The Tenth Planet part 4

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  CountScarlioni 6 years, 2 months ago.

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    Craig @craig

    And so we get to the first Doctor’s final episode, which includes the very first regeneration. In a way it almost helps that Hartnell was missing from part 3. His line on his return “This old body of mine, it’s wearing a bit thin, you know’ was also echoed in ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’.

    And we have an interesting choice when it comes to watching it. As said before, this episode is unfortunately missing. There are, however, two reconstructions. One has been done with the remaining footage that does exist, plus stills taken on set. The other is an animated version.

    For me, as it’s Hartnell’s last performance, I prefer to see the man himself, rather than a drawing of him. But you may think differently. Let us know which version you prefer.

    As to the plot, the Z-bomb fails to launch thanks to Ben and Dr Barclay’s actions last week. Cutler is furious but before he can do anything the Cybermen re-take the base.

    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.

    Footage and stills


    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

    The DVD has the animated version as standard, and the stills reconstruction as an extra. Right decision, I think. Having watched both, I found that the animation was a much better continuation of the story, while the stills/ video reconstruction was of mainly historical interest. It is, as @craig says, fascinating to see the remains of Hartnell’s last regular Doctor Who performance. Though I’m going to be nerdy here, and point out that his actual last performance (and my only childhood memory of Hartnell’s Doctor) was in The Three Doctors.

    But fascinating as it was, I found it easier to follow the animation than the stills. The animation clearly builds on the stills and the remaining video, and the animators seem to have tried to catch some of the actors’ mannerisms. They’ve made decisions that I disagree with – the Cybermen, for example, with black holes for eyes – but the sixties style works well, as does keeping it in black and white.

    On to the story: Ben succeeded in sabotaging the rocket! Yay! Gen. Cutler, however, has taken the opportunity for some serious scenery chewing before he gets shot by the Cybermen. We also see an early example of ‘The Doctor Offer’, where the villains are given an opportunity to live peacefully.

    Everyday Sixties sexism. Ben gets to work on radioactive Z bombs, Polly gets to be a hostage. And scream a lot. Was it beyond the wit of the (male) scriptwriters and producer to at least have her try to escape/sabotage the Cybership/provide the Doctor with important information? As @janetteb says, it’s particularly annoying when we’ve just been watching Barbara.

    Mondas Cybermen are more vulnerable to radiation. That seemed to be a trope of the fifties and sixties – I remember Asimov’s robots having the same problem.

    How do you get rid of an entire invasion force of Cybermen when they need a nice new planet? Make them dependent on energy from Mondas, so they all collapse and the story can finish in time for the problem to switch to the Doctor’s mysterious weakness. And the TARDIS is doing Weird Stuff as well, but the Doctor manages to let Ben and Polly in before… What? Because back when this episode first broadcast, nobody had a clue what had just happened.

    A lot of people, including some of the actors in this story, rate the final moments of The Tenth Planet as the moment Doctor Who became a never ending story. 🙂

    Whisht @whisht

    I hadn’t seen this before (wasn’t alive at the time and hadn’t seen any version before now).

    I think I’ll I’ll agree with @bluesqueakpip in that the animation is more dramatic and easier to follow as [ahem] drama, but I was glad to see the stills etc version to see what it was based on and for the glimpses of the actual programme.

    I’m curious as to what the audience knew of what would happen before this episode aired – did anyone in the general audience know that this was the last time they’d see Hartnell as the Doctor? Was it a ‘big deal’ as an episode? Was Troughton known as joining the cast?

    I’m not going to comment too much on the episode itself – I can imagine Hartnell’s poor health really affected the production.
    I had thought that more would have been made of the over-emotional response of Cutler (and others) and the Cybermen’s lack of emotion (and how the Cybermen were the more successful in most of the decision making until the necessary ‘stoopid’ things like entering a radiation room etc etc).
    But then again I’m not a writer!
    Also whether the scientists (and Ben) dressed in radiation suits was deliberately echoing the Cybermen themselves.

    Anyway – really glad we did this and really looking forward to hearing anyone who saw this the first time.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    I’m curious as to what the audience knew of what would happen before this episode aired – did anyone in the general audience know that this was the last time they’d see Hartnell as the Doctor? Was it a ‘big deal’ as an episode? Was Troughton known as joining the cast?

    Judging by the archive copy of Radio Times, the audience could easily have missed hearing about the transfer between Hartnell and Troughton. The front cover is all about the return of the Daleks.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    Think I’m with @bluesqueakpip and @whisht that the animated version is preferable and enables a greater appreciation of the narrative.

    So in this episode Cutler goes proper mental before getting offed by the Cybes. Unlike other antagonistic chiefs of base in this type of story in the future, it’s interesting that he never becomes an ally but is always part of the problem. And it has to be said that there was seldom anything particularly, um, subtle in Beatty’s performance.

    Good to see the Doctor back in action. Sort of. Although (for obvious logistical reasons) has there ever been a story where the Doctor actually does so little in terms of actual terms of the plot? Obviously, it’s understandable but it’s a shame that the First Doctor didn’t go out in a more dynamic way. And I guess it’s clear that he really couldn’t go on, no matter how he might have wished to.

    And so we come to a perennial problem with the Cybermen, that will pretty much every story afterwards — how to kill the buggers. I’ve always felt it odd that they would be so afraid of radiation. It just doesn’t seem likely that a race of scientists, augmenting their entire race would overlook something quite as fundamental as this. But as Pip says, it was just something of a hot topic in the 60s.  (Similarly the lack of emotions thing. Again, I hark to an idea (which I read in Michio Kiku, I think) that it’s actually not possibly to make any kind of far-reaching decisions, anything beyond simple algorithms or logic puzzles without emotional input. It’s a conceit that’s incredibly difficult to pull off. I think the only iteration of the Cybermen that did seem truly emotionless were the ones we see during the Troughton era. By the time we get to the 80s, they’ve become incredibly camp. And this version are pretty emotional too. Almost boastful on first appearance and bordering on tetchy later on — am I the only one when the Cyberleader was trying to take names in episode 2 wanted Cutler to shout out ‘Don’t tell him, Pyke’?)

    The collective loss of power ruse at the episode’s end seemed a bit convenient too — and something we’ll see again in other Cyber stories, I seem to remember. But for all that, I love this version of the Cybermen and think it’s never been beaten — and s10 has shown I think that they still work, even 50 years later. I do hope that CC takes that on board for the next time they return. Also their spaceship was very cool.

    And so to the regeneration. It’s an odd one, isn’t it? And it’s interesting just how involved the TARDIS is in it. Which, to my mind, lends credence to the idea that the Doctor has to be in or very near the TARDIS for it to work. (I’ve always had the theory that the console somewhere contains the data for regeneration but the ‘imprinting’ idea they seem to be going with these days seems to go against that.) But all the levers moving etc suggests that this time there’s a technological/mechanical component at play here. Or maybe the TARDIS is having to jumpstart the process because the Doc has been so stubborn in avoiding it — like induced labour almost.

    It will be very interesting to see just how much they play with Episode Four in Twice Upon A Time.

    CountScarlioni @countscarlioni



    Judging by the archive copy of Radio Times, the audience could easily have missed hearing about the transfer between Hartnell and Troughton. The front cover is all about the return of the Daleks.

    In his little book on Doctor Who in the BFI TV Classics series, Kim Newman argues the changeover was very low key. He writes there was “minor coverage of the regeneration in grown-up newspapers,” and that like “the use of the Daleks, this lack of ballyhoo may well have been an insurance policy to keep audiences watching long enough to get used to the idea of a new Doctor.”

    He also suggests the replacement the year before of Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman) by Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) in the Avengers was an equally risky recasting. 

    I agree the animated version works better for the flow of the story. I also tried hard with this rewatch of the four episodes to see the Doctor as The Doctor' and notThe First Doctor,’ and the Cybermen as Cybermen' and notMondasian Cybermen’ to at least take a shot at getting the 1966 viewer’s perspective. Didn’t really work!




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