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Friday, August 30, 2013

Doctor Who Rewind - The Crusade

For a person who advocates avoiding getting caught up in historic events, the first Doctor isn't doing too well.

In this partly missing four part story (the first and third episodes have been released on the excellent Lost In Time DVD set and the second and final episodes are missing but have been reconstructed with telesnaps, and can be found on youtube) the TARDIS lands in the time of the third crusade, in 12th century Palestine.

The Third Crusade (1189–1192), also known as the Kings' Crusade, was an attempt by European leaders to reconquer the Holy Land from Saladin. It was largely successful, capturing Acre, Jaffa, and reversing most of Saladin's conquests, but failed to capture Jerusalem, which was the emotional and spiritual fixation of the Crusade.

Emerging from the TARDIS the crew find themselves in the middle of an ambush staged by the Saracen. Poor Barbara is manhandled away by a Saracen, while the rest of the crew stop the attack and rescue an associate of King Richard, William De Tornebu, who they take back to the King.

And so begins another historical story, this time it's the crusades and thanks to a dynamic start we get to see the action from both the Christian and Muslim side of the story.

I have to say that if your into beards, you'll love this story. There are plenty of well groomed chins and cheeks on display here to satisfy any pogonophile.

I could have done without the need of watching the reconstructed lost episodes that I found on youtube for, as I found they just made the flow of the story break up, but they did serve a purpose of filling the gaps quite well.

If you thought William Hartnell wasn't an action Doctor, think again because in episode one he and William Russell get to have some pretty hairy sword fights in order to escape the Saracen men.

Ian and Barbara seem to get more screen time than the Doctor in this story. After Ian gets knighted and becomes Sir Ian of Jaffa (in order for him to be an official emissary of the King) he goes off to try and secure Barbara's release from Saladin.

Barbara is having a rough old time of it. After being taken by El Akir and presented to Saladin's brother and then Saladin himself, who is intrigued by her stories of meeting emperor Nero. She is later kidnapped by El Akir and taken off to his gaff where he intends to give her more than a bit of a slap and tickle. She then escapes from his advances and is taken in by Haroun ed-Din, who wants revenge on El Akir for taking his wife and daughter. When Haroun leaves to find Alkir he is knocked out by soldiers who find Barbara and take her back to Akir, who taunts her with death. Much to her credit feisty Barbara escapes and takes up with the Emir's harem, where she is hidden by one of the girls.

Meanwhile Ian isn't having a good time either, on route to save Barbara, is captured by bandits, one of which ties him down on the scorching sand and pours honey over him, so that the ants can have a little nibble. Fortunately before the said ants can reach his gonads he overpowers the bandit and escapes.

As you can gather the plot of this story certainly doesn't stop for air. Blink and you'll miss something substantial. Also, Hartnell seems a bit superfluous here, he just seems to bumble around a bit and not really do much. It's Barbara and Ian who really have the thing by the reign and carry it thing to the end.

It's only at the final scenes end that the Doctor has something to do, when making a break for the TARDIS he is seen by the Earl of Leicester who thinks he's a spy for Saladin, and sentences him to death. Just in time though, Ian saves the day by turning up as "Sir Ian" and tells the Earl what for, and that the Doctor is his prisoner, whom he then takes safely back to the TARDIS.

The story ends with the crew laughing at their cunningness at escaping death yet again.

When I was watching the last episode as a reconstruction off youtube late one night in the week, I was surprised at how sudden the story is brought to a conclusion. In fact I thought I'd fell asleep and missed something. It just seems that suddenly in the middle of things, the crew are whisked back to the TARDIS and are getting ready for their next brush with the unknown.

But maybe, that's just the nature of time travel?

Next time on Doctor Who Rewind the crew bump into their future selves on planet Xeros, as exhibits in a museum!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Doctor Who Rewind - The Web Planet

Sometimes in the interest of breaking new ground in television, Doctor Who strived to try and push the boundaries of what could be done with a limited budget and a fast turn around. Sometimes those experiments worked and sometimes they didn't. The Web planet is a prime example of the shows ability to go out on a limb and experiment with the relatively new medium of television.

It's a six part story that was broadcast in March 1965. The TARDIS is pulled down onto planet Vortis, a seemingly lifeless desolate moon like planet.
The Doctor and Ian go and investigate, putting on special suits which somehow combat the thin atmosphere. They come across a pool of water which Ian is eager to drink, but the good old Doctor knows better, and, after getting hold if Ian's tie, and dipping it into the liquid, discovers it's some kind of burning acid.

Meanwhile, Barbara falls under the influence of an outside force which is using her bracelet as a conduit, and against her will is led outside. It's an eerie scene that actress Jacqueline Hill plays really well and gives a convincing performance.

Barbara soon stumbles across the moth like creatures called the Menoptra. They are clad in what can only be described as black leotards with frilly fluffy stripes segmented all over, with wire antennae on their heads and plastic patterned wings hanging from their backs. When they walk and talk they perform a little wistful dance with their hands akin to some kind of strange musical sign language.

Barbara escapes from the Menoptra but is captured by the Zarbi, who are giant ant type creatures, who are drones that go around poking people and emitting a high pitched warble akin to that of a car alarm.

The TARDIS, with only Vicki left inside then starts sliding across the planet, as if being pulled by some unseen power.

Ian and the Doctor follow its trail and end up being captured by the Zarbi, they are taken to a place called Carsinome where they find Vicki who has also been taken. The Doctor speaks to a creature called Animus through some kind of telepathic device placed on his head. Animus wants the Doctor to help track down the Menoptra, who are an invasion force sent to take back the planet from it's evil force.

Ian discovers that the Zarbi and Menoptra were native to Vortis originally until the evil Animus took control of the planet through the Zarbi drones insectiods.

To be perfectly honest, By this point in the story, with some two hours of viewing time still to go, I was beginning to struggle with the complete removal of any kind of lucid narrative in this serial. I found that there was just too much of an experimental nature about the whole thing.

Giant dancing moths, Ants who communicate by car alarms, the disembodied sound of Animus controlling the Doctor (whom we finally see in the final episode), and, a race descended from the Menoptra called Optera (walking grubs with deep voices) who live underground. All this absurdity added together is a just a little to much overkill i found.

Oh and I haven't even mentioned the jam smeared lens effect. Well not quite jam, but the effect of fog or atmosphere was created, I have read, buy smearing vaseline on the camera. This made everything seem all smudgy and out of focus. Great!

I tried to imagine what a viewer in the 1960's would think of it all watching on a small grainy black and white TV and I think they probably would have gotten more out of it than me. I think the passage of time, and the remastering and watching on a big screen really doesn't do this story any favours.

Though the sets have been painstakingly put together, some consisting of a forest like swirl of modern art sprawling through a maze, they only seen to add to the confusion of the overall piece.

Watching it was like trying to listen to a contemporary piece of atonal music that offers little in the way of pleasure or reference points to hang your emotions.

In some of the scenes, when both Zarbi and Menoptra were fighting, I thought I was watching a local amateur dramatics group work shopping a new experimental theatre production. And had to force back the urge to laugh out loud.

In short then, this is the first time during the Rewind that I've started to flag during a story. But I persisted through. I haven't come this far to give in to the odd challenging episode, and I'm sure there will be many more as I progress through the cannon.

Next time on Doctor Who Rewind a story half lost from the archives, set in the holy land during the time of the crusades. Ah, it'll be a piece of cake.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Doctor Who Rewind - The Romans

Alright, apart from, blowing up the Daleks, out cunning the Sensorites, short circuiting the Cyber-Men, stunning the Sontaran, zapping the Zygons, ambushing the Autons, man handling the Monoids, running away from Sea Devils and, not being sick when faced with the vile Scaroth, what has the Doctor, ever done for us?

Well, he's given us some inspirational lyre playing that's what (a lyre in case you were wondering is a small hand held harp type instrument used mainly in ancient times), as aptly demonstrated in The Romans, the forth story from the second series, comprising of four episodes.

In a slightly confusing opening, the TARDIS materialises on the edge of a cliff, and tumbles over the edge. We cut to three weeks later, and the crew are living it up in a Roman villa in ancient Rome, lounging around eating grapes and drinking wine. Quite how this came to be isn't touched on except that the owner of the villa has gone off to campaign in Gaul.

In these opening scenes everyone seems really relaxed and the dialogue flows as easily as we've ever heard it between the characters, as they exchange some rather witty lines. This is thanks to the writing of Dennis Spooner, who also wrote several other Who stories and worked on Gerry Anderson's Stingray and Thunderbirds.

At one point the Doctor, having a joke about Ian's surname Chesterton, decides to romanise it to Chestertine. And later, when Barbara and Ian are obviously inebriated with wine, Barbara succeeds in fooling Ian to try and get ice from the freezer for their drinks.

The crew seem to be enjoying the humourous touch that has been brought to the script, which is something that producer Verity Lambert was very keen to bring into the programme and try out.

After Barbara and Vicki return from a trip to the local town market, where they are spotted by slave traders, the Doctor decides he's off to Rome and he's taking Vicki with him. Barbara and Ian, have little say in the matter and are left to carry on enjoying themselves.

Unfortunately they don't enjoy themselves long as the slave traders from earlier break into the villa, capture them and sell them to different owners. Barbara's owner eventually turning out to be none other than a man highly placed in the court of emperor Cesar Nero.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Vicki spot a corpse lying in some bushes, it being famed lyre player Maximus Pettulian. A passing centurion, seeing the Doctor with the lyre, mistakes him for the dead Maximus and offers to accompany him on the way to his engagement with Cesar Nero. While staying at an Inn that night the centurion contacts the assassin of the real Maximus and instructs him to kill the Doctor.

Fortunately the assassin is overpowered by the Doctor and escapes. The fight scene between him and the assassin is something else. Hartnell seems to channel some unearthly power and goes at the poor fellow with both barrels. I even felt sorry for the guy, as he was being beaten without mercy by The Doctor, who is having far to much fun for his own liking. He even tells Vicki that he likes a bit of the old fisticuffs every now and again.

The Doctor decides to keep up the ruse as Pettulian, and continues to Rome to meet the emperor.

Poor Ian, by this point has been chained, and sent for duty in the galley of a roman ship where he and his fellow rowers are subsequently ship wrecked in a mighty storm, in which they over power the Roman guard who has charge over them.

Ian finds himself washed up on the shore. Another of the slaves with him, they decide to go on to Rome to try and find Barbara, who has become the handmade of the emperor. On the way there though they are recaptured and taken to the arena to be trained as gladiators. At this point some stock footage of lions (courtesy of MGM) is inserted for effect.

At some points during this story, I felt like I'd put in the wrong DVD, and was actually watching Carry On Doctor Who, such is the level of farce. Especially in the scenes where Nero, who had taken a shine to poor Barbara, is chasing her around the bed chamber and trying to avoid is wife. By this point, the Doctor and Vicki, who have also arrived to see Nero, never get to actually see Barbara, always narrowly missing her, in that classic theatrical fashion of farce.

When the Doctor gives a lyre recital so delicate and light of touch that no one can hear anything (as he's not actually playing) the emperor gets suspicious and hatches a plan to send him to the arena to play, for the enjoyment of the lions!

Ian and his slave friend arrive to fight against each other for the pleasure of Nero and a very surprised Barbara, but decide instead to fight their way out, vowing to return to rescue her.

The Doctor is warned Nero wants to send him to the arena and discovers the emperors plans for a new Rome, thus working out the year is 64AD, in which Rome burns down.

In a comical scene between the Doctor and Nero, in which he is told he is to go to the arena, the Doctor replies that he knows already. That its bound to be a roaring success and that he'll play something everyone can get their teeth into.

Meanwhile out of Nero's gaze the doctor accidentally sets fire to Nero's plans for new Rome. This gives Nero an idea and he sends for gang of bribed men to start the fires all over Rome.

Barbara and Ian escape separately from Vicki and the Doctor and arrive back at the villa before them. When the Doctor japes them the next morning about lying around doing nothing when they have been having all kinds if adventures, they take offence but eventually see the funny side.

I suppose this story is really the first attempt to bring real humour into Doctor Who, and thanks to Dennis Spooner's writing it works really well. It's also executed well by a cast who are clearly enjoying themselves. As a successful experiment then, it would be repeated and refined many times in the future.

Incidentally, one of the final scenes in which the Doctor views burning Rome from the safety of the hills, is rather unsettling, as he realises he was actually the one to start the great fire, he starts to chuckle to himself, these chuckles turn to huge menacing belly laughs , and one begins to wonder if he is mentally deranged!

Next time on Doctor Who Rewind we meet giant insectoids, the Zarbi.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Doctor Who Rewind - The Rescue

Doctor Who Rewind
The Rescue

With Susan busy starting civilisation all over again with her newly found resistance fighter David. The whole balance and dynamic of the show needed re-addressing.

The next story, a two parter entitled The Rescue was mainly written in order to introduce a new member of the TARDIS crew.

By this point Doctor Who had been in production pretty much none stop since its start twelve months earlier in November 1963. Despite having a short broadcasting break between series one and two, the production never seized.

The TARDIS lands on a planet called DIDO. It's a grim, foreboding, cavernous place that the Doctor hints he has visited before.

In a forgetful moment after landing, the Doctor begins to ask Susan to open the TARDIS doors, soon remembering she is no longer there. It's a nice touch to see Susan has not completely been forgotten. In fact all the members of the crew, including Barbara and Ian seem to be missing their co-traveller.

The Doctor is so disinterested in going outside to explore the planet (something he normally relishes), he goes back inside the TARDIS, telling Barbara and Ian he's going for a nap.

Later the crew come across a crashed space ship. The two inhabitants of the craft are a young woman, Vicki, and a man , Bennett (who seems to be injured). These two survivors are being stalked by an inhabitant of Dido, a cloaked creature called Koquillion, who has huge clawed hands and feet. The creature carries around a weapon, which looks decidedly like a huge spanner , which renders its foe into a ball of flames.

Barbara befriends young Vicki who tells her that the rest of the crew (including her father) of her craft were lured to their deaths by the inhabitants of the planet. Both her and Bennett are waiting for a rescue ship to pick them up in just three days time.

Suffering from loneliness, young Vicki has befriended a sand beast, a giant monitor type lizard which lollups around the crash site waiting to be fed. The pathetic looking creature looks like a school paper mâché project thats gone hideously wrong.

The arrival of the Doctor, Barbara and Ian, threatens the relationship between the two survivors and the Koquillion. The result is the uncovering of a deep dark secret that someone or something doesn't want out in the open.

No prizes for guessing who the next companion is then. Vicki, with little choice, joins the rest of the crew on board the TARDIS, the Doctor obviously missing his grand daughter, takes a bit of a protective shine to her as well.

The Rescue has a pretty simple premise. Although the little twist in the tail does help to interestingly bring the story to its conclusion, serving its purpose as a vehicle to get a new member of the TARDIS crew on board.

Of note is the fact that these two episodes secured one of the highest viewing figures thus far for the show, which is pretty remarkable given that the story is isn't one of the best.

Compared to its preceding story, this one couldn't be more different, it feels positively claustrophobic. Gone are the outside locations, menacing monsters and large cast. What we have here is an at times, dark, eerie and short tale. Some of the final scenes in the People's Hall Of Judgement are extremely well achieved, with a really foreboding, threatening atmosphere as the Doctor meets Koquillion. I was a bit disappointed however when old "Cockylion" as Ian refers to him in the story, just gives up the ghost so easily and is dealt with by some surviving Didonians who happen to be passing.

To be honest I think just wanted more spanner gun action!!

Next time on Doctor Who Rewind the Doctors meddling gets him into deep trouble while holidaying in Ancient Rome.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Doctor Who Rewind - The Dalek Invasion Of Earth

Doctor Who Rewind
The Dalek Invasion Of Earth

In the very first scene of this six part story a man with strange contraption on his head walks hypnotically into the Thames, never to be seen again. So we know things must be pretty bad on earth if people are prepared to just wade into the filthiest river in the world.

I say people, but technically these aren't people. They are Robomen. Automatons that are controlled by their masters.

The year is 2164 and although this looks like the London of the swinging sixties, it is far from it. Everything is in decay. The streets are deserted. Buildings are dilapidated and there are large circular saucer shaped craft whizzing around in the sky.

There seems to be a standard story pattern to these early episodes of Doctor Who. The TARDIS materialises. Something goes wrong with the TARDIS. A malfunction, a blown circuit, the doors won't shut, or there's a fault with the fault finder.

Something then, prevents the crew from hot footing it back in time in order to dodge the awaiting gruesome array of monsters and mayhem.

This time around the fault isn't with the TARDIS, but it does prevent the crew from returning. And before they know it the time travelling team are up to their necks in robotic men, mass murdering egomaniacs and pockets of desperate disheveled resistance fighters who have retreated underground in order to remain alive.

Such was the response from viewers to the first Dalek story set on Scaro, that Terry Nation (the writer behind the Daleks) was shoved into a small room and told not to come out until its sequel (or more aptly prequel - as this story is set in a time before that of the first) was written.

It was that original Dalek story back in 1963 that helped create the success of Doctor Who and assure it's continued presence on TV screens for years to come.

Children and adults went Dalek potty when this story was transmitted. The metal meanies were making public relations appearances, opening supermarkets and garden fetes, threatening everyone with extermination, and everyone loved it. Especially the children.

What Terry Nation did with his creations in this story really brought the Daleks into people's homes. By transplanting them from across the universe, from the safe distance of Scaro, and having them come rolling down the high street of the publics consciousness, he succeeded in cementing them in the psyche of viewers forever.

There couldn't have been a more unexpected entrance than having a Dalek rise slowly out of the depths of the Thames at the end of that first episode. Audiences must have been wetting themselves with excitement. And children awe struck with fear and fascination at the might and power that the Daleks wielded over humanity.

If this story had been shown in colour i'm almost certain it wouldn't have had the same impact. Colour would have highlighted and given away the imperfections created by such a low budget. But with black and white somehow everything washes together to create an ambience that supports the post apocalyptic feel of this story.

This story was the first to utilise extensive use of outside broadcast locations. There are some iconic London locations featured, Daleks are seen going across a deserted Westminster Bride, meandering around Nelson's Column and doing some kind of Nazi salute with there ariel antennas outside the royal Albert hall.

The leader of the London gang of resistance fighters is a disabled scientist called Dortmun. He is confined to a wheelchair but this doesn't stop him designing bombs that he thinks can destroy the Daleks. He's a brave fellow who's belief in his ability to stop the invasion is ultimately his downfall. While watching I couldn't help think that perhaps this character was the genesis of the Dalek leader to come. Davros too is confined to a chair, he's a scientist, and he is prepared to stop at nothing to see his master plan become reality.

Another thing I noticed while watching this is that the Dalek voices are a little on the adolescent side. They lack the fullness and strength of what will come later. The modulator that is used to make that terrifically manic Dalek voice isn't being utilised yet its fullest capacity and the result is an invasion by high pitched Dalek teenagers.

What's also apparent as the story progresses is Susan's imminent exit from the show. This is her last story. For whatever reason it was decided her character had run its course. Its a shame that the original idea of Susan's highly intelligent, strangely alien nature, was never really developed from that first opening Unearthly Child episode. What her character became was the standard screaming doctor dependant companion that would be followed for years to come.

Susan slowly begins to become involved with one of the resistance fighters called David. In one scene he tells her, "Things aren't made better by running away." And she replies that she has never really belonged to one time or place. It's the beginning of a new start for Susan.

Because of the scope of this story and the move to better filming studios with more space, the set designers had a field day. A Dalek saucer is built almost entirely in the studio complete with exterior ramp, and interior rooms and compartments. It's quite impressive even for the early sixties. Other outside locations are replicated in the studio, for example the location where the TARDIS lands, underneath Kew Railway Bridge is recreated with fine detail.

There are some dodgy saucer flying special effects as you would expect for the sixties but in other places there are some ingenious FX. For example when the Doctor uses acid to melt the casing of a Dalek bomb. We actually see the bomb exterior bubbling and melting away before our eyes and I wondered if some kind of real acid was used.

Incidentally there is an option on the DVD version of the story to watch it with some new CGI effects which include better flying mother ships.

You can't really talk about Dalek Invasion Of Earth without talking about the Slyther, a pet of the black Dalek. It's supposed to be a hideously slimy tentacled monster that lives out near the Dalek mines. Perhaps it's an early attempt at mutating human and Dalek DNA.

It's a bit of a pity then that what we actually see on screen with the Slyther, is a walking shag pile carpet with a bad case of the shakes. Perhaps the man inside had one too many ales in the local public house the night before filming. I actually think the poor creature is not trying to attack Ian and his friend during that scene near the mines, but seeking medical help!

Another first for a Doctor Who story is the use of a quarry, filmed at Stone in Kent. Nothing beats a good old quarry. Which can be made into any number of things from a strange desolate alien planet to a mine into the centre of the Earth, as machined by our evil metal meanies here.

The reason for the mine to the Earths core is pretty preposterous even for the Daleks, as they intend to carry out their plan by detonating a nuclear bomb at the Earths centre. It's a good job then that Barbara, who again really shines in this story as someone who is not afraid of taking action, whether it be obliterating a a group of Daleks by driving a lorry headlong at them, or wheeling Dortmun all over London at breakneck speed as Daleks give pursuit. She always seems to be in the thick of the action. Of all the characters, hers seems to have developed the most through her experiences with the Doctor.

In the final episode of The Dalek Invasion Of Earth she and her resistance fighting friend end up prisoners of the black Dalek. Barbara's plan is to out whit the Dalek leader by confusing him with lies about a plan by the resistance to launch a major offensive against them. She does this by including all kinds of historic figures and facts into her fabricated fictitious story. The Daleks understandably get agitated by this and instead of blowing a fuse, imprison Barbara and friend in a magnetic neck brace. It's not quite how Barbara had imagined it would go but she does have a chance to redeem herself when the Doctor and suited he-man Ian (who had earlier unknowingly climbed into a bomb bound for the centre of the Earth) turns up to rescue her.

The conclusion then to the story all seems to happen a bit to quickly. It's almost as if the BBC just ran out of film and had to quickly think of a way to end things. Again, it's feisty Barbara who saves the day and Earth. The Robomen revolt and start turning on their evil masters. All a bit too easily for my liking.

What is done well though is Susan's farewell exit. I won't spoil it but its very touching and is handled very sensitively. The Doctor is giving up his granddaughter so that she can grow up, have a home and someone or somewhere to care for. In his leaving speech he tells her he will one day return to her, but alas, unfortunately this has only happened in an un-broadcast Big Finnish audio story featuring Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor and original actress Carol Ann Ford.

If Susan does have Time Lord Blood then this reconciliation could still happen in a future story and would be an interesting option for the new Doctor portrayed by Peter Capaldi.

Next time on Doctor Who Rewind we travel to planet Dido and meet the Doctors new companion.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Doctor Who Rewind - Planet Of Giants

Doctor Who Rewind
Planet of Giants, (Or Honey I shrunk the Doctor.)

A new series, and our TARDIS regulars have brand new clobber. Ian looks like he's attending a job interview, Susan looks like she's doing a stint as a farm hand, Barbara has transformed into some kind of hospital porter, and Hartnell has a brand new cape. Perhaps the cast had received a pay rise at the start of the new series.

Yet again the TARDIS is up the spout and a malfunction results in a, small, problem! Yes size does matter, as the crew find out when they venture outside and find some rather curious clues as to their predicament.

A dead ant. Nothing strange about that, except it's the size if a small family car! A large packet of seeds, and a box of matches that's so big you could open a newsagents in it.

So the crew know they are on Earth, but when and where remains a mystery. More intrigue follows when a giant dead earthworm is discovered and a pile of seeds covered in a smelly substance. Then a humongous blast rockets through the air (which we the audience know is a gunshot). A man has been shot. Something then, is defiantly afoot.

When the Doc climbs a rock he sees a house in the distance. It appears the TARDIS has landed in the middle of some crazy paving in a garden.

Unfortunately Ian and Barbara get separated from the others when they take refuge in the briefcase of a giant normally sized human.

What follows is a story about the dangers of pesticides, dodgy greedy power crazed government officials, and an elderly couple (the local bobby and his wife, the telephone exchange operator) and, the frustrations of trying to get noticed when your only an inch high.

What's apparent about this story from the start is that the set design, for its time, is very well done. Giant matches, telephones and a pretty authentic looking sink complete with overflow pipe which provides a sanctuary for Susan and the Doc when they get trapped.

What's also apparent is that despite being nice to look at, the actual sub plot really doesn't have enough going on in it to keep the viewer entertained. It's as if all the energy and attention of the episode went into the problem of showing on screen, how small the crew were, and there just wasn't enough left for the actual story.

This series two opener was broadcast as a three part story, but was originally written as a four parter. When head of drama viewed episode 4 he ordered it to be edited together with episode three because he felt that the story was just not moving along fast enough.

On the DVD I watched the original story has been recreated as episodes 3 and 4. Ingeniously this has been done by using existing footage and some newly added scenes, these have been dubbed over by adding dialogue from original surviving actors Carol Ann Ford (Susan) and William Russell (Ian) and other actors (some rather good) voicing the parts of Barbara, the Doctor and the other smaller parts.

The result is crude and by no means seamless but it does give you an appreciation of how this story was supposed to be. But, to be honest, it doesn't make it any the more exciting or interesting.

There is some great acting here as well. For instance when Barbara gets infected with the pesticide and falls ill. You really do feel that she's going to keel over at any moment. In fact, I started feeling a bit queasy myself when watching.

Also there's a great Hartnell moment when he gets all excited about making a fire (in order to make an explosion to get the humans attention). He rubs his hands in glee, his eyes sparkle mischievously, and he gets very excited at the prospect of a bit of arson.

When the crew finally make it back to the safety of the TARDIS and regain their rightful proportions, no one is more released than poor old Barbara. Physically though, this must have been one of the most exhausting stories to make, with so many seemingly everyday obstacles to overcome. I expect everyone breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally in the can.

Next time of Doctor Who Rewind - it's the first time one of the Doctors evil enemies makes a return visit. Can you guess who?