Tuesday

Doctor Who Notes 7

Doctor Who takes off in an all-new direction with its seventh season. Jon Pertwee takes over the main role and brings his own interpretation of the character. Now marooned on Earth in the twentieth century, the Doctor becomes involved with the Brigadier’s UNIT missions. A new companion, Liz Shaw, is introduced, though her role is somewhat different, as the Doctor doesn’t actually travel anywhere in the TARDIS. Fewer, longer stories allow for more exploration of the Doctor’s relationships with the humans he is now forced to live among, and the show in general seems to strive for greater realism. This season was also the first to be made in color.


From “Spearhead from Space”

The TARDIS materializes in Oxney Wood, Epping, and the newly regenerated Doctor stumbles out and collapses into the grass, unconscious. UNIT troops in the area to investigate a strange meteor shower find him and take him to a nearby hospital, unaware of his identity. Meanwhile, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is interviewing Dr. Elizabeth Shaw, hoping she will agree to lend her scientific expertise to his organization.

The Brigadier: Since UNIT was formed, there’ve been two attempts to invade this planet.
Liz: Really?
The Brigadier: We were lucky enough to be able to stop them. There was a policy decision not to inform the public.
Liz: Do you seriously expect me to believe that?
The Brigadier: It’s not my habit to tell lies, Miss Shaw.
Liz: I’m sorry. But it is a fantastic story!
The Brigadier: We were very lucky on both occasions. We had help from a … scientist with great experience of other life-forms.
Liz: Really? Who was this genius?
The Brigadier: Well, it’s all rather difficult to explain. We used to call him … the Doctor.

When informed of the mysterious police box, the Brigadier and Liz drive down to the hospital at once, but the Brigadier is baffled when the Doctor appears to have a new physical appearance. However, the physicians discover that the Doctor has a completely alien physiognomy, including two hearts and an inhuman blood type. While the Doctor is in a deep self-induced coma, the Brigadier returns to UNIT headquarters with the TARDIS. The Doctor soon arrives in a stolen car and wearing stolen clothes, having homed in on his ship. He reluctantly agrees to help the Brigadier investigate the artificial meteorites in exchange for the TARDIS key. The Doctor soon tricks Liz into getting him the key and he immediately tries to dematerialize, only to find the TARDIS has been completely disabled by the Time Lords.


The Doctor discovers that an alien race called the Nestenes are planning to invade Earth using an army of Autons. By destroying the physical nerve center of the Nestenes, the Doctor foils the invasion attempt, although he speculates that they may one day try again. Back at UNIT headquarters, the Doctor agrees to act as the Brigadier’s scientific advisor in exchange for facilities to repair the TARDIS, and a bargain is struck.

Liz Shaw was recruited by UNIT from Cambridge University for her scientific expertise. After the Doctor took over as scientific advisor, she stayed on for a while, despite her lack of interest in “security work.” Eventually growing frustrated, she returned to Cambridge and resumed her research.


From “Doctor Who and the Silurians”

The Doctor is modifying his new vehicle, a vintage yellow roadster he calls “Bessie,” when Liz brings in an official summons from the Brigadier, who is investigating strange power failures at a top-secret atomic research center in the Derbyshire caves.

Liz: Yes, but he wants us to join him. “Miss Shaw and the Doctor will report themselves forthwith to Wenley Moor, attend a briefing meeting at precis --
The Doctor: My dear Miss Shaw, I never report myself anywhere, particularly not forthwith.

Deep in the caves beneath the facility, the Doctor discovers that the power is being siphoned off by the Silurians, an ancient reptilian life-form who went into suspended animation millions of years ago. Hoping to prevent an all-out war between the two species, the Doctor tries to negotiate for the Silurians to inhabit Earth’s deserts. However, one Silurian faction is bent on genocide and releases a deadly plague among the human population. The Doctor and Liz work desperately to develop a cure.

The Doctor: You know, I’m beginning to lose confidence for the first time in my life. And that covers several thousand years.

Just as the cure is found, the Doctor is taken prisoner by the Silurians and made to provide more power to revive their race. However, the Doctor starts a nuclear meltdown, prompting the Silurians to go back into suspended animation until the radiation clears. The Doctor is eager to begin studying the Silurians’ technology, but the Brigadier blows up their base, sealing it underground forever.


From “The Ambassadors of Death”

The Doctor has removed the main console from the TARDIS and set it up in his laboratory where he can work on getting it operational again. He manages to project both Liz and himself 15 seconds into the future before it burns out again. His work is interrupted by news of a space mission disaster, for which he offers his assistance. He discovers that an unidentified alien race has sent three ambassadors to Earth in place of the human astronauts, who were kidnapped by the revenge-seeking General Carrington. The Doctor and UNIT foil the general’s scheme and exchange the ambassadors for the astronauts. Perhaps because of Carrington’s crimes, the aliens felt Earth’s inhabitants are not to be trusted and canceled their diplomatic mission.


From “Inferno”

A strange murder brings UNIT to an experimental government project dedicated to drilling into the Earth’s crust in search of alternative energy supplies. The Doctor is already on hand, using the facility’s computers and nuclear power plant to attempt to reactivate the TARDIS console. A sudden power surge hurtles the Doctor and the console into a time-warp from which he barely escapes. A second attempt shunts the Doctor, the console, and Bessie into a parallel universe where England is run by a fascist regime. When the parallel drilling project penetrates the crust, forces are released that tear the planet apart. The Doctor only just manages to cross back over the dimensional boundary and stop the drilling in time. The project officially shut down, the Doctor’s final attempt merely lands the TARDIS console in the garbage dump.


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