parrot_knight (parrot_knight) wrote,

Doctor Who: the recoveries

(Typed on the coach - apologies for poor formatting and spelling mistakes.)
So, there I was at Missing Believed Wiped, having sat through a good Dennis Potter play, listened to Kenith Trodd be surprised the audience wasn't as visibly shocked by the 1966 racism, enjoyed Frank Mumford's puppets advertising VP wines and cigarettes (Empire) and singing Burl Ives songs, and watched a lightweight docudrama about a Norwegian agent in the Second World War who impersonates an SS officer, but kills his girlfriend's brother. (This was called The Man Who Changed Faces. It's as if they were trying to tell us something.)

Then followed a brief Pete and Dud sketch from 1978 - great timing, an obsessipn with Anna Raeburn, and the comparison of a Cosmopolitan diagram of a woman's erogenous zones to the London Underground map - and then the mystery 'BBC SciFi Footage'. Why were there so many big name Doctor Who fans in the audience?

Of course, I knew by then (though had been misled earlier in the day.) Mark Gatiss came down from the back and introduced Ralph Montagu of the Doctor Who Restoration Team and Terry Burnett, a former TVS staffer from whose film collection these episodes were recovered. There was a brief chat and Mark Gatiss gave the run DVD order. The Hartnell titles began...

We started with Galaxy 4: Airlock, of which we saw about ten minutes asthe timelot had been arranged with one episode only in mind. Design seems non-naturalistic; the Rill ship seems to involve a lot of ltticework (of thesame pattern as seen on walls in several later Docotr Who stories). Stephanie Bidmead has an impressive speech as the put-upon, exasperated but self-disciplined Maaga, whop knows the flws in her own people's system: how can you run an invasion in space when only the commanding officer is able to think? Until now, I did not know that the Chumblies sparkled. They also lead Vicki off in body-cuffs, and burble along merrily like less dementd Quarks.

The Underwater Menace 2 is... better than one might expect. It's a better opportunity than ep 3 is to see the regulars in action. Troughton's performance is more raw than it will later become, with more physical comedy (he punches his head and pulls a face to illustrate how mad Zaroff is, anticipating his more restrained dismissal of Klieg in Tomb) ; for the first time since the mass junkings we have footage of Jamie in his original Highlanders costume, and Frazer is already eclipsing poor Michael Craze. Anneke Wills doesn't have much to do except run around in a surgical gown and hide. This episode makes explicit that th plot is a school science project taken to extremes; the Doctor even demonstrates the effects of the raising of Atlantis to Ramo in a practical. Troughton's hat countin this part is two - a plastic souwester early on, and then full anemone-like Atlantean priestly headwear for his audience with Thous. Quite mad as a premise, and it flounders a bit, but Menace's reputation is enhanced by this recovery.

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Tags: doctor who, old television
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