From the Beginning: The Second Doctor

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Doctor Whoovie - Posted on 07 July 2009

Having just completed watching all the Hartnell episodes in order, I am progressing onto the Troughton Era. Last night I watched the first episode of the 'Power of the Daleks' (going to avoid Podshock 155 for a few days more).

I know even less about Troughton's Doctor than I did of Hartnel. Other than the multi-Doctor stories, I have only seen 'the Seeds of Death' and 'the Invasion" though I have read "Doctor Who and the Cybermen' (which is 'the moonbase') and ' The abominable Snowmen'. I am a little dissappointed to see that there are a lot less stories (21 versus Hartnells 30) but many more missing episodes. I guess,  Traughton's stories must be much longer than Hartnell's,since he only made 13 less episodes (counting their original runs only).

So probably another 5 months to watch all of these stories, sigh. Well it's a way of getting a 'new' Who fix in this 'gap' year. 

Yes the loss of many stories that were planned made it necessary to make other stories that were longer so Troughton has a lot of six part stories, a few five part stories and one that is 8 eps and one that is ten eps.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well this is the first reconstruction which I had that was such poor quality as to make unwatchable. Eventually, I downloaded the BBC Audio from i-tunes ($10.95). I listened to this whilst forwarding through the telesnap photonovel of the story on the BBC website. This was an agreeable way of taken in the story.

A pretty good story, although it was slow to start. It wasn't until relatively far on that I got the 'pun' in the title of the story.

After struggling with the character of the first Doctor for the last five months, and never really taking to him, I was relieved that I liked the Second Doctor almost immediately. Does he carry on wearing the tall hat for very long? It is kind of StooPiD Smile.

I pretty much agree with all that was said in the Podshock 155 review. It is not quite as good as the Tenth Planet, but is a good strong story with a classic villian.

I was amazed that they had managed to take the Dalek ship back to the laboratory when we saw the size of the 'production line' that was inside it.

I think I also spotted a young Marcus Scarman in there if I was not mistaken.

Overall an 8/10 and a good start to the new Doctor.


Yes for some reason, this story, slow in spots, is very good. I don't find the opening slow at all and I just love the Doctor's recovery from his "rejuvenation" NOT called regeneration at all yet. Polly and Ben are suitably confused for most of it, the Doctor not helping by talking about himself in third person, and losing his ring. And acting strange. He's a bit scary for a alittle while. I also like Patrick right from the start. His hat, his outfit, his attitude. When he looks into the mirror and sees Hartnell, what was that? A good touch, is what it is. I love the way this planet looks as the mist passses by and there are mercury pools and a murder and this Doctor steps into right away on the planet Vulcan.

I found the story slow with all the various subplots and factions among the colonists but this doesn't mean I didn't like it. They took time to build character and situation and explain it all. Nicely done too. I also like the dark seemingly dead Dalek ship...which harbored some kind of life after all. I like how the Doctor plays his flute and annoys Ben, talks of Marco Polo, having shed his skin like a butterfly, and other stuff he goes on about. He's most amusing. Ben, still thinks it is not the Doctor and I love how the Doctor tells Ben, "When I say run, run like a rabbit."  The Dalek ship is scary. The way they fool the colonists is scary too and beliveable.

I also like how the Daleks act like their friend and their loyal servants. It's most unsettling. It's also unsettling to the main scientist fall apart into madness..and then, I believe, he gets exterminated. But before that the female villain has depth and hides a body when an assistant is killed by "accident" by a Dalek "test". And how classic is it that the Dalek spots the Doctor through it's eye and moves at him, chanting that he is his loyal servant. I love how the Doctor warns everyone time and time again but they dont listen. "Up or down, I want the Daleks taken apart..."

And the stand off between the Doctor and someone who find out he is not the real Examiner from Earth.

And of course Polly's kidnapping (or was it Ben's? or maybe they both got kidnapped at different times?). Either way, all of it was pretty well done. And the final attack of the Daleks on...well, on everyone made them really very dangerous. I felt almost like Polly ("Oh, Doctor please, le'ts go back to the TARDIS and get away) and Annette (spelling?) does a great job of acting as Polly and of being both brave and scared. I love how Ben and Polly adjust to this new Doctor and interact with him.

All in all, a classic and great story to be honest. The ending with the Dalek moving  is strange and done for shock. Patrick is a great Doctor!

namariee's picture

I must agree with your opinion of the doctors so far, Doctor Whoovie. It also took me a while to warm up to the First Doctor, but I found the Second Doctor instantly likeable. So far that has only happened with Pat Troughton, Tom Baker and David Tennannt for me.


Proper Dave's picture

i concur exactly with an instant liking of troughton, tom baker and tennant!
eccleston was up there too, but it took a couple episodes to truly appreciate him.

namariee's picture

Exactly! I love Eccleston, but not instantly. Davison, McCoy, C. Baker and Pertwee took a bit longer. And it took the longest with Hartnell, interestly enough. I think his line fluffing just got on my nerves a lot. What got me though some of the early episodes were the stories themselves, and Ian and Barbara.  :)     McGann I can't comment on as I haven't had the pleasure of seeing the 1996 movie yet.



I would say off the cuff that 2 and 3 and maybe 10 are instantly likable. But at the time in my age when I read about the First Doctor I thought he's be a funny old guy to travel with  in time and space and he was crafty enough to be interesting when seeing him against others. 7 might have been instantly likable if he weren't in two of the worst stories of all time TIME AND THE RANI and PARADISE TOWERS. I am also sort of partial to the 6th Doctor for that defining moment : when he started to strangle Peri! Thank you 6th Doctor!

I'm anxious to know what you think of the HIGHLANDERS. TBH I loved the novel when I read it but I think that the novel took out a lot of the slapstick, the so called humor, and the silliness of it and accentuated the action, the violence and the death. In fact, in the novel I believe Jamie knives the main baddie down by stabbing him in the stomach and then dumping his body over into the water. The tv ep has the baddies dumped in the water and they either drown or swim away, frankly it sounds like they swam away. I also read the archive in the DW magazine, then called Monthly I think and this sounded great.

The reconstruction and the audio were not so much. I can't understand why. THe Doctor goes undercover with much slapstick and perhaps for once for me there is too much slapstick, too much humor and it's all just...sort of there. Both Ben and Polly have much to do but again, none of it is terribly memorable. Ben gets captured along with the Scottish prisoners including Jamie (who really does almost nothing here so I can't imagine why they took him on as a regular companion), gets dunked in the water  as punishment, gets away again...Polly goes through her own comedic storyline forcing a British soldier to do what she wants...none of it is interesting though and I found myself falling asleep watching this. Usually the Recons get me more into a story, this one just didn't.

Overall I found this one the weakest of the Troughton stories without even the so-bad-it's -fun of THE UNDERWATER MENACE (which I like a lot despite what everyone else says about it). Yes, I wanted to like THE HIGHLANDERS more than I did but I really can't. The basic overall set up in ep1 is very, very good and Troughton's Doctor is very unusual in this, with that long hat, a pipe maybe? and his coat and his blatant refusal to see the danger as danger in this. His joy at being reconnected with his companions, especially Polly is someting that can't be contained though and he's really very good. He also makes some points for banging a bad guy's head on a table, although I dn't know if the bad guy is really that bad a guy.

I can't wait to see or rather read what you think of this one. I supposed wiht the location stuff it might be good.       

Doctor Whoovie's picture

I amonly two episodes into 'the highlanders' so far. Too much fantastic Torchwood to watch this week.
I am enjoying it, reminds me a little of 'the romans' in terms of 'farce' and has the added bonus that Kirsty is  played by Hannah Gorden.
As you say the Doctor is up to slap stick playing a German and a 'old lady' so far. The bit where he overcame Grey was good, but then so was the other farcical part where Polly and Kirsti overcome Ffinch when they lure him into falling in the pit (Though I'm a little confused how the girls suddenly managed to get out the pit after having been stuck there for quite some time). Jamie hasn't really stood out yet, but there's time enough left, I guess. Two episodes to go, probably catch them tonight or tomorrow.


I'm not sure how long they were there but they were in the cave or something long as well. Polly tries to get out but falls in, Kirsty falls in. Polly suggest a game of piggy back to get out but they see lights and the soldiers pass. They get Ffinch and tie him up and then Polly climbs up Kirsty's back to get out. At least I think that's what happened!  

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well I watched the last two episodes of the Highlanders last week, but never got round to posting a final review.

As I said previously it reminded me of 'The Romans' - a historical with a lt of farsical elements. It struck me a little amusing that the 'bad guys' in the story were the English (about 90% of the viewing public when it was first broadcast). It is not often that  the producers of a TV series set the majority of their audience as the villians.

Whilst comparing this to 'the romans' in style, I did not find it quite as entertaining. It seems strange to me that Jamie became a companion as he did not play a huge role in the story. I don't believe that the producers decided he was such a strong character that he should be included in the TARDIS crew, rather it was decided he would join the regulars and the story was written to allow his insertion.

I had to laugh at the fight on the ship where the Loose Canon team had inserted footage of pirates fighting on deck. a) everyone was dressed as pirates (no kilts to be seen and b) that looked like the Carribean not the bleak atlantic of the coast of Scotland.

In this story I enjoyed the Doctor's acting pieces (soldier/old woman/German) and the strong part that Polly had, otherwise a fairly average story. 6/10.


Idiom's picture

Again, surprisingly similar. Lots of echoes in our reviews, Doctor W!

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well what can I say about this story. The premis for the stroy was very promising but somehow never really delivered on it.

I know that Zaroff was meant to be insane, however the acting was just 'too over the top' (he reminds me of a silent movie bad guy hamming it up, but with vocals). The fish people were just a little 'too' sparkly and naff. The Atlantean people were just alittle 'too' niave (Don't look at Admo when she eats the sacrifices).

I liked Ben's line in the first episode "Polly, you speak foreign, go and talk to him, ask him where we are".

Many ideas were good

The use of Atlantis (and trying to raise it again)
Changing people into fish by adding gills
The infinite food source which cannot be stored
The world exploding when the ocean is allowed to enter the hot core.

I really enjoyed the first episode (and the third episode, since it seems like ages since I last saw moving pictures) but ultimately felt let down.

I found the incidental music extremely annoying and the way the story wrapped up in the final episode seemed extremely rushed and unsatisfying. It seemed to me that the TARDIS was  overcrowded here. i.e., too many companions for the amount of story available.

A 5/10 for this one I think. 

Yet the story was unsatisfying in the end, the s

I disagree with almost everything you said in that post but in a respectful way. I understand that UNDERWATER MENACE is not the best story but for some reason I found it adventurous and funny in a camp sort of way. DW shortcomings aside, it has what looks to be some great location work, a great climax as Atlantis sinks, some great fake outs by the Doctor and Ben, some stilted fight sequences, loyal allies, and the foursome gets split up and I found it refreshing to have two men and one girl as companions.

On the other side, there are some slow moments, things to catch your breath. The Doctor dresses a gypsy or forutne teller and that's funny. The Atlantis people dress or rather lack dress and looks different enough, I worried that some of them may not have escaped. Did they? Yes, the ending was a bit rushed but we see Zaroff drown as the Doc tries to go back for him. I also like that the Doc shoots powder into Zaroff's face, that the villain overcomes his imprisonment when it looks like he's already lost. I particularly like the first episode and the entire getting into the mess...the elevator sequence...then later with the Doc's friends fooling others, pretending to be the god... 

On the naive natives of Atlantis, perhaps after years of fake religion clouding their judgement, perhaps they have to look away as a tradition or be smited on.

UNDERWATER MENACE is not going to win any awards by any means.  But it is entertaining IMO and contains at least one shocking death scene to be dangerous and some adventure to be exiting, plus it has Jamie in a wet suit to look really really dapper and Polly changing clothes to look...really really silly. AND it was DW trying something different...

Doctor Whoovie's picture

I forgot to mention that I loved the part of this story where the doctor is hiding in the market, apparently diguised as Keith Richards. With Dark sunglasses and a bandana - Great stuff.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Now this is more like it. This was a first rate sci-fi story. The redesigned cybermen being vastly superior to those in the tenth planet.

Polly showed her metal her again, inventing the 'polly cocktail' in addition to serving lots of coffee. Though I suppose that this forwarded the plot since it helped them discover how the moonbase personel were being poisoned. The Polly cocktail seems particularly effective reducing cybermen to an empty rubber diving suit in a few seconds. I need some solvent like that. 

As with 'the tenth planet' the actual science here was pretty flakey. Using gravity to control the weather seems pretty proposterous. Likewise the final solution of using the gravitron to get the cybermen (and their ship) off the moon seems a little weak. What stops them from slowly falling back down again once the beam is turned off?

A more serious plot hole is that we knoe the cyberman cannot tolerate radiation, but the surface of the moon is bombarded continuously by radiation without an atmosphere or magnetic field to protect it.

I liked the way that each member of the moonbase crew had there name and country of origin emblazoned on their chest, it was just like going to a 'six flags' theme park where the staff are similarly labelled.

I do hope that this is one of the next stories which 2Entertain will augment the remaining episodes with anitmated replacements for the missing parts.

A good 9/10 for this one.

I found this story highly entertaining. I think it has some of the best moments of Troughton's Doctor. I love when he's whitterng about, putterng around trying to find clues, annoying some of the crew. I like it when he is in the lab doing his thing and Polly is asking questions and he tells her he thinks he was a medical doctor once. The Cybermen stalking the med center was scary. The cliffhanger with the Cyberman in the med center under the sheet rising like the MUMMY (from the 1940 movies) was effective as the Doctor shields everybody with his arms and the thing comes at them. There were a great many parts that somehow don't really add up to a logical story. ABOUT TIME 2 can tell you all about the illogic of the science and the scenes. How did the Cybermen come and go from the med center? Why did they not kill Jamie and Polly, and there's lots more. It's good to see the Doctor in a spacesuit and finally on the Moon but again, this story is not boring and does entertain but has a lot of faults and flaws. I enjoyed it a great deal and I just love Polly and Ben as companions and Jamie does little but get sick but he does it so well and looking so good doing it. Pat is in his element here as the Doctor as he puts his mind to work against the disease and the Cybermen on the moon.    This story really cements the CM as major villains for future stories with them in it. And their spikey fingers are ...unsettling, too. At least in this.

Troy Baker's picture

"The Moonbase is on the DVD set "Lost in Time" but as to the missing episodes -- only the audio is available. On the DVD they have the two existing episodes interwoven with the audio and a still photo from the story on the screen while the audio of the the missing episodes are playing.

The audios are of episodes one and three, while parts two and four are complete. It's on disk 1 of the two dick set of Patrick Troughton.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Before anyone thinks that I have spent yesterday and today doing nothing but watch Dr Who, I would like to state that the items I'm posting today reflect episodes I have watched over the past 9 days.

This was an interesting story with many aspects, however it was predictable in many ways.

a) It was obvious that control did not exist (or at least wasn't the man in the picture)
b) Since Ben was 'bad' for most of the story, he had to save the day.
c) since the initial impression given to our travellers was the place was 'too good to be true', it had to be.

The good
a) Polly's new haircut
b) The way that the purpose of the mining and then the purpose of the gas was slowwly introduced through out the story, maintaining a level of mystery.
c) The way the minds of the colonists were being manipulated by a bodiless voice.

The Bad
a) The bad/good manipulation of Ben, whilst Jamie was 'resistant' to the mind control. This smacks of setting up the situation for Jamie to be the main companion after the next story.
b) The cheerleading, majorette and jinggle singing seemed very annoying (though perhaps that was the intention). They certainly made the story seem like a period piece, perhaps this is how all propaganda seems out of its context. However, the colonists seemed to carry on with it after the Macra were gone.
c) Again the very quick wrap up of the story at the end of episode 4 seemed very rushed. i.e. turn the valves on let the pressure build up then the Macra are gone.

A solid 7/10 for this story

It appears to me that this and the previous two stories were similar. In that all the action occured within a closed, small comunity (with only a few sets) but that the 'threat' was huge: destruction of the Earth in two cases, destruction of the entire colony in this case. All three had the feal of a 'small' yet big story. A huge (global) threat is present but all the action can occur in a small area.

This contrasts with the historicals which can be 'small', small stories, i.e. only the lives of our heroes are at stake, not galactic calamity. The new Doctor Who series doesn't do this well, they always have to have Epic stories where, the entire world has to know it is under threat and things have to occur on a grand scale (e.g. Aliens of London, Army of Ghosts/Doomsday/ The Poison Sky, The Stolen Earth, The last of the Time lords, even the idiot's lantern). Perhaps RTD and Mr Moffat could return to some of the classic series ideas, write good stories and save themselves a bit on the budget too.

 Polly's 'Hannah Spearitt' Haircut 42 years early

        Polly's 'Hannah Spearitt' haircut 42 years early (must have traveled through an anomoly)


This story marks a watershed in my Doctor Who viewing as it was the last episode to be shown before I was born. Starting with the first episode of the faceless ones, the stories were broadcast in my lifetime (Yeah!).

As with most of the stories in this time and Davison's time this is linked with the cliffhanger at the end of the last story. I like this story but it is a little too long and alittle too slow. I love the Doctor's protestations at the Clean Him Up Machine and he goes back through the machine to dirty himself back up in a take off on a similar scene in The WIZARD OF OZ. I like to see Ben, Jamie, and Polly together but yeah, it was clear they were reducing Ben's role a lot. It is unintentionally funny that Jamie wants all the pretty girls to leave him alone and he seems quite put out by them touching him. Is this just that he's a virgin or is he just gay? I guess the intention is similar to that of the chased boy who doesn't want all the attention or embarassment but compared to today's shows, even the chldren and teen shows on DISNEY or the N, this seems slightly out of the times or that Jamie is gay.

The town reminded me of the Village in THE PRISONER (a mini series remake which is soon to be shown) and I guess it is meant to be annoying and yet at the end, the town had to carry on like it was, at least for now for it was all they knew. Maybe the Doc did not realize that the regular people were always like that. Whatever the reason it was also like ATTACK OF THE MONSTER CRABS, a grade b or c movie from the 1950s and a bit like THE FLESH EATERS, a slightly better movie from late 50s or early 60s, complete with mad Nazi. There are some unintentionally funny scenes nowadays as Jamie hides among the town dancers and someone directing them wants them to gay it up more.

Still, despite this and other goofy sequences and some boring ones, there are also some effective scenes with the searching of the rooms, the misty chase above ground through abandoned buildings with the Macra claw and monster (gee, did they actually kill anyone or just control people? I can't seem to remember), and Polly being menaced while Ben doesn't seem to think anything is wrong. This was not as tedious as the FACELESS ONES but at times, it was a chore.  

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Yet another Story which I had no idea about before I started.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this story, as it contained a lot of mystery and suspense. Chase calls the story tedious above, and perhaps, if I was aware of the eventual outcome, it might have been,  but coming at it fresh with no idea of where the plot was going I enjoyed it.

The Good

  1. Lots of suspense
  2. Excellent acting by Pauline (I founded Torchwood) Collins and Wanda (UFO) Ventham.
  3. Didn't need to end up wiping the bad guys out at the end. On the whole I find the Doctor's attitude much more consistent with all the later incarnations with regard to 'doing the right thing', giving the bad guys a chance to repent etc. The first Doctor's perspective on this was much different, He seemed much more callous and in general was more interested in getting away unharmed.
  4. I liked the idea of the story being based round a real location, in this case Gatwick airport. To me it adds an extra dimension of realism.
  5. I thought that the make-up effects for the 'faceless' phase of the chameleons was very good.
  6. I really enjoyed episodes 1 and 3 of the story, as it seems ages since I watched moving people.

The Bad

  1. Polly's hair-cut reverted to her Pre-Macra long style (wig ? filmed of out order? Time travel?)
  2. Polly and Ben were practically written out of the story, reminisant of Dodo in 'the War Machines'
  3. I cringed at the people being shrunk for transportation (very like the colonists in the Ark). For some reason it reminds me of the BAtman story (camp 60's version) where people are dehydrated into powder then rehydrated later back into there original selves.
  4. I found it hard to believe that no-one had really worried that no passengers ever came back on the Chameleon Flights, that's a lot of one way tickets. Likewise it seemed unbelievable that the airport/air traffic controllers didn't hand over the flights to European airspace controllers once they left their immediate locale. (Of course perhaps the international airspace was administered by French controllers and they were on strike Smile )

One thing that troubles me a little in this and in later stories (currently part way through the Abominable Snowmen) is Jamie's ability to read. Although literacy levels in Scotland in 1746 were high (higher than England, in fact) this was almost exclusively resitricted to the Lowlands (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, St. Andrews etc) where 85%+ of the population reside (even here many could read but relatively few could write). The Highlands in contrast had literacy levels of practically zero, therefore it seems unlikely he could read. Although today one could try to invoke the TARDIS translates for you arguement, if you can't actually read what would it translate the writting in to? Unless it excretes telepathically like a Babel fish Frown.

Cannot say enough how much more I prefer Troughton's Doctor to that of Hartnell. Although I never really took to Ben, it seems that he and Polly were not given too much of achance to establish themselves before being shown the door. I still haven't really caught the "Jamie" bug like others on the forums here, I find the character to have been written acronistically for the Time period he is meant to come from (sometimes they remember but other times he has the perspective of a late 1960's viewer) and I find that it keeps jarring back out of the story. 

Overall I enjoyed this a lot a solid 8/10.


Hmm, Some wierd formatting going on here!

I agree with almost everything you said. I think, while there are some plodding and plotting problems with THE FACELESS ONES and at times, it is tedious, it also has some great moments. I can't agree about Pauline Collins, I think she's awful and I can't understand a lot of what she says. She'a also very, very unrealistic in her acting. Wanda Ventham is always good. I could see either one of them becoming companions and thank God, Pauline didn't.

I understand about Jamie but any character in this show is going to sound anchronistic. Perhaps the Doctor, Polly, and Ben (!) taught Jamie how to read in between adventures. Either way, I found/find him engaging enough and fun and brave and all that.

Other things I liked including what you said, are: the gas trap which stuck the trio to the floor, the trap on the plane, this Doctor alone on another planet or rather with either Wanda's character or Pauline's. Ben and Polly get into a mystery on Earth rather like Jennifer Hart on HART TO HART, or Scooby Do on SCOOBY DO, or Jessica Fletcher...the TARDIS keeps putting them into spots like this, perhaps so they can sort things out.

Why do the foursome just run from the police on the runway rather than trying to sort things out? Or why not flee back into TARDIS? The book ABOUT TIME 2 has many,many more THINGS THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE about this story. For one, how can a race survive yet lose its identify and faces in an atomic explosion? WTF?

Patrick is at a point where he is totally the Doctor he settles into, rather than a buffoon that he was in the early stories (which I also liked btw--I like him being a buffoon sometimes in those earlier stories). I like Ben and Polly a lot more than Dodo and for a  moment or two, I thought they were both going to die. I also forget: what about the young passengers? Did they get recovered? Anyway, The Doctor seems not too sad about Ben and Polly going, as if he either knew they were going to go or that he wanted them to go so he could, uhm, be alone with Jamie. Jamie seems, on the other hand, rather sad to see them go.

Im sorry but although I like this story and on a good day, would give it a 6 or 7 out of 10, it could do with losing at least two eps. It's not terrible though.       

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Chase -
I can't agree about Pauline Collins, I think she's awful and I can't understand a lot of what she says. She'a also very, very unrealistic in her acting.

UK regional accents are strange beasts. I am going to guess from my reading of your posts that you are an American (with Anglophile tendancies), but none the less a US native. I on the otherhand am a displaced Brit who has resisded in the States for a decade (well it will be on the August 7th this years). I am from Scotland (Edinburgh) and my wife is from the Wirral (the otherside of the River Mersey from Liverpool). She grew up and her Mum still lives less than 10 miles from Liverpool. Let me assure you that Pauline Collins is doing a convincing, acurrate scouse accent in this story (for the record this is not how my wife sounds Smile ).

I grew up watching a sit-com called 'The Liver Birds' (rhymes with 'live' not the internal organ) and Pauline could easily have been playing one of the show's two main characters 'Polly' or 'Sandra'. Although you may find Sam's character (or accent) annoying, I don't think that this is actually 'bad acting'. I do not like Ben for a similar reason (namely his Cockney accent) but I do not blame this on 'bad acting' on the part of Michael Craze (he is merely doing what is requested in the script) but more on my on preferences and prejudices. 

For those of non-UK persuasion the actual Liverbirds are two giant bird statues on top of the 'Liver' building at Liverpool docks. This symbol of Liverpool is part of the team badge for Liverpool Football club.

THe Sit-com was using this as a pun meaning two girls ('birds' in the 60s/70s venacular) from Liverpool. Nerys Hughes who played Sandra, was Rhys's mum (and the Nostrovite) in the Torchwood episode "something borrowed".

Pauline Collins in 'The Faceless Ones'

The Liver Birds

The Liver Building Liver Birds


Yeah, thanks for the info. I cannot understand Ben a lot of the time either and usually have to, when applicable, put on the subtitles to understand him but he's never been annoying to me or acted bad. Pauline, on the other hand, IMO is a bad actress in FACELESS ONES and really demanding on the viewer.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

The VHS of this reconstruction was pretty much unwatchable. So because of this and the fact that I was going to spend about 7 hours in the car over the weekend, I bought the BBC audiobook (Original Staging Fiction - as they call it) from i-tunes for $14.95.

I listened to the first episode in tandem with reading the BBC website photonovel. I then watched episode 2 of the Lost in Time DVD. I then listened to episode 2 and the remaining 5 episodes on my trip to Dallas. This is the first time I haven't been following the images with the sound. On my return I skimmed through the photos on the BBC website and watched the recreation of the last Dalek battle that appears on the 'Tomb of the cybermen' DVD.

I was really looking forward to this story, as it has much standing in the Dalek community (with regards to the first appearance of the Emperor). However, I found it rather disappointing. None of the male Victorian characters (Waterfield, Maxtible and Terrall) seemed particularly well realized and were hence unbelievable.

Additionally, the daleks that received the 'human factor', α, β and Ω seemed really silly when they ended up playing trains and rhyming etc. I also found the details of Jamie's trial to be very contrived. Again, I found that Jamie seemed to know and behave in a manner inconsitant with his historic context .

There were of course some elements that I did like. Firstly, the way that this story overlapped the previous 'the faceless ones' was great. I enjoyed the first episode and a half set in 1960s London much more than the remainder set in Victorian England and on Skaro.

I also like the character of Kimmel, it was a shame he had to die and could not journey with our heroes at the end. It would have been interesting having some 'mute' muscle with the Doctor. 

I did like the emperor Dalek, but expected that he would be in it more. Shame that he is really a very static prop.

It was good the way that Victoria was really thrust upon them as a travelling companion, I think this is the first time this has happened.

Overall, I would give this a 6/10 and say that I was expecting something considerably better. 

I understand what you mean about being dissapointed. When I first saw TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN, I thought it was horrible. After years about hearing how much a classic it was and how scary it was, I thought: this is IT? Then years after that, I rewatched it and rather like it now. It isn't scary in that sense but a bit disturbing and the Doctor causes it all. But the point is I would give it a higher rating than before. When I first saw it I would have given it a 2 or a 1 out of 10; now about a 7 out of 10.

Anyway onto this: I can't remember Jamie's trial at all. I thought this story was pretty good. I heard a lot about it, too. I think Victoria is introduced rather well and Debbie's acting is certainly the best it's going to be on the series here. The music is also rather well done and melodramatic but resting and calm when we first see her feeding a bird, even while she's a Dalek prisoner. The recon I watched was pretty good. I don't know what people were like in that time zone but I can't agree with you. I thought all the characters in the past were well drawn up and given time to expand and relate. The one you liked, Kimmel, while okay, was, IMO, the worst one. Did anyone like him ever exist? Except in pulp? Anyway having had him as a traveling companion might have been interesting for a story or two, perhaps having him in TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN would have been cool.

I like how this story takes its time. Of course we know Daleks will be in it. I also like how the Doc and Jamie are transported in time without the TARDIS and when they awake, the maid  talks about someone called the Master and the Doctor gasps, "The Master!?" It's a strange moment in hindsight. I like the traps set up for Jamie and Kimmel and I like how Kimmel eventually aids Jamie. I also like how Jamie reacts against the Doc when he thinks the Doctor is against him, shades of McCoy's Doctor manipulating Ace and others in that era and in the New Adventures and BBC books. Anyway Troughton is excellent here ("The Daleks will take pleasure in killing everyone in sight in this house and their greatest pleasure will be in killing me.").

I did'nt like the Emperor Dalek much. I found much of his dialog cliche and stilted and hard to hear and understand in almost every version I've heard of it (two recons and three different audio tapes over the years--God help me). I'm glad he was not featured more often in this. From what I saw/heard I'm not sure how Maxtible ends up but there are varying reports. I thought he fell over the side of the cliff. But I could be mixing him up with Victoria's father. The idea that they would film Daleks fighting Daleks is ...the gall of this low budget show...and from what I can tell, it really worked.

I also kind of like the strangeness of the three Daleks playing trains and nearly scaring the Doctor until he realizes they are human-like and child-like. It makes for a great change. I believe there is a sequel to this in one of the many spinoffs, possibly a novel or a quick read novel or both.

I like the settings here, the present briefly, the past in that big old mansion, and Skaro. All three seemed fraught with danger and atmosphere.

Do I like Troughton more than Hartnell? No. In many ways they are both untraditional heroes. In the past, their types would be regulated to supporting characters or comic relief, the old uncle, goofy old inventor (like the professor Pepperwinkle in the old George Reeves SUPERMAN) or the silly sidekick but as mainstream heroes, both are rather NEW and fresh. I found Hartnell always interesting, good, and different and I hinged on his every word, THAT and the varied places and settings he often found himself in and with so many different companions, made him a must see. Troughton is just as good but not better. He's quite mysterious when he wants to be and especially in this story and he's also got something brimming just underneath. That said, he can be quite the coward or give the outward apperance of a coward when he wants to be too. He also can be warmer than Hartnell, who could be warm at times. Troughton could also be very optmistic and positive. 

This story also made DW more dangerous than say THE FACELESS ONES, where less people die, possibly setting up the future where many of the guest star characters die. One more thing about THE FACELESS ONES is that it could have been a Pertwee story, almost. This one might also fit that mold a bit if you think about DAY OF THE DALEKS.

In any event, taken one ep at a time, both FACELESS ONES and EVIL OF THE DALEKS are quite good.         

Doctor Whoovie's picture

I didn't mention this in the comments above, but I was rather dissapointed in the sound quality of the download I got from i-tunes (sourced from Audible). I was driving through much of the story and much of the dialogue was hard to make out because of road noise.

I listen to a huge amount of Big Finish and other regular audiobooks whilst communting everyday so I know that this is not typical of the genre. Whilst I know that the original audio is being sourced from amateur reel-to-reel tape recordings made of air with an open mike, I found that even Frazer Hines studio recorded narration was indistinct. I did notice that the files appear to be incredibly compressed. The first 150 minutes are only 34.1Mb and the second part (40 minutes) is 9.1 Mb, this could well have something to do with the issue.

If I compare this to a Big Finish Audio (Hothouse in this case) the total lengths of all the audiofiles once extracted from the supplied zip files is 82 minutes (including trailers and extras) and the files total to 97.7Mb.

The EotD is using 0.23mB/min whilst the BF Hothouse is using 1.19 mB/min. This is more than a 5:1 ratio.

Troy Baker's picture

Dont forget - the original was one of the lost episodes.

All that remains is the soundtrack of the shows so if anything exist it is going to be of inferior quality. It's going to be difficult to find good quality recorings from that period.

(sarcastically) Thank you BBC for destroying the episodes - now we'll never know how the story origanally was.


BTW: Only one episode exist (to my knowledge) from that story. It was included in the "Lost in Time" set. It was the episode that introduces Victora Waterfield (episode two) to the series. If you have a chance, then 'check it out'.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

So Ends another Season, and what an eventful one it was. We have the first regeneration and I was born during it Laughing.

Although, there were only two Hartnell stories, I would place them at the bottom and top of the list for story quality, obviously with 'The Tenth planet' as the best story and 'the smugglers' as the worst. Troughton was a great, refreshing change and on the whole his stories were relatively strong. A definite rally from the rather poor third season.

I think Series 4 will move into third place for the series that I have watched so far in the marathon.

Unfortunately, a depressingly large amount of this series was missing, and much had to be watched in virtual form. How much this distracts from the series, I'm not sure but it must have some impact.

place                      Season                    Highlight                        Lowlight
1st                          One                     Marco Polo                     Edge of Destruction
2nd                         Two                 Dalek Invasion of Earth        The Space Museum
3rd                          Four                     The Tenth Planet               The Smugglers
4th                         Three                The Dalek Masterplan                 Galaxy 4

Looking at the episode list for Series 5 makes me think I may be in for the best series yet as at least half the stories are usually considered to be classics ('The abominable snowmen is the only one I know).

Danny aka CyberColin's picture

Nice summary....that's it! lol


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Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well What can I say! What a wonderful story, this has to be one of the all time best classic Who serials. This must surely be the best classic cyberman story (I haven't seen the Wheel in Space yet) but it beats 'The tenth planet', 'The Invasion" and 'Earthshock' hands down.
The cyberman styling over the tomb is very effective, if a little primitive (it ocassionally looks like painted cardboard). However it adds a sense of forboding, and is a constant reminder of 'now your in trouble'.
The use of the cybermats creeping through the structure after the humans adds to the eerie tension. The death of the human crew member at the begining of the story, plus the rather large ensemble cast makes one feel that more deaths are immenent at any time.

The actual tomb and the waking of the cybermen is also very effective and atmospheric, creating classic imagery which I feel is just as effective as the Daleks on Westminster Bridge or the Invasion Cybermen on the steps in front of St Paul's Cathedral. Although the effect of the tomb thawing and subsequently refreezing is fairly primative, it does the job and is no worse than many of the effects in DW decades later.

The idea that the cybermen have set a trap which only the intelligent can activate (so that they can be cyberconverted) is pretty good, but the whole symbolic logic thing was over used.

As if our heroes don't have enough to content with in an army of frozen cybermen, the fact that a pair of the archeology team are working against everyone else for their own ends ups the ante somewhat. On the down side they are almost stereo typical bad guys (made out to be shifty foreigners, whilst the good members of the team are either English or American. This stereo typing is taken to ridiculous ends by having Kaftan's muscular henchman (Toberman) played by a muscular, black Jamacan Actor, Roy Stewart. This is perhaps the worst 1960's sterotyping I have seen in the series (always getting Polly to go make the coffee pales in comparison). This being said I suppose it should be viewed in the context of the time that the program was made. After all it wasn't until 1968 that all forms of race segregation were made illegal in the US.

At least the Toberman character gets to redeem himself by fighting and ultimately defeating the cybermen after having been half cyber converted (well at least one arm) and brainwashed by the cybercontroller. However this still may have been misguided since it is because the cybermen have killed his (rather evil) mistress.

After having seen this story, I believe that the producers should have allowed Kimmel from the Evil of the Daleks to travel with the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria. This story could have ended even more effectively if Kimmel had sacrificed himself at the end (rather than Toberman) to save his friends Jamie, Victoria and the Doctor. However, this is a small quibble.

Another weakness in the story is the curious fact that the cybermen seem to try out their weapons on mock-up cybermen rather than against there enemies (perhaps there are rival cybermen factions?)

Overall an intelligent story, with incredible stylistic and visual impact. This is let down a little (to the modern day eyes) by the blatent separation of the good and bad human charcters along straight racial lines.

A near perfect 9/10 for this story. (Don't think I'll award many 10/10. Currently I can only imagine Genesis of the Daleks, Talonsof Weng Chaing, Curse of Fenric, The Girl in the fireplace, Doomsday, Blink and The Stolen Earth will earn that score, but we shall see). Everyone should go out and buy this on DVD.


Okay the classic status for years: blah. When I first saw this I thought this was over rated, a mess, and just plain ole boring with bad acting, especially from Debbie Watling. She's pretty bad. The main baddies are also awful. The acting in general from the American (?) commander was bad, too. Nothing was so bad that it ruined the story but the CM stay in their tomb for a long long time. Why couldn't everyone just ...well, leave the tomb and stay or camp near the spaceship or even the TARDIS? In fact, the Doctor opens the tomb, doesn't he or causes it to be opened? He is, in fact, playing devious and allowing history to happen, no matter who gets killed. He also offers Victoria and Jamie a "go back to the TARDIS where you will be safe" knowing full well they won't do it and then he allows them to stay with him! Knowing they could get killed. None of that is very nice or makes sense. The story at the outstart sounds great, almost like an old Universal horror movie or even a higher grade movie but the truth is: this is really an old Universal horror movie, one of the good ones even, something like the MUMMY series with a shambling, slow moving mummy coming out of his tomb and not being fully revived but able to kill...and human aides who want him to come out for various reasons and a huge henchman trying to best really is the Lon Chaney, Tom Tyler MUMMY all over again. The Cybermats are not particularly scary or interesting and they seem to be held up to the neck.

Looked at like that, this is pretty awful. Looked at as just fun, it is okay. Troughton has rarely been better than this before this although he's usually great even in UNDERMENACE. I also t think his Doc was great in THE HIGHLANDERS, POWER OF THE DALEKS, and just about all the others. His scene as he tells Victoria about HIS FAMILY residing in his mind and him keeping them alive that way is truly touching and revealing. That scene is probably Watling's only good scene here. I also like the early scene of the Doc introducing Victoria to the TARDIS. AND the scene where the Doc and Jamie move in the foreground, with Victoria forelorn and scared between them in the background AND the Doctor takes and holds Jamie's hand! Jamie then knocks the hand away but only after a few seconds have gone by. Is this Doc maybe just too fond of Jamie?

Other good stuff includes when the CM finally emerge from the tomb and rise up, although I'm not sure they ever fully come up the ladder; when they try to pull the Doctor away from the hole that enters their lair; and when the CM leader tells the others they will be converted. The fights scenes range from good to fairly awful and we can see that a fake CM is lifted up and thrown. Kim...I mean Toberman's death seems particularly futile...and again, allowed by the Doc.  And where the CM lose inside the close up tomb or frozen again, I can't recall.

all in all, the second time I viewed this it was better than the first and my expectations were down. That's why I liked it more. I would probably give it a 6/10 or maybe a 7 out of 10 but no where near a 9 out of 10.          

Doctor Whoovie's picture

This is one of the few Troughton Stories that I am very familiar with. I got the Target novel in the late 70's and read it several times as a child/teen. Recently I re-read it when I retrieved my target collection from the Attic for my son to read. I also listened to the David Troughton reading of the novel on audiobook a couple of months ago. This is a story I like and have enjoyed many time. It therefore came as a surprise to me that I didn't enjoy watching this too much. The existing episode was fine, but the audio on my reconstruction was indistinct and I had to struggle/concentrate really hard to follow the dialog. Following along on the BBC website photonovel helped but overall the process seemed a little tedious.

In some ways this reminds me of the stories which I have read as David Whitaker Novelizations then watched as televised episodes, without fail I prefer the Novel (The crusaders, The Zarbi, The space War, even The Daleks). In gerneral, I don't usually feel that way with stories novelized by Terrance Dicks (or Malcolm Hulke or Ian Marter for that matter), but perhaps this is an exception.

The timing of events seemed different in the televised version versus the novel, with the first episode moving very slowly.

I am tempted to get the BBC audiobook (of the episode soundtracks) as I presume that the audio quality will be somewhat better than that I listened to. Hoever given that I may have just been over exposed to this story recently, I think I will wait aw year or two before I comeback to it again.

Reading the episode cast lists, it took me a minute or two to realize that Proffesor Travers was played by Deborah Watlings Dad, an interesting piece of trivia that had passed me by. I also thought the docters line about the Yeti "just coming to get their ball back" was really very funny.

It did seem a little comical that all the tibetian monks were played by (very obviously) white Englishmen with stuck on oriental facial hair.The master's make-up also looked alittle unconvincing but since  I am judging it from afew still pictures it is impossible to guess at its true impact on a moving image.

With regard to the great intelligence, it struck me that it seems rather similar to the Nestine consiousness, the purpose of the foaming mass on the mountain was rather vague, perhaps some of these things will become a little clearer after "the web of fear" then again, perhaps they won't.

Overall I would give the story an 8/10, but the televisual experience can only manage a 6/10, I'm afraid. I think that my enjoyment would have been much higher if all the episode remained on video/film, but unfortunately they don't.

I would give the story the same rating probably or higher maybe. You seem not to like it as much as I did. I kind of love this story for a number of reasons. Patrick Troughton. Jamie. Even Victoria shines in this episode, even though she's kind of making sily mistakes that could get her and one of the monks, the young one who seems to fancy both her and the Doc!...killed. Fortunately he doesn't die but others do. Other things to like about this: the setting, the sound effects, the wind and the monastery. All great atmospheric stuff and yeah, reading the novel YEARS ago helped my imagination work with this story. I like that the Doc came here before and we found out little about that. That seemed to happen in almost every Colin story (he knows Dastari, he knew about the Borad's former self and visited Karfel, he knew the man who died on Necros, etc etc etc) but in this era that didn't happen too often.

The Yeti: I know people have cuddly thoughts of them but as silent or almost silent movers and monsters who look like they can be nice but aren't...they are very, very scary and in this setting very very scary. As they move across the mountain at Jamie and Victoria and Travers (a fun character by the way) it's kind of surreal and exciting. I found ep1 and 2 moved very quickly for me. I love when Pat is confined to a cell by himself and then later chained up outside. As opposed to TOMB he warns Jamie and Victoria off to save themselves, not worry about him. The return of the artifact, the bell was it? was interesting. And I'm glad this takes place in the past, for once.

The GREAT INTELLIGENCE: Great! I love that the taken over leader Paswhateverhisname was seemed schizo, talking in whispers at some times, alien loudness at others, losing his temper at other's very scary and very different and hasn't really been matched at all. i don't know what made them have the actor or actors do the voices that way or play it like that but it's very different and very unusual and alien.

One very scary part is when the Doctor in maybe ep6 or so tells Victoria, a monk, and Jamie not to come inside as he goes to face off against the Lama or whatever he's called and not to follow him in no matter what. He goes inside and we don't see him but we see them. AND we hear him scream loudly and seriously. Very scary. The climax is a bit muddled but it's still pretty exciting. And the Jamie-Doctor blocked from the TARDIS stuff is very well done, too.

I also love when the Doc grabs Victoria's hand, "Victoria, I thnk discretion is the better part of valor, come along, Jamie has an idea,"  all the while running away from a gaping Jamie who tries to stutter his idea to the Doc but can't.

The inner conflicts in the monastery could get on one's nerves but it is interesting that the Doc and co are not trusted and then they are and then the one monk that does trust them is killed. In very effective scenes. Unlike the Colin era the violence seems less tasteless and more imaginative. Despite what others think, I find this story to be very enjoyable and this Doctor to be great in any setting.PUtting him among so many different and unusual suspects, dangerous monsters and alien intelligences and entities only takes the show a step up.       

Doctor Whoovie's picture

This was a solid, if not great sci-fi story. We have an original setting, future Earth during an Ice Age. It was nice that at the end of the day,  it was not the Doctor that saved everyone rather it was Wallace and Grommit Penley (Peter Sallis). Though having recently watched the Moonbase one wonders why the weather control station on the moon couldn't be utilized. It was a tad long, once again it would have been better as a four parter rather than the six actually used.

I liked the Clent character, who although portrayed as an officious bully, ultimately turns out to be a 'good' guy who can admit his own flaws/mistakes.

Playing spot the actor was fun. I identified Angus Lennie (from Terror of the Zygons) quickly then realized that Storr was played by Bernard (Carry on) Bresslaw [paerhaps better known to Americans as the cyclops in the Princess Bride].

Overall a 7/10 for this one from me. I have seen the second warriors story previously and think it scores over this one by some considerable margin.



The Ice Warriors: for years I thought that this story was just a routine invasion story and pretty boring. The novel wasn't up to much either and proved that. The photo novels didn't help either. It just looked so routine and boring. The audio I could not get through. It was slow slow slow. The found episodes, the little bits I ventured and braved to watch, looked okay but... 

Then I saw the reconstruction and realized this was a fun story. It had a future Earth, a playful Doctor, a fearful Doctor (When he walks into the ship for the first time and is confronted by the giant Ice Warrior it was all heck with Victoria, I'm getting out of here as he said, "Oh my word!" and made a bee line for the door! very funny), a serious Doc who can talk people such as Clent into doing the right thing.

There was also side characters that had some interesting things to say. There seemed to be two men living in the wilds in a nice home by themselves, one of them wanting to reunite with a former girl, the other going to the Ice Warriors to maybe free the other or the girls...and that one gets killed. Amazing. Of course there are flaws such as the lame wolf scene or whatever that was, a bear? It was the idea of it that amazed me, that they'd try such a thing. That was good. The whole thing really came off, one ep at a time. Jamie impresses, and Victoria, despite much simpering was also good.

This one just works as the reconstruction.  

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well what do I say? Having heard very little about this serial, I approached this story as a filler between the more famous stories. I was mildly curious about it since it was directed by Barry Letts and he discussed it in his autobiography. However, as far as I'm concerned it has been the highlight of the Traughton era so far. I was completely gripped by the first four episodes. Partrick does a first rate job playing the two separate roles.

Although, I had suspisions at the begining that Salamnder may not be actually evil and our heroes were siding with the bad guys, I did not guess even remotely how it was all turned going to out in the end. This even though I was fed up with the number of coincidental characters that hve been identical to the Doctor (The abbot in the Massacre particularly spring to mind)

 I really enjoyed the Bruce character, who rather than being evil was the tough but fair type.

I must say that between this story and the previos Ice Warriors, I am finding Victoria to be really annoying, so I'm not too upset that she will be off in a couple more stories.

I had a slight smile on my face, when i realized we were watching an episode set in Australia (no accents there in future apparently - only in Mexico) with a female character called Astrid. I wondered if RTD was aware of this - I suspect he was. Like Sara Kingdom, Astrid stuck me as an Avengers inspired character.

Overall I really enjoyed the break from space stations and monsters, a 9/10 for this one from me. It seems to ccontinue my streak of enjoying David Whitaker storys much more than those by other writers. I was ready to get the Target novel until I realized it wasn't written by David (Ian Marter novelied it- some what contraversially apparently).  

I wonder if this is going to be my favorite Second Doctor story, I suspect it is, Well I'll wait and see as there are plenty of other stories I don't know much about yet.Go watch this if you haven't seen it.

Enemy of the World:

Well it's variable isn't it? I don't know what they were thinking at the time: do James Bond or the Avengers? Take a break from monsters (much needed and a breath of fresh air to be honest)? Give Pat a chance to act in another role? Save money? Which they probably didn't. I also seemed to think that they mixed up Austria with Australia as people seem to come and go across a border between Australia and Vienna or England or maybe it was Spain? Alot doesn't make sense to be honest.

Pat does a great job as Salamander but Salamander doesn't seem so evil at times but at others he's just evil, especialy in the sub plot to keep people underground for his own reasons (?) whatever they were and killing one that comes up above. The scenes with the henchman or official who turned against Sal as he eats a nearly poisoned dinner...and then is shot in the back..are chilling. In fact, there are a lot of James Bond conventions here: the female who tries to get away from the villain's employ and gets shot, trying to save the others; the traitors, the torture driven bad henchman; the female who is tough and can handle herself in a spot (only she really doesn't, does she?), the beach scenes,

All in all, it was a nice story but two eps too long and sort of slow in places. The sequences with the cook/chef were strange and almost funny but not quite funny. There were parts also set in Spain or Mexico? Not sure. I can't recall. I guess it wasn't that memorable plus going through all of DW in such a short time is sort of taxing my memory...all I know is that at times, this was tremendous fun and at others tremendously taxing and trying...still I'm glad they tried a story like this and probably should again...minus any monsters at the ending as Sal flies out the doors...Jamie is so macho in this story...I think...but so is Victoria...     

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well it must be something about serials with "Web" in the title but I found this story incredibly tedious in the same way that 'the web planet' was.

It took me about 2 weeks to watch the whole thing and I had to force myself back to watch it each time. The story was very slow and not very engauging. Even the presence of Nick Courtney as  Col. Lethbridge Stewart couldn't relieve the monotony of it.

I find my self disliking Victoria more and more (Can she do anything except scream and complain?). I just find myself not caring what is going to befall anyone (except perhaps the Doctor).

A couple of months ago I was listening to the Death of Time, on the end there was a Radio 4 interview done at the time of DOT release. There was some critic on saying it was time to let DW die, and that it wasn't really that good. The example of how bad it was in the sixties was mentioned as a silly story where Yeti invaded the London Underground.

I thought that this guy was some nay sayer who just whanted his 5 minutes of fame on the Today show. However, now that I watched/listened to this episoide, I have to say maybe he had a point, in this particular case.

So I don't think I will waste any more time on this particular story and move on to something a little more enjoyable.

a 3/10 for 'Web of Fear' then.

DarthSkeptical's picture

I find your reaction to this serial interesting, Dr. Whoovie, given that you generally seemed to like its prequel.  I've recently re-watched "Snowmen" and "Fear" back-to-back, whilst reading an online transmission script, and I have to say that my love for it has only increased. Maybe you just have a really early, and visually poor, reconstruction.  I'd have to say, having suffered through some of those early Loose Cannon days, that if you use a non-LC reconstruction, which uses the Fraser Hines linking narration, and then read the script as it's being spoken, you come away with a much better idea of the production.  

I'll agree that Victoria doesn't play well in simple audio, though.  She's a somewhat Tegan-esque figure, in that some people love her and some just can't stand even the sound of her voice.  If you can get beyond the shrillness of her voice, I will say that she does considerably more than just scream, though.  She does have a curious and independent streak in her.  And one — okay, I — imagine from the few surviving bits of her on film, that she''d have been rather easy to watch from week to week.

I think you misjudge her a bit by marking her as a simple screamer, though.  She's pretty actively driving a lot of scenes in "Snowmen" and "Enemy".  And her bravery in searching for the Doctor and Jamie in "Fear" is perhaps not as powerful in audio as it might've been in full video.  Also the manner of her departure doesn't exactly bespeak someone who's the entire wet blanket that she seems in, say, "Tomb".  One of the best write-outs in series history, in fact.  

While her voice does sort of grate, I'll take her brand of vulnerability over Susan or Jo's any day of the week.  It's better, I think, to have a character who is, from the get-go, someone the boys need to take care of, rather than, someone who appears to be self-sufficient, but then turns into a screamer.  

I think what's sometimes forgotten about Victoria is that she comes to the TARDIS under truly horrific circumstances, unmatched by any aside from Nyssa.  She's really one of the more unlikely travelers in series history; that she can function at all given the twin disadvantages of being dramatically orphaned and coming from a privileged and secluded 19th century background is a bit of a testament to her inner strength.  Does she come across as strongly on audio as Polly, the other female companion completely shafted by episode deletion?  No.  But she's a much more consistent character than Zoe or Romana (especially Romana II) or Nyssa.  She's, in equal measure, curious by virtue of being the daughter of a scientist and fearful by virtue of being the daughter of a Victorian socialite.  And she has a complete, sensible narrative arc.  Not many classic series companions can say that for themselves.

Have a lemon sherbet. It'll quench your thirst.

Troy Baker's picture

It was already known that Deborah Watling was leaving the show so they were setting up for her departure. The complaining was an indication of how hard travelling with the Doctor was for her. It was to help set for her departure in the next story.


The next story was "Fury From The Deep" in which she did leave but they kept her departure secret, leaving a will-she-or-won't-she departure until the end. The previous story(ies) had been setting up her discomfort with travelling with in the TARDIS.


Just a bit of trivia:

Professor Travers was played by the father of actress Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield) - Jack Watling.

John Levine made his first appearance in the show not as Sgt. Benton but as a Yeti.

Well it's been so long since I watched WEB OF FEAR and it took forever for you to watch and post a reply I've found I've forgotten a lot of it. I do remember that I approached it with a one episode a day and that helped. I also approached it as if I were watching an old 1940s horror movie (Universal) or 1950s sci fic clunker that everyone but me hated. That also helped. I found the first episode really quite good, the music (from other sources of course) quite good, the set up of everyone evacuated (again, from other sources such THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL and other end of the world movies where almost everyone is gone) scary and creepy and the web stuff creepy too. I like the Yeti, I always have and seeing them fight UNIT in the recon was a joy to behold. It also seemed like a very brutal story with lots of soldiers dying and almost all of them. There seemed to be a great deal of tunnel walking in this and even that seemed filled with tension. Who was controlling the Yeti? Who was taken over by the Great Intelligence? I do remember that this seemed to go on far too long but Pat and Frazier were really good in it and I cared about the Doctor and Jamie. Yeah, Victoria seemed to get on my nerves but in this story at least, I felt it was more the fault of  the writers rather than the actress. Also on the plus side, Traver's daughter or was that his niece, seemed like a nice character but I must say a lot of the dialog is stiff and stilted and seems very outdated. The Brig's appearance is just that: he appears. It's not as if his appearance was heralded as something major...he was just a red herring and at that point I don't  think he was planned on returning and he wasn't supposed to return so his being there was nothing cool or anything. It is nice to see how he started though and he's really not the same man but you do see traces of what he will become later. I found that I did care about the wandering journalist and some of the soldiers, those protecting us/the UK from the threats and that when they were killed or possessed, it was exciting. I wasn't sure about the whole "let's get the TARDIS" mission and can't remember a thing about it or the ending. I guess I'll have to rewatch it! The feeling I got was that I liked it but I didn't really love it. It was better than I expected though    

Doctor Whoovie's picture

I guess I probably was watching an early Loose Cnon recon, though it unusually didn't have the usual Loose Canon Logos. There was only audio and stills (except the existing eps and a couple of small segments). There was no naration or on-screen  text explanations of the action.

If anyone can suggest/direct me to an alternate/better recon then I am open to re-watch and perhaps re-evaluate the story.

DarthSkeptical's picture

Have to say I don't know how to direct you to the recon I have.  But I can direct you to something I've found very helpful in watching recons, generally:

This gives you a hard copy script to follow as the recon progresses.  I find I understand much better what's going on, because the audio can be quite dodgy.  Also, the provision of stage direction helps to fill in those gaps where the audio fails to convey the visuals.

Maybe the best thing to do is to watch the recon, listen to the official BBC release (with voice over narration), and to read the script as you go along.  That way, you have three different ways to perceive the stories.  (Of course, if you use the BBC audio and a Loose Cannon recon, the audio won't quite synch up with the recon.  But it's close enough.)

The site above gives scripts for every missing episode, so it's useful far beyond "Fear".

Have a lemon sherbet. It'll quench your thirst.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Thanks, however I typically watch episodes on my i-pod whilst working out at the gym, so it's a little hard to run/cycle, listen/watch and read at the same time.

DarthSkeptical's picture

Well, you can't watch recons at the gym, silly!  That'll never work.  They require way too much concentration.  What's more, trying to watch them on an ipod means that you've reduced their quality by another factor in order to get them in to iPhone/iPod format.  Plus you're looking at what's already crappy "video" on a tiny li'l screen.  

No, a recon is essentially an archaeological experience.  You need to unearth every little clue that's out there.  Can't do that from a treadmill.  

It's no wonder you dislike "Web of Fear", by the way.  That one is a particularly visual one.  There are huge gaps of time where people are just moving or reacting.  You need all the help you can get on that one, but once you have it — and especially if you watch it right after "Snowmen" — you'll be on the edge of your seat.   It's been remarked above that the Brig's entrance is just ho-hum, but really it reads to me as one of the more dramatic moments in DW history.  Our crew holed up down an empty underground with a military force reacting to every sound they hear.  This force is led by a particularly nervous man, who clearly shouldn't be in charge.  They think a Yeti's perhaps upon them when this lone figure emerges from the darkness.  But it's not a Yeti; it's a very stern Col. Lethbridge-Stewart.  The character couldn't have got a better entrance, if ya ask me.  

I don't think you get any sense of the drama of NIck's entry into the story if you're just listening to the story cause — wham! — his voice is just . . . there.  

Have a lemon sherbet. It'll quench your thirst.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Hi Darth,

Didn't see this message because of the way I have the thread continuity set up for this new (clears throat) forum?

Because you replied to a comment, it didn't appear at the beginning or end of the thread (and I don't make a habit of checking all my posts every time I log on [ Okay, enough bitching about the forum format - lets not even delve into the text editor!!!]

a) I have watched loads of recons at the gym and really enjoyed them, particularly Marco Polo which was watched entirely at the gym.

b) I watched at least 50% of WOF on either my TV (60") or on the computer (20")

c) I have noticed that my taste in stories just doesn't match up with that of others. e.g. I really enjoyed 'The End of the World' while others feel it is lacking. I really loved 'Tomb of the cybermen' which many feel is over rated. Likewise, I just didn't get 'Web of Fear' and actively disliked it. As further examples of this is the Highlanders, Idiom has just posted a glowing review of this but I found it not to my liking. [ I think this may parallel my general dislike of Jamie as a companion - This is similar to my general dislike of Mel Gibson's Braveheart and Highlander. In all three cases Scots are being played by foreigners. Mel Gibson is obviously Australian (and filmed his movie in Ireland!!) Christophe "Conner MacLeod" Lambert is French and most terrible of all Frazer Hines is ENGLISH (Yorkshire man to be precise). As a Scotsman, it seems terrible that iconic Scot's figures are played by foreigners. - End of rambling aside]

I need to post up my reviews of more of the 2nd Doctor's adventures (I am currently watching the Space Pirates) but a busy work and home schedule has slowed me down. Again it may be obvious that my tastes differ from 'standard' fandom, as I found The Invasion overly long (the first four episodes could easily have been dispensed with - I suppose two of them were).  But I really enjoyed the Mind Robber.

BTW I watch it on the static bicycle, not the treadmil or steps (just listen to music on those)!! Wink 

Troy Baker's picture

I never knew about this site.

Now I can go and read how the original stories were meant to be - at least accoring to the script. Now I can examine many of the missing episodes this way.


PS: I don't know where I can find the reconstructions that everyone keeps talking about, so this is a big help to me.

DarthSkeptical's picture

Well, in fairness, these aren't the shooting scripts.  They're scripts compiled by people listening very closely to the surviving audio.  Thus, they very occasionally have some blanks where the audio is particularly bad.  Very infrequently, the stage directions and/or scene settings are at variance with the BBC Audio releases' linking narration — which are based on the original scripts.  And once I've found an entire scene missing in the scripts on the site.  But on the whole, it's altogether better than just going it alone with the audio.

I should also point out that the site occasionally returns a "page missing" error.  In fact, the error is an error itself.  Reloading the page when you encounter the problem generally solves things.  It can also be helpful to edit the address so that you're looking at the parent directory for that particular adventure (e.g.

As for finding recons, well, it's apparently a delicate copyright-infringement area. All I can do is advise you to spend some Google time. As to why it's a problem, I invite you (with appropriate trepidation) to visit Ian Levine's forum (

I'd also highly recommend that you take a look at the extensive FAQs over at The Pamela Nash Experience — surely the definitive source of information on missing episodes on the web (

Have a lemon sherbet. It'll quench your thirst.

Idiom's picture

I’ve final caught up to the Second Doctor strand and am pretty sure that with my lifestyle it’s going to take me as long to watch every Patrick Troughton story as it did to watch the Hartnell era. Well, a slow burner this one. The first couple of episodes were slightly disorienting (adapting to a new Doctor) and dragged a touch for me. However,  from episode three onward, it turned into a fast paced Dalek adventure (the best since Dalek Invasion of Earth, to my mind).

A few thoughts:

·         It was good to have Ben and Polly to bridge the gap between Doctors (although Polly seems to have been given a bit of a back seat in the last couple of stories). Ben’s initial mistrust of the Doctor was convincing and changed just as it was about to become tiring (thankfully).

·         What a contrast Patrick Troughton is to William Hartnell: whimsical, flippant and with a playfulness which is just starting to emerge. Having said that, his real nature hasn’t totally shone through yet due to a certain amount of post-regeneration trauma which I wasn’t expecting – the Doctor referring to himself in the third person and seeming to distance himself from the character of the Doctor initially. I can only imagine the confusion/consternation of the viewers at the time. Would they have shared Ben’s distrust? Would they have doubted as well that this character could be the Doctor? He has, at least, proved himself to be as infuriating in his own way as the first doctor.

·         Again no sonic screwdriver – I love the ingenuity of using a half full glass of water to escape from the cell.

·         A fresh (at the time, anyway) take on the Daleks. Here the Daleks are initially much more low key and display a subtle intelligence and Machiavellian planning. I like the idea of the colonists believing that they could control the Daleks and each faction using them to their own end while the Daleks themselves quietly and patiently plot before loosing their army into the capital. And what a bloodbath ensues then.  I like seeing the Daleks as the invading army – for such a militaristic and fascist society this must be they’re raison d’etre. Much more convincing that the silly chases and side-tracking of the Chase and Dalek Master Plan.

·         There seem to be an awful lot of similarities between this and the Ninth Doctor story, Dalek. Both focus on the experimentation (torture in the latter) on a Dalek with the perpetrators having little idea of what they are actually experimenting on. Both make mention of a how a single Dalek can cause untold death and destruction. Both involve the Dalek’s recognition of the Doctor (how is that possible, by the way?).

·         Best line was at the end with the Doctor saying that they should leave before they were “given the bill”!

·         Oh, and the title is a nice play on words!

A strong opener but with the Second Doctor not having quite found his feet yet -  for me anyway. A good 7 and a half out of 10. Sadly, next the last pure historical for a goodly long time.




Idiom's picture

What a corker! A brilliant historical adventure – the best surely since the Crusade and the last pure-historical sadly until Black Orchid. It’s such a shame that we didn’t see the Second Doctor in more historicals – his madcap enthusiasm and penchant for dressing up and silly accents suit this type of story perfectly.

OK, some thoughts:

·         A great story set during an interesting point of history. But rather than focusing on the main players of the time here we are shown the bit players and the backwaters of this historical event. This enables the writers to do a number of things: firstly, actually craft a good story which does not have to be dictated necessarily by existing historical events but rather to use those events to create the tone and flavour of the story; and, secondly, allow the Doctor to meddle as much as he likes as he is not changing the course of time – oh, and how we love it when the Doctor really sticks his oar in! So the story concerning the illicit trading of prisoners of war as slave is a surprising and interesting one.

·         We finally start to understand who the Second Doctor is (and, unexpectedly, in this story one can really see elements of the Third Doctor as well). He is mercurial and extracts himself from dangerous situations using a certain spontaneous cunning, disguise and tomfoolery. Here is a Doctor more accustomed to deceit, sleight of hand and dressing himself in the apparel of weakness to gain the upper hand rather than the haughty, almost aristocratic arrogance and cunning used by the First Doctor. He is fun, throws himself into situations with gusto and yearns for hats! The Power of the Daleks was all about confusion and the mystery surrounding this new figure and therefore didn’t reveal as much about the second Doctor as we perhaps would have liked. The Highlanders, however,  really is (quite rightly) a showcase for Patrick Troughton – he gets to show off his talent for character acting and accents and  disguises himself at different points as a German Doctor, an old woman and a bearded red coat.

·         Here we see the introduction of Jamie but strangely the story doesn’t act as a vessel to examine who Jamie is (as many of the first stories of particular companions do). Instead it concentrates on who the Second Doctor is and Jamie is depicted throughout as an important supporting character but little else. Was his inclusion as a part of the regular cast a last-minute decision, I wonder? I got to the last five minutes and was even beginning to question myself as to whether Jamie would join the crew or not. It was a great moment when the Doctor welcomes him on board the TARDIS long as he promises to teach the Time Lord how to play the bagpipes!

·         Ben and Polly get lots to do in this story. Polly, in particular, shows a guile and intelligence that enables her to reverse her situation of rebel on the run to one of amassing a small fortune, gaining an (albeit unwilling) ally among the British troops and going someway towards saving her captured friends.

·         Ffinally I loved Ffinches change of heart towards the ffriends at the end.

A great story all in all. A very good 9 out of 10 for me. I want more historicals!!!

Idiom's picture

Doctor Who meets The Spy Who Loved Me meets Warlords of Atlantis. I’m still not sure about this one. I don’t think that it is as bad as some people believe, and probably as Mark Ayres says in his discussion with Anneke Wills at the end of the BBC audio version: this episode is one of those which probably benefits from being missing. He refers, of course, to the mismatch between budget, effects and concepts which existed in early broadcasting. But still, there are some great set pieces in this story. I just wish that it hadn’t gone down the one-dimensional Bond villain route.

Some thoughts:

·         Patrick Troughton is now the Doctor. Of course, in retrospect, we know what a great job he did stepping into the shoes of William Hartnell. Even more admirable when you consider how much Hartnell had made the part of the Doctor his own. But truly, it hasn’t taken Mr. Troughton long to replace the First Doctor. How fickle I am! I particularly like the Second Doctor’s fetish for hats and headgear.

·         Jamie slots in nicely and I like the dynamic in this nearly all-male TARDIS. Something that the new series who benefit from, I feel. I have found out since watching the Highlanders that the idea of Jamie becoming a permanent character hadn’t been a long-term plan and that much of the dialogue given to him here belonged to either Polly or Ben. However, there is some attempt to define Jamie’s character and I particularly liked the first scene in the TARDIS at the beginning of the story and how very quickly it begins to feel like home for Jamie by the end.

·         My largest criticism is Zaroff who really feels like something from straight out of a Bond movie. I didn’t really understand his motivations apart from blowing up the world just to see if he could do it. I prefer villains with authentic motivations (General Cutler in the Tenth Planet to protect his son, even the Cybermen whose original motivation is race survival). Zaroff, however, comes straight out of the Mavic Chen production line – megalomania without a convincing cause.

·         I loved the scene in which the travellers dress up and try to merge into Atlantean society in order to kidnap Zaroff. I like TARDIS teams which work as a unit. They really gel as a group and I’m looking forward to seeing some more Ben, Polly, Jamie adventures.

·         I rather liked the fish people – but what happened to them at the end? Are they still there?

·         Best line from the Doctor: “I’ve got a plan...and it might work!”

Overall, a little messy and I’m not sure I understood it all completely but not entirely without merit. 6 and a half out of 10.

Idiom's picture

Oh yeah! I think this might have been the first Target book that I ever read. It was called Doctor Who and the Cybermen I believe and if it wasn’t the first book then it was definitely my introduction to the Second Doctor. I’d read the short synopses of the adventures in the sublime Making of Doctor Who and immediately convinced myself that the Second Doctor must be my favourite due to the amount of monsters that appear through his reign. Thirty of so years later and I find myself bemoaning the fact that there weren’t more historicals! At that age, I immediately loved the trio of Ben, Polly and Jamie (and still do) and find it hard to believe that this was actually the only novel of this particular trio’s adventures at the time. I had always thought that I’d read lots of their adventures – funny thing memory.


·         A great first episode I thought – hard to believe that so much was crammed into twenty-five odd minutes: we follow on immediately from the cliff-hanger at the end of the previous story and find out why the TARDIS is out-of-control, we are introduced to the Moonbase, its crew, the concept of the Gravitron and the Doctor is given a sound reason for being there. We are given a number of mysteries: the strange disease, the disappearing bodies, who is listening to the crew of the moonbase, as well as cryptic references to the silver hand and Jamie’s ghostly piper. We also have a cracking cliff-hanger at the end of episode one. Job done really – pacy, no padding and its get us where we need to be in super quick time.

·         A lot of parallels to the Tenth Planet. Obviously the base under siege, an international team on an outpost in the middle of nowhere (in the previous story the South Pole, here the moon), the scenes of the cybermen lumbering out of the barren landscape, the cybermen refusing to go near  a radioactive device.

·         How do the cybermen recognise the Second Doctor?

·         Ben has changed. In the Tenth Planet he agonises over the death of one cyberman. Here he is happy to spray dissolvent into the chest units of the invaders willy-nilly!

·         Jamie’s suggestion that the cybermen be sprinkled with holy water like suspected witches were during his time.

·         Feminism that wasn’t really feminism. Twice Polly saves the day: firstly, she works out how to defeat the cybermen due to her understanding of how nail polish works, then she’s sent off to make the tea and low and behold the tea tray saves the day when the dome is pierced. I may be wrong but for me it does feel as if the show makers wanted to reflect the changing attitudes of and to women at the time but somehow they just get it wrong. It’s a very male view of how feminism works. The woman save the day due to her sweet little feminine ways not due to her natural resilience and intelligence. Just a thought.

A solid story overall. A very respectable 8 out of 10. Next: a dose of crabs!

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Okay starting to play catch up on everything I have watched in the last 6 weeks.

Well a good start with the TARDIS exiting the sky and landing in the sea, followed by the first appearance of the sonic screwdriver.

This story has many atmospheric moments (e.g. Maggie and Robson on the beach) and the classic scenes with Quill and oak, but ultimately feels a little silly (who has a gas mask that can filter out oxygen !!??).

The seaweed taking over the world linked through the gas plant, seems to have many similarities to John Wyndham's 'Day of the Triffids' where walking plants take over the world (and are linked to oil, rather than gas). 

Finally Victoria's screaming has come in useful, however I for one was not sorry to see her leave.

For my money an okay, story which was dragged out to be about two episodes too long. A 5/10 here.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Hooray! Finally, a story that I like the character of Jamie in. No secret that I do not particularly like Jamie and struggle to see why he is so popular with others. However in this story i felt he had much more to do and was in general a stronger character.

Then there is Zoe, a finely balanced character (incredibly annoying but portrayed in such a way that you really like her. She is shaping up to be the best female companion since Babs (or at least Sara Kingdom).

A good solid story with a good returning enemy, I particularly enjoyed the part where Zoe and Jamie had to travel to the other ship. For once this six parter did not seem too long.

A solid 8/10 for this story from me.


Doctor Whoovie's picture
Well, let me summarize my thoughts on Season 5 (need to be careful as I am almost finished Season 6 at the moment - only the war Games to go). THis was a mixture of highs an lows for me, Three excellent stories (Tomb, Enemy and Wheel) and a couple of lows (it is well documented that I didn't enjoy Web and I also found 'the Ice Warrior to be lacking). The other stories were par for the course. A definite step-up from season 4 but I don't matches the strength of the first two Hartnell series.

place                      Season                    Highlight                        Lowlight
1st                          One                     Marco Polo                     Edge of Destruction
2nd                         Two                 Dalek Invasion of Earth        The Space Museum
3rd                          Five                 Tomb of the cybermen             Web of Fear
4th                          Four                     The Tenth Planet               The Smugglers
5th                         Three                The Dalek Masterplan                 Galaxy 4

I find myself in the rather curious position of preferring the Second Doctor to the First (by far) but enjoying the First Doctor Stories considerably more than those of the Second Doctor.

Idiom's picture

I had it in my mind that I wouldn’t like this story. I’m not sure why. I suppose because I’d heard very little about it before and therefore just assumed that it couldn’t be very good. I’m glad that I was wrong. In general, I found this to be quite a decent story with overtones of 1984 and Brave New World, and with a good old-fashioned monster.


·         The Doctor – he is now accepted fully by Ben and Polly as the Doctor. However, at no point since the Power of the Daleks are we given any explanation or reassurance that this actually is the Doctor. Does Ben still have his doubts? Anyway, we as the audience now have a handle on the type of man that he is. He is jovial but dissembling; he is interfering and yet at the same time, a man for whom discretion is the better part of valour. He has a fetish for headwear (in this story he yearns for one of the gasmasks used in the mines), glories in his own genius (the scene in which he is told that the very equation he has worked out in hours, took the colony years), and is keen to make a quick exit.

·         Jamie – I like Jamie’s character. He was the first real historical companion and brings a new dynamic and perspective to the Doctor’s adventures. He questions things which his twentieth century counterparts do not. I also like the bond that is beginning to develop with the Doctor and the fierce loyalty which has put the Doctor in the place of the old Laird from the Highlanders (“I only take orders from the Doctor!”). Loved the Highland Fling scene.

·         Ben – another great performance from Michael Craze. I’m thinking particularly of the section of the story following Ben’s brainwashing. His accent and manner of speaking changes; becomes chilling in parts. It shifts in and out as he struggles with his programming as Polly is attacked by the Macra.

·         Polly, poor Polly. Underused. Not her best story. You probably need a six-parter to utilise three companions fully!

·         The Macra are not overused and in fact we do not see very much of them at all during the first two episodes. This is one of the joys of the earlier series: the fact that the production team have to work under such budgetary limitations (of course, there was nowhere near enough money to have giant crabs lumbering about for the entire story)and compensate by playing on suspense and the audience’s own imagination. Creativity really did flourish under such constraints. These days we would be treated to CGI versions of the creatures just because... you only have to look at Gridlock.

·         The musical cues (or should I say Muzical) are very irritating but really added authenticity to the atmosphere of the colony.

·         Just as a point of interest, the BBC audio which I listened to was narrated by Colin baker. I found this really off-putting and much prefer when one of the original actors from the piece is used.

7 out of 10. Another reasonable series in what has turned out so far to be a very solid season overall.

Idiom's picture

This is the first story from series four which I have struggled with. I was quite enjoying it up until the end of episode two and then I realised that it was a six-parter and not a four-parter as I had thought and my heart sunk. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad story overall. It’s just that its already rather meagre plot is stretched very thinly over six parts, which is a shame because somewhere in there a very good three or four-part story is hiding. My thoughts on this story:

·         Back to contemporary earth for a whole story for only the third time since an Unearthly Child. Funny how these sixties stories now watch almost as historicals in themselves. The problem with this, unlike the War Machines is that it didn’t really make good use of the setting. In the War Machines we were shown swinging London, night clubs, the Telephone Tower and great shots of the capital. Here, we are confined to Gatwick Airport and the only outside shooting is done on a bit of runway( which incidentally reminded me of the scene in which the Doctor and his companions run from the police in Logopolis).  The story itself suffered from this lack of stimulating environment and in some ways became as mundane as the airport environment itself.

·          I continue to like Jamie and his use as a historical fish out of water creates some good comic scenes including his referring to planes as ‘flying beasties’ and his reading the newspaper upside down. Good to see one of the companions actually getting a bit of romance at last – even if it is just a kiss.

·         A bit of a wasted opportunity for Ben and Polly’s swan song.  They are missing for the second half of the story, which is a shame as it would have been good to see them shine in this their last adventure. The Doctor’s final remarks to them say it all really: Ben, you go off and become an admiral. Polly, you go off and look after Ben. Poor Polly, all she ever really did get to do most of the time was put the kettle on. Now all links to the First Doctor are finally gone.

·         Samantha was obviously being groomed as a potential companion but I read somewhere that it didn’t quite work out. Although I’m not sure why. She was a gutsy character but on the whole I think I prefer Victoria and the dynamic that two ‘historical’ companions provide in the TARDIS for a while.

·         Comedy – with the naturally clownish Second Doctor, a lot more comic elements are being used. These on the whole work well and by no means detract from the suspense of the stories as a whole. I put this down mainly to Patrick Troughton’s ability to turn into a very darker character at the flip of a coin.

·         The Chameleons themselves were a good idea but I was slightly confused about what they actually wanted: was it the planet or just the physical forms of the kidnapped victims. If it was the latter then they made a terrible mistake by leaving the originals behind.

So, by no means terrible but in a season of quite tight four-parters (the exception being Power of the Daleks)during which the series seems to have gravitated towards its natural story length, this felt laboured and padded out. In fact, I find it hard in retrospect to distinguish between the first four episodes – just a lot of running around in an airport. 6 out of 10.

Idiom's picture

A solid end to a solid season overall. I liked The Evil of the Daleks and felt that it worked well despite its seven-episode length. I felt that the writers were rather canny for a change and rather than rehash the same episode over and over (a problem that I had with the Faceless Ones, of which when I came to write about it, I found I couldn’t distinguish between any of the episodes), was divided into three distinct parts: Contemporary Earth (episode 1 really felt like episode 7 of the Faceless Ones), Victorian England (episodes 2 to 5), Skaro (episodes 6 and 7). Have there been any other stories which have run not only over at least two time periods (maybe three as it was unclear which time period Skaro was set in) but also two different planets? Anyway, for me this paid dividends with the story and made it extremely enjoyable despite its length.

Other thoughts

·         I loved the Doctor in this story. He showed a much darker aspect beneath the playful exterior and was extremely manipulative. This was a real foreshadowing the seventh Doctor, particularly that of the New Virgin adventures. Here, he was willing to lie to and keep information from Jamie because as he says later: the ends justify the means. I love it when the alien darkness of the Doctor is explored more, it reminds us who/what he is. He isn’t human, his moral standards are often set by the overwhelming nature and scale of the universe and time. He tries to remember that the little people are important (the Ninth Doctor on a guilt trip after the time war was very aware of this) but sometimes forgets.

·         Jamie stays true to the historical background of his character. I like the constant references to his own time period and his awe at future inventions and mores. He also shows a lot of character by standing up to the Doctor, reminding him that humans are not just playthings for the time lords to manipulate at will.

·         Dizzy Daleks! What else can I say but fabulous! Love the way that they question everything. Why? Why? Just like my daughter.

·         One of my favourite scenes was when Maxtible tells the Daleks that they had no right to blow up his house and the Dalek echos the word ‘Right?’ over and over as if it cannot comprehend the very notion. This amused me no end for some reason.

·         Victoria did little apart from scream and swoon, but at the very least we can say that this probably suits the character of a young Victorian lady taken out of the cosseted, comfortable, over-protected upper class upbringing and thrown into contact with another world and another species. Therefore, I am willing to forgive this for the moment.

·         Oh the spooky Dalek Emperor. Fab! I know that we see him again with the Ninth Doctor but does he appear at any time in between?

So this was supposed to be an end for the Daleks and much of the Dalek mythology set up in this story comes into play much later in the classic series: the Daleks experimentations on humans, opposing Dalek factions. But it was a great apocalyptic finale. Another good 7 out of 10 for me. That’s series 4 done.

Idiom's picture

Although a somewhat strange season, what with it bridging two Doctors, Series 4 was a marked improvement over the previous series. For me, Series three seemed to lose its way somewhat with a lack of firm direction, some distinctly forgettable stories and companions who were just plain irritating. All of this changed from the War Machines, however, which really sets the standard for series 4.

Some thoughts:

·         Patrick Troughton slips into the role quickly and convincingly. I like the seeds of doubt in Ben’s mind (even though he saw the regeneration), which must have echoed that of the viewing public. That’s not to say that he was fully rounded from the very beginning, there was some development with the more comic elements gradually taking over and the annoying traits (tall hats, recorder, silly accents) gradually becoming less obvious. Then in Evil of the Daleks we re-visit the dark side of the Doctor (straight from Hartnell’s first season) – selfish, manipulative, believing that the means justify his ends. Patrick Troughton is the Doctor now.

·         Ben and Polly brought a much more interesting dynamic to the show. They were something new, rather than just being carbon copies of previous companions (who let’s face it, in the case of Steven and Dodo, were even given the lines of the characters they were replacing). They had much stronger characters and I feel that more thought was put into their development in terms of making them the audience’s connection with the show. Polly did become distinctly underused in her last few stories, but still it’s a testament to the actress that she stands out among recent female companions.

·         Jamie continues this trend of interesting companions, being the first one taken from a historical context. He’s grown on me quickly. I particularly liked the crowded TARDIS (3 males and 1 female) from the Highlanders until the Faceless Ones.

·         A couple of (very very good) historicals but slowly the emphasis has shifted towards science fiction stories – monsters and bases under siege. It is a classic period for Doctor Who but I wish that the pure historicals hadn’t been phased out. Most of the stories have been four-parts and that has worked well – with the odd exception it is the longer stories that I find less interesting and the writing team seem to settle nicely into the four-part format.

·         I’m not sure who the composer/composers have been but there has been some interesting incidental music throughout the first of Patrick Troughton’s stories: The Moonbase stands out for me.

Favourite story for me: The Highlanders. Worst Story: either the Faceless Ones of the Underwater Menace (probably the former as the latter at least has the advantage of only being 4 epsiodes long). Overall, a very consistent series with fewer real highs than the first two William Hartnell series but far fewer lows.

Idiom's picture

I know that for years, in the absence of the actual episodes, this story was regarded as a minor classic from the Patrick Troughton era. However, following its eventual discovery, many were disappointed by the story itself as they felt that it didn’t live up to the myth that had grown up around it. For me, however, the story lives up to its classic status.

I first experienced this adventure through the Target novelisation. When I was younger the Doctor, Jamie, Victoria period was well represented in novel form with Tomb standing alongside the Ice Warriors, The Abominable Snowman and the Web of Fear. These books were among some of my favourites and the only way I could experience the 2nd Doctor until I first saw Tomb on DVD when it was released. I loved it then. I still love it. In my opinion, it is an exciting, fun adventure with plenty of suspense and leaps along at a terrific pace.

Some thoughts:

·         I enjoyed the opening scene which led on directly from the previous season’s Evil of the Daleks. Victoria’s introduction to the TARDIS was handled well and, let’s face it, even though it’s been done so many times over the years, we still like to watch the new companions’ reactions as they first enter the time machine. For me, that never gets boring.

·         Victoria herself has to be the archetypal female companion screamer of the classic series. She does it so well, while trying to maintain the façade of the young Victorian woman who has discovered women’s lib (or a the production team’s view of what women’s lib was). She was also a bit of a looker. I’m sorry but I’ve fancied her since I was seven years old. Phwoar.

·         The cybermen are now onto their second updated image and are looking good. The cyber controller towered over the humans (pity about the fact that his suit was obviously three times too big for the actor playing the part).

·         The emergence from the tombs scene really remains an iconic image even if it is used again and again (and occasionally in reverse). A lot of work had gone into what was obviously a very expensive set. I can understand why the director would feel obliged to use the scene more than once.

·         As usual the location filming adds a dimension to the story and gives Telos more grandeur and scope (even if it is the obligatory quarry!).

A top story and the high standard of Troughton stories is maintained. A strong 8 out of 10.

Idiom's picture
Ok, now don’t get me wrong. This is another story which deserves its classic status in a season which has its fair share of classics. It’s just that both times I’ve done this story, I haven’t liked it as much as I thought I would. I loved the novel when I was a kid (although preferred the sequel) and was hoping that my second time would see me enjoying the story more (it’s happened with a fair few other stories since I started this trek – The Reign of Terror, as an example, was much improved from seeing it within the context of the series as a whole). It’s just that, as is so often the case with the early classic series, there’s an excellent and tight four-parter trying to escape the flab of a six-part story. Some thoughts • I love warrior monks and they have a big part in Doctor Who history. There was this story, a comic strip in the early issues of DWM with Sontarans vs monks (can’t remember the name) and of course most recently Tooth and Nail. It’s just that here there were a few too many monks running around for my liking and I kept forgetting who was who – a problem exacerbated by the fact that only episode 2 exists and so we are relying on audio for the most part. • The design of the Yeti themselves, I thought, was great. Huge, hairy, lumbering creatures with their faces shrouded in shadow. They reminded me of the giant muppet (again can’t remember the name, sorry). Anyway, loved the look and the concept of them being animated by control spheres. • I also liked the Great Intelligence and the idea that he had possessed Padmasambhava during a flight of astral projection. But again, there seemed to be so many people possessed that I lost track. • Best line was when Jamie asked the Doctor if he had a plan to deal with a yeti posted outside the TARDIS to which the Doctor replies that he has. When asked what the plan is, he says: ‘I’m going to throw at rock at it.’ The second Doctor at his scatty best. • Jamie and Victoria have some good moments and you get the feeling that some time has passed since Tomb. Victoria is not quite so ineffectual in this story and is beginning to find a sense of true independence. I like the fact that she sees the Doctor as her guardian. • Finally, you can’t forget the fur coat – we need a model of the second doctor in his fur coat. Overall, I liked it. I just think that it was a shame that it was padded out to six episodes and the story suffered unduly because of this. What could have been a 10 out of 10 became a (strong nonetheless) 7 out of 10.
Idiom's picture
sorry the formatting doesn't work on anything at the moment...

Wow. OK, I didn't realize that had happened. It appears the Twitter stream I had put in the side bar was somehow interfering with the WYSIWYG rich text editor by preventing it from appearing.

I disabled the Twitter widget now and rich text editor seems to be working again. Thanks for the heads up on it.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

I am now so far behind in my write ups (Just finished the first Pertwee season) I am only going to post brief opinions on the backlog.

Well, firstly the dominators wasn't as dire as I was expecting from it's near universal drubbing. It wasn't brilliant but it wasn't awful either. I think if I was the lead Dominator, I would have liquidated the trainee guy near the start of the episode.

I have had a soft spot for quarks since I was a kid, because I had some cardboard cut out ones that came free in a packet of Wheatabix when I was at primary school (I had an icewarrior and an alpha centauri too!)

Wheatabix Baddies


















The Dulkis were a bit annoying (particularly Cully). It was great to see Brian Cant in there, shame he was executed!

Overall probably a reasonably healthy 6/10 for the dominators.

Idiom's picture

I had these as a kid. From the Weetabix packets (they also did a Star Trek range to go with the first movie!). Wonderful memories. I've seen these for sale on ebay a number of times. Been seriously tempted! I'm sure there was the villain from the Android Invasion as well. Thanks for posting these pictures!

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well I have to say I really enjoyed the Mind Robber, it seemed like a much more successful version of the Celestial Toymaker, with surreal situations that worked much better in this context. The giant Toy solidier, the fictional characters etc. etc.

Plus there was the bonus of Zoe (with sparkly catsuit) drapped over the TARDIS console and the first appearance of 'The Master' Wink

Sparkly Zoe 

The episode where Jamie was swapped outfor another actor actually worked surprisingly well and for once the story seemed about the correct length.

Add to this the appearance of Podshock's own White Robots (Billy's looks like it may well be constructed much more solidly than those in the episode itself) and we have a classic (well sort of).

A little 1960's trippy, but good none the less. 7/10.

The White Robots were actually yellow...

Doctor Whoovie's picture

My first experience of this story was when it was released on DVD with the 1st and 4th episodes restored via Cosgrove-Hall animation. I was not particularly impressed on first viewing and was wondering how I would like it, now that I was seeing it in context of more 2nd Doctor experience.

Well, I think it is safe to say that I enjoyed it better second time round, but it is not without fault. In gerneral, I find it far too long. The first 4 episodes almost seem irelevant and it is the second set of four episodes that contain the best content.

Obviously, the cybermen at Saint Paul's imagery is right up there with Daleks on Westminsterbridge (and in Trafalgar square) but there seems a lot of cyberman lore that is established here which has endured through until today.
It struck me that New Who borrowed a huge amount from this story. e.g. brainwashing the whole human race using transitor radios and other new fangle gadgets her (blue tooth head-sets/ Cell phones in Age of steel).
Defeating cybermen through giving them emotions (Vaughn inducing fear in them, in Rise they remove the emotion inhibitor chip). Even splitting the cocoons open (which harks back to Tomb, I guess) seems duplicated in the many recent cyber stories.

I would say that I give episodes 1 - 4 about 5/10 and Episodes 5 - 8 about 9/10. Given the iconic status of the imagery in the story and how much it has influenced later cybermen stories I will give it an 8/10 overall, but need to stress that I think Tomb was better.

Given my comments above, don't get me wrong in thinking that 2 Entertain should not have commisioned the animated versions of the missing episodes, I think that was great and would love to see a similar approach for other stories which have 1 or 2 episodes missing. i.e. The Tenth Planet, The moonbase, The Ice warriors,The reign of Terror

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As I am very fond of quirky robot monster, I really wanted to like this story, however it was kind of mediocre. I Don't think I would put it right at the bottom, as per the recent hurt/heal poll, howeverit wouldn't be at the top either.

I was a little disapointed in the Krotons themselves, since the bottom of these crystalline creatured seemed to be a piece of canvas.

So I guess this story was the origin of the HADs (Hostile Action Displacement system) which I have only ever encountered in Big Finish Audio before. I was similarly pleased to encounter the fast return switch in Edge of distruction as this too regularly apears in Big Finish and I was unaware of its origin.

The concept of the Krotons changing from crystal slurry to living form was interesting but the use of mental energy seems a little weak unless you are going to use some kind of amplifier (a la Forbidden Planet which was 12 years earlier than this story).

Overall, slightly on the weak side, but not awful 5/10.


Doctor Whoovie's picture

I watched this story for the first time about 4 years ago on rental from netflix and had not been too impressed. At the time it was the first Troughton story I had ever watched (excluding the Two, Three and Five Doctors).

Watching it again in the context of other Trougton stories, I enjoyed it more on this return visit. It is certainly a superior story than the Ice Warriors.

You would think that by now humans would have learned that Moon bases are just magnets for alien attacks. The cyberman attack on the weather control station on the moon obviously forced them to move the stations on to Earth, but why just replace it with a T-Mat system which can take the invading force down to the relocated site.

I guess that the weather control stations were on the Earthnin the Ice Warriors story too.

The Doctor must be fed up of being attacked by foam, it seems to happen in every other story. 

I would have given it a 6/10, but the presence of Miss Kelly elevates it to a 7.

The Delightful Miss Gia Kelly  

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Editor Problems !!!!

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well, I have to start by saying that I really rather enjoyed this story - perhaps because I had low expectations but mainly I think due to the excellent reconstruction.  The first episode particularly was very well done.

Admittedly, I found the character of Milo somewhat grating but the rest were not so bad. I guessed early that Milo's ex-wife Madeleine was in league with the pirates but the way that fact was turned around a couple of times was relatively inventive.

Again I found this story somewhat better than it reputation would have had me believe again a 6/10.

I am now pleased to say I have got past all the missing stories, only real moving episodes to come, Hooray!


Doctor Whoovie's picture

I had high hopes for this story, as I had always understood it to be good, however I was ultimately somewhat dissapointed. The begining was good, and it picked up again near the end, but seemed very drawn out with some weak material in the middle 4 or so episodes.

The whole humans are the best fighters in the Universe thing seems unbelievable if one is to compare them against say the Daleks, the cybermen, the sonarans, the Dominators etc. etc.

The introduction of the Timelords was good, but what was that thing with the box about?

I found the War chief a supremely annoyinging figure and was pretty glad when he was killed. The ending seemed a little simple, i.e. the Doctor called for the Time Lords to come in and clean up the mess. It seems to me that he has dealt with siuations far messier than this himself in the past, why did he just guve up here?

I found the glasses everyone wore in the War Chiefs headquarter some what annoying as they seemed to have little purpose other than to disguise the wearers identity for plot reasons.

Overall another okay, but not fantastic story 6/10.

Idiom's picture

The box turns up again as a method of contacting Time Lords in the Eighth Doctor novel: Vampire Science.

Doctor Whoovie's picture

Well i found this season a little dragging, not much that was truely awful but not much that was too great either. This means that in the grand scheme of things it places fairly low on my Seanson ranking chart. In fact Season 3 is all that comes below it. This may seem a little harsh but I have considered it carefully. Background reading has shown me that viewing figures and audience appreciation during this period was dropping from the previous seasons and I think that this was not because the public were tiring of the show but rather that it's quality was in gerneral below what had come earlier.

Season 6 Round-up

place                      Season                    Highlight                        Lowlight
1st                          One                     Marco Polo                     Edge of Destruction
2nd                         Two                 Dalek Invasion of Earth        The Space Museum
3rd                          Five                 Tomb of the cybermen             Web of Fear
4th                          Four                     The Tenth Planet               The Smugglers
5th                          six                       The Invasion                     The Krotons
6th                         Three                The Dalek Masterplan                 Galaxy 4

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So, it took me 3 months and 3 weeks (I finished on Oct 30th) to watch/listen to all the Troughton episodes.

Well how do I put this delecately? Okay, I did not really enjoy the Second Doctor tenure very much. There were a few excellent stories; Tomb of the Cybermen; Enemy of the World; The wheel in space, however it did not seem to have the breadth of the first Doctors run.

For my money there was a very large number of mediocre stories, this being said there were very few really terrible stories, unlike the first Doctor's time. Aditionally, I never really clicked with any of the 2nd Doctors companions other than Zoe, and none seemed to have the strength/charisma of Ian and Barbara.

To cut to the chase Patrick's Doctor never really seemed to be my Doctor, sad but nonetheless true. Perhaps it was because so much of the material is missing in video form, perhaps not. So rather to my surprise my favorite Doctor list is as follows

1. First Doctor
2. Second Doctor

Additionally since we recently had a companion Hurt Heal vote, I have decided to rank order the companions as I go along. Campanions may only be ordered after they have left.

1.   Ian
2.   Barbara
3.   Zoe
4.   Vicki
5.   Polly
6.   Jamie
7.   Susan
8.   Steven
9.   Dodo
10. Ben

Idiom's picture

Mmmm. I can see that there is going to be a pattern to some of these stories. They are ones that I was first exposed to through the Target novels when I was around seven years old (I remember reading this one in the nurse’s room at school when I felt sick one day – it has one of the best cover illustrations, incidentally) and has grown in my memory into a fantastic story (just like Snowmen) but unfortunately, the reality disappointed. Maybe I would have liked it better it I’d known little about it (which is the case with Enemy of the World next – so we’ll see if that theory pans out). After a fantastic first episode, I thought it was going to live up to my expectations. As it is, it didn’t.

My thoughts:

·         Too many six-parters in season 5 and it is these that I’m struggling most with. Also, I had to stop start stop start watching this a number of times over the last ten days so maybe that affected my overall enjoyment of the story.

·         As I mentioned above, I enjoyed the first episode a lot – the whole base and the costumes of the staff had a real Gerry Anderson feel to it.

·         The supporting cast was excellent. I recognised Bernhard Breslaw in the reptilian hisses and the voice of Peter Sallis was unmistakable. There was also a Scottish guy who used to play a character called Shooie MacFee in a soap opera called Crossroads – another unmistakeable voice. Anyway, there were all great.

·         Jamie – after some pretty humorous flirting with Victoria at the beginning, Jamie seemed to have been written out of most of the story – due to unconsciousness or a broken leg. Was there any external reason for this, I wonder?

·         There was some momentous over-acting from Deborah Watling as Victoria tried to escape the Ice Warriors among the ice floes. Stunningly over-the-top face holding!

Not a lot more to say really. 6 and a half out of ten for me. Another long story with a great four-parter hidden in there somewhere.

Idiom's picture

Another hidden gem. Who’d’ve thought it. When I was but a lad, my taste definitely ran to the Invading Monster/Base under Siege stories. This was probably why I loved the Second Doctor novelisations so much. And yet here we have something totally different from what have become the formulaic stories of the fourth and fifth seasons – no Monsters here – instead a villain of James Bond proportions; no base under siege but rather the whole world under siege from a hidden base whose population has been unknowingly manipulated into causing numerous natural disasters which have furthered the schemes of Salamander. Perhaps it’s because it stands out so much that I enjoyed this story more than either the oh-so-familiar Abominable Snowmen and Ice Warriors. Yes, one of my favourite Second Doctor stories so far.

Some thoughts:

·         The third time we have seen a double of the Doctor (the first being the Android in the Chase and the second in the Massacre) and, to my mind, it is the most successful use of this narrative device so far. Here, it furthers the plot allowing the characters to reach a place wherein  events can be affected (see below for more on this). It also allowed Patrick Troughton to show off his acting abilities and gain more screen time. And (ok despite the dodgy accent) I felt he did very well – his whole demeanour changed when he assumed the role of Salamander to the point at which when I saw this character I wasn’t distracted by his resemblance to the Doctor. No, this was Salamander, an entirely separate persona – convincing in his own right. It is also a device that wasn’t overused, with the Doctor assuming Salamander’s character only three times throughout the six episodes and only for an extended period of time in part 6.

·         I was a little dubious about the Doctor’s insistence on proof throughout the first three quarters of the story. He doesn’t usually need evidence; in fact the Doctor is normally willing to poke his nose in at the drop of a hat. And this annoyed me somewhat until the twist in episode six and then made sense . It wasn’t only proof of Salamander’s evil-doings that the Doctor was looking for. Wink wink.

·         For a while, I wondered how much effect the presence of the Doctor had actually had on the story. Swan had found out about Salamader’s betrayal by accident (an overlooked piece of newspaper used as packaging),  Fariah was already looking to betray her boss, and it was Astrid that brought the outside world into the underground centre. However, in retrospect, the Doctor was the catalyst for Astrid being in the right place at the right time in order for her to encounter Swan. Also without Fariah’s confidence in the plan to fool the world that the Doctor was Salamander, she may never have given up her secrets.

·         I liked the whole Sixties James  Bond feel to the piece with Salamander as megalomaniac villain with global ambitions (all he lacked was a white cat to stroke), the story jumping from location to location (Central America, Australasia), and Jamie and Victoria playing secret agent and infiltrating Salamander’s organisation.

·         Oh, and it must be said: Fariah – Phwoarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

All in all a very pleasant surprise (yes, you were write Doctor Whoovie!). 8 out of 10.

Doctor Whoovie's picture


I am happy to see that I'm not the only person to enjoy this story. You make a good point that it stands out from the surrounding stories by breaking away from the standard formula. I had not considered this, but it is obviously true.

Another good point you make is about the novelizations, prior to this "from the beginning marathon" my exposure to Hartnell and Troughton was mainly from Target books. In many cases the episodes themselves, or what remains of them did not live up to my expectations from the book, missing much detail and the backstory, many episodes seemed very rushed, The crusade, the mythmakers, the abominable snowmen and Frontier in space are ones which spring to mind in particular.

The perceived quality of many stories is subject to the context that it is viewed in (amonst poor or average stories) and upon expectations (I love the book, it was the scariest episode I remember as a child etc).

Overall this story ended up being my second favorite Troughton adventure after The Tomb of the Cybermen. 

Idiom's picture

Added to the fact, of course, that stories such as Snowmen are bound to suffer due to the fact that we only have recontructions. I'd be interested to see if some good animation could breath life into them once more.

Idiom's picture

More than any other, this is the Target book which stayed with me as a kid and was what I imagined every Patrick Troughton adventure must be like. I loved it and read and reread this story. What a genius idea: take a recently introduced enemy (the Yeti) but take them out of their safe environment (Tibet in the 1930s – was it?) and bring them much closer to home. In fact, slap them down almost on your doorstep if you live in London. And a classic is born. I still love it (sorry, Whovie – wish you could see this through my eyes). From the only existing episode (one), I was captivated once more with its windowless claustrophobic setting and it’s playing on the fear of the dark, I thought this was a great story and is the one story I wish would be rediscovered in its entirety.


·         A good cliff hanger leading in from the end of the previous story – was it the opening of the TARDIS doors mid-flight which enabled the Great Intelligence to gain purchase?

·         Good to see a returning characters – I think that this is the first time that this has happened. Also interesting not only to see Professor Travers returning but also forty odd years older – at first he doesn’t recognise Victoria (who of course, is still virtually the same age as when he met her). I know that the actor playing Travers was Jack Watling, Deborah Waltling’s father and it is hard sometimes, when the two characters are together, not to see them as father and daughter.

·         The Brig – Huzzah!!!! Or rather Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart. He enters the story and all is right with the world as another key piece to Doctor Who lore slips effortlessly into place. He is so good in this that it is no wonder that Nicholas Courtney is brought back for the Invasion.

·         Slowly but surely, throughout this series, the Second Doctor has settled into a much more serious character. He is famous for being the clown but actually in the last few stories there has been a lot less mucking around from the Doctor and he is always seen to face any threats seriously.

·         There is also a strong whodunit element to the story as we try to work out who is working for the Intelligence. I’ve seen/listened to/read this before but I had still forgotten who it was and it came as a surprise in episode six.

·         My only real problem with this story (apart from five episodes being missing but probably contributed to by this fact) is that I found it quite difficult to keep track of all of the different military characters. A lot of the soldiers seemed as faceless as the monks in Snowmen and often it was difficult to remember who was who and where they had disappeared to. I find this to be one of my largest criticisms of Patrick Troughton’s tenure – the fact that not as much firm and careful characterisation has been put into the supporting cast of characters (not as much as in the early Hartnell stories, for instance) but as I said, this probably hasn’t been helped by fact that so many episodes are missing.

Great story. Bring back the Yeti for the new series, I say! 9 out of 10.

Idiom's picture

A true forerunner to the Power of Kroll in many ways (the rigs, the underwater menace moving through the pipes), this story had some moments of genuine eeriness and menace. However, once again the story seemed to revert to formula for me and like many of the stories this season, I’ve struggled with the length. We sacrificed an excellent four-part story for an ok but drawn-out and padded six-parter. Again, I have to say that my opinion may have been different if there had been any episodes left to watch but this story suffers in particular with only the odd clip still existing.


·         The TARDIS landing on the sea – how strange. Has this ever happened since? Why would it do that? Followed by high jinks on the beach between the three travelling companions. This was quite nice as it sets up the close relationship between the three and, therefore, adds poignancy to Victoria’s departure later on.

·         The scary faces of Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill – they really were unearthly. Leads me to believe that my assessment of this episode would indeed be higher if more video footage existed.

·         The sonic screw driver! First appearance and, yep, it’s used to unscrew screws.

·         I liked the cliff hangers, which were not your usual in-your- face perilous situations but rather subtle attempts to build the sense of menace within the story.

·         Robson seems to have been produced in exactly the same factory as General Cutler in the Tenth Planet and Clent in the Ice Warriors – angry, shouty authority figure(invariably not English!), obsessive but usually with good motives. But still the three characters could be swapped in between stories quite easily.

·         I’m sorry but the Dutch accent of Van Lutyens must be one of the dodgiest accents in Who history. Ya?

·         Quite a lot of repetition of ideas this series – twice the TARDIS has landed in snow, twice somebody has attempted to shoot the travellers on arrival, twice we’ve had helicopter shenanigans, bases, sieges ad infinitum.

·         Victoria leaves – another wasted companion in an era which seems to serve the male companions much better than the females. With Jamie, for example, there is constant reference to the fact that he is Scottish and has no knowledge of modern Day (at the time anyway) artefacts.  With Victoria, however, not great use is made of the fact that she was Victorian (except for one line in episode  6 of Fury, but would she really refer to her own time as Victorian Times?) However, I did like the fact that her constant screaming was an integral part of this story and provides the ultimate resolution. And despite the major amount of padding in part six, I did like the farewell scene between Victoria and Jamie (and the fact that they can all sit and have dinner – without the Doctor rushing away to avoid any responsibility in the situation that his has helped create).

So, not bad, but 6 and a half out of 10 for me. Maybe I’m just all base-sieged out!

Idiom's picture

I can imagine the pitch: Hey, I’ve got this great idea for the next story. We have some sort of base in the future yeah? But where?  We’ve done the South Pole (twice really  - only once we called it earth in the new ice age – I don’t think that anybody noticed), the moon, the London Underground – I know let’s put this base in space in the future. And we’ll give everyone an assortment of accents (but there must be at least one Australian) to make it look as if mankind has buried its prejudices in order to face its destiny in the stars. Then we’ll put the base under siege. But siege by what – Yeti – no, we’ve done that twice this season already. I know – how about the Cybermen, we haven’t seen them in at least, what? Four or five stories? And we’ll call it: The Tenth Moonbase in Space...of the Cybermen!

Sarcasm aside:

·         Loved the first episode – which for the most part was a two-hander, and the idea of the TARDIS interior shrinking and the escape hatch.

·         Loved Zoe. Loved Zoe’s distinctiveness – unfeeling, logical, ice queen of the future (but at least that makes her different from the usual model) and the slightly spiky interaction between her and Jamie. Loved Zoe’s catsuit. Loved Zoe’s b... well, we can put that behind us for now (at least until the Mind Robber).

·         Cybermen. Cybermats. Cyberplot. Cybersubterfuge.Cybersameold really.

·         What happened to the Cybermen’s voices? Good job really as I must admit that I find it rather hard to understand what they are saying most of the time.

·         The Doctor’s constant willingness to put his companions in danger (a nice tie in with the first Doctor) – here making Jamie and Zoe travel through space in spacesuits in the middle of a meteor shower in order to retrieve a gizmo that had been left behind.

In general, enjoyable enough but if this season could be said to have a definite formula then this story is the archetypal version of that formula. At least we picked up Zoe (the TARDIS’s first real stowaway on purpose) along the way. 7 out of 10.

Idiom's picture

This is probably the most disappointing season for me so far. Not bad, but disappointing in that I had known many of the stories from the Target novels (which for a young lad of 7 or 8, which is about how old I was when I read these stories, were excellent novelizations). In retrospect, the novels were probably too good and my imagination was very good at creating just the right atmosphere and special effects. Of course, these stories were never going to live up to the fantasies of a imaginative young boy.

My main problems with most of the stories are as follows:

·         They are too formulaic – I enjoy a good base siege along with the next man, but in just about every story? It does become slightly monotonous.

·         Obviously, the stories suffer from lack of actual video footage – this season more than most and it became a real struggle at times to work my way through the stories as they currently exist.

·         They’re just too long – the previous series seems to have found the perfect story length of 4 episodes, only to almost completely abandon this during this series. So many great, great stories became smothered by the padding of one or two parts too many, in my view.

Still, on the plus sides some fantastic ideas and some iconic monsters: ice warriors, cyber tombs, yeti in the underground – Genius.

Favourite story this series obviously Web of Fear (with Tomb a very close second). Story I enjoyed the least – probably the Ice Warriors. Mmmm, I wasn’t expecting that.

Idiom's picture

This has to be my least favourite Second Doctor adventure to date. I saw it years before in one of BBC2’s occasional screening of the odd classic adventure, and it made such a slight impression on me then that I really couldn’t remember the storyline. This time it struck me as feeling strangely like a First Doctor adventure – the type that appeared in the really hit or miss series three. For me, this would have been a complete miss except for the pacy episode five, which revived the story line and showed (as usual) that there were a lot of good ideas hidden within the customary padding of the Troughton stories. Watching the Mind Robber documentary today, the then producers admit that they had tried to stretch out the Dominators as much as they could and would like to have stretched it to one episode more – thank goodness they didn’t.

Specific points:

·         The costume design in general was a mixed bag. The Dominators themselves were very imposing, I felt, with their almost turtle shell like shoulders – the look added an air of arrogance of the invaders. The people of Dulkis, on the other hand, looked like a party of conservative lords escaping from a brothel in the middle of the night after a police raid. In theory, I have nothing against putting males in dresses (both Jamie McCrimmon and Eddie Izzard manage to pull this off admirably). It’s just they were so damn frilly! The amount of shots of Jamie and Cully climbing up ravine sides which must have been cut due to being able to see up their skirts a little too much ...I blush at the thought.

·         The Quarks. Can’t wait to see this on DVD with subtitles so that I can understand what they were saying. They detracted from the story a lot for me as they were just so unfunctional – arms that only stick out at right angles, legs that only walk forward. A real triumph of supposed style over substance. You can feel the design teams constantly trying to top their first and still greatest success – the Daleks – and failing.

·         That was Ronald Allen (David Hunter from Crossroads) as Rago! I almost didn’t recognise him in eyeliner. First Shooie McPhee in the Ice Warriors, not David Allen. Any more crossroads cast members who I haven’t noticed?

·         The campanions come over rather well in this story with Jamie using his experience to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Dominators and even coming up with idea to dig a tunnel to intercept the Dominators’ explosive device. The series makers continue to use Jamie well. Zoe also shines and is a refreshing change after Victoria (even though I do have a soft spot for her). She sparks off against Jamie and stands out as a person with her own mind.

So saved in the end by episode five but very mediocre fare on the whole. 5 out of 10.

Idiom's picture

What a refreshing change the Mind Robber is. Not just in terms of the Monster-siege-base pattern that the second Doctor’s adventures have fallen into, but in terms of the whole first five series. The Mind robber was something that they hadn’t done before. Maybe The Celestial Toymaker got close in terms of introducing an element of surrealism into the programme but, to my mind anyway, it failed, whereas the Mind Robber succeeded spectacularly. This is an adventure set in the Land of Fiction, where the TARDIS is forced to land (in order to escape the Dominator’s artificially induced volcano) in an emergency. The rules of ordinary time-space do not exist here and therefore the programme is able to flout the conventions of formulaic  Doctor Who with impunity and create a vivid, exciting and yet really, really weird story. From its forest of words to the labyrinth of the Minotaur, this is a story which would have fit well in the forthcoming legends and myths box set, and I loved it.

Specific points:

·         They mentioned on the ‘making of’ that episode one written as a filler as the Dominators just wouldn’t stretch to six episodes (thank God!). This worked to the programmes benefit surely, with one more episode of a good story at the expense of a story that was mediocre at best. Anyway, I felt the first episode worked well with just the interaction between the regular cast members (and the appearance of the odd white robot, of course).

·         Loved the shots of the TARDIS falling apart – a peach of a scene when we get down to the bottom of things. No cracks in the facade – well, except for one noticeable exception (eh, Dave? Wink wink).

·         An ingenious way of replacing the sick (due to chicken pox) Frasier Hines, by requiring the Doctor to do a Jamie-jigsaw and get it wrong! Anyway, Hamish Wilson looked and acted like he belonged straight away. Much better than some of the earlier stories in which the regular cast members would just disappear without a trace or explanation.

·         All those mentions of the Master – little did the programme makers know, in retrospect, the power that that name would have in the programme’s history. But just who was he working for? We never really found out.

·         The Karcus – it was fun to see a fictional character from Zoe’s time (However, did she mention that she was from the year 2000?)

·         Episodes felt quite short (I discovered in the main documentary that this was due to Patrick Troughton threatening to strike over the fact that the filler episode one was to star no guest actors and that this would put incredible pressure on an already tired regular cast – the result was that each episode ran a few minutes under) this seemed to work in the story’s favour, however, making the plot tighter and more pacy.

Overall, a true classic. Much recommended if not your usual Doctor Who fare. 8 out of 10.

More information about how the Land of Fiction was created and what happened to it after this story.

Idiom's picture

I've got Conundrum and am waiting to read it at some point in the future.

Idiom's picture

The Invasion is my absolute favourite story of the Troughton era. Eight episodes long and a good four episodes in before we see a cyberman, and yet it doesn’t feel drawn out at all. I had started to think that the insertion of the animation to replace the missing parts one and four helped to break up the story, but then was reminded of just how good the second half of the story is. The Invasion certainly didn’t need the animated episodes to shine as it is well written, pacy and with some excellent characterisation


·         Well, first up I have to talk about the fantastic, stylised animation that was created for the DVD release. Having struggled somewhat with the plentiful reconstructions of the second doctor’s tenure, these animated versions are a real treat. The actual representations of the actors are excellent, but more than anything they manage to capture the moody, tense atmosphere of the story and compliment the audio very well indeed. I am a great fan of the ‘updating’ of the stories making them smoother, cleaner and introducing new CGI and animation so long as it fits with the feel of the stories. This does so perfectly in my view. I really would like to see other episodes receive the same treatment – my wish list would be: Marco Polo, Dalek Master Plan, The Web of Fear  and the Evil of the Daleks – as stories for which very little video exists would benefit greatly. However, I believe that it is unlikely that we will get any more any time soon. Maybe for the fiftieth anniversary?

·         Is it my imagination or does the animated part one portray Zoe in a different costume to the Mind Robber at the beginning of episode?

·         The whole UNIT set up works so well and the Brigadier is back and all is good with the world . Also, one more piece falls into place with the debute of Corporal Benton – I recognised his voice before I recognised John Levene himself.  I enjoyed all  the UNIT cloak and dagger stuff and like the sense of continuity which the recurring characters bring to the show.

·         Also some excellent new characters and it’s a shame that we never see any more of Jimmy or Isobel – they would have made great companions.

·         Tobias Vaughn makes an excellent villain. At first, he seemed to have been produced by  Mavic Chen Meglomaniacs Amalgamated. However, he does stand out as his own person and I found his motivation (the need to create strength through order) credible. The lazy eye (is this real or acting?) gives the character a real sense of menace. I didn’t care much for Packer though.

·         Zoe absolutely shines in the story (maybe due to the fact that Jamie is absent for much of the last two parts). There is a real joy in the use of her intellect to defeat the IE computer and destroy the cyberfleet. I used not to like her so much, but watching the episodes in order I can see that like Vaughn, she stands out as her own person and is the best female companion in a good, long while. Along with Jamie, this is probably the strongest TARDIS crew for me since Ian, Barbara and Susan.

·         The early series seems to have a curious relationship with feminism. On the one hand, it tries to promote strong female characters and mock the sexism (of the armed forces, in particular)which prevailed at the time, while at the same time being guilty of the sexism it is ridiculing. I’ve nothing against Jamie’s assertion that men are superior – this fits in perfectly with his character. But then we have the demand from the UNIT soldiers that Zoe stays as she is prettier than a computer. And poor Isobel, who stands up for her rights, runs off to the sewers to photograph the cybermen, has to be rescued by a platoon of soldiers and tries to make amends by falling back into the old stereotype (and just like poor old Polly) resorts to making the tea.

·         The IE plan to put Cyber-chips in the world’s transistor radios reminded me of the Sontaran’s ATMOS plot.

·         Yet another helicopter scene – was it hired for six months and then used as much as possible?

·         The cybermen burst onto the screen in the second half of the story and, for me, it’s episodes 5 and 6 which make this a true classic. So many iconic scenes came out of the early series: the Daleks on Tower Bridge, the Yeti in the underground, now the cybermen outside st paul’s – genius. You cannot deny that the Cybermen were overused during the Troughton stories, but although this was their fifth appearance in a few years, it is one of the best. The scene in episode 8 when Vaughn tries to contact Packer and instead sees the blank face of the cyberman appear on the screen, sent shivers up my spine. This is also my favourite cyberman look (it’s just a shame that they have such high-pitched, helium voices, which is so at odds with the strength of their appearance).

So I liked it a lot. Can you tell? 9 out of 10! Fabulous.

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