Saturday, 26 January 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 7 - 1968

"Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables one to be wrong with authority."
  - The Doctor, The Wheel in Space 

On Screen

As the year opens, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are part-way through 'The Enemy of the World', a story which just for a change features no alien monsters.  Instead we have a villain - one Ramon Salamander - who wants to control the world under the pretext of helping it.  It also happens that Salamander looks just like the Doctor, putting the Doctor in the unenviable position of having to impersonate Salamander in order to stop his evil plans.  

Unlike 'The Massacre' which also featured a evil double of the Doctor, we do get to see a confrontation between the Doctor and his double.  Sadly it's all too brief.  At the conclusion of the story, Salamander in a desperate attempt to escape defeat tries to impersonate the Doctor and escape in the TARDIS but, due to a slight error on his part, he ends up being sucked into the time vortex instead.  

The climax of 'Enemy of the World leads directly into the next story, 'The Web of Fear'.  This story is sign of things to come.  Set on more-or-less present day Earth, the Doctor finds himself in a re-match with the Great Intelligence and the Yeti who have covered London in a killer 'web' and taken control of the London Underground.  The Doctor ends up working with the Army to defeat the Intelligence.

In a year or two this sort of story will become quite commonplace but here it's something that we've only really seen once before, in 'The War Machines' so it's interesting to see the Doctor working with the authorities.  

This story is also particularly significant for both the return of Professor Travers (now several decades older than in his last appearance in 1930s Tibet) as well as the first appearance of one Colonel (soon to be Brigadier) Lethbridge Stewart.  At this stage of course no one knew just how important a character Lethbridge Stewart was to become. So, while it might seem a little odd to fans now that we never actually get to see the first meeting between these two characters (it all being done off-screen), it probably seemed like a perfectly good idea to the production team at the time.  The Colonel was, after all, just another guest character at the time.

The series stay on more-or-less contemporary Earth for the next story, 'Fury from the Deep'.  Sadly, like far too much of the Troughton era, no complete episodes of this story survive in the BBC archives, just a few clips.  This is particularly unfortunate in the case of this story as the few clips I have seen seem to indicate that it had some particularly chilling visuals.  There's also a lot of action including hijinks with helicopters and sequences of living seaweed and foam bursting in on people.  

Mr Quill realises all his episodes are missing from the archives

It's also the story where Victoria chooses to leave the TARDIS and remain on Earth.  Although her decision to leave does seem to come a bit out of the blue, it's still handled well and there's genuine emotion in those final scenes where Victoria says her goodbyes.  

Victoria may be gone but the Doctor and Jamie journey onwards, this time to the future and 'The Wheel in Space'  The Wheel is an Earth space station and in typical base-under-siege style is under attack from the Cybermen.  

The Wheel is also where the Doctor and Jamie meet Zoe Heriot, a exceptionally intelligent young woman who isn't afraid to let people know it.  You would think that someone with her intelligence would think twice before stowing away on the TARDIS but this is what she ends up doing at the end of the story. 

By way of demonstrating to Zoe the sort of dangers she's letting herself in for, the Doctor decides to show her one of his old adventures.  Thus the story and the season end with Zoe watching 'Evil of the Daleks' on the TARDIS scanner.  This would lead into a repeat screening of 'Evil of the Daleks' on BBC 1 for the next seven weeks so that viewers, like Zoe, could see what she getting into.  This was the first, and indeed only, time that a repeat was actually worked into fiction of the TV series.

With the 'Evil of the Daleks' repeat over, the series returns for Season 6 and 'The Dominators' which sees the TARDIS land on the planet Dulkis, with emphasis on the 'dull'.  If Zoe was expecting to see the likes of Daleks on her first trip then she was probably disappointed with what she got here.  

Dulkis is a planet of pacifists who have to be stirred into action by the Doctor when their world is invaded by the aforementioned Dominators and their robot slaves, the Quarks.  At the time the Quarks were thought by some to be the next big thing in Doctor Who monsters.  Sadly, their overall appearance means that this will never be the case.  Granted, their child-like voices are slightly disturbing but their clumsy, box-like appearance is just laughable.  The, sadly, unmemorable story doesn't help them either. 

A volcanic explosion at the conclusion of 'The Dominators' leads into the next story 'The Mind Robber' which must qualify as possibly the strangest story ever.  The TARDIS is taken outside of time and space and into what is essentially a fantasy world where pretty much anything goes.  It's controlled by the Master (of the Land of Fiction, as opposed to that other Master) and the Doctor Jamie and Zoe meet various fictional characters (such as Gulliver) while trying to avoid become fictional characters themselves.  It's the sort of story that you'd more usually expect to find in the TV Comic strip but, against all odds this story actually seems to work.  

Zoe, the Doctor and the 'wrong' Jamie
The story's fantastical nature also allows the production team to get away with things that they couldn't normally do like blowing up the TARDIS or re-casting one of the companions for an episode.  The re-casting came about when Frazer Hines caught chicken pox and wasn't able to record episode 2.  Rather than write Jamie out they simply re-cast him for the week and wrote the change in appearance into the story.  Hines was better by episode 3 and so he was changed back to normal.

It's back down to Earth in ever respect for the next story in the series, 'The Invasion'.  At the time this story was being produced, the production team were already thinking about the next season and what format it would take.  The template for that next season can be seen here and builds on the groundwork established in 'The Web of Fear'.  Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart is back, this time in charge of UNIT  (the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce), the military group set up in the wake of the Yeti invasion to deal with alien incursions.

So the Doctor finds himself working once again with the military, this time to take on the Cybermen who are the ones behind this particular invasion.  That said, the Cybermen (who have another new look) don't really appear that much.  They first appear at the half-way point of this 8-episode story and appear sporadically throughout the rest of the story.  Their big moment comes when the invasion proper gets under way and they burst from the sewers of London and stalk down the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.  For the most part it's Tobias Vaughan, the Cybermen's human front man who is left to play lead villain to the Doctor.  And, frankly, he's so good that you barely notice that they Cybermen haven't actually done anything much.

The year comes to an end with Episode 1 of 'The Krotons', in which Zoe ends up being too clever for her own good... More next time.

On Audio

Just one audio release this year but it's an interesting one.  Jamie actor Frazer Hines - or more likely his agent - felts that he should capitalise on his popularity and enter the music scene.  The result was this rather enjoyable song.  Sadly it didn't sell very well and Hines's career as a pop icon ended rather soon after it began.  But we'll always have 'Who's Doctor Who?' to remind us of what could have been.


In Print

Another year with little available book wise.  In fact the only book released was the latest Annual, with it's usual mix of short stories and comic strips.

In Comics

There were changes afoot for the comic strip in 1968.  John and Gillian, the Doctor's ever present grandchildren left the strip in August after almost 5 years travelling with the Doctor, making them two of the longest serving companions in any medium.  

 The method of their departure is actually better than that afforded to certain TV companions.  After receiving a warning from a fortune teller that he will be facing the Quarks, the Doctor decides that it's far too dangerous to allow his grandchildren to continue travelling with him.  He therefore enrolls in university on the planet Zebadee and takes off never to see them again.  Laughable as it is that the Doctor is terrified of allowing his grandchildren to meet the Quarks (as opposed to, say, the Daleks or Cybermen) it is nice that TV Comic made an effort to give John and Gillian a decent send-off.  

Of course, the departure of John and Gillian leave a vacancy and so the Doctor travels to Scotland to meet up with Jamie who becomes the new comic strip companion.  This is particularly noteworthy as Jamie is the first companion from the TV series to appear in the comic strip.  

As you may have gathered, the Quarks were the latest TV monsters to appear in the comic strip.  Indeed they actually made their comic strip debut at the same time as they appeared on TV.  Unlike their TV counterparts though, the Quarks in the comic strip were not robotic servants of the Dominators but instead operated independently.  Basically they were just like the Daleks and Cybermen in the strip before them and they quickly became the lead villains in the strip,appearing several times during the year to face the Doctor and Jamie. 

There's one other thing to note with regards to the comic strip and that is the Doctor becoming a bit of a celebrity on Earth.  At one point in the strip towards the end of the year, the Doctor goes on television to address the rest of the world.  This is something that will be followed up on in the strip in 1969.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 6 - 1967

"Our lives are different to anybody else's. That's the exciting thing, nobody in the universe can do what we're doing."
-The Doctor, The Tomb of the Cybermen

On Screen

1967, Patrick Troughton's first full year as the Doctor begins with the end of an era.  Episode 4 of 'The Highlanders' marks the end of the'pure' historical stories (at least for now) and it also seems like we're saying goodbye to the last vestiges of the Hartnell era.  At the same time, though, a new era begins as Jamie, the companion most associated with the Second Doctor's era, jumps on board the TARDIS.

Jamie was never intended to become a regular member of the TARDIS crew for the next couple of stories he's left with relatively little to do and some of Ben's and Polly's dialogue  was given to Jamie instead simply to give him something to say.  Nevertheless, this isn't too obvious in Jamie's first full adventure as a TARDIS crewmate, 'The Underwater Menace' - one of the series more infamous stories.

The chief cause of this infamy is the main villain of the story, Professor Zaroff.   Zaroff (who really put the 'mad' into mad scientist) has re-discovered the lost city of Atlantis and plans to raise it from its watery grave.  This all seems fine until it's revealed that doing so will cause an explosion which will destroy the Earth - which is Zaroff's plan all along.  So he doesn't even want to rule the world, just blow it up presumably along with himself.  Such an inane plan coupled with an over-the-top performance by actor Jospeh Furst (sample line: "Nuzzink in the ze vorld can stop me now!") turn the whole story into a bit of a joke.

Nothing in the world can stop him now, apparently

There's a return to normality of sorts with the next story, 'The Moonbase' an early example of the type of story that will become synonymous with the 2nd Doctor's era: the 'base under siege' story.

The typical base under siege story generally involves the Doctor and his companions finding themselves in some remote location with a varied group of individuals who are based there.  In charge of that group is gruff, no-nonsense authority figure who, more often than not, will turn out to be quite a nice chap underneath all the bluster.  Some alien menace or other will be attacking this group, having cut them off from all outside help and it's down to the Doctor to save the day.  In the case of 'The Moonbase', it's a group of weathermen based on the Moon that the Doctor and his companions meet; the gruff, no-nonsense Mr Hobson who's in charge and the Cybermen that are attempting to take over.

The new-look Cybermen

Jamie is sidelined for much of 'The Moonbase', again because of his last-minute addition to the cast, but he's given more of an opportunity to shine in 'The Macra Terror'.  This is slight variation on the base under siege story, being more of a 'holiday camp under siege'.  Well, admittedly it's supposed to be more of a futuristic, Utopian colony than a holiday camp but the setting definitely has a Butlins feel to it.  The other difference here is that, while in most cases the monsters are trying to get in, here the monsters are already firmly in place and have taken over.

The crab-like Macra are the ones in charge and they put Ben under their power thereby making him both a bad guy and no longer a Cockney.  Ben's temporary turn to dark side allows Jamie to take his place as the Doctor's primary male companion.  One suspects that sidelining Ben, and to a lesser extent Polly, in this story was probably deliberate as the decision had already been made behind the scenes to write both characters out.

Like Dodo the previous year, Ben and Polly could hardly be said to be have been given a great send-off.  That said, their final story, 'The Faceless Ones', is far from bad.  It's just that, as with Dodo in her swan-song, Ben and Polly are side-lined half-way through the story and don't appear again until the final scene.

The story is another return to contemporary Earth, the very same day in fact on which Ben and Polly left in 'The War Machines', thereby giving them the perfect excuse to return home. Much of the story is set in and filmed at Gatwick Airport which enhances the production considerably.

A Faceless One

This story is also notable for the appearance of future BAFTA Award winner Pauline Collins as a sort of stand-in companion, Samantha Briggs.  With Ben and Polly absent, Samantha teams up Jamie and the Doctor to find out what has happened to her missing brother.  Intelligent, spunky and resourceful, Sam is every bit the typical Doctor Who companion.  Apparently Pauline Collins was even asked if she would stay on after this story but she declined.  So Samantha Briggs was destined to be a one-off character.  Fortunately though there was someone waiting in the wings (quite literally as it turns out), to become the next Doctor Who girl.
Samantha Briggs

The climax of 'The Faceless Ones' leads directly into the final story of Season 4, 'The Evil of the Daleks'.  After bidding a fond farewell to Ben and Polly, the Doctor and Jamie discover that the TARDIS has been stolen.  Their search leads them first to an antiques shop then on a trip through time to a Victorian mansion in 1866 before ending on the Daleks' home world of Skaro.

'Evil of the Daleks' was intended as the last ever appearance of the Daleks in Doctor Who as Terry Nation had plans to take them to America and give them their own series.  To that end, it was entirely appropriate that the Doctor's supposedly final battle with them should take place where it all began, on the Daleks' home planet.  It's here where the Doctor first comes face to face with the Dalek Emperor, a character who had previously appeared in the TV21 comic strip (albeit looking very different) but never on screen.  It's also here that the Doctor causes a Dalek civil war to break out, causing 'the final end' of the Daleks, or so he hopes.

The Dalek Emperor

Before travelling to Skaro, however, the Doctor and Jamie meet Victoria Waterfield, who is held prisoner by the Daleks in one of the wings of the Victorian house that Jamie and the Doctor travel to 1866.  Jamie overcomes a series of traps to rescue Victoria and then, when Victoria's father is murdered by the Daleks, the Doctor chooses to take care of her and offers her a place aboard the TARDIS.

Season 4 had ended with the Daleks, two months later, Season 5 opened with their replacements as number one monsters - the Cybermen.

'Tomb of the Cybermen' is another base under siege tale.  This time the group under siege is a group of futuristic archaeologists who are excavating the titular tomb.  Unlike the earlier 'Moonbase' the Cybermen are trying to break out  rather than break in.

Some fans, including myself, are a little confused by the Doctor's thinking in this story.  When he arrives, the tombs are sealed up and the archaeologists show little sign of being able to open them.  The Doctor not only manipulates them into opening the tombs, he also allows them to release the frozen Cybermen.  Given the trouble that the Cybermen subsequently cause it would have been better for all concerned if he had simply left well alone.

Next up for the TARDIS trio is 'The Abominable Snowmen', a story which has some extra significance given events of the 2012 Christmas Special.  This is the first confrontation (from the Doctor's point of view at least) with the Great Intelligence.  Of course, the Intelligence's origin (and the Doctor's hand in it) weren't even being considerably the production team or the writers back in 1967.  The only explanation given for the Intelligence was that it was a formless being that lived on the astral plane and wanted to break back into the real world.  However, thanks to events in the 2012 Christmas Special, 'The Abominable Snowmen' is now the first example of the actions of a future Doctor (the Eleventh in this case) having a direct effect on one of his earlier incarnations.

Jamie, Victoria and Travers
Aside from the introduction of the Intelligence, this story is also noticeable for introducing the character of Professor Travers.  Travers is an anthropologist who meets the Doctor and his companions in 1930s Tibet whilst looking for a real Yeti.  Instead he gets caught up in the Doctor's adventures and helps to defeat the Intelligence and its robotic Yeti.  When Travers rushes off at the end of the story to continue his quest, the TARDIS crew (and the viewers) assumed that they'd seen the last of him.  But he'll be back...

As we head towards the end of 1967, there's a definite wintry theme to the stories.  After leaving Tibet, the TARDIS travels to the 30th Century and an Earth gripped by the Second Ice Age.

This is cautionary tale of how humans shouldn't allow themselves to be controlled by their computers and the perils of an over-reliance on technology in general.  It also includes guest turns by two actors better known for their comedy roles: Bernard 'Carry On' Bresslaw and Peter 'Wallace and Gromit' Sallis.  It also introduced the Ice Warriors to the series.  Appropriately, the story is titled 'The Ice Warriors'.  Interestingly, I don't recall the warriors ever referring to themselves as such during this story.  Strictly speaking they're Martians but 'Ice Warriors' sounds more exciting.

And so the year ends with the first two episodes of 'Enemy of the World', a story which, for a change, features no monsters at all.  I'll discuss it more next time but this is the second time in as many years that a story features someone who looks identical to the Doctor as the main villain.  To be continued...

On Audio

Very little to mention for 1967.  According to 'The TARDIS Library' website (which I've found incredibly useful when it comes to researching these articles) the only audio release in 1967 was a recording called 'Fugue for Thought' by Bill McGuffie.  This is basically a version of the music used in the opening and closing scenes of 'Daleks:Invasion Earth 2150 AD'.  Although only loosely connected with Doctor Who, it's a really nice piece of music and well worth tracking down.   

In Print

After last year's bumper crop of books, 1967 seems to have been a very quiet year indeed.  The only book of note is the latest Doctor Who Annual from World Distributors with its usual short stories and features.  As you can probably tell I don't own the book so I can't say much more than that.  Although it's probably the first book to be published that has the Second Doctor on the cover.  

In Comics 

The TV21 Dalek strip ended in early January 1967, as detailed in my previous post.  With that strip's demise the rights to use the Daleks must have been available again as they were immediately snapped up by TV Comic and made their debut in the Doctor Who comic strip on 21 January 1967.

To celebrate the Daleks' arrival, the title of the strip was changed from 'Doctor Who' to 'Doctor Who and the Daleks'.  The strip was also given a third page for the first time with that extra page appearing on the cover of the comic.  Clearly someone thought that the Daleks would be a bring draw for readers.  Incidentally, it's worth noting that the strip's title included the Daleks even in the weeks when the Daleks didn't appear in the strip itself.  I suspect that may have confused certain readers.

The first Dalek strip also included that other great enemy of the Doctor's (in the comics at least) the Trods.  This time however, the Daleks proved to be too much for even the mighty Trods and the Doctor ended up teaming up with the robots to see off the menace of the Daleks.  The Daleks appeared in the next strip story as well before taking a short break and then returning in May 1967 for their final appearance in a story entitled 'The Exterminator'.

With the Daleks leaving the strip (and the TV series shortly thereafter) there were a few changes to the strip.  The strip was re-titled simply 'Doctor Who', it lost it's front cover billing and went back to just 2 pages each week.  Fortunately, the Cybermen arrived in the strip in September and, just as they did on TV, replaced the Daleks as top monster.  For some reason, however, in both of their appearances in 1967, they resembled how they appeared in 'The Tenth Planet, rather than their more metallic, streamlined look from 'The Moonbase' and 'Tomb of the Cybermen'.

It's also worth pointing out that the strip, never usually known for it's spot-on characterisation of the Doctor at the best of times, well and truly dropped the ball with 'Master of Spiders', printed in April 1967.  In this story, the Doctor constructs a ray gun which he then uses on a giant spider, uttering the immortal and very un-Doctorish line: "Die hideous creature! Die!"

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 5 - 1966

 "That's it, I've been renewed.  It's part of the TARDIS.  Without it I couldn't survive."
 - The Doctor, Power of the Daleks episode 1

On Screen

1966 began with some unfinished business, namely the concluding five episodes of 'The Daleks Masterplan'. For a few episodes the story resembles the Daleks' previous outing, 'The Chase', as the Doctor and his companions are once again pursued across time and space by the Daleks who want to recover the core to their Time Destructor.

Taking in a New Year's Eve party, a Lords cricket match and a volcanic world, the Doctor is finally cornered in ancient Egypt (where the Meddling Monk pops up once again for some light relief) and is forced to had over the Time Destuctor's power source.

Of course this isn't the end of the story as the Doctor has to travel back to where this all started, the planet Kembel in order to stop the Time Destructor once and for all.  Although he succeeds, victory is at a price.  Fellow traveller, Sara Kingdom is aged to death when the Destructor is switched on and Kembel itself is reduced to lifeless desert world.  The conclusion to the most epic story that Doctor Who has produced to that point is decidedly downbeat as a mournful Doctor and Steven, the sole survivors of the story, reflect on what has transpired.

Sara Kingdom is aged to death

After that, you would perhaps expect the production team to follow up with something a little lighter in tone.  Instead what viewers got was 'The Massacre'.  You can probably tell that this isn't a story that is big on laughs.

Set in 16th Century Paris during the days running up to the titular massacre, this story sees Steven take centre stage as the Doctor is absent for much of it, visiting a fellow scientist.  However this isn't an excuse for William Hartnell to take another holiday.  Instead, the Doctor's absence offers Hartnell the chance to play a different role, that of the villainous Abbot of Amboise.  The Abbot, not surprisingly, bears a striking resemblance to the Doctor and Steven struggles to understand why his friend has suddenly become a religious zealot who wants to kill as many Huguenots as he can.

Dodo joins
Needless to say, the Doctor re-appears at the story's climax to set things straight and the pair leave Paris just before the Huguenot massacre takes place.  However the story doesn't end there.  Steven is incensed at the Doctor for allowing Anne Chaplet -  a serving girl that Steven had befriended - to almost certainly go to her death in the massacre.  Steven storms out of the TARDIS on Wimbledon Common in 1966, only to return seconds later along with a young woman called Dorothea, or 'Dodo', Chaplet.  The Doctor accidentally takes off with Dodo still on board and so she ends up joining the TARDIS crew.  Steven also seems to forgive the Doctor as it's hinted that Dodo is distantly related to Anne, meaning that Anne most likely survived the massacre.  Something of a coincidence perhaps but, for the first time in months, at least we have a story that ends happily.

The next story, 'The Ark' starts to see a shift from the more recent dark stories to something a little lighter.  This is very much a story of two halves.  Set on a giant space ark in the distant future, the first half sees the TARDIS crew deal with the outbreak of a deadly illness that they themselves are responsible for, while the second half sees them return to the Ark many hundreds of years later to see how their earlier involvement has affected things.

Up next is the 'The Celestial Toymaker' featuring the god-like Toymaker, a being that the Doctor has apparently encountered before.  The Toymaker has become something of an iconic character amongst many fans but, it has to be said, in this, his sole TV appearance, he doesn't really get to do much.  While Steven and Dodo are forced to play a variety of dangerous parlour games, the Doctor gets to do a complex puzzle called the Trilogic Game.  For much of this the Doctor is both in invisible and unable to speak (William Hartnell being on holiday yet again) so Michael Gough, as the Toymaker, is left talking to thin air much of the time.  It's to Gough's credit that, despite everything, the Toymaker has remained such a memorable villain who was destined to return in other media.

The Doctor and the Toymaker

After vanquishing the Toymaker, the Doctor has a date with a dentist as he arrives in Tombstone in 1888 for an appointment with the legendary gunslinger Doc Holliday in 'The Gunfighters'.  On the one hand this story is a lot lighter in tone than 'The Massacre', particularly in the opening episodes which see Steven and Dodo being forced to sing and the Doctor constantly calling Wyatt Earp 'Mr Werp'.  On the other hand, this is a Western where the likes of gunfights, bar room brawls and lynchings are all commonplace.  All the jokes vanish in the final few minutes of this episode as viewers witness the famous gunfight at the OK Corral.   

The Doctor meets 'Mr Werp'. 

Steven, who has been the Doctor's constant companion through a year of change, reaches his journey's end in 'The Savages'. I do feel rather sorry for Steven here as the Doctor dumps him on a distant planet many years in the future to rule over two different groups of people who, just a few minutes, earlier were locked in a bitter conflict.  Nevertheless, the Doctor seems to think that he'll be the ideal person to bring these two races together so Steven, loyal as ever, agrees to stay.  At least he's given a rather touching send-off which is more than can be said for Dodo in the next story...

'The War Machines' is a rare appearance in contemporary London for the First Doctor.  Somewhat strangely he seems to be well known within the Establishment as he immediately shacks up with one Sir Charles Summer.  That said, several characters - including evil supercomputer WOTAN - refer to him as 'Doctor Who' in the early episodes so possibly they've all got him mixed up with someone else.

The Doctor, Polly and Ben
The Doctor also makes the acquaitance of two new characters, sailor Ben Jackson and secretary Polly.  Both characters (Polly in particular) were intended to be more representative of the modern, Swinging Sixties type of young person, something not really seen in the series to date.  The Doctor, appropriately meets them in a nightclub where he's, somewhat uncomfortably given recent events, mistaken for Jimmy Saville (although, fortunately, not by name).  Ben and Polly act as the Doctor's companions in this story and so it's perhaps not surprising to see them sneaking on board the TARDIS at the end of the final episode.

As for Dodo? Oh she leaves part way through episode two of this story, never to be seen again.  I've chosen to give her departure as much thought and consideration as the production team at the time did. 

Dodo leaves

The Summer holidays meant that it was time for another Doctor Who film at the cinemas.  That said, the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' were strangely absent from the  title of the 'Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD'.  Based on the 'Daleks Invasion of Earth' TV story, Peter Cushing returns as the Doctor along with Roberta Tovey as Susan.  Ian and Barbara are gone, however, replaced by the Doctor's niece Louise, and a hapless police constable, Tom Campbell who literally stumbles in to the TARDIS and is taken off into time and space.  Tom is played by the one and only Bernard Cribbins who, of course, would go on to appear in the TV series proper many years later.  

'The Smugglers' kicks off Doctor Who's fourth season with a trip back in time to 17th Century Cornwall and an encounter with some, well, smugglers.  This is, of course, Ben and Polly's first trip in the TARDIS.  Like Ian and Barbara, Ben and Polly have been whisked off against their will but, unlike the schoolteachers, they seem a lot less bothered by this turn of events. 

'The Tenth Planet' is the final outing for William Hartnell as the First Doctor and, it must be said, he goes out with more of a whimper than a bang.  While the story is particularly notable for introducing the Cybermen to the series (they're the visitors from the titular 'Tenth Planet', Mondas) it's also a story that sidelines the Doctor from much of the action.  He's entirely absent from the third episode as William Hartnell was unwell and, in the fourth and final episode, the Doctor spends much of the time as a prisoner on the Cyberman ship.  And then the Doctor collapses to the floor of the TARDIS.  I wonder how many viewers truly expected what happened next:

And so it's farewell to the First Doctor and farewell to William Hartnell, the pioneer who helped to steer the series through those important early days on it's long 50 year journey. 

And so on to 'Power of the Daleks', where, almost three years after it began, the series has a new man playing the Doctor for the first time.  You have to give a lot of credit to Patrick Troughton and the production team of the time for making the brave move to make this Doctor very different to William Hartnell's.  Had they taken the safer route and cast an actor to play the Doctor in the same way as Hartnell then who knows how the series might have fared. Might the series still be around now?  Somehow I doubt it.

After having become so used to the First Doctor with his little mannerisms and quirks, it is somewhat unsettling to see and hear this strange little man referring to himself as the Doctor - and even more unsettling when he refers to himself in the third person.  Fortunately Ben and Polly are there to give the audience some reassurance that they are still watching the same series.  Just like the viewers Ben and Polly are struggling to take what has happened and to accept that this new man is still the Doctor.  Fortunately it doesn't take too long for them to accept the new Doctor.

The Daleks are also around to help ease the viewers' entry into this new era of Doctor Who.  However, like the Doctor, these Daleks aren't quite what the viewers might expect.  Rather than shouting orders and exterminating people, these Daleks are taking orders and acting as servants to the inhabitants of a human colony.  Of course it's all a ruse by the Daleks to infiltrate the colony but the story reinforces just how cunning and intelligent the Daleks can be.

The first three episodes of 'The Highlanders rounds out the year as the Doctor, Ben and Polly arrive in 18th Century Scotland in the aftermath of the Battle of Cullodon Moor.  This story is notable for being the last 'pure' historical story (ie. a story with no science-fiction elements at all) for fifteen years.  It's also notable for being the introductory story for Jamie McCrimmon, a young Scottish piper who would go on to become the Second Doctor's most enduring companion.  But, initially, at least Jamie is extremely distrustful of the Doctor who spends much of these episodes in one disguise or another while he attempts to hoodwink a unscrupulous lawyer who is attempting to sell Scottish POWs into slavery.

Jamie McCrimmon

The last shot of Doctor Who in 1966 is of Ben apparently drowning at sea.  Will he survive?  Tune in next year to find out...     


On Audio

There were thin pickings in 1966 as far as audio is concerned.  The only piece of audio that I'm aware of having been released in this year is a record called 'The Daleks' which had the subtitle: '21 minutes of adventure'.  This disc, released by TV Century 21 to tie-in with their Dalek comic strip was basically an edited recording of the final episode of 'The Chase' with additional narration added by David Graham (he who voiced Brains and Parker in 'Thunderbirds').  As a tie-in to the Dalek strip, this works extremely well as the record also includes the Mechanoids who had become the Daleks arch-enemies in the strip.

Also, something I missed from 1965's audio overview was that William Hartnell appeared on Desert Island Discs in August of that year.  For those who don't know the programme, Desert Island Discs is essentially an interview programme where each week a different guest talks about their life.  They also choose 8 pieces of music (usually something that holds a special significance for them) that they would want to have with them if they were stranded on a desert island.     They also choose one book and one other item.

Hartnell's choices were quite varied, ranging from Louis Armstrong to Beethoven to Flanagan & Allen.  The book that he chose was a book on English social history while his one 'luxury' item was cigarettes.  Although many of the Desert Island Disc episodes are available to listen to online at the BBC website, sadly this is not one of them as the recording was either lost or wiped.

I've also just discovered that future Doctor Jon Pertwee appeared on the programme in 1964.  His chosen luxury was a guitar while his book was a book on obesity and constipation!  Possibly very useful for a desert island.

In Print

1966 seemed to be a bumper year for book.  Dalekmania seemed to be fading as, a little surprisingly, the majority of books released this year were Doctor Who related rather than Dalek related.

Many of the books released in 1966 were of the activity variety.  There were a number of puzzle books, painting books and 'sticker fun' books.  The Daleks managed go one better and have a book that combined both painting and puzzles.

The three main releases this year were the latest Doctor Who Annual, with it's usual mix of comic strip and short stories; the latest annual Dalek book (this year called 'The Dalek Outer Space Book') and 'Doctor Who and the Invasion from Space'.

 The Dalek book was the last Dalek annual to be released in the 1960s.  As with the previous two Dalek annuals from 1964 and 1965, this book included a number of short stories, several of which related the exploits of Sara Kingdom, Space Security Agent and, as you recall, briefly a TARDIS crew member in 'The Daleks Masterplan'.

'Doctor Who and the Invasion from Space', meanwhile was unique at the time for being the first book-length piece of Doctor Who prose.  Essentially a hardback novella the book features the Doctor travelling with a family he has (reluctantly) rescued from the Great Fire of London before landing on an alien spaceship.  It's interesting that no other books like this were published as we don't see another original novel featuring the Doctor for 25 years.  

In Comics

Over in comic strip land, 'The Daleks' strip continued for a final year. For the first half of the year the Daleks' war with the Mechanoids continued, reaching its climax when the Daleks directed a newly-formed planet to crash into the Mechanoids' home world.  The second half of the year saw, amongst other things, the Daleks encountering humans for the first time and discovering the existence of the planet Earth.  The series (which actually concluded in early January 1967) climaxed with the Daleks making preparations to invade...What happened next?  You'll have to wait 30 years to find out.

Meanwhile, Dr Who, John and Gillian's adventures continued in TV Comic, still in full colour for the first half of the year at least.  In May, Bill Mevin was replaced as artist by John Canning and, although the likeness suffered somewhat, his version of the First Doctor seemed far more a man of action than he had previously been depicted.

One notable addition to the strip was a race of enemy robots who, unusually for the strip, would return on more than one occasion.  These were the Trods, machines who had turned on their human creator and were now ruling the planet Trodos.  Essentially cut-price Daleks, as TV Comic didn't at that time own the rights to use the Daleks in their strip, these creatures proved popular enough with readers to ensure a re-match later in the year.

In October, the Doctor changed his appearance on TV for the first time however the Second Doctor didn't appear in the TV Comic strip until the last week of December.  Interestingly John and Gillian, who are still travelling with him, make no mention of the Doctor's sudden change.

Finally, Dell Comics in the United States published a comic book adaptation of the first Peter Cushing Dalek movie from 1965.  I think that makes the first Dalek story somewhat unique having appeared in four different mediums: on TV, in the cinema, in print (as the David Whitaker novelisation) and in comics.