‘Overweight, underpowered and a museum piece. No proper stabiliser. Oh… let’s try again. Might as well try to fly a second hand gas stove.’ The Master
13th March – 3rd April 1971
The Memory Cheats
This is my first memory of the TARDIS interior, and now I know why. It would have been the first time I saw it. I have a vivid memory of the cliffhanger with Axon Monsters all over the TARDIS console. In 1975 Weetabix ran a promotion where they produced four stand up character cards in every box with a scene on the back of a box that you could move your characters around. You had a Dalek on each one and three other characters. I had more Axon Monster cards than any other monster.
The 500 Year Diary
5th March 1974 am
Yet another annoying civil servant… a Mr. Chinn. I’ll have to get onto Tubby Rowlands about him. He’s complaining that I’m unknown to the government and therefore a security risk. If only I could leave. Get away from his petty obsessions. English for the English!
Anyway, news comes in of a UFO coming it fast. I work out it’s heading for the south coast of England bringing with it freak weather conditions. Chinn goes to destroy it, but when that fails, he’s rather indecisive about blowing up the missiles. Idiot!
We go along to find out what it is. I work out the UFO has buried itself in the ground. We get a message – ‘Earth. Axos calling Earth. Fuel systems exhausted. Request immediate assistance. Immediate assistance. Axos calling Earth, Axos calling Earth. Fuel system exhausted.’ A cry for help?
We enter this spaceship, but I’m immediately struck by pain. A strange place indeed… all organic. The rather weird, classical looking Axons appear and offer the gift of Axonite which they demonstrate on a frog, making it grow and shrink. Immediately, the eyes light up of Chinn and those around him. Unlimited food… unlimited power more like.
5th March 1974 early pm
We hear Jo. Silly girl… she was told to stay put. Thankfully, she’s fine, but claims to have heard an American chap called Filer and an’ awful thing’. I pretend I don’t believe her, but I do really.
Chinn has acquired Axonite on behalf of the British government and has the Brigadier arrested under the Emergency Powers Act.
Agree to help Mr. Hardiman and Dr. Winser with his experiments into Axonite. Winser is a rather petulant man who wants to take charge. Clever though in that he is investigating the possibility of time travel. And he won’t use the light accelerator to crack down the Axonite particles, content to use a spectroscope set of all things. Persuade him to convince the powers that be to get my TARDIS down to assist.
Filer appears to have escaped from the spaceship, but then attacks me! It’s a duplicate and the real Filer comes in and kills him. The real Filer reports that the Master was with the Axons… apparently, they’re scavengers. We’ve got to stop Chinn distributing the Axonite – they’re trying to trick us.
With Winser away, I use his precious equipment to analyse the Axonite, but things get out of hand as I activate it instead. This causes the death of Winser who then turns into a monster. He is joined by others.
5th March 1974 eve
We’re surrounded by the Axons and taken back to their ship where we’re held captive in the claws of Axos.
The Axons are pretty insistent with their interrogation. And they’re pretty evil too as they plan to take over the Earth and travel through time and space. Despite my denials, I have to agree in the end because they age Jo before my very eyes.
I give them the equations … 10 to the 9th power mega K-tons. Not enough. They’re going to add the output of the Nuton Power Complex which they just take and absorb, but then something goes wrong. We use the opportunity to escape, but things start to spiral out of control.
6th March 1974 am
Jo is becoming more and more panicky. Need to give her a slap and a times tables test to sort her out! We escape!
I trick the Master into thinking I want to fix the TARDIS in order to escape the Earth. What I actually want is for him to fix the TARDIS so I can send Axos into a perpetual time loop. After a few machinations, manage to do this. Luckily, managed to boost the circuits so I could escape the time loop too, otherwise I’d be there for eternity. Not sure where the Master is, but I’m 90% sure he’s trapped with the Axons.
So back on Earth with the crisis averted. Had planned to escape, but the Time Lords have obviously programmed the TARDIS to return to Earth. Seems like I’m some kind of galactic yo-yo!
Time Space Visualiser
A UFO heads toward Earth and UNIT is of course involved. There are people giving directions into microphones including a very assertive woman. It’s all going smoothly. There is also a random scavenger, Pigbin Josh, walking around in the snow. Of course he can’t speak and he gets fronded. The American man gets fronded too just as UNIT arrive.
Back at base the man from It Ain’t Half Hot Mum is taking control. Mr Chin is still ranting. They all enter the ship which detects that the Doctor is extra-terrestrial, probably due to the large amount of gurning he does. The Axons offer some axonite which is placed on a handy podium. Meanwhile we discover the American, Bill is captured alongside … The Master (surprise. I thought we’d seen the last of him now he has a working TARDIS! ) and an Axon Monster appears.
They hear Jo’s scream and go off to investigate. Bill is with the Master and shoots a tentacle. Axonite is going to save the world as an energy source, but it needs to be distributed worldwide. Then the axons have to be reabsorbed. A process that leaves them looking like Bella Emberg. The Brigadier is arrested by Chin. The Doctor is suspicious about the Axons. Meanwhile, Bill has found a Top of the Pops studio. The Master is in league with the Axons who want to eradicate all life on Earth.
The Doctor chats time travel with a scientist and seems to think Axonite may get his TARDIS going. The UNIT soldier guarding the Axon spaceship is useless as the Master and the real Bill escape, his double having left to collect the Doctor. A struggle ensues and the double comes off worse. Then who should arrive but. The Axons don’t like it when The Doctor puts axonite in the light accelerator. Suddenly they are surrounded by Axon Monsters. Thank goodness for the repersonalisation as the monsters turn into the golden axon creatures instead.
As Chin Becomes more embroiled in the Axon plot, the Doctor and Jo are at the mercy of Axon claws. The Axon plan is finally revealed to the Doctor and we learn that through greed, Chin has potentially stopped the spread of Axonite. However the UN have other ideas. A rather hollow TARDIS is transported to the facility and the Master is in disguise. He manages to gain entry to the TARDIS and we see the console room. The Axons can remove the blocks on the Doctor’s memory. Jo is aged to death. The Master offers his help in exchange for freedom. He is able to destroy Axon but the Doctor will also be killed. Except he escapes by giving Jo a quick mental maths test.
I have always had a fondness for this story. I know it has its difficulties but with the dulcet tones of Bernard Holley and the performances of the regular actors are spot on. It is very atmospheric with the snow. There is a lot of political comment, the most obvious being the Doctor’s rant at Chinn’s racist ‘England for the English.’ I also rather like the concept of Axos. It makes a change to have a genuinely realised alien environment. It is also an original concept to have Axos as a parasitical entity that roams the galaxy, rather than a planet.
Despite being able to use his TARDIS, the Master is back with a plot even more ridiculous than the last one. He has teamed up with a race of aliens and seems intent on destroying the Earth. He seems to have moved on from wanting to rule it. Of course whatever the plan was with these aliens has gone awry and he is captured by them. Whatever else can he do but team up with the Doctor to sort the problem out. Did I miss anything?
Jo has discovered a crucial piece of information about the real intentions of the Axons but everyone thinks she is hallucinating. Silly girl.
Out of the BBC box of stereotypes this week comes Pigbin Josh. What an amazing addition this character is. He was basically created as cannon fodder as he spends most of his time mumbling incoherently before getting killed. He even says ‘Ooh-ahhh-ooh-ahh!’
Episode 1 13:50
The Doctor: Well your missiles couldn’t find the target, what chance bazooka’s?
Where exactly are UNIT headquarters?
UNIT are once again based in a new headquarters. They also have another grumpy official, Mr Chin, shouting at everyone.
We get our first call to greyhound from trap one.
The first trip in the colour era inside the console room. Hence my vivid memory of the axon monsters inside the TARDIS. . It was my first trip inside the TARDIS.
Bob Baker and Dave Martin write their first Doctor Who story.
This Weeks False Moustache
Fighting with the Brigadier over the Mastix jar this week is Bill Filer with his wonderful sideburns.
Five Word Lords
Lasting psychedelic images, big concepts.