Thursday, 8 January 2015

TARDIS Travels No.5

Season Four ended with the TARDIS on Skaro, where the Doctor, Jamie and new companion Victoria had just witnessed the final destruction of the Daleks. Totally final. Not.
Previous seasons had closed with the TARDIS already setting off on its next adventure but, this time, the action commences with the ship still where we had last seen it - so definitely no unseen stories here.

Journey 049: Skaro, date unknown, to Telos, c.26th Century.
For the benefit of Victoria (and the viewers), the Doctor provides a brief summary of what the TARDIS is, and what it does. He makes reference to having "perfected it" - presumably meaning he has made a few modifications since he first stole it from Gallifrey.
Having lead a sheltered life, Victoria immediately shows an unhealthy interest in the knobs. (You can just imagine what rehearsals must have been like with Troughton and Hines).
Archaeologist Viner seems to imply that the TARDIS has landed by travelling down through the air - "Something came down over there..." This might just be a figure of speech, however, as to him any kind of ship would be expected to land in this way.
The date derives from dialogue about the Cybermen having died out 500 years ago - their last televised story having been set in 2070.

Journey 050: Telos, c.26th Century, to Tibet, 1935.
The TARDIS materialises in the Himalayas, close to the monastery of Det-Sen. The Doctor has been here before (in 1630) when he helped the monks defend themselves against bandits.
As with some previous Troughton stories there is a large trunk in the control room - which just happens to contain something he needs for that particular adventure.
Generally up to this point, the TARDIS has been made inaccessible for the duration of the story. It is rare that the Doctor returns to the ship at some mid-point. He does so in this story - to get equipment to trace the Yeti control signals. The return to the ship is not plain sailing, however, as it is guarded by a Yeti - leading to one of my favourite Troughton bits of dialogue:
"Have you thought up some clever plan, Doctor?"
"Yes, Jamie, I believe I have".
"What are you going to do?"
"Bung a rock at it!".
The date of this adventure provides the starting point for what is known as the "UNIT Dating Controversy". All the subsequent UNIT-related dates will be measured from this point.

Journey 051: Tibet, 1935, to England, c.3000 (?).
The TARDIS materialises on its side on a snowdrift outside the Brittanicus Base - a stately home sheltered beneath a plastic dome, housing an Ioniser device which aims to halt glacial advance.
Jamie refers to them probably having landed somewhere up the same mountain -  i.e. in Tibet, so no unseen adventures between stories.
The date for this story is problematical. It is generally assumed to be around 3000 AD as Clent mentions 5000 years of history being buried by the ice. In a later story (Talons of Weng-Chiang) there is mention of an Ice Age around the year 5000 AD. It all depends on what you take your starting point for "history" to be. Some people do tend to start with written history - which isn't really until the Romans arrive - which does tally better with the later date.
The whole issue of what defines an "Ice Age" was raised at the time - by a schoolgirl writing to the Radio Times. Ice Ages have urges. Sorry, surges.

Yet again, the TARDIS gets moved at some point during the story - as it is seen to dematerialise from an upright position. Unless we are looking at it from within the base, the whole location has changed.

Journey 052: England, c.3000 (?), to Cape Melville, Australia, date unknown.
The ship materialises on a beach - leading to one of the most glorious Troughton moments where he strips to his long-johns and dives into the sea.
The date is a hard one to figure, but probably supposed to be 21st Century.

Journey 053: Cape Melville, Australia, date unknown, to deep space, 1968.
Depending on the reach of the Great Intelligence's influence, within the Solar System probably. The date has to be the same as the subsequent part of the story on Earth. (If the Intelligence could master time, what does it want with the Doctor in the first place?).

Journey 054: Space, 1968, to Covent Garden Underground station, London, 1968.
Not 1975 in my book - I've posted on this before. All the visual evidence seems to point squarely to the UNIT-related stories taking place when they were broadcast - only five minutes in the future rather than years. The later date suggested for this comes from Professor Travers mentioning events in Tibet as taking place over 40 years ago. He is obviously being a bit hazy in his recollection. Add to that something which will be mentioned in The Snowmen. The tin which the Eleventh Doctor is holding has on its lid a 1968 map of the London Underground.
The Doctor remarks how the TARDIS seems to continually land on the Earth these days. (It will have been 30 consecutive episodes by the end of the following story).

Journey 055: Covent Garden Underground station, London, 1968, to the North Sea coast of England, late 1960's.
The TARDIS may or may not have landed by dropping down from the sky on Telos, but it certainly does here - coming to land on top of the water. The Doctor and his companions have to use a rubber dinghy to get to the beach. Part way through the story, the Doctor and Jamie will return to it - with a sample of the weed to examine and to do some research on sea monster myths.
There is mention of pre-decimal currency, so we are not far from the date the story was broadcast.

Journey 056: North Sea coast of England, late 1960's, to the Silver Carrier spaceship, Earth orbit, c. 2000.
The TARDIS appears to have taken off just as it landed - judging by the sight of Victoria looking upwards on the scanner. Something goes wrong with the fluid-links and the Doctor has to make an emergency landing. To vent the toxic mercury fumes, the Doctor removes the Time Vector Generator and the ship's internal dimensions shrink to the size of the Police Box shell.
The Time Vector Generator is a gold rod, with a white tip at one end and a gold one at the other. As well as having a role to play in stabilising the ship's dimensions, it can seemingly do other things - including boosting the power of the Wheel's laser to destroy the approaching Cybership.
The Doctor has to later top up the mercury, pouring it into a compartment in the control console, as much of it had evaporated.
The date comes from comments made by Zoe (e.g. the Hourly Tele-Press in The Mind Robber).
Behind one the roundels in the control room is a device which enables the Doctor to link his mind to the scanner and project mental images.

Season Five ends with Zoe getting to see a repeat of Evil of the Daleks. Lucky sod.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to getting into the thick of the UNIT-Dating Controversy!