“As we learn about each other, so we learn about ourselves.”
8 February 1964 – 15 February 1964
The Memory Cheats
Doctor Who Magazine ran archive features very early on, and I think, initially, ran them in order. So we came to Edge of Destruction quite early in the run. I found the notion of a whole story set in the TARDIS fascinating as had loved Masque of Mandragora when, for the first time that I could remember, the TARDIS on the inside suddenly seemed even bigger on the inside than I first thought. This story sounded like one I really wanted to see. Add to this the notion of possessed crew, also gave the story an added fascination.
I gave a colleague at my first school about three VHS tapes on the eve of BSBs Doctor Who weekend, I think this was in 1990. I didn’t have Sky at the time. I asked them if they wouldn’t mind recording as much of it as they could, so what I got back was rather a mixed bag but did include this story. As soon as I realised I had it I settled to watch it and was largely disappointed from what I can remember. I guess by this time the inside of the TARDIS was less magical and more of a set, and I just didn’t really engage with the drama. I did not really enjoy it that much when I watched the DVD release either.
At least it is only two episodes.
The Time Space Visuliser
The Edge of Destruction. Seems quite ultimate doesn’t it? The first few scenes are all very Igmar Bergman. Very noble acting and very stagey. I think this is a feature of 60s TV though. The medium still has more to do with a night at the theatre than a tv show, and this story is no exception. Susan is at her most annoying to date and starts irrationally screaming at the monitor. It gets slightly more interesting at the thought of an alien presence, but alas this comes to nothing. It is quite disturbing for a kids show in parts, especially when Susan starts to audition for Celebrity Scissorhands! Even Barbara seems to have the colly wobbles today as after quite a superb rant at the Doctor, she goes to pieces when she realises the clock is broken.
As if the edge of destruction wasn’t bad enough, we next find ourselves at the brink of disaster! Slightly better this episode, although we could have done without seeing Ian’s pants. Now it is his turn to go stir crazy and he starts strangling everyone. The Doctor is the hero by finally realising the issue is with the fast return switch and all ends happily ever after.
Despite its short comings, the story is not as bad as I remember it to be. The four leads manage to keep the pace going and after the shaky start they seem to get along much better after this story. The final scene between the Doctor and Barbara shows that at last he seems to be mellowing a bit. Not bad for a filler, maybe I should try the book!
You ought to go down on your knees and thank us!” (Barbara). Erm, do you mind if I don’t!
The first indication that we have that the TARDIS is sentient, and the observation comes from Barbara. Without her assertion that it was almost as if the TARDIS was trying to communicate with them, we may never have had The Doctor’s Wife. It seems rather bizarre that it feels the need to turn all of the TARDIS crew into rabid would be murderers when it has a broken spring. I would hate to imagine what it will do when there is a serious fault.
The 500 Year Diary
26th October 2263 pm
There’s nothing worse when your car breaks down – what a frustrating day!
After the console blew up, we all collapsed on the floor. Ended up cutting my head open. Susan manages to find the biggest bandage ever which makes me look a little bit ridiculous. As I start to revive, I notice that Ian carries Susan off to the bedroom. This lot are sex mad!
Spent most of the evening checking things – couldn’t really find anything. Everyone’s acting a little bit odd too. Think Susan’s on, she’s doing weird things with scissors. The scanner’s on the blink – just showing pictures of places we’d been to. I’m most puzzled by the planets, solar system and explosion montage. It’s almost like someone’s trying to tell us something! What is it? The edge of destruction?
Next thing the doors keep randomly opening. I tell you it must be those two teachers messing around with the controls. When I accuse them, that Barbara does that woman thing of going back over every little thing that happened in the past. She then completely overreacts when she notices my cathedral clock has melted. I nearly screamed too. Do you know how much trouble I went to to get that! And now my watch has melted.
I need a bit of time so I spike their ‘nightcaps’. They all go to bed. Next thing you know, someone’s go their hands round my throat!
27th October 2263
Turns out it was Ian trying to kill me. This convinces me that these two are sabotaging the ship. Trying to get back to 1963. Why bother? What’s so special about 1963 anyway? Susan takes my side initially, but then speaks up for those two. What happened to blood being thicker than water?
Anyway, I was just about to chuck them off the ship when an alarm sounds – must be something up with the cloister bell – and the fault locator lights up a fault in every system – well that’s not very helpful! I work out the TARDIS’ power source is trying to force its way out. We’re on the brink of disaster!
We then all work together to try and work out what it means. Barbara seems to think the ship is trying to warn us – but the TARDIS isn’t alive… or is it? I notice a broken spring on the fast return switch – I know where that one is because I wrote it in felt tip on the console. So all of that trouble because of a dodgy spring. Who knew?
Apologised to Ian & Barbara. She made me work for it, but we’re alright now. In fact I’m beginning to enjoy their company.
And so with the switch fixed – hopefully for a very long time to come – we land on a snowy planet. Gave Ian that coat that I nicked from Gilbert & Sullivan. Barbara & Susan go outside and find a massive footprint. Yeti?
The Five Word Lords
Massive set; mind the scissors.