The Savages is the first story from Ian Stuart Black. An accomplished screenwriter, he was visiting a production office at the BBC when he noticed that the Doctor Who office was right next door, so called in and asked if he could contribute something. Gerry Davis knew his work, and so invited him to submit a story.
Sadly, it is another one that is now lost from the archives, without even any clips surviving save for some grainy shots filmed on Super 8 off a TV screen by a fan. Telesnaps and audio do exist, however.
It wasn't a terribly popular story at the time, and fans have generally dismissed it since, partly because it lacks any monsters. The villains are entirely human ones.
The biggest problem with this story isn't so much what it is, as what it almost was. The working title for the story was "The White Savages". We already have a problem with the word "savages", as it is used to describe non-Western, indigenous peoples as being somewhat less than civilised, failing to appreciate that they simply have a different type of culture which is alien to our own. It implies being less than human - more primitive. To call a story "The White Savages" implies that savages are usually not-white - i.e. BAME people.
The problem is compounded by the fact that we can clearly see from the telesnaps that the actors playing the Elders have been given darkened skins, despite being played by Caucasian actors.
Presumably the writer intended this to be one of those reversed expectations stories, such as we had with Galaxy 4, where the beautiful female Drahvins were nasty villains, and the ugly walrus-like Rills were really friendly.
The only good thing we can say about all of this is that they had the sense to change the title before transmission - though the blacking-up and the racist overtones remain.
Other issues pertaining to the storyline itself include the fact that the Doctor knows that they have arrived in a time of great peace and prosperity just by looking at a quarry on the TARDIS scanner. The ship has never been able to tell him where or when they are before. And if he knows so much about this era, then why doesn't he know about what the Elders have been up to?
Jano, their leader, claims to have been following the Doctor's adventures for some time, and always assumed that he would visit them one day.
Two obvious problems arise from this. The first is: how can someone track a randomly travelling machine which travels through Time as well as Space. Secondly, if they know so much about the Doctor then surely they should know that their society is exactly the sort of thing which the Doctor is likely to take offence at and endeavour to bring down. Jano is also surprised that the Doctor is travelling with companions, so just how much have they been paying attention? This incarnation - the only one known at the time - has never travelled alone.
Just how big is this planet if the Savages continue to live just a stone's throw away from the city belonging to the people who exploit them?
The unnamed planet is represented, as mentioned, by a quarry. Yes, this is where the cliche begins. The only other time the series has filmed at a quarry was back in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, when it was supposed to be a quarry.
Plans were already well advanced at this stage to have William Hartnell written out of the programme due to his ill health and increasing unreliability. They almost tried it in The Celestial Toymaker, where he was made invisible and mute and could have been brought back as a different actor. There is another opportunity here, but they don't take it. The Doctor's life essence has been transferred to Jano, and they could have had the Doctor's old body die but have him continue to exist in Jano, had they found an actor who would have wanted to remain in the role beyond this one guest appearance.
Lastly, this is the final appearance of Peter Purves as Steven, which is itself something wrong, as he's been great. He's been carrying the show at times for a while now.
The Doctor has ended the Elders' preying upon the Savages, and they decide they now want someone neutral to lead their new unified society. The Doctor, out of the blue, proposes Steven, despite him never having shown much in the way of leadership skills. He's expected to forge a new community from two factions which have only just stopped fighting each other. It's all a bit abrupt, with no foreshadowing. Companion departures are badly handled throughout Season 3, and we'll see the epitome of this when we get to the next story...