Doctor Who – The X Files – tape 1752

Over to UK Gold again, for some Tom Baker Doctor Who, The Creature from the Pit.

This is from during Douglas Adams’ tenure as script editor, so I can’t help seeing echoes of his style, even though this serial was credited to David Fisher. Fisher was the first writer on the classic City of Death before the whole script was rewritten by Adams and producer Graham Williams in a hurry, and became one of the greatest stories in the series history.

This one isn’t as well regarded, but I’m definitely enjoying the quippy dialogue.

The jungle set, shot on film, looks really good, much better than a lot of sets in this period.

Eileen Way is good as Karela, one of the leaders.

“What’s this?” “We call it The Pit.” “You have such a way with words.”

There’s a nice cliffhanger, as the Doctor takes matters into his own hands, and jumps into the pit himself.

In the next episode, the Doctor needs to swot up. You can really see Douglas Adams’ humour in things like this.

Romana is taken by Adrasta, with the Doctor presumed to be dead soon because of the Creature in the Pit. “We call it The Creature” “That’s original” That’s not quite the same joke as in the previous episode, but it’s close. “Our researchers divide into two categories. The ones that have got close enough to find out something about it, and the ones who are still alive.”

K9 got a bit wrapped up by the wolf weed, mobile, predatory plantlife.

Down at the bottom of the pit, the Doctor gets his first glimpse of the Creature. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear.

On the other hand, hooray, it’s Geoffrey Bayldon. He’s playing some kind of soothsayer, very much in the Slartibartfast mould. His name is Organon.

After this episode, recording switches to Sky One and the end of an episode of MASH.

Then, an X Files episode from Season One, Genderbender. It starts off in a nightclub. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a scene in a movie for TV show set in a nightclub. But then, a lot of that comes from me not remotely being a nightclub person, even when I was young.

A woman picks up a man at the nightclub, they have sex, then the man has a heart attack, and the woman transforms into a man. Somehow, the trail leads to an old religious sect in the woods.

There’s an appearance from Nicholas Lea as another almost-victim of the killer. They obviously liked him, as he would turn up as a regular later, as Alex Krycek.

In the end, ooooooooh, were they all aliens?

After this, recording continues, and we get a few minutes of Crime International.

Then, recording switches to UK Gold and the end of a Kenny Everett programme.

Then, part three of The Creature from the Pit.

The Doctor tries to communicate with the creature. Oh dear again.

It becomes clear, as the Doctor communicates, that Adrasta knows a lot more about the Creature than she’s letting on.

This episode has a really odd cliffhanger, as two members of the rather dimwitted tribe of men bring in a device that the creature has told the Doctor it wants, and they attach it to the creature. All the threat here is on Adrasta, which makes it a strange cliffhanger.

The creature was on the planet to trade with the locals, exchanging their chorophyll with the metals that are abundant on his world. But Adrasta trapped him in the pit. So Adrasta gets her just desserts, attacked by the wolf weed.

But the episode isn’t half over, and there’s a new threat. The creature’s people learned about his imprisonment, and have sent a Neutron Star to destroy the planet. The Doctor has to use the Tardis to deflect it. Great effects!

After this, the recording continues with the start of Woman of the Year, and the tape ends after about an hour of it.

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2 comments

  1. I thought you would only get to do the first half, I was disappointed for a moment there.

    It is a story that has to be seen to be believed.

    1. It’s one that I mostly know by reputation – the unfortunate monster design, “We call it The Pit” and not much else. I really enjoyed it, but as a longterm Douglas Adams fan, I’m probably the target audience.

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