02 – Second Season – William Hartnell

Planet of Giants

The main gimmick here is that somehow the TARDIS, moving from Revolutionary France to modern London, has malfunctioned in such a way that it, and everyone inside, has shrunk to the size of insects (literally). And somehow they materialize in the yard of an evil business man who kills a government scientist to protect his investment in an insecticide. The attraction of this story lies in how these tiny people come up with ways to cope while trying to both stay alive and bring justice to the bad guy.


The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Daleks had become a bit of a sensation on their introduction in story #2, and would prove to be the most successful and enduring of all the Doctor’s opponents. In this story, the TARDIS materializes back on Earth, and in London, but this time it is the 22nd century, and things are just wrong. It turns out the Daleks had found a way to invade the Earth, and enslave or kill all of the inhabitants save a few resistance fighters. Our four travelers soon join up with the resistance and eventually dispatch all of the Daleks, and leave the humans to rebuild their planet. Only not all of them. The Doctor’s grand-daughter, Susan, has fallen for one of those resistance fighters and stays behind to share the life of the man she has come to love. Behind the scenes, Carole Ann Ford felt that all she was doing was screaming and getting rescued, and wanted to do more challenging roles than Doctor Who could ever provide her, so she elected to leave the show, somewhat to the consternation of William Hartnell, who could not imagine why anyone would leave a successful production. But Carole Ann Ford, despite her appearance, was not a young teenager, she was married and had a child at the time of this show. She just looked like a teenager. So this story marks the first of many times in the show’s history that a principle character would leave. It also marked one of the first times the show did extensive outdoor location shooting, rather than using studio trickery to imitate locations.


The Rescue

This two-part episode was primarily written as a vehicle to introduce the replacement for Carole Ann Ford, a young lady named Vicki, played by Maureen O’Brien. Apparently Verity Lambert and the BBC thought it very important that there be a young girl in the cast that the kids could “identify” with. The story is set in the 26th century, so she observes that Ian and Barbara must be 550 years old! To which they smile and agree that in some sense that is true. The plot is not outstanding, but has its moments of charm. Note that in the credits for the first part of this two-parter, a certain “Sidney Wilson” is credited for being the alien creature, Koquillion. This is made-up fiction, using the names of Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson, two BBC department heads associated with the show. Why would they do that instead of using the real actor’s name? Part 2 would explain that. The development of this story has Vicki become an orphan, which helps for getting her on the TARDIS.


The Romans

This is another historical story, with the TARDIS landing near Rome. The group initially finds an abandoned villa and become squatters, but soon the Doctor takes Vicki and heads for Rome. But along the way he finds a body in the bushes, and is then mistaken for the dead man and taken to meet the Emperor, who of course is Nero, though nothing like the actual historical Nero. Still, the violence and savagery of Rome is not sugar-coated at all. Meanwhile, Ian and Barbara get captured by slave traders, and are taken to Rome to be sold. Of course, Barbara becomes a slave to Nero’s wife, and Ian is sold to be a gladiator. They all wind up around Nero, but somehow the Doctor and Vicki never meet up with Ian and Barbara until after they all escape and get back to that still-abandoned villa. This is the kind of story that you can nit-pick some details, such as the portrayal of Nero, but on the whole it does an admirable job of displaying Rome’s serious issues such as poisonings, slavery, and violence.


The Web Planet

Having just done an historical story, it is of course time for a science fiction story to balance it out. In this case, you can either decide to make fun of it for being cheesy, or just go with it and realize it is in fact a nice story. This planet, Vortis, has several insectoid races. One is the ant-like Zarbi, who are controlled by an evil being called The Animus, which lives in a gradually spreading web city. The other, the Menoptera, are supposed to be like butterflies, but look more like bees with butterfly wings attached. Then later on they find an underground race, the Optera, who are descended from the Menoptera, but are hostile to anyone from the surface. What may be harder to appreciate today is that for its time this was a very radical concept to have a planet populated entirely by insectoid races. Sure, the speical effects budget was so small that the costumes are cheesy, but I admire the fact that they dared to think big. This is a classic story from the early days.


The Crusade

And after a classic science fiction story, back to an historical story. This takes place during the Third Crusade, pitting the Europeans led by Richard the Lion-Hearted against the Arabs led by Saladin. Julian Glover plays Richard, and is suitably kingly. Barbara is captured by the Arabs, and is destined for harem life. Ian has to rescue her, and is suitably heroic. The Arabs are little hokey, and some are evil and some are good. As historical stories go, this is not the best of them.


The Space Museum

And having done an historical story, it is back to space! This is a very clever story that plays with the idea of traveling in time. The Tardis has somehow jumped time tracks and the crew arrives before they arrive! When they enter the Museum, they see themselves as exhibits and figure out what must have happened. So they decide they have to stay there until time catches up with itself. The Museum was created by an invading race, the Moroks, to glorify their conquering empire, though the empire is declining at this time. The indigenous inhabitants of the planet, the Xerons, want to overthrow the Moroks and take back their planet. A lovely scene is when Vicki reprograms the computer guarding the Armory to allow the Xerons to grab the weapons they need.


The Chase

While the Tardis crew was leaving Xeros after the revolution, someone was watching. The Daleks have now been able to build their own time-and-space machine and are out to get the Doctor! This Terry Nation story has some very funny moments, and each episode has a different setting. First, the Tardis lands on a desert planet called Aridius, and the Daleks land shortly afterwards. They threaten the local inhabitants to get the Doctor surrendered to them, but the Doctor and the companions manage to escape. They know they need to find the right place to confront the Daleks who are closing in. They show up first on the top of the Empire State Building, where Peter Purves does a comic bit reminiscent of Gomer Pyle. Then it is on the the deck of the Mary Celeste, a haunted house (featuring Frankenstein and Dracula), and finally the planet Mechanus, where they are captured by the Mechanoids. In the cell, they meet a spacehip pilot, also played by Peter Purves, called Steven Taylor. The Daleks land, they and the Mechanoids fight, and the Daleks are wiped out. The Tardis crew escape and get back to the Tardis, saddened by the fact that Steven Taylor didn’t make it. At the Tardis, Ian and Barbara tell the doctor they want to go home and leave the Tardis, so the Doctor programs the Dalek ship and sends them back. So now none of the original three companions are left, just the Doctor.


The Time Meddler

And back to an historical story, but iwth an interesting twist. To begin with, it turns out that Steven Taylor did make it, and was in the Tardis when they left Mechanus. So now the Doctor has two companions, Steven and Vicki. And they land in Northumbria in 1066. If you have read your history, you know that Harold, the King of England, had to march his army north to repel a Viking invasion of Northumbria, in which he was successful, before turning around and marching south where he was defeated by William the Conqueror. So what is up here? There is an abandoned monastery nearby, and a monk seems to have moved in, but something doesn’t quite add up. The Doctor discovers that this monk in 1066 is using a record player to play the sound of groups of monks chanting. Then Steven and Vicki discover that he has a Tardis! This is the Meddling Monk, as he has become known, and he is a classic character, a renegade Time Lord, that many fans would love to see brought back. His plan is to change the outcome so that William the Conqueror is not successful. And Doctor Who sometimes likes to emphasize that you shouldn’t try to change history. Of course, other times that gets ignored. (see, for instance, The Fires of Pompeii). An excellent story.


Season 2


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