Friday, 7 May 2021

Galaxy Four animated

Apparently the Hartnell story Galaxy Four will be released soon in animated form. Good to see a move away from Troughton stories, and this one is an obvious choice for a Hartnell as it has a small cast, limited settings and easily animated robots. Also, only three of the four episodes are missing - although I suspect they will animate all four anyway (they did this with The Faceless Ones, so you could watch a fully animated story and not have to switch between live / animated).
Of course, those of us who bought The Aztecs Special Edition DVD already have this story animated to an extent. The surviving episode, plus the large chunk of Episode One which exists, were coupled with some reconstruction animation to give a near complete version of the story, edited down quite a bit.
Last year two Troughton stories were mentioned as being animated - Evil of the Daleks and The Abominable Snowmen - and there's been no more about them, plus we're still waiting for The Web of Fear with animated third episode.
Everything needs confirming.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Still around...

Finally getting around to a quick update on here. As it is, my ailment has proven more serious than first thought and, seven weeks later, I'm still in hospital. Still haven't seen Season 8 Blu-ray box set...
At least have some IT set up but main issue is fluctuating energy levels, making it hard to concentrate on one thing for very long. I will therefore start putting short items on the blog every so often to keep it - and myself - ticking over. Might be news comment or just quick musing. Biggest Who related story at the moments seems not to do with current filming but with the behaviour of Noel Clarke, including when he was promoting the series around 2005 / 2006, just as everyone is celebrating that first year with Eccleston reprising the Doctor on audio. Will the Clarke scandal get any mention in the next issue of DWM?
Many thanks for persevering and popping back.

Sunday, 7 March 2021


 Unfortunately I've been rather poorly over the last few days and not feeling up to posting. I think I'm on the mend now, though. Tomorrow I should be receiving the Season 8 box set, so I'm going to concentrate on watching that as I recuperate this week, and I'll be back with a review of the box set next weekend. 
See you then.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

J is for... Jaeger, Professor

Jaeger was a somewhat inept and amoral scientist who was in the employ of the Marshal of Solos. The Marshal ruled the planet Solos on behalf of the Earth Empire, which was then in decline. The Marshal used Jaeger to conduct experiments to make Solos' atmosphere breathable by humans, so that it could be fully colonised, irrespective of the harm it might do to the native peoples.
When the Doctor arrived on a mission for the Time Lords, he was forced to help the professor, but found that he could easily trick him as he did not know half of what he claimed to know. Occasionally Jaeger would stand up to the Marshal, but would always then follow his orders.
One of the Doctor's ruses was to sabotage the machine which would alter Solos' atmosphere, which the Marshal insisted Jaeger operate, and the professor was killed when it exploded.

Played by: George Pravda. Appearances: The Mutants (1972).
  • Pravda had earlier played Alexander Denes in The Enemy of the World, and would return to the series in 1976 as Castellan Spandrell, in The Deadly Assassin.
  • Writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin named the professor after their actor friend Frederick Jaeger, who they hoped might be cast in the role. Jaeger would go on to play a couple of other scientists in the series - Prof. Sorenson in Planet of Evil, and Prof. Marius, creator of K9, in The Invisible Enemy, having previously played Jano in The Savages.

J is for... Jacondans

A race of bird-like humanoids from the planet Jaconda. This idyllic world had for many years been ruled by a Time Lord named Azmael, who at one point had been visited by the Fourth Doctor. An ancient legend told of how the planet had once been blighted by giant slug-like creatures called Gastropods, which devoured all the vegetation and left the population starving. This had been caused when the queen of the planet had slighted their sun god. The sun god relented and destroyed the Gastropods. However, the story was more than mere myth. One Gastropod egg had survived and this resulted in Mestor, a Gastropod with great mental powers. He took over the planet and his people once again laid waste to it. Once again the Jacondans starved, and anyone caught stealing food was executed by Mestor, aided and abetted by his unctuous Jacondan Chamberlain.

Azmael was forced to work with Mestor on a scheme to use neighbouring planets as food sources for Jaconda - bringing them into closer orbit with their sun. Azmael abducted a pair of mathematically gifted twins - Romulus and Remus Sylvest - from Earth to help achieve this. Azmael was given two Jacondans as helpers in this task, the friendly Noma and the duplicitous Drak. The newly regenerated Sixth Doctor stumbled into this scheme, along with companion Peri and an Earth space security officer named Hugo Lang.
The Doctor realised that Mestor's true scheme was to destroy Jaconda and its neighbouring planets in a cosmic explosion which would send millions of Gastropod eggs across space to colonise other worlds.
Mestor killed Noma after using him to psychically spy on the Doctor and Azmael. Once the Gastropod had been defeated, the treacherous Chamberlain attempted to escape the planet but Lang refused to allow him to take the TARDIS. Azmael had died in defeating Mestor, and Lang decided to stay on as the new ruler.

Played by: Oliver Smith (Drak), Barry Stanton (Noma), Seymour Green (Chamberlain). Appearances: The Twin Dilemma (1984).
  • Seymour Green had earlier played Harrison Chase's butler Hargreaves in The Seeds of Doom.
  • As I pointed out in my review of this story, it is very odd that the Time Lords would have allowed one of their own to rule another planet, even if benignly. A relatively junior space security officer then just sets himself up as new ruler, and the Doctor - who has only known him a short time - doesn't see anything wrong with this.

J is for... Jackson, Maria

Maria Jackson was a schoolgirl who moved into a house on Bannerman Road, Ealing, with her father after her parents - Alan and Chrissie - had split up. The house was across the road from the home of Sarah Jane Smith. One night Maria saw strange lights coming from Sarah's garden, and witnessed her meeting with an alien being. Sarah had initially been reluctant to engage with the Jacksons, but their paths crossed when Maria and her friend Kelsey visited the new Bubble Shock! soft drinks factory, which Sarah was investigating. The factory was cover for an alien species called the Bane, who were planning to use their drink to take over everyone who drank it. Maria did not like it, so was immune to its effects. To refine the drink's effects, the leader of the Bane - Miss Wormwood - had created a human boy. Sarah and Maria rescued him, and he would become Sarah's adopted son Luke. After the Bane attacked Sarah's home, Sarah had no choice but to include Maria in her work. After the factory had been blown up, Maria and Luke started their new school - Park Vale. Here they met and befriended fellow pupil Clyde Langer. They discovered that the Headmaster and some of the teachers were disguised Slitheen, out for revenge after the destruction of their kin in the Downing Street explosion. The Slitheen planned to shut down the sun. Maria helped Sarah defeat them, along with Clyde and Luke.
Some time later Maria befriended an old lady named Bea at the Lavender Lawns retirement home, and learned that she had encountered aliens in her youth. She possessed an amulet which the alien Gorgons were seeking, in order to invade the Earth. At one point Maria's father was turned to stone by the Gorgon, but the amulet cured him.
Maria then helped Sarah defeat General Kudlak's plan to abduct children from gaming arcades to fight an interplanetary war - an adventure which allowed her to visit outer space and see the Earth from above.
Sarah gifted Maria an alien box, which - during the night - protected her from the Trickster removing Sarah from time and replacing her with an old school friend, Andrea Yates. As schoolchildren, Andrea had died in an accident, and the Trickster allowed her to swap with Sarah. Only Maria could remember Sarah, and know that time had been changed. Later the Trickster had Maria removed from time, but this time her father had been protected by the alien box. He forced the Trickster's Graske servant to return Maria, and later Sarah was able to convince Andrea to swap back before the Earth was destroyed by a meteorite. It was during this adventure that Alan found out about his daughter's dealings with aliens, and he threatened to move them away from the area. 
However, Alan was on hand to help his daughter when they had another encounter with the Slitheen - this time attempting to crash the Moon into the Earth.
Maria and Alan were on holiday in Cornwall when the Daleks and Davros moved the Earth out of its orbit to the Medusa Cascade.
Alan then announced that he had been offered a new job in the United States, and Maria had to inform Sarah she would be leaving. Unhappy at her departure, Sarah at first shunned Maria when they were called upon to investigate strange happenings at the Goblins Copse space research station. This proved to be the work of a lone Sontaran survivor of their recent failed attempt to turn Earth into a clone breeding planet. Sarah later apologised for her attitude towards her, as she had come to admire her and did not want to lose her.
Maria continued to stay in contact with Luke, Sarah and Clyde, and their new friend Rani, who had moved into her old home - including assisting with tracing Clyde when his father was taken over by a Berserker artefact. They were unable to attend Sarah's wedding, but Maria remained in touch with Luke for years afterwards.

Played by: Yasmin Paige. Appearances: SJA Pilot - Invasion of the Bane (2007), SJA Series 1 (2007), SJA 2.1 The Last Sontaran (2008), SJA 2.4 The Mark of the Berserker (2008).
  • Paige left the series after one season as she wished to concentrate on her education.
  • She was reunited with Tommy Knight (Luke) in 2014 when they both appeared in the E4 rural crime drama Glue.
  • Paige was also heard, but not seen, as Maria in the Series 2 story Day of the Clown, when she was heard on a phone call with her old gang.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Fortean Who (3)

The latest issue of Fortean Times (FT403 March 2021) has a small article about unusual ghosts - unusual as in non-humanoid. As well as a haunted lamppost, and a giant luminous crab, there is a tale as recounted by Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, of a ghostly encounter he had as a small boy.
He was the guest of a school friend at an Elizabethan house in Sussex. There were many other guests, and the friend he was staying with seemed uncertain about the room that Pertwee was to sleep in. The boy's mother assured him it would be okay as children tend to be deep sleepers.
On the first night, Pertwee woke up feeling nauseous, and threw up over the bedclothes. He had no explanation for this illness, which soon passed.
The next night however, he woke up to smell a terrible stench in the room, as of rotten meat. He then witnessed a glowing green object, similar to a tree stump, at the foot of the bed, which moved slowly across the room. He was so frightened that he wet himself and ran out of the room to where others were sleeping.
The family were obviously aware of this apparition but thought that, as a child, he would sleep through any manifestation.
Now Pertwee was a great story-teller, especially if it involved himself, and he would often elaborate and expand on his own role in the narrative. What makes this story sound plausible is the strangeness of the thing he saw (and smelled). Most kids making up ghost stories would have gone for the headless Tudor, or the hooded monk, or the spectral lady in white - something traditional being more likely to be believed. The sheer bizarreness of Jon's experience suggests that it might possibly have been true. Who knows...?