Back to the Troughton era for a moment, as this story was just released on DVD.  This is noteworthy as the first story written for the program by the great Robert Holmes, and it also marks the first appearance by the late, great Philip Madoc in the TV program (Madoc had appeared in the second of the two Cushing films previously). It does not perhaps represent either man's best work on the show, but it is a serviceable, entertaining story. The story was directed by David Maloney.

 

Episode One

1)There's Philip Madoc as Eelek,the quiet troublemaker, awaiting his opportunity.

 

2)Jamie's fairly combative in this - charging right in, picking a fight, and so on.  Shame they had him meet Peri, all those years later, Leela's the one he should've met.

 

3)"My favorite umbrella."  I love how Troughton can be like a petulant little kid, sometimes.  Really, Troughton/Hines/Padbury is one of my favorite iterations of Team TARDIS, ever.

 

4)"I'm not a doctor of medicine, you know, Zoe."  You said you were in "The Moonbase".

 

5)"Smash the machines?"  Practically the show's motto.

 

6)"You can't defeat them with axes."  Always fun to have a try, though.

 

7)Cliffhanger:  The eye-thing is after the Doctor!  (The "eye-thing" is somewhat reminiscent of the Martian "camera" in the George Pal War of the Worlds.

 

Episode Two

1)"Stupid machine."  I have to agree, since it is fooled by the Doctor playing "peek-a-boo".

 

2)What I find interesting in this is how the relationship between the Second Doctor and Zoe seems prescient of the relationship between the Fourth Doctor and the Second Romana - what with her presuming to be cleverer than him, but his experience helping him se ehtings she doesn't.

  • "Yes, well, Zoe is something of a genius. Of course, it can be very irritating at times."
  • "The Doctor's almost as clever as I am."

 

3)Some patented Troughton wackiness:

  • "Great jumping gobstoppers, what's that?"
  • "Sounds a bit like a dinner gong, doesn't it, Zoe?"

 

4)The scene where the Krotons mentally attack the Doctor and Zoe is quite "trippy".

 

5)Cliffhanger: The Krotons attack Jamie!

 

Episode Three

1)I like the bit where one of the Gonds goes to hit Beta, and Eelek says calmly, "Not yet."  It's not that violcence is bad, just premature violence.

 

2)I suspect that the reason the Krotons hide in the dark most of the time is so that people won't laugh at their goofy skirts.

 

3)"It must be quite a change for you to feel popular." "And there is a limit to what I will take from you." Madoc can be more frightening with a simple smile that most people can be with a snarl.

 

4)"Oh, my giddy aunt!"

 

5)"The Hostile Action Displacement System" - That's a little "Plot Convenience Playhouse", isn't it? I can't recall that it was ever mentioned again.

 

6)Cliffhanger: The roof falls in on the Doctor!

 

Episode Four

1)"Let's see what happens. We can only blow ourselves up."  Shades of high school chemistry class...

 

2)"I'm not sensible enough to run away and leave my friends."

 

3)I like the part where the Doctor and Zoe mess around, playing for time.

 

4)"We still Eelek to deal with." Interesting, isn't it? Alot of writers would have made sure to show us Eelek getting his comeuppance. Holmes leaves Eelek still out there, and for all we know Eelek came back and won after our heroes left.

 

5)And Team TARDIS departs, leaving the Gonds to find their own future...

 

Overall:

Qutie a fun little story.  the Krotons were not perhaps the most formidable foe the Doctor ever faced, but the interaction between our heroes was fun.  I gather that unitl "Tomb of the Cybermen" was found, this was the only intact Troughton four-parter, and was thus the one that would be re-run, and so was many people's only notion of what that era was like.

 

[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

 

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We watched all four episodes last night, which we don’t usually do in an effort to stretch them out and make them last a bit longer (or seem to anyway). But we’re both so hungry from something different to watch (we’ve been watching Voyage the Bottom of the Sea and The Monkees exclusively since the TV season came to an end) we decided to indulge ourselves. This is it, I guess: the last of the Troughton stories to be collected on DVD, although it won’t be too many months longer until audio version of the final missing episodes (The Eneny of the World, The Web of Fear, Fury from the Deep, The Wheel in Space, The Space Pirates) are released on CD. After that, there’ll only be one more complete Hartnell story (Planet of Giants) to be released on DVD, and my favorite era of the original series will be complete (in one format or another).

When I first started watching Doctor Who (only a few short years ago), I sampled each of the Doctors in order. Although each of them (beyond Hartnell) took me a while to get used to, I think I initially had the biggest objection to Troughton. It’s odd for me to remember that now, because Troughton/Hines/Padbury is one of my favorite iterations of Team TARDIS, too. Tracy found many similarities between part one and “The Hunger Games,” but I haven’t read it so I couldn’t say. I’m looking forward to watching Death to the Daleks tonight. See you back here tomorrow!

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