Doctor Who Reactions: "The Keys of Marinus" (SPOILERS)

The Sea of Death

1)Another story from Terry Nation, this time using that old standby, "Sending the heroes on a quest to various places to locate and retrieve various important objects".  Marinus is an interesting world with a variety of different climates and societies - better than alot of sci-fi planets where they seem to only have one climate for the whole world. Also an early example of the "computer controlling people" scenario.


2)Alas, what I said about the Kraals is true here, too - Nation apparently had only one great Doctor Who menace in him, and the Voord weren't it.  As a side note, watch closely when the Voord gets pulled through the revolving door and you'll see one of the BBC Stagehands of Marinus operating the door. Also, the miniatures of the Voord subs were a little too obviously toys.


3)Some fun quotes:

  • "Pity you don't have color television." Funny - after all, just because we're seeing it in black-and-white doesn't mean we have to suppose that characters are seeing it in black-and-white.
  • "It isn't frozen, is it?" "No, it's impossible in this temperature.  Besides, it's too warm."
  • "And if you'd had your shoes on, my boy, you could've lent her hers."


4)Cliffhanger: Ian finds Barbara's travel dial - with blood on it!


The Velvet Web

1)Morphoton was an interesting idea - the whole notion of things not being what they seem and only one person seeing it is fun.


2)Barbara takes to decadence pretty quickly - she's only there a minute ahead of them, and she's sprawled on a lounge in a gown eating grapes already!  She does have fun later on whaling away at the brain things.


3)Speaking of the brain things, I kept wating for them to bet 50,000 quatloos on the newcomers.


4)Ian immediately starts looking for the bill - what a practical-minded fellow!


5)Cliffhanger: Susan freaks out!


The Screaming Jungle

1)Susan's kind of jumpy in this - I listened to part of the commentary track, and Ford's still somewhat unhappy about the part she was given to play, forty years later.


2)The hostile plants were sufficiently creepy - sort of a precursor to the Krynoids.


3)The old guy was played by Edmund Warwick, who occasionally served as William Hartnell's double.


4)Cliffhanger:  Ian and Barbara end up somewhere cold!


The Snows of Terror

1)By and large, they do a pretty good job evoking "cold", and the actor playing Vasor does a good job playing the creepy forest weirdo.


2)The knights guarding the key are vaguely reminiscent of Monty python and the Holy Grail.


3)Interesting - they have stock footage of wolves on Marinus! What a coincidence!


4)Cliffhanger: Ian is framed!


Sentence of Death

1)A fun courtroom drama, where Hartnell gets to show what a clever old bugger the Doctor is. Lots of fun.


2)"I need a man to defend me." "I am that man."


3)Kala was played by Fiona Walker, who would return to the series many years later to play Lady Peinforte in "Silver Nemesis".


4)Cliffhanger:  Susan is held hostage!


The Keys of Marinus

1)"You should read Pyrrho, my boy."  Maybe I should.


2)One of the Voord pretty obviously trips over his own flipper, here.  Perhaps not the best fashion choice for conquering the world in.


3)"But I don't believe that man was made to be controlled by machines."  Obviously, this episode was required viewing at Starfleet Academy.



A fun story, let down a little by the occasional bit of bad model work and the general crappiness of the Voord.  I liked the different scenarios. A good argument here that the quest for the Key to Time probably didn't need to take up a whole season.


[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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The first time I saw the Voord was in a Sixth Doctor comic book story. It was a race he had encountered before, but I hadn’t realized the story was a direct sequel to a TV episode. When I first saw “Keys” on DVD I had forgotten the comic book story and couldn’t shake the feeling I’d seen the Voord somewhere before!

It hink I read that comic story - was that the one that posited a connection between the Voord and another, better-known race of Doctor Who aliens?

That would be it. It also featured Jamie as an old man. It was written by Grant Morrison, early in his career.

I've always liked this story, from the first time I saw it in the mid-80's. It's amazing how they went thru all those different settings in only 6 episodes, while the general format of the show is usually trying to take advantage of ONE setting for as many weeks as they can possibly drag it out.

Also, Terry Nation did so many interesting things on THE SAINT and THE AVENGERS that it's often distressing to see how he limited himself to The Daleks on DOCTOR WHO.  Both this story and THE ANDROID INVASION are favorites of mine, in part because they're NOT Dalek stories.

Of course, it's interesting to see the obvious influence this had on the later "Key To Time" season.  Both were (in their way) "6-parters", and each one more-or-less fell apart in the final minutes. (heh)

By the way, contrary to what has been repeatedly posted on countless websites in recent years, if you go back 20 or more years, Doctor Who Magazine mentioned that THIS story, NOT "THE CHASE", was being strongly considered for a 3rd feature film... if only the 2nd one (which was so damned good) hadn't bombed at the box office.  I swear, someone says the wrong thing somewhere, and everybody else repeats it endlessly.

Of course, either way it does make it seem that Terry Nation was the only writer considered "viable" for such an adaptation.

I could see this story doing well with a "big-screen" treament.

  • "It isn't frozen, is it?" "No, it's impossible in this temperature.  Besides, it's too warm."
  • "And if you'd had your shoes on, my boy, you could've lent her hers."

Ah, Billy-fluffs.

3)Speaking of the brain things, I kept wating for them to bet 50,000 quatloos on the newcomers.




I kept wating for them to bet 50,000 quatloos on the newcomers.

This keep reminding me of the SIMPSONS episode where Homer was training to be an astronaut.

"I bid twenty thousand quatloos on the FAT one."  (They even played the actual Sol Kaplan music with it!)

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