Doctor Who Reactions: "The Robots of Death" (SPOILERS)

1)Leela's first adventure after joining the Doctor, they do an OK job of showing her as "ignorant but intelligent".She's even occasionally a bit of a smartarse in this. "Now you're showing off."

 

2)The robots are, as Leela calles them "Creepy mechanical men".  Effective, in their way, though.  Their quiet but relentless statements are scarier than any number of Dalek yelled threats.

 

3)Interesting costume choices on the sand-minders, I thought. Odd and kind of impractical.

 

4)The "corpse markers" are pretty obviously bicycle reflectors.

 

5)I liked D84 the undercover robot. A more interesting character than most of the humans.

 

6)Dask is pretty good - the clues are there to see that he's Taren Capel, but not too blatant.  "Taren Kapel" is, of course, a slight mangling of "Karel Capek".

 

7)"Grimwade's Syndorme"  -  a nice little in-joke there.

 

8)Some fun quotes:

  • "I know, I know, there's no such thing as magic."
  • "That's silly." "That's transdimensional engineeirng."  I don't buy his explanation, either.
  • "Robots don't need chairs and certainly not padded ones." "Because they have no feelings?"
  • "You try that again and I'll cripple you!"
  • "You must be stronger than you look." "You must be stupider than you look if you think I did that."
  • "You're a classic example of the inverse ratio between the size of the mouth and the size of the brain."
  • "Bumblebees." "What?" "Terran insects. Aerodynamically impossible for them to fly, but they do it."  I seem to recall hearing that thye have subsequently worked out how this happened - special extra lifting structures in their wings, or something.
  • "So what happens if the strangler is a robot?" "Oh, I should think it's the end of this civilization."
  • "May I remind you that we'll all blow together when she blows if you don't cut the power?"
  • "My tribe has a saying, 'If you're bleeding, look for a man with scars.'"  I'm not really sure what that means.
  • "Failure is one of the basic freedoms." Freedom from success?
  • "I heard a cry."
  • "Do not kill me."  Ya dope!
  • "Please do not throw hands at me."
  • "Humans feel pain."
  • "Right now, he must be a happy little maniac."  Lucky bastard. Wish I was a happy little maniac.

 

9)Cliffhangers:

  • Part One: The Doctor is buried in ore!
  • Part Two: The engines cannae take much more of it!
  • Part Three:  "Kill the Doctor!"
  • Part Four:  The Doctor and Leela take off for more adventures!

 

Overall:

Another fun story - claustrophobic, a sort of "Agatha Christie in outer space".  I gather the HInchcliffe/Holmes fac-gime was trying to avoid the "rubber-suited monsters invade from space" storyline, which is why so many of their stories feature individual human (or at least "humanoid") villains behind it all.

 

[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

 

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I thought I'd see what images of productions of R.U.R. I could find on the net. A translation of the play itself can be found here.

 

This page at a site dedicated to the Capek brothers has a review caricature related to the 1923 London production, and an image of the character Alquist from an early Czech production.

 

The image of the robots in revolt here (scroll down) has robots with a body design and caps like those in the caricature, and might be from that London production. The robots in this image at Wikipedia have the same body design, as does the robot in the image here. Although they lack the caps, they might be from the same production.

 

This page has an image from a 1922 New York production. The robot costumes remind me of the later Star Trek: The Next Generation uniforms. The image here looks like it also comes from this production.

 

This page has a whole series of images from a production, I think American, of 1928-1929. The final one shows the robots in revolt.

 

The BBC did a TV version of the play in 1938.(1) An image from the production can be seen here. (Another version of this image can be found here.) Apparently it did another TV version in 1948. An image from this production can be seen here.

 

Two posters for a 1939 US production can be seen on Wikipedia's page on the work.

 

(1) Television broadcasts do indeed go back that far. In his introduction to the Arrow edition of the script for the 1953 TV serial The Quatermass Experiment Nigel Kneale wrote that "It was performed live, with only a few pre-filmed sequences, in the antiquated studios at Alexander Palace. The TV cameras there were the oldest operational ones in the world, in use since 1936 apart from being moth-balled during the war. They had fixed lenses and back-to-front, upside-down viewfinder images that must have given their operators a mild form of madness when they panned. But their very fuzziness probably helped the story."

I just noticed that Basil Rathbone played Harry Domain in the 1923 London production. That might be him on the left in the Wikipedia photo. This page has an image I missed that might also come from that production. 

Interesting. Thanks, Luke.

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