Him: Hang on! This is the one where Barbara kills a pet and nearly loses her hair and it turns out that Bennet's Koquillion!
Me: Now we've loads to get written for this.
Me: Because it’s only a two-parter.
Me: Because it’s only a two-parter.
Him: We probably shouldn’t have started just after lunch, really.
Me: No. No, we probably shouldn't have.
Me: No. No, we probably shouldn't have.
We start with the TARDIS landing somewhere, then cut to a crashed spaceship beeping cheerfully to itself. Panning around inside the ship, in the same way that Alien won't even slightly be doing about fourteen years later, we’re greeted to a futuristic, and deserted, control room. Just next to a screen with a flashing dot that, I imagine, represents the TARDIS, is a piece of modern art labelled ‘Aphelion’. The screen with the flashing dot and beeping noise also doesn’t crop in Alien in about fourteen years. ‘Aphelion’ is, in a genuinely unconnected point, the title of a track from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack. It's at this point that the Him begins, what can only be described as, ‘blipping’.
Him: I used to do that in shops: make a ‘blip’ noise along with the machines.
Me: I’m glad you don’t do that any more.
A young woman enters the spaceship. She’s Vicki, and she’s excited by the beeping.
Vicki: Bennett, Bennett, the rescue ship’s landed!
Vicki tears enthusiastically through the remains of the ship and hops into a room to annoy Bennett who’s having a lie-down.
Him: Vicki looks really creepy.
Him: Her eyes look really big. They must be brown or something, because when she looks at the camera…
The Him shudders.
Him: I’ll get used to her.
Bennett’s fairly sure it can’t be the rescue ship, as that isn’t due for another couple of days and won’t find them on Dido (which is where they’ve crashed) without some sort of signal. In order to doubly smash Vicki’s enthusiasm, Bennett tells her to contact the ship but – deep breath for maximum enunciation – watch out for Koquillion.
Me: It’s a good name.
Him: Is it a real name?
Vicki contacts the rescue ship which isn’t on Dido. Bother.
Him: Where’d they get all this equipment from?
Me: D’you mean the series in general, or Vicki and Bennett?
Him: Vicki and Bennett.
Me: They’ve crashed in their ship, so it’s... their ship.
The inside of the TARDIS is looking a bit posh, as do Ian and Barbara. The Doctor’s having a nap.
Me: There’s been a bit of a makeover. Ian, Barbara and the TARDIS all look very smart. And the Doctor’s quite relaxed for someone’s who just abandoned his grandchild.
Me: This is the start of the second series proper, I guess.
Him: Because this is the first one without Susan? So, this is the first story of the second series?
Him: Isn’t Ian about seven years older than Barbara?
Me: I think you’re right if we’re going on the original idea for the character.
Ian and Barbara wake the Doctor up.
The Doctor: Don’t tell me I’ve been off to sleep.
Him: That’s you. You’re just like that.
The Doctor, despite just being woken up, is in a very cheerful mood.
Me: He’s certainly a lot friendlier now.
Him: Rather than being all fed up and throwing them off the ship every five minutes.
All the instruments seem to be quite positive about the conditions. The Doctor tries the scanner. Looks like a cave. Forgetting for a moment, the Doctor calls for Susan. There’s a poignant pause.
Barbara: Doctor, why don’t you show me how to open the doors?
Him: “Just click your fingers.”
Me: Jacqueline Hill had very kind eyes.
Him: Let’s move onto a different subject, other than your weird Jacqueline Hill fixation.
Our chums exit the TARDIS and encounter an ‘orrible smell.
Overwhelmed, the Doctor goes for a nap.
Him: See? He’s you!
Ian: He isn’t getting any younger, is he?
Me: Not yet, anyway.
Deciding against a nap, after hearing Ian and Barbara being cheeky, the Doctor returns.
The Doctor: Pick up that stone for me.
Him: “And hit yourself on the head with it.”
The Doctor and the pebble return to the TARDIS. Barbara thinks the Doctor’s missing Susan.
Him: “Aaaargh! There’re more Daleks! Grandfather!”
Ian and Barbara wander off into the light. Koquillion suddenly appears by the TARDIS.
Him: It looks cool and everything, but why’s Koquillion just standing next to the TARDIS staring at nothing?
Ian and Barbara stare out across a desolate landscape.
Ian: Barbara! Look! It’s a spaceship!
Me: “And there’s blood on it!”
Ian spots a flag. It’s a Union Jack.
Me: Nice model shot there.
Will the universal constant of Big Ben get a mention? Ian spots wrecked buildings next to the spaceship wreckage.
Him: Maybe it’s connected?
Ian and Barbara meet Koquillion.
Him: Ooop. There’s one Didonian left and it’s got sticky-out eyes. Koquillion works – even if his eyes don’t.
Me: It really works.
Koquillion has the air of the sort of thing you’d get from spraying a flea with gold and having a peek at its startled face-parts under an electron-microscope. He also sounds oddly familiar. As there are no knights questing today, Ian and Barbara get the questions three. Answering them successfully, Ian is sent to fetch the Doctor. While he’s gone Koquillion shows Barbara his spanner and she falls off the cliff.
Him: “Not again.”
The Doctor consults his script and works out they’ve landed on the planet Dido. He’s been there before.
Me: Years ago, eh? The Doctor’s past is becoming truly elastic.
Koquillion uses his spanner, which may well be sonic, to engineer a rock fall on Ian. The Doctor emerges from the TARDIS to see what all the noise is about. Barbara has landed, possibly after some swift pruning on her descent. A shadow falls across her. Ian regales the Doctor with what led to the rock fall. Despite not having a degree, the Doctor has been on Dido before and found the Didodians to be lovely fellows. Ian’s worried about Barbara. Vicki’s making a bed when Koquillion pops in to see her.
Me: He spends the rest of the time asking questions at the Bridge of Death.
Koquillion says that his people killed the visitors.
Him: “I am spiky! And have bones growing out of my neck!”
Me: Vicki’s jumper is a similar design to Koquillion’s ruff.
Koquillion pops through to have a chat with Bennett. Barbara and Vicki exchange introductions and exposition. During Vicki’s monologue the ship is revealed to only have three walls.
Me: Found the camera, then.
Him: “Now, I shall drain their souls!”
Vicki reveals that Bennett can’t walk.
Him: How did Bennett open the door for Koquillion?
Ian and the Doctor are still stuck.
Him: When was the Doctor here before?
Vicki’s still patching up Barbara. Vicki shows Barbara her flares and then starts shouting at her. This wakes Bennett who drags himself to the cockpit. Koquillion’s gone.
Him: “He left through the… through the… uh… the window.”
Vicki introduces her new friend, Barbara. Bennett’s a bit worried by this development and faints. Ian and the Doctor are on a ledge above quite a chasm and a ravenous monster.
Me: That’s a good shot.
Him: Even if it’s not terrifying in the least.
Suddenly spikes pop out from the wall and the cliff starts trying to murder Ian.
Me: That’s a proper cliffhanger. Oh – and Koquillion’s played by a different actor. ‘Sydney Wilson’?
* And, as those spoilers're from a story originally broadcast in January 1965, you’ve had plenty of time to watch it and I'm not going to apologise.
Ian’s still stuck.
Him: Duck down!
Me: It wouldn’t work.
Him: He could.
Me: There’s no room.
Him: In one of the shots you can see that there’s enough room to duck down, because the spikes aren’t in the bottom.
Him: In the close-up of Ian. There was plenty of room.
Me: I’m not convinced. Although, the drop doesn’t seem to be as far as it was before.
Having escaped the spikes, Ian asks the Doctor what purpose they could possibly serve.
The Doctor: I’ve no idea. I’ve never seen it before in my life.
Him: You’ve just never been in this part of Dido before.
Back on the ship, Bennett’s coming round. Barbara takes the opportunity to be rude about Koquillion.
Him: “Koquillion’s an idiot – an imbecile!”
Me: “He’s not! He’s a genius! And handsome…”
Bennett gets taken back to bed. The Doctor and Ian continue exploring.
Him: I remember watching this the first time.
Me: Do you?
Vicki is collecting water whilst a beastie watches her from within a cave. Barbara finds the flare gun.
Me: I’m not surprised she’s handling that nervously.
The Doctor and Ian find a door but ignore it in favour of daylight. Vicki draws closer to the monster-infested cave.
Me: That sky needs ironing.
Barbara sees the misunderstood monster approaching Vicki and roaring. She grabs the flare gun.
Him: A firework falls off this –
Barbara kills the beast. Vicki becomes upset as it was her pet, with a name and everything.
Me: Oops. Vicki’s definitely a replacement for Susan.
Him: How long’ve they been stuck there?
Me: At least a week.
Hearing the sounds of pet assassination, the Doctor and Ian make their way in that direction. Koquillion lurks around a bit. Our heroes are reunited. The Doctor has some advice for the distraught Vicki.
Him: “Blow your face and wipe your nose.”
Ian: Cheer up, Vicki.
Him: “At least we’ll eat tonight.”
It’s all a bit heartless.
Me: “Having just murdered her beloved pet, Vicki was finding it difficult to trust the smiling strangers.”
Vicki starts emoting.
Me: Vicki won’t get to do anything other than scream from now until she leaves, so it’s nice she’s got all these different emotions to have a play around with here.
Vicki and the Doctor have a chat and the Doctor decides to go and see Bennett. He knocks the door.
Me: “Did you see the game last night, sir?”
Vicki, Ian and Barbara discuss the Doctor and time-travel. Vicki reckons Barbara’s a bit old - at least five-hundred and fifty.
Me: That’s very rude.
Ian thinks this is hilarious. Vicki then starts dissing the Doc.
Me: “He can’t even open a door.”
Meanwhile, the Doctor’s broken into Bennett’s room.
Him: If the Doctor’s told that he can’t come in, does he always automatically bash the door down?
Me: It’s his inquisitive nature.
Poking around Bennett’s room the Doctor discovers a recording device.
Him: Oh no…
The Doctor presses ‘play’ and the pieces fall into place…
Bennett: You can’t come in.
Him: Oh, phew. I thought it was going to be a recording of the rescue ship.
The Doctor finds a hatch in the floor.
Him: Isn’t this a spaceship? What use would that hatch be?
The Doctor has found an underground temple.
Me: That music’s really effective.
Him: And when did Bennett build this?
Me: It was there already.
Ian, Barbara and Vicki start to look for the vanished Doctor and Bennett. The Doctor and Koquillion have found each other.
|"I'm a genius. Yes, I am."|
Me: As much as I love him, I’m not sure I’m going to risk trying to draw Koquillion.
Him: This is a bit like a Scooby-Doo episode.
Me: That’s another part of the beauty of it – he’s a man in a suit.
Me: And he’d have gotten away with it –
Him: “-if it wasn’t for you meddling time-travellers.”
Me: This is quite a good scrap. Hartnell’s giving all he’s got.
Mid-fight, the planet’s original inhabitants appear. Terrified by the beastly Didonians, Bennett falls to his death and there’s a fade out.
Him: I don’t think the Didonians’re that scary.
The Doctor recovers in the TARDIS. Ian and Barbara found him and borrowed the key. The Doctor tells them Bennett’s awful secret.
Me: “What? ‘Kocky-Licking’?”
The question of Vicki is raised.
Me: “Well – Bennett did kill her father. And, I guess, we did kill Bennett. And Sandy. Leaving her here, alone, to starve might be a little bit harsh.”
Him: Isn’t Vicki only with them for one story?
Me: You’ll have to wait and see.
Him: This is interfering with history.
Me: Eh? How?
Him: Because this didn’t happen the first time around.
Me: This is the first time around.
Him: No, it’s not. It’s happened before.
Vicki opts to join the TARDIS crew and stunt her character development forever.
Him: “And – sorry about Sandy.”
Vicki joins them on the TARDIS and makes an observation.
Vicki: But, it’s huge!
Back on the wrecked spaceship the Didonians kill the radio. The TARDIS leaves properly and Ian and the Doctor discuss what they’ve learned.
Him: What’s the next one? Oh, it’s The Romans. Does all of that exist?
Me: It does.
The TARDIS lands on, and then and falls off, a cliff.
Him: Fell over a bit quick there.
Me: Subverting the expectations of the cliffhanger, y’see?
Him: Koquillion and Bennett get the proper credit.
Me: Yeah. I’d forgotten it was listed as an amalgam of Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson in the first episode. I guess it would have given it away otherwise. Anyway – a bit brief that. Thoughts?
Him: I do think Koquillion looks good from face-on. And it’s a shame that this was black and white because I think he was blueish** and that would’ve looked really good.
Me: Marvellous. That was fairly painless.
Him: Yeah. It’s quite a good one. It’s not really science-fiction, even though it’s set in the future. On an alien world. Basically, the science-fiction ones scream out, “I’m a science-fiction!”
Me: Even the historicals?
Him: No. They’re set in the past.
Me: Yeah, but there’s that pesky time-travel element and TARDIS to make the whole thing science-fiction.
Him: That one didn’t feel like science-fiction – not like The Daleks, which is total science-fiction.
Me: It’s alright. I’m just winding you up.
NEXT: THE SLAVE TRADERS
Me: Another science-fiction one. Tch.
Him: An historical.***
Me: You reckon?
The argument continues…
**The second issue of the phenomenal VworpVworp comes with a postcard of Paul Cemmick’s excellent Doctor Who crowd scene, and Koquillion certainly does appear to be blueish in it.
***Brought up proper, see?