It’s been a little while since my last classic Doctor Who post. I did write a guest post for Philip Moriarty’s blog “Symptoms of the Universe”. I highly recommend reading this blog as posts are far more diverse than my mediocre grumbles on entertainment. Symptoms covers music, science and philosophy with an eloquent and insightful reviews, rants and rambles – please check it out! On with the review…
Season 3 – Episode 3 – (1965)
Doctor: 1 – William Hartnell
Companions: Steven, Vicki (Vicki departs), Katarina(Katarina joins)
The time between our last post and this has largely been due to the fact I like to stay a little ahead in my watching of where I am reviewing and it gets a bit long after this episode. Oh we’ll get there…
So The Doctor, Vicki and Steven land once again in the TARDIS in a random location. At this stage in the show, the TARDIS does not return to destinations. The Doctor does not know how to set a destination and therefore bounces randomly through space and time. Though this is the case, he does a fantastic job of ending up on Earth at various points in history. It’s Ancient Greece and the big names are here: Achilles, Odysseus , Troilus, Paris… and when we land two chaps are going at it with swords. The Doctor goes out to intervene and, with the proof of an unknown blue box into foray, makes a convincing case that he is a Zeus (this is just a ploy to stay alive).
Ok so The Doctor is led away and uses knowledge of the future to bargain for his life and Steven leaves the TARDIS to try and recover The Doctor. Steven reunites with The Doctor but is enlisted in the Greek army in the fight against Troy… and yes you can see where this is going…
The TARDIS is captured by the Trojans and finally Vicki emerges to the Trojans. She is introduced to Cassandra who foretells doom if the Trojans listen to the TARDIS crew (specifically Vicki). The Trojan leader looks more favourably on Vicki but rejects her name and gives her a new name: “Cressida”… and if Greek history or Shakespeare are anything to go by, you’ll know that Troilus and Cressida are linked. Vicki will be staying.
Time for an aside. The runners of the show have changes, Verity Lambert has now gone – the departure has made waves, however; there is one short-lived show runner called John Wiles. The thing about Wiles is that he wrote Maureen O’Brien (Vicki) out without her knowledge. Yes… She had mentioned it but generally feelings of wanderlust don’t lead to a sacking… ahhh the 60’s. Wiles isn’t totally to blame, in fact we’ll see why soon. In the mean time Vicki will be gone by the end of the story.
Wrap up of the plot – The Doctor orchestrates the trick with the Trojan horse but I don’t think that’s fair enough as an explanation. Vicki as a citizen of the future makes predictions to compete with the soothsayer Cassandra. Cassandra introduces her handmaiden Katarina to instigate her will. The Doctor’s plan takes effect and Troy is destroyed. Vicki takes a position of command demanding that the captured Steven be taken to the TARDIS by Katarina. The Doctor understands that Vicki is remaining to marry Troilus and so departs with Steven and Katarina. Oh dear does Katarina pose as a problem… but that’s next time…
So how good is the episode? Well it’s OK as a historical and mildly entertaining. From memory (memory echoing from being a teenager) it’s the last good historical of Hartnell’s era but please let me re-evaluate as I watch through. I’m rather ok with it and the score reflects it.
Oh yes and so you know where we’re kicking off – Steven gets poisoned in the battle. He’s posing as a Greek and attacked…
- Cassandra: Woe to Troy!
Paris: It’s too late to say “whoa!” to the horse. (I really did enjoy that line)
Next time: 12 episodes – 5 hours – guest characters. The Daleks win on the planet Kembal. It’s the last Hartnell Dalek story and it’s 5 hours of my life to watch it….