole project’s been abandoned and the nuclear reactor shut down. Sutton & Petra have left for London together – there’s nothing like a nice happy ending.

Back at the hut, I’m working on the TARDIS console. I’m sure this time I can get away, but not before telling the Brigadier he is a pompous, self-opinionated idiot. Except… the console takes me a few seconds forward in time and a few hundred yards east. The rubbish tip. A little bit awkward with the Brigadier… Liz just laughs.

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Five Word Lords

Creative horror showcasing the leads.

The Ambassadors of Death

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‘My dear man, I have spent more time in space than any astronaut on your staff. Not I’ll admit in the rather primitive contraptions that you use, but I’ll manage.’ The Doctor

21st March – 2nd May 1970

The Time Space Visualiser

This one is all very Quatermass. A swanky new laboratory for the Doctor with stained glass windows and our first look at the TARDIS console in colour. I love the time travel scene. It just reminds us what the TARDIS could do and why it doesn’t anymore. Then the Brigadier is on telly and we get a quick reference to last week with the Doctor having a quick dig about blowing up the Silurians. He seems to be over it though. Ronald Allen is back after being one of the few things in The Dominators that makes the story watchable So we have had an alien invasion from space, and a planned re taking of the Earth from a former dominant species from underground. Now we are in space as humans. Sending people to Mars from the UK.

There is a deafening sound as Recovery 7 links with Mars Probe 7. (Did Mars Probe’s one to six all need recovery too? Was there a Recovery 1, Recovery 2, etc?) The Doctor is convinced he has heard the noise before but he can’t remember where. I do. I am sure it was the sound effect they used for the Ice Warriors in their first story. So the Doctor fools the troubled Frenchman with a bit of transmigration of object. There is a great deal of difference between that and pure Science as we all know but Liz starts going on about converting analogue to digital. Well why would anyone want to do that?

The two probes 7 separate but maintain radio silence. After a lot of movement from the satellite dishes at Goonhilly the probe lands. The Doc and the Brig go to see if anyone survives and are watched. The Brig calls UNIT HQ to collect the landing craft but his radio communication is intercepted.  He needs a better call sign than ‘Brigadier’ to UNIT HQ! Something about greyhounds and traps would work better.  Do we really need the lengthy scene travelling with the probe where Bessie gets stuck and the Brig sits in his vehicle looking smug. It goes on forever before the helicopter intercepts with whistling smoke bombs  that don’t really do much. It stops the convey though and there is a dramatic shootout with people from Ghostbusters who get the Brig! The fight creates Havoc!

Happily the Doctor uses his best Irish accent and Bessie’s anti-theft device (amazing) and Recovery 7 is back with the goodies. It is very creepy how the communication begins with the astronauts. Reminiscent of the Vash Narada. I also think the logo and plate changing magic van is great. Imagine if you had one of those! The astronauts or whatever they are, Ambassadors of Death I guess, are moved to another facility where one of them appears to collapse. Lennox goes in to check them and appears to put on a pair of Anti-Radiation Gloves.

Taltalian has been working on a remote control device for those Ambassadors of Death so they can send them to the space centre and start killing people. Proper gloves from the villain. New ones every week. The AODs are kept alive by radiation which still clicks even though there is no apparent Geiger counter anywhere.

The Doctor prepares for lift off and a bit of gurning and posh girl is back in the space centre. (Or is she a different posh girl?) the rocket is fuelled with a highly volatile M3 variant. As the rocket prepares for lift off someone enters the Space Centre to sabotage the amount of variant and cause the rocket to explode. Fortunately there is a sign on the correct pipe which says M3 variant.  Everything has a label, including the decontamination gas. The men in blue glittery suits of death. It’s night when the Brigadier leaves but then it is day?

A very complicated scheme from Carrington that seems to involve quite a few shady characters and all sorts of other twists and turns that make the plot very hard to follow. His project makes the Cyberman’s plan in Wheel in Space easy to follow. It is a shame we don’t spend much time with the aliens and they are only seen very briefly. It’s a David Whitaker masterclass in characterisation though as the episodes seem to fly by with some great action set pieces and wonderful performances.

ambassadors-1

Notable Firsts

New titles experiment. The ‘screech’ sting is used for the first time but not at the end of the episode. They are used for the story title which zooms into view, ‘Ambassadors’ first, then a special gunshot sound for ‘of Death’ .

The first credited appearance for Michael Wisher. He was the first Davros, a Dalek voice and played many other roles in Doctor Who.  His first unaccredited appearance was apparently a voice in the Seeds of Death.

Geoffrey Beevers appears for the first time. He eventually becomes the slightly dishevelled Master but this is his first role as Private Johnson. He was married to Liz Shaw actress, Caroline John.

Is this the first refinery? Big industrial expanses are the show’s second favourite location after gravel pits as they look like an alien futuristic cyber punk complex. Here though we are on Earth, and it makes a pretty good space control centre with lots of things to climb up and jump off.

The first action hero story with Havoc. But the biggest action hero of them all is the Brig. He fights off all the baddies in episode 7, then liberates the Ambassadors and the Doctor and Liz. All in beige leather gloves.

Innuendo Bingo

Episode 2 5:25

The Doctor: I’ll be back in time for re-entry, are you coming?

21:35

The Doctor: The astronauts still refuse to come out!

Episode 4 3:07

Carrington: Astronauts do have walkie talkies in their helmets you know.

Well that is impressive.

This Week’s False Moustache is Modelled By

Giving the Brig a run for his money this week is Taltalian who doesn’t just stop at the moustache. No, he goes for it with a full crop of facial hair that would make David Bellamy feel inadequate. His comedy French accent also gives us our ‘Racist Moment of the Week.’ He also forgets to do his accent all the time.

Enlightening Dialogue of the Week

Brigadier: I think the General’s a bit overwrought.

Cornish: I think he’s insane.

We were there ahead of you Cornish. You have had six weeks to work that out.

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The 500 Year Diary

23rd November 1972 am

Messing around with the TARDIS console this morning. Both Liz and I were caught up in its time field and ended up being projected a few seconds into the future.

Saw the Brigadier on the television… well what else is he to do now there’s no Silurians to blow up? Anyway, they were broadcasting the efforts to recover Mars Probe 7 which lost contact with Earth nearly 8 months ago. Suddenly there’s a noise… it reminds me of something, but since the Time Lords have removed my memories, I can’t place it.

Barge our way into the space centre and make various demands. There’s a reply to the original message, but it’s coming from Earth and it turns out it’s from a warehouse only 7 miles away. The Brigadier goes to check it out.

Professor Taltalian is being very unhelpful, so unhelpful infact, he pulls a gun out on us!

 

23rd November 1972 pm

Taltalian wants the tape with the message on, but am able to use the principles of transmigration to make it disappear. After rough handling Liz he escapes. He also has managed to sabotage the computer – 2+2=5 indeed.

The Brigadier introduces me to one of the men detained at the warehouse. After using a bit of shouting, work out that he’s a soldier, but who is he working for?

The Recovery probe manages to land, not far from the space centre. We go and see if we can get the astronauts out, but no joy. They take it back to the space centre in a convoy – having a bit of trouble with Bessie and follow on later. Lucky really as the convoy was obviously intercepted, but using a bit of acting skills and Bessie’s anti-theft device age to reclaim it.

There’s obviously someone on the inside as these known others seem to be one step ahead. Go and see Sir James Quinlan, but he seems content to sweep it under the carpet. Typical civil servant. Hope I don’t have to deal with too many of these whilst stuck on Earth.

Finally, we hear voices from the rocket – but they’re repeating themselves. Something’s very wrong. We have to cut open!

 

24th November 1972 am

The capsule was empty, but there is a lot of radiation.

Introduced to General Carrington, who is the head of the Space Security Department – even the Brigadier has never heard of them. He has removed the astronauts to a safe location so the public aren’t panicked. Not sure why Quinlan couldn’t tell us this in the first place.

When we get there, the ‘astronauts’ have been removed by yet another group. However the fact is that these can’t be the real astronauts as they never would have survived the radiation – the astronauts are still in orbit, who knows what’s in those suits?

Back at the space centre, we’re called away by the Brigadier to examine bodies of two radiation victims found in a gravel pit. Well I’m too busy preparing Recovery 7 for another flight now that the radiation has gone. Turns out the Brigadier didn’t send that message, so what’s happened to Liz?

 

24th November 1972 eve

Got a phone call telling me to stop interfering otherwise Liz will die. Well, when has that ever stopped me? Whilst working at the Space Centre, Tatalian arrives and tries to kill me with an exploding briefcase. Except it’s sabotaged and only Tatalian is killed – I needed a plaster! Perhaps he was becoming a liability to this other group who seem to have a supply of foreign combs.

Find a device in Tatalian’s possession. Some sort of communication device similar to the one I was building.

Summoned to Quinlan’s office. Apparently, he’s not happy about me offering to pilot the recovery rocket. When I arrive in his office, he’s lying on his desk. I go to check for life signs.

 

25th November 1972

The Brigadier arrives in the nick of time and saves me from the alien; sadly, it means another UNIT soldier dies. Sergeant Benton arrives to assist – I’m glad he’s been promoted – a fine chap.

Decide to definitely pilot the Recovery 7 rocket despite General Carrington’s objections so after a lot of hanging about, I take off. But there’s a problem. It appears that there’s too much M3 variant in the fuel mix and the only way to stop the rocket flying into the orbit of the Sun is jettison the primary boosters early – a big risk, but thankfully it works!

So I connect with the Mars Probe, but what’s that? There’s some huge spaceship coming towards me!

 

26th November 1972 am

The spaceship is huge. I head towards the light as directed.

I come across the three astronauts who think they are still on Earth. They are under the influence of some alien who explains that they are being held here until their ‘ambassadors’ are returned. Ambassadors? The ambassadors of death?

I promise to help them on my return to Earth. It appears to be a bit of a misunderstanding, but if I can’t sort it out they’ll be carnage.

As I rest in the decontamination unit back at the Space Centre, I smell poisonous gas which knocks me out…

I wake up in a room with Liz there. Thank goodness she’s alright. I’m forced to help them make a communication unit (but I was actually going to do this anyway). As I’m working on it, surprise surprise, in walks General Carrington who is about to kill me!

 

25th November pm

Reegan manages to convince Carrington that shooting me would be a bad idea as I am the only one who understands the technology. Carrington is actually out for revenge for the killing of one of his colleagues when he went up in a probe. As I said earlier, it’s all a bit of a misunderstanding. Anyway, this xenophobia is going to cause all-out war!

Whilst making the communication device, I manage to contact UNIT HQ using Morse Code of all things. Anyway, success with the device as we can now communicate. The Brigadier and UNIT rescue us and we launch an attack on the Space Centre, which has been taken over by Carrington and his men in preparation for a live telecast all over the world to expose the alien threat.

Well, we manage to stop the broadcast and Carrington is taken away. I feel sorry for him. He’s not helped by a rather ill-fitting wig. Anyway, leave Cornish and Liz to arrange the return of the ambassadors and off I go.

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Five Word Lords

A complex Bond style epic.