Time is not a road – it is a room.
- John Fowles
THE SPACE MUSEUM
Following the recap we’re greeted to an awful lot of spaceships in model form. The TARDIS lands and everyone’s changed out of what they were wearing in The Crusade to something different altogether. It’s at this point Ian makes a startling observation:
Him: That bit finally makes sense.
Me: How d’you mean?
Him: The clothes and things. Now we’ve seen – well, ‘seen’ is rather a strong word – now that I’ve heard The Crusade.
Me: Half of The Crusade’s in moving…
Him: ‘Status’? So, The Myth Makers – do the BBC have any of that?
Me: Apart from brief clips imported from Australia, I don’t think so.
The Doctor doesn’t seem over-bothered, and largely ignores the change of dress. Vicki wants to make sure the clothes are actually hanging up and not just strewn around the zero room or something. The Doctor agrees with this and sends her off to check. And get him a drink.
Him: Basically, “Just get me a glass of water.”
Me: This doesn’t make any sense at all.
Vicki checks the clothes are where they should be and then heads up to an old friend.
Me: It’s the TARDIS Food-a-matic! We haven’t seen that in ages.
Vicki picks up the glass of programmed water and, for no reason at all, drops it on the floor. Luckily, after only a moment, it cleans itself up and jumps back into her hand.
Him: That’s cool.
Checking the scanner, Barbara spots a lot of spaceships and rockets. Ian thinks it’s a tip, but the Doctor doesn’t agree. Vicki returns with the water and explains what happened. Again, no-one seems over-bothered.
Him: That effect with the glass – how much would that have cost?
Me: More than you’d think, probably. Although it’s just film running backwards, it’s still film, so that’s a different recording session. And, it’s running backwards so there’s some technical jiggery-pokery. The clip would have been played as live tele-cine in-between the rest of the take.
The Doctor decides they’ve landed next to a museum, giving Barbara a chance to say the story's title. Perhaps they could pop out and have a quick chat with tourist information?
The Doctor: I’m sure that you would agree with me that there are several things we’d like an answer to.
Me: “Which is a shame really, as we won’t be getting one.”
The TARDIS doors open and our chums troop out.
Me: Oh – watch Ian.
Him: What am I looking for?
Him: He keeps banging his hands together.
Me: Clever, isn’t it?
Everything seems very still and a bit strange. Nobody seems to notice their shadows are stretching for miles. The Doctor comments on the level of erosion and how the planet appears completely dead.
Ian: I’ve always associated extinction with extreme cold.
Him: “No – the temperature’s all wrong. Besides, it’s too warm.”
The floor is covered with centuries of dust. Ian is concerned.
Ian: Then why aren’t we leaving any footprints?
Him: You are! Well, Vicki is.
Our heroes tramp to the entrance of the entrance of this Space Museum.
Me: All looks a bit maths.
Him: Ian continues to leave footprints.
Barbara is perturbed by something she’s noticed.
Barbara: It’s the Silence.
Me: “There they are.”
Him: “Silence-Will-Fall…” Over the silence there’s an eerie tune.
Me: I don’t think that our heroes can hear the music.
Him: Oh. Why not?
Me: Vicki’s tiny – I’d never noticed that before.
Suddenly, the doors to the Space Museum slide open. Our heroes take cover, probably in case they need to pay an astronomical admission fee. Two gentlemen dressed in white stride out of the museum. Vicki has a comedy sneeze building. Barbara places her finger under Vicki’s nose.
Him: Does that stop people from sneezing?
Me: Only if they like you.
Him: If this is a museum then why are they hiding? Come to that, why are The Space Museum and The Chase in a box-set together? Which one of them’s rubbish?
Me: It’s possible that The Space Museum might be coasting on the drawing power of a Dalek story with the Beatles in it.
Vicki sneezes but Barbara isn’t inconvenienced. The men somehow didn’t hear. Our chums scurry in and look around. It still feels weird. And there aren’t any windows.
The Doctor: I think there’s probably something in the atmosphere that has a very slow, destructive property.
Me: That’ll be all that pesky entropy.
Although 'fluorescence' is a tricky word at the best of times, the Doctor is pleased that his diagnosis of museum has proven accurate. He warns Vicki not to touch anything.
Me: Maureen O’Brien’s working really hard.
And then there’s a Dalek! Vicki is curious rather than cowering against a wall, screaming her lungs out, as one would expect. She’s read about them in history books. Ian explains that they were there during the Dalek invasion that Vicki's read about, and helped to kill them off – for the second time. It’s unlikely that those beasties will be ever be heard of again. Or so he hopes. There’s a sudden panic and two blokes, dressed in black this time, come into the room. Totally failing to spot the cowering TARDIS crew, they have a silent conversation that seems to go on for ages, before wandering off.
Me: Well, that killed a minute.
Him: It wasn’t a minute. It was only about twenty seconds.
The exploration of the museum continues, until Vicki follows the Doctor’s instruction not to touch the exhibits, to the letter.
Him: Vicki puts her hand behind an object.
Ian has a go and finds his hand passes through the exhibit as well. It looks pretty good.
The Doctor: Incredible.
Me: That’s a special effect for you.
More chaps arrive for a silent scheme. They walk right by our chums without acknowledging them. Our friends are finding this day a bit odd.
The Doctor: In all my years of time travelling, I…
Me: Oh, it’s ‘years’ now, is it?
Later on, after a long walk through the museum, our friends find the TARDIS, which is a bit worrying.
Him: I don’t think it was there when they filmed it.
It seems it wasn’t – the Doctor walks straight into it. The Doctor believes he’s worked it out. The sight of the four of them stuffed seems to clinch his theory.
Him: Now that looks pretty good, with them being dead and stuffed. But, you’ve got to imagine how they were stuffed.
Me: I think the rest of the story is about our heroes’ valiant attempts to avoid that very stuffing.
Vicki works it out.
Vicki: Time, like space, although a dimension in itself, also has dimensions of its own
Me: Doctor Who and philosophy.
Him: So – they’re going to muck about with the future to not get killed?
Me: That’s the problem. Can they stop it happening? Or, by trying to stop it happening do they instead ensure that it comes to pass?
Him: I don’t know.
Me: You’re supposed to think about it.
Him: Was the Jacqueline Hill exhibit moving there? A slight wibble?
Me: I’m afraid that there was. Perhaps there’s a breeze.
An explanation is offered.
Me: I’m not convinced.
Barbara: Is there… Is there any way of getting out of this, Doctor?
The Doctor admits he’s always found it difficult to solve the fourth dimension.
Him: Speaking of dimensions – what’re A, B and C? You never told me.
Me: They’re definitely future echoes of The Prisoner. Keep watching and I’ll prove it.
More explanations follow – the TARDIS having jumped a time track is the first.
Me: Doesn’t explain the clothes.
Vicki offers a sensible suggestion and says they should leave, but there’s a second explanation on the way. The Doctor suggests that they’ll become exhibits because they so impressed the Space Curators, or might do or could do as it hasn’t happened yet. But it will.
Me: I’m not sure about that either.
Barbara: Something strange is happening. I can feel it.
She’s not wrong. Suddenly, we‘re in a recon scored by Portishead. It comes as a shock.
Him: I thought the BBC had all of this one?
The TARDIS is found by the white Space Museum guards – our heroes footprints appear and the exhibits fade. The time tracks have realigned and the path to stuffing is being walked…
Him: That was really good. Is it always this good?1
Me: It’s uphill from here. You’ll have a viewer’s stitch before I explain A, B and C.
1. An obscure reference that requires an explanation, so here goes. When (cont. page 94)
THE DIMENSIONS OF TIME2
We recap. Elsewhere, in an oddly Spartan room, a chap in white is writing at a desk. Another chap comes in with a big Orac-esque chunk of techoflabbery. These are Moroks, they represent age and experience (or something) and they’ll be our villains for the evening. The theme of decay and entropy is reinforced. The head Morok, Lobos the Governor, puts down his pen, wanders around the room having a moan and giving us back story and then sits down. It’s very difficult to tell if we’re seeing an extremely clever piece of comedic acting or… something else entirely. A new Morok, with an equally interesting approach to his part, enters and says they’ve done found alien footprints. There’s at least three of the swine at large.
Him: How’d they know it’s “at least three”?
Answering more of the first episode's questions, the chaps in the black-turtlenecks are back. These are the Xerons, the natural inhabitants of the planet. They represent youth and exuberance (or something), and they’ll be our heroes for the evening. The two rapscallions are waiting for a chap called Tor. Tor, and his eyebrows, make a dramatic entrance.
Me: It’s Boba Fett.
Him: It’s Hand-On-Hip Man.
Boba Fett stands with his hands on his hips, bravely churning out exposition. It’s not his fault. He’s hoping for weapons.
Him: Why are the other lot called Moroks?
Me: It’s to show that they’re evil.
Him: We’ll leave that for now and come back to it later, when the black turtle-necked guys prepare to dance at them.
Me: I’ve met Jeremy Bulloch.
Him: I know. Are you just saying this to show off? You are, aren’t you?
Ian has used his bonce, and procured a gun from an exhibit case. He acts totally out of character for a second and pretends to mow everyone down.
Me: Trapped forever on his own in the Morok museum, Ian would weep himself to sleep every night.
Everyone’s a bit worried about whether or not staying or leaving will be the course of action that brings about their stuffing.
Me: I’ve a suspicion that running as far away as possible after changing your clothes might be a good idea – despite what Barbara’s dreaming.
The Doctor seems to think that running away’s the worst possible idea. As a sympathetic echo of the plight of the Xerons, Vicki disagrees.
Me: And here, Vicki’s wondering when everyone else became brain-donors.
|"Knock yourselves out, I'm off."|
Him: If the Doctor had come up with the idea of course…
Vicki notices that Ian’s lost a button. The Doctor finds this very interesting as it reminds him of steam. Despite obviously just needing a cup of tea, the old rogue spots an opportunity to spin a swift yarn about a chap he used to know.
Barbara: James Watt.
Me: More name-dropping there.
Him: Ian had all his buttons. I checked.
The Doctor, realising enough time’s passed to take credit for Vicki’s idea, suggests they leave. The next problem is, do they go left or right? It’s as though the adults on this planet find themselves unable to make decisions – but that can’t be right, surely?
Him: 'Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do'. I love that.
The intercom distracts Lobos from his paperwork. There’s a definite echo to another science-fiction masterwork in this particular scene.
Me: It’s Plan 9 From Outer Space Museum.
The Doctor, Ian, Vicki and Barbara still haven’t been separated. Luckily, the Doctor is trailing behind the main group and gets thwacked by Boba Fett and the bushy-eyebrowed bovver boys of Xeros.
Me: These lads appear to have bought their own footwear. I believe those are called Conversers by the youth.
Him: The Moroks could be putting them into the cases one at a time, of course.
Barbara and Ian get irritable, but Vicki keeps her cool. The Doctor escapes and proves a later observation by making a good Dalek.
Me: Destroying every fan theory ever, the Doctor reveals his true name.
Him: “The Master”! It’s probably “Bob”.
|Iconic Moment #38|
Ian, Vicki and Barbara are still stuck. Luckily, Ian remembers his Robert Graves and steals Barbara’s cardigan.
Me: First minotaur reference in Doctor Who.
The Doctor has been captured by Lobos. He sits in a spot-lit chair, which gives him a hug.
Me: It’s Mastermind.
Boba Fett and chums follow Barbara’s cardie. After a gentle preamble where Lobos reveals that the tourist trade has really dropped off in this area of the universe, he begins quizzing the Doctor on his chosen specialist subject: himself. The Doctor’s answers will be revealed in the form of pictures.
Lobos: How did you get here?
|"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped-"|
Him: That’s really clever – it’s turning into a comedy.
Me: As promised, that’s The Prisoner reference ‘A’.
Him: “Be seeing you.”
In the endless corridors, Ian has run out of cardigan.
Him: “It was a very good cardigan.”
The Doctor is finding the questioning is going a lot better than he expected it might.
Lobos: Where have you come from?
|"-indexed, briefed, debriefed-"|
Me: That’s ‘B’.
Him: What is that?
Lobos: But these are amphibious creatures. You are not an amphibian.
Doctor: Oh, I’m not, am I? Hmmm?
Me: -there’s ‘C’!
Him: What’s that?
Me: The Doctor in swimming gear.
Lobos is a bit unhappy with being messed about and arranges for the Doctor to be taken to the preparation room (in Cromer) to await stuffing. The process will take slightly longer than an episode…
Me: Mr Hartnell’s lit well there.
Him: Is this a four-episode or six-episode story?
2. That’s time travel for you. Tch.
We recap. The Doctor is taken on holiday.
Him: “Not the. Mind. Probe.”
The TARDIS is being guarded by Moroks. Xerons come along to have a poke at it.
Morok: Leave it alone.
Ian and Barbara and Vicki are watching this ugly scene from behind the entrance doors. Vicki believes that one of them should stay and keep an eye on the TARDIS, but Ian and Barbara opt to spend some time having a good, long chat about their options. This takes so long, they get captured by a delighted Morok gunman. Showing some right old pluck, they ignore him and keep rabbiting on. Ian wants to jump the bloke, but Barbara – possibly having grown fond of Ian – has reservations.
Barbara: We’ve no reason to suppose that we all ended up in the cases at exactly the same time.
Me: That’s what you said.
Ian decides to do what he does pretty well and starts a fight.
Him: Ian’s only supposed to be, like, twenty-seven.
Him: He still seems fairly agile.
Me: I should hope so.
Me: Twenty-seven’s not old.
Him: I thought it was.
Me: You won’t when you’re twenty-six.
Him: That won’t be for a long time yet, though.
Me: You reckon?
Ian’s run off, Barbara’s stuck in a room and in all the confusion Vicki’s somehow joined up with Boba Fett and his droogs.
Vicki: Who are you?
Me: “I’ll explain later.”
Vicki explains she’s lost the others, but might have an idea where Barbara is. Boba plonks his hands firmly on his hips and makes an executive decision, sending Dako off to find her. By the TARDIS, the guards Ian has beaten up get a row from Lobos. When he’s gone Ian distracts the TARDIS guard with a stone and then starts another fight.
Me: D’you think that Ian’s just beating them up for the exercise?
Lobos arranges for the alien-infected areas of the museum to be flooded with Zaphra gas. Sounds nasty and makes you wonder why a museum might need that kind of a defence – unless they used to have a lot of school visits. Barbara is pushing a door.
Me: Have you tried pulling it, lovely?
Dako pulls the door open and greets Barbara. Elsewhere Vicki has been made second-in-command by Boba. Dako is filling in Barbara on the stuff that Lobos missed out earlier. The Him spots a problem in the Xeros revolution/repopulation plan.
Him: There’s only three of them. And they’re all men.
Boba Fett has made Vicki a picnic. She’s bullying the boys to get into a fight.
Me: Everyone’s drinking Guinness.
Boba Fett: No-one would come to Xeros through choice.
Me: I notice we’ve not been back to visit since.
Him: Why does Vicki want to start a revolution?
Me: Rob Shearman reckons it’s because she’s bored. I think she might be a Beatles fan.3
Ian is being guided around by his captive Morok.
Him: Is that Harry?
Vicki and the boys surprise a Morok and liberate the armoury. In order to get in there’s a quiz.
Me: It’s 42 all over again. Or, ‘It’s 42 all over before’, rather.
Barbara and Dako are experiencing a Zaphra gassing. The floor comes up to meet them.
Him: He’s dead.
Vicki has changed the questions to ones she knows the answers to.
Me: Why not just program it to open the door?
Him: Because this is more entertaining.
Ian meets Lobos. Ian has a ray gun.
Lobos: You’ll be a fool if you kill me. You will achieve nothing.
Ian: Possibly. But it might be enjoyable.
Him: Good old Ian.
Ian is told that the Doctor’s in the cliffhanger stage of preparation.
Him: See, the Doctor’s not in that episode – so where did he go on holiday?
3. Another obscure gag. Or is it?
THE FINAL PHASE
Me: Meanwhile, in a different recap.
Him: “Glyn Jones”.
Me: He didn't write any more episodes but he does make another appearance in Doctor Who.
Ian forces Lobos to attempt to reverse the cliffhanger process. Elsewhere, Vicki, Boba and the Revols have tooled up.
|"He's no use to me dead."|
Boba calls Comrade Sita over to help Vicki.
Him: It’s ‘Sita Thigma’.4
After a nap, Barbara recovers and saves Dako.
Me: When he said the gas would get them eventually, he meant it.
Ian is reunited with the defrosted Doctor. Unhappy at his treatment, the Doctor has some stern words for the Moroks.
Me: How did these guys ever end up with a Dalek?
Him: They found it.
Me: Or got Shawcraft to make them a model one.
Things happen and Vicki and Barbara are reunited and then captured. Comrade Sita gets himself shot and our heroes are imprisoned together. Ian begins dismantling the museum one exhibit at a time.
The Doctor, Barbara and Vicki begin listing the ways that their separate paths and decisions (and not leaving and changing their clothes) have led them to this room at this point.
Ian: Well, if you’re all joining in, I suppose I…
Him: “No. What am I saying? I’m amazing.”
Unexpectedly, there’s a revolution and at 1:25:28, this takes place:
Me: Watch that Morok’s face! He’s trying to keep his teeth in.
Ah. There’s nothing like a successful revolution. This catches the Moroks somewhat on the hop. The Doctor offers an explanation as to how the thrilling adventure of The Space Museum has ended up the way it has. Oddly enough, it’s not time fairies, but a ‘little thing’ that’s got stuck. Strangely, it prefigures energy-saving bulbs and isn’t called a ‘script editor’...
The Doctor: I don’t know whether you’ve gone into a room and switched on the light and had to wait for a second or two before the thing lit itself up.
The Doctor: Well, this is the same kind of problem, you see.
Brace yourselves – here it comes…
The Doctor: We landed on a separate time track, wandered around a bit, and until this little thing clicked itself into place, we hadn’t actually arrived!
Me: I don’t know if that explanation makes any sense.
Ian and Barbara pop into the TARDIS. The Doctor walks to collect Vicki from the bounty hunter. Suddenly, Ian, all a fluster, bounds back out of the ship.
Ian: Doctor, what’s that extraordinary thing that you’ve got in the TARDIS?
Him: “A dinosaur.”
The Doctor: Yes, well, as a matter of fact, my dear, it’s what they call a Time and Space Visualiser.
Me: “We’ll be needing it for our next adventure.”
Goodbyes are said. Vicki and Boba look a little dischuffed about this development.
Him: Oh, look – Vicki’s made a friend. How old is she? Thirteen? Fourteen?
Me: I don’t know. Older, I think. Mid-sixties?
Him: That’s the Dalek noise!
Me: This cliffhanger was borrowed by The Beast Below.
Just when we think we’re finished, a Dalek appears. It's having a chat with a flashing wall. The pitiless metal bullies have made themselves a time machine – and they’ve got a score to settle. Settle to the death! The credits roll – it’s quite exciting.
NEXT: THE EXECUTIONERS
Him: Yes, I have thoughts. I liked the first episode.
Me: And after that?
Him: It gets really boring when you meet the Morons. Oh – Moroks. And the metal sheet doesn’t go all the way around the Doctor so he could easily escape.