28 November, 2010

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 9 "The Massacre"

The Dodo Bird Massacre
The Doctor and Steven have arrived in France, 1572. While enjoying a drink at the local pub, the Doctor rushes off to meet a local chemist Charles Preslin. Steven is asked to stay out of trouble but when the Doctor leaves, he thinks he has been followed. Steven is about to check on the Doctor when he befriends a few (Protestant) Huguenots.

Nicholas gives his new friend Steven directions to find the Doctor. As he is about to set off a young girl rushes into the bar, scared. They help a young servant girl Anne Chaplet, who is running away from the local guards. She has run away from her household after hearing plans of a coming protestant massacre. She is given a safe place to run to.

Because of a curfew, Steven stays the night at Nicholas' house. The following day Steven mistakes the Abbot of Amboise for the Doctor. The Abbot looks like the Doctor so Steven is confused when the Abbot is killed. Meanwhile, Catherine de Medici sets her plan in motion to kill all Protestants on St. Bartholomew's Day. "France will breath the pure air after tomorrow," she declares.

While searching for the Tardis key, the Doctor returns. Knowing what is to come, he sends Anne away, despite Steven's protests. Safely in the Tardis, the massacre begins. Steven is horrified the Doctor refused to help Anne, despite knowing she was likely killed. The Doctor reiterates he must not tamper with time, but upset with the Doctors callousness Steven declares he's leaving the Tardis next change he gets.

True to his word, Steven leaves the Tardis at the next stop. Instead of immediately taking off, the Doctor sits about, seemingly upset everyone has left him; Ian, Vicki, Barbara, Susan and now Steven. He ponders returning to his home planet, but decides that would be a mistake. With the doors of the Tardis still open, a young girl enters looking to make a phone call to report an accident.

However the police are already on the way, Steven comes back to warn the Doctor of this. The Doctor immediately takes off and they discover the girl is named Dorothea (Dodo) Chaplet, likely a descendant of Anne. The Doctor welcomes her aboard, musing she reminds him of his grand-daughter Susan.

WHO: Dorothea (Dodo) Chaplet
PLANET OF ORIGIN: Earth, circa 1966
REASON FOR JOINING: Wanders into the Tardis thinking it's a real police box. Having no family, she stays on-board.

NEXT: Steven, the Elder Savage

22 November, 2010

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 8 "The Daleks Master Plan"

My Kingdom for a Master Plan
The episode - "The Dalek Master Plan" is unique in many regards. For one, it's the longest story in Doctor Who history. Set in the year 4000, the Daleks have called together various rulers of different galaxies to form one giant alliance. Of course this is another first, as the Daleks have always worked alone in the past.

Another interesting tidbit, several weeks before this story aired, there was a single cutaway episode of Doctor Who featuring only the Daleks, broadcast as a teaser for this story. As the story unfolds, Mavic Chen - guardian of the Solar System has betrayed Earth and provides the Daleks the ultra-rare element taranium needed to power their Time Destructor.

Arriving on the planet Kembel, the Doctor, Steven & Katarina befriend Bret Vyon and the group learn what the Daleks are up to. Attempting to make it back to Earth, tragedy strikes when Katarina is ejected into space. This is another unique aspect of this story, never before had a companion of the Doctor died while travelling with him.

Bret Vyon was also unique in that he was played by Nicholas Courtney, who later went on to play Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. A character in Doctor Who history who has worked with almost every Doctor. Bret didn't last long in the story however, as he was killed by Sara Kingdom. Sara is a security agent who was tricked by Mavic Chen into believing Bret (her brother) was a traitor.

The Doctor convinces Sara she was duped and she makes it her personal goal to make sure Mavic Chen and the Daleks are stopped. Along the way, they run into the Meddling Monk. He has fixed his Tardis and is now pursuing the Doctor. Despite all the odds the Doctor is able to thwart the Monk, defeat the Daleks and destroy the Time Destructor. However, Sara Kingdom dies, devastated by the effects of the Time Destructor.

WHO: Katarina
DEPARTURE LOCATION: Above the planet Desperus, 4000 A.D.
REASON FOR LEAVING: Sacrificed herself to save the Doctor, Steven & Bret Vyon.

WHO: Sarah Kingdom
PLANET OF ORIGIN: Earth, 4000 A.D.
REASON FOR JOINING: Sides with the Doctor when she realizes Mavic Chen is the traitor she's looking for.

REASON FOR LEAVING: Sara's body is destroyed by the effects of the time destructor.

NEXT: The Dodo Bird Massacre

16 November, 2010

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 7 "The Myth Makers"

Katarina, A Mythical Companion?
It's a sad fact that many of the earliest stories of Doctor Who have missing episodes. In some cases, the entire story has been lost. This is the case with the Myth Makers. Set during the Trojan war, the Tardis lands during a fight between Hector and Achilles. The Doctor decides to step outside thinking it to be safe, as 'they are doing more talking than fighting'.

The Doctor is immediately hailed as Zeus and taken back to the Greek camp where he must prove he is Zeus. He is given two days to come up with a plan to overtake Troy. Meanwhile the Trojans capture the Tardis, along with Vicki and Steven. When coming out of the Tardis, Vicki is thought of as a prophetess named Cressida and meets the Trojan Troilus.

The Doctor convinces the Greeks the best way to defeat the Trojans is to build a large wooden horse, hide inside, wait for the Trojans to take it inside their city, then come out at night and attack. So the Doctor rewrites history slightly, I won't say anything if you won't. The plan works and Steven and Vicki are able to make it out of the city along with a young girl named Katarina. Vicki has decided to stay behind with Troilus, whom she has fallen in love with.

Considering this is Katarina's first episode, it would have been nice to have more than a few pictures available. However, the Beeb in it's infinite wisdom, at one time decided to clear space by tossing older TV shows into 'the fire'. Dr. Who lost many stories this way and as a result no complete story featuring Katarina is in existence. In fact only one 24 minute episode is known to have survived. But Katarina WAS a companion, it's no myth.

WHO: Vicki
DEPARTURE LOCATION: Earth, circa 1200 B.C.
REASON FOR LEAVING: Vicki falls in love with the Trojan man - Troilus

WHO: Katarina
PLANET OF ORIGIN: Earth, circa 1200 B.C.
REASON FOR JOINING: With no family and her home Troy in ruins, she is rescued by Steve and the Doctor. However, she believes she is dead and travelling through the beyond.

NEXT: My Kingdom for a Masterplan

08 November, 2010

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 6 "The Time Meddler"

Meddling With Time
With Barbara and Ian gone, the Doctor and Vicki reflect on how they will be missed. However, a noise is heard from the living quarters and they discover Steven Taylor had stumbled onto the Tardis before it last took off. He's told he stumbled into a time machine but refuses to believe so. Once landing, they split up to decipher where and when they have landed. The Doctor is first to run into one of the locals.

Instructed to wait for the Doctor, Steven and Vicki get impatient and begin to explore. Vicki accepts they are in 1066, but Steven still doesn't believe it. The concept is even more difficult to accept when he finds a wrist watch. Vicki wonders if the Doctor dropped it, but doesn't remember him wearing one. It's not long before they are also captured by the locals.

The locals (Saxons) turn out to be friendlier than thought. They release Steven and Vicki and are told the Doctor was also released and heading for the local monastery. The Doctor discovered the Monk is more than he appears; owning a gramophone and toaster. However the Monk isn't truly evil, he simply loves meddling with time. When an injured local (Eldred) is brought to him, the Monk helps with the aid of modern medicine. It seems the Monk felt Eldred must live.

Though quickly captured by the Monk, the Doctor escapes via a secret passage he finds. Vicki and Steven break into the monastery and discover the cell the Doctor was captive in and also the secret passage. The Doctor however returns to the monasteries front entrance and tricks the Monk into letting him inside and revealing his plans.

It's revealed the Monk is from the same planet as the Doctor (they have yet to be called Time Lords). Knowing who the mysterious Monk is, The Doctor devises a way to stop him from tampering with time. He steals the 'dimensional control' from his Tardis, making it impossible for the Monk to re-enter his Tardis. Plans thwarted, escape impossible, the Monk swears vengeance on the Doctor.

WHO: Meddling Monk
PLANET OF ORIGIN: Gallifrey (Though not called by name in this episode).
GOALS: To Meddle with time, possibly to enhance humans fast enough Shakespeare will be able to broadcast Hamlet on the television.
WEAKNESSES: Having his 'Dimensional Control' stolen.

NEXT: Katarina - A Mythical Companion?

05 November, 2010

Time Travel Museum

November 5th, 1955 is supposedly the date time travel was invented. And yet scientists have recently discovered time travel has been with us and will be for a long time. These time travel devices come in many shapes and sizes and even their special abilities differ. Below are a few of my favourite portable and semi-portable machines. Each currently residing in the forth-coming - Time Travel Museum

Name: Time Machine
History: To discover how mankind will evolve, George creates a time machine. Based on the book by H.G.Wells.
Ease of Use: High - Move lever forward to go forward in time and backward to go backwards.
Special Features: Can watch the passage of time as you travel.
First Appearance: The Time Machine, written by H.G. Wells 1895
Quote: "If that machine can do what you say it can do, destroy it, George! Destroy it before it destroys you!" - Filby

Name: Time Bubble
History: Used in the distant future (31st century) by a Legion of Super Heroes to travel back and forth to the 21st century (and other eras).
Ease of Use: Average - Apparently can be used with just a little technical training.
Special Features: Travels in space as well as time.
First Appearance: Adventure Comics #247 - April 1958
Quote: "Wait.. Wasn't the time bubble on THAT side of the room?" - Saturn Girl

History: Used by the renegade Time Lord known only as "The Doctor"
Ease of Use: Difficult - Even the Doctor has problems steering the Tardis.
Special Features: Can travel in space as well as time. The inside is vastly bigger than the outside.
First Appearance: BBC Television - November 23, 1963
Quote: "It's bigger on the inside than on the outside." - Almost every companion of the Doctor.

Name: Omni
History: When history goes wrong, it's Phineas Boggs job to correct things.
Ease of Use: High - Simply set the location and time and press a button.
Special Features: Indicates when history is wrong, and when it has been corrected. Travels in location as well as time.
First Appearance: Voyagers TV series - 1982
Quote: "We travel through time, to help history along, give it a push where it's needed." - Phineas Bogg

Name: Flying Delorean
History: Created by Doctor Brown to keep tabs on the progress of man.
Ease of Use: Average difficulty, knowledge of setting clocks and ability to drive a car.
Special Features: Equipped with a hover-conversion and fueled by garbage.
First Appearance: Back to the Future - Summer 1985
Quote: "The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?" - Doctor Brown

Name: Phone Booth Time Machine
History: Used by Bill and Ted to acquire personages from history to help them pass their history final exam.
Ease of Use: Above Average. Can be used by a couple of nit-wits.
Special Features: Can be used for magic tricks. Also travels in location as well as time.
First Appearance: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Summer - 1989
Quote: "Gentlemen... we're history." - Rufus

Name: Uncle Rico's Time Machine
History: Purchased by Uncle Rico from the Internet
Ease of Use: Impossible. Has yet to function properly.
Special Features: Destroys your ability to have children.
First Appearance: Napoleon Dynamite - 2004
Quote: "It's a piece of crap, it doesn't work!" - Napoleon Dynamite

So which is your favourite time machine and why? These and many others can be found in the Time Travel Museum - Brynbala Way; Cardiff, Wales
Write in for more details.

01 November, 2010

Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 5 "The Chase"

The Daleks Give Chase
It seems in the early episodes, any time something major happened, the Daleks were involved. The Tardis crew had several adventures together before another shake-up in the cast. It started when Barbara discovers the Daleks now have time travel technology and are hunting the Tardis crew for their past 'crimes'. The Doctor is quick to respond but Ian and Vicki have already gone off to explore the sand dunes of the planet Aridius they just landed on.

Ian and Vicki are promptly captured by the locals but quickly rescued by the Doctor. They quickly head off-planet to find a better place to fight the Daleks. The Tardis lands in various places such as an old amusement park, the Mary Celeste (the Daleks frighten all passengers overboard), and the Empire State Building. In one of the oddest moments, the hick Morton Dill is spared by a Dalek who is more bent on extermination the Tardis crew and essentially ignores the ignorant yokel.

While the Tardis crew are scrambling to get away from the Daleks at the amusement park, they are separated and the Doctor takes off mistakenly thinking Vicki is on board. Vicki's only option is to run inside the Dalek ship in hopes of catching up with her friends the next time the Daleks land. While in the Dalek ship, Vicki discovers the Daleks are capable of creating realistic robotic copies of people.

Finally, the Tardis lands on the planet Mechanus and the trio decide it's a good place to make a stand against the Daleks. However it isn't long before they are captured by the planets dominate life form, the Mechanoids. The Mechanoids are robots sent to the planet years before to make it habitable for humans. The group are reunited with Vicki and meet Steven Taylor. When producing the show, it was hoped the Mechanoids would become as popular as the Daleks; it never happened.

The Daleks and the Mechanoids don't exactly get along and a war is started between the two groups. With the Daleks and the Mehcanoids kept busy, the Tardis crew make their escape followed by Steven. Having captured the Daleks functioning time machine, Ian and Barbara bid farewell to the Doctor to head back home. Ironically, the Doctor seems more upset with them deciding to leave than when Susan left.

WHO: Steven Taylor

PLANET OF ORIGIN: Earth's future, though found on the planet Mechanus. 23rd Century

REASON FOR JOINING: Rescued by the Doctor and stows away on the Tardis.

WHO: Ian & Barbara

DEPARTURE LOCATION: Earth, circa 1965 (What's two years among friends)?

REASON FOR DEPARTURE: Took advantage of the Daleks time machine which was able to return them home.

NEXT: Meddling with Time