Wednesday 7 December 2011

The Keys Of Marinus

 There are only forty people in the world, and five of them are hamburgers.
-Captain Beefheart


The TARDIS lands, silently, on what appears to an island with a pyramid in the centre.  The Him picks up on this.

Him:  Pyramids of Giza.

Me:  That’s a very clear image.

Him: “It’s only a model.”  A model of Rhyl.

Ian, sensibly, makes sure that the Doctor checks the radiation levels first.  Barbara makes an interesting enquiry about the Doctor’s scanning equipment.

Him:  Eh?  Colour TV?  Was that even around then?

Turns out it was, but only in a prohibitively expensive fashion.  Our heroes exit the TARDIS and have a look around.  Elsewhere, the Voord arrive in stealthy submarine-type ships.

Him:  Shrimps!

The sea is still.

Him:  Why is it that everywhere they go there’s snow?

Me:  It’s sand this time.

Barbara asks if the sea might be frozen.

The Doctor:  No, impossible in this temperature.  Besides – it’s too warm.

The Him cracks up at this.  A Voord sneaks behind our heroes.  It looks suspiciously like a frogman.

Him:  And not only that, it’s playing an instrument.

It turns out that the sand has been changed to glass in places.  Susan finds a pool for paddling and drops a shoe in.  Ian points out that, perhaps, you wouldn’t want to paddle in something that’s managed to dissolve your footwear.

Me:  It’s gone educational again.

Him:  “Ian, why did you stop her?”

Me:  Susan missed an opportunity to scream there.

As the pool is tidal, and the sea is acid, it might be an idea to get to higher ground.

Him:  Why hasn’t it dissolved the rocks?

Susan heads back to the TARDIS for spare shoes.  Hearing her coming, the Voord stops trying to break in and hides itself behind a rock.

Him:  How did she not see it?

The Doctor chides Ian

The Doctor:  And if you’d had your shoes on, my boy, you could’ve lent her hers.

Him:  I love that line.

The, now empty, submarines are discovered.  Coming out of the TARDIS Susan spots flipper-like footprints.

Him:  Yeti!

Me:  They’re masters of disguise, these Voord.  Just you wait.

Barbara has found a submarine with something inside it.  Ian opens the top.

Him:  That bit he just took off isn’t glass.

There’s a crack down the side and so it is deduced that the submarine must’ve filled with acid on the journey over.  All that’s left is an empty wetsuit.  Ian spots the pyramid in the distance.

Him:  Would he not have already noticed that?

On a good day you can see forever.
Susan has followed the footprints to the pyramid, where a Voord lies in wait, behind a wall.  Some of the set catches the Him’s attention.

Him:  That’s a drawing.

Me:  It’s supposed to stretch a long way off into the distance.

Him:  It’s a drawing.

The Doctor deduces that the sea of acid is there to discourage visitors.  They decide to head to the pyramid and look for Susan. 

At the pyramid, the Voord preparing to ambush Susan is startled when the wall he’s leaning on revolves.  There’s someone inside, waiting for him…  Meanwhile, Susan wanders around some more.  The Doctor, Ian and Barbara arrive at the pyramid and start admiring the architecture.  Barbara brings up Egyptians and foreshadows The Aztecs.

Me:  History teacher you see.

They split up to walk around the base of the structure.  Suddenly, Susan screams- 

Him:  Ha!  They cut just before Ian and Barbara walked into the wall.

The Doctor vanishes into a revolving wall and someone steps up to fill the space where he was.

Me:  That was weird.  Oh – is that supposed to be Ian?  Or was it another Silent?

Him:  Yeah – it happened earlier too.  The Doctor walked behind them.  This pyramid’s shaped like a plus-sign.

Inside the pyramid, the Voord’s decided to stick with its original plan and is lying in wait for Susan.  A hooded figure appears from nowhere and distracts her before wandering off.

Him:  Why’s the Voord just been waiting there?

Me:  I think the hooded man just stabbed him.

Him:  Oh.

Me:  That looks an awful lot like chipboard.

Him:  Chip board?

By now everyone’s reunited.  The Doctor deduces that the Voord are being killed by the hooded man, but they are merely trapped.

Him:  So – where’s Chessington?

Me:  You can’t keep calling him that.

Him:  Why not?

Another Voord jumps the hooded man and Ian comes to the rescue.  The Voord, suddenly two-dimensional, falls through a hole and into the acid sea.

Him:  There goes Ian.

Me:  It wasn’t Ian.

The hooded man removes his hood and I can start calling him Arbitan.  He reveals to Ian that the Voord keep attacking the pyramid and he’s the only person left to defend it.

Me:  So.  The Voord.  Is that what they actually look like?

Him:  No – they’re green and slimy.

Me:  Are you saying that’s what they’re like under those wet suits?

Him:  Terry Nation could have called the world Acidus, I guess.

Me:  Why?  Because it’s covered in acid?

Him:  You’ve got it.

Arbitan explains that he’s looking after the Conscience Of Marinus, a machine that can control the minds of everyone on the planet.  They used it for good, naturally.  This all went on fine and dandy until a “man” called Yartek – who we’ll meet later, overcame its influence – and we’re into good versus evil.  Rather than destroy the machine, the five operating keys that made it run were removed.

Ian:  What did you do with them?

Him:  “I stomped on them.”

Four have been hidden elsewhere on Marinus, but Arbitan hung onto one and tinkered with the machine to make it irresistible.  Now, he’s decided the other keys need to be collected and returned.

Ian:  There must be someone you can send for these keys.

Him:  “Yes.  Guess who?”

Arbitan’s already sent everyone who isn’t a Voord, including his daughter, to go and get the keys.  None of them have returned.  With the arrival of the TARDIS he’s had a cracking idea…  But, sensibly, the TARDIS crew decline the offer and head back to the beach.

Me:  That was a wobbly rock.

Him:  Where?

Me:  The one that Susan nearly knocked over.

The TARDIS is surrounded by something.  Mime occurs.

Barbara:  It’s like an invisible wall.

Me:  “Made of mercury.”

Arbitan speaks to our heroes – his booming voice fills the air. 

The Doctor:  Arbitan!  Where are you?

Him:  “That’s not important right now.”

Arbitan offers them a choice.  They find the keys and he’ll let them back in the TARDIS or they can stay on the island and wait for high tide.

Arbitan:  The choice is yours.

Me:  Sounds like a rubbish game show.

Him:  I’m A Time Traveller, Get Me Out Of Here.

Reluctantly, our heroes agree.  The Doctor refuses to travel by Voord sub.

Arbitan:  I wouldn’t think of asking you to travel in such an absurd way.

Him:  He’s going to fire them out of a cannon.

Disappointingly, Arbitan hands out travel bracelets that’ll take them where they need to go.  Barbara vanishes.

Me:  That was a good effect.

Arbitan suggests they catch her up.  They twist the dials and are gone.

Arbitan:  For the sake of all my people, I hope you succeed.

Me:  It’s only you left, mate.

Shocked at its good fortune, a Voord that’s been lurking behind things suddenly strikes – killing Arbitan until he’s dead.

Him:  If someone stabs you in the back do you immediately clutch your chest?

Ian, the Doctor and Susan arrive somewhere else. 

Me:  Do you know what’s coming up?

Him:  “And there’s blood on it.”

Me:  The greatest instant cliffhanger.

Him:  Hang on.  Is that this episode’s cliffhanger?

There’s no immediate sign of Barbara, but Ian does find something…

Ian:  It’s Barbara’s travel dial.  Look – there’s blood on it!

Me:  Damn!  It’s not “and there’s blood on it”.

Him:  “Look!  It’s Barbara’s brain.  And there’s blood on it!”

Me:  What do you think of the overall idea for this story then?

Him:  I’d love to live in a house surrounded by acid.


Ian repeats the final declaration but the Doctor seems less concerned.

Him:  Do we find out why there’s blood on it?

Me:  Surely.

Our friends open a door, trigging off a disco.  When it fades, they find Barbara, reclining with grapes.

Me:  She’s got changed and settled in remarkably quickly.

The Doctor takes a proffered pomegranate.

Him:  He picked it up, he sniffed it and he put it back down.

Me:  At least he didn’t listen to it.

Despite Ian’s spider-sense tingling, the general consensus is they’ve landed on their feet.  Their host, Altos, arrives and reveals they are in the city of Morphoton where everyone is content and receives what they most desire.  Susan wants a dress.  And the Doctor?

Him:  “I would like to see the number made by subtracting five from infinity.  And a beating human heart.”

Me:  I’m not writing that.

The Doctor actually requests a laboratory.  Altos says he can have it in the morning.  Everyone falls asleep.  A throbbing noise fills the room.

Him:  He got his beating human heart.

Me:  Bah.

Sabetha comes in and begins placing things on the foreheads of our heroes.

Him:  Are those mints?

Me:  It’s a really slapdash hotel if they are.  And they’ve got a hair-trigger smoke alarm that goes off whenever anyone uses the shower.

Barbara’s knocked off her mint and set the disco off.  Luckily, she falls back to sleep.  The next morning Barbara is the last to wake.  While they’re waiting the others have breakfast, rub their foreheads and Susan's dress arrives.  Barbara eventually wakes up, but to her the opulence is anything but. Despite her protestations, the others can’t see it.

Barbara:  Look around you…

Having not long watched Look Around You, the classic TV for schools programme, this tickles us.

Him:  “Can you tell what we’re looking for?”

Me:  “That’s right.  It’s ‘the brain.’”

Barbara is becoming rather agitated.

Me:  It’s quite sinister just seeing it from Barbara’s point of view.

The Him is very amused by Barbara’s sudden rudeness.

Him:  “Dirty rags!”

Me:  Yes.

Altos arrives and offers to help Barbara.  Barbara declines and runs off.  Failing to find her, Altos reports the situation to The Brains Of Morphoton.

Him:  Arf.

Me:  Don’t mock the brain!

The Brains, who are marvellously well-spoken, suggest that disposing of Barbara might be an idea.

Me:  I am so going to draw a brain in a jar for this entry.

Sabetha is to be punished and, luckily, gets locked up with Barbara who attempts to talk her round

Barbara:  I believe you’re under some deep form of deep hypnosis.

Me:  Can’t get much deeper than that.

Elsewhere, Altos takes the Doctor and Ian to the laboratory and tells them not to worry about Barbara.

Altos:  She is now under deep sedation.

Me:  I stand corrected.

The Doctor’s laboratory is played by a dirty mug.

Me:  This is a clever scene.

Barbara notices that Sabetha has a key.

Him:  Oh – she’s Arbitan’s daughter!

The Brains are monitoring the brain-washing of our heroes.  And they’re pleased with how it’s going.

Him:  Oh, come on!  They’re worse than the spiders.

Me:  Spiders?

Him:  Planet of the Spiders spiders.

Me:  I love a good brain in a jar.

Him:  They’re just big inflated slugs filled with helium and egg.  No, not egg.  What’s that other stuff?  Oh, yeah – water.

Altos captures Barbara but is knocked out by Sabetha.  Barbara tells Sabetha she’s off to find her friends.

Barbara:  If I succeed I’ll come back for you.

Me:  “If I don’t, you’re on your own.”

Barbara finds Ian, but his conditioning is nearly complete and he brings her before The Brains.

Him:  Barbara’s got a long neck.

Me:  Like a swan?

Him:  Did she just get Ian to hold her?

Barbara is not impressed.

Him:  Look!  It’s wiggling threateningly!  The one at the front!

Ian is ordered to kill Barbara, a lot.  Barbara escapes and goes on a rampage.

Me:  She only breaks one jar – I guess they might’ve needed to do another take.

The final Brain’s eyestalk wilts alarmingly under Barbara’s frenzied assault which is so unexpected it leaves the Him in utter hysterics. Now that everything’s resolved, Altos and Sabetha offer to join the quest.  The Doctor outlines his plan.

Ian:  What?  You mean go two jumps ahead and try and find the fourth key?

Him:  “Actually, no.  I’m going on holiday.”

Me:  To Cromer.

Him:  Is that, or is that not, where the second doctor went in the Seeds of Death?

Me:  More stuff I’ll need to look up.

Susan goes on ahead and finds herself in a jungle. There is a terrible noise which upsets her somewhat.


Every so often we leave a bit of a gap between episodes.  On the whole we’re trying to get through each story in one sitting, but it isn’t always possible.  Between The Velvet Web and The Screaming Jungle there’s been a week (just like there would have been back in April 1964).

Susan’s still upset.  The others arrive. Ian’s dressing gown must be getting a bit ripe.

Him:  Did Barbara really just say, “Whatdidyouseetellme” and not give Susan any time to speak?

Me:  Like a big old awkward Nimon?

Him:  What?

Me:  “You will be killed, but first you will answer my questions – SILENCE!”

Him:  That’s right.  I remember that.  Anyway, back to Marinus.

Me:  It’s the garden centre from hell.

Sabetha shows an unexpected gift for comic timing.

Sabetha:  This is a dead place.

Ian:  Yes, it is a bit quiet, isn’t it?

Sabetha:  That isn’t quite what I meant.

Him:  I like that bit.

Susan and Barbara get left as the others explore a creeper-covered archway and wall.

Me:  These two are getting along much better now.

Susan describes the sound and says she’s heard it before.

Me:  Lady Gaga.

A creeper attacks Susan.

Me:  From nought to hysterical in no time at all.

After killing the creeper, Barbara finds a statue.  She allays Susan’s fears.

Barbara:  It’s alright.  It’s a big, grotesque statue.

Me:  That’s all right then.

Ian and the others have returned.  Barbara finds a key and gets kidnapped by the statue.

Him:  Must be on some sort of pivot.

Me:  Educational.

Sabetha:  I don’t want to raise false hopes, but maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem.

Him:  “I don’t really like Barbara.”

The statue rests itself, but Barbara isn’t there.  Ian sends the others on to the next level and stays to find Barbara.  Before she leaves, Sabetha notices that the key they’ve found isn’t a genuine one.

Me:  It’s a fake.  Designed to lure prey.

Him:  You don’t actually see her disappear.

Ian offers himself to the statue, which grabs and transports him to the other side of the wall.

Him:  It doesn’t look as good that time.  Surely, Barbara could have stayed on it and it would have brought her back?

Stepping on a pressure-activated paving slab, Ian activates a different statue.

Him:  Makes enough noise.  It’s all very Indiana Jones now.

Ian tries to open a door.

Ian:  It’s pretty solid.

Him:  It was wobbling a minute ago.

The door opens – and not subtly.  Barbara walks in and a net drops on her.

Him:  Why didn’t she tell Ian the door had opened?

Ian finds himself trapped.  To compound things the spike-filled ceiling above the be-netted Barbara starts to descend jerkily.

Him:  Is this the last one with Barbara?

Me:  No.

Enter Darrius – although he’s never named in the programme itself – he helps himself to the travel bracelet.

Darrius:  I will examine this.

Me:  “And if it works then I’ll be off.”

Ian frees himself and makes his way to where Darrius is being throttled by ivy.  Ian promptly starts hacking.

Him:  Ian!  You’re supposed to be helping him.

Me:  Does look as though Ian’s laying into him.

Darrius delivers some exposition, then dies.

Him:  That’s how I want to die.

Me:  Overacting furiously?

Him:  No.  “DE302 – the darkness – the whispering will start.”  Great last words.

Ian and Barbara try the safe but it’s not a combination.

Me:  Could just been a poem.

Him:  “Ian?  Is this it in this glass bottle over here?”

Me:  “No, that’s mercury.”

Him:  “It’s not like we ever need that.”

Stumped, Ian reads Darrius’ diary, where he discovers the scientist has been tampering with the natural order of things and creating furious foliage as a side-effect.  From outside, the screeching returns.

No comment.
Me:  That’s quite creepy.

Him:  And sounds nothing like whispering.

The jungle attacks our chums.

Him:  “Filthy rags!”  Did you see someone grab the vine and put it around Barbara’s legs?

Me:  Ah.  The Cybermat Attack approach – clutch it to you.

They find the key hidden in a bottle labelled DE302 – a twist of the travel dials and they’re out of there.

Me:  That jump was really effective as well.

Ian and Barbara have landed in the middle of a snowstorm – they immediately start to freeze.

Me:  Terry Nation seems to have it in for Ray Cusick.  First it’s the Daleks, now it’s designing a totally different location every week with no extra cash than you’d usually get for a six-parter.

The Him isn’t interested.

Him:  Apple and mango with apple and mango and orange squash is one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.

Me:  The structure reminds me of a computer game.  Solve the puzzle, find the key and get to the next level.

Him:  But the Doctor skipped two levels.  Did he press up, up, left, right, down, up, left and right?

Me:  What’s that do?  Unlock unlimited rice pudding?  Or is it the Go-On-Holiday cheat mode?

Him:  Go-On-Holiday cheat mode.

Me:  What do you think of Keys of Marinus so far then?

Him:  It’s ok.  I’m enjoying it actually, but I’ve always enjoyed this one.

Me:  What about it do you enjoy?

Him:  I don’t know.  I like the idea of the different areas.  I used to think they were different worlds until I realised it was all set on the same planet.


Me:  I’m pretty sure there’s a theory that this episode is the first one that Peter Davison remembers watching.  Even though Peter Davison himself said that it was Tomb of the Cybermen.

Him:  Well, then it’s quite obviously Tomb of the Cybermen.  He might’ve watched this but that doesn’t mean that he remembered it.

We rejoin Ian and Barbara in the snow.

Me:  What’s happened to the music?

Him:  It’s the Siren.  Oo – I’ve just worked out who opens the gate in An Unearthly Child.

Me:  Who?

Him:  It’s a Silent.  That’s how far back they go.

Ian and Barbara saved from the snow by a big, hairy chap named Vasor.  He takes them back to his hunter’s hut where they warm up.  Barbara thanks Vasor.

Barbara:  We’d have frozen to death.

Vasor:  Ah, the wolves would’ve eaten you first.

Me:  Lovely.

Vasor tells them that Altos has been and gone.  Ian swaps his travel dial for furs so he can look for Altos.

Him:  Didn’t he say that there were gloves over there?

Me:  Wandering through the cold with uncovered arms is a bit of a season one theme.

In the hut.

Vasor:  We’re alone.

Him:  “So if you’d just pop yourself into the cauldron.”

Ian finds Altos, tied up in the snow.   Back in the hut, Barbara finds Sabetha’s belongings in a drawer.  She confronts Vasor who admits abandoning the girls on the mountain and that he’s rigged Ian’s bag to draw the wolves.

Barbara:  What did you put in it?

Me:  Velociraptor eggs.

Turns out it’s meat in the bag.  Ian dumps it sharpish.  The wolves find the abandoned bag and Ian and Altos return to the hut and rescue Barbara.  They persuade Vasor to lead them to the cave where the girls are.  In the mountain Susan and Sabetha have found a rope bridge.

Traversing the Enormous Gorge.
Him:  You never say “don’t look down” to someone crossing a bridge, even one as short as that.

Vasor says he’s afraid of the demons of the mountain.  The girls have found a grotto guarded by frozen Templars.

Me:  Continuing the Indiana Jones theme by going a bit Last Crusade.

Him:  Only the bridge in Last Crusade was invisible.

Susan and Sabetha are, mostly, rescued.

Him:  They’ve left Vasor on the other side of the bridge.

Vasor wrecks the bridge.

Me:  You can’t see the bridge now…

Him:  Yeah, but the Last Crusade bridge was there but just made of rock so you couldn’t see it.  Which is pretty clever because they must’ve actually had to build it.

Me:  I think it was really early CGI.

Him:  I thought they didn’t have special effects back then?

Me:  They did.  But, special effects aren’t just CGI.

Our heroes stare forlornly at the small ditch in front of them.

Ian:  It’s too wide to jump!

Him:  It’s really not.

Dejected, they head back to the knight’s chamber to look for logs to place across the gap.  Susan gets upset and inspects the knights.

Susan:  They seem so lifelike.

Me:  “That one’s wobbling.”

They find the next key – suspended in a giant block of ice.

Him:  How?

They find a pipe with a valve.  Barbara turns the valve and the key begins to defrost.  A side-effect of this is that it defrosts the knights as well.

Me:  “They have chosen… poorly.”

Him:  It’s not actually melting is it?  That’s just dripping sound effects.

Me:  Yup.

Ian and Altos create a makeshift bridge.  The knights have defrosted.

Barbara:  It’s alive.

We sing the “It’s Alive” song as the knights advance inexorably.

Him:  Move the rock and bring down the ice!

The Him’s getting really into this episode.  Susan crosses the bridge.  Ian traps the knights.  Susan makes it – the bridge is rebuilt – but the knights are free now and give chase.  Ian wrecks the new bridge.

Having escaped the mountain, our chums revist Vasor, grab their things and make to teleport away.  Vasor grabs Susan, cackles and gets axed in the kidneys.  Our friends are away, leaving the knights in the hut.

Him:  “Remind me again, Terry.  How did we get over the gap?”
“We jumped it, Albert.”
“Oh yes.  It wasn’t very wide was it?”
“No.  Oh well, our work here is done.  Back to the mountain.”

Ian has arrived somewhere else that looks like a museum.  Ian finds the key straight away.  Unfortunately it’s next to a body.  Ian gets hit on the head by an unseen assailant and has a mace placed in his hand.

Me:  And there’s blood on it.

The gloved assailant then steals the key and sets off an alarm.

Him:  Why was the key in a museum?

Me:  I’m sure all will be revealed.  I think it’ll turn out to be the Taran Wood Beast in the gloves.

Him:  Since when was the Taran Wood Beast that subtle?

Me:  Touche!

Him:  Ciao.

Me:  You got well into that episode.

Him:  I’m really enjoying this one.  But why knock Ian out?

Me:  To frame him.

Him:  But it doesn’t work because Ian didn’t steal the key.

Me:  Yeah, but he’s holding the weapon.

Him:  Look.  Say Ian’s killed the guard and then set off the alarm and thrown the key out of a window.  How’s he knocked himself out?  At what stage does this frame him?  He quite obviously can’t have taken the key.

Me:  We’ll see what happens.

Him:  I remember what happens, I’m just saying it doesn’t work.


Me:  I’ve just realised that we’re watching this on Wiiliam Russell’s birthday. 

(It’s the 19th November).

Him:  Cool.


Me:  Don’t say it.

Him:  Who’s Wiliam Russell?

Me:  Ian!

Ian wakes up, but probably not because of the shouting.

Him:  Ian lets go of the mace instantly.  Oh – was it for the fingerprints?

Ian is confronted by Tarron, an interrogator in the Guardian Division.

Me:  Terry Nation had a thing for characters with names that sounded like “Terry N”.  Tarron.  Tarrant.


Me:  Servalan.

Him:  If you say so.

Ian is interrogated.  Tarron opens a door, accuses Ian of murder and then closes a door.

Me:  Their laws are the inverse of ours – we’re innocent until proven guilty.

Him:  Right.  But here people are guilty until proven innocent?

Me:  Yeah.

Barbara, Susan, Sabetha and Altos find Ian.  The Doctor returns.  The break seems to have done William Hartnell some good, and he’s on top form.

Me:  “I leave you alone for a fortnight and now look at this mess…”

In The Courtroom of Millenius, Ian is formally accused.  The Doctor is accepted as Ian’s defence representative.

Me:  One of the judges was in the Enthusiastic Supporting Artist section of Doctor Who Monthly.  He’d been charged with relentless agreement.

The defence team bury themselves in research.

Him:  That’s a big book.

Tarron escorts the defence team around the crime-scene.

Me and Him:  Yay!

Tarron recaps how he found Ian, the dead man and no key.

Susan:  That’s fantastic-

Him:  I hardly think so.

Me:  That’s language for you.

With Tarron gone, the Doctor reconstructs the crime.

Me:  And that’s also language for you.  Is that our first subtitled Hartnellism?

Him:  Yeah.  Are you calling them Hartnellisms?

Me:  That’s what they’re known as.

There’s a confrontation with Aydan, our first suspect who isn’t Ian.

Him:  He’s not very suspicious is he?

Me:  “If we make him angry perhaps he’ll make a mistake.”

Aydan and Kala, his wife, have an argument.  Back in the courtroom the mace, under psychometric examination is found to have been held by Ian.

Me:  You were right.

Him:  What do you mean?

Me:  That’s why whoever did it made sure that Ian held the mace.

Him:  Oh yeah.

Me:  Well done.

Him:  You said you’d make dinner after this episode.

Me:  It’s nearly finished.

The prosecution rests and the Doctor begins his closing statement so powerfully that the judge gasps, causing the Him to crack up.  The missing key is revealed and so is the murderer who is promptly murdered.  The number of keys is confusing the Him.

Him:  How have they got three?

Me:  They’ve picked them up along the way.

Him:  Oh – of course.  I remember.

The intrigue builds, Ian’s still on the hook.  Barbara receives a phonecall.  It’s from Susan who’s got herself kidnapped and is about to be killed.


Him:  They didn’t actually have separate stories back then did they?

Me:  More like the whole thing being a long story?

Him:  They weren’t called things like “The Daleks” or “The Keys of Marinus” were they?  It was just an episode a week.

Me:  That’s right.  The names that we know these early ones by are – mostly - the ones that the production team were using in order to differentiate between them.

Him:  Yeah – because you’d have been able to tell when a new story had begun because the other characters would change.

Me:  That’s another reason that this one’s a bit weird, because the location keeps changing from episode to episode.  When we finally get back to the Sea of Death it’ll have been over a month since the original viewers would have seen it.

Him:  So this one really reminds you of a video game?

Me:  Only in structure.  It’s got a proper Saturday morning RKO serial feel to it.  It reminds me a bit of Flash Gordon or The Rocketeer or even Perils of Nyoka and that might go some way to explaining the Indiana Jones vibe as well because they had similar sources.  Although, having said that, the thing that we’ve seen recently that most reminded me of a video game was the Tintin movie.  And who directed that?

Him:  Steven Spielberg.

Me:  And who helped write it?

Him:  Steven Moffatt.

Me:  And none of that means anything.


Him:  Tintin?  How’s that like a video game?

Me:  The structure.  Here’s a problem – you need to get the keys without waking everyone.  You’ve done it?  Great.  Now you’ve got to escape and if you do that we’ll have a cut scene as a reward.  Alright, it felt more like watching someone else play a computer game.  The whole structure thing is really plot mechanics showing through.

Him:  Scott Pilgrim’s more like a computer game.

Me:  Scott Pilgrim looks like a computer game.  Edgar Wright helped write Tintin too.

Him:  Who’s Edgar Wright?  I don’t know any of these names.  These names mean squat.  I need a decoder.

Me:  Darth Maul’s voice stole Edgar Wright’s beard in Look Around You.  And he failed to prevent the escape of Bournemouth.

Him:  Okay.  I still don’t know who he is.  Everyone’s got stalkers.

Me:  What?

Him:  Where are the ear cleaners?

Me:  Don’t be cheeky.

Him:  What?

Me:  Eh?


Barbara decides not to distract the Doctor with the news about Susan.

Him:  “It’s no good my dear, I can hear you through the keyhole.”

Me:  The Keyholes Of Marinus.

Next to a noisy clock, Ian waits patiently for execution.

Him:  It’s Countdown!

Me:  Extreme Countdown.

Barbara and the others ask Kala for help.  She cries.  The Him spots something.

Him:  Hang on.  How did she know they’d spoken to Susan?

After Barbara has left, Kala turns out to be more than we’d suspected.  Ian is to be killed at the next Zenith.

Me:  I don’t think Grant Morrison’s writing any more of them so Ian should be alright.

Barbara has a “wait-a-moment” moment which cheers the Him.  Susan is rescued and starts crying.  The Doctor, meanwhile, is feeling a bit down in the dumps.

Him:  I got Tarron and Aydan mixed up so this has been really confusing for me because I thought they were the same person.

Just when it looks as though everything’s alright, Kala names Ian as her accomplice and it’s back to square one for the defence team.

The Doctor concocts a cunning plan and as a result the villain is caught, the key is found and Ian is freed.  Conscious of having riddled this blog with spoilers up to now, these bits are going to be a bit vaguer from now on.  When I remember.

Our triumphant chums return to the Sea Of Death.

Me:  All the transport effects are really good.  That might be a bit strong.  They work – all the transport effects work.

Enter Yartek, the BBV.*

Him:  It’s Katy Manning!  There – behind Sabetha!

It’s actually a Voord that comes through a door interestingly.

Me:  Are those helmets or heads?

Him:  Heads.

Me:  I’ll be asking that question again.  Once in The Horns Of Nimon and once in the eleventh Doctor 3D cinema trailer.

Yartek gets the keys.

Me:  The TARDIS crew seem to be friends now.

Him:  They’ve been friends since Edge Of Destruction.  They just tolerated each other in The Daleks.
"I'm a genius.  Yes, I am."

Yartek applies the keys.

Him:  It’s a music machine!

Yartek:  One more…

Me:  “And I will have made a chord.”

Yartek disguises himself by putting his hood up – which seems to totally fool Ian and Susan.

Him:  He hasn’t got a face!

After a sensible chat about Altos’ suitability as a suitor for Sabetha, Ian gives Yartek the final key.

Him:  That’s the fake key isn’t it?

Yarteks reveals himself by taking down the hood.

Him:  “It was murder getting that over my head.”

Elsewhere, the Doctor has freed love’s young dream.  Ian reveals his deception and a rapid retreat is suggested.

Me:  The Doctor was trying to leave while poor Altos was trying to finish his line.
Yartek inserts the wrong key into the Conscience and everything blows up.  Back at the TARDIS, the Doctor says a hasty eulogy for Arbitan and our heroes leave.

Him:  No vworp vworp?  No wheezing groaning sound?

Me:  Apparently not.  That all wrapped up very suddenly.

Him:  Yes.

Me:  “Next episode – The Temple Of Doom.”  See?  Indiana Jones again.

Him:  It said, “The Temple of Evil.”

Me:  Well I’ll be.  So it did.


*Big Bad Voord.  Sorry.

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