Season Four of Doctor Who starts with what I found to be the most uninteresting story to have spilled out of the TARDIS. Written by Brian Hayles, this story ran from 10 September to 1 October, 1966. Maybe it would be better if it existed in some other format than a reconstruction, using production photos, and audio, but this was one story I just could not get into.
The Doctor (Hartnell), Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills) arrive in the 17th century on the coast of Cornwall. There they learn of a hidden treasure, the only clue to its location being a rhyme which the Doctor learns.
Pirates, led by Captain Samuel Pike (Michael Godfrey) come in search of the treasure, placing the Doctor and his companions in mortal danger, as Pikes right hand, Cherub (George A. Cooper) proves to be a bit of a menace. Throw into this a Squire (Paul Whitsun-Jones) trying to get rid of some contraband, and the local militia, and you have the potential for a rather large and intricate story, set amongst tombstones and the Cornish countryside.
Unfortunately, this is the first story to come along since my start of the series, and with my knowledge of what awaits down the line, that actually bored me. I just couldn’t get into this one. There was just a lack of charm, and it’s obvious at this point, that Hartnell’s time is done. I’ll be sorry to see him go, but at this point, there doesn’t seem to be as much delight in his performances as there was earlier.
At this point, I’m ready to see Patrick Troughton take over the role, and bring a new life to the series. I realize that when these stories were airing that the idea of the Doctor regenerating was something new, and was probably tough to handle for some viewers. Heck, I know people who have had transition problems with each of the newer incarnations, but right now, I’m ready for a change.
I’m also not quite sure how I feel about Ben and Polly yet either, but seeing as this is their first adventure with the Doctor, I won’t rush to judgment yet, but I figure with a new Doctor on the horizon, there will be even more changes in Companions.
In the end, I’m glad I got through the story, I do intend to watch all of them, I was just hoping for a little more from this one…
Next week, a very familiar enemy makes its first appearance in The Tenth Planet!