Thursday, 24 February 2011

Doctor Who The Lost TV Episodes review pt2

(I forgot to post this last night- sorry!)

Audio Go have just released a boxed set of Lost Episodes on CD. These are stories from the early days of Who where the video has been lost, but the audio track still remains. There are a few stories included in it, so rather than post one big review, I’ll be breaking it down and reviewing each story individually.

Next up is The Massacre

This is one of the more serious of the early Who historicals. And with good reason. The real historical incident it revolves around is a terrible one. And one that, as a bit of a history buff, I was amazed that I had not heard of before I first encountered this story in the Target novelisation some years ago. But then- part of the remit of Doctor Who at the beginning was to educate- so job done there, I say!
One of the things that I didn’t get with this story was why the Doctor all but disappears for a couple of the episodes, but the perfectly logical and practical reasoning for this is explained nicely in the concise liner notes to the disc.
And if you really want to know- it was because it was technically very difficult, if not impossible, for Hartnell to play two roles in the show because it was filmed ‘as live’.

Yes, two roles. As well as the Doctor, Hartnell also takes on the role of the scheming Abbot, and plays it with some relish. One gets the feeling he was glad to be able to demonstrate his skill outside the persona of the Doctor for a change.
Peter Purvis takes centre stage for most of this story, and he does it very well, and is ably assisted by a strong supporting cast and some solid writing that conveys the time and place with great skill.
This is a particularly dark tale, with the ending reminding the viewer (or listener in this case) of the Doctor’s alien outlook on us humans in a stark and even a shocking way. There is also a hint of the scheming, all knowing Doctor Who would appear again in the Seventh Doctor era. Again I can’t help be amazed by just how brilliant and complex and scary a character The Doctor is.

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