06 – Sixth Season – Patrick Troughton

The Dominators

The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe land on the planet Dulkis for some rest and relaxation. The Doctor knows this planet is peaceful as they have forsaken all wars and violence. But someone else has landed, and they are The Domininators, and as the name implies they are the furthest thing from being pacificists. They kill three of the native people for no good reason in the early minutes, which kind of sets the stage for the conflict. It has been said that the only reason nonviolence worked for Gandhi was that he was confronting the relatively civilized British, and that if he tried that strategy with the Nazis the only result would be a lot of dead Indians. And if this story has a theme, this would be it. The Dulcians are pretty bland, and tend to get killed a lot. The two Dominators, an advance party of their race, are planning to turn Dulkis into a molten ball of radioactive magma that they can use as a power source for their ships. And these two are in conflict right from the start. The leader wants to turn the Dulcians into slaves, and his subordinate is constantly killing them and getting into trouble for that. Troughton had some fantastic stories as The Doctor, but this isn’t one of them.


The Mind Robber

This is an excellent story that plays on the idea of reality vs. fiction. That is something Heinlein explored in The Number of the Beast and in The Pursuit of the Pankera, but this story has different take on the problem. The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe have to escape from the lava of the volcanic eruption on Dulkis, and The Dcotor resorts to an emergency module that takes them out of reality space altogether. There they are induced to leave the TARDIS and enter a weird forest where the trees turn out to be letters. They meet people who are very odd, and come to realize that they are characters from fictional stories, and only react and speak as they are written. One interesting scenario has a new Jamie when The Doctor uses the wrong face parts to solve a puzzle. The background to this is that it was a clever solution to a problem. Frazer Hines had come down with chicken pox, so he had to be quarantined for a week. But the show was on a tight schedule and could not stop working, so they invented a way that worked within the reality of the story to bring in a different actor, Hamish Wilson, to play Jamie until Frazer could return. It is interesting that the antogonist calls himself The Master, but it is not the canonical villain of Doctor Who, who would only appear later in Jon Pertwee’s run as the third Doctor. All in all, this is a cleverly written story that stands up quite well as one of Troughton’s better stories


The Invasion

The TARDIS materializes above the far side of the Moon, and almost immediately a missile is launched to blow them up. They manage to dematerialize and get to Earth, where they discover a sinister corporation has cornered the market on all things computer and electronic, and the corporation has security forces that shoot to kill. The TARDIS needs some help with a couple of circuits, so they go looking for a professor they know, but end up meeting Lethbridge-Stewart, who is now a Brigadier, and has been placed on charge of a new organization called the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (U.N.I.T.). This is the beginning of a long relationship between the Doctor and U.N.I.T., which will form the backbone of Jon Pertwee’s coming series. U.N.I.T. is still going strong in 2022, but it was the creation of Director Douglas Camfield in this story. The Invasion turns out to be an invasion of the Cybermen, and this is the source of the classic clip of Cybermen on the streets of London in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral. An interesting note is that the head of the sinister corporation and main antagonist, Tobias Vaughn, is played by Kevin Stoney, the same actor who protrayed Mavic Chen in The Dalek’s Master Plan, though he looks completely different here. All in all this is a good romp with tense battle scenes and lots of intrigue.

Missing 2 episodes (1,4)


The Krotons

This is a nice little 4-part story that has the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe land on a strange planet where apparently there are two races, one human, the other something called Krotons. There was a war long ago, and as a result the outside world was turned into a poisonous wasteland, except that the Doctor and friends just proved it is no longer poisonous, at the very least. Periodically the Krotons select the two brightest students from the humans to join them, except that the Doctor and companions just witnessed one of them being killed, and just a barely manage to save the other. And no one has ever seen the Krotons, so it is all very mysterious. This is on no one’s list of the top Doctor Who stories, but for all of that it is a nice enjoyable little story to while away an evening.


The Seeds of Death

The Ice Warriors are back, and once again looking to cause problems. One of the things about Doctor Who is that time rarely works the way you expect. It is that “Wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey” thing. The Doctor encountered the Ice Warriors previously, but obviously in the far future since Britain was buried by glaciers in an Ice Age. Now he meets them in a time that is about 100 years in our future. That is not a problem for the Doctor, but apparently Earth fought off an invasion and forgot all about it by the time of the Ice Age. It seems that the Ice Warriors come from Mars, which is very cold and has a low Oxygen content in its atmosphere, which turns out to be surprisingly accurate for when this was written. Now they want to make the Earth a very cold place with a low Oxygen content in its atmosphere so thay can move in. This would of course mean that they will kill all the people here now. It is good fun, and the 6-part story did not feel to me like they had to stretch too-thin content to fill it.


The Space Pirates

With 5 of the 6 episodes missing, I had to get this through telesnap recreations. It is a decent story, but not one of the best by any means. It appears that a group is attacking beacons in space to get the Argonite they are made of, an extremely valuable mineral. The International Space Corps is hunting these pirates down, when an old prospector, sort of a Gabby Hayes character, comes along, and they jump at the idea that he is behind it all. But that is a mistake. Hilarity ensues, and the Doctor sorts it all out in the end. If you are a completist you will of course want to watch this, but if 5 telesnap episodes makes you think you wouldn’t want to watch it, I can assure you it contains nothing essential to the story of Doctor Who

Missing 5 episodes (1,3-6)


The War Games

Patrick Troughton had already announced his intention to leave Doctor Who, and Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury decided they would leave as well. Meanwhile, the production team was having script problems, and went to Terrance Dicks and said “We need a 10-parter, and we need it tomorrow. Or at least by next week” Dicks decided to take it on, and enlisted Malcolm Hulke to assist him. The way it worked out they were writing the later episodes whiles the earlier ones were being filmed. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, but in fact this is a really good story. Someone has been taking soldiers from various earth wars, transporting them to a strange place, and having them fight each other for some strange reason. There is a 1917 zone with British, French, and German soldiers from World War 1, an American Civil War zone with Union and Confederate soldiers, a Roman zone with Roman legionaries, and so on. The possibilities this gives you to be in different places with different characters makes it possible to have a 10-parter without it bogging down. But the key thing this story gives us is the Doctor’s people, the Time Lords. We of course knew that there were others of his race from the stories with the Meddling Monk, who was of the same people and had a similar TARDIS, but now we know that they have a name and a planet, though the planet was not named at this time. One little note is that machines used to shuttle people around on this planet are called “SIDRATs”, and of course SIDRAT is just TARDIS spelled backwards,

Doctor Who was facing competition from other shows with larger budgets, like Lost in Space from the U.S. The BBC did not offer those kinds of budgets, so to economize they decided to keep Doctor Who on Earth to save on special effects budgets. This is explained at the end of this story as a sentence by the Time Lords. Arguably that whole sequence of the Doctor facing the Time Lords was simply an elaborate justification for eliminating relatively expensive shots in space and on other planets.


Season Reviewed

Patrick Troughton Reviewed

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