The Reign of Terror


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‘Our destiny is in the stars, so let’s go and search for it…

The Doctor.

8 August  – 12 September 1964


The Memory Cheats

Six more new episodes to look forward to here and we are saved from reconstructions as the two that are missing have been animated.

The Time Space Visuliser

The TARDIS arrives with no sound effect here. Susan back to being annoying and human again. Shame. The Doctor confirms they are on Earth. He is still very grumpy with Ian and Barbara, and after spending most of the season getting him to take them home it is almost as if they don’t want to go. Apparently we no longer need to check the atmosphere is breathable. Barbara says it reminds her of Somerset and the Doctor replies that it must be and kicks them out.  Touching scene with Barbara and Ian. They are definitely doing it! Handy set of clothes found in the box. All different sizes. Wonder if they will fit the travellers? Continuity: Is it ever mentioned again that the Doctor’s favourite period in History is the French Revolution? One episode in and they are captured again! Love the fire over the titles.

It is interesting that for a Science Fiction show, the historical stories are much better. Barbara manages to avoid another attempted rape from the gaoler. Loving Susan’s new bouffant hairstyle. Strange to see the Doctor clubbing someone with a spade. As he told us in ‘The Sensorites’ he doesn’t like weapons but they can be useful. ‘My humble shop’ says the shop keeper. What is a humble shop? The shop keeper becomes the first person to own a Doctor Who costume. I wonder if he wore it to conventions? So know we have a mystery. Who is betraying Jules and Jean? Where did the Doctor get his papers from? The gaoler looks like Bernard Ingham. Barbara gives up on her escape attempt rather quickly. Barbara gets lucky again. Wine and romance. She is a bit of a tart isn’t she?

Robespierre comes off worse and looks slightly simian. My French history isn’t great but is Dennis Spooner trying to paint him in a positive light? Or is he just worried about his place in history. When Barbara is reunited with Ian it does make you realise how much they take in their stride. They are separated in France during one of the country’s worst periods in its history. And as far as they know the Doctor could be burned in the house! Luckily the physician doesn’t notice Susan has two hearts.

So it is ‘Mission Impossible’ as Barbara and Ian disguise themselves as bar staff with amusing accents to boot. There has been some strange use of English rural accents throughout the story. Does the TARDIS’s translation circuit translate dialect too? Barbara, having excelled with her Aztec knowledge is found wanting when it comes to the French Revolution. Why is she surprised it is Napoleon.

So the first season ends with a ‘Survival’ style monologue in great style.  The animation is a bit jarring as the cutting is quite intense and doesn’t match the pace of the story thus far, so it takes a while to get used to but I would rather have it than not. The story starts a bit slowly with all the imprisonment and escape routines but the pace picks up for the final three episodes and is quite intense.

Notable Firsts

The first child actor and he is a bit crap. Over does it a bit and makes Adric look convincing.

First location filming. It is really quite strange that all the stories have been studio bound until now and this one really is apart from someone in a wig looking like Hartnell walking through some woods.

First actual use of historical events. It inspired me to read a bit more on Wikipedia! True to the shows edict to this day.

Cliché Counter

The Doctor is punished and put on the chain gang. Not quite moving rocks but they are being cut so will probably need to be moved later.

Susan’s reaction to the rats. I wonder, do all Gallifrayen women react like that at the sign of a rodent? It is hard to imagine Romana or the Rani jumping on a chair shouting ‘Thomas!’. Maybe Chancellor Flavia.

Best Extras of the Week:

The coughing lady at the start of episode 3 walking in front of the Doctor. Best cough acting of the series so far! Also worth a mention in the same episode are the cackling hags laughing at Barbara and Susan as they arrive on the wagon. Early French and Saunders?

Catchphrase Error of the Week:

The gaoler, 18 minutes into episode 4: ‘Better feed the pigs.’ Everyone knows it’s come on pigs!

The 500 Year Diary


24th July 1794

Landed in what I thought was the 1960s and was going to dump them there in what looked like Somerset. However, turns out it was France in the 18th century. Not a bad effort! Turns out it’s during the French Revolution – my favourite part of history – not sure why as it’s a land of fear!

Anyway after encountering this boy, we find this abandoned house. We split up and typically things go wrong. I’m knocked out and then the house is on fire!

25th July 1794

Thankfully I’m rescued from the fire by the boy. Turns out that Ian, Barbara & Susan have been captured and taken to the Conciergerie Prison in Paris probably guests of Madame Guillotine. Decide to go to Paris. Hopefully I can catch up – they wouldn’t have got there yet.

So off I go on a jaunty walk through the countryside. Come across this chain gang supervised by this rather unpleasant fellow. When I point out that perhaps he should help, he then forces me to join in just because I don’t have any papers. I devise a cunning plan involving an impending eclipse and then I knock him rather violently. The chain gang disperse and I put a coin on the sleeping fellow’s eye… a new trademark perhaps?

So only 5km to go…..

26th July 1794 am

A rather cunning plan involving a change of identity! Needed to get into the Conciergerie Prison so managed to persuade this tailor to give me the clothes of the Regional Officer Of The Provinces in exchange for what I’m wearing and a ring. No money you see! It was lucky he had such a costume hanging around. The hat is fabulous!

When I get into the prison, turns out they’ve all gone. Typical! Why can’t they just stay put! Don’t know how I’m going to find them – Paris is a big place! About to go off when this Lemaitre arrives and insists I go meet Robespierre. Better be careful what I say. Don’t want to change history or anything!

26th July 1794 pm

So met the tyrant of France today. Another really dreadful man. A bit unhinged. He just wants to cut more heads off. Have I met any pleasant French men whilst here? Might have to find another favourite historical period. Bizarrely, Robespierre rather likes me and wants a date for tomorrow.

Back to the prison. Try to make my excuses and leave but Lemaitre pleas and the jailor threatens so I have to stay. A bit of courtesy would be nice. Lemaitre wants me to interrogate one of the prisoners. Turns out it’s Barbara. Nice clothes – hairdo’s a bit modern.

26th July 1794 eve

Stuck in this prison. Managed to fool the jailor into releasing Barbara, but then just as I was about to trick him again to get Susan out Lemaitre turns up. Did manage to knock the jailor over the head with a jug. I’m getting quite good at this!

I underestimated Lemaitre. He worked out I wasn’t a Regional Officer and in order for me to save Susan, I led him to Jules. A bargain of necessity!

27th July 1794

Ian and Barbara met Napoleon! It’s so not fair!

That Lemaitre had everyone fooled. He was James Stirling all along! I looked out of the window while he gave exposition to the rest of them.

Returned to the prisoners of the Conciergerie in order to get Susan out. Once again fooled the jailor. No opportunities to hit anyone over the head this time!

And so we’re reunited. A lift back to the ship and a chat about history. I think they get it now. Where next? Our destiny’s in the stars, so let’s go and search for it!

The Reign of Terror

The Five Word Lords

Well rounded characters, Hartnell excels.


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