Friday, 29 December 2017

Twice Upon A Time - A Review

The one thing that helps you to write a review some days after the event is that you have had time to muse on what you have watched - and to watch it again. I must admit that I enjoyed Twice Upon A Time on the second viewing more than on the first. First viewings tend to concentrate very much on the plot alone - what happened to whom etc. The second viewing allows you to pick up on any plot points that you might have missed, but also to let you sit back and admire the performances and savour the references. This story was brimming with nods to the past - some specific to the last four years and Peter Capaldi's tenure aboard the TARDIS, others covering the series since it returned in 2005, and - with David Bradley portraying the First Doctor - a look back to the events outside Snowcap Base in December 1986 (AKA 709 episodes ago).
Before proceeding, I just want to say how smug I feel at guessing that the Captain would be the Brigadier's dad all those months ago. I'm sure you all spotted it actually - when it became clear they were not going to give the chap a surname. Even though I knew it was coming, the confirmation was still a lovely moment, hinted at earlier in the episode with the mention of Cromer.

It was a wonderful performance from Mark Gatiss, who is taking a break from the programme after writing a number of stories, and appearing in one form or another in five stories. He reflected the turmoil of the two Doctors - facing death but resigning himself to it, except when there was the possibility of hope. The Captain spent much of the story baffled as to what was going on - something which his son would inherit - and only seemed at ease when he got to share a joke at the expense of the fairer sex. William Hartnell held views on gender, race and sexuality which were a product of their time - a time we would like to think was long past, except that 2017 has shown sexism to be alive and well and enjoying itself in sunny Hollywood. Moffat mercifully left off the racism, but he did frequently flag up the earlier incarnation's sexist attitudes. The only problem being this wasn't supposed to be William Hartnell. This was supposed to be the First Doctor, who rarely exhibited sexist attitudes. Treating the women aboard the TARDIS as if they were Dresden china was something that Ian was accused of - not the Doctor.
In all other respects, Bradley gave a charming interpretation of the Doctor. Some of the gags about how things had changed had already been done by Moffat, of course - when the War Doctor encountered Ten and Eleven.

Plot wise, it was a little thin - but this is nothing new when it comes to Christmas Specials. I have no real problem with a story in which there is little threat, so long as you don't realise there isn't any threat too early on. You need only look at the weakest of all the specials - The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe - for paper thin plot and little or no threat. The Glass Avatars - or Testimony - seemed to pose a danger, stealing the TARDIS and insisting that the Captain be returned to the point of his death. It transpires that they simply harvest memories so that they - the memories - can live forever, and so the people they take them from can also live on in a way. This allowed Bill Potts to return, demonstrating that her life with Heather will not go on forever, and allowing the Doctor to find out what happened to her after the events of The Doctor Falls.
The Doctor found out about the Testimony project after visiting a returning character - Rusty, the Good Dalek. Of all the things which they might have revisited, this one we could have done without. I suppose there was a thread hanging - what happened to him after Inside the Dalek, but we were hardly losing sleep over that one.
The inclusion of the avatars also allowed us to see Nardole for the last time, as well as Clara - the Doctor regaining all of his memories of her.

Peter Capaldi was, as always, excellent. I always knew he would be a great Doctor as he had proven himself a great actor for many years before landing his dream role. We've had longer to get used to this Doctor's regeneration. David Tennant took about 20 minutes, but Capaldi gets a whole story leading up to his transition. He spends his last moments reviewing what it means to be the Doctor - quoting Terrance Dicks along the way. He's leaving a reminder to his future self about who and what he is. Having gotten a glimpse of his future selves, the First Doctor goes back and completes his regeneration. How lovely it was to see clips of The Tenth Planet on BBC 1 on Christmas Day, 2017.
After Ten's regeneration, you would have though that the Doctor had learned his lesson about regenerating in the TARDIS. Neither Nine nor Eleven wrecked the joint, but Twelve went and smashed up the TARDIS. We only got a brief look at Jodie Whittaker, and I'm very pleased to hear that she is retaining her Yorkshire accent as the next incarnation of the Doctor.

A word about the music now. I'm sure you noticed that the story contained cues from all of the last four Doctor's eras. I did read somewhere that Murray Gold is going to be stepping down as series composer, so this sounded like his final hurrah.
And, of course, it was also Steven Moffat's last stand. I think he served Capaldi's Doctor well, but made some dreadful mistakes during Matt Smith's tenure - tying the series up in story arc knots which led to a deeply unsatisfying final story for his Doctor. On balance, I'd say the good outweighs the bad overall, however.
At some point late in 2018, everything changes. A new Doctor - the first female one - a new TARDIS, new companions and a new show runner. Chibnall comes to the series with more turkeys under his belt than Moffat did (a lot of Torchwood series one and the second series of Broadchurch for starters), so I will reserve judgement until I sit down and watch Series 11.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Normal service will be resumed...

As with last year, I am going to be away for Christmas so there won't be any new updates until Friday 29th December, when I will give you my musings on Twice Upon A Time.
In the meantime, a very Merry Christmas to all of you at home!!!

Inspirations - Tomb of the Cybermen

Season Five kicks off with a story that owes much of its inspiration to Egyptology. We'll get to that shortly, but first we ought to mention that the first episode of Tomb of the Cybermen is a clear attempt to relaunch the series for new viewers. The opening TARDIS scene sees new companion Victoria introduced to the ship, and to the lifestyle of the Doctor and Jamie. For the very first time, the Doctor even mentions his age - believing himself to be around 450. He has to think about it - either because he can't quite recall, or he is translating it into human terms. (If the latter, this might go some way to explaining some of the discrepancies in the Doctor's age over the following decades. Sometimes he is using Gallifreyan dating, and sometimes translating for Earthlings). Later on the Doctor will also talk about his family.
The TARDIS console room is the best we have seen it since the very first episode - big and bright, as director Morris Barry has chosen to put it on film. This is partly for the benefit of those new viewers, but also because he has other ideas for how he is going to use his studio space.
Behind the scenes, Innes Lloyd remains the producer but the on-screen credit goes to Peter Bryant, who is being sounded out as Lloyd's replacement. Stepping in as Story Editor is Victor Pemberton, who had played a small part in the previous Cyberman story, The Moonbase.
That story was also directed by Barry, and he is reusing the same costumes (although the Cybermen no longer have lace-up boots, and the piping is different).

Onto the story itself. It is written by the creators of the Cybermen - Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis. For inspiration they have looked to Egyptian archaeology. They also have an eye to the numerous horror movies featuring the Mummy. Hammer made four, whilst Universal had a whole connected series of them.
We have an archaeological expedition in a desert landscape, searching for a lost city. Amongst them is George Pastell (playing Eric Klieg). He was of Cypriot descent, but had often played Egyptians and other Arabic characters - including two Mummy films from Hammer. In their first Mummy film - simply called The Mummy (1959) - he had played a man who allied himself to the Mummy. His family had been guarding its secret for many generations. His other Mummy movie was Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964), where he was on the opposing side, playing a policeman.
Playing his partner Kaftan is Shirley Cooklin, who just happens to be Peter Bryant's wife.
The party blast open the side of a mountain, and find a huge set of metal doors. On either side are stylised images of Cybermen. These are obviously inspired by the monumental reliefs of the Pharaohs seen adorning temples and other monumental buildings throughout Egypt.
It should be noted that real archaeologists tend to uncover their discoveries with trowels and toothbrushes, rather than using gelignite. Kaftan offers £50 to the man who can open the doors - which would just about buy you a cup of coffee in 500 years time. The chap who attempts to win this prize is killed, as the doors are electrified. This is the first hint that the tombs are booby-trapped, and may have a curse upon them.

The ancient Egyptian tomb-builders often left booby-traps, though not quite in the same league of those seen in Indiana Jones movies. They might leave a deep shaft in the floor, down which an unwary tomb-robber might plummet.
The curse surrounding the opening of the tomb belonging to the boy-king Tutankhamun was built upon the sudden death of Howard Carter's backer, Lord Carnarvon. He already had health issues, having been involved in a serious car accident. This is how he came to develop a love of Egyptology - he had been sent to Egypt because of his health. In April 1923, he suffered a mosquito bite. This wound was reopened when he was shaving. Blood poisoning set in, and he died soon after. At the moment of his death, the city of Cairo was hit by a power cut. There were four electricity generation plants serving the city - and all four failed. It was claimed that, back in England, his pet dog let out a howl and dropped dead at the exact moment its master passed away. Other people who had entered the tomb in the first few weeks after its opening died over the next few years - in car crashes and from illnesses.
It has been speculated that some of these deaths may have been directly related to the tomb - as the air inside may have harboured all sorts of nasty bacteria.

The party enter the tomb. On one wall is a huge circular display. The symbols covering this represent a logic puzzle. They are inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphics. The ancient Egyptians left a wealth of documentary evidence about their world, on papyrus and in stone - but no-one could decipher any of it. Scientists puzzled over these pictograms for centuries, until the French Army of the Nile under Napoleon uncovered the Rosetta Stone in 1799. The stone had the same decree inscribed upon it in three different languages. One of these was Greek, and so a transliteration became possible. There was a race between England and France to achieve this, but the honours went to a Frenchman named Jean-Francois Champollion, who decoded it in 1822. Hieroglyphics could then be translated. Klieg mentions Whitehead Logic. This refers to the mathematician Alfred North Whitehead - and not Reg Whitehead who will shortly appear in a Cyberman costume.
The party splits up to explore. In one room we find a huge recharge unit - based on a sarcophagus or mummy casket. Archaeologists will laugh at Viner, who can record every pertinent detail of the room with a few scribbled notes in his pad. No painstaking measuring here. He doesn't even take any photos, and we later see that Prof. Parry has a camera.
Another chamber is used as a weapons testing room. Here we have a wall which illuminates to show a subliminal target. Another expedition member succumbs to the curse here, shot dead by a Cyber-weapon. The room also contains a Cybermat. These small metallic creatures are inspired by Egyptology as well. The ancient Egyptians saw the scarab beetle as symbolic of resurrection and rebirth. This is because the Sun God Ra was thought to roll the sun across the sky each day - just as scarab beetles roll balls of dung along the ground. Scarab beetles appear throughout Egyptian art.

The tombs themselves are hidden under a massive hatch in the entrance chamber, and the Doctor allows Klieg to open it. He does this by dropping a huge hint, then by changing some of the controls behind the Logician's back. This is another example of this Doctor's manipulative streak, something which tends to be dropped later on. All of the subsequent deaths might be placed at the Doctor's door. Had he not helped Klieg, the hatch might have remained sealed. He has warned the party several times not to proceed, of course, but he mainly wants to see what will happen next. If any harm befalls the expedition, they have brought it on themselves.
Now, the Mummy cycles of films always feature a single being - usually a High Priest, usually called Kharis - but here we have a whole load of Cybermen taking their place.
The Cybermen are lead by their Controller. He's a massive example of the species, without any chest unit and having a tall, translucent cranium. You'll recall that we just met the leader of the Daleks in the previous story.
The Controller reveals that the tombs are a sort of trap. The Cybermen have retreated to this planet - Telos - to regroup. They want new recruits, and the death traps are a test. Cybermen are creatures of pure logic, so we can only assume that Klieg's position with the Brotherhood of Logicians has rung alarm bells with the Doctor. This Brotherhood is reminiscent of those groups who are pledged to protect secret tombs in the Mummy movies. Roger Delgado played one of these tomb protectors in Hammer's The Mummy's Shroud in 1967.
We should mention that Telos is Greek for "end" or "purpose" - hinting at the Cybermen's trap.

The Cybermen don't actually feature much in this story. They get up, mill around for a bit, then go back to bed. The Controller becomes a solo-menace for the second half. He has partly converted Kaftan's bodyguard, Toberman - whose name sounds like it is a contraction of the story title.
Viner has been killed by Klieg. Kaftan is shot dead by the Controller. This prompts the Doctor to help Toberman break his mental conditioning, and he turns on the Controller. Klieg has one last attempt at resurrecting the Cybermen - only for them to destroy him.
Everyone gets out of the tombs, and Toberman sacrifices himself to close the doors, which the Doctor has re-electrified. It looks like the Controller has also been destroyed by the closure of the doors.Of the original expedition, only Parry is left alive, and he leaves Telos with Captain Hopper and his rocket crew.
As with that little glowing light at the heart of the wrecked Emperor Dalek last time, one of the final things we see is a Cybermat still active - hinting that we have not seen the last of the Cybermen.
Next time: somewhere up a mountain in the Himalayas someone is making snowmen, even though there's no snow in sight...

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Story 187 - Utopia

In which the Doctor takes the TARDIS to Cardiff so that it can refuel itself from the rift in space / time which runs through the city. It materialises in the plaza above the Torchwood Hub. The Doctor spots a familiar figure running towards the ship - Captain Jack Harkness. He quickly takes off again, but the ship goes wildly out of control. It hurtles through the Vortex - with Jack clinging on to the exterior.
The TARDIS comes to land in a barren rocky wilderness, 100 Trillion years in the future. Emerging from the ship, the Doctor and Martha see Jack lying on the ground. Martha fears he has died, but the Doctor seems nonchalant about this. Jack suddenly wakes as Martha gives him the kiss of life. They are on the planet Malcassairo, at the very end of the universe. The Doctor points out the starless night sky and explains it isn't really night - all the stars have now burnt out. Jack tells the Doctor of how he read about the disappearance of Rose Tyler and her mother, and the Doctor assures him they are well. Jack explains that he used his vortex manipulator to leave the Game Station and it took him to 19th Century Earth, where it burned itself out. He then waited around until the Doctor returned.

They see the ruins of a vast city built into a ravine, and then spot a man being chased across the landscape. They rush to help him. The man - Padra - is fleeing from a pack of savage humanoids known as the Futurekind. They are cannibals, who are a degenerated branch of the human race. Padra leads them to safety at a compound called the Silo. Armed guards chase off the Futurekind. Inside the compound they discover the last remnants of the human race, gathering in preparation for departure in a huge rocket. They are met by an elderly scientist - Professor Yana - who had learned that one of the newcomers was called the Doctor. He hopes that a fellow scientist can help him with his work. Yana is assisted by a blue-skinned insectoid being named Chantho, last of the native Malcassairo people who once inhabited the ruined city they had seen. The Professor explains to the Doctor that he has invented a means to launch the rocket, but he cannot get it to work. The humans have discovered a signal emanating from somewhere in space, which they have dubbed "Utopia". It is believed that more humans have settled there, and there is a chance for the race to survive if they can join them.

Jack reveals that he has the Doctor's hand in a capsule in his rucksack. He claims it was his "Doctor detector", having reacted when the TARDIS landed in Cardiff. Jack is electrocuted but returns to life moments later, to the Professor's amazement. He seems distracted by the newcomers' conversations, and tells the Doctor that he is weary, and plagued by an incessant drumming sound in his head. He has had it since he was a child, but it is getting worse. He tells the Doctor that he does not intend to go with the others, and Chantho is so loyal she will remain behind as well. The Doctor helps Yana, and the rocket is soon ready for launch. Some reactor rods need to be inserted into a chamber beneath the vessel before it can take off. One of the Futurekind has broken in, and she sabotages the power systems - killing the man who was operating the rods. The chamber is flooded by deadly radiation, but Jack volunteers to go in. The Doctor tells him why he rushed away from Earth, and why the ship brought them here. Jack's immortality make him "wrong". He should not exist in the universe, and this is why he - and the ship - ran away from him. Martha discovers that the Professor has a fob watch identical to the one which the Doctor had used when he made himself human, part of the Chameleon Arch. He explains that he has always carried it even though it is broken. Martha rushes to the radiation chamber to tell the Doctor that the Professor might be another Time Lord...

Martha reminds the Doctor of the Face of Boe's dying words - that he was not the last of his kind. The initials of "You are not alone" spell out YANA. She and Jack are pleased for him, but he seems concerned. It depends which Time Lord... The rocket blasts off. The Professor hears voices in his head, talk of Time Lords, TARDISes and regeneration resonating in his mind. He opens the fob watch and his Time Lord essence is restored. He informs Chantho that his name is not Yana. It is the Master. He attacks her with a live electrical cable, then sets about opening up the Silo so that the Futurekind can gain entry - intending to make his own escape in the TARDIS which had earlier been brought into the compound. He takes the Doctor's hand and places it onboard, also removing the information about Utopia from the computer. As he is about to leave, the fatally wounded Chantho shoots him. Dying, he staggers into the ship and locks the doors as the Doctor, Jack and Martha rush into the laboratory. In the TARDIS, the Master regenerates into a younger man. He speaks to the Doctor, telling him who he is, and Martha finds his new voice strangely familiar. The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to lock the ship's controls, so that it can only travel to one destination. The ship dematerialises, as the Futurekind attempt to smash their way into the lab where the Doctor and his friends are trapped...

Utopia was written by Russell T Davies, and was first broadcast on 16th June, 2007. It sees Captain Jack rejoin Doctor Who, and re-introduces the character of the Master for the revamped series. Davies had a long term plan, in which the Daleks would be used in Series 1, with the Cybermen returning for Series 2. The Master would then be brought back for the third season. Jack's return to the parent programme had also been well planned in advance.
The story acts as a lead-in to the subsequent series finale, and some have chosen to accept it as the first episode of a three-part story. I prefer not to do this myself, as this has a different director to the last two episodes (Graeme Harper here, and Colin Teague for The Sound of Drums / Last of the Time Lords).
For only the second time in the programme's history we see a regeneration that isn't the Doctor's - the first being K'anpo / Cho-Je's in Planet of the Spiders.

The Doctor has claimed since The End of the World that he was the last of the Time Lords. He told Rose then that he would have known in his mind if another had survived. It transpires that he failed to sense the Master because he had used a Chameleon Arch to make himself human - just as the Doctor had earlier done this series when attempting to evade the Family of Blood. The Face of Boe had told him that it knew a secret about the Doctor back in the hospital ward in New Earth. and this was revealed in Gridlock the following year, when the Face told him "You are not alone". And the Professor's name is Yana. He even mentions adopting his title - an academic title - in the same way that the Doctor and Master affected theirs. The Master's return has therefore been seeded through the programme for some considerable time.
Playing him first of all, in his Yana form, we have Sir Derek Jacobi. A big fan of the show, he had once claimed that his ambitions were to get a part in this and Coronation Street. His good friend Sir Ian McKellen had managed to get a role on the Street, but had yet to make his appearance on Doctor Who (voicing the Great Intelligence in 2012). Jacobi had played the Master once before - voicing the character in The Scream of the Shalka animation. For Big Finish he had played an alternative Doctor of sorts - the man who had devised the character then come to believe he was him.
As the Master himself states, if the Doctor can be a younger man then so can he - and so he regenerates into John Simm. Simm was another fan of the show, watching it with his son. He had recently been in the public eye thanks to the role of Sam Tyler in Life on Mars. His character's surname had come from Rose Tyler.

Playing Chantho, under heavy prosthetics, is Chipo Chung. She will return in the following series, sans make-up, as the Fortune Teller in Turn Left. The leader of the Futurekind is Paul Marc Davies. He will appear three times as the Trickster in The Sarah Jane Adventures, and recently played the Shadowkin King, Corakinus, in Class.
One other role of note is the little boy who works in the Silo - Creet. He is played by John Bell, who won the role in a Blue Peter competition. If you've read my A-Z entry for Creet, you'll know the success he has had since, appearing in some big blockbuster movies.

Story Arc: No mention of Mr Saxon, actually, though Martha recognises the new Master's voice. The link won't be made explicit until the next episode.
We've already mentioned the Face of Boe's cryptic sayings above.
It was in The Christmas Invasion that the Doctor lost his hand, and the Torchwood opening story - Everything Changes - established that Jack had found it and kept it in a capsule in the Hub.
Jack disappeared in the closing episode of Torchwood Series 1 - End of Days - soon after hearing the TARDIS and seeing the hand become animated.

Overall, it is an episode which rattles along at a fair pace, as you expect from the ever reliable Graeme Harper. Fans had a good idea of what was coming, but the scenes where Yana comes to realise his true identity are a highlight of the season, accompanied by a great Murray Gold score. Great to see the witty, flirtatious Jack back again, after the dour Torchwood version. This came 55th in the DWM 50th Anniversary poll, but they chose to join it with the next two episodes. I would have liked to have seen how it fared if left to stand alone - higher I suspect.
TYMLTK (Things you might like to know):

  • Torchwood fans might have wondered why Jack didn't use the lift that takes you up from the Hub into Roald Dahl Plas, instead of having to run up from the harbour and nearly miss the TARDIS. The reason would have been that the ship was parked on top of it. The perception filter in the Plas which conceals the lift is the result of the TARDIS having landed there previously in Boom Town.
  • One of the people who insists that this is not the first part of a trilogy is Russell T Davies himself - and he should know.
  • Yana hears snatches of dialogue from his previous incarnations, including Roger Delgado from The Daemons. We hear Anthony Ainley's sinister chuckle. Eric Roberts gave permission for a sound bite of him to be used - but Fox vetoed this.
  • The Doctor describes the human race as "indomitable" - referencing his speech in The Ark in Space.
  • On landing in Cardiff, Martha mentions hearing about an earthquake there some time ago - a reference to Boom Town. The Doctor spots that the Rift has been active recently - referring to the events of the Torchwood series finale shown six months prior to this.
  • Jack clinging on to the TARDIS as it hurtles through the Vortex looks like it should have been the natural lead-in to the opening credits. The scene with the Futurekind was added, as it would have looked wrong seeing Jack on the TARDIS then cutting immediately to the TARDIS without him in the credit sequence.
  • Someone pointed out that Mister Saxon is an anagram of Master No Six. Russell T Davies claimed that this was purely coincidental. He is actually the seventh actor to play the role on screen - after Delgado, Peter Pratt, Geoffrey Beevers, Ainley, Roberts and Jacobi - so you have to lump Pratt and Beevers together as the desiccated Master for the anagram to work (or are one of those who like to pretend that the 1996 TV Movie never existed).
  • A utopia is an idealised place where everything is perfect and in balance. The word was first coined by Sir Thomas More in 1516, who took it from the Greek ou-topos - meaning no place or nowhere, as he felt such a place could never exist.

Monday, 18 December 2017

C is for... Cult of Skaro

The Cult of Skaro was a quartet of Daleks who were tasked with helping to win the Time War. Created by the Emperor, they were given authority to act independently - answerable to no-one. Their job was to think differently to other Daleks. They gave themselves names and adopted individual identities. In command was Sec, who had a black casing. The others were Thay, Jast and Caan.
As well as devising new strategies to win the war, the Cult also planned for the survival of their species. They came into possession of a captured Time Lord prison capsule, which contained thousands of Dalek prisoners. They dubbed this the "Genesis Ark" as this could be used to unleash a whole new army of Daleks should the war go against them. They took the Ark into a Void Ship and fled the war. The Void was the space between universes, where time and space did not exist.
A rift in space / time was identified by the Torchwood organisation high above London's Docklands, and a tower was built to encompass it. The Void Ship came through the rift. Torchwood were unable to analyse it, as it could not be measured in any way.

When the Cybermen crossed over from a parallel Earth, the vessel opened and the Cult of Skaro emerged, taking Rose Tyler, Mickey Smith and Dr Singh prisoner. They drained Singh's mind in order to update themselves on the current situation, learning of the Cyberman invasion. Sec declined an offer of an alliance with the Cybermen. The Doctor was surprised to meet them, as he thought that the Cult were just a legend.
They needed someone who had travelled in time to open the Ark, as it only responded to Artron Energy. Mickey accidentally gave the device this contact. The Ark opened and thousands of Daleks emerged over London. The Doctor knew that anyone or anything which had passed through the Void had picked up a form of radiation there. By opening the rift fully, they would be sucked back into it. He and Rose did this, but the Cult of Skaro used an emergency temporal shift to take themselves out of danger.

They travelled back through time to New York, in the early 1930's. Using a man named Diagoras, they infiltrated the construction of the Empire State Building. As the only four Daleks left alive they had to find a way to survive. Dalek Sec devised a plan to create a new race of Human-Dalek hybrids. Genetic experiments were conducted to turn some captive humans into pig-people, who would then be used to abduct homeless people from the city. These people had their minds wiped, awaiting new Dalek consciousnesses. Dalek Thay sacrificed some of the panels from its skirt section so that these could be attached to the mast at the top of the tower. A gamma radiation storm was predicted to strike the planet, and this radiation would be channeled down into the sleeping humans to trigger the genetic alteration.

Sec embarked on another experiment - genetically combining his body with that of Diagoras. He emerged from his casing as a hybrid of man and Dalek. Sec recognised that humans always survived whilst his race were defeated, and he wanted to learn from humanity what made it so resilient. The other members of the Cult were unhappy with this development. Sec was no longer racially pure, and he was showing signs of weak human emotions. They rebelled against him and took him captive. The Doctor got in the way of the gamma radiation burst, so that the army awoke with aspects of his personality instead of pure Dalek beliefs. Dalek Caan remained at their base beneath the tower, whilst the others took Sec and the Dalek-Human army to a nearby theatre to kill the Doctor. Sec sacrificed himself to save the Doctor, and the army turned on the Cult - destroying Thay and Jast. Caan self-destructed the army. The Doctor went to confront it - the last of the Daleks in existence. He offered to help it, but Caan used the emergency temporal shift to escape once again.

Even though it was supposed to be time-locked, meaning nothing could leave or enter, Caan broke into the Time War and rescued Davros just before his command ship was destroyed by the Nightmare Child. The effort smashed open Caan's casing and left him insane. Davros created a new breed of Daleks using genetic material from his own body. The Supreme Dalek had Caan and his creator locked away together in a vault on their command ship - the Crucible - where Davros set about developing the Reality Bomb. This would destroy everything in the universe apart from the Daleks. Caan had developed the powers of prophesy. Though judged an abomination by the Supreme and by Davros, his pronouncements were nevertheless heeded. He foresaw the coming of the Doctor and his companions - the Children of Time - and of how one of them would die.
However, Caan had his own agenda. He now saw his own kind as evil, and he had engineered the destruction of the Davros' new empire. The last member of the Cult of Skaro was destroyed when the Crucible exploded.

Appearances: Army of Ghosts / Doomsday (2006), Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks (2007), The Stolen Earth / Journey's End (2008).

Sunday, 17 December 2017

C is for... Cult of Demnos

A pagan sect whose origins dated back to Roman times. Demnos was the god of moonlight and solstice. They were active in the dukedom of San Martino up to the end of the 15th Century. Donning black robes and wearing masks, they gathered for their ceremonies in a ruined temple deep in the catacombs beneath the town. They were led by a High Priest, but he was subservient to Hieronymous, who dressed in purple robes and whose mask was made of gold. Hieronymous was the court astrologer, and he had fallen under the influence of an alien intelligence which lay at the heart of the Mandragora Helix. This intelligence planned to use the brethren of Demnos in its scheme to halt human progress - leaving the human race susceptible to pagan superstition. It rebuilt the temple, and imbued Hieronymous with great powers, which he shared out amongst the rest of the Cult. They were instructed to attack the ducal palace during the masque ball to celebrate the accession of Giuliano as the new Duke of San Martino. Present were many great luminaries of the Renaissance, who would be sacrificed to Demnos.

The Cult had earlier abducted Sarah, planning to sacrifice her. She was freed by the Doctor but then recaptured. Rather than face sacrifice a second time, Hieronymous instead hypnotised her so that she would kill the Doctor.
The Cult members infiltrated the masque wearing disguises. They took everyone to the temple, where Hieronymous summoned down the Mandragora Helix energy into the sacrificial altar. Touching it, the brethren were destroyed, as the Doctor had disposed of Hieronymous and taken his place - rigging the altar to drain away their energy.

Played by: Norman Jones (Hieronymous), Robert James (High Priest). Appearances: The Masque of Mandragora (1976).

  • James had previously played the scientist Lesterson in Power of the Daleks.
  • The principal Roman deity for the Moon was Luna, although Juno and Diana were also associated with it. Although a sun god, Mithras was associated with the winter solstice as that was when he was supposed to have been born.

C is for... Cryons

Native inhabitants of the planet Telos, which was invaded and taken over by the Cybermen after the destruction of their homeworld, Mondas. Cryons could only exist at temperatures below freezing. They appeared to be an all-female race. The surface of their planet had become too warm for them, so they were forced to live in cave systems underground. They waged a guerrilla war against the Cybermen, sabotaging their tomb complex. Their leader, Flast was captured and imprisoned in a refrigerated room in Cyber-Control, where she was joined by the Doctor. From her he learned that the Cybermen were going to use a captured time-ship to go back and prevent Mondas' destruction. They would destroy Telos in an experiment using the substance Vastial, a mineral found at the polar regions which became highly volatile when the temperature rose.

To prevent, this, the Cryons had made contact with the mercenary Lytton, who was stranded on Earth following the defeat of the Dalek mission to rescue Davros from imprisonment in deep space. Lytton was to have helped steal the time-ship. The Doctor escaped, but Flast was unable to follow him. She sacrificed herself to plant his thermal lance in a container of Vastial, although she was killed before the explosion when the Cybermen dragged her into the warmer air of the corridor outside her cell.

Played by: Faith Brown (Flast), Sarah Greene, Esther Freud, Sarah Berger. Appearances: Attack of the Cybermen (1985).

  • Faith Brown was better known for light entertainment, being a singer, comedienne and impersonator.
  • Sarah Greene is best know as a Blue Peter presenter.
  • Esther Freud is the daughter of painter Lucien Freud, and a great-granddaughter of Sigmund. She is better known for her writing. Hideous Kinky was made into a film starring Kate Winslett, and was based on Freud's own childhood.
  • Actress Koo Stark was due to play one of the Cryons, which made the news as she had recently dated Prince Andrew.

C is for... Crozier

A brilliant neurosurgeon who was employed by the Mentors of Thoros Beta to save the life of their leader, Kiv. Kiv's brain was outgrowing his cranium and the Mentor Sil had sought his help in performing an operation to transplant it into a new body. Kiv had given instructions that, were the operation to be a failure and he to die, both Crozier and Sil would forfeit their own lives. Crozier was ruthless in his ambitions, and completely lacking in ethical standards. He was prepared to experiment on captured Thoros Alphans to find a new host body. One experiment had been to augment a sea creature called the Raak. This failed when the creature reverted and attacked the Doctor and Peri. Crozier did not accept his failure at first, and interrogated the Doctor using a mind conditioning device he had perfected.
Crozier was able to carry out a temporary operation on Kiv after a compatible body had been found, but he knew that this would give them only a little respite. He then realised that his machine could be used to transplant Kiv's mind rather than his brain - so any body could be used. He decided to make Peri the new host for Kiv's mind. The High Council of the Time Lords decided that his work threatened the whole of creation as he could essentially make everyone immortal. They removed the Doctor from time, taking him to a space station to face an inquiry, thus leaving King Yrcanos to attack Crozier's laboratory - killing him along with Kiv and Sil.
It later transpired that the images of the deaths witnessed by the Doctor at the inquiry were faked, and that Peri had been saved before Crozier had destroyed her mind.

Played by: Patrick Ryecart. Appearances: The Trial of a Time Lord Parts 5 - 8 (1986).

  • Although the events seen at the end of the group of episodes usually referred to as Mindwarp were found to have been faked, the Time Lords would have still wanted Crozier stopped - so presumably he was still killed by Yrcanos but at a time before he had operated on Peri.
  • Recent work by Ryecart includes recurring roles in The Crown and Poldark.

C is for... Crossland, Inspector

A police officer who was investigating reports of missing people at Gatwick Airport. All of those reported missing had been young people who had gone abroad using Chameleon Tours. Crossland was already looking into the matter with his colleague Gascoigne when the Doctor and his companions arrived at the airport. Polly witnessed Gascoigne's murder at the hands of Meadows, who worked for the tour company. The Inspector was fairly open-minded and agreed to listen to the Doctor's theories about what was going on here, even when they involved ray guns and aliens. He decided to investigate one of the flights for himself, and was captured by Captain Blade, head of the Chameleons' operations at the airport. He witnessed the miniaturisation of the aircraft's passengers as it ascended into space. On the space station of the Chameleons, their leader - the Director - chose to take on Crossland's appearance for himself. He was returned to Earth once the Doctor had put a stop to the Chameleons' plans.

Played by: Bernard Kay. Appearances: The Faceless Ones (1967).

  • Third of four appearances by Kay in the programme - see "C is for... Caldwell" for the others.

C is for... Crooked Man

A misshapen creature whose origins are unknown, it was discovered by the Doctor lurking in a forest in a pocket universe which was slowly disintegrating. The creature also seemed to be haunting Caliburn House in the 1970's, along with another entity known as the Witch in the Well. The Doctor found that the latter was really the image of a time-traveller named Hila Tacorien, trapped in the collapsing universe. He passed through a portal and rescued her - leaving the Crooked Man behind. Once he had returned to Caliburn House, he saw the creature at a window and realised that there were actually two of them - trapped on either side of the portal. He returned to the pocket universe and rescued the other so that they could be reunited.

Played by: Aidan Cook. Appearances: Hide (2013).

  • Cook is a puppeteer as well as an actor, and has appeared as various aliens in the recent Star Wars movies. In Doctor Who he has also played Zygons, Cybermen and the Grandfather / Mummy creature in The Rings of Akhaten.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Inspirations - Evil of the Daleks

So, Terry Nation is removing the Daleks from Doctor Who so that he can launch them in a TV series of their own. We've talked about this before, as it seems to have been planned since the time of The Daleks' Master Plan - as it was the Space Security Service who would become the new protagonists.
Well, now it is actually happening - the removal, not the spin-off series. The BBC had a deadline after which they could no longer feature the Daleks. Evil of the Daleks is that final appearance before Nation withdraws his permission. Once again he is too busy to write something himself, so David Whitaker is called upon. He wrote their last outing, which had been deemed a success, and he knew the Daleks from their very beginnings.
Behind the scenes, Gerry Davis is standing down as Script Editor. He goes half way through this story, to be replaced by Peter Bryant, who is going to be with the show until Jon Pertwee's arrival. Bryant had been an actor, appearing in the UK's first ever soap - The Grove Family. It was written by Jon's dad and older brother, and if you want an idea of what it was like then they have been showing its cinema outing It's A Great Day on the Talking Pictures channel recently. Bryant gave up working in front of the camera to go behind the scenes, and was working in radio drama prior to moving onto Doctor Who. Producer Innes Lloyd was making ready to leave the series, and he saw Bryant as a potential replacement. He will try him out on the next story after this.

A word about lead-ins to stories. For much of the Hartnell era, each story - or rather the final episode of each set of related scripts as it was seen as an on-going serial - had the TARDIS crew already commencing on their next adventure. This might have been everyone being knocked to the ground by an explosion as soon as they left Skaro, or the Doctor being rendered invisible. In some cases, the link is more subtle, with the companions seen to be wearing the costume from the previous story. In other cases it is more vague. The Doctor claims he can't see anything on the scanner at the end of Planet of Giants. Next, he's moaning about the scanner not telling him anything as he can only see water. The same event, or two quite separate adventures?
Patrick Troughton's earliest stories are often linked with a lead-in at the conclusion - e.g. the appearance of the giant crab claw as they leave the Moon, or the ship going out of control on leaving Atlantis before reaching Earth's satellite.
Here we have another lead-in, as the last story ended with the Doctor informing Jamie that the TARDIS has been stolen. The first episode and a half of Evil of the Daleks involves us finding out who has taken it, and we see the Doctor and Jamie follow a set of clues to try and recover it.
The Faceless Ones might have been set in the present day, but the airport setting was as alien as another planet. For the first time we see the pair really interact with modern day London. They visit lock-up garages and a trendy coffee bar. It, and Waterfield's antiques shop, suggest Chelsea to us - the swinging-est part of Swinging London.
Coffee bars had come into vogue in the 1950's - popular with that new phenomenon, the Teenager. Nigel Kneale parodies their popularity and ubiquity in the second Quatermass serial, where we see the Professor meet his civil servant friend and the PR man from Winterton Flats in one, and the woman behind the counter complains that everyone is going to tea bars nowadays.

It's a Dalek story, so the titular creatures have made their entrance in the first episode cliffhanger. The Doctor only finds out he's in a Dalek story towards the end of part two, by which time he and Jamie have been whisked back to the Victorian era.
It has taken us a long time to get to the Doctor in the Victorian period. This is the end of the fourth season, after all. For some reason, Doctor Who always had a Victorian feel since its early days - possibly due to the Doctor's attitude and mode of dressing, or simply because we are reminded of Victorian writers as inspirations for the series. It was almost the Edwardian era when H G Wells started to write, but he is closely associated with the Victorian era through the settings for his writings, and their subsequent adaptations. Jules Verne wrote his most famous works between the 1860's and 70's.
Who are the greatest fictional characters ever invented - the ones who have had countless film and stage adaptations? Sherlock Holmes, Count Dracula, and Tarzan - all Victorian characters. Once the Doctor became a national institution, it was alongside these he was placed, so he felt Victorian - even when he wasn't.

It became a bit of a cliche, but the BBC was always said to be world class when it came to producing period drama - mostly Victorian again (e.g. Dickens adaptations). Throughout the history of the so-called "classic" period of Doctor Who, it is the historical-based stories which have the sets and props which no-one could slag off. The BBC simply knew how to do these well, even if they were appearing in a tea-time science fiction / fantasy series.
In January 1967, the BBC began transmitting The Forsyte Saga. This was produced by Donald Wilson - one of Doctor Who's godfathers. The series was derived from the novel cycle of John Galsworthy, published between 1906 and 1921. It was first shown on BBC 2, at a time when not everyone had that channel, but a repeat showing the following year on BBC 1 saw ratings reach 18 million. There is a Giles cartoon of the period which shows a British man and woman climbing over the Berlin Wall into the East, as the wife had missed the last episode and an East German TV station had just bought the series.
Placing the Doctor into a setting reminiscent of dramas such The Forsyte Saga seemed the natural thing to do in 1967.
Unfortunately, these are the bits that, some of the time, are the least rewarding. Ask most fans and they will tell you that Evil is the great lost masterwork of Doctor Who. More than the aforementioned Master Plan, or that final episode of The Tenth Planet. I will only go along with this opinion if I am allowed to jettison four characters from the production. I have always found the sub-plot surrounding Ruth, Toby, Molly and Arthur Terrall tedious in the extreme. I just don't see the point of them. For some bizarre reason Terrall is magnetic, but he just lurks around the background. Toby abducts Jamie, on Terrall's orders, even though the Daleks need Jamie for their experiment.

The bit of the story set in the Victorian period that is of interest is that experiment. The Daleks want to isolate the "Human Factor" - those qualities which have defeated them so many times in the past. Add this factor to Daleks, and they will be invincible. What we get is the latest form of the Quest scenario in the programme. Jamie is set a task - to locate and rescue Waterfield's daughter Victoria, who is being held somewhere in the mansion. To challenge him, and make things more interesting for us, there are a number of lethal booby-traps to avoid, and Maxtible's Turkish servant Kemel has been told to try to stop him. More could have been made of this latter aspect, as Kemel and Jamie end up best pals a little too quickly, after Jamie saves the servant's life.
The draft scripts played out much differently for this section. The Daleks were to have got the Doctor to abduct a Neanderthal (to be named Og) for Jamie to challenge. As it is, we have a hint of Darwin, and survival of the fittest, but more would have been made of this if a prehistoric man had been included in the mix - one from a branch of humanity which became extinct.

The Dalek plan is far from an unqualified success. When the Human Factor is introduced into a trio of dormant Daleks, they develop a playfulness instead of ruthless cunning. They also ask questions, which is a strict no-no for a Dalek. The Daleks all get recalled to Skaro, taking Maxtible, Victoria and Kemel with them. Everyone else is left in the house with a big bomb. It will transpire that the Dalek Emperor needs the Doctor, so this seems to be a funny way of going about things. The Doctor, Jamie and Waterfield have to quickly reassemble the Dalek time machine they used to nip back and forth to the 20th Century, which luckily transports them to Skaro as well. This is the first time, apart from Earth, that the series has seen a visit to the same planet twice. If it was going to be any alien planet, it would have to be the homeworld of the Daleks.
On Skaro, we get to meet the Emperor - a huge Dalek which is immobile - plumbed into the city which surrounds it. This was one aspect of the story which Terry Nation objected to. He did not like the Emperor - just as he had disliked the gold-domed one in the comic strips (also created by Whitaker). Not just the look of them - the whole concept.

The Emperor reveals that the experiment with the Human Factor has just been a sideline to the real plan - the isolation of the Dalek Factor. The Emperor intends to use this to turn people into mental Daleks, and the Doctor is to use the TARDIS to spread this factor throughout Earth's history.
Maxtible has been going along with the Daleks since the beginning, as they have promised him the secret of how to turn base metal into gold. He's an alchemist, and some have seen an interest in this subject throughout much of David Whitaker's writing (chiefly Philip Sandifer, of the Tardis Eruditorum blog / books - who points out the use of mercury in many of his scripts as a for instance).
The Daleks try to convert the Doctor - seemingly unaware of his extra-terrestrial origins. They think he's human, just made special by his travelling in time. This is one very good reason for believing that the civil war - pardon me if I jump ahead - does not take place at the very end of the Dalek time-line, as we will later see Daleks who know he is a Time Lord.
So, the scene is set for the "final end" of the Daleks. The Doctor reverses the machine which is supposed to instill the Dalek Factor so that it instead gives Daleks the Human factor. Those processed start to question orders, and soon the Daleks are fighting amongst themselves.
Innes Lloyd wasn't too unhappy to see the Daleks seemingly wipe themselves out, as he had a new recurring foe in the shape of the Cybermen, who came free, and without Roger Hancock as an agent.
There is a little hint at the end that it isn't the last we are going to see of the Daleks. It was decided that the shattered casing of the Emperor would have a small light continuing to pulse within.
Maxtible is not seen to perish - leading to one particular theory that he becomes the religio-maniac Emperor of The Parting of the Ways. Victorian values, after all.
Waterfield does bite the dust, so Victoria becomes an orphan and leaves Skaro with the Doctor and Jamie, becoming the new regular companion.
And so Season 4 ends, in fairly epic fashion.
Next time: those new Big Bads are back, and we get to go to their home planet and meet their leader...

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

End of Days - Torchwood 1.13

In which the consequences of Owen opening the Rift begin to be felt. Reports start coming into the Hub of strange appearances across the globe. A fleet of spaceships is seen above the Taj Mahal in India, and figures in historical costume begin to turn up, such as Civil War era soldiers on the streets of London. Tosh runs a computer simulation which shows that Cardiff is at the epicentre of these occurrences, with cracks spreading out across the planet. Jack and Gwen go to the police station after she receives a call for help from her ex-colleague Andy. In the cells he has a Roman soldier. Owen and Tosh meanwhile respond to calls from the hospital. Strange illnesses are being seen. Owen sees a woman who is dressed in medieval fashion, and he realises that the people falling through the cracks in time are bringing sicknesses with them - such as the Black Death. Tosh has a vision of her mother, who tells her that darkness is coming and she must open the Rift to stop all this.
Back at the Hub, Jack blames events on Owen, who is angry as he only opened the Rift to save Jack and Tosh from being trapped in the 1940's.

Gwen briefly sees a vision of Bilis Manger, and later Ianto sees his girlfriend Lisa in the cell area, as she was before she fell into the hands of the Cybermen. She urges him to open the Rift. Jack and Owen argue further, and things come to a head. Jack sacks Owen, who leaves the Hub. He goes to a bar to drown his sorrows, and sees Diane Holmes. She tells him that if he opens the Rift she can come back to him. Jack and Gwen track down Bilis Manger to a shop specialising in antique time pieces. He explains that he can travel through time with ease. He vanishes. Jack leaves, but Bilis returns and shares a vision with Gwen. She sees Rhys dead, covered in blood. She rushes home to find him alright, but insists that he be taken to the Hub for protection. He is knocked out and put in one of the cells. Soon after, the power fails in the Hub. Rhys is confronted by Bilis Manger, who stabs and kills him. Rhys' body is taken to the mortuary area, where Gwen is furious at Jack for failing to save him. Owen returns, and insists that they must open the Rift to correct everything. Jack refuses, and accuses each member of the team of acting against him at one point or another. Tensions mount, and Owen shoots Jack dead. The rest of the team then open the Rift.

History seems to have been reset, with Rhys alive again. Everyone - except for Gwen, who has seen this before - is shocked to see Jack revive. The city is hit by an earth tremor. They all rush outside to see what is happening, and find Bilis, who speaks in awe of the Beast named Abaddon. He has manipulated them all in order to free this creature - a massive, grey-skinned demon which is the son of the Beast encountered by the Doctor and Rose on Krop-Tor. Anyone whom its shadow falls upon drops dead. Jack asks to be taken to a piece of wasteland away from the city. He knows he cannot die, so he will allow the creature to feed on him. As it lives on death, so his immortality destroys it. Jack is left lifeless. He is taken back to the Hub, but fails to revive. Gwen refuses to leave his body, and eventually he returns to life. His colleagues are amazed to see Gwen bring him back upstairs. He pardons them all for acting against him - especially Owen. Some time later, the team hear a strange wheezing, groaning sound. When they go to investigate they discover that Jack has vanished...

End of Days was written by Chris Chibnall, and was first broadcast on 1st January, 2007. BBC 3 elected to show it immediately after Episode 12. It marks the finale of the first series.
As this has a different writer it is not, technically, the second half of a two-part story, though the events here are a result of actions taken in Captain Jack Harkness - namely Owen's opening of the Rift - and we have the return of Bilis Manger.
When Jack berates his team for their failings, he references a number of earlier episodes - e.g. Tosh jumping into bed with any alien who offered her a pendant. After Cyberwoman, this episode features the closest links to its parent programme. UNIT is mentioned. When asked what sort of vision might have tempted Jack to open the Rift, he says "The right kind of Doctor", and his disappearance at the end is foreshadowed by the sound of the TARDIS materialisation, with the Doctor's hand bubbling away in its jar. The ending is obviously a set up for Jack's return to Doctor Who in Utopia, though it would be half a year before we saw how this panned out.

Fans weren't terribly impressed by this story, feeling that the massive CGI demon stomping over Cardiff was a bit overblown. The first series overall had been patchy, to say the least. Clearly this was a series that its makers really didn't know what to do with. The biggest complaints were the unlikeability of the team members, and the throwing out of everything that had made Captain Jack popular in Doctor Who. Being "adult" seems to have been translated as being poe-faced.
At least we get to see more of the wonderful Murray Melvin as Bilis Manger. The series could have done with him being seeded through it from an earlier point. Also rejoining the programme here we have Caroline Chikezie, as Lisa, and Louise Delamere as Diane. Tosh's mother is played by Noriko Aida, who we will see a little more of in the second series episode Fragments.

Overall, a bit of a disappointment. At least Jack gets to tell his team what he thinks of them, which clears the air a little for the second series, which will be much better.
Things you might like to know:

  • This episode started of as End of Days, but was then renamed "Apocalypse", before reverting back to End of Days.
  • The ending doesn't exactly match up with what we see at the start of Utopia. Here, the implication seems to be that the TARDIS has materialised in the Hub itself. Jack hears the sound, as do the rest of the team who then find paperwork blown all round the room. In the Doctor Who story, however, the TARDIS has landed up in the plaza, so it's unknown how its arrival managed to create the wind in the Hub. Jack might have enhanced hearing, but it's unlikely all the others would have heard it.
  • The Beast from The Satan Pit was also referred to as Abaddon, though here it is claimed that it is that creature's offspring.
  • The spaceships which are seen hovering over the Taj Mahal appear to be Jathaa Sungliders, one of which was seen in Torchwood One's warehouse in Army of Ghosts. The clip of the Indian monument is also taken from that story, where it was seen first with "ghosts" then with Cybermen in front of it.
  • We get a quick history lesson from Gwen when she and Jack find that PC Andy has a Roman soldier in his cells. She mentions Caerleon - the Roman fort which is situated just outside Newport. Romans did not speak the Latin that some of us might have learned at school, but a version known as Vulgar Latin.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

C is for... Creet

A young boy who helped out at the rocket silo on the planet Malcassairo. He was amongst the last members of the human race at the end of the universe, hoping to find continued survival in the place known as "Utopia". When the Doctor, Martha and Jack came into the compound with a man named Padra, Creet helped the latter find the rest of his family who were sheltering there. Later, Creet told Martha of his hopes for Utopia, claiming that his mother had told him that the skies were made of diamonds. Creet left the planet when the Doctor helped to launch the rocket.
Later, the Master arranged for the Toclafane to travel back through time to attack the Earth. Martha disabled one of the creatures and opened up its casing - discovering that it contained a cyborg human head. The creature mentioned Utopia's skies being made of diamonds - and she realised that the Toclafane were what those last humans on Malcassairo had become. They had a shared mind, which included that of Creet.

Played by: John Bell. Appearances: Utopia (2007).

  • Bell was nine years old when he won the part of Creet in a competition organised by Blue Peter.
  • He has gone on to great things - playing Bain in the second and third of The Hobbit movies, Perseus' son Helias in Wrath of the Titans, and the younger version of Ewen Bremner's character, Spud, in the Trainspotting sequel. He has recently joined the cast of Outlander.

C is for... Crayford, Guy

Guy Crayford was the chief astronaut with the British Space Defence Agency, which was based outside the village of Devesham. Sarah Jane Smith had reported on his disappearance, when contact with his ship had been lost near Jupiter. It was assumed it had been struck by an asteroid and destroyed. Crayford had actually been abducted by the alien Kraals. They brainwashed him into believing that they had saved his life, rebuilding his body save for one of his eyes, and repairing his vessel. Chief scientist Styggron then used his brain patterns to recreate Devesham, the Space Defence complex and its environs on their home planet of Oseidon. These were populated with android facsimiles of the real base personnel and villagers, including members of UNIT such as W.O. Benton and Harry Sullivan. Styggron claimed that the Kraals needed to evacuate their planet due to rising radiation levels, and they wanted to live peaceably with humans on the Earth, so Crayford co-operated fully. He did not know that the Kraals really meant to use the androids to deploy a lethal virus that would wipe out Earth's population within a few weeks.
The Doctor and Sarah met Crayford when the TARDIS materialised outside the fake village. Crayford knew of the Doctor, though they had never met, and took their belief that they were on Earth to prove the replica was a great success. Military chief Chedaki was concerned that the androids could prove dangerous to the Kraals, and so Styggron had Crayford's mind scanned once again - to create a hostile android. It could then be demonstrated that the androids were not immune to Kraal weapons.
Crayford had established contact with the Agency, claiming he had been adrift in space for the last two years, keeping alive by recycling his food and water. The androids would infiltrate the Earth when his ship returned home. The Doctor was able to convince Crayford that the Kraals had been lying to him - his eye was never lost - and that the aliens intended to wipe out the human race. Crayford turned on Styggron, but the Kraal scientist shot him dead.

Played by: Milton Johns. Appearances: The Android Invasion (1975).

  • Second of three appearances in the programme for Johns - the first being Benik in Enemy of the World, and the last being Castellan Kelner in The Invasion of Time
  • Crayford removing his eye-patch and finding he still has his left eye is often derided as one of the silliest things in all of Doctor Who. Why, in two years, has he never noticed? The only explanation is that he was mentally conditioned not to notice - to reinforce that the Kraals had saved him and were benign.

C is for... Cranleigh

The Cranleigh Family had comprised eldest son George, who was a noted botanist, his younger brother Charles, and their mother Lady Cranleigh, who was known as Madge to her friends. George embarked on a trek to South America to look for the fabled Black Orchid. He found it, but was captured by the local tribe, who tortured him, physically and mentally. He was rescued by Latoni, chief of a rival tribe. Latoni smuggled George back to England, where he stayed on to look after him in a locked-off wing of the family home. The family ensured that it became known that George had died on his expedition, and Charles inherited the title as Lord Cranleigh. He also took George's fiancee Ann Talbot for his own bride to be.

When the Doctor and his companions visited the area in 1926, it was discovered that Nyssa was the exact double of Ann. As a prank they decided to wear the same costume at a forthcoming masque-ball. George escaped and murdered one of his attendants. The Doctor discovered the corpse after becoming lost in the house's secret passageways. By the time he brought Lady Cranleigh to see the body, Latoni had removed it. George, meanwhile, had donned the Doctor's harlequin costume and gone downstairs, where he attacked Ann and killed the butler. George was recaptured and put back in his room, whilst the Doctor was accused of the attacks. George escaped once more, this time killing Latoni, who manged to put the key to the bedroom door out of reach before he died. George set fire to the door in order to break through it, and this set light to the house. He seized Nyssa, mistaking her for Ann, and they became trapped on the roof. Charles climbed up and convinced George to let Nyssa go. He then panicked and fell to his death. The Doctor and his companions stayed on for his funeral, and the Doctor was gifted a copy of George's book - Black Orchid.

Played by: Michael Cochrane (Charles), Barbara Murray (Lady Cranleigh), and Gareth Milne (George). Appearances: Black Orchid (1982).

  • Milne was one of the series' stunt-men. As the role of George (billed as "The Unknown" for the first episode) was non-speaking and involved some stunt work, he was given the part. 
  • He injured himself during the fall from the roof-top, his lower body missing the crash-mats.
  • Michael Cochrane returns to the show, as explorer Redvers Fenn-Cooper, in Ghost Light, the last story to be recorded before the programme was taken off the air in 1989.
  • The question has to be asked: when exactly did George write his book? It tells of his expedition to find the Black Orchid - the one where he was captured, mutilated and driven insane. Presumably Charles and Latoni ghosted it between themselves.