04b – Fourth Season – Patrick Troughton

Power of the Daleks

This is the first story for Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, and starting with the Daleks was a smart move. They were so popular that they guaranteed a good audience and would get Troughton off to a good start. The TARDIS lands on a planet called Vulcan, where a scientist has found a derelict ship containing a few Daleks. He thinks he can bring them back to life, and won’t listen to the Doctor who tries to warn him. Meanwhile, rebels on Vulcan are trying to overthrow the government there. In the end, the scientist sacrifices himself to help stop the Daleks, the rebels succeed in overthrowing the fascist dictator, and all is well. For now.


The Highlanders

And another historical story, taking us to the Battle of Culloden in 1746, where the last gasp of the Jacobite rebellion was snuffed out by the English army. The TARDIS crew are first captured by the Scots, who are not kindly disposed to people who are obviously English. Then they are captured by the English, who have decided they are traitors and want to hang them. After various adventures, they get away, and bring with them a young Scottish lad named Jamie, who becomes the third member of the TARDIS team when he promises to teach the Doctor to play the bagpipes. An average historical story made memorable by the introduction the next truly beloved companion, Jamie. He would stay with the Doctor for a long time.


The Underwater Menace

The TARDIS team arrives on an island formed by an extinct volcano, where they are brought underground to a sunken city. They are told that their arrival was foretold by the goddess of the city, and that they would be sacrificed. They are rescued by a scientist known to the doctor, but it turns out he has gone quite mad. The city is Atlantis, and he says he will raise it, but his plan involves blowing up everything with nuclear bombs. The underwater scenes of swimming ladies are quite hilarious, but it is an inventive little story.

Early in Patrick Troughton’s run as The Doctor the show dropped much of the history and focused more on monsters and SF to compete with shows like Lost in Space and Land of the Giants.


The Moonbase

The Cybermen are back, and this time they are attacking a base on the Moon. They have been infiltrating the base through a hole in a basement wall, which is where you scratch your head and wonder why the air doesn’t all leak out through this hole. And since the Cybermen are still significantly organic, how are they breathing in vacuum? Still, the Doctor puts the emphasis on science as the way to defeat them.


The Macra Terror

The Macra made an appearance in the David Tennant story Gridlock, but this is where they began. The TARDIS materializes on a planet where a colony seems very happy, except for one malcontent who claims he has seen huge crab-like beings at night. Then the Doctor sees them as well, but no one else seems to notice them. It turns out these creatures are good at conditioning people to not see them, and to believe what they are told to believe. Ben ends up brainwashed by them, though the others escape this. And the colony is busily engaged in producing some kind of gas, and this turns out to be essential to the Macra. Oxygen is poisonous to them, they need the gas. Finally Ben breaks his conditioning and rescues the others, and the Macra are defeated. Why they reappeared in Gridlock was never clear to me, it looked like an Easter Egg for long-time fans that was never explained or justified.


The Faceless Ones

This is a very good, inventive story that purports to take place at Gatwick Airport, though it is of course not really shot there, but at a smaller place nearby. The TARDIS materializes there, and the first problem is that none of them have passports! This is the only thing matters to the immigration people at the airport. Meanwhile, something puzzling is going on with a company called Chameleon Tours. One young lady, played by Pauline Collins, is trying to find out what happened to her brother, who went on a tour with them, sent a postcard, and then vanished. It turns out that the folks running Chameleon Tours are an alien race of Shape-shifters, hence the “Faceless Ones”, who are kidnapping people to help repopulate their planet. The obvious plot hole is that this would involve repopulating with people, not Chamelelons, but never let that get in the way of what is otherwise a nice romp full of action and suspense. The production team was hoping to get Collins as a companion, but she turned them down. At the end, Ben and Polly take advantage of the fact they are on Earth at the proper time, and decide to leave the Tardis and get on with their lives. So now only Jamie is left. I bet that won’t be true for long.


The Evil of the Daleks

At the end of The Faceless Ones, the Doctor and Jamie see the Tardis being driven away in the back of a truck, and track it down to an antiques dealer who is offering suspiciously new-looking antiques. But they are genuine, he is actually a time traveler from the 19th century who has been sent forward specifically to lure the Doctor back to his time. The time travel experiments he did with a colleague brought in the Daleks, and they kidnapped his daughter to force him to do their will. The Doctor is forced into doing experiments with Jamie to isolate the “Human Factor” that must have caused all of the previous defeats of the Daleks. Hilarity ensues, and in the end all of the Daleks are dead of course. The Doctor says we won’t see them any more. Really? Meanwhile, the antiques dealer has died fighting the Daleks, and the Doctor promises to look after his daughter. I guess we got our next new companion. This is a really good story. It has humor, Daleks, fight scenes..what’s not to like?


Season 4

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