Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Crash of The Elysium - Hidden clues in the BBC Doctor Who website are not what they seemed...

After all the excitement and fun decoding secret messages on the "Fourth Dimension" sections of the BBC Doctor Who website it turns out that the clues and secret video were nothing to do with the current series at all. If you have no idea what I'm talking about check out this previous post. It was officially announced yesterday that the video and clues were adverts for the new Salford, Manchester based "Crash of The Elysium." An audience involved, immersive adventure, theatrical experience created in collaboration with BBC Wales and British Theatre Company, Punch-Drunk.

This is the newly announced trailer:

Here's what The Crash of The Elysium's writer Tom MacRae (Rise of The Cybermen/Age of Steel) has to say about it:

The show is predominantly aimed at children aged 9-12, but due to vast public demand there are now performances for adults. So, fellow Whovians. The real Twin Dilema I find myself in is: Should I treck up to Manchester and see it? It's £25 a ticket, it'll cost me the best part of £50 for the train journey, I don't know of anyone else who would be willing to go on said pilgrimage with me, as my sweetheart is away. But I'm a completist and surely I shouldn't miss out on this one?

If you have any ideas of suggestions, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

30: The Power of The Daleks - A Strong Opening Story For A "New" Doctor!

Written by: David Whitaker
Companions: The Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Ben Jackson, Polly.
Monsters/Villains: The Daleks.
Brief Synopsis: The Doctor 'regenerates' and the TARDIS arrives at a colony on the planet Vulcan, where a scientist called Lesterson is trying to revive two inactive and surprisingly subservient Daleks.
Rating: 9/10.

Hello blog-land I am so sorry I've been terminally absent lately. I have been stupidly busy with various auditions and such but here I am making my long awaited return with the first Troughton story, The Power of the Daleks. What a strong opening story that was!! Wow. Only the audio exists for this rather long 6-parter but I promise you it's well worth a listen. Troughton does so much with the character on his first outing, injecting an entirely new kind of humour into the programme. It's so exciting; you just want to find out more about him and the character as soon as possible. But they feed it to you a little bit at a time.

So... The Cybermen have been defeated, but, something has happend to the Doctor. He's breathing. The TARDIS seems to be normal. As before Polly is a lot more willing to accept that this is the Doctor, whereas Ben is more wary. 

This whole opening sequence is just wonderful.The Doctor says, "It's over." He dematerialises the TARDIS and reacquaints himself with the controls. He feels his face, as if examining it for the first time. He drops his ring as it is too big for his finger and trips saying, "muscles are still a bit tight." It's as if he's learning to walk. As Ben rightly says, "It's not only his face that's changed, he doesn't even act like him." The man rifles in a storage case and produces a mirror. The image in the mirror changes into the likeness of Hartnell and then back to normal. He picks up a dagger given to him by Saladin. He refers to himself in the third person saying "The Doctor was a great collector." Ben replies, "but you're the Doctor." To which the Doctor returns, "I don't look like him." He finds a piece of dull silver metal which conjures up a word in his memory, "Extermination." Ben continues to challenge him to which he replies, "Did you ever see a butterfly fit into it's chrysalis case after its spread it's wings. Life depends on change and renewal." Ben questions, "You've been renewed?" The Doctor explains, "It's part of the TARDIS. Without it I couldn't survive" He finds his 500 year diary and a recorder and dons a stove pipe hat. Ben and Polly aren't sure he is the Doctor. Can you just image how mental this would have been for the viewers in 1966? It throws out so many questions. It's so creepy the way he refers to the Doctor as someone else, like he's a completely new person. The only thing that is a little odd is that his clothes have changed along with him. 

The Doctor goes out of the TARDIS. Another man appears. He's the examiner from Earth. Suddenly he gets shot. The Doctor pulls out a pair of wire rim spectacles to read the badge on the dead man, only to realise that he no longer needs them. The badge reads: Earth examiner, accord every access, Vulcan. Someone hits the Doctor knocking him out, presses the badge into the Doctor's hand and drags off the examiner's body. Polly and Ben pass out after breathing in some noxious vapours. They are rescued by Deputy Governor Quinn and Bragen, head of security.

The three awake in a colony led by Governor Hensell, where the Doctor is mistaken and poses for the examiner from Earth. It is unknown why an examiner was requested, it seems it is either due to a growing threat from rebels or something to do with a scientist called Lesterson's space capsule. The Doctor is taken to inspect the capsule. He recognises a similar piece of dull silver metal and demands that no one explore the capsule further. The trio depart for some rest. Ben and Polly awake later and follow the Doctor to see the capsule in the lab. The Doctor inserts one of the pieces of metal into an opening and a door opens. Inside are two cobwebbed Daleks. Eerily the Doctor invites Polly and Ben in to meet the Daleks. The Doctor discovers that a third Dalek is no longer in the capsule when suddenly a clawed mutant scuttles across the floor.

It is ingenious the way they keep the companions and thus the audience guessing as to whether this man is the Doctor. Doctor Who has always been at it's best when it's scaring people, and I can't think of anything much scarier than changing the character you know and trust into a different person and then not even confirming that he definitely is the same man.

The Doctor realises that Lesterson has already seen the Daleks. Lesterson removes a hidden compartment revealing the third missing Dalek. Janley and Resno, Lesterson's research assistants are wiring up the Dalek for testing. They put power in to the Dalek and the sucker stick and eye piece react. Resno is killed by the Dalek but Janley covers it up. The Doctor arrives and the Dalek seems to recognise him. It speaks, stating "I am your servant."

The Mark Gatiss story Victory of The Daleks in the new series has obviously picked up some influence from The Power of The Daleks. With the pepper pots pretending to be helpful.
"Would you like some tea?"
The Doctor orders the Dalek to immobilise itself but it refuses. We learn that Quinn sent for the examiner because of the rebels. Bragen blames Quinn saying he did this to overthrow the Governor in order to replace him. Governor Hensell imprisons Quinn and makes Bragen deputy Governor. We also learn that Bragen is making Janley help the rebels. Polly gets kidnapped by the rebels. Lesterson continues to work with the active Dalek, who says, "A Dalek is bett... is not the same as a human. If I am to help I must know everything." The Dalek promises to help Lesterson by making a 100% accurate computer. Hensell gives Lesterson everything he requires to help with the development of the Daleks and the computer. Two armed Daleks come out of the capsule chanting, "We will conquer! We will conquer! We will conquer!"

Bragen seems to know the Doctor is not the examiner, and we discover that he was the one who killed him. The first Dalek disarms the two other daleks to calm the humans but again they chant, "We will get our power! We will get our power! We will get our power!" Lesterson cuts the power and claims he is in control of the Daleks. 

Lesterson and Bragen.
The Doctor kicks off this series with an odd obsession with hats. He's wearing a stove pipe hat and when he sees a newly promoted Deputy Governor Bragen he says, "I would like a hat like that!" Matt Smith's Doctor seems to have a similar obsession with hats in the new series with the Fez and the Stetson. 

The Doctor discovers a hidden message and learns of a secret meeting of the rebels; to which he and Ben decide to attend. Ben gets caught and taken away and we learn that Bragen is the rebel leader! Bragen imprisons the Doctor with Quinn. We witness a Dalek construction line and actually see the creature itself being placed inside the travel machine. There are now dozens of Daleks being mass produced.

It's well known that in most of the old Doctor Who Dalek stories they had only 4 fully operating Daleks and in order to not challenge this production weakness a Dalek actually says, "not more than three Daleks are to be seen together at one time!"

Lesterson learns that the Daleks are mass producing themselves and cuts their power only to discover that they can now store power. The Daleks lay cables to spread static power to the whole colony and Lesterson starts to go full on crazy. The Doctor and Quinn escape but Bragen gets a Dalek to kill Hensell and takes over as Governor. Afterwards the Dalek questions "why do human beings kill human beings?" We also get a large group of Daleks all chanting "Exterminate!" Which is always good.

Four "real" Daleks and loads of cardboard ones.
The Doctor and Quinn find and free Polly. They find Hensell dead and are captured by Bragen. The Dalek army emerges and begin their attack rallying "Daleks conquer and destroy"

The Daleks head off to "exterminate all human beings." Bragen tells Janley that he has decided that all the rebels must be destroyed and reveals that he would have killed her if she didn't join him. Another rebel Valmar overhears this. Bragen sends his guards to kill the rebels. Janley manages to convince Valmar that she didn't betray him and they take control of three Daleks and take them to aid the rebels in their battle against Bragen's guards. But the controlled Daleks fire on the guards and the rebels including Janley.

The Doctor, Polly and Quinn find Ben. Quinn forces Bragen to use his guards as a diversion for the Daleks. The Doctor tires to sabotage the Daleks' static power supply and Lesterson sacrifices himself to distract the Daleks, echoing, "I want to help you. I am your servant." He gave them life and they killed him. With Lesterson's distraction the Doctor manages to overload the Daleks' power destroying all the Daleks. Valmar kills Bragen.

The Doctor has destroyed the colony's power supply and along with Ben and Polly, he sneaks off to the TARDIS. As they're leaving a destroyed Dalek's eyestalk lifts up as if to watch the TARDIS depart. Something tells me this isn't the last we will see of the Daleks. 

I really enjoyed The Power of The Daleks. It's a little long, but it is action packed. I love that we are thrown right into an adventure, with all the questions about the Doctor's 'regeneration' all up in the air. There are some really strong performances in this story including Bernard Archard as Bragen and Robert James as Lesterson. Patrick Troughton gives a great performance on his first outing and has significantly wetted my appetite for his interpretation. I do miss Hartnell some, but I am very excited to see where Troughton is going to take the role and the show...

Join me next time for The Highlanders.

Friday, 17 June 2011

William Hartnell Round Up

Hello blogland! Sorry I've been a bit neglectful of late. I've been busy with auditions and work. But here for your reading pleasure is a round up of William Hartnell's Doctor. I'd also like to give a warm welcome to all of you new readers. This should catch you up on everything you might have missed if you've only just joined us...

It all began in a junkyard in Totter's Lane with the Doctor and his grand daughter Susan, setting off with an initially rather unwilling pair of School teachers: Ian and Barbara. The quartet arrived in Stone Age earth and hardly escape with their lives after teaching the Tribe of Gum how to make fire.

They travelled to the planet Skaro and met the Daleks for the first time. The crew all went a bit mental inside the TARDIS and it was all because of an unpressed button. Then they journeyed to Peking in the Caravan of Marco Polo. 

Then hunted for some keys on the planet Marinus in order to defeat the evil Voords. Barbara got mistaken for an Aztec God in fifteenth century Mexico.

Some Ood-like telepathic aliens called Sensorites terrorised a twenty-eighth century spaceship crew. The TARDIS arrived in Paris during Robespierre's infamous Reign of Terror. The TARDIS and it's inhabitants got shrunken down as small as insects and stopped the mass production of a lethal pesticide. 

Then they landed in twenty-second century earth and had to overcome some invading Daleks. Susan stayed behind with a revolutionary called David Campbell. 

In a crashed spaceship on the planet Dido, Vicki was terrorised by her fellow survivor pretending to be an alien called Koquillion. Vicki joined the TARDIS crew. The new quartet went to first century Italy. Ian and Barbara were captured by slave traders and the Emperor Nero mistook the Doctor for a well known lyre player. 

The TARDIS went to the planet Vortis where the Doctor and co joined forces with the moth-like Menoptra in their War against the Animus and it's brainwashed ant slaves, the Zarbi. The crew got caught up in the Holy War between Richard the Lionheart and the Saracen ruler Saladin. The TARDIS jumped a time track and arrived on the planet Xeros before it was supposed to. With a little help from "guess who", the Xerons overcame the dictatorly Moroks. 

The Daleks chased the TARDIS on a whistle stop tour through time and space finally arriving on the plante Mechanus where we met the Mechanoids and a new companion, astronaut: Steven Taylor. Ian and Barbara left, using the Daleks captured time machine to go home to their own time. 

In 1066 the TARDIS arrived to discover another member of the Doctor's race, dressed as a Monk, meddling with the outcome of the Battle of Hastings. 

The Doctor taught us not to judge by appearances when he joined forces with the hideous Rills to overcome the beautiful Drahvins. We then got an episode completely without the Doctor, Companions or TARDIS as Space Security Service agent Marc Cory investigated a possible Dalek sighting on the remote planet of Kembel. The TARDIS landed in ancient Greece during the Trojan War, where the Doctor came up with the idea for the wooden horse and Vicki left to go down in history as one half of the infamous lovers Troilus and Cressida. 

Briefly a Greek handmaiden called Katarina joined the Doctor. The TARDIS crew joined forces with S.S.S. agents Bret Vyon and Sara Kingdom in order to stop the Evil Mavic Chen (Guardian of The Solar System), the Monk and the Daleks from constructing their time destructor. There was a brief interlude for the first Christmas special where William Hartnell broke the fourth wall by wishing the viewers a Merry Christmas. The Daleks were defeated yet again but Katarina, Bret and Sara all died! 

In paris 1572 Steven tried to avert the Catholic Queen Catherine de Medici's plan to slaughter all the French Protestants. For some reason the Abbot of Amboise was the spitting image of Hartnell's Doctor. Randomly Dodo joined the TARDIS crew. 

Aboard a giant space ark, Dodo's common cold nearly killed the entire human race and their servants, the one eyed Monoids. Returning 700 years later the TARDIS crew arrived to find that the Monoids have taken over. 

The TARDIS arrived in the domain of the malevolent Celestial Toymaker, who forced the Doctor, Steven and Dodo to play games! Arriving in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881, the Doctor and his companions got caught up in the infamous gunfight (and ballad) of the last chance saloon. The TARDIS arrived to find the ruthless Elders sucking the life force from the helpless Savages. Steven elected to stay behind to rule the planet, after their defeat. 

In London, at the top of the Post Office Tower, super computer WOTAN brainwashed humans to build War Machines in order to take over the world. Dodo got hypnotised and was taken off to 'the country' never to be seen again, but we met new companions, swinging sixties Polly and sailor Ben Jackson. 

The Doctor got caught up in a seventeenth century treasure hunt. In 1986 the Earth's long absent twin planet Mondas returned bearing Cybermen - humanoids augmented with machine parts. 

The Doctor's body was "wearing a bit thin," so he gots himself a new one. 



Out of a possible 290 points I scored William Hartnell's Doctor 182/290. Giving the First Doctor, Mr. William Hartnell an average score of 62/100. My top three Hartnell stories are: 

There! Now you're all caught up and ready to join me next time for Patrick Troughton as the Doctor in The Power of The Daleks.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

29: The Tenth Planet - Introduction Of The Cybermen & The Doctor "Regenerates."

Written By: Kit Peddler and Gerry Davis.
Companions: The Doctor, Ben Jackson and Polly.
Monsters/Villains: The Cybermen.
Brief Synopsis: The Earth's long absent twin planet Mondas returns bearing Cybermen - humanoids augmented with machine parts.
Rating: 7/10.

Wow, there it is. I can't believe I've made it this far. It's been, excellent, tough, boring, amazing, surprising, thrilling, informative, and quite a journey thus far. I was aware when I started my epic excursion that Hartnell and Troughton would probably be the toughest stretch to get through, what with all the missing episodes. There is no disagreeing that Doctor Who is incredibly different now than it was in the 60's. Although it didn't have a big budget, impressive special effects, or the attention to detail made possible in modern television it is still just as enjoyable, if not more so. So here we find ourselves at the end of the line for William Hartnell's Doctor.

The story kicks off in the South Pole Base of International Space Command under the command of General Cutler. It's an interesting locale as this story could easily have been set anywhere. Choosing a remote base in the South Pole really cranks up the tension. It's well below freezing, and they are totally isolated. This "base-under-siege" framework really pioneers the layout we will see repeatedly during Patrick Troughton's tenure as the Doctor. 

In the TARDIS, Polly, Ben and the Doctor are donning warm clothes. It isn't long before the Doctor's famous curiosities get the better of him as the trio head out to explore their surroundings and are dragged into the base. After spotting a calendar, Ben and Polly quickly discover that they have arrived in December 1986 (twenty years ahead of their time, and two months after I was born) and are shocked to learn that at this point in time they've sent people to the moon. Being filmed in 1966 this story was three years ahead of it's time as the Moon landing didn't take place until 1969.

Alan White as Schultz and Earl Cameron as Williams.
Two astronauts aboard the Zeus 4 capsule inform Snowcap base of the arrival of a new planet between Mars and Venus; and it's pulling them off course. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the astronauts was black. During a time when the representation of black people on British television was incredibly poor, the casting directors of Doctor Who had the foresight to see how far the still fairly recent black equality could go.

The scientists notice that the new planet strongly resembles the earth and the Doctor tries to tell them that millions of years ago the Earth had a twin planet and that they should expect to soon be receiving visitors. An alien spaceship lands by the base and three Cybermen emerge. They incapacitate three guards and infiltrate the control room, killing a soldier.

These are the Cybermen at a very early stage in their overall development. They have exposed human hands and fairly humanoid faces. They have huge chest units and a large sort-of headlamp on their heads. Unlike their progeny these Cybermen still have names (including Krail, Jarl, Talon, Krang, Shav, Gern). They are impervious to bullets. Their strange mouths open when they speak but they do not move. I really like the awesome Cyber voices which were provided by the wonderful Peter Hawkins (1924-2006) and the marvelous Roy Skelton, who sadly just passed away today. In Doctor Who he provided voices for the Monoids, Daleks, Cybermen and the Krotons. He also voice Zippy and George in the popular children's television programme Rainbow. He will be sorely missed.

We learn that the new planet is called Mondas. Eons ago it was the twin planet of Earth but it drifted away on a journey to the edge of space. One of the Cybermen describes himself to the humans as, "Exactly like you. Our cybernetic scientists realised our race was getting weak, with shorter lifespans. So our scientists and doctors devised spare parts for our bodies, until we could be almost completely replaced. Our brains are just like yours, but weaknesses [emotions] have been removed. We do not feel pain" They incapacitate the General.
The Doctor and Polly meet the Cybermen.
The chief scientists Barkley and Dyson's immediate concerns are the safety of the astronauts in the Zeus 4 capsule. The Cyberman say it is impossible for the capsule to make it back to earth, but allow Snowcap to contact them. Mondas' proximity is draining power from Earth and the capsule. Zeus 4 tries to land using it's retrorockets but the ship accelerates away and explodes.

Ben ties to escape using one of the soldiers guns, but the Cybermen catch him, bending the gun as if it were rubber and lock him up. The Cybermen explain that Mondas' power has nearly been depleted and that it will drain all the power from Earth until it is destroyed. They say they will take the humans with them and then give us the imortal line, "You will become like us." Ben manages to blind one Cyberman with a film projector. He grabs the Cyberman's light weapon and kills it. He enters the command room and hands the General the weapon who kills the other two Cybermen. There is some truly epic dialogue in this story including, "If cutler is right, we are probably going to fight the first interplanetary war."

We learn that Cutler's son is up in another capsule, Zeus 5 and the base pick up signals on their radar of hundreds of ships flying toward Earth in formation. Sadly due to illness William Hartnell is totally absent from episode three so the Doctor inexplicably collapses.

Robert Beaty as General Cutler.
The General's solution is to destroy Mondas by using the Z-Bomb despite concerns that the radiation effects might kill everyone on the side of the Earth facing the explosion, and that the planet targeted might go supernova. It would also certainly destroy the space capsule carrying his own son. Barkley is against this desperate measure and shows Ben what he needs to do to disarm the Z-Bomb, but the General catches Ben and the countdown begins.

9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blast off!

Fortunately the rocket doesn't work. Now into episode four Hartnell' Doctor is back in the mix. When Polly questions the Doctor's sudden collapse, he replies saying, "This old body of mine is wearing a bit thin." It's the beginning of the end and both the Doctor and Hartnell know it.

Snowcap lose contact with Lieutenant Cutler. General Cutler believing his son to be dead, is about to kill the Doctor when more Cybermen land, enter the base and kill the General. Mondas is absorbing too much power. The Cybermen take control of the base and plan to use the Z-Bomb to blow up the Earth, thus saving their own planet from the effects of the energy transfer between the two worlds. They order Ben, Barkley and Dyson to move the warhead. The Doctor offers the Cybermen to stay on earth and live in peace with the humans, as their planet will be destroyed.

Barkley and Dyson.
Ben questions why the Cybermen have forced the humans to move the warhead instead of  using their obvious strength and doing it themselves. He discovers their weakness to radioactivity. Ben brings rods from the reactor and the radiation immobilises the Cybermen. Mondas breaks up and the Cybermen go with it. Contact is regained with Lieutenant Cutler and they begin the process of bringing him home.

We then get what really must be described as the best cliffhanger ever: After the Cybermen have decomposed, Ben goes to the Cyber Ship where the Doctor and Polly were being held prisoner and frees them. Polly is unharmed but the Doctor is groggy. "What did you say my boy? It's all over, that's what you said. It's far from being over. I must get back to the TARDIS." The Doctor returns to the TARDIS locking Ben and Polly outside. He uses the controls. The central column goes up and down, then he collapses. We hear the dematerialisation sound and there is a very bright light, which intensifies, and when it lessens there is a different man lying there and the credits roll. Best cliffhanger ever!!!

The Doctor's changing...
This is the first "regeneration"; although that term will not be used until 1974 in Planet Of The Spiders. The pivotal episode four of The Tenth Planet is missing from the BBC archives and only a few short clips of footage exist. Fortunately the regeneration sequence itself is among these. It only exists as it was used on a contemporary entertainment news program to discuss the transition to the new Doctor. It is sad but true that William Hartnell left Doctor Who due to bad health, but upon leaving he did say "If there is one man in England who can replace me as the Doctor it's Patrick Troughton!"

A considerable number of fans don't fully accept the fact that the Doctor died of old age. Theoretically Time Lords can live forever, barring accidents, and this incarnation was the youngest of all the Doctors. One theory is that the Daleks' Time Destructor shrunk the Doctor's lifespan and it was always going to lead up to this moment. Another is that Mondas plundered not only Earth's energy but the Doctor's as well, shrinking his lifespan even further.

One of the wonderful aspects of Doctor Who has always been it's ability to turn a weakness into a strength. When the show was originally conceived there was a never an intention to replace the leading character by giving him the ability to change his form. But what a wonderful way to ensure a series' legacy, by taking the weakness of an ailing leading man and turning it into the strength of allowing new blood to take over. Forty five years later in Doctor Who we take it for granted but just imagine how shocking and exciting this must have been when it aired.

The Tenth Planet is a truly wonderful story, it boasts, the first appearance of the Cybermen, some excellent characters, lines & cliffhangers, and of course the 'regeneration.' Hartnell will always have been the first Doctor. We wouldn't have the show without him. And at times he may have fluffed his lines, or taken too many holidays, but he helped put Doctor Who on the map; and for that he shall always have my gratitude. It  certainly is a shame to see Hartnell go, but I am very excited to see what Patrick Troughton will do with the role.

Join me next time for a new story The Power of The Daleks AND a new Doctor...

Sunday, 5 June 2011

28: The Smugglers - A Loveable Swashbuckler With Ties To The Recent Episode 'Curse Of The Blackspot.'

Written By: Brian Hayles.
Companions: The Doctor, Polly & Ben Jackson.
Monsters/Villains: Pirates.
Brief Synopsis: The Doctor gets caught up in a seventeenth century treasure hunt.
Rating: 8/10.

Another corker! We've got a new crew with Polly and Ben, and although they don't particularly get to stretch their muscles in this first outing I am confident that they will become a productive part of the TARDIS dynamic. There's a lovely and poignant moment after Polly and Ben's shock of being trapped in another time and place has calmed when the Doctor says "And I thought I was going to be alone again."

The new TARDIS Crew.
Polly and Ben's initial reaction is to want to go home. After the Doctor explains the TARDIS and his inability to steer it, Polly is more open to accepting her fate whereas Ben refuses to acquiesce. 

The TARDIS trio meet Longfoot (Terence de Marney).
They've arrived on the shoreline in Cornwall in the 17th century. After some exploring the gang discover an old church and a man comes out brandishing a revolver. After some discourse he softens and offers the trio some brandy. We then get what now is an exciting name drop as the man, Longfoot, the church warden, questions whether the Doctor knows of Avery. The Doctor claims ignorance and asks if Longfoot is expecting Avery? To which he replies "he's been buried theses long years past. But his spirit rides and the dark souls of those who follow in his wake."

Hugh Bonneville as Captain Henry Avery in The Curse of the Black Spot.
For those who haven't been watching the new series; The Doctor, Amy and Rory recently arrived aboard the Good Ship Fancy in the episode The Curse of the Black Spot. The ship belonged to none other than infamous pirate Captain Henry Avery. Avery was played by Hugh Bonneville as a 17th century man turned space pirate. Although the programme doesn't explicitly connect the character with his historical namesake there is a clear likeness with that of the real life pirate Avery. The fictional Avery is depicted as having started his career in the Royal Navy before turning pirate, being dedicated to his wife and children, and having captured a great treasure from an Indian Mughal. It also provides a fictional aetiology for his supposed disappearance. Perhaps the character's legacy can be discovered here in the Doctor's past. Although Avery does not appear in The Smugglers he is mentioned repeatedly. Ironically Pike says Avery died a pauper, but one of the historical accounts of the real Henry Avery states that he famously retired with his loot, without being arrested or killed in battle.

A depiction of the real Avery.
Longfoot is clearly expecting danger and so passes on to the Doctor a 'secret worth remembering.' "This is dead man's secret key. Ringwood, Smallbeer and Gurney." As the Doctor, Ben and Polly leave for the village we see a man pulling a knife and entering the church.

Longfoot's body is discovered and the village inn keeper Jacob Kewper thinks the Doctor and his companions are responsible and sends for the Squire to act as magistrate. A pirate named Cherub arrives and the Doctor is kidnapped, tied up and taken away to face Captain Samuel Pike. Cherub batters Ben and passes over Polly. The Doctor is taken to the Black Albatross for an audience with Captain Pike (clearly a pun on Captain Hook). 

Michael Godfrey as Captain Pike.
We learn that Longfoot used to be a member of Avery's crew along with Cherub, and Pike. I know it obviously wasn't intended, but I enjoyed this story even more imagining Cherub, Pike and Longfoot as some of the courageous (Hugh Bonneville) Avery's crew who outlasted their captain and turned to the darker side of pirating. The Doctor's even heard of Avery the Pirate, unbeknownst at this point in his life that he will make him the man of legend he will become. 

George A Cooper as Cherub.
Before murdering Longfoot, Cherub saw him whispering to the Doctor. Pike believes that the Doctor holds the key to Avery's lost treasure. The Doctor gets around Pike by flattering him and calling him a gentleman and in asks for a reward in return of his secret, a share in the treasure. Meanwhile Ben and Polly are locked up, but the duo quickly use their historical advantage as Ben pretends to use voodoo magic on Tom, their guard in order to obtain their freedom.

Ben meets Blake (John Ringham).
On behalf of the crooked Squire, Kewper meets with Pike (who has left the Doctor aboard his ship) about selling him some smuggled materials. Ben and Polly meet Blake of the King's revenue (played beautifully by the returning John Ringham) who has been sent to find smugglers operating in the area and they procede to tie him up. Pike and the Squire are rumbled when Polly comes across their meeting and recognises Cherub. Pike, wanting to take the smuggled goods for himself captures Kewper and goes to meet the Squire. Ben discovers a route right to the TARDIS from the crypt. The Squire draws his gun on Ben, who is rescued by Blake, who forces Ben and Polly back to the inn but then frees them. He trusts them but not the Squire as he believes that he is possibly the head of the smuggling ring.

Under the watch of Jamaica (the pirate left to guard the Doctor) The Doctor offers to tell Kewper's fortune. Jamaica wants his fortune told but the Doctor drops the cards and Kewper clubs Jamaica on the back of the head enabling them to escape. When Pike returns to discover this he is angered at Jamaica and kills him in cold blood. 

Jamaica and Captain Pike.
Ben tells the Doctor about the route to the TARDIS but the Doctor says they cannot leave as he is responsible, he could be the reason for the destruction of the village. The squire and Kewper join together and plot to get the treasure. Meanwhile Blake goes in search of reinforcements.

Ben and Polly play the age old kids game of find the oldest grave stone, and as the laugh at some of the funny names on the headstones the Doctor grasps the puzzle left to him by Longfoot. The names are graves in the crypt that will lead them to the treasure. Just as they discover a secret entrance in the crypt, Kewper and the Squire enter in search of the treasure only to be killed and wounded respectively by Cherub, who has come to claim the treasure for himself. Then Pike shows up and fights and kills Cherub for his mutiny. The Doctor stalls just long enough, eventually even giving Pike the treasure before Blake arrives with his militia, who kill the pirates. Just as Pike is about to kill the Doctor, the still kicking Squire redeems himself by using his lapsing energy to distract Pike allowing Blake to shoot him dead.

The Doctor and Ben leave unnoticed finding Polly waiting for them at the TARDIS. The three enter, dematerialise and almost immediately arrive at what the Doctor says is the coldest place in the world. Oddly the trio appear to be able to feel the cold even though they're inside the TARDIS.

What a great story, the ties to Matt Smith's current series definitely enhanced my enjoyment of this tale, but it was marvelous regardless. Just one left to go now, Hartnell. I hope you're ready to go, I'm not sure if I'm ready for a new Doctor. Join me next time for the introduction of the Cybermen and William Hartnell's last story, The Tenth Planet.