Michael Gough menaces the Doctor (Hartnell) in this week’s story! Written by Brian Hayles and airing in 4 parts, The Celestial Toyroom, The Hall of Dolls, The Dancing Floor, and the Final Test, from 2 April to 23 April, 1966, this story was originally planned to be Hartnell’s exit as the Doctor.
The TARDIS is brought to land in a strange environment, governed over by the Celestial Toymaker (Gough), who apparently the Doctor has dealt with before. Holding the TARDIS as a the prize, he challenges the Doctor, Stephen (Peter Purves) and Dodo (Jackie Lane) to a series of games, that, if they lose, will see them joining the Toymaker’s collection until he sees fit to destroy them.
While playing a tri-logic game with the Toymaker, the Doctor is made invisible and mute by his competition, as he tried to aid his Companions through their troubles. This was designed so that when the Doctor is brought back at the end of the story, he would be replaced by a different actor, but the idea was canned and Hartnelll would hold on to the role for a couple of more stories yet.
Steven and Dodo have to find their way through a variety of games, including one with a cheating pair of decidedly creepy looking clowns, a dancing floor, a kitchen, a series of dangerous chairs and each step of the way they are menaced by a character whose name is revealed as Cyril – (Peter Stephens), who seems to be a bit of a spoiled brat, and one of the Toymaker’s favorites.
This is a decidedly odd episode, and while not quite surreal, a couple of tweaks and this one could have been really out there!
Once again, we’re in the realm of reconstructed episodes, 3 of the 4 episodes only have sound and production photos, the fourth episode still exists, and watching this episode as a whole, made me wish the other three episodes still existed as well. The Doctor is unseen for a large portion of the story, as well as unheard, so it’s very much Steven and Dodo’s story, while the Toymaker chews scenery and lords his cleverness over the Doctor, who of course turns everything around on him by story’s end and they make their escape!
Part of me is glad I couldn’t watch some of the episodes, because Steven’s jumper in this is terrible, even if it was the 60s!! Dodo looks a little bit like a go-go dancer, but I guess those were the fab clothes and looks of the time.
Three more stories in this season, and then we’re into season 4, and a whole new Doctor!
I’ve enjoyed Hartnell’s run, but at this point, I am ready to see someone else take on the role, bring on Patrick Troughton!