Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Candlelight, May 30, 2012.
Holy $#!t. Well, I guess I know what my next stop is once I get a working time machine.
THE FACELESS ONES
I enjoyed this one. Despite being very little suspense and mystery about the story the very down-to-earth alien abduction storyline would've felt right at home a few years later under Jon Pertwee. The removal of Ben and Polly so early in the story was a little weird, bringing them back for one scene in the final story made for a very frustrating finale, as they'd already been gone for three weeks beforehand!
I think this story would've worked better as a four-parter, as it just doesn't hold it's length. The fact that the originals are simply hidden in a carpark at the airport and not somewhere more secure (like maybe not even at the airport) would've been more realistic.
Got some time to kill so gonna go back and try and listen to the entire The Evil of the Daleks again in it's entirety, and not try to skip two episodes this time.
Would you prefer if they just vanished and didn't show up again like Dodo?
Actually, that makes me wonder if Ben & Polly left due to a contract despute too. Anyone know?
Not quite, Anneke was asked to stay for longer, but didn't think it was fair on Micheal, who's wasn't renewed. It's possible they were only contracted for so many episodes, and their departure scene was shot on film so may have been shot weeks earlier anyway.
I guess they just never expected Jamie to take off like gangbusters the way he did.
Just got the last box set of missing episodes audio releases so looking forward to working through them once the Olympics is over particularly Web and Fury.
Indeed, their departure scene in episode six was shot with the rest of the location work between Macra Terror 4 & Faceless Ones 1, so their last work on the series was the studio for FO2.
And, as you suspect, their contracts for so many episodes had been issued before the number of episodes in each story later on in the season had been tied down, so they ran out in mid story. The oddity is that it wasn't halfway through Faceless One - they were both under contract and paid through to Evil of the Daleks (episode 2, I think, but I've not found the reference to check). There's been speculation that they were originally going to be left behind in 1966 London when the action in Evil jumped back to 1867 Canterbury, but the surviving story outlines, etc, don't back this up).
Their departure is a bit odfd and perfunctory, but the best explanation is just that having decided to switch to Jamie and the new girl (and that was originally going to be Samantha/Cleo/Mary, before ending up as Victoria next story) producer Innes Lloyd wanted to make the change as soon as possible.
It was episode 2 of Evil - IIRC this was because they were renewed for a certain number of 4-episode stories. With The Faceless Ones being 6 episodes, this meant Wills and Craze's contract only lasted through to the first two episodes of Evil.
Indeed; it's been an often quoted fact that David Whittaker originally had Ben and Polly in the first two episodes of Evil, but had to remove them when they were written out in The Faceless Ones. Pity, it's the last time until the late Tom Baker era that the Doctor had three companions. It did allow adventures to be spread over 3 or even 4 storylines when everyone splits up.
THE EVIL OF THE DALEKS (REDUX)
I managed to listen to the story the entire way through. I still find the early episodes extremely dull and in the whole scheme of things largely superfluous. That said, I do have a new found appreciation of certain elements, and enjoyed episode 5 now more than I did. The final two episodes however are still stunningly good.
THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN
Based on the surviving episode, I'd always had a soft spot for this serial. It felt quite good, the isolated base under siege saga isn't new but being in a 1930s monastery in Tibet adds a new flavour to it... even if it was a Welsh countryside.
But the rest of the missing serial is decidedly average. Victoria is bizarrely written, with her eager to get out there and explore, especially in the cave towards the end of episode one, when suddenly she doesn't want to go in and becomes all hysterical. The Yeti don't actually do much in this story, except walk up and down the mountain a few times. Another story which would probably have worked better as a four-parter.
Pity episode six is missing, I'd love to have seen part of the Himalayas explode.
Might as well stay with the Yeti theme and hear a story I know next to nothing about...
THE WEB OF FEAR
Coming into this story with little knowledge of it, I didn't expect much. Indeed I had always considered The Abominable Snowmen to be the better of the two Yeti stories, though this was based purely on the surviving episodes of each story.
Put simply this is probably the best serial Troughton ever did. The action doesn't let up from the start, Lethbridge-Stewart has a great introductory piece and the Intelligence works better here than before in that it isn't treated as an in-your-face villain, this time running things in the background (or rather, out of sight of the audience for most of it).
My only point of contention would be the Yeti. Why were they brought back from a story perspective? They worked well in Tibet because they could be interpreted as the legendary beast but in 1970s London it just seems a bit silly. The robots could've resembled something else. The fact that the G.I also put all of it's energy into a single contraption that could easily be destroyed (the pyramid in Abominable, the mind draining machine here) is a little naff, but not enough to ruin the story.
It's funny that this story would mirror the following one (Fury from the Deep) with similar storylines, such as the fungus (seaweed) in a confined area of the london underground (north sea oil rigs) protected by people under the influence of the Great Intelligence (weed creature).
Celestial Toymaker next.
Web ep1 is also very similar to the start of The Invasion; after an altercation in space, they land on near-modern day earth and meet Lethbridge-Stewart, who is trying to deal with beings underground...
...oh God... the Toymaker is so dull... I'm only part way through episode 2 and I want to claw my ears off...
That does tend to be the standard reaction. It's been said that it looked more interesting onscreen - that's difficult to believe in view of episode four, but the suggestion is that part of its appeal at the time is that the bright, it's all fun, atmosphere of part one got darker and more menacing week by week, hence part four looking so dark you'd almost think they were trying to cover up for not being able to afford any sets...
I suppose splitting the companions into more storylines worked better when the actual stories were longer. But if you're just doing a 4-parter, too many companions can really bog things down. Three companions worked fine in the early years when it was Ian, Barbara, & Susan/Vicki. They clearly had it worked out what the dynamic was supposed to be between all of the characters. It doesn't work so well when you have companions that were just kinda thrown in suddenly because the characters proved popular, even if they don't mesh with the rest of the cast.
THE CELESTIAL TOYMAKER
Very average. I got into the 'rhythm' of it by the end of but not my cup of tea. Probably would've been more interesting had they been better games. Episode 2 was probably the best, the one with the dolls. Dodo was unbelievably annoying. The number of times she ruined the 'games' was atrocious.
Almost finished The Smugglers.
Not bad, better than The Highlanders but only just. Just average, not much more I can say.
The Invasion next.
Where do you get the missing-episode audios? I've heard about them, but I don't know where they're sold.
Do a search for 'Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes' on Amazon and you'll find 4 box sets containing all the missing stories up to The Ice Warriors (there's a fifth box set out in the UK and likely coming out soon in the US)
The stories are also available on iTunes as audiobooks - they will come up under a search for each individual story title.
As Philip said they're available on CD for purchase. I was fortunate enough to have a friend with them which he lent me, although some were ripped audio files (like the Colin Baker-narrated Macra Terror from cassette tape). I've never been through all of them like this before; in the past I've only ever focused on The Power of the Daleks & Mission to the Unknown (my two favourites), plus a couple of others.
Still have to acquire decent copies of Macra (which was a terrible transfer and would prefer to hear the Frzaer Hines version) and The Underwater Menace (the CD was badly scratched).
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