Season 6 (Apr 16 - May 7)

April 16: The Dominators Episodes 1 & 2
April 17: The Dominators - the third episode & Episode 4
April 18: The Dominators Episode 5 / The Mind Robber Episode 1
April 19: The Mind Robber Episodes 2 & 3
April 20: The Mind Robber Episodes 4 & 5
April 21: "The Invasion" Episodes One & Two
April 22: "The Invasion" Episodes Three & Four
April 23: "The Invasion" Episodes Five & Six
April 24: "The Invasion" Episodes Seven & Eight
April 25: "The Krotons" Episodes One & Two
April 26: "The Krotons" Episodes Three & Four
April 27: The Seeds of Death Episodes One & Two
April 28: The Seeds of Death Episodes Three & Four
April 29: The Seeds of Death Episodes Five & Six
April 30: "The Space Pirates" Episodes One & Two
May 1: "The Space Pirates" Episodes Three & Four
May 2: "The Space Pirates" Episodes Five & Six
May 3: The War Games Episodes One & Two
May 4: The War Games Episodes Three & Four
May 5: The War Games Episodes Five & Six
May 6: The War Games Episodes Seven & Eight
May 7: The War Games Episodes Nine & Ten



April 16: The Dominators Episodes 1 & 2

With only seven episodes missing, season 6 bears the distinction of the second-most complete season of the 1960s (after season 2, which is only missing two episodes).  This means that we can start watching a lot more consistently than the past two seasons.  And what better way to begin season 6 than with The Dominators?  Well...

Actually, episode 1 isn't all that bad.  There are certainly some nice moments -- the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe exploring the war museum feels a lot like a Hartnell, as a brief discussion about atom bombs gives things that old "educational" feel.  And the design of the Dominators' spaceship is quite good (even if it's translucent during the landing shots).  Plus the decision to only have first-person perspectives for the Quarks, the new robots for this story, is nice.

But the problems set in early.  We get our first look at the Dominators and the relationship between the two is quickly established: Rago is in charge and wants to use the planet as a fuel source, while Toba wants to go around destroying everything he can.  Through this conversation we learn that the Dominators have already absorbed all the radiation on this atomic test island.  All well and good, except then all the other characters have long conversations wondering where all the radiation has gone, a mystery that might have been more interesting if we hadn't already had it answered for us in the first two minutes.

There's also the matter of the young people running about.  The ones Cully brings to the island are an awfully dreary lot, with an oddly stilted delivery.  Still, they're wiped out pretty quickly, so I guess we can't complain too much.  And then, as the Doctor and Jamie go to check on the TARDIS, they're spotted by Toba and the Quarks, and we can see the robots that caused so many problems behind the scenes.41

Episode 2 sees the problems get a little worse.  The main issue is that no one believes anything Cully says (the result of crying "wolf" too often, it seems), which means that we get lots of arguing and nothing happening as a result.  The Dulcians refuse to believe anything that they haven't personally witnessed, it seems, and they have a decided lack of curiosity regarding the things they have.  "Oh, I dare say our atomic experts could provide a reason," Supervisor Balan says regarding the disappearance of the radiation, "but it seems pointless to spend time searching for reasons to prove facts."  So they're not just pacifists; they have no thirst for knowledge either.  One wonders why they're even out there collecting data in the first place.

It seems edited rather badly as well; we go from the cliffhanger reprise, with the Quarks asking in a creepy girly voice, "Shall we destroy?" to them suddenly inside the Dominators' spaceship.  (That said, the Doctor/Jamie interplay here is quite good, with them trying to convince the Dominators that they're very stupid and thus no threat to the Dominators, even with some odd directorial moments: "Oh, if only I could get away from this wall!" Jamie says while clearly not standing against the wall the Dominators have attached them to -- did a camera need to get in behind them?)  And Toba sure does like to destroy things, doesn't he?  Rago has to continually tell him no, which is entertaining, but probably not in the way intended.  Toba also seems to jump around the island, from inside the survey unit to well outside it, ordering the Quarks to destroy the building -- with Zoe and Cully still inside...

But really, the problem is that this episode is very uninvolving.  The Doctor and Jamie's clowning aside, it feels rather pointless, and little is done to make the viewer care about what's happening, as if the Quarks should be sufficient.  In some ways this is where the approach from season 5 falls down: the assumption is that the monsters will be interesting enough to keep the viewers engaged, and the fact that they're not doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone.



April 17: The Dominators - the third episode & Episode 4

For some reason, the third episode of The Dominators is missing the "Episode 3" caption -- hence the rather odd labeling I've gone with...

Cully and Zoe are watched over by a Quark. (The Dominators
[Episode 3]) ©BBC
So let's see: this time around it's the Doctor and Jamie who argue with the Dulcian planetary council and Zoe and Cully who are captured by the Dominators; the opposite of episode 2.  Although Zoe and Cully are put to work alongside Balan and his two students, Kando and Teel, to help clear away rubble for a drilling site, so you could argue they've got it worse than the Doctor and Jamie did.  Toba attempts to destroy and Rago yells at him, and really not much has changed since episode 2.  Oh!  But at least Cully has destroyed a Quark with an antique laser gun.  And you can sort of tell that Troughton and Hines think this story isn't up to snuff and are therefore doing their best to make things as entertaining as possible (e.g., their scenes inside the travel capsule).  Admittedly it works to an extent; the Doctor and Jamie's interplay is easily the most watchable part of this entire serial.  But they can only do so much to distract from the same things happening over and over.  Although I've worked out that it's not so much that the episodes are badly edited (though they're not error-free on this part) as that almost no effort has been made to match the studio scenes with the location filming -- which is particularly a problem when the two are supposed to be identical.  This seems to be the main reason why Toba and the Quarks seem to leap about the island, rather than shoddy editing.

Oh, and look, episode 3 ends the same way episode 2 ended, except Toba's destroying the atomic museum instead of the survey unit.  Unfortunately for Cully, he ends up trapped in both buildings...

Episode 4 opens with Rago yelling at Toba (again) and Toba being sulky (again).  We get a minimum of plot advancement as the Doctor and Zoe are taken aboard the Dominators' ship and left there under Quark guard, which lets them work out that the Dominators are drilling for fuel in an area where the crust of Dulkis is thin, and that the fuel they're looking for needs to be radioactive.  And now it's Rago's turn to visit the Dulcian council -- although instead of having the same arguments with them as the others, he just has a Quark shoot one of them dead (and to be perfectly honest, it's rather hard not to be on Rago's side at this moment).

The most exciting part of the episode comes when Jamie taunts a Quark by throwing rocks at it, luring it into a trap whereby Cully rolls a giant boulder down at it, crushing it.  It's a nice bit of action from a story that sorely needs it.  Of course, this upsets Toba, who rounds up all the prisoners and demands to know where Jamie is hiding.  When they refuse to tell him, he has a Quark kill Balan (so something new actually happened!) -- and if no one speaks up, the Doctor will be next...



April 18: The Dominators Episode 5 / The Mind Robber Episode 1

Yep, you guessed it: the cliffhanger was resolved by Rago coming in and yelling at Toba for wasting time and energy on hunting and killing "primitives" rather than on the all-important drilling.

Episode 5 is probably the best of the lot, because things are actually happening.  Toba's no longer running around the island trying to hunt down our heroes, which means there's a greater sense of urgency at play here.  And the Doctor has worked out what the Dominators' plan is: they're going to turn the planet into a giant radioactive mass that their fleet can suck up and use as fuel.  In order to stop them they decide to dig a tunnel from the bomb shelter where they're all hiding to the central bore, where the seed bomb that will start the process is going to be dropped, and catch the bomb on the way down.  Meanwhile Jamie and Cully are running around the island blowing up Quarks (thanks to a homemade bomb made by the Doctor) in an effort to distract the Dominators and slow down the drilling.  As I said, this is a much more exciting episode (and consider the fact that it was apparently episodes 5 and 6 that were condensed down into a single episode -- contemplate what those episodes must have originally been like and shudder), and thankfully it's not the same actions being repeated over and over again.  And so they complete the tunnel, catch the bomb, and return it to the Dominators -- which means that Dulkis is saved, and there will only be a local volcanic eruption.  Except that volcano is erupting right where the TARDIS is.

There's nothing inherently wrong with the idea behind The Dominators.  The problem lies in the actual scripts and the execution.  This might have worked as a four-parter, with a number of repetitive scenes (particularly most of the arguments among the Dulcian council, which tend to stop the story dead in its tracks) removed.  But as it is we get the same stuff over and over again, with only minor variations, and (worse) that same stuff isn't particularly interesting to begin with, and we've seen it done better in previous stories.  There might have been a spark to make this work before script editor Derrick Sherwin removed it (though, as mentioned before, the consensus seems to be that there wasn't), but it's not present in the finished product.  As a story designed to fulfill five episodes The Dominators is a success (which, as we'll see, is an accomplishment in itself for season 6), but by any other standard this is a dull and plodding tale.

So, they've cut down The Dominators from six episodes down to five, which means now they have an extra episode to fill and no one around to write it.  It's too late for Peter Ling to write an extra episode, and nothing else is ready, so script editor Derrick Sherwin is forced to mark time for an episode (and note that this episode has no writer credit).  The result is episode 1 of The Mind Robber.

It starts out fairly normally -- the TARDIS is having issues in the wake of the volcanic eruption from the end of the last episode, so the Doctor is forced to use the emergency unit to get the TARDIS out of danger.  But the emergency unit takes the TARDIS completely out of time and space, to "nowhere", as the Doctor puts it.  "Nowhere" is realized as a white void -- a decidedly striking image -- and it seems the TARDIS isn't the only thing out there.

Jamie and Zoe are surrounded by White Robots. (The Mind
Robber
Episode 1) ©BBC
What follows is a battle of wits, as Jamie and Zoe are both lured outside the TARDIS and into the void by images purporting to be their home.  This leads to them wandering the white void, unable to find the TARDIS again, and confronted by strange creatures (known in fandom as White Robots, even though they look more grey) which seem to hypnotize them and make them look like whitened-out versions of themselves.  The Doctor is forced to go out after them, stepping out of a white TARDIS into the void (another great image) and ushering them back into the TARDIS.  Whoever is out in nowhere luring Jamie and Zoe outside dislikes this, and assaults the time travellers inside the TARDIS.  Unable to withstand the assault, we get another striking image of the police box exterior of the TARDIS breaking apart, leaving Jamie and Zoe clinging to the console while the Doctor spins off on his own into another void, but black this time.  And then everything fades out of sight.

It may be an episode written under immense pressure and with no money (and note that this is the second-shortest episode yet, at 21'27"42), but this episode is impressive, full of striking, memorable images and with some fascinating mind games being played.  If the rest of the story is this good, The Mind Robber will be one of the standouts of Troughton's run.



April 19: The Mind Robber Episodes 2 & 3

The imagination continues here.  After the console and the Doctor spin away into the void, they all find themselves in a strange forest.  Jamie is attacked by a Redcoat who turns him into a photograph, Zoe is trapped inside a building and then a jar (as part of a riddle), and the Doctor is confronted by, er, some schoolchildren.  Well, they don't all have to be dangerous.  He also encounters an odd English gentleman from 1699, who seems to also talk in obscurities and riddles.  And this is all being watched over by someone who the Englishman (and the credits) both call the Master -- but don't get excited, it's not that one.

The Doctor puts the wrong face on Jamie. (The Mind Robber
Episode 2) ©BBC
This is a story which relies on imagery and story logic.  The best part is when the Doctor has to reconstruct photograph Jamie's face and gets it wrong, which means Hamish Wilson is playing the part of Jamie this week.43  He does a good job, and it's definitely unsettling to see someone unfamiliar playing such a familiar part, particularly because the Doctor simply accepts that Jamie looks a little different right now.  (And this is the reason why a different Jamie is unsettling in a television show that changes lead actor every few years -- in almost every case regarding the Doctor there's a degree of uncertainty when the change happens, and each one has a degree of build-up, to let the audience know something's coming44; here it's brought up briefly and then treated as normal.)  There's also a nice moment where, after Jamie sees that the forest they're in is actually a forest of printed words, the three of them attempt to hide from the toy soldiers that are searching for them, while telling the Englishman not to give them away.  Except the Englishman apparently can't see the soldiers, so he inadvertently does give them away by addressing them: "I could not forebear smiling, sir.  What you told me is mistaken.  There was no army here."  So the soldiers lead them away to be run down by a unicorn.

Episode 3 is more of the same.  The unicorn problem is solved by the Doctor having Jamie and Zoe insist that the unicorn isn't real; once they do, it turns into a statue (well, a photograph blowup, but the Doctor calls it a statue later).  It seems that belief is a powerful force in this realm.  Jamie is once again turned into a photograph, but with Zoe's help (who's very funny by the way when she works out why Jamie's face looked different: "You got it all wrong!") they bring Jamie's proper face back.

After this most of the action occurs inside a labyrinth underground, complete with a ball of string to help guide them.  The Doctor and Zoe go ahead to confront the Minotaur, which the Doctor once again insists isn't real (he'll change his mind when we get to The Time Monster) and thus isn't a danger to them.  Jamie manages to outwit and escape from a toy soldier, and climbs up a cliff via a convenient rope which turns out to be Rapunzel's hair.  Except Jamie finds himself inside not a medieval tower but a more futuristic library, which happens to be printing out a new story: the one that the Doctor and Zoe are currently experiencing.  After encountering the Englishman again, who the Doctor works out is in fact Lemuel Gulliver from Jonathan Swift's novel, they head back to the center of the labyrinth where the minotaur was, only to find Medusa confronting them...

These two episodes are different in style from episode 1, but the same sense of story logic and hidden danger is present here, which means that even though we've moved from a white void and robots to a fairytale place and toy soldiers, the underlying threat is still the same.  Let's hope they can keep this up for the last two episodes.



April 20: The Mind Robber Episodes 4 & 5

Episode 4 has a few more flaws than the earlier episodes.  For some reason Zoe insists on believing that Medusa is real, even though a logically trained mind such as hers must know it's not (and she didn't have any problem denying the existence of the unicorn charging at her at the top of episode 3).  There's also a moment where, after having cautiously stepped over a photoelectric cell that alerts the Master to their presence inside his citadel (as Jamie discovered when he tripped it near the start of the episode), Zoe has a panic attack and crosses all the way to the other side of the room to trip the beam, just so the three of them can be captured by the White Robots from episode 1.  (We will, sadly, see this character trait again in season 8.)  And Zoe is also the winner of a decidedly unconvincing fight versus a comic strip character from 2000 called the Karkus (who the Doctor can't deny the existence of because he's never heard of him).  There are a number of falls and flips from the Karkus as Zoe enthusiastically throws him around -- that's the idea, at least, but what we actually get is a lot of Wendy Padbury grabbing Christopher Robbie's arm, followed by Robbie doing a somersault each time.

But the love of language and literature continues to shine through in this episode, so even though it's not a very long installment, it still maintains its drive.  We're finally introduced to the Master himself, who turns out to be a rather kindly old English writer from 1926 who was kidnapped and brought to this place.  ("Oh, but that's a long story," he says on how he arrived.)  Now he's old, and the Master Brain controlling him wants to replace him with the Doctor.  The way the Master switches between a gentlemanly demeanor and a harsher, clearly under-alien-control persona is very effective.  And the final cliffhanger, in which Jamie and Zoe are turned into fictional characters (you know what I mean) by the visual conceit of being literally trapped inside the pages of a book, is a fabulous image.

The Doctor is linked into the Master Brain. (The Mind
Robber
Episode 5) ©BBC
Episode 5 sees the Doctor finally engage directly in a battle of wits against the Master.  Of course, first he's tricked by fictional Jamie and Zoe into an equally fictional TARDIS, which is actually a direct link with the Master Brain -- which means the Doctor can now write the stories at the speed of thought.  This means that we start getting additional classic characters added into the mix, as Cyrano de Bergerac engages in a swordfight with D'Artagnan (a much more exciting fight, it must be said, than Zoe's tussle with the Karkus last time), who then fights Bluebeard, who then confronts Lancelot in full armor -- thanks to the Doctor and the Master fighting it out with the power of words.  And, somehow, the Doctor convinces Jamie and Zoe to free themselves from the book they've been trapped in as they push their way out.  But he can't work out how to get himself free without turning into a fictional character himself (you know what I mean).  Fortunately, Zoe and Jamie overhear a snatch of conversation from the Master and they overload the Master Brain's circuits, destroying it and the realm they've found themselves in.  As the place disappears, they disappear too, back to where they came from, as the TARDIS reforms -- and that's that.  (And, somewhat frustratingly, the events of this story are never explained or even touched upon again -- there are about two lines of dialogue next week and that's it.  And The Mind Robber episode 5 is, at 18'00", the shortest ever episode of Doctor Who's original run, so it's not like they couldn't spare the time.)

The Mind Robber is a very imaginative story, and there's enough incident to keep things entertaining.  After the impressive first episode (doubly impressive when the pressure it was made under is taken into consideration) we're treated to a tale where storybook logic beats "real world" logic, where Gulliver and Rapunzel can inhabit the same world and interact with each other.  There's a sense of joy underlying all this, so that even the somewhat repetitive nature of some of the problems confronted by the TARDIS crew (a fictional character attacks but then is defeated when the Doctor and Jamie and/or Zoe deny its existence) isn't nearly the issue it was in The Dominators.  It also helps that there's a definite sense of style here, with both the camera and staging doing an excellent job of selling this somewhat surreal tale (and here one can't help but note that this story marks David Maloney's directorial debut on Doctor Who), so that it all feels like part of the same world.  This is a triumph of imagination, both in the script and on screen, and is easily one of the standouts of Troughton's time on the show.  It's hard to believe this is the story that followed The Dominators.



April 21: "The Invasion" Episodes One & Two

Episode one of The Invasion is the first season 6 episode to no longer exist.  And there are no telesnaps either (nor for any season 6 episodes after The Mind Robber episode 3).  But fortunately we have an animated version from Cosgrove Hall (makers of Danger Mouse, you know) on the DVD to enjoy, and it's definitely done well.

We open with roughly two lines of dialogue acknowledging the events of last time ("Hey Doctor, it's all right, it worked!" Jamie says) and then it's off to the new adventure, as a missile is fired at the TARDIS from the dark side of the moon.  One quick move later and we're on Earth, albeit with a faulty visual stabilizer circuit that renders the TARDIS invisible.  So it's off to look up Professor Travers again, to get some help repairing the circuit.  Well, after escaping from International Electromatics' secretive compound in a lorry being driven by a man who's later shot and killed by IE guards.

But this isn't another follow-up to The Web of Fear (though it was intended as such at some stage), as Professor Travers is in America and letting his place out to a man named Professor Watkins, who happens to be working for IE.  The Doctor and Jamie go to IE to find him while Zoe stays behind with Watkins' niece Isobel.  We don't meet Watkins, but we do encounter the head of IE, Tobias Vaughn -- played by the marvelous Kevin Stoney.  Here's a villain (and he's largely portrayed as a villain from the outset) who's charming, sophisticated, and thoroughly likeable, which means we can see how he became a success.  So many of these people in charge are such ranting lunatics that it's a wonder anyone ever gave them anything.  Vaughn, by contrast, is so slick that you can't help but be charmed.  Even if he blinks too slowly and seems to be working with some sort of alien machine.

Episode two is present in all its glory, so we can see things like the business where the Doctor and Jamie are trapped in an alley and the Doctor starts dealing out cards, including to the men there to take him away.  But then a jaunty theme from composer Don Harper suggests that maybe these men aren't in fact the bad guys, a fact which is confirmed when they're taken to a mobile HQ inside an airplane which is being led by none other than The Web of Fear's Lethbridge-Stewart, now promoted to Brigadier and the head of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, or UNIT -- an organization designed to investigate strange happenings that was set up after the Yeti incident.  UNIT has been watching IE with concern, as people have been going in and either coming out different or not coming out at all.  Nicholas Courtney does a fine job in this role, making him enough like his last appearance to be recognizably the same character while still having undergone a metamorphosis for the better (he's noticeably less fatalistic and helpless here than he was in The Web of Fear).  Oh, and we get our first good look at Benton (played by John Levene, who was also in The Web of Fear -- albeit as a Yeti), who will also return next year.  (All right, he's actually in episode one as well, but here we can see him.)

All this and intrigue too.  Zoe and Isobel go to IE after the Doctor and Jamie and end up wrecking a computer -- which, wonderfully, makes Vaughn laugh with delight rather than rage with anger.  And so the Doctor and Jamie go after them, snooping around the IE building in search of them.  But they're soon caught by Vaughn's guards, including his henchman Packer.  "Like rats in a trap!" Packer proclaims triumphantly as the credits roll.  Trapped indeed.



April 22: "The Invasion" Episodes Three & Four

Has there been a better villain than Tobias Vaughn?  Episode three is a showcase for him.  From his oh-so-smooth manner at the top of the episode ("So here you are again.  You really are beginning to try our patience, you know," Vaughn tells the Doctor and Jamie in the most charming manner possible) to his fit of anger, when he learns that Packer has once again failed to catch the Doctor and Jamie ("You're a stupid incompetent!  I want that Doctor!  Put the whole compound on alert!  Have every available guard on the job!  Find him, Packer, find him!"), Kevin Stoney puts in a tour-de-force performance.  How can you not love what he does?

Yes, there are other things happening in this episode (for instance, we finally meet Professor Watkins, who's working on a special kind of teaching machine), but really, this episode does belong to Tobias Vaughn.  Everything the Doctor and Jamie do, whether it's talking with Watkins or escaping up a lift shaft, is in reaction to something Vaughn does.  Although let's take a moment to note the lovely business near the beginning of the episode, when Vaughn offers to take them to the factory out in the countryside, where Jamie climbs in the back set of Vaughn's car, goes out the other side, and gets into the front passenger seat before looking innocently at Packer, who was apparently going to sit there.  Oh, and the sheer cheek of pointing out that Vaughn's office in his factory complex is the same set as the one in his London building.  "It's exactly the same as your office in London," Jamie says.  So there are other things happening in this episode, but when it comes down to it, this one is all about Vaughn.

The Doctor makes his way up the rope ladder to the UNIT
helicopter. (The Invasion Episode Four animation) ©BBC
Worldwide
Episode four is action-packed, with a daring helicopter rescue from the roof of one of Vaughn's buildings.  It's a bit of a pity, then, that this is the other episode missing from this story.  Still, the animation does a good job of making up the difference (even if the shot of the Doctor dodging bullet fire on the roof is clearly based on a move from episode eight), and it remains a suitably exciting set piece.  The bits with Jamie climbing down to where Zoe and Isobel are being held captive and having them all climb up to the roof and then into the helicopter are quite thrilling, and one wonders if the helicopter really did start to fly away with Jamie still dangling from the rope ladder -- it certainly sounds that way at least.

Then we get a bit of intrigue as Captain Jimmy Turner brings up the matter of UFOs that seem to disappear around Vaughn's factory.  We know that Vaughn is planning an invasion with an alien ally, but we don't know who that ally is.  So the Doctor and Jamie decide to infiltrate Vaughn's London complex once again (this time via canoe) to find out more information.  And we learn that those alien allies are in fact the Cybermen!

Well, except it was already revealed that the Cybermen were returning in the Radio Times listing for episode one.  So maybe it was more a case of "Finally!" than "Oh my word!"  But in any case.



April 23: "The Invasion" Episodes Five & Six

Now we know that the Cybermen are involved in this intended invasion, we can see what they're up to.  Although at this point the answer is "not much."  Vaughn's people have been reviving them and sending them to lurk in the sewers until they're needed.

This is a "holding" episode in multiple ways.  The Brigadier attempts to get the Ministry of Defence to investigate Vaughn's facilities, but as Vaughn has gotten to the minister first, he doesn't have much luck.  He can go over Major General Rutlidge's head to UNIT HQ in Geneva, but that will still take a couple days.  (Except it does make Vaughn nervous, so he decides to bring the invasion plans forward.)  Meanwhile the Doctor's trying to work out what the extra circuits in all of IE's equipment do, but he's not having much luck either.  So all that's available is a lot of reports and hearsay but no physical proof.  Thus it's left to Isobel and Zoe (accompanied by a reluctant Jamie) to go down into the sewers and get photographic evidence that the Cybermen are in fact here.  And that's really about it.  Now, that said, the scenes between the Brigadier and Rutlidge are quite entertaining, and Vaughn remains as watchable as ever -- particularly when he gleefully orders that a half-revived Cyberman be hooked up to Watkins' Cerebraton Machine and made to experience fear -- but this is an episode in which little happens to advance the plot.  Cybermen are in the sewers and the invasion is being brought forward, and that's all you need to know.

Episode six, on the other hand, has quite a bit of action.  There are the scenes at the beginning, where a few UNIT soldiers fight a couple Cybermen in the sewers with grenades (and one grabs Jamie as he's climbing out the sewer in a scene reminiscent of a similar one in The Tomb of the Cybermen).  There's also the quite worrying scene in Vaughn's office where Watkins is goaded by Vaughn into shooting him: Vaughn hands him a gun and tells him to fire, and when he doesn't immediately do so he slaps him hard across the face, leading to Watkins firing the gun three times.  The sight of three smoking holes in Vaughn's chest, while Vaughn himself simply laughs, is rather disturbing and memorably effective.  Of course, all this and Professor Watkins' rescue still happens offscreen by "at least thirty" UNIT men (indeed, this seems so abrupt that for years there were rumors that this part of the episode had been edited out).

The Cybermen begin their invasion. (The Invasion Episode Six) ©BBC
But really this episode has been building up to the cliffhanger, with the beginning of the invasion.  The Doctor has worked out that the extra circuits are designed to put everyone on the planet under Cyber-hypnosis, to make their takeover of the planet easy.  There's a wonderful moment of calm in the early morning.  "Do you think the Doctor could be wrong this time?" Jimmy asks.  "I mean about the invasion." "... Yeah, I know what you mean," Isobel replies.  "... Looking at all that peace out there, it's so difficult to imagine."  And at that moment the signal is broadcast.  We see people in the streets collapsing (excitingly, as this is really the first time we've seen anything like this happening out in the city, other than a man being attacked by a War Machine) -- and the Doctor succumbs too, his special anti-Cyber-signal gizmo having fallen off his neck.  And then, most memorably of all, the Cybermen burst out of hiding, throwing aside manhole covers and stalking the streets of London.  The invasion has begun, and it seems that everyone but the Doctor's small group has succumbed to the hypnotic signal...



April 24: "The Invasion" Episodes Seven & Eight

The Cybermen have invaded London, and the entire world is asleep as a result of their Cyber control.  Things are looking dire indeed, but fortunately our small band of plucky heroes is still awake and ready to put up some resistance.  So they're regrouping and fending off an attack from Vaughn's guards (there to recapture Professor Watkins) before splitting up to deal with the invading Cybermen.

And Jamie's been shot!  Oh my goodness!  He's been shot, apparently in the back, as he's fleeing Watkins' house.  And this paragraph shows far more concern about his well being than the show does.  Yes, it turns out this is just a way to give Frazer Hines a couple weeks off, so some comments about it only being a "slight flesh wound" and he's off at the hospital, safely out of camera range for the next two episodes.

The Brigadier and the Doctor discuss their next move. (The
Invasion
Episode Seven) ©BBC
You can feel the tension being ratcheted up in this episode, as it's a race against time to stop the rest of the invasion fleet from arriving on Earth.  So Jimmy Turner goes off to Russia to have them send a rocket up to destroy the mothership (in a trip described as taking "two hours" -- apparently this really is the future if they get to (presumably) Baikonur in that short time), the Doctor heads back to Vaughn's London headquarters to try and talk him out of this plan (and buy some time along the way), and the Brigadier and Zoe head to Henlow Downs to wake up the missile crew so they can shoot down the incoming fleet of spaceships.  Most of the action subsequently takes place here, as they get the missiles ready to fire (using the same sequence of stock footage twice in the same episode).  And Zoe, recalling her "genius" characterization from The Wheel in Space, quickly calculates how to aim the missiles to take out all the ships.  To do this, she rushes around the base getting numbers for her figures.  And yes, it's been commented on before, but there's still something entertainingly marvelous about watching more than one squaddie react by looking at her face quizzically before casting their gaze down to her posterior.

But yes, Zoe saves the day by blowing up the fleet -- except now the Cybermen feel Vaughn has betrayed them, and so they're going to send a Cyber-megatron bomb at the planet to wipe out all life on Earth.  (It's not clear what a "Cyber-megatron" bomb actually is, unless they're sending a Cyber-converted Decepticon at the planet.)  Interestingly, the cliffhanger for episode seven seems to hinge on Vaughn's decision.  "Is this what you wanted?" the Doctor cries.  "To be the ruler of a dead world?"  And we're uncertain as to whether Vaughn will join forces with the Doctor or not.

A Cyberman approaches Vaughn and the Doctor. (The
Invasion
Episode Eight) ©BBC
Episode eight does in fact see Vaughn decide to fight the Cybermen alongside the Doctor, but his reasoning is exquisite: "Think of the millions of people on earth who are about to die!" the Doctor cries.  "Appealing to my better nature?" Vaughn replies wryly.  "No.  If I help you it'll be because I hate them... They destroyed my dream."  And so Vaughn and the Doctor fight their way to where the radio beam is guiding the bomb in and switch it off, but not before Vaughn is killed.

But there are still five minutes to fill, so naturally the Cybership comes in closer to drop the bomb off manually.  But Henlow Downs shoots the bomb out of the sky (using that sequence of stock footage a third time), and the Russians' rocket takes care of the ship itself.  The planet is safe from invasion.

In some ways this is deliberately pitched as the definitive invasion story (in case you couldn't tell from the title), but it's really a game of two halves: the first four episodes are all about Vaughn's machinations, while the last four deal with the actual threat of the Cybermen.  If this story succeeds, it's because of Kevin Stoney.  He's so good as Tobias Vaughn that he elevates everything around him.  This may be called The Invasion and ultimately be about the Cybermen invading, but it's really about Vaughn, as he moves from being in supreme control of the situation to helplessness at the hands of the Cybermen.  This is his story, made no clearer than by the fact that the final cliffhanger comes down to his decision, rather than the Doctor being in danger or the world about end (both of which are true at this point, but that's not how it's pitched).

None of this is to say that anyone else lets the side down: it's only his second story as Lethbridge-Stewart, but Nicholas Courtney is already giving a confident, self-assured performance as the head of UNIT.  And everyone else does a fine job as well (with the possssible exception of Sally Faulkner as Isobel, who's often rather broad in her portrayal -- but on the other hand, that's clearly how the script wants her to be).  And it's always good to have a firm hand like Douglas Camfield as director, who keeps everything moving interestingly and excitingly.  Yes, The Invasion is a nicely entertaining story, but when you come right down to it, it's squarely because of Vaughn.  Everything else is secondary to Stoney's masterful performance.



April 25: "The Krotons" Episodes One & Two

The Krotons is the first story from Doctor Who's most prolific 20th-century writer, Robert Holmes, who'll go on to write some of the most highly acclaimed episodes of the series.  But his first script is an inauspicious one, being as it is a spare script that new script editor Terrance Dicks had set aside in case another script fell through.  Well, another script did fall through (and from just about all accounts -- including the positive ones -- we were spared a horrifyingly sexist "comedy" called Prison in Space, by Dick Sharples), and so this script was promoted to full production.

It's not a bad couple of episodes, and there's certainly some imagination going on, but there's also a sense of unreality.  To be fair, much of this has more to do with the actors than the script itself: the students in particular tend to be rather unconvincing.  The first fight with Jamie is actually rather good for a studio fight, but you get the sense that Jamie should be mopping the floor with him, rather than barely holding his own.  And the mini-"revolution" staged by the students in episode one is also rather stagey (and it doesn't help that some of the bits on the teaching machines are clearly just taped on).  But there's also the way in which the script gets all of its exposition about the planet of the Gonds and their relationship with their Kroton masters out of the way fairly early -- it's pretty blatant, and Holmes will soon be much better at this sort of thing.

So episode one is all about set-up, and episode two is about complications.  It's not actually clear why the Krotons decide the Doctor is the leader of the rebels, but there is the nice touch of announcing he's dead after their killer camera root thing has killed someone else -- the Doctor's thought that since it killed someone it figures it killed the one it was meant to kill being accurate.  If you know what I mean.  But episode two is quite entertaining, particularly the part where the Doctor works with the teaching machine to get a high enough score to be accepted into the Krotons' machine -- his antics with Zoe are very entertaining.  And then we get a look at the Krotons themselves, who are apparently brought into being thanks to the Doctor's and Zoe's high mental energy.  Their design is quite striking -- the problem is that they look unfinished from the waist down, with just a thick rubber skirt for legs.  And unfortunately, one of our first sights of a Kroton is of this skirt.  But then we get other looks at the Krotons, especially after Jamie is let into the machine under the assumption he's also got a lot of mental energy to drain.  And so drain Jamie they do -- except he might not survive the process...



April 26: "The Krotons" Episodes Three & Four

Jamie encounters the Krotons. (The Krotons Episode Three) ©BBC
We're barely a minute into episode three and we get our best ever look of the Krotons.  And I have to say, they really are a triumph of design from the waist up.  I love all the lines and angles, and the crystal-shaped "head" is fantastic.  It's too bad that that rubber skirt lets them down (allegedly, this is because a significant miscommunication led to the costumes being made too small; the skirt was the best effort to hide the performers' legs).  I also really like the way those heads spin around when the Dynotrope is under attack; it makes them seem quite alien and less like a man in a bulky suit, in addition to just looking cool.

And in terms of direction, I utterly adore the first person shots of the Kroton wandering the wasteland in search of the Doctor and Zoe.  Obviously there's no way they could know this at the time, but its resemblance to a video game (or, perhaps more pertinently, the first-person shots of the movie Doom, which actually are based on a video game) brings a smile to my face.

This is also the episode where Philip Madoc as Eelek comes to the fore, and he's so wonderfully silky in his delivery that you can't help but be entertained, even in a role like this.  It's a fairly standard "duplicitous power-hungry politician" role, but Madoc makes it that bit more special.  The same can't be said for Richard Ireson as Axus though, who seems so smug all the time that you just want to punch him in the face.  Of course, he's supposed to be an antagonist in this, so I guess that's all right.

Scripting-wise this episode is a bit uneven, though, as Eelek's motivations seem to shift from one scene to the next, and it's never quite clear why the characters are behaving as they are.  Actually, this is probably meant to be intentional, demonstrating Eelek's slipperiness, but it comes across as confused.  And of course, there's the infamous moment where Beta is under the Hall of Learning after having just been left performing chemistry in his lab, but that's a casting issue rather than a scripting one (reassigning a line to someone they're already paying without realizing the issue it would create).

Episode four is little better in this department; Eelek's motivations are much clearer this time (hand over the "high brains" and the Krotons will leave), but everything feels rather perfunctory.  Once the Doctor and Zoe are captured, they're handed over to the Krotons, and then they pour sulfuric acid into the Krotons' life-sustaining slurry tank (along with Jamie and Beta pouring acid on the machine from the outside), destroying the Krotons and saving the Gonds.  And that's about it.  I wish there was more to talk about, but it's a very straightforward episode, other than some clowning from the Doctor as he buys time in the Dynatrope for the acid to take effect.

In many ways this sums up The Krotons as a whole -- it's straightforward.  There aren't any real twists in the tale; the drama comes from getting inside their ship and then working out how to defeat them.  There's little time spent on the Krotons' motivations, and the Gonds are there to either help or hinder the Doctor's progress.  Still, it's competently written and directed, and some of the performances here are quite good -- even a relatively minor part like Beta becomes that little bit more in the hands of James Cairncross.  It's unlikely to be anyone's favorite story, as it's one of those pleasantly average stories that Doctor Who occasionally makes: nothing too striking but nothing too terrible either (and at four episodes it also doesn't outstay its welcome ).  While I'd like to say that Robert Holmes's talent is clear from the outset, the fact is that this is a very workman-like script, with little of the sparkle, charm, or imagination that set his later contributions apart.  The Krotons simply sets out to entertain the audience for four weeks, and at this it succeeds.  It just doesn't have much ambition beyond that.



April 27: The Seeds of Death Episodes One & Two

We're on the moon!  In the future!  With instantaneous transportation devices (called T-Mat) that are being run from the moon!   But it doesn't take long (in terms of the episode) for someone to arrive on the moon and mess things up.  And here we get some more first-person shots of the currently unseen menace, threatening the people on the moon with death unless they obey.  These shots aren't quite as wonderful as the ones in The Krotons were because there's no gun constantly in view, but it's still an interesting choice.

We're also treated to Troughton in shirtsleeves inside the TARDIS, as he works out that they've landed inside a space museum.  Two things are immediately apparent: 1) Troughton's shirt is really impressively baggy; 2) He has short sleeves by virtue of having hacked off the ends of the sleeves, rather than rolling them up or just having a short sleeve shirt.

But yes, there's trouble on the moon, and only one man can help before those troubles threaten the entire world (since food and medicine can't be T-Matted across the globe): the owner of that space museum, who's also the only person left on the planet with a working rocket.  And while the controller of T-Mat, Commander Julian Radnor, tries to convince Professor Daniel Eldred, the museum/rocket owner, to help them, the audience learns that the moon has in fact been invaded by Ice Warriors!

Episode two is a little different in tone: the Ice Warriors are on the moon trying to cower the technicians there into fixing T-Mat for their own purposes, while the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe are being readied to crew this rocket to the moon.  It's interesting seeing the dynamic between Zoe, who's clearly familiar with space travel and all the experiences and risks it entails, and Jamie, who's clearly out of his depth but is determined not to be left behind.  It makes for much more entertaining viewing, it must be said, than Jamie and Victoria's interactions ever were.

But episode two is about preparing for this journey into space and then what that flight will entail; remember, this went out in early 1969, so audiences were used to news stories and shows about this anticipation and what space travel would realistically be like.  Obviously we're in the future, so some of the verisimilitude has been sacrificed in favor of ease ("Switching to automatic gravity control now," Zoe says so that they don't have to simulate weightlessness), but there's still a gesture toward doing things properly.  Of course, we also get the wonderful pop-art sequence at mission control in preparation for lift-off, with everything initially viewed through a circular cutout, and then as Miss Kelly does the countdown the numbers are illuminated on her face in reverse.  It's quite striking -- no wonder it's a clip that tends to get a lot of use in Doctor Who retrospectives and the like.

But disaster strikes, and the rocket loses their homing signal to the moon -- which means there's a real danger that they'll drift off into eternity forever.  And more importantly: it's been two episodes and we still have no idea what the name of the serial means.  Just what are the seeds of death?



April 28: The Seeds of Death Episodes Three & Four

Episode three is when things start going.  Once the rocket lands on the moon, the action shifts to avoiding the Ice Warriors in the moon base while trying to stop them.  Except that doesn't work too well; the Doctor is spotted and avoids death by proclaiming to the Ice Warriors that "Your leader will be angry if you kill me; I'm a genius."  Except he tells them this not self-importantly but with a sense of resignation, which is a wonderful touch from Troughton.  And meanwhile the T-Mat link from the Earth to the moon has been temporarily fixed, so Miss Kelly has gone up to make more extensive repairs, not knowing that this is what the Ice Warriors want (or even that they're there at all).  It's only when the repairs are completed that the Ice Warriors reveal themselves to Miss Kelly and her team.

Once the Doctor is captured, he's brought to the control room, where he talks with Fewsham, the person who's helping the Ice Warriors because he desperately doesn't want to die.  He doesn't convince Fewsham to stop helping the Martians, but he does learn what the seeds of death are, when one of them explodes in his face -- although (probably because of his alien biology) he's only knocked out instead of killed.  And now that T-Mat's ready, the Ice Warriors can start sending these seeds around the world.

An Ice Warrior strides through the seed pod-created foam on
Earth. (The Seeds of Death Episode Four) ©BBC
Episode four maintains the sense of action, even as things move from being a claustrophobic incursion on the moon to a larger-scale invasion of Earth.  Once the seeds arrive, they start propagating quickly, leading to foam-covered exteriors as the planet is attacked by this strange blight.  An Ice Warrior T-Mats down to Earth to enact the second part of the Ice Warriors' plan, which means we get sequences of an Ice Warrior striding menacingly across the countryside, looking quite out-of-place.  This means that these sequences are quite striking, and because they haven't been repeated as often as the "St. Paul's steps" sequence from The Invasion, they retain their power of juxtaposing the familiar with the alien.

And back on the moon, Jamie, Zoe, Miss Kelly, and a technician named Phipps, who's been stuck on the moon hiding from the Ice Warriors since the crisis began, devise a plan to turn up the heating in the base, since the Ice Warriors are adapted to a cold climate and heat should be intolerable to them.  This leads to a sequence where, after making their way through the ventilation system, Zoe sneaks across the control room to where the heating control is in a most unsneaky fashion -- she doesn't get down on her hands and knees or dodge from cover to cover, but she instead tiptoes across the room, turns the heat up, and then starts to "sneak" back the same way.  And when an Ice Warrior finally spots her and trains its weapon on her, she stands there yelling at Fewsham to help her rather than, you know, running for cover or doing something useful.  Ah well, I guess you can't win them all.



April 29: The Seeds of Death Episodes Five & Six

When we last left Zoe, she was about to be gunned down by an Ice Warrior.  Fortunately Fewsham, at the start of the episode, leaps to her defense, struggling with the Ice Warrior to stop its weapon from being brought to bear.  And what does Zoe do during this struggle?  Just stands there and watches it happen -- doesn't run for cover or try to help Fewsham.  Just stands there.  So when Fewsham is knocked aside and the Ice Warrior redirects its attention toward Zoe, I was half rooting for the Warrior to shoot her.  And I like Zoe.  But man is she dumb in those first minutes of episode five.  It's only the extreme heat knocking out the Ice Warrior that saves her.

And then we move into a new stage for this story.  The Doctor returns to Earth to help solve the problem of the alien blight, while the Ice Warrior who T-Matted down last week is still at large.  "The last sighting was by the Weather Control Bureau there," Professor Eldred states, while pointing at a position on the map different from the one clearly labeled "Weather Control".  But the Doctor discovers that the seed pods are easily destroyed by water -- not quite on the level of the mind-bogglingly stupid alien invasion in the movie Signs, but in the same ballpark.  Still, this does explain why the Ice Warrior headed to Weather Control -- to stop the rain from falling.  So Jamie and Zoe head to Weather Control to make it rain, and the Doctor follows after, venturing through an epic amount of foam (it's almost up to his neck in places) on his way to the door, which is naturally locked.  And there's a seed pod swelling just by the door as well.

The Doctor tells Slaar the Martian fleet is heading into the sun.
(The Seeds of Death Episode Six) ©BBC
Episode six gives us the actual invasion part: once the Earth has been softened up by the seed pods, the Martian fleet will arrive and mop up any resistance.  So Slaar, the leader of the Ice Warriors, makes contact with the Grand Marshal to confirm flight plans.  Having the Grand Marshal not hissing his sibilants in his own atmosphere is a nice touch; giving him sequins and a star filter less so.  But we're into the final episode of this story, so the Doctor works out a plan to trick the Martian fleet into heading toward the sun instead of the moon.  Once the Ice Warriors are doomed and the fungus is being defeated on Earth, the Doctor informs Slaar of what's really been going on.  Slaar angrily tells his fellow Ice Warrior to kill the Doctor, who looks ready to accept his fate -- it's only the timely intervention of Jamie that saves him.  But what's more interesting is how readily the Doctor resorts to violence in this episode, from shooting down a couple Ice Warriors with his portable solar energy emitter to sending an entire fleet into the sun.  Given how we've already seen that the Ice Warriors are intelligent beings that the Doctor seems perfectly happy to kill, it's a bit bloodthirsty.  And to be fair, the script does seem aware of this: "You have destroyed our entire fleet!" Slaar cries.  "You tried to destroy an entire world," the Doctor replies coolly in what appears to be Brian Hayles' (or more likely Terrance Dicks') post hoc justification of his actions.  But it's still rather odd.

The Seeds of Death is Troughton's final "monster" story, one that's part "base under siege" and part "alien invasion".  What's interesting is how each episode seems to introduce a distinct phase of the story: episode one outlines the takeover of the moon base, episode two is about the rocket's journey...  It's not like, say, The Web of Fear, where each episode builds on the previous one but we get the same basic story for most of the six episodes; here instead we get a new emphasis with every installment.  It's a nice change and it certainly keeps things engaging.  Add in some striking direction from Michael Ferguson and we get a solid "monster" story that's sufficiently different from season 5's offerings to stand out on its own.  It's not without its flaws, but the positives outweigh the drawbacks, leaving us an entertaining serial.



April 30: "The Space Pirates" Episodes One & Two

It's been a while, but we've now reached another missing story.  Still, at least this is the last one; everything after The Space Pirates exists in one form or another.  But on the downside, all we have of The Space Pirates is one episode, a handful of clips from episode one, and the soundtracks; no telesnaps were ever taken of this story.

This is particularly unfortunate because, on the basis of the first episode at least, a lot of the appeal of this story was visual.  It seems there was a lot of effects work going on, and those clips mentioned earlier are pretty impressive indeed.  But on the audio it's just a bunch of sound effects while Frazer Hines explains what's going on.  And when we do get dialogue, most of it is basically exposition, telling us what's going on and why.  This may be Robert Holmes's second script, but his flair for dialogue hasn't shown up yet.  Of course, as this story was written in a hurry to replace another script45, it may not be too fair to criticize.

Still, there's a lot of set-up going on with exciting model shots that we can't really see.  And this episode held, until 2011, the dubious distinction of running the longest amount of time before the Doctor appears (with the exception of "Mission to the Unknown", in which he doesn't show up at all).46  And when he does show up, he, Jamie, and Zoe get shot at and sealed inside a small room on one of the beacons being blown to pieces.  So it's not the most exciting time.  But everything else was probably all right, as the space pirates break up some beacons to salvage the precious argonite that they're made of, so maybe we shouldn't be too hard on it.

Madeline Issigri offers General Hermack any help she can give.
(The Space Pirates Episode Two) ©BBC
Episode two is the existing episode, so we can actually see what's going on.  Although almost nothing can prepare you for the sight of Technician Penn's haircut and moustache on what appears to be a military vessel (and then combine it with the hairstyles of General Hermack and Major Warne, none of which appear to belong with each other -- and we haven't even mentioned Madeline Issigri's metal beehive yet).  Still, at least we can see things, so we can see how clearly awkward Donald Gee feels in the role of Major Warne (maybe having to give a cod-American accent is throwing him off).  And we get our first look at Milo Clancy, space pioneer, who adds a bit of color (you know what I mean) to a rather stiff ensemble on Hermack's V41-LO.  Clancy's apparently also been having problems with people stealing argonite, which naturally leads Hermack to suspect Clancy as the ringleader of the pirates.  Er, yes...

Meanwhile, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe are still locked inside a tiny room, and the air is running out.  And that's their entire storyline so far.  Honestly, you'd think this was a sixth Doctor plot, the way the regulars are being kept from the action.  Though at the very end Milo Clancy bursts in and guns down Jamie, so there's that.  Which, come to think of it, also feels like an incident in a Colin Baker story.



May 1: "The Space Pirates" Episodes Three & Four

You get the impression, listening to these episodes, that they would have been reasonably exciting to watch.  There are space battles (well, a space chase, but there are copper needles involved) and laser shootouts in what were likely semi-gloomy tunnels.  But these come across as less exciting when all you can do is listen, sadly.  Still, there are some nice moments, such as Clancy getting the better of Major Warne via the aforementioned cloud of copper needles, which is oddly satisfying.  Although that might be because I've apparently taken an irrational dislike to Major Warne and thus overly enjoy hearing him receive his comeuppance (it might be the accent).

The Space Corps in general is rather thick, though.  Maybe it's because it's been fairly clearly signposted that Clancy is not in league with the pirates, but their continual efforts to catch him out and arrest him based on basically no evidence whatsoever is somewhat tedious, albeit occasionally laughably so.  Of course, when the Doctor briefly suspects Clancy as also being a pirate in episode four, you start to wonder if maybe Gordon Gostelow is doing such a good job of playing Milo as a harmless old coot that he's inadvertently sabotaging the script's intentions.

But we do get some actual pirate action in these two episodes, as Caven and his deputy Dervish scheme to implicate Clancy in the piracy by redirecting some of the stolen beacon pieces to Clancy's base on Lobos.  The pirates are actually based on Ta, the same planet as the Issigri Mining Corporation, and have been using the old mining tunnels to break down the station pieces.  And Clancy has also decided to lay low on Ta, reasoning that the Space Corps will never look for him on his rival's world.  Which means, conveniently, that the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe can become embroiled in the pirates' dealings.

So as I mentioned before, these seem like pretty visual episodes -- they're not completely devoid of interesting dialogue (in particular, Clancy's riff on Zoe's "Here's what I don't understand" comment is quite welcome), but one suspects they would have been better to see than to hear.



May 2: "The Space Pirates" Episodes Five & Six

Episode five sees things coming to a head: the Space Corps finally start to work out that Clancy has nothing to do with the space pirates and that the beacon sections found floating around Lobos were originally headed toward Ta, while our heroes are locked up in a disused office that used to belong to Dom Issigri, Madeline's father.  And Caven's getting ready to take some proactive action to frame Clancy for the piracy (in case the beacon pieces floating around Lobos aren't sufficient).  And Madeline Issigri starts to seriously doubt her alliance with Caven once the subject of murder comes up.

Cover of the 1990 Target novelization.
(From On Target - The Space Pirates)
And it turns out that Dom Issigri is alive and, well, not exactly well, as he's been Caven's prisoner for the last few years, but reasonably healthy.  So they all hatch a plan to escape (with a lovely interchange between Jamie and the Doctor: "It's not an audio lock, is it?" Jamie asks, referring to the lock on their door in episode four.  Once the Doctor tells him it isn't, Jamie replies, "Och, that's a relief," to which the Doctor responds rather drily, "Jamie, I don't think you appreciate all I do for you") and warn the Space Corps about the pirates (I think?  The motivation's a bit hazy here).  Only Caven has sabotaged LIZ 79...

Episode six, somewhat worryingly, may actually be as dull as this story's reputation claims the whole thing is.  "Worryingly" because this is the final episode and you'd think this would be where all the action is.  But what we get is some shenanigans with Milo and Dom in LIZ 79 while Caven tries to escape the clutches of the Space Corps.  (Spoiler: he dies in the attempt.)  And there's some stuff with Caven rigging up the atomic power plant to explode and destroy basically everything on Ta, which seems like it should be tense but just ends up being the Doctor working at a bunch of wiring for what feels like far too long.  And the whole thing weirdly47 ends like an episode of Star Trek, with a lame joke and a bunch of laughter.

The Space Pirates has a reputation for being a deathly dull story, and that doesn't seem fair.  The primary issue is that's awfully dull to listen to -- but it was probably quite entertaining to actually watch.  There are a number of action sequences: we can't judge how they looked since the surviving episode doesn't have any (and Michael Hart never directed any other episodes of Doctor Who for us to make a comparison with -- he did do some other things, like Z-Cars48, but I've never seen them), but there's no reason to believe they weren't at least competently done.  Certainly the model sequences we can see look pretty good.  The only worry is that some of the performances might let things down; I've already mentioned Donald Gee's uncomfortably self-conscious portrayal of Major Warne, but Gordon Gostelow's Milo Clancy is so broad that it might have come across as parody.  It's hard to tell.  This, much like The Celestial Toymaker or The Savages, is a story we really need to see in order to properly evaluate it; what we have simply isn't sufficient to get a good grasp on.



May 3: The War Games Episodes One & Two

The good news is that now we have video for every remaining episode: with The Space Pirates we leave behind not just the series' brief flirtation with putting titles in quotation marks (or inverted commas, if you prefer) but also the missing episodes.  Video from here on out (even if there are occasionally problems with the colors, but we'll discuss that when we get there).

Random observation: the picture of Troughton on this DVD
is almost but not quite the exact same photo as on the cover
of the CD of The Space Pirates.
The bad news is that The War Games is Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, and Wendy Padbury's final story.  It had been announced that Troughton was leaving during transmission of The Krotons, but now we've reached the end.  Well, sort of; the fact remains that this is the either the second- or third-longest serial (depending on how you count The Trial of a Time Lord) in Doctor Who's history.  So we're not quite at the end yet.

Episode one is actually a pretty bleak affair.  The TARDIS arrives in 1917 in No Man's Land, where they're almost immediately fired upon -- though not specifically aimed at them, it would seem.  They've arrived in the middle of World War I, and the episode is designed to make it clear just how horrible that war was.  The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe are treated as spies by the British soldiers and court-martialled with only a thin veneer of a fair trial.  The Doctor, it seems, can defeat anything except the closed military mind.

Except things aren't exactly as they seem; a number of the people we see have difficulty remembering where they've come from or how long they've been near the front, and there's the curiousness of General Smythe, who not only has the power to hypnotize people by putting on a pair of glasses but also has a video screen in his room in 1917 France.  But despite these slight oddities, this is treated as a straight historical story, full of brutality and irrationality, and as the Doctor is tied to a post before a firing squad, you get the sense that the real issue is everyone's blind obedience of orders.

Episode two starts to highlight the oddities.  It begins when the Doctor is rescued by someone who appears to be dressed in an American Civil War uniform, sniping at the British soldiers.  We also get a strange machine that fades into view and carries General Smythe off somewhere -- it sort of sounds like a TARDIS when it appears, but then the door makes the "Dalek door" sound when it opens, so maybe we shouldn't read too much into these things.  And Jamie, convicted of being a deserter, is in the military prison when he's joined by a Redcoat from 1745...

But Lieutenant Carstairs and Lady Jennifer, both of whom met the TARDIS crew in No Man's Land, start to have doubts about how the court-martial was carried out.  This means that, while the regulars are still fighting the bureaucracy and dominance of the General's orders, they have some allies on the inside.  The anachronism of the video screen is highlighted, and we see General Smythe somewhere with a man wearing strange glasses looking through the viewscreen at the Doctor and company.  It's enough to convince Carstairs and Lady Jennifer to help them out, and so they drive away from the chateau and into a strange mist, on the other side of which is a Roman legion...



May 4: The War Games Episodes Three & Four

The Romans at the end of the last episode have confirmed the Doctor's suspicions that something is seriously wrong; there appear to be separate time zones, each fighting a different war and separated from the others by mist.  But the Doctor needs more information, so it's back to General Smythe's office to look for it.  "I wonder if I can pick this lock," the Doctor muses, looking at a safe in Smythe's quarters.  "Aye, with a tuning fork?" Jamie asks drily, referring to the events of The Space Pirates.

After some fun with a Mills bomb (aka a fragmentation grenade), they find a map of all the zones on this planet, and they decide to head to the unlabeled center of the map, which means driving through various different areas on their way.  They're first caught by German soldiers in the 1917 zone (which leads to some messing around with the sonic screwdriver and a pistol grip) before escaping and heading to the American Civil War zone -- although not before their presence is reported to the central headquarters.  So we finally get a look at the aliens controlling the place, and, well, they look like people with crazy shades.  Except for a man with a mustache and impressive sideburns, known as the War Chief.  "Time travellers?  I wonder..." he muses to himself, in what's an intriguing comment -- although, since time travel is clearly needed to stock all the zones, the War Chief's thought might be about something else.

But things get even more curious when the group (minus Lieutenant Carstairs, who stayed behind to fend off some Confederate troops) take refuge in a barn and see one of the black cabinets like we saw in Smythe's room in episode two appear and disgorge a large number of soldiers.  The Doctor and Zoe head inside to look around, but the cabinet disappears from the barn.

The War Chief. (The War Games Episode Four) ©BBC
Episode four tells us two main things.  The first involves Jamie and Lady Jennifer, who are captured first by Union and then by Confederate soldiers.  We learn that some of the "officers" (in other words, the aliens who are controlling the humans for some reason) operate in multiple zones: thus, the Confederate general and the World War I German general are the same person.  But more importantly, we learn that there is a group of resistance fighters at work on this strange planet, made up of soldiers from all the different zones who've broken their conditioning and are fighting against the aliens.  So we see Redcoats, Napoleonic War soldiers, Confederates, and a host of other soldiers from various wars banded together, and we see them rescue Jamie and Lady Jennifer and capture General von Weich.

The other main thing involves the Doctor and Zoe exploring the aliens' base after having established that the travel capsule is, like the TARDIS, bigger inside than out.  Interestingly, the base seems more scientific than military.  There they learn about the conditioning that the human soldiers are undergoing, and they meet up with Carstairs, who's been recaptured by the aliens.  The Doctor and Zoe disguise themselves as aliens and see what's going on, but they're soon rumbled when the War Chief enters and spots the Doctor as an intruder.  Zoe runs into Carstairs, but he's been reconditioned to think Zoe is a German spy...

So far these four episodes of The War Games have been entertaining and intriguing.  There's enough mystery to sustain interest, and the direction is nicely contributing to this tale.  Let's see if they can keep it up.



May 5: The War Games Episodes Five & Six

Episode five is focused much less on the regulars and much more on the supporting characters.  There's infighting going on in the Resistance camp while the Doctor is evading capture in the aliens' control center.  Zoe is less successful and is taken to the Security Chief's office -- though at least she's not shot by Carstairs.  And the Security Chief''s office...it's a triumph of design with its simple yet striking concentric circles (and the door has an interesting way of opening too, which is also nice) that carry on not just along the walls but the floor itself.

But the most interesting thing about episode five is how it takes the interaction between the War Chief and the Security Chief and makes it the focus of the episode.  The Doctor and Zoe are catalysts for this interaction even though they don't contribute to it directly.  The distrust the Security Chief has for the War Chief is palpable (particularly in the capable hands of James Bree's acting), with a touch of xenophobia present as well: "He is a traitor to his own people.  How can we be sure he is not a traitor to us?" he asks the scientist played by Vernon Dobtcheff (who is seemingly the only scientist in this entire place).  Of course, he's suspicious because the War Chief appeared to recognize the Doctor in episode four.  The War Chief, meanwhile, seems to be driven more by simple dislike of the Security Chief.  "The security of this entire venture is being threatened by your incompetence...  When I came to your people I was promised efficiency and cooperation.  Without the knowledge I have, this complete venture would be impossible," he says, brandishing the medallion around his neck.  There's definitely some tension brewing.

In the meantime, Jamie has convinced some of the resistance to enter one of the "green boxes" and be taken to the aliens' control center.  But when they emerge in the landing bay, they're shot down by the alien guards...

Zoe and the Doctor observe Jamie being readied for examination.
(The War Games Episode Six) ©BBC
Episode six continues the breakdown in relations between the War Chief and the Security Chief, with each becoming increasingly suspicious of the other.  The Security Chief in particular thinks that the Doctor might have been brought in by the War Chief as one of his own people.  "Are you suggesting he's bringing in his own people, the Time Lords49?" the scientist asks him.  "He came to us because he wanted power.  Perhaps there are others of his people who feel the same," the Security Chief replies.

The scenes in the American Civil War zone, meanwhile, get a little more interesting.  Enter David Troughton, Patrick Troughton's son, as a resistance soldier entrusted with guarding General von Weich.  This sure looks like it's been designed as a showcase piece for David Troughton, but fortunately it's done well enough that this isn't a problem; in fact, by showing that Private Moor can still be hypnotized by von Weich, despite having broken his conditioning, it makes the threat of the alien generals much more potent.  Before, that threat had been reduced once von Weich was tied up, but here we see that even then they're still dangerous.

The scenes with the Doctor are also good, as he works out a plan to gather all the resistance groups together (Zoe, you see, has memorized all the resistance leaders in the various zones, thanks to the Security Chief showing their images to her).  He also seems remarkably proficient in using the aliens' controls.  "Doctor, how did you do it so easily?" Zoe asks, wondering at how he managed to set up a force field and preset the controls of the transport box so quickly.  "It's not very difficult, Zoe," the Doctor says, brushing her concerns aside.  And so they make their escape into the transport machine -- but before they can get away, the War Chief prevents the craft from leaving and then manipulates the internal dimensions, making the entire inside close in on our heroes...



May 6: The War Games Episodes Seven & Eight

He's been mentioned earlier, but it's in episode seven that we actually meet the War Lord, the leader of this operation, and from his first moment Philip Madoc captivates in the role.  He underplays everything, and delivers some lines with a smile, which therefore makes him incredibly menacing -- especially in contrast with Edward Brayshaw's War Chief, who's been playing everything a little large and is therefore just as entertaining to watch in a different way.  Watching the two interact is marvelous.

The War Chief, the War Lord, and the Security Chief discuss the
problematic Doctor. (The War Games Episode Seven) ©BBC
So the Doctor manages to escape, along with his friends, via a smoke bomb which distracts the alien guards.  Then it's off to help set up the resistance as a single, cohesive force.  And what better place than the chateau in the 1917 zone?  So once they're back there, it's only a matter of time before the resistance attacks the place and take it over, killing General Smythe in the process.  And then the Doctor does something clever and puts a time zone mist barrier around the chateau, thus stopping the aliens from sending human troops to attack the resistance base.  This obviously upsets the plans of the aliens, so we get even more entertaining War Chief/Security Chief fighting, which necessitates that the War Lord step in: "The Security Chief is right. You have failed," the War Lord tells the War Chief, before turning to the Security Chief.  "And your leadership of the security forces has hardly been spectacularly successful.  I will take charge of the whole situation."  Maybe it's this action that leads to alien guards invading the chateau, grabbing the Doctor and the processing machine before disappearing back to their base.

Episode seven may have been an exciting installment, but episode eight is just as good.  The Doctor has been captured, but the Security Chief's interrogations are getting nowhere.  So the War Chief tries a different tack, trying to persuade the Doctor to join their side.  "We are two of a kind...  We were both Time Lords and we both decided to leave our race," the War Chief says, confirming that the Doctor is in fact from a race known as Time Lords.  And we finally learn why the aliens have humans fighting each other in time zones across this planet: the strongest, those who survive, will be used to help create a huge army which will allow the aliens to conquer the galaxy.  "We can bring peace to the galaxy, and you can help," the War Chief tells the Doctor.  "You see, I'm not the cold-hearted villain you suppose me to be.  My motives are purely peaceful."

The leaders of the resistance prepare to enter one of the
travel capsules. (The War Games Episode Eight) ©BBC
And in the resistance camp, they decide that the best way to help the Doctor is by carrying out his plan to unite all the various resistance factions.  So once the message goes out to them all to head to the chateau, they start arriving.  One in particular is named Arturo Villar, from the Mexican War of Independence, who insists on speaking to Russell, the leader of the resistance.  "I tried [to explain the situation to Villar], but he wouldn't listen," Zoe tells Jamie.  "He's got rather primitive ideas about women knowing their place." To which Jamie responds jovially:  "Has he now?  Oh, sounds a nice chap."  But Villar still needs to talk to a leader, which leads to Jamie swaggering out, wearing an officer's cap and two bandoliers with grenades hanging off them, trying to convince Villar and his men to stay.  I don't know if Jamie's tripping out the door was intentional or not, but either way it helps sell the idea of Jamie being uncomfortable in this assumed role.

Once all the resistance factions are on board, they start smashing the communication units in all the time zones -- in effect, taking the fight to the aliens.  The plan is to force the aliens to send guards out to all the time zones, leaving the central control area unguarded.  And then the Doctor pops up on one of the communications units, telling them to send the resistance leaders to the central control so he can discuss things with them.  But, in one of the best cliffhangers yet, it turns out to be a trap: the Doctor has sold the resistance out to the aliens.  "Thank you, Doctor," the War Chief says.  "A nice, neat little package for us to dispose of."



May 7: The War Games Episodes Nine & Ten

So the Doctor has turned against his friends, choosing to side with the aliens over the resistance, and the leaders of that resistance are led away to be processed.  But things aren't quite as they seem; it turns out the Doctor was simply trying to prevent everyone from being killed by the neutron bomb that the Security Chief suggested using last episode.  Still, the resistance leaders didn't seem too happy about things, and it was only Jamie that stopped them from tearing him apart with their bare hands.  And then the Doctor has to process his former friends and turn them into slaves again.  Well, so it seems.  When the Doctor "processes" Arturo Villar, Villar proclaims triumphantly that the machine doesn't work on him and begins to attack the Doctor, which leads all of the other "processed" leaders to have to overpower the guards and restrain Villar.  "Can you not pretend like the rest of us, you great loon?" Jamie says exasperatedly.

And this is the episode where the conflict between the War Chief and the Security Chief comes to a head.  It turns out the Security Chief was recording all the conversations between the War Chief and the Doctor and now has evidence of the War Chief's treachery.  The War Chief is stripped of his power and taken away, and only an encounter with the Doctor and his friends saves him.  They're off to capture the War Room, and they succeed in doing so, with the War Chief in tow -- but not before the War Chief guns down the Security Chief.  "It was a personal debt I had to settle," he says.  The Doctor gets the War Chief to end all the fighting in the zones, but there's a problem: the machines used to bring all the soldiers here are breaking down, and they won't be able to return all the soldiers home.  So the Doctor decides he has no alternative: he has to call his own people, the Time Lords, for help, even though that'll mean giving away his location to them.  The War Chief tries to escape, but he's shot dead by the War Lord.  But it's too late anyway as the sound of wind fills the room: "They're coming," the War Lord says.

The War Lord stands trial before the Time Lords. (The War
Games
Episode Ten) ©BBC
This episode effectively ends the story we've been experiencing for the past nine episodes: episode nine ends with Lt. Carstairs fading away as he (and presumably all the other soldiers) are returned to their rightful time and place by the Time Lords.  The aliens have been defeated, the war games have been ended, and the humans sent back home.  There's only the Time Lords and the fate of the War Lord to deal with (as well as the Doctor trying to escape from them).  And so if episode nine is about ending The War Games, episode ten is about ending the series as a whole.  Well, not really, but that's sort of how it feels at times: after six years, we finally learn about the Doctor's backstory, about his people and about why he left his home planet all those years ago:
JAMIE: Why did you run away from them in the first place?
DOCTOR: What?  Well, I was bored.
ZOE: What do you mean, you were bored?
DOCTOR: Well, the Time Lords are an immensely civilised race.  We can control our own environment, we can live forever, barring accidents, and we have the secret of space time travel.
JAMIE: Well what's so wrong in all that?
DOCTOR: Well, we hardly ever use our great powers.  We consent simply to observe and to gather knowledge.
ZOE: And that wasn't enough for you?
DOCTOR: No, of course not.  With a whole galaxy to explore?  Millions of planets, eons of time, countless civilisations to meet?
JAMIE: Well, why do they object to you doing all that?
DOCTOR: Well, it is a fact, Jamie, that I do tend to get involved with things.
JAMIE: Aye, you can say that again.  Whenever there's any trouble, he's in it right up to his neck.
ZOE: But you've helped people, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Yes, yes, but that's no excuse in their eyes.
And now it's time for the Doctor to face up to the Time Lords.  Of course, there are attempts to run away from the Time Lords (and note the reusing of footage from Fury from the Deep and The Web of Fear -- with the downside being that you can start to see the web forming on the TARDIS as it's hovering in deep space), but they're futile: now that they know where the Doctor is, he can't escape from them.  It's interesting the way the Time Lords are presented: as godlike beings with seemingly limitless power (although not, it should be pointed out, with the ability to regenerate just yet -- note the way in which not just the War Chief but two hapless technicians are gunned down by the alien guns), who watch over things but don't intervene unless there's a great need to.  And their punishment of the War Lord is quite severe: "A force field has been placed around you, and around your planet, so that your warlike people will remain prisoners forever.  You have been found guilty of all charges, and you and your murderous associates will be dematerialised.  It will be as though you had never existed."  And once they've dealt with the War Lord, it's time to deal with the Doctor.  It's really sad, watching him say goodbye to Jamie and Zoe, as all but their first memory of the Doctor is removed -- which isn't to say that their travels didn't happen, just that they don't remember it.

And then it's time for the Doctor to face judgment.  He is to be exiled to 20th-century Earth in a new body.  Troughton, it must be said, doesn't go out with dignity, as he gurns his way onto a screen before being sent spiraling toward his fate, yelling "No no no no no no no no no no no no no!" as he does so.  And that's the end of Troughton's time as the Doctor; his exile to Earth has begun.50

The Doctor is readied for his exile.  (The War
Games
Episode Ten) ©BBC
So The War Games is an epic tale that hangs together remarkably well.  The length might have been a worry (particularly as it was more or less decided on after the two initial stories planned for the end of season 6 fell through51 -- Terrance Dicks has commented that they basically gave him and Malcolm Hulke a week to write the thing, which is an exaggeration but not by much), but Dicks and Hulke give us a story that rarely feels like it's just spinning its wheels.  The slow pullout, from the World War I setting in episode one to additional time zones to the control center for the whole affair, is a real benefit -- and there's something wonderful about seeing soldiers from different time periods interacting with each other.  It's never boring and it's frequently very clever indeed.  Fan opinion has tended to suggest that The War Games is a whole lot of time-wasting before we get to the Time Lords.  This is nonsense: it's a triumph from start to finish, and one of the best stories of the season.

Season 6 itself has been one of the more uneven seasons the show has had.   Of course, given the behind-the-scenes problems that have plagued this season, that's perhaps not surprising.  But what is noticeable is how producer Peter Bryant has chosen to try some new things.  Only three of the stories -- The Invasion, The Krotons, and The Seeds of Death -- can really be considered "monster" stories in the way almost all of season 5 was.  There's instead a return to more human-based drama, such as we had in, say, season 3.  Of course, the lack of forays back into Earth's past means that we get a fair amount of "space" drama instead, but this isn't a huge issue.  The main problem with season 6 is that, because of the production problems, stories are being stretched out more and more (and now recall the fact that The Dominators was shortened from six episodes to five, and therefore ponder just how awful those two episodes must have been).  They get away with it, just, but the knock-on effect is that we get fewer chances to explore new times and environments.  Still, the interplay among Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines, and Wendy Padbury is still wonderfully strong, and they make the proceedings thoroughly enjoyable, so that even in something like The Dominators they're still worth watching.  It will be sad to see them go.

So let's take a moment to reflect on Patrick Troughton's time as the Doctor.  In many respects he had the hardest time of any actor coming to play the Doctor, as he had to replace the lead actor in a very popular television show.  The fact that he not only did so with ease but also made the part his own is a testament to his talent: if audiences hadn't bought the idea that this scruffy little man was the same character as William Hartnell had been playing for three years, then the show would have ended then and there.  Patrick Troughton was a distinguished character actor both before and after his time on Doctor Who, and these three seasons are really just a continuation of that legacy.  He took on someone else's part and he did it in such a way as to make the audience willing to believe that not only was changing the lead actor an acceptable part of Doctor Who, but that the new man would be just as compelling to watch in his own distinctive way.  If Troughton had tried to play the part as William Hartnell had, the changeover probably wouldn't have worked.  By making the role distinct, yet still recognizably the same character, Patrick Troughton ensured that the show would continue.  And then, as if that weren't enough, he had to go and be so good in the role, fighting Daleks and Cybermen and Yeti and War Lords with such courage and charm and joy that you can't help but be both entertained and drawn into the stories.  Patrick Troughton is the Doctor.  He will be missed.

But we've come to the end of not just Patrick Troughton's time as the Doctor, but also of the black and white era.  There was a feeling in the BBC that, with Troughton leaving, maybe it was time to end the series as well, and Derrick Sherwin (who was producer by this point -- it's a bit complicated, the changeover between him and Peter Bryant, and in many ways it can be considered as the same producership) has said that they only renewed it because they couldn't come up with anything better to replace it.  But this isn't exactly true; they did come up with something to replace it, it just happens to be the case that it's also called Doctor Who and is ostensibly the same show as they had in the '60s.  But the format will be different: restricted to one time and place, with a new lead actor, shorter seasons (one of the reasons Troughton left the show was because of the crippling demands of a show that made 44 episodes a year -- from now on they'll drop to around 25-26 episodes a season until 1986), and, most noticeably, in color.  In some respects the Doctor Who of the '70s is a vastly different beast from the '60s version.  The next five years will see an increasing reliance on the action-adventure aspect of the show, and even when we move on to Tom Baker and beyond, that sense of exploration and discovery that characterizes so many of the black-and-white episodes will largely be lost.  Of course, what we get instead will be just as entertaining, but in a different way.  Doctor Who is leaving the '60s, and it won't be the same again.









Footnotes

41 We might as well get this out of the way now.  Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln submitted this story after The Web of Fear, but rather than write yet another monster story they decided to write a polemic about the dangers of the hippie movement and pacifism (hey, it worked in The Daleks).  Script editor Derrick Sherwin got these scripts and rewrote them (not because he was pro-hippie, but rather because the arguments Haisman and Lincoln had included (mainly old men standing around arguing pointlessly) reportedly weren't very interesting -- director Morris Barry backs up this version of events), truncating the story from six episodes to five in the process.  The story goes that he neglected to tell Haisman and Lincoln that he was doing this to their story, and so, deciding this wasn't really their story anymore, they chose to send it out under a pseudonym -- hence the credited writer "Norman Ashby".  It seems this wasn't a deal-breaker though, and Haisman and Lincoln began work on "The Laird of McCrimmon", a third Yeti story that would write Jamie out of the series.  However, in the meantime both the BBC and Haisman/Lincoln had set up merchandizing deals regarding the Quarks, which both parties figured would be the next big monster (no, really).  Apparently there was some confusion as to who actually owned the copyright to the Quarks.  The result of this was that Haisman and Lincoln threatened to sue to prevent The Dominators from being transmitted.  Eventually an agreement was reached (the details of which are unknown), but the fallout from this was that Haisman and Lincoln no longer wanted to work on the series, and so "The Laird of McCrimmon" was dropped.  And now you know why The Web of Fear seems to set up a third Intelligence story that never happened.
42 The shortest being Fury from the Deep Episode 3, which clocks in at 20'29" -- though subsequent episodes of The Mind Robber will break this record.
43 The real world reason: Frazer Hines has chickenpox this week.  Fortunately they're doing a strange surreal story at the moment, so they can use this to their advantage.
44 With the obvious exception of Time and the Rani, for reasons we'll no doubt come to when we reach that particular story.
45 According to Howe-Stammers-Walker in The Handbook: The Second Doctor, this was The Dream Spinner by Paul Wheeler -- although the website Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) says that The Dreamspinner [sic] was supposed to be the fourth story of season 6, and when it fell through The Invasion was extended to eight episodes.  In any event, given the problems with The Dream Spinner, The Prison in Space, and The Laird of McCrimmon all falling through, you can see why this story had to be written in a hurry.  And we're not done yet; we'll pick this up again when we get to The War Games.
46 The new record-holder at the time of writing is 2011's "A Good Man Goes to War".
47 It's weird because a) it's very much out of keeping with how Doctor Who typically ends -- especially with the somewhat forced laughter; and b) despite how much it resembles an ending to a Star Trek episode, no one in Britain will actually see that show for another three months, as Star Trek first aired as the summer replacement show for Doctor Who while it was between seasons 6 and 7.
48 Remember, it's a British show, so it's pronounced "Zed-Cars".
49 This marks the first use of the term "Time Lords" on the series, though here it's strictly in reference to the War Chief and his people.
50 It should be noted that there's no regeneration sequence between Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee. That said, I have a distinct memory of the beginning of Spearhead from Space, with Pertwee falling out of the TARDIS and into the weeds, being tacked onto the end of the version of The War Games shown on PBS. Perhaps Lionheart (who distributed the series in the US at that time) felt the changeover should be more obvious. Assuming, of course, that this actually happened; I haven't been able to confirm it yet.
51 These were a 6-parter called "The Impersonators" by Malcolm Hulke, and an untitled 4-parter by Derrick Sherwin which would conclude the second Doctor's tenure.  Nothing is known about them beyond that they both apparently hit insurmountable problems.  So, classic season 6 then.