Monday, 14 March 2011

16: The Chase - A Truly Epic Adventure And A Fond Farewell To Our Favourite School Teachers.

Written by: Terry Nation.
Companions: The Doctor, Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright, Vicki.
Monsters/Villains: The Daleks, Mire beasts, Mechanoids.
Brief Synopsis: The Daleks chase the TARDIS through space and time.
Rating: 7/10.

Ding ding. All aboard. Welcome to "The Chase." The British Broadcasting Company would like to thank you for choosing us for your space and time travel needs. Please keep all limbs inside the Time And Relative Dimensions In Space capsule for the duration of the journey until you are informed by your tour guide that you may disembark. Your tour guide today will be, the Doctor. Now please gather round the time and space visualiser and we'll get started...

The Time and Space Visualiser.
The clue's really in the title here, it's a chase. The story kicks off with everyone lounging around the TARDIS while the Doctor finishes installing the Time and Space Visualiser. Once the Doctor get's it working each of the crew choose a period of history to view. Ian chooses the Gettysberg Address. Barbara chooses Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare discussing Falstaff's similarity to Sir John Oldcastle. We see the Queen suggesting Shakespeare write Merry Wives of Windsor. Then Francis Bacon gives him the idea to write Hamlet. Vicki then chooses The Beatles singing Ticket To Ride.

The Beatles appear in Doctor Who.
This is all good and well, but why are the crew all getting excited about this time and space TV when they're currently located in a time machine. Sod watching it. Go there instead!

Shakespeare makes his first appearance in Doctor Who.
Hello passengers, our first calling point today will be the once beautiful, ocean covered planet Aridius. Unfortunately the oceans have all dried up leaving only two sentient species the peaceful Aridians and the flesh-hungry Mire Beasts. Watch out for those little octopus-like critters. 

The Aridians.
There is a very strong parody feel to this whole story. Vicki and Ian discover an odd substance on the desert floor and Ian actually says, "at least it's not a pool of acid." To which Vicki responds "that makes a change." At the end of the first episode we see, guess what? A Dalek rising from the sand. Terry Nation loves having a Dalek rising out of something. Wether it be the Thames or the desert of Aridius. Meanwhile Ian and Vicki continue their self-referencial parody. As they encounter their first Mire Beast Ian says: "Don't just stand there screaming. Run." a few seconds later Vicki retorts "Don't just stand there gaping. Run."

A Mire Beast.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain calm but after having escaped the Mire Beasts we have come across some of the residents of Skaro, the Daleks. There is no need for alarm but if you would please return to the T.A.R.D.I.S immediately. We at the B.B.C apologise for the... umm... turbulence at our last destination. We have managed to fully evade the Daleks and should have no further problems or delays to our service. We will now be continuing on to our next scheduled stop, to the city of New York on the planet Earth.

A Dalek and Morton Dill at the top of
The Empire State Building.
The TARDIS crew manage to escape Aridius and arrive at their next location the observation gallery at the Empire State Building circa 1966. Where we meet actor, Peter Purves for the first time in this story playing the rather simple Alabamian, Morton Dill. It's wonderful watching Morton Dill mock the Dalek. He even does a Dalek impression in to the Dalek's sucker arm. 

Due to another liaison with the Daleks we have been forced to make a quick jump to another location, please stay calm while we try to return to our scheduled course. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a real treat for you, we will shortly be making an unscheduled stop, once again on the planet earth, on board the legendary ship, the Mary Celeste.

A Dalek aboard the Mary Celeste.
The next stop where our TARDIS team end is the the Mary Celeste in the 19th century. When the Daleks show up the whole crew jump overboard. Thanks Terry for explaining that one away. One of the Daleks that follows the TARDIS to the Mary Celeste falls into the water and it's head falls off.

You know what Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm starting to think that these Dalek creatures might be following us, like some kind of Chase. I would say don't panic, but I don't think that would help. Has anyone got a copy of the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, cause I'm stuck for what to do. 

We've had to make another emergency stop but our guidance systems aren't working and we don't know where we are. We appear to be in some sort of old house.

Count Dracula?
The next stop is a haunted house, where the Doctor and his friends come face to face with Count Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster themselves. Ian once again mocks, saying this is a good place to fight the Daleks noting "it's got stairs and Daleks don't like stairs." The Daleks then show up once more. This time a Dalek gets destroyed by Frankenstein. This story has been going on for some time now and has really started to drag, Ian seems to agree as he states "This game of hide and seek through time is wearing a little thin." It certainly is Ian, it certainly is. The Doctor's incorrect explanation is somewhat more brilliant than the actual vindication. The Doctor explains, "that house was neither time nor space. We were lodged for a period in an area of human thought." Ian is right to challenge this although the crew never discover the truth that they were actually at a horror themed amusement park.

Edmund Warwick, an identical copy of the Doctor.
The most ridiculous part of this story is when the Daleks make a robot copy of the Doctor in order to infiltrate the TARDIS gang. At times the robot is played by a different actor Edmund Warwick, and you can quite easily see that he looks nothing like the Doctor. They sometime use Hartnell to play the robot version and at other times use Warwick from further away miming very badly to Hartnell's voice. I have no idea why they didn't just use Warwick in the two-shots.

Dueling Doctors. 
There's also a rather magnificent scene where the Hartnell Doctor and Warwick Robo-Doc has a tussle and both the audience and the TARDIS crew are meant to struggle to decipher which is the real Doctor. Hmmmm, I wonder?

The Mechanoid city on Mechanus.
Next stop for our intrepid chasees is the jungle planet of Mechanus, where the crew encounter the Mechanoids and Peter Purves again, this time playing an entirely different character, astronaut Steven Taylor; along with his cuddly panda mascot Hi-Fi. 

Steven Taylor and his mascot Hi-fi.
We learn that Steven has been on Mechanus for 2 years, after he crash landed, and that the Mechanoids have been here for fifty years waiting for the colonist immigrants to arrive, but the Earth got involved in interplanetary wars and forgot about Mechanus. At this point things really heat up and the story becomes consistently marvelous. The Daleks show up yet again and the ensuing battle between the Daleks and the Mechanoids is excellent. Both are destroyed. 

An epic pitch battle.
And then, totally out of left field, Ian and Barbara realise that they could use the Dalek time ship to return home. Hartnell was genuinely annoyed that William Russell and Jacqueline Hill wanted to leave the show. He couldn't understand why they didn't want to stay. The anger witnessed in Hartnell in the scene where the two school teachers ask the Doctor to help them get home is very real indeed. The Doctor begrudgingly agrees to help them. The duo arrive back in London 1965 two years after they left, just outside White City tube station. After they arrive I instantly thought what happens to the Dalek time ship? After confirming where they are, they destroy it. I feel they really miss the chance for another cliffhanger here, where the two realise they aren't in fact home at all. But Ian and Barbara wanted to go home, and boy do they deserve it. 

Farewell Ian and Barbara.
The school teaching duo were initially intended to be the moral compass to the Doctors more caviler attitude, but now the Doctor has become the kind, good, old grandfather, we no longer require them. However they have defined the show up to now and it will never be quite the same again without them. They have been the constant since the series began and just as the Doctor says "I will miss them. Yes, I will miss them." It is wonderful to see them get the happy ending they deserve. They get a great send off as we see them in a series of snap shots around famous London spots and riding a double-decker bus. There is a wonderful denouement where we see Vicki and the Doctor watching them rejoice on the time and space visualiser. The odd time TV's introduction is explained as the story comes full circle.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have safely reached our final destination: White City, London, 1965. We apologise for the length of "The Chase," we hope you didn't get too bored. We thank you ever so much for choosing B.B.C, T.A.R.D.I.S for your Time and Space needs, we value your custom and hope you will think of us for all future ventures. We hope you both: Ian and Barbara, have enjoyed your time with us and we want you to know that we will miss you. Yes, we will miss you...

Join me next time for the last of the complete stories for a while The Time Meddler.

1 comment:

tigerna9 said...

Ah, strange new world, that has such creatures in it!