Sunday, 7 June 2009

Doctor Who: Spearhead From Space

Part One

"Little blue men with three heads?"

The theme tune seems to be the same, but the titles are very different- and very brightly coloured of course!

Meteorites- this is all very Quatermass II, as I'm sure the casual viewer would have noticed at the time! I suspect Nigel Kneale must have done. Still, with all the jobs this story has to do it's no bad thing to hang event around a familiar plot.

Sam Seeley is the first of many poachers we'll be seeing during this era (I've not read the rest of this thread yet- if no one else is keeping a tally then I might!). He's also a very different kind of Holmesian comical anti-establishment individualist to Milo Clancy.

The Doctor's not in this episode much, and our first sight of him is rather unclear. But we still get a connection to the recent past in the shape of the Brigadier. Nicholas Courtney is great as always, but the fakeness of his moustache is rather more noticeable in colour! Caroline John is also fantastic playing a superb character, sharp-tongued at times but instantly likeable.

The Doctor has two hearts then! Interesting that the use of a mirror harks back to The Power of the Daleks. but I suppose it's a rather obvious idea in these circumstances.

Part Two

"An alien who travels through time and space... in a police box?"

I've seen this story many times over the last twenty years (I feel old!) but never before in episodic form, and it's very noticeable here that the dialogue is changed from last episode in the reprise.

I love the whole scene with the Doctor's escape from the hospital, accentuated by some brilliant incidental music. The "Doctors only" door is inspired! It's quite obvious that the Doctor has a very naval looking tattoo, mind.

The story's very well directed by Derek Martinus too- the POB shot of the crashing Land Rover is particularly well done. In fact, this story hasn't put a foot wrong so far. Holmes's script, the acting from all concerned, even the fact it's all on film- this feels very like a feature film.

The Doctor's bluffing his way into UNIT HQ is great, as well as practically all his dialogue with the Brigadier and Liz: "How do I know that you're not an impostor?" "Ah, but you don't. You don't. Only I know that." It's great how he immediately takes charge of the situation here.

Part Three

"Just... testing..."

A pivotal moment here as the Doctor, after a bit of trickery, tries to leave in the TARDIS- and it won't work. There's some great comic acting from Pertwee, here and elsewhere.

The scene where Meg Seeley is attacked by an Auton is very well done- the bit where the dog suddenly stops barking is creepily effective. The scene with Channing looking through the distorted glass at the Brigadier is also creepily effective.

Part Four

"My dear chap, I don't want money. I've got no use for the stuff."

The iconic scenes of the Autons from the shop windows are great, although we ever actually see the glass breaking! It's strange in these scenes to be seeing a 60s London bus stop of a kind I've come to associate with Monty Python.

The one thing in this story which disappoints in any way is the realisation of the Nestene's physical form. Plus the gurning- oh dear!

The story ends satisfactorily and at the end the new format is firmly established. I'm looking forward to it- I immediately like this new Doctor and companion team.

Overall, damn near perfection in script, acting (from all concerns, direction and overall look. An easy 5/5.

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