Monday 28 February 2022

Inspirations - The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances

During the classic era of the programme, a couple of writers attempted to sell stories with a World War II setting. One was Brian Hayles, and the other was Douglas Camfield. Both stories were turned down as that period of history was deemed too recent, with possibly traumatic memories for viewers, and therefore not suitable ground for a family programme like Doctor Who. (The sitcom Dad's Army almost never made it off the drawing board for similar reasons).
It wasn't until its final year that the war made it into a story, when Ian Briggs gave us The Curse of Fenric. The actual war took place well off screen, as we were on home territory and the story dealt more with the Russians and the potential aftermath of the conflict than it did with the Germans. It could just as easily have been a Cold War story as a WWII one.
The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances can only really be set in World War II, and specifically in the time of the London Blitz, as it relies so much on the imagery of the gas-masked zombies.
There had been a fear of gas attacks on civilian populations in WWI as well, as London did get attacked by early bombers and by Zeppelins.
The fact that May 2005 was the 60th anniversary of VE Day probably also suggested the WWII setting.

Gas mask imagery had featured in the show before, back in a number of stories directed by David Maloney. There's a sudden appearance of a pair of German soldiers in gas masks in Part One of The War Games, the slow-motion massacre of gas-masked Thal soldiers in the opening moments of Genesis of the Daleks, and then we have the sight of a gas-masked soldier and his gas-masked horse in the Matrix in The Deadly Assassin. Other figures in the latter wear darkened goggles which give the appearance of being gas mask-like.
The gas mask gives the appearance of a dehumanised, skull-like visage.
This is Steven Moffat's first ever story for the programme, and - as time will tell - he liked to base his monsters on things which would appear frightening to children. Children themselves can be very creepy if written and directed well.
It was inevitable that Moffat would look to a writer like Robert Holmes, master of Doctor Who Gothic Horror, for some inspiration. Holmes liked to make the everyday scary, and Moffat would pretty much build his entire Doctor Who career around this.
Setting the story entirely at night certainly helps make it spookier, the child's face remains masked, and he only ever repeats the same phrase over and over. Everyone is warned not to let him touch you.
The idea of a catchphrase - "Are you my mummy?" - may have come from writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin, who liked to give their characters such phrases - "Eldrad must live!", "Contact has been made", and "The Quest is the Quest".

Russell T Davies knew that the series was going to end with a battle. The Doctor and Rose could not fight - the former had done so recently but the experience had turned him against violence, whilst the Doctor would not have tolerated the latter had she been someone who would readily turn to violence. A soldier was therefore needed to play a part in this climactic battle - which is where the character of Captain Jack Harkness came in. Even before we start to pick up his backstory we are led to believe that he is an American citizen who has come to the UK to fight, when his own country has yet to even join the conflict. It transpires that this is just a charade, and he has only been on Earth for a short while longer than the Doctor and Rose have.
He mentions the Time Agency, and hails from the 51st Century, so we are in the period mentioned by the Doctor and Magnus Greel in The Talons of Weng-Chiang (Robert Holmes again). Greel had feared being hunted down by Time Agents. Greel was said to have travelled back in time from the year 5000, when there was both a war and another Ice Age.
"Captain Jack Harkness" isn't a million miles away from "Captain Jack Harkaway", mentioned in The Mind Robber.

Star Trek is categorically only a TV show in this universe. "Spock" is a euphemism for technology.
Talking of euphemisms, according to Moffat - and only Moffat - "dancing" equates to sex. Typical of a sitcom writer obsessed with sex to name a whole episode after it.
At the time, John Barrowman's sexuality, and his character's omnisexuality, led to accusations of a "gay agenda" being introduced to the show. This had actually been claimed by the right wing press since the day RTD was announced as the new show-runner.
The name "Chula" comes from an Indian restaurant in Hammersmith where Moffat went for a meal alongside Mark Gatiss, Paul Cornell and Robert Shearman after they got the 2005 writing gig.
This wasn't Moffat's first idea for the series. RTD didn't like the initial pitch and they came up with this story instead.

On These Days... 28th & 29th February

As we won't be getting a 29th of February this year, we'll be covering the 28th and the 29th February today.
The Silurians reached its fifth instalment today in 1970, as did The Seeds of Doom in 1976.
Tom Baker's tenure in the TARDIS approached its termination as Logopolis got underway in 1981. Tegan Jovanka was introduced, as well as the concept of the Watcher - which was never used again.

Today we wish Murray Gold a happy 53rd birthday. He composed the music for Series 1 - 10, and very fine a great deal of it is. I much prefer Gold's work to Segun Akinola's. There has been nothing to match "I am the Doctor", "Vale Decem", "The Shepherd's Song" or "The Madman with a Box" in the last four years as far as I'm concerned. Akinola's music is perfectly fine in context, as background incidental music, but Gold knew how to write memorable themes that could justify whole concerts of his Doctor Who works.

As for Leap Years, there has only ever been one episode of Doctor Who broadcast on the 29th February in almost six decades, and that was The Singing Sands in 1964 - the second episode of Marco Polo.

On the 29th we also remember the actor Dennis Chinnery, who featured in the series on three occasions, two of which involved the Daleks.
He played Albert C Richardson, first mate of the Mary Celeste, in The Chase. His best known role was as Gharman, leading member of the Kaled Scientific Elite in Genesis of the Daleks. His final role was as Professor Sylvest, father of Romulus and Remus in The Twin Dilemma.
Chinnery passed away on 29th February 2012, aged 84.
The Elite were clearly based on the Nazis, and the man who portrayed the title character in Let's Kill Hitler has a leap year birthday. Albert Welling is 70, even if he's only had 17 birthdays.

Sunday 27 February 2022

Episode 8: The Ambush

As the Doctor and his companions leave their cell, with Ian hidden inside the Dalek's casing, its previous occupant tries feebly to claw its way out from beneath a cloak.
The travellers move along the corridor until they come to a lift. Ian informs the guard that he is escorting the prisoners to the Dalek council. Susan pretends to attempt an escape to divert the guard, and Ian gets everyone into an antechamber which lies between the corridor and the lift. The guard checks on the prisoner escort and is told that no such order has been given. The Doctor has disabled the door. However, Ian finds himself trapped in the casing as the catch has stuck. Additionally, they cannot move him into the lift as the Daleks have magnetised the floor.
In the forest by the TARDIS, the rest of the Thals have arrived. They include Ganatus' brother Antodus, and friends Elyon and Kristas. Dyoni questions Ganatus about his brother's fear of the dark, which greatly upsets him. Temmosus explains to all that he will lead a group to the city to collect the promised supplies, despite Alydon's concerns.
The Daleks begin cutting their way through to the antechamber. The Doctor, Barbara and Susan use the lift to travel to a higher level. The Daleks break in and destroy the casing - but it is already empty. Ian had got out at the last minute and is now ascending in the lift. He gets out before the Daleks can bring it down again. The Daleks use the lift themselves, but the travellers push a stone sculpture down the shaft, wrecking it.
From their high vantage point, the travellers see movement down below and realise that it must be the Thals, come for the food. They will be walking into a trap. They must get down to ground level and warn them.
Ian elects to remain behind to do this, whilst the Doctor, Barbara and Susan must flee into the forest to the TARDIS landing site.
Temmosus offers the Daleks the friendship and co-operation of the Thals, but his hopes fall on deaf ears. Ian tries to warn him but the Daleks emerge from hiding and shoot him down. Other Thals are killed or injured, but most manage to flee back into the forest.
At the camp, the Thals try to comprehend why the Daleks acted as they did. Ian suggests that they simply hate anything which is not like themselves. Whatever, the Thals will not fight to defend themselves as memories of the neutronic war have led them to adopt a pacifist philosophy.
The Doctor dismisses his companions' thoughts on the nature of the Thals as none of their business. They must return to the TARDIS and get on their way. He asks Ian for the Fluid Link, and the schoolteacher suddenly recalls that he no longer has it. It was taken from him by the Daleks, and is still down there in their city...
Next Episode: The Expedition.

Written by: Terry Nation
Recorded: Friday 13th December 1963.
First broadcast: 5:15pm, Saturday 11th January, 1964.
Ratings: 9.9 million / AI 63
Director: Christopher Barry
Designer: Raymond P Cusick
Additional cast: Marcus Hammond (Antodus), Gerald Curtis (Elyon), Jonathan Crane (Kristas).

It ought to be remembered that viewers at the time had no idea of how long a story was going to last. The one with the cavemen had lasted four weeks, so they might have been forgiven for thinking that all stories were going to be of this length. It looks like this story is over when the Doctor and his companions are about to head back to the TARDIS and leave. The Daleks are plotting the destruction of the Thals, but they are pacifists who will not fight, even to defend themselves. It would have made for a most unsatisfying conclusion had it ended like this, with threads hanging. 
The biggest thread, we would have forgotten all about.
It's only at the last minute that the Fluid Link is mentioned. You would need a very good memory indeed to recall that it was last seen in the laboratory back in Part Two, just before the travellers were captured.
Whilst suspenseful, the story has hardly been action-packed up to this point. Things are more than made up for here as we have the tense escape, which takes up most of the running time, then the ambush of the episode's title - the first time we really see the Daleks as actively evil beings. They've only really been untrustworthy up until now, but Ian nails them when he points out their "dislike for the unlike". They are racist and genocidal - showing their roots in the Nazis of World War II. Nation spoke more about this inspiration when it came to their second story but it was obvious from the start.
Within the story we learn that Skaro is one of at least 12 planets in its solar system. We'll later get at least two different versions of their genesis but here we discover that the Daleks' predecessors were known as Dals, and were known as philosophers and teachers. The Thals were the belligerent, militaristic ones.
The Daleks have had a huge impact on the general public - note that viewing figure of almost 10 million, and a high audience appreciation figure. It was at this point that the fan mail started to arrive at the BBC in earnest, generally from youngsters and most of which was forwarded to Nation.

  • Christopher Barry returns to direct. He had directed the remount of The Dead Planet the week before recording this.
  • The remount allowed some filming of the Daleks to take place at Ealing. These were the scenes of the Daleks cutting through the door. When the story's pre-filming had taken place in October, the Dalek props had not been available.
  • Retaining the cast for an additional week to cover the remount had implications further down the line. Jacqueline Hill, expecting the series to end after 13 weeks, had a film role lined up for January 1964, which she had to drop out of.
  • The magnetisation of the floor was a late script addition, to explain why they simply couldn't have pushed Ian's Dalek into the lift.
  • Antodus was originally to be called Ven.
  • Photos were taken of the travellers and Thals at the campsite. These were for the Dalek scanners in the following week's episode.
  • Oh dear... Ian, the ever so polite Englishman, waits for Temmosus to deliver his stirring speech before warning everyone - allowing the Daleks time to exterminate him and at least one other of his people.
  • A scripted line by one Dalek was "They are to be destroyed..." but this was amended to "They are to be exterminated...". Their famous catchphrase is on its way.
  • How does Ian know that the Daleks are led by a council? This has never been mentioned in any dialogue.

On This Day... 27th February

For the Doctor and his companions it was an Escape to Danger today in 1965. That was the third episode of The Web Planet.
A Zarbi was one of the foes which the Third Doctor saw when under attack by the Master's alien Mind Parasite at Stangmoor Prison. The Mind of Evil arrived at its fifth episode today in 1971.
Meanwhile, Richard Briers, who had previously portrayed the Chief Caretaker in Paradise Towers, was the guest star in the Torchwood episode A Day in the Death in 2008.

Nicholas Courtney was playing the Brigadier tonight in 2000, but not in Doctor Who or any of its spin-offs. Comedian Harry Hill was naming Labour politician Clare Short as the new Doctor, and the Brigadier was on hand to welcome her to the role. He had a special cut glass bowl to present to her, but unfortunately a Cyberman (played by Hill) knocked it out of his hands.
In another sketch, Hill once played Davros opposite Jon Pertwee.

Today we wish Tom Chadbon a happy 76th birthday. He is best known for playing private detective Duggan in the classic City of Death, but also featured in The Mysterious Planet as Merdeen.

Saturday 26 February 2022

On This Day... 26th February

Forget the fact that the Sea Devils are 50 years old today. The most significant thing that happened in the worlds of Doctor Who on this day was that we discovered that the Master was a fan of The Clangers.
The Sea Devils got under weigh with its first episode today in 1972.
Back in 1966 The Massacre reached its fourth and final instalment, titled Bell of Doom. This title derives from the bell of the church of St Germain-L'Auxerrois which lay close to the Louvre. It was the tolling of this bell which signalled the start of the St Bartholomew's Day Massacre.
Finally, in 1976, Season 14 drew to a close as The Talons of Weng-Chiang got underway.

Friday 25 February 2022

The Art of... The Daleks

Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks was the full title of David Whitaker's novelisation of Terry Nation's first Doctor Who story. From this point on, however, we won't be using this lengthy title. The book differs greatly from the TV story in that it features the very first meeting of the Doctor with Ian and Barbara, who do not know each other. It is told in the first person by Ian, who comes to the aid of Barbara and Susan who have been involved in an accident on a fogbound Barnes Common in South West London.
It was published in  hardback by Frederick Muller Ltd in November 1964. The cover art was by Arnold Schwartzman, using one of his internal illustrations.
The pink cover was the one which they used for a recent reprint, but it was also available in a grey version. No Daleks on the cover.

The book made its paperback debut from Armada in 1965. This had a colourful cover depicting the Doctor in a billowing cape, standing in front of the TARDIS. Considering that the story begins on a foggy winters night, the blue sky and bright green grass make for a less than atmospheric cover. And there are still no Daleks.

The 1967 edition by Avon was for the US market. The Daleks finally feature on the cover, albeit toy ones armed with sparklers.

The Target paperback came in 1973, with the cover art by the late Chris Achilleos. For reference he had a photo of Hartnell from The Celestial Toymaker, whilst the Daleks came from the TV Century 21 comic strip (The Rogue Planet) rather than BBC photos. We also have a pink TARDIS. 
This was the first version to reduce the title to the simpler Doctor Who and the Daleks.
It was one of a trio of Muller Hartnell novels which Target were republishing, the others being Doctor Who and the Zarbi and Doctor Who and the Crusaders.
This version of the cover has been reprinted twice - giving it first the diamond logo and then the TV Movie one in 2011.
The Achilleos cover was also used for the audiobook reading of the story, by William Russell.

Achilleos' cover was reused for the Turkish version (Doktor Kim Ve Dalekler) and a Dutch edition (Doctor Who En De Daleks) which elected to reverse the image.

One of the oddest covers came in 1975 when White Lion issued the book in hardback. You may have seen this version in public libraries. With the success of Tom Baker, those first three novels all featured the Fourth Doctor on their covers instead of the First. There are little Daleks and a TARDIS around Baker's eyes.

Other foreign versions include the French one, presented by the twins Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff, and another Dutch version, this time a 1966 hardback edition. The Doctor on the French cover has been given a Fourth Doctor scarf but otherwise is dressed like Hartnell. Both artists have clearly seen Daleks for reference, though the French ones look a lot later.

Oddest of all are the Japanese and Portuguese covers. For the Japanese market, the TARDIS is more like a traditional red telephone box and we see that the Daleks are black with wobbly bases. The title translates roughly as "Space-Time Earth Overwintering I".
The Portuguese one simply doesn't seem to represent anything recognisable from the story, as though the artist has never so much as seen a photograph of it.

Finally, for the books, Target reissued the paperback in 1992, with a new cover by artist Alistair Pearson using a number of BBC reference images, including one of Ian taken for An Unearthly Child.

Moving onto the VHS and DVD covers, the story was first released on VHS in two parts. The first half was "The Dead Planet" and the photomontage cover was in monochrome B&W. It contained Episodes 1 - 4. The second half was subtitled "The Expedition" and included Episodes 5 - 7. It had the same cover. only tinted a reddish brown. Both tapes were issued in June 1989.

In the US you could get both of the British tapes together on the one release (above).
Whilst the main image came from the story itself, the smaller Daleks at the foot of the cover originated from Day of the Daleks and were therefore of the wrong design.

The story was reissued on a single VHS tape in February 2001, in remastered form. The version on the right is the Australian release. Note the higher level of guidance rating. Australia had much stricter guidelines on TV violence and horror than we had in the UK, to the extent that many Doctor Who stories were banned there unless censored or moved to a post watershed time slot. One benefit of this was that we got a lot of censored clips from stories which no longer exist.
The image of Hartnell comes from The Space Museum.

The story arrived on DVD in the UK in 2006 with a cover put together by Clayton Hickman. It was part of The Beginning box set, along with An Unearthly Child and The Edge of Destruction.

In the US, the story was packaged with The Edge of Destruction in their own version of The Beginning box set. It and An Unearthly Child have the same large Hartnell image on their covers, but the first story has Susan bottom right, where this has the Doctor, Ian and Susan surrounded by Daleks.
The US box set had as its overall cover the UK image for The Daleks.

Henry Lincoln 1930 - 2022

It has been announced that the writer Henry Lincoln has died, at the age of 91. With his writing partner Mervyn Haisman (d.2010) he wrote three Doctor Who stories - The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear and The Dominators.
As such, he was partly responsible for the Yeti, the Great Intelligence and the character of Lethbridge Stewart. Lincoln and Haisman retained the rights to the Brigadier.
A third Great Intelligence / Yeti story - "The Laird of McCrimmon" - would have written out Jamie from the series, after he returned to take over his ancestral seat. It might possibly have been the one to write Patrick Troughton out of the series as well. However, the writers fell out with Script Editor Derrick Sherwin and Producer Peter Bryant over The Dominators - to the extent that they had their names removed from it. It is credited to Norman Ashby - a name derived from their respective fathers-in-law.
The arguments centred on the rewriting of the story, reducing it from 6 to 5 episodes, and the potential marketing of the Quarks.
Lincoln was born Henry Soskin and followed an acting career before taking up writing. Interested in archaeology he was appearing in a production which centred around Egyptology, and complained about how inaccurate it was. He was asked if he could improve these sections, and so did his first writing for drama.
In 1969 he was visiting France and came across a place called Rennes-le-Chateau, which was the scene of a mystery - the local priest supposedly having come across a buried treasure. This was the starting point for the bestseller The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, co-written with Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh. A court case to prove that this had been pilfered wholesale for The Da Vinci Code failed.
Lincoln's death is sadly significant as far as Doctor Who goes, as he was the last surviving 1960's writer.

This Day... 25th February

It might have been an even bigger surprise when the Sontarans appeared on the Panopticon steps at the cliff-hanger to Part Four of The Invasion of Time, today in 1978, had the BBC not used a photo of Kelner and Stor to advertise the episode.
Back in 1967, the Cybermen had come out of hiding and taken over The Moonbase in its third instalment. 

Today we remember designer Barry Newbery, who passed away on this date in 2015, aged 88.
He was called upon to design the very first story - An Unearthly Child - after its original designer Peter Brachacki fell ill after handling the pilot version. Newbery then worked on the first two seasons, mostly alternating with Ray Cusick. Whilst Cusick tended to get the Sci-Fi stories, Newbery got the historical ones - Marco Polo, The Aztecs, The Crusade and The Time Meddler
He shared work with Cusick for the last time on the same story - The Daleks' Master Plan.
Other Season 3 stories included The Ark, and The Gunfighters.
From the fourth season onwards his work on the show was more intermittent. Later stories included The Dominators, The Silurians, The Brain of MorbiusThe Masque of Mandragora and The Awakening in 1984, his final contribution to the series.

Thursday 24 February 2022

On This Day... 24th February

Season 16 - the Key to Time Season - came to a rather unsatisfying conclusion today in 1979. The Key was put together, then just thrown away again, making the whole season feel a little pointless.
The Black Guardian made his debut at least, played by Valentine Dyall. This was in Part Six of The Armageddon Factor.
Earlier, in 1968, The Web of Fear reached its fourth instalment, which is our earliest surviving look at the man who would be the Brigadier.
The real 10th anniversary story got under way today in 1973. Barry Letts and Terrance Dicks had contemplated trying to match the twelve part The Daleks Master Plan. Its director, Douglas Camfield, advised against this. Instead they came up with two linked six part stories, starting today with Frontier in Space. We know from VFX drawings that this was going to feature Cybermen rather than Ogrons, in league with the Master.
Also making its debut today, in 1984, was the second episode of Planet of Fire.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

On This Day... 23rd February

Apparently it was incoming Script Editor Robert Holmes who chose to call the story which opened today in 1974 Death to the Daleks - because he really didn't like them.
We had two Davison stories conclude today, and one commence. The Visitation arrived at its fourth episode in 1982, and Terminus its fourth in 1983.
The opening instalment of Planet of Fire debuted in 1984, introducing Nicola Bryant's Peri as the new companion-to-be.
In 1985, The Two Doctors reached its midpoint, with Part Two today. One of its guest stars, Laurence Payne, passed away on this day in 2009, aged 89. He had previously portrayed Johnny Ringo in The Gunfighters in 1966, and the Argolin leader Morix in The Leisure Hive in 1981.

On the same evening that The Two Doctors Part Two was shown, Jim'll Fix It delivered the mini-episode A Fix With Sontarans, in which Colin Baker read his lines off the set, and Tegan inexplicably rejoined the TARDIS crew in the uniform of the job she had lost two years before. There was also a miniature version of the Sixth Doctor, so I'd avoid trying to make this canon if I were you.
It was also around now that the news broke that Doctor Who was being put on hiatus.
More recently, in 2020, the penultimate episode of Series 12 was first shown - Ascension of the Cybermen.
A technical hitch meant that the channel kept switching back and forth to a costume drama about a young man joining the Garda in 1950's Ireland. I think.

Tuesday 22 February 2022

On This Day... 22nd February

The Doctor and his companions found themselves on The Roof of the World today in 1964 - in the first episode of Marco Polo. One of the reasons this story crops up so often in "rediscovered missing episodes" rumours is that everything around it still exists, so people find it hard to understand how this might not. How can a whole story vanish when the stuff either side of it still survives? One day it may come back. Yes, one day. But until then, there must be no tears, no anxieties...
Elsewhere, The Seeds of Death approached its conclusion with its fifth instalment in 1969.
In 1975 the Sontarans made their first comeback, in Part One of The Sontaran Experiment. Kevin Lindsey returned as another of his kind - Styre.
Finally we had a duo of third instalments of Peter Davison stories - The Visitation in 1982, and Terminus in 1983.

Today we remember one of the best loved stars of Doctor Who. It was on 22nd February 2011 that Nicholas Courtney passed away, at the age of 81.
His first brush with the programme was a near miss, when he was considered for the role of King Richard I in The Crusade. Director Douglas Camfield had thought that his first choice, Julian Glover, would turn him down, so Courtney was his back-up plan.
Camfield remembered him when it came to casting the part of space security agent Bret Vyon in the first four episodes of The Daleks' Master Plan a season later. William Hartnell talked him into changing his agent, and he was out of work for the best part of a year.
Camfield once again used him on The Web of Fear in 1968. He was cast as Captain Knight, who was destined to perish before the end of the story. Another character in the story was Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, who was to be played by David Langton. Langton had to pull out, and so Camfield promoted Courtney from Captain to Colonel - and the rest is history.

When Derrick Sherwin, script editor and future producer, contemplated bringing the Doctor down to Earth for his seventh season, turning him into a Quatermass-style figure who would often find himself allied with the military, a trial run was made with a Cyberman story - The Invasion. Sherwin planned to bring back three of the characters from The Web of Fear, but in the end only carried the Colonel forward - now a Brigadier and placed in charge of an outfit called UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce). Courtney was asked if he would like to become a regular on the seventh season, and he readily agreed. He appeared throughout Seasons 7 - 11 in at least two stories per year. 
Once Barry Letts handed over the producership to Philip Hinchcliffe, and Tom Baker became the Doctor, Courtney realised that his time might be up. He appeared in only two Tom Baker stories - Robot and Terror of the Zygons. Stage work prevented him from returning for The Android Invasion and The Seeds of Doom, but his role would have been greatly reduced in them anyway.
He did eventually return in Mawdryn Undead in 1983, the Brigadier now retired from UNIT and teaching maths at a boys school. This was quickly followed by The Five Doctors, where he was paired with Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor after Frazer Hines proved unavailable to make a full appearance.

His final appearance in the programme was in Battlefield, in the final season. The character was all set to be killed off in this, which Courtney was happy with so long as it was a noble ending, but the writer couldn't bring himself to kill the Brigadier. Apart from an appearance in the unofficial video production Downtime, which featured a daughter named Kate for the Brigadier, Courtney did not appear as the Brigadier again until a pair of episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures - Enemy of the Bane.
Ill health had prevented him from appearing in the parent programme, but his character has been referenced many times, especially once Kate Stewart was introduced. 
After Courtney's death, his character was announced as having passed away in The Wedding of River Song.
Nicholas Courtney - splendid chap...

Monday 21 February 2022

Stewart Bevan 1948 - 2022

Very sorry to hear today of the death of actor Stewart Bevan, at the age of 73. He played Professor Cliff Jones in the classic The Green Death, whom Jo Grant fell in love with. In real life, Bevan was Katy Manning's partner at the time. Director Michael E Briant had been reluctant to cast a friend of the star, but he proved to be the best person for the job anyway.
Bevan returned to the role in a spoof documentary, by Mark Gatiss, on the story's DVD. 

Since then he has been reunited with Katy Manning for both the trailers for the Pertwee Blu-ray box-sets - battling Autons on the Season 8 one, and Giant Maggots on the Season 10 one. He and Manning also feature in new documentaries on each - revisiting the locations for The Daemons and The Green Death.
A great friend of the series, he'll be sorely missed.

K is for... Kane (1)

Kane was a criminal mastermind from the planet Proamon. He and his partner and lover Xana were eventually hunted down. She was killed and he captured. He was exiled alone on a spacecraft to the planet Svartos, which was a frozen world with a permanent dark side. The power source for the ship was removed and hidden within a biomechanoid creature which was heavily armed. The power source was known as the "Dragonfire" and the biomechanoid the "Dragon".
The people of Proamon existed only at temperatures below freezing, meaning Kane could not venture far from a freezing cabinet which kept his body temperature low. His touch could kill human beings, but to spend any length of time in their environment would prove fatal to him. He was unable to go and find the Dragonfire.
He turned his ship into a trading post for travellers, known as Iceworld. Through this he began recruiting an army so that he could get his revenge on his home planet. People were abducted from Iceworld, or blackmailed into joining him. Their memories were wiped by rapid freezing, turning them into mindless zombies, obedient only to him.
He commissioned an ice sculpture of Xana, killing the sculptor when he had finished the work as only he was permitted to look upon it. It was destroyed during a failed coup by some of his officers, who tried to kill him by raising the temperature of his inner sanctum.
Kane eventually tracked down the Dragonfire by manipulating the intergalactic conman Sabalom Glitz, who was being assisted by the Doctor.
However, the Doctor was able to show him that during the centuries of his imprisonment, Proamon had been destroyed by its own sun. 
Devoid of purpose, Kane elected to open his sun-shields and killed himself, his body melting away to nothing in seconds.

Played by: Edward Peel. Appearances: Dragonfire (1987).
  • If you like to count the mini-episodes which are used as trailers for the Blu-ray box-sets as canon, then Kane survived his death on Iceworld. In 24 Carat! he tried to sell a face cream product called "Mr Melty" to Melanie Bush.

K is for... Kandyman

A psychotic android encountered by the Doctor and Ace on the human colony planet of Terra Alpha. The Kandyman was composed of sweets along with its electronic parts. It had been created by Gilbert M, but it did not accept his authority over it.
Helen A, the despotic ruler of the colony, employed the Kandyman as an executioner. It used prisoners in its experiments to devise sweets that were so good that they killed you - but you died with a smile on your face. 
Being composed of confectionary, it was susceptible to heat which might melt it. It could also find itself glued to the floor when it stepped in spilled lemonade.
When Helen A's regime collapsed, Gilbert M fled the plant with her consort Joseph C, whilst the Doctor and a human ally named Earl Sigma forced the Kandyman into the tunnels which once carried molten sugar beneath the city. The native creatures of Terra Alpha reactivated the machinery and the Kandyman was destroyed by its own "fondant surprise".

Played by: David John Pope. Appearances: The Happiness Patrol (1988).
  • The BBC got into trouble with the design of the Kandyman due to its similarity to Bertie Bassett, emblem of Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts.