|From L to R: Deborah Watling, Patrick Troughton,|
Fraser Hines in Fury from the Deep
With Lloyd's departure, Davis was asked to take over as producer, and though he initially flirted with the idea, he too decided to move on in 1967. Davis' successor as story editor was Peter Bryant, and Bryant was also considered as a possible producer of the series, getting some experience throughout the fourth season. Bryant also brought Victor Pemberton on board to assist him in his editing duties. As the fifth season began, Bryant was given the opening story The Tomb of the Cybermen, as a trial run to see how he would perform as producer, with Pemberton temporarily elevated to script editor. With this story seen as a huge success, Lloyd began actively grooming Bryant as his successor.
|Producer Peter Bryant|
With The Enemy of the World, Lloyd left the series, and Bryant took over as official producer, but Pemberton had by this point decided not to take on the script editing duties and returned to freelance writing. Bryant would hire another former actor and freelance writer, Derrick Sherwin, to fill the post. Sherwin would bring with him a fellow writer to act as assistant story editor, a writer who would go on to leave an indelible impact on the classic series, Terrance Dicks.
No matter who comprised the production team of the fifth season, they all faced a considerable challenge. The final story of the previous season, The Evil of the Daleks, was meant to give the Daleks a huge send-off from the programme. Dalek creator Terry Nation was trying to sell American networks on a Dalek TV series, and wasn't giving permission to the BBC to use them. This meant that the series was, for the first time, not allowed to bring back their most sure-fire audience favourites. To fill the gap, the production team decided to build upon the growing popularity of the Cybermen, using them to open and close the season. They also decided to attempt to develop new fan favourite monsters. By and large, they were successful, with the Yeti and the Ice Warriors each resonating with viewers in strong serials.
|Incoming Script Editor |
Having said all this, overall season 5 is immensely enjoyable. The main cast of Troughton, Hines and Watling have genuine chemistry, and though the punishing production schedule is beginning to take its toll on Troughton, this is the season where he gives his most consistently brilliant performances. He and Hines remain one of the best pairings the series ever saw, and while I've never been a huge fan of Victoria as a character, that's largely a question of taste, and Watling does a great job throughout.
There's a fun quality to the endless parade of monsters throughout the season, even if it does start to feel repetitive by the close. It's like a scary carnival where every destination reveals another beast to jump out and scare you. I'd never want all of Doctor Who to be like this "Monster Season", and I certainly bemoan the limited format they use, but it's fun to battle the Cybermen, then the Yeti, then the Ice Warriors! For kids, this must have been a blast to watch.
At the end of the day, it's the stability and consistency of the season that makes it work, even as it makes it tiresome. Gone are the wildly experimental days of the Hartnell era, but it's replaced a familiar tone that allows the viewer to sit back, relax, and enjoy a few good scares as the Doctor saves the day. This stability and consistency was not long-lived however, and the upcoming season would be one of the most chaotic and tumultuous in the series history, one that would nearly lead to the cancellation of Doctor Who.