This time, the Doctor (Troughton) is in some serious trouble, as he encounters the Macra for the first time! Think Giant Crabs!
This four-parter aired from March 11 to 1 April, 1967, and was written by Ian Stuart Black.
Arriving on an Earth colony sometime in the distant future, the Doctor, Jamie (Frazer Hines), Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze) step from their TARDIS, only to encounter a raving man, an escaped prisoner, who tries to warn them that not everything is as it appears to be here, and that there is great danger.
When he is recaptured our intrepid explorers journey to the colony and find a joyous and productive place, where at first they think they may be able to take their ease for a while. Unfortunately, things aren’t as good as they seem, and it appears that something monstrous is actually going on… The Macra are using the humans of the colony to mine gas for them, and while the Macra need it to survive, it is in fact, deadly to humans. Not that this bothers the giant crustaceans too much.
Jamie finds himself trapped amongst the creatures, which may have looked more believable in motion, but as almost all the video recorded for this story is gone, all I got was a photoplay with audio recording, I wasn’t too impressed with them… though, of course, they will return.
Ben falls under Macra control, and consequently causes no end if trouble for our heroes, even as they try to save him, and the colony.
Happily, the Doctor figures a way to save the day, thanks to Polly.
This one wasn’t my fave story featuring Number Two, it may be in part to the fact that there is no real video left of the story, and half of these stories are literally Troughton’s appeal as the Doctor, he’s mischievous, clever, and there seems to be always something going on behind his eyes, so not having that on this story, caused me to feel not quite as engaged as I would have liked.
The Macra are absent for 40 years, before appearing again in Gridlock, albeit, briefly.
I really am hoping we get to some stories that are fully intact, because every time I’ve seen him in action, Troughton is brilliant as the Doctor, with his oversized-blazer and sense of play. As mentioned previously, he is fast becoming a favorite, and I’d like to see him in some really good stories that help to cement that opinion.
Next week, he takes on The Faceless Ones.