05 – Fifth Season – Patrick Troughton

The Tomb of the Cybermen

This is a strong start to one of the strongest seasons of Doctor Who. An archaeological expedition is on the planet Telos, home of the Cybermen. What is that you say? Didn’t they come from Mondas? Well, forget that, now they come from Telos. Later, with David Tennant, they will come from an alternate universe. It doesn’t matter as long as the story is good, and this is a good story. Anyway, the expedition was financed by a group of “logicians” who are not interested in science, they want to revive the Cybermen and use them, but of course in the end the Cybermen kill them because, you know, they are Cybermen. Little insect-like creatures called Cybermats are introduced here. The Doctor finally succeeds in locking up the remaining Cybermen, but you know they will be back somehow.


The Abominable Snowmen

The TARDIS lands in the Himalayas so that the Doctor can return a bell entrusted to him 300 years ago to the monastery Det-Sen. But he is accused of killing the companion to a scientist who is tracking down the Yeti, then accused of killing three monks. Of course, he is not the killer, but who is? The Yeti appear, but in the end are determined to be robots covered in fur. And when they trace the signals controlling them, they come from the monastery itself! It runs out the old master has fallen under the control of the Great Intelligence, which is trying to attain physical form to conquer the Earth. Travers, the scientist, comes around to seeing the truth and becomes a more attractive character, which is good because we’ll meet him again later. BTW, the “Himalayas” filmed here are actually mountains in Wales. And the actor playing the scientist, Jack Watling, is the father of the actress playing Victoria, Deborah Watling. When she read the script she suggested her father for the part.


The Ice Warriors

In the future (3000 AD) there is a Second Ice Age, and much of England is covered by a glacier. The TARDIS lands near a station that is operating an “ionizer” to hold back the glacier. Then a body is discovered in the ice. It turns out to be a Martian, the captain of a ship buried in the ice, and he has a crew to revive. He kidnaps Victoria, and now it is on. The leader of the station is a martinet who blindly trusts the computer to answer all questions, and there is a scientist who has had enough and becomes a fugitive from the station. Of course, he will join the Doctor to save the day in the end. Computers are good, but don’t trust them unreservedly.


The Enemy of the World

This a tour-de-force for Patrick Troughton, who gets to play two parts in this story. Similar to what William Hartnell did in The Massacre, he is the Doctor, but also a villain, and in this case the main villain, the titular enemy of the world. This person, named Salamander, was a scientist who was revered by most people for discoveries that ended hunger, but he was also grabbing more and more power. And areas where anyone resisted him seemed suspiciously likely to experience “natural” disasters. Was Salamander causing them? And if so, how? In the end, justice prevails, and Salamander makes the mistake in the TARDIS of activating the take-off before the doors are closed, and gets sucked out into space. Remember kids, always close and lock the doors and put on your seat belts.


The Web of Fear

This is a sequel to The Abominable Snowmen, and we again meet the scientist Travers, who is now a Professor some years later. The TARDIS is caught in a web of some kind, but breaks free and lands in what is Covent Garden station of the London Underground. It turns out there is a killer mist on the surface, a foam of some kind in the tunnels, and robotic Yeti now armed with guns that shoot webs. Travers had apparently brought back some Yeti pieces and a controlling sphere, and was experimenting to see how they worked. He did succeed in reactivating one, which gave The Great Intelligence an opening, and this was the result. The British Army had forces in the subway tunnels trying to fight back, and who should appear but Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart! Obviously this was before his promotion to Brigadier. The Doctor has a plan to eliminate the Great Intelligence, but is foiled by his own companions who think they are helping him! The Great Intelligence does make an appearance much later in the revived series of Doctor Who, so maybe this failure is all for the best.

An interesting note is that the production team applied for permission to film in the actual London Underground but were turned down so they built sets and shot it in studio. When it aired, the London Underground complained to the BBC that the Doctor Who team had clearly used the Underground without permission. As you might think, the set designers were very proud about this.


Fury from the Deep

The TARDIS materializes just off the coast of England, and takes a dinghy to the beach where there are some pipes. The Doctor is curious and investigates the pipes (using something called a “Sonic Screwdriver”, introduced for the first time, and actually used to, you know, drive screws) , hearing what sounds like a heartbeat. But he doesn’t know that they are in a restricted area, and they are shot with tranquilizer darts and taken prisoner. It turns out that they have found a facility that is bringing in natural gas from off-shore rigs, and the facility has been having trouble with a fall in the gas pressure. The man leading the project is bull-headed and determined to keep going full steam when other scientists here suggest maybe they should stop pumping and figure out what is going on. Eventually we learn that some kind of sentient seaweed creature has been awakened by the drilling activity and is trying to take over. A chilling scene is when a woman who has been taken over and controlled just walks out into the surf and keeps going underwater.

This was Deborah Watling’s final story as the companion Victoria, but you saw it coming. She has been complaining for several stories that they never go anywhere nice and safe, but instead are always in danger and fighting baddies. She elects to stay behind and live with a couple from the story.


The Wheel in Space

The TARDIS materializes on a deserted rocket in space, only it isn’t really deserted. There is at least one robot on board, and the Doctor is knocked unconscious. But Jamie succeeds in holding it off. Then they send a message to a nearby space station, the titular Wheel in Space, and are brought on board, where the Doctor receives medical attention. The director of the station wants to destroy the rocket, but since the Tardis is on there Jamie sabotages the laser, only then they discover the laser is needed to confront a meteor shower coming towards the station. Finally it is revealed that the Cybermen are behind everything, and they are trying to take over the station so that they can use it to guide their invasion fleet. And the Cybermats make a return appearance. Of course, in the end they are stopped. A librarian on the station named Zoe is a stowaway on the TARDIS, and wants to join them, so the Doctor weaves his thought patterns into a story about the Daleks to give her an idea of what she will face. So we have another new companion to join the ever-faithful Jamie.


Season 5

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