The tenth planet (1966)
About this serial
This was a four-part serial, first broadcast between 8th October - 29th October 1966. The serial was written by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis, produced by Innes Lloyd and directed by Derek Martinus. The script editor was Gerry Davis.
What I've seen:
Episodes one, two and three, and an animated version of episode four. A reconstruction of episode four is included as an extra on the DVD.
A moon expedition gets into trouble as a tenth planet mysteriously appears in the solar system. Meanwhile ground control have problems of their own, with emotionless silver giants appearing out of nowhere. And then the Doctor collapses, though it turns out it's far from being all over...
Though it has some weaker points, this story is solid 1960s science fiction and the plot keeps moving along at a steady pace. Some good things:
- There are some good performances and great incidental music.
- There's also good model work and great sets, and the combination with stock footage works well.
- The decision to set the story in 1986, twenty years in the future from when it was made, helps to keep the serial's look and feel rooted in reality.
This is also a notable Doctor Who story:
- This serial is our first encounter with the Cybermen. The Cybermen would turn out not to be the greatest Doctor Who villains, mostly due to overuse by writers who didn't care for them or didn't know what to do with them, but it's surprising how different and how fresh and interesting they are here.
- It's the first base-under-siege story, and would be the first of many to come.
- The Doctor's relationship with the earth authorities is interesting. From Patrick Troughton's tenure onwards he would become a valued government advisor whose authority was accepted without question and who could do as he pleased, but what we see here in the first two episodes is something quite different - the Doctor growing increasingly frustrated as no one believes him or even listens to him.
- Finally, this is the story where William Hartnell turns into Patrick Troughton. I'm not sure whether to call it a regeneration yet - what we see here appears to be a one-off event triggered by the Cybermen encounter, and I think Throughton-to-Pertwee was some sort of punishment by the Time Lords though I haven't watched the DVDs yet - but it certainly introduces the whole idea.
The bottom line
A must-see for fans, and solid entertainment for anyone else.