‘You must surrender, or die!’ – Maaga
11th September – 2nd October 1965
The Memory Cheats
So we enter ‘The Wilderness Years.’ If we divide 1960s Doctor Who roughly into thirds, this next third has more missing episodes than the previous and the final third. (See vital statistics.) It is perhaps fitting then that this episode contains the first of the thirteen episodes that have been recovered over the last few years. It also contains one of the largest clips to exist from a missing episode. This clip was the feature on ‘The Missing Years’ VHS. And was my first encounter with this story. Apart from, of course, the DWW archive feature. My memory from that is Chumblies and an alien race of women.
I watched one story for each Doctor leading up to the anniversary and with the Hartnell Years not too far away in terms of this run through I decided this would be an option as I could watch the abridged recon from The Aztecs DVD. This means that just under a year later my memory of the story is still fresh, but there is plenty of the story that I haven’t seen.
The Time Space Visualiser
The TARDIS lands in a desert and is soon prodded by a machine that Vicki decides is called a Chumbley and soon everyone else is calling them by the same name. What a trend setter. I can’t remember where I found out that the Chumblies were operated by a husband and wife pair who were constantly arguing. The name of male Chumbley is Angelo Muscat which rang a bell. A quick search reveals he is the cyclist of the iconic Prisoner penny farthing!
It is hard to imagine that even when this show was broadcast anyone was fooled by the ‘ugly guys are really the goodies’ twist. The minute Maaga opens her mouth it is obvious she is the villain of this story. Although the Doctor seems fooled for a moment. I am enjoying the still slightly fallible Doctor. The Drahvans are from Galaxy 4, so why the story is called Galaxy 4 is not clear. We never actually get there.
We are moving again thanks to the finding of episode three in 2012 and the Rill makes its terrifying appearance. Maaga is amazing. So glad we have a complete episode to watch. The Rill spaceship is a bit rubbish though. Just looks like a few screens set up at jolly angles.
A funny old thing really, the world of Doctor Who fandom. There are people who felt that it was a shame that an episode of Galaxy 4 was found. I say all hail to the great one. It’s not that bad. Maaga is a great villain. The Rill as a concept is quite different if not greatly realised and of course, the Chumblies. Great design and noises, but glad they only made it into one story. They were quite limited.
Catchphrase Error of the Week
‘She is our leader, she has leader’s things.’ Everyone knows it is ‘ I am a lady, and I have lady’s things.
‘Besides we cannot come out.’ Rill voice via Chumbley early in episode 3.
An all-female species. Every sci fi show has to have at least one. It probably wasn’t a cliché when this serial was broadcast so it is probably unfair for me to include this here, but why not?
‘Maga, why do we not kill him now?’
‘I will kill him when I am good and ready.’
Of course. And if you killed him now that would be a bit of a shame as he is contracted for another three months!
(Special geek voice needed here!)
The Wilderness Years:
|Seasons||Episode Total||Missing Episodes||Animated Episodes||Number of Stories||Complete Stories|
|1 and 2||81||11||2||17||14|
|3 and 4||92||60||3||19||3|
|5 and 6||84||25||7||14||7|
Vicki throws a rock at a robot. Now what does that remind me of?
As we travel further through the Doctor’s adventures I may have to change the title of this section to ‘the first time I have noticed this.’ As far as I am aware though, this is probably the shows (albeit veiled) first reference to cloning.
Maaga: You have three choices. Stay there and die, go outside and be killed by the machine or surrender. Actually not. I think you’ll find that is one choice and three options.
The 500 Year Diary
31st August 2266 am
It’s all gone very domestic in the TARDIS – Vicki appears to want to open a hairdressing salon.
Anyway, we land on this planet – it can sustain life, but there is no life on it – it also has three suns – how peculiar? Reminds me of Xeros a bit. Steven seems more interested in going for a swim though. Next thing, this machine is probing the ship – Vicki names them Chumblies. I suppose it’s as good as a name as any.
We go exploring before encountering another Chumbley. Steven doesn’t trust them and goes to attack it. Rather than retaliate it sets fire to a plant – lucky for him! Happily, a group of Drahvin woman throw ‘metal mesh’ over it and we head off to their spaceship to meet their leader Maaga with fabulous eye make-up – she’s also rather stern. These Chumblies are apparently controlled by the evil Rills, who attacked the Drahvins in space. Their desperate to get off the planet as it will explode in fourteen days. Steven tries to flirt with them, but they only use men for hunting. Bad luck!
Steven is very suspicious of the Drahvin. To be honest, so am I – they have the same sliding door contractor as the Daleks!
The plan is to capture the Rill spaceship so they can escape – we’re forced to help, leaving Vicki as a hostage. Steven and I get to the TARDIS, only to find the Chumblies trying to break in. Once they realise they can’t go in, they leave and we get in. After consulting the astral map, I realise we only have two days until the planet breaks up! Or is it four hundred dawns? No, it’s definitely two days!
31st August 2266pm
The Chumblies are back. Persistent little beggars! They cause no damage to the ship, although when we get back to the Drahvin ship, Steven realises that their rays would be able to penetrate the Drahvin ship – so why haven’t they attacked? Try to reason with Maaga to make peace with the Rills, but she’s having none of it – she pulls a gun on me! So have to let her know about the two days thing and offer to negotiate with the Rills. They keep Steven as a hostage this time whilst Vicki and I go off.
We encounter more Chumblies on the way to the Rills’ spaceship – we’re forced to observe, note, collate and then conclude. Vicki throws a rock at a Chumbley and we work out it can only see in front of it so we follow it to the Rill base, which seems highly advanced with a hint of ammonia – is it a trap of steel? Next thing, Vicki screams – she’s seen a Rill!
1st September 2266 am
We run off, but Vicki gets trapped behind a flimsy looking gate. The Chumblies force her back to the centre giving me a chance to cause some damage uninterrupted without a Chumbley in sight! Tinker with the ammonia conversion unit for what seems like ages before Vicki stops me, telling me that the Rills are actually rather nice and if I carry on, I’ll kill them!
So now I need to help the Rills, but there isn’t a lot of time! Need to lash up a cable to the TARDIS. But also need to rescue Steven, who’s in trouble at the Drahvin – he’s probably got stuck in an airlock or something! As we head back, we manage to fool one of these warrior Drahvin – clearly not very good – who begs us to kill her for her failure. No-one will be dying on this planet any time soon (except in less than a day).
1st September 2266 pm
Steven was caught in an airlock! A Chumbley helps by throwing a stink bomb in forcing all to flee! The Chumblies force the Drahvins back to their own ship, whilst we get on with sorting the Rill spaceship out by jump starting it.
The Rills aren’t that bad despite stating they are hideous. I’ve seen worse! Manage to get their ship working just in the nick of time and back to the TARDIS before the exploding planet explodes! Poor Maaga and the Drahvins (sounds like a Motown group). Could have saved them I suppose. Oh well….
We’ve had so little time for peace and quiet lately. Be nice to have a break.
Five Word Lords
Exceptional female villain, underrated story.