Monday, July 27, 2015

"The Monster of Peladon"

Aired Mar 23 - Apr 27, 1974

6 Episodes

Story 73

Written by: Brian Hayles

Directed by: Lennie Mayne


Returning to the planet Peladon fifty years after his previous visit, the Doctor finds King Peladon's daughter Thalira on the throne, and the planet once again on the brink of conflict with the Galactic Federation. The Queen's chancellor, Ortron, is mistrustful of the Federation's mining operation on Peladon to obtain the valued mineral trisilicate. The miners, second-class citizens on Peladon, are on the point of uprising, and Federation representatives Alpha Centauri and Engineer Eckersley are struggling to keep the peace.

According to reports, a ghostly figure of Peldon's sacred beast Aggedor has been responsible for deaths in the mine, and the Doctor must use all of his wits to keep the miners from full-scale insurrection while calming the paranoid xenophobia of Ortron.

Eventually, the Doctor uncovers that the deaths have been due to the machinations of Eckersley, in league with a renegade group of Ice Warriors hoping to obtain the trisilicate for themselves and sell them to Galaxy 5, who are at war with the Federation. Eckersley has been using a matter transmitter combined with a heat ray to make it seem as if the statue of Aggedor is killing miners. 

While the Ice Warriors take ruthless control of the planet, the Doctor and the miners manage to mouth a counter-attack, taking control of the matter transmitter and heat ray and turning it against Eckersley and the Ice Warriors.

After the Ice Warriors are defeated, Eckersley takes the Queen hostage, but he is killed by the real Aggedor, though the beast sadly dies in the process. 

In the end, with peace restored, Galaxy 5 surrenders and the Doctor and Sarah head on their way in the TARDIS.

Monday, July 20, 2015

"Death to the Daleks"

Aired Feb. 23 - Mar. 16, 1974

4 Episodes

Story 72

Written by: Terry Nation 

Directed by: Michael E Briant


The TARDIS materializes on the planet Exxilon, and then suddenly suffers a catastrophic power failure. Setting out to explore, the Doctor encounters a group of Earth Marine Space Corps, who inform him of their mission to uncover the cure for a galactic plague epidemic. The only known antidote, parrinium, is found in one place; Exxilon. They've obtained a supply, but their powerless ship is unable to leave.

Meanwhile, Sarah is heading toward a gleaming white city in the distance, attracted by the flashing beacon atop its main tower. She is captured by a group of Exxilons who take her to an underground cave and sentenced to be sacrificed for trying to enter the city, which the Exxilons worship as a god.

The Doctor and the Marines also encounter a group of Daleks who have landed on the planet and whose weapons have been inoperative by the planet. Though the humans and the Daleks enter an uneasy alliance, they are soon captured by the Exxilons as well.

Rreaching the caves, the Doctor manages to prevent Sarah's execution, and they flee into some tunnels to hide. The caves are attacked by a second Dalek squad that have managed to arm themselves with simple machine guns.The Marines continue their alliance with the Daleks while Sarah and the Doctor encounter a sophisticated and peaceful Exxilon named Bellal. Bellal informs them that the city was created long ago by his own race, but as it became more and more sentient, it eventually caused the Exxilons to sink back into primitive savagery. 

The Doctor deduces that the city's beacon is what's causing the planetary energy drain, and realizes that it must be put out of action if anyone is to escape. While the Doctor and Bellal enter the city and negotiate a series of deadly tests and traps in order to reach its control centre, Sarah will help the Marines get free of the Daleks and escape with the needed parrinium. 

Pursued by Daleks, the Doctor and Bellal eventually arrive at the control centre, where the Doctor manages to succeed in destroying the higher functions of the computer. The Daleks had planned to take all the parrinium for themselves and gain a galactic upper hand, but Sarah and the Marines successfully smuggle the mineral off their ship, and one of the Marines stays on board the Dalek ship and tigers a bomb as the Daleks take off, destroying the Dalek force. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Invasion of the Dinosaurs"

Aired Jan. 12 - Feb. 16, 1974

6 Episodes

Story 71

Written by: Malcolm Hulke

Directed by: Paddy Russell


Returning to 20th Century London, the Doctor and Sarah are surprised to find the city deserted. While exploring the city, they are captured by army troops who falsely suspect them of being looters. Eventually turned over to their friends at UNIT, the Brigadier informs them that central London has been evacuated following the appearances of dinosaurs throughout the city. They seemingly appear and disappear at random, and UNIT is stymied as to why as well who is behind it.

The Doctor and Sarah begin investigating, the Doctor working from the theory that the prehistoric animals are being brought forward in time through technological means. They soon uncover a massive conspiracy to empty central London for some mysterious purpose, using the talents of scientists Whitaker and Butler, and led the Army's General Finch and government Minister Sir Charles Grover. 

While the Doctor finds his scientific efforts hampered by another conspirator, namely UNIT colleague Captain Mike Yates, Sarah is captured by Grover and rendered unconscious.

She awakens seemingly on board a massive spaceship alongside fellow colonists heading to another world in which to set up a perfect society. The people on board believe Earth has become too corrupted, too polluted, and seek to build a new human society on an unspoiled planet. However, Sarah soon realizes that the ship is a fake, and that the colonists aboard have been misled. They haven't left Earth at all, and the conspirators led by Grover instead want to use the temporal device they have developed to return Earth to a "Golden Age", a wild untamed pre-industrial version of the Earth upon which the colonists can rebuild a "perfect" society.

The Doctor and his allies raid the Golden Agers underground facility, and though they manage to activate their device, the Doctor succeeds in changing the settings so that rather than Earth being reverted, Grover and Whitaker are cast back to the prehistoric era from where they've been sterling the dinosaurs.

Though all is back to normal, there has been fall out; the misguided Mike Yates is allowed to quietly resign, much to the sadness of his friends.

Monday, July 6, 2015

"The Time Warrior"

Aired Dec. 15, 1973 - Jan 5, 1974

4 Episodes

Story 70

Written by: Robert Holmes

Directed by: Alan Bromly


Impersonating her aunt, famed virologist Lavinia Smith, allows journalist Sarah Jane Smith to gain access to a secure research facility where leading scientists are being guarded by UNIT. The Doctor and the Brigadier are there to investigate the disappearances of some of the scientists, and though the Doctor soon uncovers Sarah Jane's real identity, he also discovers the scientists are being kidnapped by an alien force and taken back in time to medieval England.

Sarah Jane stows away aboard the TARDIS when the Doctor leaves to investigate, and she finds herself in the middle ages, in the castle of an ambitious and violent feudal lord named Irongron. The Doctor discovers that a Sontaran soldier named Linx has crashed his ship on Irongron's lands, and is using his technology to steal the scientists, take them back in time, and then hypnotize them into repairing his damaged craft so he may leave. In exchange for Irongron's cooperation, Linx is providing the lord with anachronistically advanced weapons to make war on his neighbours.

Teaming up with Irongron's enemy, Sir Edward of Essex, the Doctor and Sarah hatch a plan to drug the food in Irongron's kitchens, knocking out his forces so that they can steal and destroy the weapons and send the scientists back to the 20th Century. Sir Edward sends Hal, his best archer, with them to assist in the pan.

Though the Doctor's plan works for the most part, Linx still plans to leave in his ship. The Sontaran kills Irongron and readies for departure. Hal fires an arrow into Linx's phobic vent on the back of his neck, his one vulnerable spot, and kills him. The Doctor, Sarah and Hal escape, along with all one Irongron's men, just before Linx's ship explodes, destroying the castle.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Season 10 Overview

The Three Doctors, from L to R: Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee &
William Hartnell 
As 1973 began, Doctor Who hit a milestone; it had been on the air for ten years. Eager to observe this milestone, the production team of Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks wanted to create a story that would feature all of the actors to have played the role of the Doctor. This was merely the tip of the celebratory plans, which included the return of the Daleks and the writer who created them, Roger Delgado's next appearance as the Master, the departure of Katy Manning as Jo Grant, and an attempt to create a linked narrative over a longer series of episodes, a la The Dalek's Master Plan.

Though the series had been enjoying continued ratings success in the 1970s, there were still those at the BBC that thought it had run its course, and it was suggested in some corners the the series come to an end. However, the BBC had recently signed a lucrative licensing deal with Target to novelize the Doctor's televised adventures, and this deal created a demand for new stories to keep the book line going. Additionally  the series finally had support in the Beeb's upper management, something that had been lacking since the departure of Sydney Newman during the Troughton era.