“My dear Steven, history sometimes gives us a terrible shock, and that is because we don’t quite fully understand. Why should we? After all, we’re too small to realise its final pattern. Therefore don’t try and judge it from where you stand. I was right to do as I did. Yes, that I firmly believe.” The Doctor
5th – 26th February 1966
The Time Space Visualiser
A real period drama piece from the BBC this. The crew of two arrive and very soon Steven seems to be in trouble and embroiled in the plot while the Doctor is quickly sidelined onto his own quest. We see little of him but when we do it becomes the central part of the mystery. I thought it was all very ‘mention Ivy week’ at the end of the first episode with references to the Doctor from almost every character. But then suddenly when he reappears it is a bit of a shock.
While I am used to this from some of the Big Finish stories, it is very strange that each episode starts after the previous one and without a recap. So we are left to wonder about the Abbot whilst getting thrown back into the intrigue of Steven’s story. And with no female companion, and little to see of the Doctor, it is mostly left to Steven. Anne Chaplet can’t be Dodo. She doesn’t really look like Jackie Laine from the reconstruction. It is later I find out that Anne was going to be the companion but a bit like Katerina, the production team felt it would be annoying having to explain everything to her. Far better instead to introduce an implausibly named relative in the next story who needs everything explaining to her anyway!
It is a real acting tour de force too with Ned from To the Manor Born, Leonard Sachs off of the Good Old Days and Eric Thomson off of the Magic Roundabout. These are just the people I recognise, all the rest are great too and it is a shame the Queen Mother doesn’t have more to do.
A great story for the two regulars as well. Stephen has centre stage and Hartnell gets to be a villain. Another dark story with death and destruction everywhere. Again I find myself thinking what a shame that nothing survived. At least we have the soundtrack and something to look forward to if it is ever discovered.
Episode 4 19:27
The Doctor: At least I taught him to take some precautions.
The last story from which no footage survives. From now on every story has at least a clip or two to give some insight into what the story looked like when broadcast.
Unprovoked Angry Retort (and slightly racist moment) of the Week
No one is more ignorant than the people of Paris!
The 500 Year Diary
21st August 1572
Enjoying some wine in Paris with Steven. It’s nice that we get to stop for a moment and share some quality time together. Not for long though as I had to go and see Charles Preslin. Told Steven to meet me at the tavern later tonight.
Mr. Preslin failed to answer the door so let myself in. This old chap initially refused to admit he was Preslin, but a bit of flattery got him to reveal himself. He thought I was a servant of the Abbot Of Amboise looking for heretics – a war of God. Convince him to continue his work on germs despite his worries. I come up with a plan…
22nd August 1572
Didn’t make it back to the tavern last night. Hope Steven’s all right. Probably got himself involved in some adventure.
Spent the day wandering around Paris taking in the sights. Thought about a boat trip up the Seine to the sea. Beggar that I thought! Not much else to report. Made it back to the tavern. Steven not there. Typical.
23rd August 1572
Another day taking in the sights of 16th century France. There is a certain mood in the city – can’t quite work out what it is. Heard news that of the attempted assassination of the Admiral Gaspard De Coligny – wish I could remember the significance of it. Also heard that the Abbot Of Amboise has been killed too. Priest of death!
Walking is taking its toll. Wish I hadn’t left my cane at Preslin’s. Still no Steven. Where is that boy?
25th March 1965
Well it’s all been going off! Steven’s got himself involved with a load of Huguenots – I told him to stay in the tavern. It makes me realise that we’re in Paris just before the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve. So we leave pretty quickly! Just in the nick of time as the bell of doom chimed.
Steven berates me for leaving this girl, Ann Chaplet, to the mercy of the massacre. He storms out of the ship when we land on Wimbledon Common. History sometimes gives us a terrible shock, and that is because we don’t quite fully understand. Why should we? After all, we’re all too small to realise its final pattern. Therefore don’t try and judge it from where we stand. I was right to do as I did. Yes, that I firmly believe.
Even after all this time he cannot understand. I dare not change the course of history. Well, at least I taught him to take some precautions. He did remember to look at the scanner before he opened the doors. Now they’re all gone. All gone. None of them could understand. Not even my little Susan, or Vicki. And as for Barbara and Chatterton. Chesterton. They were all too impatient to get back to their own time. And now, Steven. Perhaps I should go home, back to my own planet. But I can’t. I can’t.
Next thing, this girl who looks like Susan, barges her way into the TARDIS. Dorothea Chaplet. Chaplet! Perhaps Ann was saved. Although that would mean she had a bastard child. Or married someone with the same name? Anyway this confident Northern young lady wants to be called Dodo, for some reason.
Steven returns because two policemen are approaching. His anger has dissipated somewhat although he starts up again with the ‘hijacking’ of Dodo, but she doesn’t seem to mind. And so we’re off again with Dodo in tow forgetting about the boy that’s just been run over.
The Five Word Lords
A dark, foreboding historical gem .