Thursday, April 28, 2011

"The Space Museum"

The Space Museum

Story 15
Aired: Apr 24 - May 15, 1965

Episode 1 – The Space Museum
Episode 2 – The Dimensions of Time
Episode 3 – The Search
Episode 4 – The Final Phase

Written by Glyn Jones
 
Directed by Mervyn Pinfield

Synopsis

The TARDIS lands in a way unlike any other landing, with the travelers frozen at the console and their clothes mysteriously changing from the 12th Century attire from their previous adventure. On the scanner, they see numerous space ships on display around a lone building. The travelers leave the TARDIS to explore. They are startled to find that they are leaving no footprints in the sandy surface. Once they begin exploring the museum, they find that that they cannot touch solid objects, but rather pass through them. They encounter humanoid beings as well, but the beings cannot see the travelers.

Having apparently reached a space museum on the barren planet Xeros, the four travelers discover that the TARDIS has in fact 'jumped a time track', giving them a glimpse into their own future: a future in which they end up as static exhibits in museum display cases.

As time catches up with them, the Doctor and his companions try to avert this possible future by altering events in the present, never sure whether the steps they are taking will lead to their demise or their salvation. They aid a group of youthful Xeron rebels to overthrow the warlike Morok invaders led by Governor Lobos, who have established the museum as a monument to their galactic conquests.

As the travelers prepare to leave Xeros, the Doctor is given a gift of one exhibit; a device called a time/space visualizer. The other items in the museum are set to be destroyed. As the TARDIS departs, it is not unnoticed. On the planet Skaro, the Daleks watch the TARDIS set off, and they are clearly planning something…

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"The Crusade"

The Crusade

Story 14
Aired: Mar 27 - Apr 17, 1965

Episode 1 – The Lion
Episode 2 – The Knight of Jaffa
Episode 3 – The Wheel of Fortune
Episode 4 – The Warlords

Written by David Whitaker
 
Directed by Douglas Camfield

Synopsis

The TARDIS arrives in 12th century Palestine, currently in the grip of a Holy War between King Richard the Lionheart and the Saracen ruler Saladin.

Caught up in a Saracen ambush, Barbara is abducted by the attackers, while the Doctor, Ian and Vicki are welcomed at King Richard's palace in the nearby city of Jaffa. Ian is granted permission to ride off in search of Barbara as an official emissary, with the King knighting him Sir Ian of Jaffa, while the Doctor and Vicki stay behind and try to avoid getting involved in court intrigue.

King Richard secretly plans to arrange a marriage between his sister, Joanna, and Saladin's brother, Saphadin, in the hope of ending the war; when Joanna discovers the plan, she steadfastly refuses. The Doctor and Vicki flee the palace after making an enemy of the King's advisor, the Earl of Leicester, eventually reaching the wood where the TARDIS materialized. Ian is already waiting there with Barbara, having rescued her from the savage clutches of the Saracen Emir El Akir; however, the travelers’ escape is almost thwarted when the Doctor is seized by a party of English soldiers led by the Earl. Fortunately, they manage to escape to the safety of the ship by means of a ruse, the soldiers believing that the brave Sir Ian has been spirited away by sorcerers!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

RIP - Elisabeth Sladen

Some incredibly sad news today, as word is coming out that Elisabeth Sladen, beloved to Doctor Who fans all over the world for her role as Sarah Jane Smith, has died. She was just 63.

Sladen played Sarah Jane Smith on the classic series from 1973 - 1976 and would return to the role twice in the 1980s. After the series revival, she returned in the 2006 episode School Reunion. Her appearance proved popular, and she soon was starring in her own spin-off series, The Sarah Jane Adventures, aimed at children.

Sladen began acting as a child in school, eventually heading to drama school and beginning her professional career in repertory theatre. By 1971, she was making guest appearances in such television series as Doomwatch and Z-Cars.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"The Web Planet"

Aired Feb 13 - Mar 20, 1965

Episode 1 – The Web Planet
Episode 2 – The Zarbi
Episode 3 – Escape to Danger
Episode 4 – Crater of Needles
Episode 5 – Invasion
Episode 6 – The Centre

Story 13

Written by Bill Strutton
Directed by Richard Martin

Synopsis



The TARDIS is seized by a mysterious force and dragged down to the planet Vortis, a craggy, forbidding world where the dangers include pools of lethal acid and a thin atmosphere. Here, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki get involved in the struggles of the moth-like Menoptra to reclaim the planet from an alien parasite. The Animus has invaded Vortis and taken control of the once-docile, ant-like Zarbi, turning them into its vicious drones that use organic Venom Guns to enforce the Animus' will.

Eventually, with the time travelers' help, a group of Menoptra and Optera (stunted troglodyte descendants of the planet's original Menoptra inhabitants) hatch a plan to infiltrate the Animus's web-city and confront the creature directly, destroying it with a weapon devised by their scientists called the Isop-tope, which destroys living cells.



Ian and the Optera are trying to tunnel their way to the Carsinome from beneath, while the Doctor and Vicki manage to make their way into the hidden chamber where they finally set eyes on the Animus itself. It is a giant spider-like creature, and its mind powers mesmerize the Doctor and Vicki, preventing them from using the Isop-tope. Ian and the Optera dig their way in, but they are also frozen by the Animus' will. Finally Barbara and her cohorts make their way to the Animus, and by sheer force of will, Barbara manages to activate the Isop-tope device, and the Animus is destroyed.

With all the creatures on Vortis now free from the threat of the Animus, the natural order is restored and the Menoptera, Zarbi and Optera can co-exist in peace. The TARDIS and her crew depart.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

"The Romans"

Aired Jan 16 - Feb 6, 1965

Episode 1 – The Slave Traders
Episode 2 – All Roads Lead to Rome
Episode 3 – Conspiracy
Episode 4 - Inferno

Story 12

Written by Dennis Spooner

Directed by Christopher Barry



Synopsis

In the years 64 AD, the TARDIS crew are taking a break from their perilous adventures, staying in an empty villa not far from Rome. Restless, the Doctor and Vicki decide to head off to visit the famous city, while Ian and Barbara remain behind. However, the schoolteachers' bliss is short-lived, as they are shortly after abducted by slavers to be sold into forced servitude.

While on the way to Rome, the Doctor is mistaken for famous lyre musician Maximus Pettulian, who has been commanded to perform at the court of Emperor Nero. Taken to the court, the Doctor and Vicki must think quickly to avoid being discovered and avoid becoming entangled in palace intrigue.


Meanwhile, Ian has become a galley slave, though he soon escapes with the help of a fellow slave named Delos, and together they make their way to Rome where Barbara has been sold into Nero's service and has to fend off the Emperor's advances.
Once Ian and Delos reach Rome, they're recaptured and forced to fight as gladiators in the arena while Barbara watches. Meanwhile, as the Doctor and Nero talk about the Emperor's plans for the rebuilding of Rome, the Doctor accidentally sets Nero's plans on fire, giving the Emperor the idea of starting the great fire. As the flames engulf the city, Nero plays his lyre, the Doctor and Vicki flee, and Ian and Barbara manage to escape their bondage.
The entire TARDIS crew is reunited at the villa, each unaware of the adventures the other group had. They go back to the ship and head on their way, but are soon dragged off course by an unknown force…

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"The Rescue"

Aired Jan 2 - Jan 9, 1965

Episode 1 – The Powerful Enemy
Episode 2 – Desperate Measures

Story 11

Written by David Whitaker
Directed by Christopher Barry

Synopsis

With the Doctor, Ian and Barbara still feeling the loss of Susan, the TARDIS materializes in the 25th century on the planet Dido, one the Doctor has visited before.  The time travelers come upon a crashed spaceship from Earth. Its two occupants, a paralyzed man named Bennett and a young girl named Vicki, are living in fear of the imposing figure of Koquillion, a native of the planet, whose people have apparently killed the other members of the human expedition. However, it does not take the Doctor long to deduce that Koquillion is in fact Bennett in disguise; it was actually he who killed the others in order to conceal an earlier murder he had committed on the ship. Confronted by two of the humanoid Didonians, whom he thought he had completely wiped out, Bennett falls from a high rock ledge to his death.

After discovering that Vicki's father was amongst the murdered crewmen and that consequently she is now an orphan, the Doctor offers her a place aboard the TARDIS, which she gratefully accepts. T
hey all depart as the two Didonians smash the radio guiding the rescue ship to the planet.


Analysis

After Susan's departure, the decision was made to give a single two-episode story over purely to introducing the new companion, Vicki, played by Maureen O'Brien. This turns out to be a very solid decision, as O'Brien is given a good showcase for her talents by writer David Whitaker. O'Brien immediately impresses in her debut, giving the role of the junior companion a good deal more spunk and fire than had previously been on display. This is no knock against Carole Ann Ford, just that the script and O'Brien's performance are geared to a more resilient and plucky character.