Spearhead from Space

In colour. In 5.1. New Doctor. New start for the show. New companion to follow. What happened to Doctor No 2 and will it be explained!

From the start this has a very different feel to it, partially due to all those factors above, but it has a very 70’s vibe to it with the music even though it was 1970.

Exiled to Earth in the 70’s (or is it the 80’s?) and no use of his TARDIS, the story starts around the meteorites. There’s some nice parallels between this and 10’s first appearance. First we see of Pertwee, he falls out of the TARDIS.

We’re re-introduced to the Brig and to Dr Liz Shaw, perhaps explaining UNIT to new viewers and pointing the way to the new format for Doctor Who that will be used.

The Doctor was found at the site of the meteorites, thought dead and brought to the hospital even though they don’t know who he is. Wonder why they chose to give him a chest x-ray. This gives rise to another new part of the show, the fact the Doctor has Two hearts and they spot he has non human blood.

Press get onto the fact UNIT are there, love the Brigadier offering them a clichéd explanation “training exercise”. The Brig doesn’t recognise The Doctor not surprisingly.

The Doctor in bedclothes for first time in a regeneration, despite initial reluctance he likes his distinctive face. Feigns sleep before getting shoes where he keeps the key to the TARDIS.

Before long he’s being kidnapped and he escapes in a wheelchair, a very comedic little skit. And then time to fall to the ground again, he’s been shot apparently.

We see the Doctor and he’s being tested with a EEG new fangled machine, but he’s in a self educed coma

Nice shot of plastic baby faces in the factory, Autons here we come. We can tell the difference with the Autons, they’re slightly yellow/green look, shiny and don’t speak.

“I deal with facts, not science fiction”, a good speech with Liz and the Brig. Liz has a go with some casual sexism, the Brig replies with “Not just a pretty face” to the General.

Like the “Doctors Only” sign which we see him enter through the door and then showering with watch on, wonder where’s that from. After getting out of the shower, he spies a cape, frilly shirt and hat in the room. Here comes the Doctor’s new outfit (although tries on a flat cap first and doesn’t like it).

First car he steals is an old one, wonder if that’s why he likes Bessie?

We get an explanation for the watch, it hones on the TARDIS. When talking to the Brig, he says he’s forgotten about past life mostly. He says his new face would be good on Planet Delphon whose inhabitants communicate with their eyebrows. The Doctor expresses “How do you do,” with his eyebrows.

There are lots of questions being passed around, The Doctor pointing out what would be a better question, echoes of Capaldi?

The Auton’s weapon is shown, Nestene Consciousness, it takes the cover off its hand showing a small nozzle where it shoots an energy bolt from.

I think I used one in the past before, or was it the future? The scientific equipment the Doctor wants to be using . Metabolism detector in the TARDIS, so needs key.

Once Liz sneakily gets the TARDIS key back, it lets The Doctor in but it starts smoking badly when he tries to leave. The Time Lords have changed the dematerialization code.

Farm lady loads and fires shotgun, “I’ll blow a hole in you!” count me impressed. The Auton discovers John Ransome in the UNIT tent; Channing orders “Destroy! Total destruction!”  and the Auton actually vaporises John. Back at UNIT, Doctor uses an electroencephalogramme and finds the Nestene sphere is emitting brain waves

Madame Tussaud’s, you can spot the real people as they pan around the room. Eyes seem to follow them around the room from the people and the facsimiles – Bet that word was still modern back then.

The Doctor is very hands on with machines, guess he can’t do much else.

At dawn the Autons are activated. They break out of a shopping centre and kill many people, some great death dives. Nestenes are colonising other planets for a thousand million years, Earth is next.

The Doctor shoots the Nestene Consciousness machine and the real General Scobie  comes back to life. It has created a monstrous tentacled body for itself, a squid like thing that comes to life and grabs The Doctor. The Doctor gets to pull more gurning faces than even Troughton could have done.

The Doctor discusses terms, not money but facilities to repair the TARDIS, Miss Shaw’s help, his own clothes and a car with character. What’s his name… Doctor John Smith.

Cracking good start to the Third Doctor, with a very new feel to the show. Not seen much Pertwee before so I look forward to Season 7 onwards

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/spearheadfromspace/

Rating: 7/10

The War Games

The War Games

The War Games

Time for the concluding story in the sixth season and in Patrick Troughton’s tenure (and all the companions) as the Doctor. It has a few notable firsts with the first mention of the Time Lords and The Doctor’s home planet. Derek Sherwin and Terence Dicks laid the foundations but it was unsure whether the series would be recommissioned after this story so it had better be good.

Continuing the laughter from the last episode, they land in an area which was no laughing matter,  No Man’s Land in the middle of the First World War. They meet up with Lady Jennifer Buckingham and are taken back to the trenches by Major Barrington. It looks very much as though they will be thought of as spies.

vlcsnap-2014-12-29-21h29m29s81What becomes apparent soon after is that everyone seems to have gaps in their memories. This seems to be caused by General Smythe putting on his glasses and manipulating the people by mind control. Soon after he rough-rides the trial, Jamie is to be somehow sent back to the Highlanders, Zoe incarcerated and the Doctor is to be shot immediately.

A nice moment as the Doctor kisses Zoe’s head before we see a great cliffhanger, the order for the firing squad to shoot and we hear shots taken.

Things clearly aren’t as clear as first thought. Once The Doctor escape cuirtosy of a sniper, they found Jamie in a cell with a redcoat apparently from the Battle of Culloden in 1745 (this is all set in 1917). When we see Smythe going to disappear somewhere in the office, it sounds like a TARDIS of sorts. This just got very interesting.

Once more there are lots of acts of hypnosis going on, but some of them are starting to get wise to this. This becomes apparent later when Zoe points out the video camera which takes awhile for them to see. Nice moment with Zoe hitting the army officer with the glass vase over the head.

As they escape, they disappear through a sort of force field and are then confronted with an advancing group of Romans, albeit out of formation!vlcsnap-2014-12-29-21h30m48s142

Jamie’s tassels seem to catch my eye. To prove that they are indeed from a different timezone to stop them being sentenced to death again, his companions suggest they show the general what he can do with his Sonic screwdriver. This works until they are hypnotised again and they are again shown this.

We see the War chief who is a pantomime villain, cut from the same cloth as the master.

To keep the 10 part series fresh, we are being shown American civil war time zone, with more time zones to come. North and south battling against each other and each side accusing The Doctor of being a spy.

Rudolph Walker, Patrick from Eastenders, is one of  resistance fighters. We get to see the central base where the Doctor briefly meets the War Chief and recognises him, one of the Time Lords? The Doctor clearly has a plan and tries to explain they should de-programme the people first, this may come in handy later.

There’s an interrogation by a truth hat. All these snazzy 60s scenes look pretty great. There’s a fabulous quote by The Doctor, “Hoist by his own petard”, a Hamlet quote. Jamie gets shot again, this is becoming a regular thing, and presumably he will survive.

The Time Lords’ first mention, the War Chief seems to be one of them which raises concerns with other personnel thinking that he asked for the Doctor to come. David Troughton is the guard in the confederation zone, rather dashing compared to when he was in Midnight.

The Doctor seems to be happy for guns to be used in their escape plan, all is foiled when the are stuck in the transporter with the
Dimensional control shrinking the inside,

Security Chief assumes that the Doctor and War Chief are both of the same race, the Time Lords, and that somehow the War Chief is planning to betray them to protect his own people. He uses the truth hat but this doesn’t work on the Doctor. The purpose of the war games is also revealed: the humans will be whittled down until only the strongest survive and these soldiers will then be used as an army to conquer the galaxy. The main plan of the War Chief to steal the TARDIS as he other dimensional machines have a limited time span. War Chief “Man is the most vicious species of all. Wants peace for the galaxy”, nice reason to use them.

Neutron bomb proposed after all the guards spread out, the Doctor has no choice but to betray his friends and get them captured. After faking processing on Jamie, they can escape again.

First mention of it being too difficult to send everyone back, the other time machines are deteriorating too fast. So Time Lords will have to be called. Doctor makes a box that contains all the information he needs to send to them.

vlcsnap-2014-12-29-21h31m59s70Jamie and Zoe insist on coming with The Doctor despite the risks when the Time Lords are appearing. They try to get back to the TARDIS in a Slow motion running motion including for some reason Jamie in football shorts and the cast in Wellington boots.

Time Lords now properly introduced. They live their life by consideration and to gather knowledge, and can live forever baring accidents. Pretty clear why the Time Lords don’t like The Doctor, non-interference is key. It seems they have immense powers as the Tardis starts leaking, time Lords Breaking down defenses.

They are back at Gallifrey for first time and Time Lords can force the War Lord to speak. They place a force field around their planet, and they are all dematerialized.
The Doctor explains in the trial that he was fighting evil, while they were just watching, something they take on board with the sentence.

Sadly for his companions, Zoe goes back to Wheel in Space, Jamie goes back to fighting, “Brigadoon!!” and all is forgotten.

vlcsnap-2014-12-29-21h32m52s56The Doctor was exiled to Earth to gain knowledge, and the secret of Tardis removed. So he’s not discovered they are forcing a rejuvenation on him and The Doctor is not too happy with the bad sketches of possible looks he could have, “He’s too fat!” etc. Very funny moment, especially when we see multiple faces circling his gurning face,”You’re making me giddy”. Final scene is left with no face. Now that’s a cliffhanger, it was unknown if there would be another series.

Great ending to the series, if a little long being a 10 parter. A fitting end to the Second Doctor with some great new parts to the Doctor’s history. Shame on both Zoe and Jamie losing their memories, what a horrid thing to do.

Giddy

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/wargames/

Rating: 8/10

The Space Pirates

The Space Pirates

Last missing episodes, and not a great one from what I’ve read despite it being a Robert Holmes script. And oh my, the reconstruction I’m watching makes it a little laughable, audiobook is much better. Six episodes (five reconstuctions) to go.

Very wordy episode to start off, with most of the episode not including the TARDIS crew who just turn up as the crew are out looking for the space pirates. The Doctor thinks the machine is very interesting because he’s not seen one before, nice and convienient but poor scripting.

The Doctor gets to use his screwdriver to try and realign magnets in the separate sections, not the sonic one this time. How many does he have?!

Like the women’s hairpiece from the future, a solid piece covering her hair, but why is only she wearing it. Clancy deflects questions from Zoe, only to say why can’t you make some tea or something. The women sure make a lot of tea in Doctor Who, no matter what age they come from.

So we discover a few things about this Doctor, he carriers around Drawing Pins, which he’s quite fond of, and Marbles, he has a favourite. He could do with a light though for when he’s locked in a room.

Not much else to say about the episode really apart from it plods and the scripting allows for a lot of ouch, argh etc. I can see why this isn’t looked on fondly

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/spacepirates/

Rating: 2/10

The Seeds of Death

Looks like the Ice Warriors were popular as they show up again here <hissss>vlcsnap-2014-11-14-10h26m48s101

We first see Osgood, the actor played by Harry Towb, and it all starts off well but that doesn’t last long. The main monster is shown early on and Osgood sabotages the Moonbase to save the Earth. Allows him to be come back in later serials in the Pertwee era! Wait a minute Osgood. Wonder if the character from UNIT in Day of the Doctor is any relation!

Main story focuses around the T-Mat, which transfers people from place to place so there are no need for rockets. Wish they would stop mentioning Moonbase though, hope there are no Cybermen around.

Very nice Warrior gun effect as we are welcomed back to the great hissing of an Ice Warrior.

Leonardo da Vinci shots and Russian spacesuit bodes well for where the sory is going, but we find out the TARDIS has landed in a space museum on Earth in the late 21st century. We all know how some of the existing museum stories are thought of in Doctor Who fandom! I have high hopes though.

Professor Eldred (not Eldrad!) runs the museum or workshop as he first calls it. Nice to see The Doctor being so excited about the rocket and seeing all these new things. Before long, the two stories collide as Radnor and Gia Kelly need the use of the rocket Professor Eldred designed as the only way they can get to the Moonbase.

The only way they can get to the moon is by the rocket (apart from the TARDIS of course, but navigation is a bit dodgy). It’s then explained a few minutes later, The Doctor saying it would probably overshoot by a million miles. Convienient.

Direction of the episodes are quite interesting, always nice to see something new. The T-Mat transfer is quite cleverly done.

There’s plenty of technical details about homing beams, quite impressive. And as for the one guy on moonbase trying to send a signal to Earth, he’s made a portable weapon that works to good effect on the Ice Warriors.

They should also rename the episode a Highlander in space.

vlcsnap-2014-11-14-10h25m42s232Wow, there’s a skinny Ice Warrior, that look’s quite cool. This is for the Ice Lord. That’s a bit of a surprise as we’ve not come across this before.

Not bad model work, and some interesting music being made overlaying the episode. The episodes seem to be bringing out a greater performance from Patrick Troughton too. There are quite a few nice comic touches in the chasing down corridors ending with the Ice Warriors saying ‘Genius’ together. That’s quite a standout segment, that and his longer sideburns (which come and go in the episodes).

I wonder if they will explain where the Ice Warriors go once they blast them with solar energy , no ashes or anything? We also get to see The Doctor knocked out by one of the pods, bet he’s off next week on holiday!

The Blimey, the Music has stepped up a notch again. Very clever, the toxic gas that was expelled was carrying the Ice Warrior fungus and they are now expelling it around all the main cold cities of the world. The foam is back. Any time I see foam in London, that’s it, I’m off.

Hmm, Zoe looks cornered and shot at as she turns the heater on, but she’s still alive for the cliffhanger. Odd. The next episode shows the ice warrior has issues due to the heat, perhaps that what caused it.

Oh my, The Doctor running and trying to escape the foam, and slipping, make for comedy gold. So too the shots of the guards in the following episode escaping the ice warrior, first there were 6, two shot then 6 again. The final guard shot makes a very dramatic dive into the foam.

It’s worked out that the foam can be destroyed by rain, it doesn’t have much chance vlcsnap-2014-11-14-10h29m11s23of taking over the UK.

The portable solar device that the Doctor has put together is stupid looking but yet genius.

Fleet destruction, causing the Ice Lord to be shot, electrocution. My that was a happy ending of the Ice Warriors and The Doctor didn’t seem that unhappy.

Really fun episode with surprisingly little padding for a six parter. On to the last missing episodes next with the Space Pirates

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/seedsofdeath/

Rating: 8/10

The Krotons

They land in a quarry, sorry planet, which Jamie refers to as smells of bad eggs. It’s another planet where there was some kind of fallout on the wasteland and it seems they are being enslaved by the Gonds.

vlcsnap-2014-11-03-21h41m43s69Best piece of script so far, The Doctor saying “Oh my giddy aunt” shortly before it appears the TARDIS has been destroyed. Never fear, HADS (Hostile Action Displacement System) has been set, nice to get a mention here before Matt Smith’s era.

Krotons, while looking a little crap to start off, get better once their heads start rotating, being the faceless enemy not a big mismatch of metal. They still have a silly skirt though.

vlcsnap-2014-11-03-21h43m18s230Little chemistry lesson at the end for the viewers, at least he’s using his scientific knowledge

Not one of the greatest, a story that came out to the British public at a time when Patrick Troughton announced he was leaving the show.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/krotons/

Rating: 4/10

The Invasion

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h49m27s71It’s been so long since I’ve seen a missing episode, I’d forgotten that this was one. Episodes 1 & 4 are recreated with animation, time to give that a go.

They materialise and a missile shot at them from dark side of moon, which they have to quickly jump away to avoid. This causes the visual stabilizer circuit to need fixing. The Doctor remembers Professor Travers (YETI stories)should be in London and could help.

They’ve landed right in the middle of compound, tech based and someone tries to help get them out as people are going missing. This seems to be set in the near future, around 1975, so there’s a UNIT timeframe for you. The guy was shot by security, a bit extreme for 60’s Who.

Unable to find Professor Travers who can help fix the visual stabilizer circuit , they find that he has left for America, leaving his home in the care of Isobel Watkins and her uncle, Professor Watkins. This leads them onto investigating why the Prof has disappeared, bumping into John Benton for the first time (Corporate at the moment), and seeing the MD of International Electromatics. All does not seem right to The Doctor and it seems he’s right as the MD reveals alien technology at the end of the episode.

A reoccurrence of The Doctor playing patience whenever he is cornered. Never fear, story moves into proper UNIT territory when after the abduction, they are shown they have been taken by the Brig who explains what UNIT is. Nice unscripted line about the Doctor want Pattacake biscuit.

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h48m33s53We get to see Zoe using her future knowledge by ‘talking’ to the unhelpful computer in Algol, sending it into a feedback loop and destroying it.

Mavic Chen, or at least the same actor playing Vaughn, pulls off a great meglomanic performance again with more technobabble Micromonolithis microprocessor etc. The machine recognises The Doctor from Planet 14, where exactly was that?

After being captured again, I love the scene of Jamie going straight thru car, and going into the passenger seat, unscripted too. Much of the time spent trying to get Prof Watkins to continue his work and Travers finding out the TARDIS which he wants. Time to escape again! They trick Packer and escape into the lift, his hair goes a bit haywire in the act. Time for a Die Hard moment with Jamie and The Doctor going all John McTiernan in the lift shaft.

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h45m36s124After passing a ‘Kilroy was here’ sign they escape down the fire escape and end up a box with, I’m guessing, a cyberman

As a back up, Vaughn plans  to use the cerebration mentor, their emotions, to control the Cybermen once they have invaded Earth. He threatens The Doctor again who uses the communicator to call upon assistance from UNIT.

The rescue was quite clever and done on a big scale, the actors climbing down a rope ladder to get the two ladies before flying off to UNIT base. This episode certainly sets the scene for Third Doctor format.

The dark side of the moon, flying saucers, the plot thickens for UNIT and The Doctor. I think he starts to get an inkling of who might be behind this and what trouble they might be in.

Realising they seems to be sneaking the cocoons into London, they head off to the London premises in a canoe. Great looking scene, just wish we had the live action not the animation.

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h49m00s70Final moments of episode 4, the typical scene of the cycberman, albeit all new looking, through the cocoon.

The Brig has been warned off investigating further and you see that people are being mind controlled in this story, not just cybermen. A few scenes later, there’s a good scene where Isobel suggests using an Infared camera and The Brig suggests this is a job for a man. How very bigoted, but at least it points it out by Isobel saying you ‘man’

Multiple elements in the story which is good. There are cyber transmitter micromonolithic circuits that remind me of ATMOS Sontaran sat nav and Army of Steel. Meanwhile Vaughn tests out the emotion chip on a newly formed cyberman, and turns him a bit mental. Anyone that meets the arms flailing insane cyberman will be destroyed straightaway and we see he at the end of the episode chasing Jamie, Zoe and the policeman on their trail in the sewers.

Jamie spends some of the episode sleeping again, the Doctor analyses the microprocessors while Isobel gets the tea. Everybody has their role.

vlcsnap-2014-10-04-09h45m59s43The final scenes of the cybermen coming out of the drains outside St Paul’s Cathedral are fantastic, one of my favourite of the iconic scenes.

Getting to use Zoe computational skills to plan the knocking out of the invasion force. It worked, knocking them all out. This is model work pretty well, and as a consequence Vaughn is no longer in charge and they will destroy the human race.

Cybermen appears on the TV screen almost made me jump. This really was a great era for the Cybermen. Lots of explosions, missiles and even rocket launchers are used so a fully stocked army arsenal for the final episode. Love the shots of The Doctor jumping when explosions went off as he was running across the roof.

We finish off with an invisible TARDIS in the field. Overall, a great script that’s just a little long but a standout story.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/invasion/

Rating: 7/10

The Mind Robber

Due to problems with the fluid link, yes that again, an emergency fluid link is used taking them out of all time and space into nothing.

vlcsnap-2014-09-14-17h55m30s179Quite interesting to have a terror in the mind type episode,which has left me thoroughly enthraled. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this, especially after the moment the TARDIS blew apart – WOW, what a moment.

That hope didn’t last long, odes of the Celestial Toymaker come to mind. In the info text, I note Jamie got chicken pox so was away for three weeks so there is a stand in for him (a more Glasweigian accent is present). The emergency person was ingeniously brought in when the Doctor has to do a photo fit and gets the wrong face. This is quite an ingenious element to bring to the story.

vlcsnap-2014-09-14-17h55m59s17It always refers to the Master being in control in these episodes, you are confusing us those with comments Mr Troughton.

After a replacement actor replaces Jamie, it’s good to see him back in episode three, interesting way to remove him by The Doctor getting the face wrong in a jigsaw. Nice to see he figures out some of the problems, Zoe has a go but still doesn’t provide much apart from being in a sparkling jump outfit that can be shot from some odd angles.

A wide range of stories and fictional characters involved in the story – Unicorn, Toy Soldiers, Gulliver, Rapunzel, Medusa (with stop motion!!!), Karkus (seemes to be based on Batman), Cyrano, D’Artagnon, Blackboard, Lancelot and Minataurs. Quite a lot to fit in which became a little terdious after a while (Karkus though, the was fabulous).

vlcsnap-2014-09-14-17h56m59s107A big shock having Karkus in the story, a strip cartoon from yr 2000 character seemingly based on Batman. Zoe actually beats him up (or makes him dive in an The Avengers type way). He has a Germanic twang to make him more fearful.

The person under the Master’s control writing the stories it seems was writing Jack Harkness (or Billy Bunter magazine). Seems the Master wants The Doctor to replace the old fellow as the new writer. Can’t see Jack making a reappearence with a name like that. There’s a great ending to one of the episodes with Zoe and Jamie being sealed in a book.

vlcsnap-2014-09-14-17h58m16s101The Doctor falls for the trap laid by the now book form Jamie and Zoe, interesting effect when he gets trapped in the TARDIS.

The battle of wits commences just like in the Celestial Toymaker.
The studio executives thought this was a great idea, but audience opinion was a lot more mixed. I’m with the audience on this one, scrapping a slightly better than Celestial rating.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/episodeguide/mindrobber/

Rating: 4/10