The Keys of Marinus part 6

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Mudlark 6 years, 4 months ago.

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    Craig @craig

    This week is the finalé. And the episode is actually called “The Keys of Marinus”. As time ticks away (literally) the Doctor, the companions and assorted hangers-on are still trying to prove Ian is innocent of murder and save Susan from her kidnappers.

    I won’t say anymore before you watch it, except to say that the resolution is a bit swift for my liking. And just when you think Ian’s made an ass of himself, you think he’s actually been clever. Only, he’s actually made an ass of himself. That’s our Ian.

    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.

    We should really do ‘The Tenth Planet, if possible, before Christmas – if only so everyone can meet Ben and Polly. In the meantime the following First Doctor stories are available to buy, download etc., so please let me know what you’d like to start watching next week and we’ll see what we can do.

    • The Aztecs
    • The Sensorites
    • The Web Planet
    • The Rescue
    • The Romans
    • The Space Museum
    • The Chase
    • The Ark
    • The Gunfighters
    • The War Machines

    janetteB @janetteb

    I cheated this week. I watched half of this episode on Friday and finished it today so I am finally up to date. I really enjoyed the series. I was surprised to realise that I had not seen it before. I agree that the ending does seem rather rushed. The story arc proved less interesting than the components but that is so often the case. Returning with the keys to find that all was not as expected, (by Team Tardis that is) felt like a bit of a anti climax after the more engaging dramas they had experienced in seeking the keys.
    Some random thoughts, Arbitan’s daughter did not seem at all grieved by the death of her father. the Doctor refers to Susan as “the child”. I don’t think they had really decided just what age she is supposed to be which must have made it difficult for Carole Ann Ford. Interesting that William Russell says there was never intended to be any hint of a relationship between Ian and Barbara because it appears to me that it is heavily implied.

    @craig as to next series to watch. I would probably choose Aztecs though I have rather a soft spot for Romans too.


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Yes, I hadn’t watched this before, either, apart from episode 2. I have no idea why I saw episode 2 but not the rest. I really enjoyed it – for a ‘filler’, emergency story it was a really good one.

    The ending felt like Terry Nation had realised he couldn’t do his detective story in one episode, so had to take over half of part 6 – then he had to really rush the final bit with Yartek. The detective story was also pitched a little too old for most of the audience; the motive felt distinctly adult.

    Yartek was drawing very largely on theatrical ‘suspension of disbelief’. The melodrama style ‘look, I will throw this large cloak over me and nobody will realise that I happen to be of an entirely different species from the person I’m impersonating’ suggests a non-too-bright meglomanic. Shades of Red Riding Hood and the Wolf: ‘My Arbitan, what big flippers you have …’ – though Doctor Who has a plentiful supply of non-too-bright meglomaniacs, including our beloved Master/Missy 🙂

    Yes, the dialogue between Ian and Altos when they discover that Ian’s cunning plan is going to lead to an unanticipated enormous explosion is a good bit. Well done Ian. You spend six weeks looking for a way to repair the Conscience of Marinus, then you accidentally blow it up. 😀

    Still, as the Doctor says, it was probably a good idea in the end. Mind control isn’t exactly the best way to run things – as episode 2 showed.

    @craig – I believe The Aztecs is the next story, that it’s a four parter, and that we have time to do it before we tackle The Tenth Planet. I also believe that @blenkinsopthebrave may attack you with a mace containing a Key if we get this close to The Aztecs and then don’t watch it. 🙂

    [Don’t panic. The attack with the mace will be so badly shot that it’ll be completely obvious it never went anywhere near you.]

    Whisht @whisht

    well, as has been mentioned, thatallfeltabitrushed

    Although I thought Arbitan would emerge from under the mask in a “ah ha! My fiendish plan to get all my keys back!” didn’t materialise, I got all the clues in this one – and that never happens!

    Ah well. I still think Barbara emerges as the most sensible person in these episodes (no Ian, splitting up the group is rarely a good idea).
    But the companion taking over the show… ha, will never happen.

    In terms of next ones to watch I honestly have no opinion. As long as someone who nose makes sure we watch the most appropriate one(s) before xmas, then I’m up for watching more of these First Doctor’s.

    wolfweed @wolfweed

    Continuing with last week’s mysteries being solved by culprits blurting their own guilt, this continues with the gaff about Susan giving the game away.

    Pyrrho gets a name drop – Nice!

    Yartek: ‘I shall order my creatures to kill her!’

    @bluesqueakpip  Voord in a hoodie is faintly ridiculous. Why don’t we ever see a ‘nude’ Voord? They’re only ‘acid’suits after all. Are they all in permanent fear of an acid attack? Anyway it’s good timing for a disguise. In the previous scene, Yartek had his Arbitan hood down and the TARDIS crew were already in the building at that point.

    The resolution is yet another unnecessary ‘cover-self-blown-by-the-culprit’.

    So what happened to all the travel dials after the story?

    We never did get that Altos & Sabetha spin-off where they solved gritty crime in Millenius…

    Well it was fair story but a bit of a dip when sandwiched between the brilliant Marco Polo & The Aztecs. The first half was better than the second, anyway. The Voord are quite a cool design & might work well in a modern version… (They returned in candy cigarette cards, a story in the 1st Dr Who annual, and more than once in comic form…)





    @janetteb  Talking of comics, Ian and Barbara got married in ‘Hunters of the Burning Stone’…


    @craig  More than happy with the Aztecs!

    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    @bluesqueakpip, @craig,

    In spite of the fact that life still seems to get in the way (but reflections on The Keys of Marinus will hopefully follow soon) I can guarantee you that the attack of the mace will have have pin-point accuracy and deadly consequences!

    So… bring on The Aztecs!

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @wolfweed — I’ve always loved that picture of the Voord with the watches. (The true reason for the invasion of Marinus? To set up a budget jewellery concession?)

    To be honest, I’ve found these episodes a bit of a slog, so I’ll probably just remain an interested observer for the Aztecs….

    wolfweed @wolfweed


    Yes – These are some of the watches from TKOM (But whose they were is unknown)…

    budget jewellery

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    The Audio Commentary:

    Some tributes to Verity Lambert – this was the first audio commentary (of one of her Who productions) to be recorded after her death. John Gorrie recounts how Verity dragged him into doing Keys of Marinus, and cut him down to size when he said he really wanted to do Oedipus Rex. (She said that if he was a very good boy, and did his Doctor Who directing really well, perhaps someday the BBC might allow him near Oedipus Rex).

    Even though this was her first job as producer, everyone felt she was ‘a safe pair of hands’. She knew what she wanted for the programme, and the people on the ground (unlike ‘The Sixth Floor’) trusted her. Ray Cusick was aware of the BBC undercurrents – the Sixth Floor really hated SF. But the Daleks saved them – Ray might not have got the money, but he certainly got Verity telling him how wonderful his design had been and how successful it was.

    John Gorrie finds it extraordinary that he’s talking about this programme forty-odd years later, and compliments the original cast, Ray, Verity and all the original team for creating something that is so loved.

    Back to production details: John Gorrie says he’s hugely relieved to have had Ray Cusick along to explain how small the sets were (and how dreadful Studio D was) – he’s gone from thinking he did a terrible job on Keys of Marinus to realising that he’d forgotten how restrictive things were. He had no room, no height to do proper shots, no ability to stop when people did a fluff… he now realises that he did the best job he could given the considerable limitations. (Oh, and he insists that he did NOT direct an episode of Reign of Terror). For example, he couldn’t stop and reshoot when the Voord trips over the camera cable.

    Interviewer: ‘The best disguise ever on television.’ John Gorrie replies: ‘This is, I’m afraid, unfortunate… it makes them [Ian and Susan] look awfully stupid.’ The script, at least, has them both being suspicious – but with that disguise, ‘suspicious’ really wasn’t enough.

    Something to think about as we go into The Aztecs – Ray Cusick hates Joan Littlewood’s Oh What A Lovely War. ‘The entertainment business has done more to ruin history than everything else.’ John Gorrie argues back that historians, themselves, provide an equally distorted view. So, the Aztecs: distorted? Or as accurate as possible given the limitations of the day. 🙂

    Mudlark @mudlark

    This is rather late in the day to be commenting, I know.  I’ve been very much in catch-up mode, though playing by the rules in that I watched the episodes at roughly weekly intervals.

    My recollections of early Who are vague, to say the least, but given the dates of transmission I can be certain that this is a story which I have never seen before, and it has been an interesting exercise. The first Doctor who made a real impression on me at the time was Patrick Troughton’s incarnation, so it has been a pleasure to see Hartnell in the role again and to be reminded how good he could be in conveying that impish delight and curiosity, as well as to be see again how ‘young’  he was  compared with his AG incarnations who have been tempered and scarred by so many more centuries of knowledge and experience. It has also been salutary to be reminded of the degree to which the companions could, from the very first, drive the narrative at times.

    Thanks to @bluesqueakpip , for passing on the fascinating insights and additional information from the audio commentaries, which have added greatly to my appreciation.  I have been trying to think myself back into the frame of mind in which I might have watched this in the 1960s – which, given that my desk top computer screen is twice the size of my family’s TV screen at the time, is tricky.  The relative crudity of the effects would not have bothered me because at the time, as Pip noted in her comment on episode 4, the production values were much closer to theatre then than now, when ‘realistic’ or cinematic standards are the norm.

    The Keys of Marinus is not really a single, coherent story. It has the loose structure followed later by The Key to Time, in which a series of discrete stories is loosely linked by a McGuffin. Here there isn’t really much to indicate that the individual episodes even take place on the same planet, and the quality – or at least the degree to which my modern self found them engaging – is variable, but I do not think that my 1960s self would have been so critical, and even now the second episode and the trial sequence had considerable impact.  The story also provides plenty of ethical and philosophical questions to ponder, though nothing is hammered home in too blunt a fashion

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