The Chase

chase 3

‘And all we’ve been through will remain with us always! It could be the most exciting part of my life. Look, Doctor, we’re different people.’ Barbara

22nd May – 26th June 1965

The Memory Cheats

At 5:45pm on 5th June 1965, ‘Flight Through Eternity’, episode three of The Chase, was broadcast. Shortly after it began, I was dragged, kicking and screaming into the world, probably upset because I was missing Doctor Who! So from here on in I am around and part of the journey. Can’t remember it though!

Due to the historic event that occurred in my own life whilst this story was being transmitted it is obviously a significant one for me. I even shared the story with Tom Baker at a book signing in North Finchley. I did not know which story it was at this point. I was able to pinpoint episode three of The Chase from the Doctor Who Weekly episode guide.

The first time I watched it was on VHS from the Dalek tin. It was a bit of a let down and I can’t remember much from it. The last time I watched it when it came out on DVD I enjoyed it a little more. Especially the Mechanoids.

The Time Space Visualiser

The initial scenes reaffirm what the viewers have thought all along. Vicki is really irritating. Ian reading his monster book is reminiscent of the first Dalek movie. From the Time Space Visualiser, we find out that Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in front of a drawing before Ian does some dad dancing to the Beatles. The Aridians are wetter than any aliens we have met to date and it is not long before we forget all about them. Literally. After two times watching the story I have no recollection of them. Even if one of them is Hywel Bennett. (I only just found this out from the commentary.) It is a shame the Mire Beast is never seen again. The Dalek emerging from the sand is pretty cool though, and it least there is a reason for it to be there this time. The Dalek Time Machine is also dimensionally transcendental. Did they steel all the technology from Gallifrey? It is hard to imagine how Peter Purves ended up as a regular following the cod performance as Morton. This is obviously Doctor Who does slapstick and it isn’t great. So to the Marie Celeste. Vicki taps the sailor on the head and he is rendered unconscious.

Dracula and Frankenstein make an appearance in a great if slightly flawed theory that the world was created from the darkest recesses of the human mind, which is why the Daleks could not land there. So how come you did, Doctor? Hmmm? Quite so, quite so! The Doctor obviously does not complete risk assessments for his trip as he does not count the travellers back onto the ship. Or maybe they are just pleased to be rid of Vicki and are all pretending they haven’t seen her! ‘And you of all people should know that the TARDIS can never land in the same place twice.’ Announces the Doctor. That is a new one, is it ever referred to again? Hartnell goes all Churchillian. ‘We shall fight. We shall fight to the death.’ Uncertain Dalek: ‘Errr. In Earth time, four minutes.’ He would be far more confident if they had let him count in rells. Dialogue between Daleks is at its best for the story here.

They create their doppelgänger. ‘It is impossible to tell the difference.’ Well actually it is not. I am sorry but even for allowing for the differing production values between 1965 and 49 years later this scene is hard to swallow. Would it not have been better for the climactic close up shot to have been an obviously different actor wearing different clothes also badly dubbed than draw attention to how bad the doppelgänger was by inserting the real thing at the end? It’s the vervoids! Who knew they were around back in the 60s? It is also very disconcerting to go back to the body double after seeing Hartnell. What is the point of it all? Whilst we may view this landscape as faux alien, is it any worse than 80s studio alien landscapes?

A Mechanoid enters. They are quite striking robots and their limited speech, though odd, is very endearing. It is a shame we never see them again. Next, we meet Steven Taylor, and he has built himself a bit of a staircase to the top of the Mechanoid city, about 15 feet up! It looked higher on the superb model shot. Quick question. If the humans sent the Mechanoids fifteen years ahead of them, how come the planet is called Mechanus? Then we say goodbye to Ian and Barbara who are to end up as a couple of burnt cinders floating around in Spain. However, they make it to London and we have a jolly montage to bid them farewell. I wonder how they paid for their bus fare. And did they go back into teaching?

A bizarre and crazy little story that I can’t help liking. It is the last complete sixties Dalek story and although the Daleks themselves are reduced to bumbling comedy creatures, the story improves in the final two episodes and I really rather enjoyed it.

chase 1

Innuendo Bingo

‘If we could only pull it off.’ The Doctor. episode 4 20:05

‘The Daleks are right on top of us!’ The Doctor, episode 2 7:20

‘It is required that we penetrate this wall.’ Dalek episode 6 1:55. Sounds like a glory hole!

Vicki: Look at it! Doctor: It’s fantastic! Barbara: I’ve never seen anything like it, it’s huge! 2:30 episode 6. Is Ian showing off again?

Notable Firsts

We see the TARDIS in the vortex for the first time. The Time Space Visualiser makes its first appearance too. I expect we will be seeing a lot more of this useful contraption. It can show any moment in history.

Peter Purves becomes the first member of the TARDIS crew to have already appeared in the show in a previous role. Conversely, Jacqueline Hill who leaves the show here later becomes the first, and so far (I think) only member of the TARDIS crew to return to the show later in another role.

chase 2

The 5oo Year Diary

9th August 2170

Well, wasted a lot of time in the ship playing around with the new Time Space Visualiser that I fixed. Ian wanted to see the Gettysburg Address, Barbara wanted to see Shakespeare meet Queen Elizabeth – must pop by and see those two sometime – and Vicki wanted to see The Beatles perform some classical music. Ian was rather taken by this and did a rather odd Dad dance – it was obviously a very catchy tune as Ian knew all the words despite it being out two years after he left Earth – a very perceptive young man!

Anyway, we arrive on a planet with two suns. Whilst Ian & Vicki run off into the distance, Barbara and I have a fully clothed sunbathe until she spots Daleks on the Time Space Visualiser! Turns out they’ve got a time machine and are out to get us and they’re on their way to this planet, Aridius. We needed to find Vicki and Ian – not too hard to find in that distinctive shirt – before the executioners arrive!

However, we get lost looking for them and then this sandstorm causes the TARDIS to be buried. Next thing we see is a Dalek emerging from the sand!

10th August 2170

Managed to avoid the Daleks, but bumped into these rather odd Aridians. They tell us about their underground city and the Mire Beasts and how they’re going to explode their strongholds. I deduce that Ian and Vicki must be there and they reluctantly take us down below. I also deduce that calling an arid planet called Aridius when it wasn’t always is rather peculiar.

The explosion happens occurs before we get there and we’re just left there to wait until we find out the Aridians are going to trade us in to the Daleks. Don’t suppose I can blame them really – they are really very sad forlorn creatures.

Happily an unsecured wall collapses on top of Barbara and we manage to make our escape, but the TAARDIS is surrounded. Barbara’s cardie to the rescue as Ian lays a cunning trap which causes one of the Daleks to fall down a hole. This obviously distracts the other guard as we are able to get into the TARDIS and dematerialise. Just in the death of time!

25th November 1872

Despite getting away from Aridius, the Daleks are around 15 minutes behind us and closing all the time! This flight through eternity is going to be difficult.

Firstly we land on the Empire State Building in New York City which turns out to be in 1966. We don’t stop long – we’re being annoyed by some hillbilly. Hope never to see him again. Hollywood indeed!

Next we’re on a sailing ship in the ocean. Not sure what they’re up to outside, but sounds like they got into a fight.

Anyway, after all these shenanigans, we’re only 8 minutes ahead of the Daleks.

25th November 3565

The TARDIS has gone a bit random! We land in this old house full of Frankenstein, Dracula and ghosts. We must have been in a world of dreams! A journey into terror!

Anyway we escape from there just as the Daleks arrive. Phew! Except we’ve left Vicki behind! I blame myself and we can’t go back as the TARDIS cannot visit the same place twice. Ian has a plan though – wait for the Daleks to arrive at our next ‘battleground’, seize their time machine and go back and get Vicki.

We land on a swampy planet with dense undergrowth. I just hope we can defeat these Daleks and get Vicki back. I miss that girl!

26th November 3565 am

Nearly done for here as these fungoid like creatures go for us. Luckily light seems to be their enemy and these lights form a pathway through the jungle. However, they just lead us to a cave. With a bit of searching we find a weapon to repel the fungoid creatures. I’m also working on a bomb, but we can’t use it in an enclosed area.

We hear a scream! Must be Vicki! Ian and I go to rescue her – she’s fainted! We return to the cave – but where is Barbara? Hopefully not taken away by some lusty natives again! Vicki awakes and is convinced I’m some robot clone made by the Daleks. Happily, Ian convinces her otherwise and we go looking for Barbara.

Next thing, I come face to face with myself! My goodness, it’s indistinguishable from the original! No wonder my companions are finding it hard to work out which one is which. However, the mention of Susan causes Barbara to work it out. Lucky really, as thought Ian was going to do me in! Could have been the death of Doctor. Who would’ve thought?

After all that excitement, back to the cave for a sleep. It’s good despite being desperately chased by the Daleks we get a bit of time to relax. The next morning we see a big city. Despite being told otherwise, I try my plan to pretend I’m the duplicate Doctor. The Daleks aren’t having any of it and go to exterminate me! Then they’re after us! Where do we go?

A wall slides back and a huge robot thing called a Mechanoid bids us to enter. We have no choice but to follow!

26th November 3565 pm

So we get taken to the huge city of the Mechanoids in a lift and are promptly locked up. Meet up with a young man called Steven Taylor who’s been here for two years with just a toy bear called Hifi for company. Well we certainly don’t want to be here for two years as some sort of exhibit.

chase 4

The Five Word Lords

The clue’s in the title.

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