Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Planet of Fire

John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia Good times at 9 years old. Friday evenings, school's out, weekend's here, Doctor Who's on the telly.

Mark@OdysseusMW I first watched this on my iPod while I was on - LANZAROTE!

As we start, 2 natives of the planet Sarn, Amyand & Roskal, trek up a barren mountainside. 

Nearby, Jason King spouts religious sounding drivel at a young protege.
John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia Good value from Peter Wyngarde as Timanov, who chooses to underplay the part rather than ham it to the max.

Klytus, I'm bored...
The mountain seems particularly volcanic. Whoever "Logar" is (the local God by the sounds of it), he doesn't exist anyway, according to Amyand.
Mark@OdysseusMW whenever I've been to Lanzarote I feel like I'm in a mash-up of this story and planet of the apes!

Meanwhile on Earth, a shirtless archaeologist dredges up something unexpected...

Sometimes the scenery is not dissimilar enough to make it clear they're supposed to be different planets.
John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia You half expect a gaggle of boozed up pasty tourists to come blundering into shot looking for the nearest bar.

That's one advantage that the special edition does have.

Mark@OdysseusMW yes it does help make the distinction.

The Doctor is moping about Tegan's departure, cursing the Daleks...
John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia Tegan's adieu does seem to set up this story's depiction of The Doctor as a harder edged, no second chances maverick

....but he's shaken out of it when Kamelion suffers some sort of fit.

You remember Kamelion, surely! The new companion that joined the TARDIS... then disappeared. 
Chris@KosmicKris you get the impression they included Kamelion into the story with the brief "get him out of the prop cupboard"
Simon Threadgold@dimwittedly The face of a man who just wants out.

Turlough vandalises the console when he recognises the distress signal.
Mark@OdysseusMW What was that Turlough said? Kamelion must have 'computerised' the signal?

So here's the new companion, Peri, having a whinge at Howard about Elton John's cave or something.

Peri's bored, so is planning a trip to Morocco to ditch Howard and her mum.

Howard seems to give her the okay...

... but leaves her stranded on the boat to scupper her plan.
Simon Threadgold@dimwittedly And when he returns to find she's gone... I bet life took a bit of a downturn for Howard after this.

I bet he was arrested and done for her murder, body or no body!
Simon Threadgold@dimwittedly Wonder if Peri's Mum stood by him or was the first to call the police? Rather have seen that than Timelash.

The scenes on film look fantastic. Top marks to the restoration team. Great vibrant colours.

My memory of this from VHS & UK Gold is of being very drab and brown so this does look much more alive.

Love Davison's alternative outfit with the cardigan-style waistcoat.

John Mark Frankland@JMFrankland I think this look suits the Doctor. I love his cardigan in part one.

Peri thinks the Logar tube could be platinum. 

Kamelion fancies a joy ride in the TARDIS...

...but Turlough has other ideas.

Peri decides her best bet is to strip to her bikini & swim for it.

Can't fault her logic. What great... logic she has. 
Chris@KosmicKris Loving the logic - teenage me couldn't fault it!

Mark@OdysseusMW I applaud her decision!

The camera work is mindboggling shameless here. 

JNT always banged on about "something for the dads" but really...

Have to assume the Ceefax subtitles at the time said "GET YOUR VCRS RECORDING NOW, DADS!!"

But she's only in the water about 10 seconds before she starts drowning and needs rescuing by Turlough.

As Turlough saves Peri from drowning...

...the Doctor detects the signal from the Logar tube, leading him to absent mindedly tip his waiter with alien coinage.

Turlough and Peri make it back ashore... Jason King denounces the sceptics on fire mountain.

Turlough brings Peri back aboard the TARDIS... 

...where he spots the Logar tube.

He has the same branding as the kid on that planet.
Tim@parks8472 Good grief, don't tell me Turlough is finally going to serve a purpose for the first time since joining the TARDIS crew

And Kamelion too! It's a 2 for 1 on companion usefulness!

The Doctor tracks the signal back... to the TARDIS. 

Peri dreams of Howard (how Freudian) so Kamelion becomes him.

I have to say Timanov and the other volcano worshippers aren't really grabbing me.

Davad@davadsteel So very dull. Barbara Shelley completely wasted.

The TARDIS seems to take off of its' own accord...

The Doctor isn't even that surprised to find randoms in his TARDIS these days.

One of the fire berks clocks the arrival of the TARDIS.

The Doctor and Turlough step out to explore the planet...

...leaving "Howard" and Peri in the TARDIS. Sensible.

Except "Howard" turns into the Master, so the Doctor really dropped the ball trusting Kamelion.
Simon Threadgold@dimwittedly Peri stuck in the TARDIS as the sweet gentle helper turns into a hammy abusive nutter. Foreshadowing?

"I am the Master and you... er, how does that go again? Oh yeah... will obey me!"
Chris@KosmicKris The appearance of Ainley never fails to raise a little cheer! You always know what you're going to get :)

Davad@davadsteel I remember my Mum shaking her head at this bit and saying "He's always been a baddie.."

Not really sure why Kamelion has Howard and the Master appear in that suit. Peri must have dreamed of him like that.

So when's Peri seen Howard at a funeral then? Something Freudian about him replacing her dad maybe?
Mark@OdysseusMW ooh, very psychoanalytical!

Ainley's performance as Kamelion is actually subtly different, which he doesn't often get credit for.
John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia Ainley is also v good as The Master in this, far more commanding and dangerous than he gets credit for.

"The Master" brings his own TARDIS to Sarn, but temporarily loses his grip on Kamelion.

Kamelion turns into a silver Howard to help Peri, but the Master regains control. 
Mark@OdysseusMW I reckon they could make a Kamelion work in modern Who.
Tim@parks8472 Agreed, maybe not with Capaldi though; that might have been a Matt idea.

I've always said it would have worked then - just have a different guest actor each story!
Chris@KosmicKris I'm actually surprised we haven't had a proper shape shifter (organic or mechanical) story.

Odd handheld camera work as an earthquake knocks over the Master's TARDIS.

Peri gives Kamelion the slip.

Peri runs for it...

...then plays hide and seek with the Kamelionic Master...

...while the real deal tries to regain control.

The Doctor's question mark braces are terrible really but don't actually seem too intrusive.

John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia There must be an intergalactic question mark clothes shop that The Doctor pays a visit to from time to time.

The Doctor and Turlough meet the unbelievers.

Oh bloody hell, more 'the Master needs components of the Doctor's TARDIS' guff. 

Had enough of that in Time-Flight.
Tim@parks8472 No offence to the old girl, but the Doc's TARDIS is a bit ropey; if the Master's after parts from her, his must be a wreck.
Mark@OdysseusMW 'I am The Master!' - 'So what?' Love it!

Peri manages to exert some control of her own over Kamelion, and he turns back into silver Howard.

That's all the chance she needs to make her escape once more.

Turlough expects the locals to be from his planet, Trion, but they've never heard of it.

They've lost the instructions for the volcano & the remote's down the back of Timanov's sofa. Probably.

Has to be said that Davison is wearing a truckload of guyliner in this one.

Timanov and Malkon kneel before the Master. 

He could get used to this.

Amyand introduces the Doctor and Turlough as exhibits A and B in his case against the existence of Logar.

They identify the "gifts of Logar" as equipment from a Trion ship, and Turlough takes a particular interest in "Chosen One" Malkon and his medallion...

...because he thinks these items are from his father's ship. 

Turlough shows his hand. Well, his arm, anyway.

Davad@davadsteel Everyone regrets their first tattoo.
Tim@parks8472 He wants to watch out flashing that much flesh, he'll get a rep as being easy

John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia The random redshirt who gets zapped reacts like he's forgotten to put the bin bags out.

The Doctor is none too happy to see the Master show up at Timanov's side.
Simon Threadgold@dimwittedly At this point, the Master really is acting like an annoying ex. Turning up at all the same places, desperate for attention.

Turlough finds the wreckage of the ship that brought Malkon from Trion, and is reunited with Peri.

Peri thinks the Master is a gangster.

"Wretched citizens of Sarn! You turned your backs on acting school and the costume department!"

The Master holds sway over Timanov & orders the Doctor's new friends burned.

The Doctor looks vaguely concerned. 

No, *you're* headbanging along to the 80s theme arrangement like a loon.

John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia One of the best things about this one is Peter Howell's brilliant score, v atmospheric, in scenes like Pt 2 cliffhanger.

Malkon cancels the Doctor Who barbeque but is shot down for his troubles. 

Peri and Turlough watch from the bowells of the volcano as the Doctor tries to convince the volcano berks that "the Master" isn't who he says he is.

The Doctor tries to gain control of Kamelion, but the volcano berks take his twinkling as a sign he's from their fire god.

With the Doctor & the unbelievers trapped in a cave, Kamelion is shielded and becomes the Master again.
Simon Threadgold@dimwittedly The Doctor's dilemma in this story is the question "do I like any of these people enough to save them?"

Peri tries to distract the Kamelion Master but he's not interested.

Timanov wants his prezzies.

The Master takes Peri hostage once more...

...but at least Turlough frees the Doctor.

He's figured out Malkon is his brother. 

The Kamelion Master gets the fire berks to lift up his TARDIS, telling them that's where the prezzies are stashed. 

Kamelion takes Peri inside his TARDIS; his console room is black, so as you know he's 'the baddy'.
Tim@parks8472 LOL I think his mad eyes in this scene might be the giveaway :D
John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia That's the expression of someone who's just been told that one day he'll become Missy.
Chris@KosmicKris when I was little I was so thrilled to see the inside of another TARDIS - didn’t occur to me it had just been painted.
atruedrwhofan@atruedrwhofan Is it an improvement on the Pertwee way of showing the Masters TARDIS by changing the central column and moving the doors?

The Doctor plans to materialize round the Master's TARDIS like he did that 1 time in a much-loved (cough cough) Pertwee story.

JNT's continuity advice was absolute balls wasn't it? Genuinely thought the audience loved all this TARDIS-sabotage flummery.

The Master thinks Peri doubts the efficacy of his device. Ahem.
Mark@OdysseusMW Got to be at least one per story! ;-)

The Doctor uses TARDIS photoshop to mock up a piccie of Logar for the yokels.

His skills have improved since Logopolis, when he could just about draw a pyramid in Paint.
Tim@parks8472 Maybe artistic skill is one of those things that skips a rengeneration.

Just so you remember it's the Davison era, everyone piles into the TARDIS like it's a cheap taxi.

Turlough attempts to heal the religious divide on Sarn. "Logar is the friend of all people, he's only angry when the citizens fight amongst themselves."

Fiddling with the volcano's thermostat, the Master turns the flames blue and at least part of his plan is revealed - the flames are burning blue because of the presence of healing Numismaton gas.

Steel from the 5th Doctor. "If you're holding back anything that will aid the Master, our friendship is at an end."

The Master is so pleased wit hhimself, Peri is able to do a runner. Again. And people say Frontier in Space is all capture & escape...
Chris@KosmicKris did no one in the props dept ever stop and think for a moment that the TCE looked very rude?

Peri gets away from Kamelion and finds the Master's "control box" in his TARDIS. What's in the box? What's in the box?

It's the Master himself - the real one! And he's been shrunk!

Must admit, the Tiny Master is a novel idea - not a twist many would have seen coming!
Simon Threadgold@dimwittedly It's a wonderfully bonkers idea, but the Master trying to be intimidating just makes it hilarious.

The Doctor demonstrates the healing blue flames of numismaton gas, so Turlough can save Malkon.

Peri tries to splat the mini-Master with her shoe as he tries to get his leg over.

The Master distracts Peri by tripping the door controls, so he can make a break for his control box.
Turlough finally explains that his father & brother were political prisoners. Could have said that 2 episodes ago.

Kamelion has another lie down. 

Turlough's eyebrows are very blond in these studio scenes.

Not sure what the temperatures might have been like but it was obviously very windy on Lanzarote when this was filmed.

The Doctor is reunited with Peri on the mountainside... the Volcano begins to grumble.

And now we get to learn Turlough's first name (it's not Turlough? Okay, then...) Tarquin Turlough, public schoolboy. 
Chris@KosmicKris hated Vislor! A cross between Visor and Coleslaw!
Mark@OdysseusMW I think he should've been Timmy Turlough! :-)
RobotOfDeath@Mr_GWard that whole Turlough story arc was never clear to me at the time. An adult schoolboy alien, a corrupting influence #baffling
The Doctor's made it to the Master's TARDIS.

Time for a gloat about "reduced circumstances."

"Now you know how I felt on Logopolis when you made my TARDIS shrink, arsehole."

This story really seems to ignore the Five Doctors i.e. it seems intended to follow the events of the King's Demons.
Simon Threadgold@dimwittedly When it's The King's Demons they should be trying to forget, not 5 Doctors.
Chris@KosmicKris In my head canon, The Five Doctors is part of s6b ;)

Amyand cosplays as Logar.

The Doctor plans to give Kamelion an electronic heart attack.

Going to feed him electronic deep-fried Mars bars or something probably. 

Electronic Maccy D's maybe.

 And the Doctor, who never uses a gun, uses a gun. For only the 2nd story in a row.
To be fair here it's the TCE, at Kamelion's request.
John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia Its all warming up for the next incarnation - the latter part of the 5th Dr's reign sees a subtle shift to a darker side.

Angie Snowe@ajsnowe From a character standpoint it does seem a reaction from Tegan leaving. IMHO anyway. :)

I think you're right there; definite shift in him, though maybe it really starts with Warriors of the Deep, as he's much dryer and steelier in the Awakening & frontios - seems to follow his "should have been another way". Tegan's the final straw?

John Bensalhia@JohnBensalhia Definitely, and also a link-in with this season's arc of The 5th Doctor getting lost in a nastier, cynical world.

Timanov still wants his prezzies. So Logar isn't so much space Jesus as space Santa it seems.

Unable to cope with having his religion exposed as nonsense, Timanov sacrifices himself to the flames...

The Trions answer Turlough's distress call.

The Master regains his height in the healing power of the numismaton gas...

But with the numismaton supply cut, the flames start to burn...

At first he threatens: "I shall come from this fire a thousand times stronger, to hound you to the borders of the universe. I'll plague you to the end of time for this!"

...then he pleads: "Help me! I'll give you anything in creation!"

...drops an interesting hint about the true nature of his and the Doctor's relationship: "Won't you show mercy to your own..." Own what?

...and finally the Master is consumed by fire. 

Or is he? Yes. Or is he? Errrr.... Probably not.

Turlough can go back to Trion now, so elects to leave with his brother.
Chris@KosmicKris nice, satisfying ending this - better than Tegan just clearing off!

The Doctor has to take Peri home, but she's got 3 months to kill so he agrees to go the long way round. 

Tim@parks8472 Peri: Can I come with you? Doctor: I don't know... Peri: I promise not to steal attention in any deeply serious moments.

What could possibly go wrong?

If anyone's seen the Special Edition on Disc 2, it's funny how that tacked-on prologue now has some similarities with the Night of the Doctor!

Coming Soon... The Android Invasion


  1. Mark Strickson's eyebrows being blond... that is his natural color. When he got on set, someone noticed that he and Peter Davison had a very similar look, so they died Strickson's hair red for the character.

  2. Also, since you made reference to the ... awkwardness... of Howard and Peri... There's a long-standing fan theory that Peri was abused by her step father. The more i examine Peri's run as a companion, the more that theory fits and the more depressing her whole experience feels. I wish the new series would revisit her and give her a chance to verbally assault the Doctor for never coming back to pick her up. I would love giving that character a chance to have a more respectful "last story", rather than being just a physically and psychologically abused victim of the Doctor and the baddies they encountered together. Their relationship was nicer in Trial of a Timelord's first story, but it quickly went back to abuse. The way JNT had her death retconned at the end of Trial of a Timelord is such a mix of good and bad consequences. Apparently Nicola Bryant didn't even know about this until recording the DVD commentary. Doctor Who Magazine has a one page 7th Doctor story about them meeting up again, her giving the Doctor hell about her life, and him apologizing. I want this as a canon TV episode.