The Keys of Marinus part 3

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    Craig @craig

    This week it’s “The Screaming Jungle”. The Doctor is off on his own mission to find the final key. Barbara, Ian and Susan are joined in their hunt for the second key by Sabetha, Arbitan’s daughter, and Altos, who was also sent by Arbitan. Once again, what seems like a normal jungle is not all that it seems.

    Barbara finds what she thinks is the key but while trying to get it she is captured by a spinning, stone idol (with very human-like arms). It turns out the key she found is a fake. Ian decides to look for Barbara (and the real key) alone and sends the others on to the next destination in case Barbara has already used her travel dial to escape there.

    This starts like a Saturday morning matinee such as “Flash Gordon”. Thrills and spills, booby traps, peril and last-minute escapes. I can’t help thinking George Lucas may have seen this before coming up with the idea for Indiana Jones and his search for that lost Ark.

    For the best viewing experience this story is available to buy from your favourite DVD/Blu-ray retailer, or it may be on your Netflix, Prime or Hulu, or whatever else you subscribe to.

    Remember, we’re discussing this story one episode per week, as it was originally broadcast. If you’ve seen it before, for the convenience of anyone approaching this for the first time, NO SPOILERS for subsequent episodes please.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I dunno about George Lucas – but it was pretty obvious that Steven Moffat’s watched this one. 🙂 Though his Weeping Angels were cast using dancers who could hold absolutely still, not an extra who was clearly starting to tremble with the strain of holding the axe.

    I’m really starting to dislike Arbitan and his friends. Okay, evil Voords, got that. But some of those traps are seriously sadistic. And exactly what kind of lunatic decides to bio-engineer a homicidal plant that grows fifty times faster than normal? Arbitan’s daughter seems nice enough, but Arbitan and Darrius themselves seem to be remarkably quick on the uptake when it comes to blackmail and nasty ways to kill people.

    I take it Carole Anne Ford was also having a few days off? But it’s nice to see that Terry Nation was keen on dropping hints about the Doctor and Susan’s background. Susan has heard such a sound before, doesn’t know what it is or where she heard it, knows it’s evil. The hint is that it’s something to do with the reason she and the Doctor fled their home (at this point, of course, Gallifrey hasn’t been invented). It also plugs in a hint about why Susan is so prone to hysterical screaming; when Barbara mutters darkly about Ian’s determination to look after them, Susan points out that she likes being looked after – again, another hint that she and the Doctor are fleeing from something traumatic.

    Susan, like her grandfather, doesn’t like goodbyes.

    Unlike last week, which had a definite feeling of text and subtext, this episode does seem more Saturday afternoon thrills and spills. There’s a faint hint of meddling with stuff that might kill us, but the whole thing does seem like an early Indiana Jones.

    I liked Jaqueline Hill’s acting when she was comforting Susan about the moving tendril – reassuring Susan that of course it hadn’t been trying to eat her, while her expression showed that she wasn’t all that sure what she was saying was true. Likewise, Barbara’s reaction to Ian’s ‘big brave man protecting poor little woman’ is spot on.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    This episode is like The Crystal Maze or The Adventure Game. A time-limited series of puzzles with traps…

    The ‘slowly’ destructive nature is a bit reminiscent of  The Shepherd Boy from Heaven sent.

    Evil vines remind me of  ‘Creeping Vine’ from ‘Dr Terror’s House of Horrors’ (1965)

    Edmund Warwick (Darrius) would return to the show to pretend to be the 1st Dr a couple of times…


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    Ray Cusick doesn’t seem very happy with the jungle set; he grumbles that he didn’t have very much room and had to spend a lot of money hiring the greenery. He’s also very unhappy about the creeping creepers. Then he mutters about the space being so restricted that they actually had to open a door to get enough room for the sound boom. Meanwhile John Gorrie, the director, remembers that the idol was late arriving, so he had to do camera rehearsals in which he explained that the camera would focus on the idol that wasn’t there yet… Ray Cusick also remembers that the poor resolution of the contemporary TVs could be used by the savvy set designer. It could cover ‘a multitude of sins.’

    The studio was incredibly crowded and full of cables; William Russell and Carole Ann Ford remember that you definitely did not rush from scene to scene. You ‘crept’, very quietly and avoiding falling over cables. 😉

    Nobody has any memories of working with Terry Nation. At all. Never met him. Except Ray Cusick, who has a bit of an edge to his voice, and Carole Ann Ford, who then hurriedly chips in with a story that is definitely not about work (it’s about Nation’s large, but dilapidated house). Then later William Russell also appears to know Terry Nation quite well socially and has a fairly detailed knowledge of Nation’s later stuff (but definitely not any Doctor Who). It all has a bit of a feel of ‘don’t mention the Daleks in front of Ray Cusick’; the two actors seem far more comfortable when they can redirect the conversation away from Daleks and talk about Terry Nation in any other context than Who; socially, his other work, anything.

    John Gorrie seems totally oblivious to this possible subtext. 😉

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