I’m glad I’ve got the odd episode of Tomorrow’s World here. I wish I had a few more. They can sometimes be fascinating.
This one is Doctor Who themed, presumably to tie in with the (rare) repeat of a classic Pertwee serial after it, and to tie in with the programme’s 30th anniversary.
The opening is brave for a live show – fireworks set off behind a prop wall, in front of Television Centre.
That Tardis prop is in a bad way – conspicuously missing the “Free for use of Public” plaque.
There’s some archive footage of Raymond Baxter. Only joking, he’s really in the studio, in a lovely fakeout. They’re having fun with this episode.
Then Professor Stephen Hawking comes along to pour cold water on the idea of travelling into the past. He’s such a spoilsport.
There’s a piece on pretend skydiving above a huge fan, and a piece on research into cot death.
Then, Raymond Baxter presents a look at his old report on Pong from 1973 as a lead-in to a piece on VR.
And there’s a scary piece about underground tyre fires.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 5th November 1993 – 19:00
After this, there’s a trailer for Saturday programmes on BBC1.
Then, before the first episode of Doctor Who: Planet of the Daleks there’s a special extra programme looking at the origin of the Tardis. They lose points for including footage from one of the Peter Cushing films.
Then, episode one of Planet of the Daleks. Clearly, we’re continuing on from events at the end of the previous story (Frontier in Space) with The Doctor incapacitated. Jo Grant (Katy Manning) gets him into the Tardis, but he’s not making much sense. He sends a telepathic message to the Time Lords, then collapses.
The Tardis lands on a planet, and the Doctor tells Jo to record everything in the Tardis log, a dictaphone-type device. I’m not sure if this serves any purpose than to allow Jo to narrate her solo scenes.
It’s a very… moist planet. All the plant life seems to consist of large, ugly flowers that spray some kind of noxious substance over anything that moves.
It’s a really good thing Jo remembers to take her raincoat.
I like the fact that Jo has to take the initiative, which offsets her usual role as the one asking lots of questions. Having to narrate her log entries shows her being smart and analytical, which she rarely gets a chance to do.
The jungle set is satisfyingly dense and thick, making a virtue of a small studio space. Everything’s shot very close, but it makes sense visually because you feel like you couldn’t get much distance in such a think jungle.
Jo discovers some kind of vessel. Inside, there’s someone in a seat, but when Jo taps him on the shoulder he slumps over. It’s a pity that, as she’s approaching, he’s wobbling about quite noticeably.
Meanwhile in the Tardis, the Doctor recovers from his malaise, and wonders why the Tardis is running on its stored oxygen supply when the external atmosphere is breathable. He also can’t open the doors. Then, crisis, as the automatic oxygen supply is exhausted. Lovely font for the warning, from a time when people imagined that computers would have to use computery fonts. Some sleuthing led me to the Bitstream font Amelia.
Jo is now hiding in the ship – it feels like we’ve lost s scene. Men wearing padded suits and blond hair find her and look menacing.
The one on the left is Prentis Hancock off of Space 1999. They’ve never heard of Earth. She asks for their help for the Doctor. Another blond man turns up. I wish the show wouldn’t make aliens homogeneous like this, as it makes it rather difficult to differentiate them. This one looks familiar. It’s Tim Preece, who also played Reggie Perrin’s son-in-law Tom.
The men agree to go and help the Doctor. While they’re gone, something enters the ship, but whatever it is, it’s invisible.
The men find the Tardis, and discover that it’s covered with a sticky substance, the result of the plants spitting at it, which is why the doors were blocked.
The Doctor is rescued, and thinks he recognises the men. “Of course, you’re Thals.” “How did you know that?” I think it was the hair, personally. At least they’ve cut down on the makeup.
There’s a bit of an exposition dump now. The planet is Spirodon. The Thals are on a mission. And the natives of the planet are invisible.
They head back to their ship, then come across something invisible. Using a colour spray, they reveal what they’re up against. Daleks.
It’s a classic Terry Nation script – put the Daleks in the title, then wait a whole episode to reveal that there are Daleks on the planet.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 5th November 1993 – 19:30
Before the next episode, there’s another special short programme, this time the Antique Doctor Who show.
There’s some really interesting items, including a script from 1965, brought by one of the set designers who worked on the show.
Then, episode Two. More Daleks are encountered, as they discover the Thals’ ship, and are about to destroy it when the Doctor tells them that Jo is still on board. They disable the Doctor and destroy the ship anyway. The Doctor is taken prisoner.
But Jo wasn’t on the ship, and she’s being looked after by an invisible Spirodon. They’re a bit friendlier than the Thals supposed. And the Thals find another of their number, a woman, who has come on a later ship to warn them that there are 10,000 Daleks on the planet.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 12th November 1993 – 19:30
Before the next episode, there’s the end of Tomorrow’s World, and there’s an animated Magic Eye picture in place of the credits, while Howard Stableford reads out the credits (I spotted Simon Singh’s name in there).
There’s another short programme, Missing in Action about the missing episodes. According to the description of this YouTube copy, “The documentary is shunned by Dr Who fans as it was edited in a style that made the contributors appear a little overly obsessive about their quest for the return of missing material.” But surely “overly obsessive” is exactly how you’d have to be to care about missing episodes.
Although I can see their point. The contribution from Adam Lee, BBC Archivist, was quite sneery, and really makes you wonder why someone whose job it is to look after an archive isn’t more ashamed at the BBC’s spectacular lack of foresight.
Episode three of the story is in Black and White, because the colour videotape master had been junked in the 70s. There’s a few Pertwee stories like this, although these days many of been recoloured by combining high quality film prints with lower quality VHS or Betamax copies (often from America) to restore the colour. This hadn’t been done for this episode.
The remaining Thals spend a lot of time crawling through tunnels to get into the Dalek base to rescue the Doctor and their comrade.
There’s an impressive shot of a lot of Daleks.
The Doctor tries to rig a hot air balloon to take them out, but they’re too heavy and the daleks are coming.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 19th November 1993 – 19:30
After this episode there’s a trailer for the BBC’s 3D Week, some of which we’ve seen on recent tapes.
Then, before episode four there’s another mini programme called I Was That Monster.
It’s lovely to see people like John Scott Martin, veteran Doctor Who monster performer.
Then, Episode Four of the serial The Doctor’s plan does work, and the four of them escape very slowly upwards before the Daleks can get them.
The Thals have a plan to blow up the Daleks, Jo is reunited with the Daleks, but Prentis Hancock is captured by Spiridon slaves with the explosives.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 3rd December 1993 – 19:30
Before the next episode there is another short programme, this time about the Master. The start of this is missing from my recording, which is a shame because the only YouTube recording I can find is the wrong aspect ratio.
In Episode five, the Doctor tells the Thals that their plan to destroy the regfrigeration unit is a bad one, in that it will bring all the frozen Daleks on the planet to life.
The Daleks have a plan to release a bacterial weapon to wipe out all life on the planet. They’ve got a treatment for immunity, which they apply to the Daleks and the Spirodon slave workers.
There’s a lot of disguising themselves as Spirodons, who wear purple fur coats against the extreme cold.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 10th December 1993 – 19:30
Before the next episode, there’s the end of the Tomorrow’s World Christmas Special, from Kingston, looking very Christmassy.
There’s a trailer for Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
And one for Noel’s Christmas Presents.
Before the final episode of Planet of the Daleks there’s another short film. This one is a Unit Recruiting Film.
The final episode sees the Dalek Supreme visiting. Look at that model work.
But the actual Dalek Supreme is looking quite spiffy. Like the Donald Trump of Daleks.
When the Doctor and the Thals are successful in burying the Daleks in an ice volcano, the Doctor gices a nice speech to the head Thal, asking him not to glamourise the story of the war when he returns to Skaro.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 17th December 1993 – 19:30
After this, recording switches to something very odd. It’s Living With The Enemy. It’s a Video nation-type of thing where families with teenagers talk about how hard life is when you all hate each other. I think I might have recorded it because it was produced by my friend Sean’s next door neighbour.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 11th January 1994 – 22:20
After this, there’s a trailer for a QED Family Special because 1994 was Year of the Family.
There’s a trail for the James Fox drama Headhunters.
Then, there’s the start of Rebel Without A Cause, which recording ends after a few minutes. Underneath there’s another film, with Jason Robards, that I don’t recognise. Going back through the Genome listings, I’m going to assume it’s Black Rainbow – BBC One – 5th November 1993 – 21:30
The tape ends after a minute or two of this.