Friday, May 29, 2015

"The Three Doctors"

Aired Dec. 30, 1972 - Jan. 20, 1973

4 Episodes

Story 65

Written by: Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Directed by: Lennie Mayne


While investigating a strange transmission that appears to be traveling faster than light, the Doctor discovers he is being hunted by a strange plasma creature. Trapped in the TARDIS, the Doctor calls on the Time Lords for assistance, but they too are under assault, their energy supplies being drained into a black hole. Unable to directly help, their only option is to muster enough energy to send the Doctor's past incarnations to help him, and hopefully, save the Time Lords as well.

While the Third Doctor is joined by the Second Doctor, the First Doctor is caught in a time eddy and only able to advise his successors over the TARDIS scanner screen. Together they are able to deduce that the transmission, and the creature, is a time bridge. The Third Doctor and Jo are caught by the creature and transported beyond the black hole into an antimatter universe.

Back on Earth, the Second Doctor, Benton and the Brigadier are still trapped inside the TARDIS. The First Doctor advises turning off the force field keeping the creature at bay, and at once the TARDIS, along with the whole UNIT HQ, is transported through the black hole.

On the antimatter world, the Third Doctor has discovered the planet is ruled by Omega, a legendary figure from Time Lord history whose stellar engineering experiment made time travel possible for their society. Thought lost since that experimental mission, Omega has in fact been trapped in the antimatter universe, surviving and creating everything around him through his will alone. He wants to be free of his prison and return to his original universe, but as his will maintains his existence, he cannot leave unless someone replaces him. He hopes that the Doctor will do so, and brought him here to that end. 

Now joined by the Second Doctor, the Third Doctor tires to convince Omega to change his mind or accept some other form of help. Things fall apart once Omega discovers that his entire physical form has been consumed by the effects of such a long period in the antimatter universe. There is literally nothing left but his will, which maintains his existence, and therefore no escape for him.

Driven mad by this realization, Omega plans to destroy the positive universe. However, the Second Doctor discovers that his recorder had fallen into the TARDIS force field generator and therefore was not converted to antimatter upon passing through the Black Hole. He and the Third Doctor conspire to have Omega touch the recorder, and the collision of matter and antimatter results in a supernova, which the Doctors and their friends escape in the nick of time.

Once home, the First and Second Doctors are returned to their points in time, and in gratitude for saving the Time Lords, they grant the Third Doctor his freedom, lifting his exile and repairing his TARDIS. The Doctor is free to roam time and space once more…

Monday, May 25, 2015

Season 9 Overview

From L to R: A Dalek, the Doctor (Jon Pertwee)
& producer Barry Letts
As Doctor Who ended its 8th season, the series was entering what was perhaps its greatest period of stability. The programme had a producer that was by this point skilled in maximizing the meagre budgets allotted for the series, a production/recording schedule had finally been established that worked, and the script editor had developed a system whereby he was able to consistently do the final drafts of almost every script, creating a consistent tone overall. The star of the series had confidently settled into the role, shared impeccable chemistry with his co-stars, and the production relied upon a small stable of writers for the stories that they could depend on, most of whom were the best the series ever had.

As a result, the viewing figures increased as well. In Patrick Troughton's final season as the Doctor in 1969, the viewing figures averaged around 6 and a half million. Season 7, Pertwee's first, saw those figures increase to 7.28 million, and Season 8 increased again to nearly 8 million. No longer in constant danger of cancellation by the BBC, the series once again had champions on the management side, its immediate future assured.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"The Time Monster"

Aired May 20 - June 24, 1972

6 Episodes

Story 64

Written by Robert Sloman

Directed by Barry Letts


Disguised as Professor Thascales, the Master is conducting experiments at the Newton Research Unit at Cambridge. He has has constructed a device known as TOMTIT (Transmission Of Matter Through Interstitial Time) and he plans to gain control over Kronos, powerful and unpredictable creature from outside time known as a Chronovore.

The Doctor, having had a vision of the Master's return to Earth, rigs a device to track a TARDIS and he and Jo head to Newton, which UNIT is already investigating. Uncovering the dangers of the TOMTIT experiments, the Doctor shuts the device down, though the Master escapes. Examining the device, the Doctor deduces that the crystal at its centre comes from the long-dead city of Atlantis, which legend had claimed had once attracted Kronos from the time vortex.

The Master goes back in time to Atlantis in his TARDIS in the hope of stealing the sacred Crystal of Kronos, a larger version of his own crystal, and with which he aims finally to dominate the creature. The Doctor and Jo are able to follow him back in the Doctor's TARDIS, but arrive too late to prevent the Master from ingratiating himself with Galleia, queen of Atlantis and wife to King Dalios. Seducing her with visions of peer, the Master deposes Dalios and takes control of Atlantis. However, his rule is short-lived when Galleia discovers that the Master has caused the death of Dalios after promising he would not be harmed.

In a last desperate grasp at power, the Master summons and unleashes Kronos, destroying Atlantis. The two Time Lords manage escape in their respective TARDISes into the time vortex where they each try to finally defeat the other. The Doctor threatens to destroy the Master's TARDIS using a Time Ram, but cannot bring himself to do it, especially with Jo as the Master's hostage. However, Jo makes the sacrifice herself and instigates the Time Ram. 

The TARDISes materialize in the realm of Kronos, whereupon the grateful creature informs the Doctor and Jo that the Time Ram freed the Choronovore. Kronos agrees to return the Doctor and Jo to Earth, and plans to subject the Master to eternal torment. The Doctor successfully pleads for the Master's freedom, and Kronos grants it, but the Master escapes in his TARDIS once again.

Monday, May 11, 2015

"The Mutants"

Aired April 8 - May 13, 1972

6 Episodes

Story 63

Written by Bob Baker & Dave Martin

Directed by Christopher Barry


The Doctor and Jo receive a mysterious sealed message pod from the Time Lords, and are directed by them to an orbiting space station above the planet Solos in the 30th Century. The pod will only open itself when it is placed in the proximity of its intended recipient, and as neither he nor Jo know who that is, the Doctor is forced to get involved. 

Solos has been under the control of Earth, who have been exploiting its resources and oppressing its indigenous people. As the Doctor and Jo arrive, Earth is about to give Solos its independence, much to the fury of the Marshal of the Skybase. Filled with ambition and bigoted contempt for the people of Solos, he murders the Administrator sent to manage the hand-off and hatches a plan with his chief scientist, Jaeger, to convert the atmosphere of the planet into one more suitable for Earthlings. 

The Solonians has a leader in Ky, a passionate young man who is falsely accused of the murder of the Administrator. Ky feels the humans are brutal overlords, and blames them for the mutations of some of his people into insectoid beasts. Ky flees from the Skybase to Solos, taking Jo with him, and is pursued by the Doctor. They all meet in the mines, and the Doctor discovers that the message pod's recipient is Ky, and it promptly opens for him to reveal ancient stone tablets with carved inscriptions.

The Doctor and his friends encounter Sondergaard, a human scientist leading a hermit-like existence in the mine while searching for a cure for the mutated Solonians. He and the Doctor decipher the inscriptions, revealing that the mutations are a natural part of the Solonian life-cycle, a mid-way point of their ultimate evolution, and the planet's natural radiation plays a vital part. This radiation will be eliminated by the Marshal's plans, dimming the Solonians.

The Doctor retrieves a crystal from a cave where the radiation is concentrated but is recaptured by the Marshal and is forced to perfect the machine with which Jaeger plans to transform Solos or Jo will pay the price

Meanwhile, Sondergaard gives Ky the crystal, which turns him first into a mutant, and then into an ethereal super-being which is the ultimate stage of the Solonians' life-cycle. Jaeger is killed when the Doctor sabotages his machine, and the Marshal is vaporized by Ky.