Wednesday 30 November 2022

Class 01: For Tonight We Might Die

In which the Doctor's frequent visits to the Coal Hill area of London are shown to have consequences...
One of the pupils at Coal Hill School is not what he appears. Charlie is really an alien prince - a member of a race known as the Rhodians. One of the teachers - Miss Quill - is also a disguised alien. Her people are called the Quill. This race was enslaved by the Rhodians following a lengthy war. Miss Quill is bonded to Charlie, forced to serve and protect him despite her hatred of him and his people. An implant enforces this. She will die if she attempts to use any weapon.
The Rhodians were wiped out by another race called the Shadow Kin, but Charlie and Miss Quill were rescued by the Doctor and brought to Earth - which is how they found themselves at Coal Hill School.
Frequent visits from the TARDIS, Dalek and Cyberman time devices have damaged local Space / Time, and alien beings have been able to manifest themselves on Earth at this point. The most recent of these is a member of the Shadow Kin. They know of Charlie's survival, and seek to end the Rhodian race.

Charlie finds it hard to relate to humans due to his alien nature and aristocratic roots, but he comes to befriend some of the school's other loners. 
April McLean and Tanya Adeola have been tasked with preparing decorations for the forthcoming School Prom. April is thinking of asking Charlie to the prom, but he is intending to ask another boy named Matteusz. Charlie has noticed a strange shadow around the school.
Another boy named Ram Singh has also noticed this. He is not academically gifted, preferring football.
Tanya is then threatened by the shadow, but dismisses it as imagination due to overwork. She was regarded as a child prodigy and is constantly pressured to do well in her studies.
At home, Miss Quill tells Charlie that she is aware of the shadow, and that it has already destroyed one of the pupils.
The shadow attacks April when she is alone in the school hall, and another appears in Tanya's bedroom, witnessed by Ram who is on a video call with her.
Miss Quill wants to help April but cannot use her weapon against it. Charlie arrives in time and uses the weapon - a displacement gun - on the shadow creature.
This proves to be Corakinus - King of the Shadow Kin. Charlie's shot goes wrong. Corakinus has merged with April and they now share a heart - a side-effect of the displacement.

At the Prom, the Shadow Kin launch a massed attack. Ram's partner is killed, and when he tries to fight the creatures he loses part of his leg - cut off by one of their swords. April at one point is transferred to the dimension which is home to the Shadow Kin - the Underneath - and learns of their quest to find "the prince". He has an object known as the Cabinet of Souls, which he brought with him when he fled his home planet. The Shadow Kin see this as a great weapon which threatens them, and they want to obtain it.
The TARDIS materialises and the Doctor emerges. He has been keeping an eye on the Rhodian refugees and has been concerned about Charlie using the Cabinet.
April threatens to sacrifice herself by destroying Corakinus' heart. The Shadow Kin are forced to retreat back to their own dimension.
The Doctor temporarily seals the tear in dimensions, then helps Ram by providing him with a bionic leg. He warns Miss Quill and the young people of the threat posed by the damage to the area. There will be other alien dangers to face.
It later transpires that the Cabinet contains millions of Rhodian souls...

For Tonight We Might Die was written by Patrick Ness, creator of the series, and first broadcast on BBC 3 on 22nd October 2016. It is the opening instalment of a new spin-off from Doctor Who - the first new spin-off since The Sarah Jane Adventures nine years before. Anglo-American Ness is a well-known writer of Young Adult fiction, and this is the audience which Class appears to be pitched at. 
One of his best known works - A Monster Calls - was made into a movie in 2016, starring Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson voicing the titular monster.
Steven Moffat acted as Executive Producer, as did Brian Minchin who held the same position on the parent programme.
2016 was a gap year for Doctor Who, with no series being produced between The Husbands of River Song and the following Christmas Special - The Return of Dr Mysterio
Fans were pleased to hear about this spin-off because of this. Ness was a big name, and it was announced that the series would have concrete links with the parent series in that it was going to be set in and around Coal Hill School. This had first featured in An Unearthly Child, when Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright had been teachers, and the Doctor's granddaughter Susan was a pupil there.
The area - though not the school itself - was visited again in 1985 when the Sixth Doctor and Peri visited the junkyard at Totter's Lane in Attack of the Cybermen.
The school did get another visit back in 1963, when the Daleks used it as a base in Remembrance of the Daleks. They set up a transmat in the school basement.

More recently, Clara Oswald had obtained a job teaching English there, where she met Maths and gym teacher Danny Pink. A notice proclaimed Ian as Chairman of the School Board in The Day of the Doctor. The TARDIS was based on site for a time, when the Doctor took on a temporary job as School Caretaker. Temporal technology was used then to twice remove an alien Skovox Blitzer robot.
All this activity has damaged the area, creating a similar set-up to Torchwood's Cardiff Rift - where dangers from other planets and dimensions have a chance to break through to this one.
Something else which the fans were pleased about was the news that Peter Capaldi would be appearing in a cameo role to help launch the series. Neither Torchwood nor The Sarah Jane Adventures had featured the Doctor in their pilots / openers.
The only other previously seen character in this episode is Headmaster Mr Armitage, who had featured in a couple of Series 8 stories, most notably in The Caretaker. He is played by Nigel Betts.

Miss Quill is Katharine Kelly, who was well known for her six-year role as Becky McDonald in Coronation Street.
The younger members of the cast are led by Greg Austin as Charlie. He had featured in Mr Selfridge and is currently starring in Hunters on Amazon Prime, with Al Pacino.
As April we have Sophie Hopkins. Ram is Fady Elsayed. He was originally going to play Nabile in The Bells of St John, the young man who is captured by the wi-fi in the opening moments, but the sequence was re-recorded with another actor when Fady was no longer available.
Tanya is Vivian Oparah, and Matteusz is Jordan Renzo.
Playing Corakinus is Paul Marc Davis, who had portrayed the Trickster in The Sarah Jane Adventures, as well as the leader of the Futurekind in Utopia.
Corakinus and the Shadow Kin will prove to be recurring villains throughout the series, thanks to the notion of the shared heart. Other story arc elements include the Cabinet of Souls and the various relationships between the students (Charlie loves Matteusz, but is also fancied by April, and Tanya has an unrequited thing for April, whilst the relationship between Miss Quill and Charlie is one of forced dependency and mutual dislike and distrust).

Overall, an interesting start to the new series. The Shadow Kin are a great design and concept. We like the cantankerous Miss Quill from the outset, but the younger cast will take some getting used to. They don't all get much to do for now, other than Charlie and April.
Things you might like to know:
  • The episode had a working title of "The Prom".
  • The Doctor is stopped short by seeing the school In Memoriam board, which has the names C. Oswald and R.D. Pink on it.
  • The school is said to be sited on Foreman Street in Shoreditch - from Susan's assumed surname.
  • There are mentions of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and The Vampire Diaries - series which had inspired it. The location of the school is said to resemble the "Hellmouth" from Buffy. Buffy had been one of the main inspirations for Russell T Davies' 2005 revamp (no pun intended) of the series and the character of Rose Tyler.
  • The character of Mrs Linderhof who appears briefly is played by Laura-June Hudson. This is actually the costume designer June Hudson, who was responsible for much of the late Tom Baker era - including outfits for Mary Tamm, Lalla Ward and Tom's final burgundy costume.

Monday 28 November 2022

What's Wrong With... The Monster of Peladon

As this is supposed to be a sequel to an earlier story, then the first place to look for errors would be with continuity between the two stories. Is there anything in this new story which contradicts the earlier?
By employing the same director and some of the cast, plus the reuse of citadel designs, there's a lot of similarity.
One obvious inconsistency is the mineral trisilicate. In The Curse of Peladon it is clearly stated that this can only be found on Mars. Here, it is suddenly to be found on Peladon, which is a massive coincidence - considering this story also features Ice Warriors from Mars.
Chancellor Ortron appears to claim that he took over from Hepesh the very day that the old High Priest died - yet there was no sign of him in the earlier story.
Why does he not recognise the Doctor as well? Why does he think that Aggedor will harm the man who knows how to tame and control it? He admits openly that "everyone knows the stories about the Doctor" - then shows complete ignorance of them.
Why is there still a temple to Aggedor, when the Doctor previously revealed that it is an animal of flesh and blood and not a deity?
When Aggedor spares the Doctor and Sarah, why does Ortron persist in trying to undermine him?

After the events of the first story Alpha Centauri would have discovered that the Doctor was not a high-ranking Federation official. In fact, there would have been no record of him whatsoever - so why is it so pleased to see him and to vouch for him?
The locals aren't allowed anywhere near Federation weaponry - so why is there a large armoury of Federation weapons here? Wouldn't Federation troops bring their own, as the Ice Warriors do here?

Eckersley is using the mining control room as a base to employ the Aggedor projection / heat weapon, presumably operated by the Ice Warrior spotted by Sarah. 
The miners have been toiling away for a very long time up to this point - so how is the trisilicate currently being processed? Surely no-one could possibly object to the opening of the mine control area to make their life far easier. Same goes for the miners' refusal to use the Federation equipment. They are simply giving themselves a much harder time - then complaining about having so much hard work to do!
The Federation has been on Peladon for 50 years now. When did they find the trisilicate? If they've known about it for a while, why are they only now exploiting it with technology. Shouldn't the conflict over technology have taken place years ago?
If trisilicate is so essential, what did everyone do before it was found on Peladon? Relying on something which only the Ice Warriors had access to would have been a real risk.
And why is Peladon not better protected, if it's the main source of the mineral in a time of war?

What exactly is the Aggedor projection? In the tunnels it is transparent and looks to be a hologram, yet we see the actual statue dematerialise - so why don't people see the actual statue appear?
It's no wonder the Pels aren't happy with the Federation aliens, if they have security systems that drive people insane then kill them. What's wrong with just double locking doors or adding a padlock?
The Doctor and Sarah have the run of the communications room, even after Azaxyr has arrived. Surely such a vital area ought to have been placed under guard. Azaxyr only has himself to blame for letting Alpha Centauri send out an SOS.
At one point the Doctor is sent by Thalira to meet with Gebek. Ortron has him arrested for trying to leave the citadel - and the Doctor fails to mention that he is on a mission from the Queen. He ends up spending time in prison working out a means of escape, when he didn't need to be there in the first place.

Actor and stunt man Max Faulkner gets killed twice - in the same episode. At least he has form in this area, as he got zapped by The Ambassadors of Death but it didn't stop him doing his duty and he was back on guard soon after.
It's hard to feel sorry for the miners who get massacred when they elect to follow Ettis - who they surely can't fail to notice is bonkers. Why favour him over nice, reasonable Gebek? They only have themselves to blame.
You can see Nick (Aggedor) Hobbs' white socks at one point.
In the big fight scene at the end of the fourth episode Pertwee's stunt double Terry Walsh is all too obvious.

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the mines" - oh dear... For this to be an old saying on Peladon, the mines must always be very hot - so why do they have a heating system that makes them hotter?

Countdown to 60: Daleks!

Our second significant moment is another obvious one. A bit of one may have been glimpsed at the conclusion of the first episode, but not long into Part Two of The Daleks (AKA "The Mutants") we get to see the inhabitants of the mysterious city in all their bizarre glory for the very first time.
We witness the horrified reaction of the Doctor, Ian and Susan first, as they emerge from the darkened laboratory into the brightly lit hallway, and the camera then pulls right back to reveal the four Daleks confronting them. There is nothing even vaguely humanoid about them.
The distinctive staccato voice is heard moments later, and we also get to see them using their weapons soon after as they blast Ian's legs, with the first appearance of the negative extermination effect.
Only two stories in, the Daleks have arrived - and the series will never be the same again...

Sunday 27 November 2022

Episode 47: The Daleks

Trapped by Robomen, the Doctor and Ian turn towards the river - intent on swimming to safety. However, they are confronted by the sinisterly familiar shape of a Dalek rising up out of the water...
As the Dalek demands to know how the prisoners were allowed to get so close to the river, Ian asks the Doctor how it can be that the daleks are here. They had seen them destroyed on Skaro.
The Doctor deduces that this must be the middle history of the Daleks, and the events on Skaro lay in the far future. They note that the Dalek has a dish attached to the back of its casing - presumably the way they now obtained their energy as before they relied on static electricity generated through the metal floors of their city.
When the Doctor is overheard talking about fighting them, the Robomen are ordered to take them away to the Dalek saucer.
David Campbell has witnessed this from the warehouse. He reports back to Barbara and Susan who are now helping in the resistance hideout. They meet a young woman named Jenny, who explains that her brother was turned into a Robomen a year ago. David explains that there aren't many Daleks on Earth, and so they rely on captured humans who they robotise - turning them into mindless slaves. The process does not last long, however, and the Robomen eventually become insane and destroy themselves.
The operations take place in the Dalek saucer which lands at Chelsea heliport.
This is where the Doctor and Ian have been taken. They are placed in a cell with a fellow prisoner named Craddock. From him they learn of how the Earth was bombarded by meteorites some ten years ago - but these proved to be plague bombs. Millions died, and six months later the Daleks landed and took over.
In the hideout, the scientist Dortmun meets with Tyler and informs him that he has perfected a bomb which will destroy a Dalek's casing. An attack on the saucer that night is proposed. Barbara helps with this by suggesting they make use of captured Roboman helmets. They can pretend to be prisoners and escort and so get close to the saucer without arousing suspicion.
In the saucer, the Doctor has noticed some strange equipment in the cell, and he deduces that it is there to be used by a Dalek as a means of escape should it become locked in.
He uses it and the door opens - but they emerge to find Daleks waiting for them. It was a trap to identify prisoners suitable for the robotising process.
The Doctor is taken away, just as the rebel attack commences. The Dalek saucer commander orders Robomen into action, but instructs that the operation on the Doctor proceed...

Written by: Terry Nation
Recorded: Friday 25th September 1964 - Riverside Studio 1
First broadcast: 5:40pm, Saturday 28th November 1964
Ratings: 12.4 million / AI 59
Designer: Spencer Chapman
Director: Richard Martin
Additional cast: Ann Davies (Jenny), Michael Goldie (Craddock), Michael Davis (Thomson), Richard McNeff (Baker).
Gerald Taylor, Nick Evans, Kevin Manser, Peter Murphy and Robert Jewell (Dalek Operators).
Peter Hawkins. David Graham (Dalek voices).

The BBC had retained two Dalek props at Ealing, along with some of their machinery from The Daleks, and for this story they borrowed back the pair of Daleks which had been donated to the Barnardo's home in East London. Taking their number up to six, two new casings were commissioned from Shawcraft Models. To swell numbers further, photographic blow-ups were once again used, as can be seen in the saucer landing set image below. 
The Daleks have undergone a few changes since their debut, which viewers won't have noticed in the previous episode due to them being placed on parts of the casing that weren't on show.
Knowing that the props would be heading out on location around central London, Spencer Chapman had the fenders built up, raising the height of the Dalek and so allowing the addition of a small tricycle for the operator. Ray Cusick had hoped to use such a thing in his original designs, but had not been able to find anything suitable without losing their short stature.
The other change was the addition of an energy collection disc on the rear of the casing, to cover why the Daleks could now move around anywhere.
We have a new addition to the Dalek ranks. Up to now, all Daleks had been of the same colour scheme - predominantly silver with blue hemispheres. Here we get a senior Dalek which is mainly black, but with alternating black and silver skirt panels.
Fandom has christened this design the "Saucer Commander", as it is only ever seen in this one episode, seemingly in charge of the spacecraft.
Rumour often has it that this is an unfinished version of the future Black Dalek, AKA the Black Dalek Supreme, but it may simply be a colour scheme which the production team weren't happy with, so they amended it for the third instalment.
Peter Hawkins was often present in studio to provide his Dalek voices, but David Graham had his recorded in advance and played in on tape.

Last week we spoke about this being the first invasion of Earth story, but here we discover that - unlike nearly every invasion story hereafter - the invasion has already taken place. The Daleks have already won. If there is a parallel with World War II then it is with the Nazi occupation of much of Europe.
If the Daleks are the Nazi stormtroopers, then Tyler, David, Dortmun et al. are the Maquis and other resistance groups. As with the Germans, we hear the Daleks broadcast propaganda to try to break the rebels' spirit, encouraging them to surrender with false promises.

The Doctor makes the claim that this is the middle history of the Daleks, and their destruction which they witnessed on Skaro in The Daleks took place in the distant future. 
However, as he has only ever met them on the one occasion, apparently for the very first time, he is unlikely to know the ins and outs of their history and so has to be guessing. It is now generally understood that events of The Daleks belong to the beginning of their history, when they lacked the ability to leave their city, let alone go conquering across the galaxy.
A later story will suggest that he did know all about the Daleks before he even fled from Gallifrey, but if this is the case then he managed to keep it very well hidden. There is absolutely no hint of him recognising them in their first story. Terry Nation certainly intended it to be their first ever encounter.

A couple of minor hiccups during the recording this week: in the scene in which the Doctor and Ian are waiting to be taken inside the saucer, a member of the production team can be glimpsed behind them. 
In throwing one of her bombs, Jacqueline Hill grazed her knuckles.
William Hartnell had worked with Bernard Kay (Tyler) before - on Carry On Sergeant. Then, Hartnell had taken a dislike to him and tried to get him sacked from the production. During the recording of this story, Kay was jetting back and forth between the UK and Spain, where he was filming the epic Dr Zhivago. According to Kay (as recounted on the DVD documentary) Hartnell claimed that he had been offered a very good part in that film, but couldn't take it due to his Doctor Who commitments. Kay clearly thought that the star had made this up.

Many people have questioned why the Daleks should identify the smartest prisoners, only to turn them into mindless zombies. Presumably their test is to identify people whose intelligence might threaten their plans, and so they are getting them out of the way.
Another question is: What was that Dalek doing at the bottom of the Thames? We have seen how dangerous the bridge is, and indeed a section of it has just collapsed onto the TARDIS. At this point in the series, there are no flying Daleks. If this Dalek was the closest, but on the opposite bank of the river, then perhaps it simply took the quickest route to capture the prisoners - by crossing the Thames along the riverbed.

  • This episode saw a rise in viewership of one million but - oddly - the appreciation figure fell four points. The audience numbers were enough to place the episode in that week's Top 10 (at No.10).
  • Among the members of the human resistance group is actor Pat Gorman - his very first appearance in the series. He will feature in many stories up until the mid-1980's, on one occasion (Colony in Space) playing three different characters. Terrance Dicks used to joke that it was in the BBC Charter that all dramas had to include Gorman in the cast, such was his ubiquity.
  • Michael Goldie plays Craddock. He will return to the series to play technician Laleham in The Wheel in Space. That story also features actor Kenneth Watson, playing Bill Duggan. It was Watson who played Craddock in the Aaru film version of this story.
  • The equipment used by the Doctor to escape from the cell was not produced by Shawcraft. It was actually made by director Richard Martin's pathologist brother.
  • Dalek operator Peter Murphy will become better known as Murphy Grumbar in the credits of future Dalek stories.
  • Carole Ann Ford, who had now left the series, spent the day of broadcast at Gamages bookshop in London, signing copies of Dalek books.
  • The riverside scene was recreated for the 50th Anniversary drama An Adventure In Space And Time:
  • Below, a colour view of the studio set featuring the saucer landing site.  Note how the air traffic control tower is not in scale with the surrounding houses - and you would never have helicopters landing and taking off so close to those residential buildings.

Saturday 26 November 2022

Monster Spin-Offs?

File under "Rumour" for now, as a UK tabloid is reporting that Doctor Who's most famous monsters might be getting their own spin-off series. This has come from the Mirror, and a reporter who is generally more often right than wrong. It is all part of the Disney+ streaming deal. Something which might lend credence is the fact that Russell T Davies has spoken before about creating a "Doctor Who Universe" akin to the Marvel and Star Wars franchises. Aliens mentioned include Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans and Weeping Angels. These episodes would not feature the Doctor at all, but would be designed to show what these creatures get up to when the TARDIS isn't around.
If this does prove to be more than rumour, it might also open the door for past Doctors to get an outing. There has always been a demand to see more of Paul McGann's incarnation, for instance. Some old companions might also get another outing.
Not sure if there would necessarily be room on BBC 1 for too many spin-offs, so if this does come off then some of it at least might be exclusive to Disney+.

William Russell - World Record Holder


(Updated / clarified - see comments).
Hot on the heels of his 98th birthday, William Russell has just made it into the Guiness Book of World Records. So reports the Radio Times. He has the distinction of having the longest gap between appearances as the same character in a TV series. This had previously gone to a Coronation Street actor whose first and last appearances were 43 years apart. Russell (real name Russell Enoch) left Doctor Who in June 1965, and his latest appearance was in October 2022 - a record-breaking span of 57 years.
The empty chair at the support group was not a tribute to the absent Lis Sladen, as some fans thought, but a place for Anneke Wills, who was due to appear as Polly. Unfortunately, she dropped out at the last minute. Had she featured, her gap would have been 1967 - 2022, which would also have beaten that Corrie actor.

Friday 25 November 2022

Inspirations: 42

As with last week's episode, the inspiration for this story can be seen the title.
In November 2001, the Fox network launched the thriller series 24, whose gimmick was that each instalment would cover one hour in real time - so the overall season of 24 episodes would combine to show 24 hours in the lives of the various protagonists.
This format meant that there was a built-in deadline to events, making it much more exciting for the viewers. The heroes, led by Kiefer Sutherland as counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer, had to defeat the villains within a strictly limited timescale.
It was decided for Series 3 of Doctor Who to attempt something similar - in the hope that it would capture the same sort of excitement. 
When you removed the opening and closing credits, the average episode of Doctor Who at the time comprised 42 minutes of drama - which just happens to be 24 reversed.
This provided the story with its title.
As it was, the episode was not played in real-time. There is a jump of a couple of minutes at one point.

Writer Chris Chibnall was working on the first series of Torchwood when he was asked if he wanted to write his first Doctor Who episode. Elements including an intelligent sun, glowing eyes and a spacewalk were handed to him by Russell T Davies. 
An early version had a space station setting, in orbit around the star and studying it for generations, but this was changed to a passing ship only recently arrived, to save on a more complicated backstory.
Chibnall was pleased to note that '42' also had great significance for Douglas Adams fans, being the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.

The spaceship was going to be called the S.S. Icarus - after the mythological figure who was the son of Daedalus, architect of the Labyrinth on Crete. In order to escape the island they decided to make wings for themselves. Daedalus cautioned his son not to fly too close to the Sun as the heat would melt the wax holding the feathers on. Icarus failed to heed dad's advice, and plunged to his death.
A problem arose when the Danny Boyle sci-fi movie Sunshine was released in 2007. 
This had used the intended spaceship name (an Icarus I and an Icarus II), so it had to changed. It became the S.S. Pentallian - a name derived from Revenge of the Cybermen, where a "Pentallian drive" had been an essential component of the transmat.

Sunshine sees a space mission to reignite the dying Sun. (Considering the derivation of the name, it is pushing luck somewhat to name the ship after a failure - especially when the first ship was lost several years before). One of the inspirations for his film cited by Boyle was the Russian movie Solaris (1972) which featured a sentient planet. Ridley Scott's Alien was another influence. Both have elements which can be seen in 42 - a crew trapped on a spaceship with an alien killer in both, and the sentient celestial body in the former. Like 42, Sunshine has a major action set-piece revolving around the ship's airlock.
There is also a hint of the 1997 film Event Horizon, in terms of a spaceship encountering a natural phenomenon (in this case another dimension) which proves to be sentient and which affects a crewman, turning him into a killer.

The masks worn by the infected crew were inspired by Cyclops of X-Men. His eyes fire beams of energy, which he controls behind a dark visor.
The Doctor upgrades Martha's phone so it has universal roaming. He had earlier offered this to Rose in The End of the World.
We see that Francine Jones is allowing people to monitor her daughter's calls. They are employees of Harold Saxon - this series' story arc - and we saw in the previous week's episode Francine falling under their corrupting influence. Then, it had been a man played by Bertie Carvel, but his career suddenly took off and he was unavailable for later episodes and so his place was taken by a blonde female character, played by Elize Du Toit.

The story was going to be set at the same time as The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit, and at one point was going to have Ood amongst the crew.
Riley's surname was going to be Kinkade, but that name had already been used as middle name for Brannigan in Gridlock.
The star system was going to be called the Peony System, but was changed as it sounded like people were saying "penis".

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Countdown to 60: Inside the Spaceship...

Today is Doctor Who's 59th birthday, so it's an apposite date on which to begin a countdown to next year's Diamond Anniversary. I did something similar for the 50th, selecting my personal fifty most significant stories from the series' history up to that point.
This time round I will be selecting sixty specific scenes - or, as the Valeyard might say, I intend to adumbrate sixty momentous instances from separate epistopic interfaces of the spectrum...
The first is an obvious one - the moment in the very first episode (An Unearthly Child) when school teachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright push their way through the doors of a battered old Police Box which they've come across in a junkyard, and find themselves inside the TARDIS' amazing console room.
We've spent the first half of the episode getting to know them, but Susan and the Doctor have been presented as mysterious figures, clearly sharing some great secret. Here we first get an inkling of just who or what they might be. The two Earth people begin their journey into the unknown - taking all of us along with them...

L is for... Li H'sen Chang

As a young peasant in his native China, Li H'sen Chang had witnessed the arrival of a scientist named Magnus Greel, who had travelled back in time from the 51st Century. Badly injured and disfigured by the process, Chang looked after him and shielded him from the troops of the Emperor. They seized his time cabinet and gave it to their master. The young man believed Greel to be the god of abundance - Weng-Chiang.
Greel was able to bestow on Chang special mental abilities, such as formidable hypnotic powers. After the Emperor had gifted the cabinet to a foreign diplomat who had taken it away with him, Greel had Chang use his powers to set himself up as a magician and illusionist. By embarking on a European tour, they could track down and retrieve the cabinet.
Chang headlined the Palace Theatre in London when the cabinet was traced to the home of pathologist Professor Litefoot. He was compelled to seek out young women from the neighbourhood, who had their life-force drained by Greel to keep him alive.
When he abducted a young woman who had featured in his act one night, it brought attention to the theatre, which angered Greel. Chang hypnotised the theatre manager - Henry Gordon Jago - but the Doctor discovered this.
Chang met the Doctor at the local police station where he had one of his men kill himself with scorpion poison, after the man had been arrested. Greel and Chang made use of the Tong of the Black Scorpion. He also used the Peking Homunculus - a lethal cyborg creature from Greel's time - as his ventriloquist dummy, Mr Sin.
Greel ordered Chang to kill the Doctor, but he failed. His god then abandoned him - disgracing him in front of an audience when he murdered a stagehand and left the corpse in Chang's trick cabinet.
Chang fled from the theatre via the sewer system, but this was guarded by rats grown to enormous size by Greel to guard his lair. 
Chang was badly injured by them, losing a leg. He managed to get to a nearby opium den and gave the Doctor a clue as to Greel's new hideout before dying from his injuries.

Played by: John Bennett. Appearances: The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1976).
  • Bennett had earlier featured as General Finch in Invasion of the Dinosaurs.
  • He had earlier starred opposite Jon Pertwee in the film The House That Dripped Blood, as the detective who encounters Pertwee's vampire.

L is for... Light

Light was a powerful alien entity, capable of taking on any form. It set out to catalogue every single lifeform in the cosmos. On arriving on a planet, it would capture examples of the dominant native species - such as a Neanderthal man on prehistoric Earth. Two crew members accompanied Light. One would set out and survey the region, whilst the other would remain in Light's ship to act as an experimental control. The Survey unit would interact with the environment and other creatures and so change and adapt - and the changes could then be measured against the Control.
After its arrival on Earth, Light went into hibernation in central Africa - being glimpsed only occasionally by natives and explorers. One such was the Victorian adventurer Redvers Fenn-Cooper. 
The spaceship could travel at the speed of thought and was transferred to the basement of a house in Perivale, to the west of London. The Survey unit killed the owner and assumed the identity of a Victorian gentleman named Josiah Smith. In order to evolve fully, he planned to use Fenn-Cooper to assassinate the Queen and assume power over the Empire. He kept Control locked up in the ship.
She escaped and freed Light. It took the form of a man in silvery robes. He began to investigate the inhabitants of the house - killing them in his experiments to understand how they worked. 
He soon discovered that life had not only evolved, but it was continuing to evolve, even as he observed it. This began to drive him insane. The Doctor gave the process a push by telling him about fictitious creatures such as dragons, basilisks, 'bandersnatches' and 'slithy toves' which he had failed to catalogue. Light threatened to wipe out all life on Earth with a fire storm to put a stop to evolution, but self-destructed and dissipated before he could do so.

Played by: John Hallam. Appearances: Ghost Light (1989).
  • Hallam's time on the production was extremely limited as he was making The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Trader for the BBC at the same time.
  • He had many genre performances, including King Vultan's lieutenant in Flash Gordon and roles in Lifeforce and Dragonslayer.
  • Light's costume was based on artwork by the visionary poet and artist William Blake. The back of the robes looked like an insect carapace, to tie in with the evolutionary theme. Writer Marc Platt had hoped that the character would have wings.

L is for... Lexa

Lexa was High Priestess of the Deons - a religious sect from the planet Tigella. Tigellan society was split between the Deons and the science-rationalist Savants, with a neutral elder named Zastor acting as mediator and leader. Many years before, a strange object had fallen into the jungles of the planet - a 12-sided power source known as the Dodecahedron. The Deons believed that this had been sent by their god Ti, whilst the Savants suspected a more secular origin. The Dodecahedron was harnessed, and its energy powered their subterranean city.
When the Dodecahedron began to fail, putting the city at risk, Zastor called upon the Doctor to come and help. He had visited the planet in the past. Lexa was angry at this, and only agreed if the Doctor swore allegiance to Ti before he would be permitted to enter the inner sanctum where the object was housed.
The Doctor became trapped in a time loop with Romana and K9, and his place was taken by the alien Meglos - last of the Zolfa-Thuran race who were the original owners of the Dodecahedron. It powered a vast energy weapon, and he wanted it back. Meglos stole it by shrinking it, and when the Doctor finally arrived he found himself arrested by Lexa and her people, who sentenced him to be sacrificed to Ti.
When she discovered the truth, Lexa decided to help. She sacrificed herself to save Romana when she was fired upon by Gaztak mercenaries.

Played by: Jacqueline Hill. Appearances: Meglos (1981).
  • Hill had previously portrayed Barbara Wright, companion to the First Doctor in Seasons 1 and 2.
  • She had given up work to concentrate on raising a family and had only recently returned to acting.
  • Oddly, when director Graeme Harper wished to cast Michael Craze (who had played companion Ben) in The Caves of Androzani he was told by John Nathan Turner that companion actors could not be brought back as different characters.

L is for... Lewis, Dan

Companion to the Thirteenth Doctor. Dan Lewis was a Liverpudlian who volunteered at a local food-bank. He was trying to start a relationship with a woman named Diane, who worked at the city's museum. Dan would sometimes turn up and lead unofficial tour parties.
One Hallowe'en evening his house was broken into by a massive dog-like figure - an alien named Karvanista. He was being hunted by the Doctor and her companion Yaz. At first Dan thought Karvanista, a member of the Lupari race, was simply wearing a very good costume. However, he was then knocked out and woke to find himself abducted and caged on a Lupari spaceship.
The Doctor and Yaz traced Karvanista to Dan's house, at 37 Granger Street, but found a trap had been set. Dan's house was miniaturised.
Dan was traced to the spaceship where he was freed by Yaz. It transpired that the Lupari were pair-bonded to individual humans. Should they be threatened, they were honour-bound to save them. 
Karvanista had to rescue Dan - though he didn't necessarily like him.
The reason for his intervention was that the entire universe was under threat from a phenomenon known as the Flux.
Taking advantage of this were a pair of powerful creatures called Swarm and Azure. They knew the Doctor from her life in the Division, so she had no memories of them. Azure abducted Diane.
Dan next found himself in 19th Century Crimea, where the Doctor discovered that the Sontarans had altered history to conquer the Russian Empire.
Dan was removed from time and deposited back in 21st Century Liverpool, where the Sontarans had also changed history to rule the city. He was reunited with his parents, Neville and Irene, who had discovered the aliens' weakness - the probic vent. Armed with a wok, Dan broke into a Sontaran spaceship. Captured by Sontaran troopers, he was rescued by Karvanista, who sabotaged the Sontaran fleet by crashing one of their ships into the others. Time was reset, and Dan was reunited with the Doctor and Yaz in the Temple of Atropos, on the planet Time. Here he learned of Diane's abduction. She was trapped within a living prison, known as Passenger.
To save them from Swarm and Azure, the Doctor had to hide Dan and Yaz inside their own time streams.
Later, the TARDIS was infiltrated by a Weeping Angel, and diverted to a village named Medderton, in 1967. Another Angel caused Dan and Yaz to be sent back in time to the village as it had been in 1901, where they were joined by a 1960's scientist named Professor Jericho. 

With the Doctor captured by Angels and returned to Division, Dan, Yaz and Jericho had to live through the Edwardian era, searching for clues as to future events of the Flux which might allow them to reunite with the Doctor. 
The perceptive Dan spotted immediately that Yaz was in love with the Doctor, and he encouraged her to make her feelings known. Their quest took them to the Himalayas and to the Great Wall of China, where they attempted to contact Karvanista for help.
Dan and Yaz had repeatedly found themselves encountering a Victorian gentleman. This proved to the famous Liverpudlian tunnel builder Joseph Williamson. Dan knew of these tunnels. When they went there they found dozens of portals to different time zones, worlds and dimensions.
One of these took them back to the 21st Century and they were soon joined by Kate Stewart of UNIT and the Doctor, who was actually split over different time zones.
The Sontarans had attempted to benefit from the Flux - really anti-matter released into the universe by the Division - by wiping out the Daleks and Cybermen, but Dan and the rest of the Doctor's allies defeated them.
Dan hoped to have a date with Diane after she had escaped from Passenger, but she was too upset by recent events.
He therefore joined the TARDIS for a time. Their first landing site was a Manchester storage unit on New Year's Eve. Dan was exterminated by a Dalek - repeatedly. The Flux-damaged TARDIS had generated a time loop.

Dan then found himself visiting China in 1807. Here he was encouraged to dress in appropriate costume, but Yaz tricked him into wearing a pirate costume, complete with eye-patch. It turned out that this was quite apt, as they then encountered the infamous Chinese pirate Madam Ching. Whilst searching for a precious treasure she inadvertently resurrected a Sea Devil warrior named Marsissus. Dan became concerned about a young villager named Ying-Ki, who was determined to get revenge on Ching as he thought she had killed his father. Dan even swam out to Ching's ship to stop him. He and Ying-Ki then found themselves pressganged into acting as Madam Ching's crew.
After the Sea Devils had been defeated, Dan managed to get in touch with Diane, and she agreed to them meeting up.
Before then, he joined the Doctor and Yaz in a mission to save an interstellar bullet train which had come under attack by Cybermen and Cybermasters. Dan was almost killed during this mission, when his space helmet was broken.
He decided to leave the TARDIS because of this. With no house, he would have to move back in with his parents.
He later met up with Graham O'Brien and helped set up a support group for people who had travelled with the Doctor, and who wanted to share their experiences.

Played by: John Bishop. Appearances: Flux: The Hallowe'en Apocalypse (2021) to The Power of the Doctor (2022).
  • Bishop is best known as a stand-up comedian, but prior to this he was a professional footballer for a number of years (playing midfield for several lower league clubs).
  • Dan Lewis was first introduced in a brief post-credits scene at the end of Revolution of the Daleks.

L is for... Lethbridge-Stewart, Captain

When the Twelfth and First Doctors encountered each other at the South Pole in December 1986, they were joined by a British Army officer who had been taken out of time. In 1914 he had been trapped in a fox-hole with a German soldier with whom he was unable to communicate. Their stand-off was ended when time seemed to stand still, and he then found himself in Antarctica.
An alien group named Testimony were responsible. The two Doctors set out to find out who they were and why they had tried to abduct the Captain. It transpired that Testimony were benevolent. They took people out of time in the instant before their deaths in order to archive their memories, before replacing them back into history.
The Captain was returned to 1914, but the Twelfth Doctor pushed time along slightly so that he survived. There then followed the Christmas Truce, when British and German soldiers temporarily suspended hostilities to play football and share food and drink.
It turned out that the Captain was named Archibald Hamish Lethbridge-Stewart, and he was the grandfather of the Brigadier. The Doctor promised to keep an eye on his family.

Played by: Mark Gatiss. Appearances: Twice Upon A Time (2017).
  • Third on-screen appearance by Gatiss in the series, after Professor Lazarus (The Lazarus Experiment) and Gantok (The Wedding of River Song). For the latter, he used the name Rondo Haxton - a tribute to the actor Rondo Hatton who had played the "Hoxton Creeper" in Sherlock Holmes and the Pearl of Death, House of Horrors and Brute Man. Gatiss also voiced the spitfire pilot in Victory of the Daleks.
  • Gatiss has acted opposite 9 different Doctor actors, though not necessarily in Doctor Who itself - and he has also written for nine different Doctors, counting novels and audios as well as on TV.

Happy Doctor Who Day!

To celebrate the 59th anniversary of the very first episode of Doctor Who, the BBC have released an image of all the television Doctors. The latest, number 14, gets pride of place, and his lookalike number 10 is also there - so David Tennant gets to appear twice. The Fugitive and War Doctors are also included.
As well as this image, a special "diamond" version of the new logo has been issued, which will cover the 60th Anniversary. 

Monday 21 November 2022

Story 264: The Husbands of River Song

In which the Doctor is visiting the Earth colony on the planet Mendorax Dellora. It is Christmas Day, 5343. He is annoyed at the TARDIS trying to cheer him up, as well as being disturbed by someone knocking on the TARDIS door - a man named Nardole. He has been sent to fetch a medical doctor from this street, and mistakes the Doctor for him. He in turn thinks that Nardole knows who he is and it is him he is looking for.
After they have left, an old man with a surgical bag wanders past, somewhat lost.
They walk to the edge of the village and come across a saucer-like spacecraft half buried in the snow. Nardole's employer descends a ramp, and the Doctor is pleased to see that it is River Song. However, she is unfamiliar with this incarnation and fails to recognise him - also believing him to be a medic who she has contracted.

Inside the spacecraft he discovers that Nardole is actually River's husband - or rather one of them. Another is the bloodthirsty King Hydroflax, Butcher of the Bone Meadows who is said to eat the bodies of his enemies, who is here onboard. It is he who needs the medical assistance. Over the years he has been injured in battle so often that only his head remains of him - housed in a large red robotic body. This has its own artificial intelligence and can function independently. River shows the Doctor a scan of Hydroflax's head, which reveals a gemstone buried within it. This got there when Hydroflax was caught in a blast whilst trying to seize it. It is the Halassi Androvar - the most valuable diamond in the universe.
It transpires that River cares nothing for this particular husband - it is the diamond she is after. Should he die, all the better actually. The Doctor is alarmed at how murderous River can be away from his influence.
However, Nardole reveals that the King's millions of followers will be observing the operation.

As River attempts to explain her plan to the Doctor, they are unaware that the King is standing close by and has heard everything she has proposed. River reveals that she has been employed by the owners of the diamond to return it to them. She contacts another husband - a man named Ramone - and asks him to teleport them both to safety as Hydroflax bears down on them. They steal his head and make off with it.
The robot sets out to find its head and does so by decapitating Nardole to use his - learning the location of the TARDIS landing site. At the TARDIS, the Doctor discovers that River has been borrowing it behind his back. He has to pretend that he has never been inside before and feigns amazement at the greater size inside than out. River finds that the TARDIS will not dematerialise. She hears Ramone at the door and lets him in - only to find that he too has fallen victim to the robot body, and his head has joined its collection. The reason the TARDIS would not dematerialise was that it was registering someone as being both inside and outside the ship at the same time - Hydroflax's head and body - so a safety measure kicked in.
Once both parts are inside, the ship travels to a massive luxury space-liner - the Harmony and Redemption. They lock the robot in a vault, whilst River goes to meet the people she has arranged to give the diamond to, taking the King's head with her.

The blue-skinned insectoid Maitre'D, Flemming, takes them to the dining room. River explains that the passengers on this ship have two things in common. They are all fabulously rich, and they are all responsible for millions of deaths, being dictators, war criminals and arms dealers.
River's contact is a man named Scratch, who has a livid scar running across his face. He is a member of a group known as the Shoal of the Winter Harmony. 
Just as River is about to hand over the head, Scratch reveals that his group worship King Hydroflax as a god, and they want the diamond to please him. Not only that - all of the other diners in the room turn out to have the same scar on their faces. They are able to open their heads up and conceal objects within - such as the credits they are going to pay to River for the diamond.
Flemming, meanwhile, has been forced to open the vault and release the robot. When it threatens to take his head, he offers it the Doctor's instead. He is unaware that he is already on board, but knows that River can summon him.
The Doctor and River attempt to flee but are stopped by Flemming and the robot. It scans the King's head and notes that it is medically no longer viable, and so reduces it to dust.

With no-one realising yet who he really is, Flemming suggests threatening the Doctor in order to make River call on the Time Lord to come - so that his head can grace the robot. It is only now that River finally realises that she has been with the Doctor all along. They manage to escape the room and make for the bridge. They are passing the planet of Darillium. River selected this day for the transaction as she knows that this is the date when this spaceship will be struck by meteoroids - just in case anything went wrong. 
The crashing spaceship heads for the planet, and the Doctor gets River into the TARDIS just before it hits. They are both knocked down, with River rendered unconscious. The Doctor goes outside to see the famous Singing Towers - a pair of rock formations which make sounds as the wind blows over them. Everyone on the ship perished and the Doctor meets one of the local rescue crew. He gives him the Halassi Androvar, and suggests that this might be a good location for an exclusive restaurant. The Doctor then travels forward a few years to find it up and running - but with a lengthy waiting list for a table. He makes the booking and travels forward to the date in question, as River wakes up in the TARDIS.
The robot survived the crash and is working here now, still containing the heads of Nardole and Ramone.
The Doctor has always known that this would be the last time he sees River before her death in the Library, and she is aware of this. They have one more night together - but the Doctor points out that a night on Darillium lasts 24 years...

The Husbands of River Song was written by Steven Moffat, and was first broadcast on 25th December, 2015 - making it that year's Christmas Special. It marks the final time that River Song has featured in the series (to date), and introduces the character of Nardole, who will go on to become a series regular. That would have to wait, however, as it had been announced that there would be no new series in 2016. The next Doctor Who episode would be the following year's Christmas Special.
Allegedly, this was mainly due to the heavy work commitments Moffat had on Sherlock - despite it only comprising three episodes every couple of years and had a co-writer in Mark Gatiss. The BBC were also undergoing one of their periodic shortages of money at the time.
As it was, the 52 week gap would be partially filled by a new spin-off series set in and around Coal Hill School - Class.

Husbands is basically a crime caper with screwball comedy trappings, of the sort Hollywood produced in the 1930's onwards. These invariably threw two characters together who were initially antagonistic towards each other, usually in a situation over which they have little or no control, but by the end of the piece the pair are romantically involved.
Moffat could have simply had the Doctor and River knowing each other as before, but he mixes things up by having her not know who he is, and he goes along with this just to see where it will lead.
We discover that River often takes the TARDIS when he isn't looking, and has even made adjustments to it behind his back (such as the addition of a drinks cabinet behind one of the roundels).
This provides one of the highlights of the episode, as the Doctor has to pretend that he is amazed by the TARDIS interior dimensions.
The conclusion also allows for a bit of timey-wimey-ness as the Doctor shifts the TARDIS forward a few years at a time to set up the restaurant, book a table once it's built, then arrive on the night of the booking, all within a few minutes.
It's all played for comedy. The only people who get killed are the ones who all deserve it anyway. Both Nardole and Ramone may lose their heads, but get to live on as part of the robot.

The guest cast is led, naturally enough, by Alex Kingston as River. Chris Chibnall obviously missed a trick by not having her encounter the Thirteenth Doctor. That would have made for an interesting meeting.
Joining her as Nardole is Matt Lucas, famous for Little Britain and other comedy series. His Little Britain partner David Walliams had already guested in The God Complex as Gibbis.
The other husband, Ramone, is played by Phillip Rhys. He has appeared in a number of US series such as NCIS, Bones and 24.
The main guest star, playing King Hydroflax, is another comic actor - Greg Davies. Star of the sitcoms Cuckoo and Man Down, he has recently been chairing the popular Taskmaster. He has to spend all of the episode either encased in the robot costume, or sitting under things with his head poking through, including a fake TARDIS console panel.
The villainous Flemming is Rowan Polonski, in a make-up reminiscent of Chantho in Utopia.
Scratch is Robert Curtis. We will be seeing more of his kind in the next festive special.
He had previously appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures as a security guard in Prisoner of the Judoon.
Scratch is Robert Curtis. We will be seeing more of his kind in the next festive special.
The rescue worker who is given the diamond is a character named Alphonse, and he's played by Chris Lew Kum Hoi. He featured in Russell T Davies' adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Finally, the robot has its own voice - that of actor Nonso Anozie. You may have seen him playing Oberon in that RTD adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, opposite Matt Lucas and the late great Bernard Cribbins amongst many others.

Overall, a perfect festive adventure. A bit of excitement and a lot of humour, as well as providing a nice coda to the story of River Song. Maybe this was the right place to end it.
Things you might like to know:
  • The street where Nardole encounters the TARDIS is rather too obviously the Trap Street set from Face the Raven, redressed.
  • In this story we finally get to see the Singing Towers of Darillium, and the Doctor gives River her sonic screwdriver, knowing she will be heading for the Library after this.
  • River is aware that her life may be ending soon as her diary is almost full - and she knows that the Doctor would have known how many pages she would need.
  • She has a wallet containing images of all the previous 12 Doctors, hinting that she has met the earlier ones as well as the ones we've seen on screen. There are 12 images as the list includes the War Doctor. In Time of the Angels she had claimed to have pictures of all his faces.
  • First Night / Last Night - the mini episodes contained on the Series 6 DVD / Blu-ray box sets - are referenced, when River talks about meeting two different versions of the Eleventh Doctor, and he had cancelled a visit to the Singing Towers.
  • This is the eleventh Christmas Special - but the first not to feature any action on Earth.

Sunday 20 November 2022

Episode 46: World's End

A man dressed in ragged clothing, with a futuristic helmet clamped to his head, stumbles into a river to deliberately drown himself...
The TARDIS materialises at the location, which sits beneath a bridge. The travellers emerge and the teachers are delighted to see that they appear to be back in London.
The Doctor is concerned about the derelict condition of the bridge and the rusting machinery round about. He points out to Ian that they have not seen or heard anyone. Even on a Sunday morning there should be some noise on the river - even if it is just the chimes of Big Ben.
Susan climbs up a steep slope to have a look around but slips and tumbles to the ground - spraining her ankle. Her fall also dislodges some building materials which in turn strike the bridge - causing a huge metal girder to fall and block the TARDIS doors.
The Doctor and Ian find it impossible to move, so they decide to head into a nearby warehouse in search of tools. Barbara bathes Susan's ankle and spots the body of the ragged man floating in the river.
When she returns to where she left Susan she is shocked to find the girl gone.
A man appears and beckons her to follow him.
Inside the warehouse the Doctor finds a calendar for the year 2164. They investigate a noise from upstairs and find a dead body, only recently killed. This is another of the men with the futuristic helmets. He was armed with a whip. The Doctor deduces that the helmet acts as an electronic receiver. They are unaware that they are being watched by a young man.
On hearing gunfire they head back to the river bank. On the way, they witness the passage overhead of a huge flying saucer.
Barbara has been led through the derelict surroundings to an Underground station entrance. Here she finds Susan in the arms of a man named Tyler. He is joined by an older man in a wheelchair - a scientist named Dortmun. A secret panel opens and the young man from the warehouse appears. He is David Campbell. He mentions seeing the Doctor and Ian but did not know if he could trust them. Barbara urges him to go and find them.
Ian is annoyed to find the women gone. Looking around, he discovers a poster behind the TARDIS, which forbids the dumping of bodies in the river - suggestive of plague.
As David watches from a warehouse window he sees the Doctor and Ian surrounded by a number of the figures with the strange helmets. When they try to communicate with them the men simply raise their whips. They find that all of their escape routes are cut off - apart from the Thames. They will have to dive in and swim to safety.
As they turn towards the river, they are shocked to see the sinisterly familiar shape of a Dalek rising from the polluted waters...
Next episode: The Daleks

Written by: Terry Nation
Recorded: Friday 18th September 1964 - Riverside Studio 1
First broadcast: 5:40pm, Saturday 21st November 1964
Ratings: 11.4 million / AI 63
Designer: Spencer Chapman
Director: Richard Martin
Guest Cast: Bernard Kay (Tyler), Peter Fraser (David Campbell), Alan Judd (Dortmun)

Terry Nation had written The Daleks (AKA "The Mutants") as a 'hack job' - six episodes of adventure for kids whilst he looked for more satisfying work. He had only taken it on after being sacked by Tony Hancock and so was in urgent need of the money.
He was later asked to extend it to seven weeks, padding out the expedition to the city, but once submitted he claims to have forgotten all about it. He only realised it had been broadcast - according to him - when friends started phoning him up at the end of the first episode to ask what the plunger thing was. By the time he realised what a winner he had on his hands, he was regretting having wiped the Daleks out. 
A sequel was requested, and fortunately he remembered that Doctor Who was a series about a time traveller. He could simply show the Daleks at a time before they were destroyed on Skaro.
There wasn't much scope for a new story back on their home planet, so instead of us going to them, they would come to us. The series hadn't done an invasion of Earth story - despite these being prominent in science fiction films and novels. For every Forbidden Planet, there were ten Earth v. the Flying Saucers.
This becomes the first ever alien invasion of Earth story in Doctor Who.
With the reappearance of the Daleks, it also becomes the first ever sequel - though strictly speaking it is only the first instance of a recurring villain, as the story has nothing to do with the events of The Daleks beyond their inclusion.
Another first would be seen at the conclusion of the story - the first departure of a regular cast member.

In writing his new story, Nation had to take into account some significant changes which were planned, both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes.
Carole Ann Ford had already signalled her desire to leave the series during the making of the French Revolution story. Her agent had actually attempted to get her out of the series before her contract was up for renewal. (Her agent was her husband). 
In order to cover budgeted costs per episode, should Williams Hartnell and Russell both demand significant pay rises, a plan was in place to have Jacqueline Hill leave the series as well. A single female companion would replace the two originals - preferably a more junior actress who would not command a high fee. As it was, the pay rises agreed for the two male stars were not too high, and so the character of Barbara was saved.
The production team had a great many discussions as to who would replace Ford, as it was felt a young companion was essential for target audience identification.

Favourite to replace Susan was a young Anglo-Indian orphan named Saida. An actress was even earmarked for the role - Pamela Franklin. She had been acting from an early age - one performance of note being Flora in The Innocents (1961).
It was planned that she would feature throughout the story but disappear towards the end - only to turn up as a stowaway in the TARDIS after it had dematerialised.
Eventually the decision was made to wait until the following story to introduce the new companion, and so the character of Jenny was created to fulfil Saida's role in the earlier drafts.
Behind the scenes, David Whitaker was stepping down as Story Editor, to be replaced by Dennis Spooner. As the pair would be writing the next two stories, this is the last story to feature a Story Editor credit for six weeks.

To direct the story, someone with experience of handling the Daleks was chosen. It had been planned that Richard Martin would become one of the main directors on the series, and he had been trialled on The Daleks and on The Edge of Destruction. Verity Lambert liked his imagination and enthusiasm, though Sydney Newman had doubted some of his more far-out ideas when he had been involved in helping to set up the series (such as the TARDIS being a frame of mind rather than a physical space, and you had to believe in it in order to enter, otherwise you just stepped into an empty police box. This prompted Newman to scribble "Nuts!" next to his notes about this).

From this episode onwards the programme found a new home - one which would be its main base for the remainder of the Hartnell era. This was Riverside, which comprised two studios. (Studio 3 was a nickname for the local pub). Donald Baverstock, head of BBC1, was still proving non-committal regarding the series' long-term future. Newman decided to force the issue by threatening to cancel the programme rather than see it being poorly served at Lime Grove. 
The studios at Riverside were actually smaller than those at Lime Grove, but the facilities were much better.
As well as a new base of operations, this story contained a significant increase in location filming, thanks to the London setting. The city appears to have altered very little from 1964, despite being set two centuries in the future. We see a modern power plant attached to the side of Battersea Power Station, and later episodes will mention bases on the Moon, an Astronaut Fair and moving pavements - but had we not been told any of this we might have just assumed events to be taking place in the present day.
The Doctor and Ian find a calendar in the abandoned warehouse, which has a date of 2164 printed on it.
Nation originally intended the story to be set in 2042 - tying it in with an anniversary of the WWII Blitz. He envisaged the invasion having begun in the 1970's, which is why the city would not have looked so different.
There is some dispute about the dating of this story, not helped by the on-screen calendar. It will later be said that the invasion began with a plague some 10 years before events depicted here, and it is unlikely people would be producing calendars following an invasion and during an alien occupation. The warehouse has been abandoned, so the year must be around 2174. In a later story, the invasion will have been said to begin in 2157, and in another story these events take place in 2000 AD (which is what the Daily Mail also said at the time).

In studio, no Daleks props had been required - their only appearance this week being on film. The Robomen actors went uncredited. Originally, they were to have appeared dressed all in black, with only small metal discs attached to their foreheads to indicate Dalek mind control.
The collapsing bridge section took a lot of time to rehearse and had only been performed once during the afternoon. When it came time to record the effect in the evening a number of reshoots were required.
The Dalek saucer was not pre-filmed. A model was suspended in front of photographic blow-ups and recorded in studio on the night - and unfortunately it shows.

In the run-up to broadcast there was a huge publicity drive. As well as a trailer and a Radio Times cover, a couple of Daleks were taken to the Planetarium and Madame Tussauds in London. Lambert, Nation and Ray Cusick were in attendance, photographed posing with the Daleks. Daleks were also pictured in the street outside
It wasn't apparent in the broadcast episode that the Daleks had undergone a slight modification, as the base and rear of the casing aren't visible. Viewers were therefore unaware of the new energy-drawing disc and the bigger fender.
Publicity was also aided by the publication the week before of David Whitaker's novelisation of the first Dalek story - Doctor Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks.

Viewers, especially the younger ones, were extremely disappointed with the episode, as they only got to see a Dalek in the closing moments.
The episode title is a play on the fact that there is a district of Chelsea known as 'World's End', after a famous pub which is located near there (at 459 King's Road), whilst also hinting at the fate which has befallen the city.

  • A draft title for the story overall was "The Invaders". Other titles considered were "The Daleks" and "Return of the Daleks".
  • At one point it was planned that Terry Nation would become the series' lead writer on futuristic stories - being given three stories per season to himself.
  • To set the scene of a ruined, abandoned London, Nation suggested using clips from Seven Days To Noon - a 1950 movie about a scientist who threatens to blow up London with a nuclear device if the government doesn't disarm.
  • David originally had the surname Sonheim, and later Archer.
  • From this episode, the series moved to a later start time of 5:40pm, immediately following Juke Box Jury.
  • Location filming for this instalment took place around West London on Tuesday 25th and Thursday 27th August. The bridge which the TARDIS lands under is Hammersmith Bridge. A taxi was on stand-by to take cast or crew to the nearby Charing Cross Hospital, should anyone become ill from the polluted Thames waters. 
  • Inside the Dalek was operator Robert Jewell, wearing a wetsuit. He had difficulty manoeuvring the casing up out of the river, and so a cable had to be attached to pull it up towards the bank.
  • Some scenes were also filmed further east on the Tuesday, featuring the warehouses of St Katherine's Dock. Barbara's pursuit of the resistance fighter (an uncredited Robert Aldous) takes place around the disused Wood Lane Underground Station, close to Television Centre. It had been built for the 1908 London Olympics and Franco-English Exhibition and had been closed since 1959.
  • It's actually impossible to view Battersea Power Station at that angle from Hammersmith Bridge. It must have been photographed from the Pimlico district.
  • The return of the Daleks had generated so much excitement that the viewing figures leapt to more than 11 million, with a high appreciation figure of 63.
  • In the run-up to broadcast, the story was previewed in Ariel - the BBC's in-house staff magazine - with an image from the filming on Westminster Bridge.
  • The BBC ran a trailer for the story which featured scenes from the third instalment where the Daleks are seen visiting a number of London landmarks.
  • The actor we see playing the Roboman who walks into the Thames in the opening scene is Kenton Moore who would later play Noah in The Ark in Space. When we see his body face down in the river it is actor / stuntman / fight arranger Peter Diamond.
  • The TARDIS landing site was recreated for the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff (below). This had also been seen in the 50th Anniversary drama An Adventure In Space And Time.
  • The return of the Daleks was a big enough event for the serial to win another Radio Times cover. Inside was an article which mentioned some of the planned merchandise, due that Christmas, accompanied by the same image as used by Ariel - other than having another Dalek crudely superimposed at the bottom.