Monday, 13 November 2017

C is for... Commander

Unnamed leader of an Earth space mission which visited the planet Sense-Sphere in the 28th Century. The crew discovered that the planet was rich in minerals such as molybdenum, and the Sensorites feared that their world would be plundered. They launched a mental attack on the astronauts. The Earth ship took off and exploded, and the Sensorites assumed that all of the humans had been on board. However, the Commander and two of his men had been left behind, and had arranged for the destruction of their ship to kill their colleagues who were trying to abandon them. The trio sabotaged the lights in the aqueduct which provided the Sensorite city with its water, and soon rumours spread of a monster hiding in the tunnels. Driven mad by the isolation and the darkness, the Commander began to poison the water supply using Deadly Nightshade. When the Doctor arrived on the planet, he decided to investigate the "disease" afflicting the Sensorites after Ian fell ill. He identified the poisoning. He went into the aqueduct and was attacked by the Commander and his men. Later, he and Ian re-entered the tunnels and met the humans. They succeeded in convincing the Commander that his war against the Sensorites was over and he was victorious, so could now return to Earth. This was a ruse to get the humans to leave the tunnels and they were ambushed by Sensorite warriors. The Commander was shot and stunned, the others taken prisoner. Captain Maitland and his crew agreed to take the men back to Earth where they could no longer cause the Sensorites any more harm.

Played by: John Bailey. Appearances: The Sensorites (1964).

  • Bailey only appears in the final episode - A Desperate Venture. He will return to the series in the more substantial role of Edward Waterfield - Victoria's father - in Evil of the Daleks. A final appearance will be as Sezom in The Horns of Nimon.
  • William Hartnell famously fluffs a line when he reads aloud the letters on a uniform badge which Ian finds in the aqueduct. On screen we clearly see INEER - the end of the word ENGINEER. However, Hartnell reads it as INNER. Rather pointlessly, the novelisation claims the Commander and his men belong to an organisation named after Hartnell's fluff - the clumsily titled INterstellar Navigation, Exploration and Research.

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