The Slave Traders

1)Ever since the first time I saw this, I've always the business of them commandeering the villa. Why would it have been left empty like that?  Even if the owner had left to go off to the wars, he would've left a caretaker or something. It smacks of Plot Convenience Playhouse.


2)I must say, Ian and Barbara do seem to be having a fine old time with the Doctor and Vicki gone - they seem quite playful with one another. Hill wears the toga well, I must say.


3)"Is that your lyre?" "Why, have you lost one?"


4)Cliffhanger: Ascaris prepares to attack the Doctor!


All Roads Lead to Rome

1)Hartnell gets  a fight scene!  He handles himself pretty well for an old guy. One really gets the sense that Hartnell's enjoying the comedy aspects of this.


2)The comedy kicks into gear as we get our first "near miss" in Rome.  I think the show can handle the odd comedy episode - it's nice to see an occasional story where the fate of the universe isn't at stake. Hartnell and Francis play off one another well - for that matter, so do Hartnell and O'Brien.  O'Brien's really quite good in this. Watching these old episodes makes me realize what a good actor  Hartnell was.


3)Some fun quotes:

  • "You know, I am so constantly outwitting the opposition, I tend to forget the delights and satisfaction of the arts, the gentle art of fisticuffs."
  • "Do you know that it was I that used to teach the Mountain Mauler of Montana?" this gives me the image of the Doctor as a WWE manager.


4)Cliffhanger: Ian sees stock footage of lions!



1)A boom mike drops into shot when Nero is talking to Poppaea.


2)The bits with Nero chasing Barbara are all very farcical until you stop to think that he's going to rape her if he gets half a chance. We get a sudden shift from comedy to shock when we see Nero casually poison Tigilinus. Suddenly he's not so much of a roguish scamp.


3)The actress playing Locusta certainly looks like a poisoner.


4)They take the trouble in  the extras to explain that they knew that the Romans should've been reclining to eat and instead of sitting at chairs but they didn't have room in the studio for all the couches.


5)Some fun quotes:

  • "Oh, there's our hissing friend again."
  • "Oh, something else I forgot to tell you - I think I've poisoned Nero."
  • "He's alright, but he's not all that good."  Love that line.
  • "I gave it as an idea to Hans Andersen." Yes, yes, you invented everything.


6)Cliffhanger: Nero orders Delos to cut off Ian's head!



1)"Alligators"? Oh, no, an historical inaccuracy in Doctor Who!


2)The  Doctor seems positively gleeful that he helped cause the Fire of Rome.


3)Some fun quotes:

  • "I've got a friend who specializes in trouble. He dives in and usually finds a way."
  • "I'll have you both killed over and over again."
  • "O tempora! O mores!"  O shut up.


4)Cliffhanger: The TARDIS is being dragged down!



Quite a fun story - the cast - Hartnell in particular - seem to be really enjoying themselves.


[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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I never saw this until it came out on DVD.  It's delightful.

Last spring I started on a project of watching (or listening to) all the Hartnell episodes in order.  (I got sidetracked midway thru "The Savages" and never got back to finish the run.)  I came away with a vastly improved opinion of Hartnell's acting.  He especially shines when he gets to play comedy -- here, "The Time Meddler" and "The Gunfighters."  (That's right, I said it!) 

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