Sunday, 5 April 2020

Space / Time (2011 Comic Relief Special)

In which Rory is helping the Doctor carry out some maintenance in the TARDIS. He becomes distracted by his wife's miniskirt, as he is working under the glass floor as she stands at the console above him. He drops the thermocouplings and the ship is plunged into darkness. The Doctor makes an emergency materialisation, and when the lights come back on they are shocked to see that the TARDIS appears to have materialised inside itself. The Doctor enters the Police Box, but enters the console room through the doors. He fears they are caught in a space trap, and could be stuck here forever. A second Amy then walks in through the doors, telling them that things are about to get complicated...

The second Amy explains that she entered the Police Box in the near future, but it has drifted back to the present. She tells Rory that he will enter the Police Box after his wife slaps him in the face. Rory asks if he has to remember everything which the second Amy tells him, and the Doctor explains that if they don't then they may be stuck with two Amys. When Rory looks pleased at this idea, his wife slaps him. The future Amy enters the Police Box, but reappears at the doors with a second Rory. The two new arrivals are pushed back in to the Police Box, whilst the Doctor decides to create a controlled temporal implosion to reset everything. However, he doesn't know which control to use. A second Doctor from the future appears and tells him which lever to pull. The original Doctor runs into the Police Box whilst the second Doctor sets off the implosion. Space and Time are reset. The Doctor orders Amy to change into trousers before they resume their repairs.

Space and Time were written by Steven Moffat for the BBC's Comic Relief charity night, first broadcast on 18th March, 2011.
Moffat had previously contributed a Doctor Who themed piece for the 1999 event - The Curse  of Fatal Death. The 2009 event had featured a mini episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures - From Raxacoricofallapatorius With Love.
The story features only the three regulars and the TARDIS console room set and Police Box.
Although broadcast prior to the start of Series 6, the two mini episodes are actually set between Day of the Moon and Curse of the Black Spot. The former episode had ended with the Doctor asking Rory to help him with the thermocouplings, and he is wearing the same shirt.
Moffat claimed that the episodes should be regarded as canon, so they can be viewed in the same way as the extra "Night and the Doctor" sequences which feature on the Series 6 DVD box set.

Things you might like to know:
  • This is the third time we've seen a TARDIS within a TARDIS, although it's the first time that the same TARDIS has been inside itself. On the two previous occasions - The Time Monster and Logopolis - it was the Master's and the Doctor's TARDISes which were inside each other.
  • Only two full stories are set entirely within the TARDIS - Edge of Destruction and Amy's Choice, but a couple of other specials have been set entirely in the console room - Born Again and Time Crash, both of which were produced for Children In Need.
  • Amy's "This is where it gets complicated" mirrors exactly what she told her younger self at the beginning of The Big Bang.
  • These episodes, and the aforementioned "Night and the Doctor" DVD scenes were all filmed together over a two day period.
  • The episodes had a mixed reception, with some complaining that they relied too much on sexist humour.

What's Wrong With... Mission to the Unknown

Not a lot to say about this story, as it consists of only a single episode. Technically, it is more of a prequel to the forthcoming 12 part epic The Daleks' Master Plan.
Viewers at the time wouldn't have known this, of course, and must have been perplexed as the end credits rolled without the TARDIS, the Doctor, Steven and Vicki having appeared. They would also have seen the ostensible hero of the episode, Marc Cory, gunned down by the Daleks - his mission incomplete.
It might only be one episode, but there are a few problems with it.
The Daleks are convening a meeting of their allies to discuss progress with some unspecified attack. This would naturally involve a great deal of security, and they've deliberately chosen a planet with no intelligent lifeforms present. And yet Cory's spaceship is able to make a landing not far from their HQ. It then takes the Daleks a while to find it.
We hear that Kembel is one of the most dangerous planets in the universe, but the only dangerous thing we see are the Varga Plants - which have been imported from Skaro and aren't native to Kembel at all.
There's confusion in the script about the definition of a galaxy, and it is also suggested that the Daleks come from the Solar System. The Supreme Dalek talks of allies coming together from 7 of the Outer Galaxies, yet according to the photographs we only see 6.
The last spaceship to arrive is said to come from the planet Gearon, yet the last delegate to turn up on screen is Malpha (one of the only delegates who we can positively identify), and we'll find out later that another of the delegates who has already been on screen was Gearon - meaning he arrived before his spaceship.
There's confusion as well about the name of the organisation Cory works for. One minute it's the Space Security Service, then it's the Special Security Service.
Lastly, you's think a story with just one episode would have a fairly straightforward title - the one seen on screen. Not so. Some fans insist of calling it "Dalek Cutaway" whilst some production paperwork referred to is as "The Beasts from UGH" (United Galactic Headquarters). In production terms, it wasn't made by the team who made the subsequent Master Plan (which would have prevented some of the inconsistencies between the two). Mission to the Unknown was actually produced as the fifth episode of the Galaxy Four block.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Inspirations - Enlightenment

According to its writer, Barbara Clegg, the inspiration for the Eternals came from some well-to-do relatives. Whenever they visited, they expected everyone to keep them entertained - which was very tiring for her and her family.
The Eternals have lived so long that they have totally exhausted their imaginations. They have to turn to the minds of "ephemerals" to find their diversions there. In Enlightenment, that means that they have taken sailors from different historical periods and brain-washed them into believing themselves still to be on Earth in their own times, whereas they have really been put to work on spaceships which mimic their own vessels, flying round the Solar System as part of a race. The planets act as marker buoys.
All of the crew are humans, but the captains and their senior officers are Eternals.
The mind interference isn't foolproof, as we see that the crew of Striker's ship need to be fed regular doses of grog to keep them under control.
God-like aliens in Doctor Who became more common as the programme progressed, but they were fairly rare up to this point. Even the Time Lords had been shown to have the same ailments as humans. Compare with Star Trek, which featured a god-like alien in every other story (or so it felt). Of the six Original Series movies, three had a god-like element, with an alien purporting to be God himself featuring in the fifth of the series. Often these god-like beings played games with the crew of the Enterprise, and often they came across as quite child-like. Marriner, in Enlightenment, comes across as quite naive and innocent, despite his longevity. The Trek episode "The Squire of Gothos" actually ends with the title character's parents turning up and scolding him before grounding him.

The notion of spaceships floating through space using sails has some scientific background. A number of spacecraft designs feature sails of one type or another, designed to capture solar winds rather than our earthly ones. They work on the principle of radiation pressure to drive them.
Craft such as this feature in popular culture as well.
In 1964, Arthur C Clarke published a short story called Sunjammer, which featured a yacht race in space. The previous year, Pierre Boulle's La Planete Des Singes (Planet of the Apes) featured a spacecraft which was powered by solar sails.

Having ships from different time periods allowed for two common story types to feature within the overall narrative. The main setting is The Albatross, Captain Striker's Edwardian vessel. These sequences allowed the production to visit period drama such as The Onedin Line. Captain Wrack and her ship, on the other hand, allowed the story to play with the Pirate genre.
We should also mention the class system dynamics of Striker's ship. The human crew are an underclass, spending most of their time below decks until they are called upon to go on deck to work for the entertainment of their overlords, the Officer-class Eternals. Their imaginations are exploited as much as their physical efforts. The Eternals are never at any risk to themselves - the worst that can happen is even more boredom - whilst the human crews can be harmed, or even killed.

Lastly, the story has the job of completing the Black Guardian Trilogy, as well as Turlough's introductory story arc. The schoolboy was pretty much sidelined in the last story, and here he very quickly starts to oppose the Black Guardian - to the extent that he tries to kill himself by throwing himself overboard rather than face eternity trapped on Striker's ship. By the end of the story he finally decides to reject his unwanted master. To bring the Black Guardian's part to a close, we have the reintroduction of the White Guardian, once again played by Cyril Luckham (first seen in The Ribos Operation). There had been a theory that the two Guardians were one and the same "person" - showing either side of their character at any one time, but here we see both together - though it is stated that neither can ever really be destroyed without destroying the other. Whilst one exists, so will the other.
The cast for this story had to change between the first rehearsals and final studio recording dates due to strike action and over-runs on Terminus. Peter Sallis was supposed to play Striker, but the new dates meant he was no longer available, and Keith Barron stepped into the role. Other parts were also recast. The only way to save this story was to allocate it studio time which should have gone to the series finale - a return for Davros and the Daleks. That story would have to wait until Season 21.
Next time: the Master returns with a scheme which is so unimpressive that it even gets mentioned in the script...

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Story 215 - The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon

In which Amy and Rory receive a blue envelope, which contains a map reference. They haven't seen the Doctor for some time, but have spotted him in references throughout history - even appearing in a Laurel & Hardy movie. They travel to Utah were they are reunited with him, soon to be joined by River Song, who also received a blue envelope. They all head for a nearby diner, where they learn that it has been some 200 years since the Doctor last saw them by his timeline. They then make for Lake Silencio, where they have a picnic. Amy sees a mysterious figure watching them, but forgets about it as soon as she turns way. They are interrupted by the sudden appearance of someone in a NASA spacesuit, emerging from the lake. The Doctor goes alone to speak to them, and the others are shocked to see the astronaut shoot the Doctor multiple times, preventing him from regenerating, before it returns to the lake. The Doctor is dead. An old man appears, who also has an envelope. He has brought a can of gasoline, with which to burn the Doctor's body. The man introduces himself as Canton Everett Delaware III. This is the last time he will see them - but they will see him again very soon...
Grief-stricken, they return to the diner, and notice another envelope on a table. The Doctor emerges from the rests room area where the TARDIS is parked, seemingly oblivious to what has just happened. They discover that this is a Doctor who has only recently seen them - one much younger than the one they saw killed. They determine not to tell him of what they saw. The Doctor wants to know about the mysterious envelopes, and decides that they need to visit 1969.

In the Spring of 1969, ex-secret agent Canton Everett Delaware III is summoned to the White House by President Richard Nixon. The President has been receiving strange phone calls every night from a child, who talks about monsters. Nixon wants Canton to investigate. The TARDIS has materialised in the Oval Office, silently and invisibly. The Doctor emerges and listens to one of the phone calls, and is suddenly spotted by security men. River, Amy and Rory are forced to reveal themselves to help him. The Doctor claims to be an expert from Scotland Yard, come to assist. Canton insists that the President listen to him. Anyone who can sneak into the Oval Office with a Police Box deserves a chance to be heard. The Doctor notes that the child mentioned the names of three past Presidents. Amy goes to the bathroom and sees a tall creature dressed in a black suit, with a mouthless, skull-like face. A woman in the room seems to forget about it as soon as she looks away from it. The creature kills her. Amy rushes from the room - and immediately forgets what she just witnessed.
The Doctor scans some maps and points out that they ought to go to Florida. Canton joins them in the TARDIS as they travel to a derelict factory building. The Doctor reveals that the President names referred to streets - and this is the only place in the US where three streets with those names intersect. They find the astronaut suit, and see that it has been wired up with alien technology. River and Rory go down into the sewers and find a network of tunnels which stretch for hundreds of miles. They see a number of the tall creatures - but immediately forget them as soon as they turn away. Upstairs, Amy tells the Doctor that she believes herself to be pregnant. Canton is knocked out, and the Doctor and Amy see the astronaut walking towards them. Amy seizes Canton's revolver and fires at the figure...

Three months later, the Doctor's companions are on the run from Canton and US security agents. They have started to mark their bodies with tally marks in an effort to remind themselves whenever they see one of the creatures. Amy and Rory are shot down, whilst River leaps from a New York skyscraper when cornered. The Doctor is being held captive at Area 51, about to be imprisoned in a cell made from dwarf star alloy. Once the cell is complete, he is left inside with Canton and body bags containing the corpses of Amy and Rory. They are still alive, however. Canton's hunt has been a deception, as the creatures are everywhere. Inside this impenetrable cell, they cannot spy on them. The invisible TARDIS is also here. The Doctor uses the TARDIS to first go back and rescue River from her fall, then its travels back to Florida and the site of the imminent launch of Apollo 11. Each of them has a tiny transmitter placed under the skin of their palm, which they can use to record encounters with the creatures. The astronaut they encountered at the derelict factory had contained a young girl, and Amy had merely damaged part of the suit when she fired. She and Canton are sent off to discover where the girl had come from - reasoning that it is likely an orphanage somewhere nearby. The Doctor is going to carry out some adjustments to the lunar landing module. He is arrested, but Amy and Rory have President Nixon come to Cape Kennedy with them in the TARDIS to bail him out of trouble.

Canton and Amy find an abandoned orphanage where the superintendent has clearly had his memory tampered with. Amy is shocked to find a child's room in which there are photographs of her holding a baby. She sees the face of a woman wearing an eye-patch appear briefly at a hatch in a door, which promptly vanishes, and is then abducted by the creatures. Canton is able to capture one of them, wounding it. It is transported to the dwarf star cell. Here it claims that if it were he it would kill all of its kind on sight. Canton records it saying this. The Doctor succeeds in discovering the location where Amy is being held captive and travels there with Rory and River. The creatures have a base which is similar to the time-ship which the Doctor had seen at Aickman Road, Colchester, when he briefly lodged with Craig Owens.
The creatures identify themselves as Silents, and they infiltrated Earth millennia ago, interfering with human development ever since. Anything they need - like a spacesuit - they push science and technology in that direction, manipulating behind the scenes. All over the world, people are watching TV, about to see Neil Armstrong become the first man to set foot on the moon. The Doctor edits Canton's edited recording into the live TV images - so everyone across the globe sees a Silent urging people to kill its kind on sight. Enraged, the Silents attack but River shoots them down. The creatures are forced to abandon the Earth. Back at the Oval Office, the Doctor suggests that President Nixon go on making recordings, supposedly as a safeguard. It is revealed that the reason Canton resigned was because he could not marry a person of colour, and it transpires that this is another man.
In the TARDIS, Amy tells the Doctor that her pregnancy was a false alarm. He is mystified, however, when the ship gives contradictory positive / negative results of a medical scan on her.
Meanwhile, in a New York alleyway, a tramp comes across the little girl. She claims to be dying, but says is fine with that. She begins to regenerate...

The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon was written by Steven Moffat, and was first broadcast on April 23rd and 30th, 2011. The episodes mark the beginning of Series 6, and introduce a popular new monster to the programme - the Silents. They were inspired by stories of the mysterious Men in Black from UFO lore, with heads shaped like the "Grey" aliens who also feature in reports of alien encounters. The face was inspired by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch's 1893 painting "The Scream".
Viewers would have immediately spotted a connection to the unresolved plot thread of "Silence will fall..." from the previous season.
The story is the latest celebrity historical in the sense that real life 37th President of the United States, Richard Milhouse Nixon, features. He's played, mainly for laughs, by Stuart Milligan. Nixon was brought down by the "Watergate Scandal", when people loyal to him staged a break-in of Democratic Party offices in the Watergate building, Washington DC, in June 1972. The burglars were arrested and money they had on them was traced back to Nixon's re-election campaign team. The subsequent cover-up was the real scandal, and Nixon was personally implicated thanks to recordings he made in the Oval Office of all conversations - referenced in the story by his recording of the child's phone calls, and the Doctor suggesting that he carry on keeping tape records. The film All The President's Men charts the involvement of journalist Woodward and Bernstein of The Washington Post in exposing the scandal, should you want to know more.

The story is also significant for its location work. The Doctor has visited the USA before, but the series had never filmed there - save for some plate shots being taken for the Daleks in Manhattan two-parter. The San Francisco-set 1996 TV Movie had been filmed in Vancouver, Canada. This time cast and crew spent a few days in Utah's Valley of the Gods, famous from hundreds of Westerns, and Arizona (location of the dam where Rory is shot).
We won't go into spoilers here (hint) so won't say anything yet about what really happened at Lake Silencio, who was in the astronaut suit, and who the little girl was.
Moffat had used the death of one of the main characters as a publicity hook prior to transmission of the first episode, and sadly a number of tabloids gave the game away by publishing screen grabs of the Doctor appearing to regenerate. What the BBC did manage to keep secret was the regeneration of the girl in the closing moments of the second part.
Viewers were left mystified by it all. It wasn't just the questions mentioned above, but also what was the mystery of Amy's yes / no pregnancy, how could she appear to have a baby in the photographs, and who was the enigmatic lady with the eye-patch (played by Frances Barber) who appeared at the hatch then promptly vanished again? Moffat also insisted that there was no trickery to the future Doctor's death. He really was killed.

Amy and Rory's relationship is developed further. We learn that, despite the universe being rebooted, Rory still has some memories of the time he was an Auton duplicate. Amy feels more comfortable telling the Doctor about her pregnancy than she does her husband. Whilst held captive, Rory hears Amy through the transmitter in her hand - and thinks she is more in love with the Doctor than with him. It turns out that she was really describing him, rather than the Doctor, and she only told the Time Lord first as she was worried about how travelling in the TARDIS might affect a pregnancy, and didn't want to concern him until she was reassured herself.
We've mentioned a couple of the guest artists, but the main one - fulfilling a companion role for this story - is Mark Sheppard as Canton.The actor's father, William Morgan Sheppard, plays his older self. Sheppard Jnr has appeared in a number of genre productions - having featured as a regular in 70 episodes of the series Supernatural as the demon Crowley. He was the arsonist killer in the appropriately titled episode "Fire" in The X-Files first season, and has appeared in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. He also guest starred in a number of episodes of the rebooted  Battlestar Galactica.

The only other guest artist of note is Kerry Shale, who plays the orphanage superintendent, Renfrew - the name supposedly inspired by the character of Renfield in Dracula.
The girl is played by Sydney Wade, whilst the main Silent actor is Marnix Van Den Broeke, who is 6' 7" in height (2 metres in new money). Wade had just played Alex Kingston's daughter in the supernatural drama Marchlands.
The story had a short prequel available before transmission of the first episode - scenes in the Oval Office of Nixon listening to one of the phone calls in which the child claims that there are monsters everywhere, and we see a Silent, out of focus, in the background.
Overall, a very good start to the new season. It's by Steven Moffat, and the it's the first story, so naturally there are far more questions than answers. The Silents make for an impressive new monster, and Sheppard makes for a very good temporary companion. All the regulars are well served.
Things you might like to know:
  • There was an on screen dedication to Elisabeth Sladen on The Impossible Astronaut. She passed away only a few days before transmission.
  • Day of the Moon had the working title "Look Behind You". The title of the first episode was suggested by one of Moffat's sons.
  • It is implied that the statues on Easter Island were fashioned after the Doctor's image.
  • The Doctor gives his age as 909 here, with the older version being 1103.
  • The Doctor is seen with a beard for only the second time ever. The Second Doctor was seen at times to grow his sideburns quite long, and Ten often sported stubble, but none of the earlier Doctors ever sported facial hair. The first time we saw a full beard was when the Fourth Doctor was greatly aged by the Tachyon Generator in The Leisure Hive.
  • As Amy and Rory spot references to the Doctor throughout history we see him failing to escape from a German POW camp in WWII (the 'old tunnelling into the Commandant's office' joke); encounter an enraged King Charles II after getting naked to have his portrait painted by one of his mistresses; and hear of how he then fled the Tower of London in a balloon. 
  • The Laurel & Hardy clip had earlier been used to digitally superimpose someone, when Billy Crystal hosted the Academy Awards in 1992. He was seen dancing in the same scene from The Flying Deuces. Whatever happened to Billy Crystal?
  • The director of this story was Toby Haynes. He had also directed the final two episodes of Series 5, plus the intervening Christmas Special - making him the first person to direct five consecutively broadcast episodes of the show.
  • Star Trek is mentioned, as the lady in the White House bathroom - Joy - asks the Silent if he is wearing a Star Trek mask.
  • Space: 1999 is also referenced, when the Doctor talks about "Space: 1969".
  • The Doctor claims to be a specialist from Scotland Yard. UNIT is already set up in 1969, so it is odd he doesn't mention them instead.
  • The backstory for the Silents seems to contradict a couple of other stories where aliens are supposed to have influenced our development. Were Azal the Daemon or Scaroth of the Jagaroth aware of them? Technically they are supposed to have been on Earth, all over the planet, during the events of every story set on Earth up to 1969. They should therefore have had multiple chances of killing the Doctor before the events of Series 6.
  • We will later discover that an older Amy and Rory are living in New York City during the events seen here.
  • The Tenth Doctor and Martha Jones are in London during this period, cut off from the TARDIS because of the Weeping Angels (Blink).
  • And shouldn't the TARDIS be unable to visit New York in 1969, if events in the 1930's with the Angels have caused it to become a temporal no-go area for the ship.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

What's Wrong With... Galaxy Four

Up to and including The Time Meddler most episodes still exist in the archives. From this story onward, until we get to Season 6, the vast majority of episodes are missing, presumed wiped.
This means that from this point on we will have to concentrate on dialogue and plot inconsistencies, as we no longer have the visuals.
Peter Purves is on record as saying that he wasn't terribly happy with this story, as he felt that it had been written for the old TARDIS team. He believed that much of what he had to do was originally intended for Barbara. This might well be true, as he spends a lot of time being held captive by a small group of four soldiers, three of whom are not the brightest, despite being a trained space-pilot.
Fans have tended to assume that he was a military pilot, but at no time ever is his background ever clarified.
The first problem we have to address is the title which has been allocated to it - Galaxy Four. The Drahvins claim to come from Galaxy Four, but this doesn't mean that this planet is also there. But it would be very odd indeed to name a story after the place where the villains came from. It would be like calling The Dalek Invasion of Earth "Skaro", or The Invasion "Telos". The story must surely be set in Galaxy Four, yet we are never told so - only that this is where the Drahvins come from.
There are three suns. Everyone talks about days, or "dawns". How do you define "a day" or "a dawn" on a planet with three suns?
The Doctor discovers that the planet is due to be destroyed in two days, whereas the Drahvins believe that it will last for fourteen. We've already heard that the Drahvin ship is of a very inferior construction, suggesting that their technology isn't all that great. How do they know that the planet is doomed in fourteen days in the first place? If they do have the technology to predict the life span of the planet, why get it wrong by twelve days?
The Doctor then lies to Drahvin leader Maaga, telling her that her estimate was correct. Why?
There's nothing to suggest that he believes them to be villains, because the next thing we know he's off trying to kill the Rills. Would he really just believe the word of some soldiers who have threatened him with guns and kept his companions hostage? Either he believes the Drahvins to be the injured party, in which case why lie about the time they have left, or he doesn't trust them at all, in which case why attack their supposed enemies who are potential allies?
What makes the Doctor think that sabotaging the Rills' ammonia producing equipment will only inconvenience them, when he hasn't even met them yet, and discovered anything about them?
The Doctor and Steven hear a Chumbley prowling around the TARDIS when it plants explosives. This is a scene I would dearly love to see what it looked like, as the Chumbley only needs to go a few feet to go round each side of the Police Box exterior - but the console room is much much larger. How could you hear something go right round it?
A scripting issue - if one of the robots is a Chumbley, shouldn't the plural be Chumbleys rather than Chumblies? The Rills seem to accept Vicki's name for them rather quickly. They never correct her and say "Well actually we call them --- ".
Maaga finds the concept of self-sacrifice unusual, despite expecting it all the time from her troops.
Why lie to them about a Rill killing their wounded comrade, when the Rills have already shot down their spaceship? She doesn't need to get the troops worked up against them, and letting it be known that she kills the weak links amongst her soldiers would surely add to her authority over them.
Maaga thinks that a good way to get someone to come back inside her spaceship is to threaten to kill them as soon as they do.
The Rills rely on something called "sun power" to energise their ship but can't get this on a planet with three suns. Instead, they are drilling into the ground for a gas. They then get the energy they need from the TARDIS - basically just electricity.
A couple of Hartnell fluffs:
" I wust... I must have that cable".
"We should get some long-deserved, undeserved peace...".

Friday, 27 March 2020

H is for... Hart, Captain John (1)

Commander of the Royal Navy base HMS Seaspite. This was situated on the south coast of England, close to where a number of mysterious ship sinkings had taken place. The Doctor arrived at the base unannounced when he heard that a lifeboat from the most recent sinking had been taken there. Hart agreed to take him seriously only after Jo Grant had turned up with their UNIT credentials. The Doctor pointed out the circular scorch marks on the underside of the boat, and drew Hart's attention to the fact that an old Napoleonic seafort was located in the middle of the area where the ships had sunk. Hart grudgingly allowed the Doctor to investigate, sending a rescue helicopter to the fort when the Doctor and Jo were late returning. Initially resistant to accepting that the sinkings were the actions of Sea Devils, marine cousins of the Silurians, the Captain slowly began to come round as more unexplained events took place - such as the theft of electronic equipment from his stores, and an assault on one of his officers, by someone Jo claimed to be the Master - who was supposed to be under lock and key in the nearby special prison run by his golfing friend Colonel Trenchard. The theft took place when Trenchard was visiting the base, and Hart went to the prison to check that the Master was still in custody - unaware that the prison governor was under his charge's malign influence. Hart agreed to send a submarine to investigate the seafort, and was alarmed when contact was lost - leading him to finally take the Doctor's claims seriously. Determined to resolve the situation himself, he was put out that the government sent a civil servant named Walker to take charge. Walker simply aggravated the situation. When the Sea Devils attacked the base, Hart manned a cannon to help repel them. He later managed to get the Navy to delay an attack on the Sea Devil shelter, which gave the Doctor time to escape its destruction after he had sabotaged its power supply.

Played by: Edwin Richfield. Appearances: The Sea Devils (1972).
  • Richfield made one further appearance in the programme - as the Gastropod ruler Mestor in The Twin Dilemma. Unfortunately he was entirely covered by mask and costume, and even his voice was treated electronically - so it was a bit of a waste by director Peter Moffatt casting an actor who had been all over British film and television for decades in the role.
  • Three of his genre roles include Hammer films Quatermass 2, X The Unknown and Quatermass and the Pit. He was a guest artist in many of the ITC style adventure series - often portraying a villain, but the 1968 TV version of The Three Musketeers saw him playing D'Artagnan.
  • He's the only actor - apart from Patrick Macnee - to have appeared in every season of The Avengers.

H is for... Harry (2)

A friend of Shireen, who joined her and Bill Potts in searching for an affordable student house-share in Bristol. Like Bill, he attended St Luke's University in the city. They were joined by some fellow students - Pawel, Felicity and Paul. After some fruitless searches they were approached by a mysterious old man who had a large house to let, at a very low rent. Harry was especially enthusiastic about the property, but the landlord warned him against accessing the house's tower rooms. Like the others, Bill managed to convince him that the Doctor was her grandfather. Harry's own grandfather had once been arrested with his boyfriend after trying to steal a piece of the Great Wall of China.
It soon became apparent why the rent was so cheap, when the students came under attack from huge woodlouse creatures known as Dryads. Harry joined the Doctor in investigating the basement, where they found the personal effects of other groups of students - six at a time every twenty years, going back to 1957. The Dryads attacked once more, and Harry was caught on the wooden staircase and consumed by them. The landlord was feeding the Dryads to keep his terminally ill mother, Eliza, alive. Once the Doctor had convinced her to stop, the house began to disintegrate, and the 2017 students, including Harry, were released.

Played by: Colin Ryan. Appearances: Knock Knock (2017).
  • According to the story's writer, Mike Bartlett, Harry was supposed to have been named after his grandfather - one Harry Sullivan, late of UNIT and one-time travelling companion of the Doctor. Sadly, the scene never made it to the finished programme as it was stupidly felt to be too obscure a reference. It doesn't necessarily follow that Harry Sullivan was gay, and once tried to pinch a bit of the Great Wall, as everyone has two grandfathers, but fans have generally taken this to refer to him.