DOCTOR WHO - Looking back at THE TIME WARRIOR

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On this day in 1973 Doctor Who introduced a very special investigative journalist. To celebrate the anniversary Christopher Morley gets take-out from Spud-U-Like and revisits The Time Warrior.


Season Eleven of Classic Who opened on December 15, 1973 with The Time Warrior, a story which proved notable for two main reasons. Firstly, the Third Doctor gained a new companion in the form of investigative journalist & TARDIS stowaway Sarah-Jane Smith. His longtime ' Doctor John Smith' alias proves fortuitous during their first meeting, during which she's trading on the credentials of her Aunt Lavinia-
DOCTOR: Er, Smith. Doctor John Smith.
RUBEISH: Oh. Seems to be a lot of them about today.
DOCTOR: I'm sorry?
RUBEISH: Well, I was talking to a young woman just now, also Smith.
(The door closes.)
RUBEISH: Well, there she is. Miss Smith?
SARAH: Yes, Professor?
RUBEISH: Come and meet your namesake. Miss Lavinia Smith, Doctor, err....
DOCTOR: Doctor John Smith. How do you do, Miss Smith?


Secondly, it represents a first appearance for evil potato lookalikes the Sontarans!



Writer Robert Holmes was given the task of coming up with a story involving a Medieval castle by script editor Terrance Dicks, hence the detour to the Middle Ages as the Doctor goes on the trail of some kidnapped scientists- they've been snatched from their own time by Linx, who's taken them a full seven hundred years into the past & hypnotised them into fixing his crashed ship for him in a sort of early slave-labour forerunner of the repair garage.

He's even got himself a decent headquarters for his operations- in return for which he promises greedy bandit Irongron ( played by David Daker, who was recommended for the part by his friend & the original favourite for the role, the late Bob Hoskins) some ' magic weapons' that will make him a King. ….
IRONGRON: A star. A fallen star!
BLOODAXE: Careful, Captain. Looks like the devil's work to me.
(A door in the sphere and a squat biped in silver spacesuit and large helmet with two eye slits comes out. It holds a long rod in one hand.)
IRONGRON: A warrior. A warrior from the stars! Have you come to challenge me, sky warrior?
(Irongron draws his sword and approaches. The spaceman raises a ray gun in its other hand, fires, and Irongron's sword vanishes.)
BLOODAXE: Flee for your life, Captain!
IRONGRON: What creature is this?
BLOODAXE: 'Tis a devil from hell.
(It adjusts a device on a belt round its 'waist'.)
LINX: Peace. Fear not. I shall not harm you.
IRONGRON: It speaks. Who are you? Where do you come from?
LINX: I am a Sontaran officer. My name is Linx.
BLOODAXE: I say he's a Saracen. I have heard tales of his Eastern magic.
(Linx plants his rod in the ground. A pair of flags pop out of the top. He salutes it.)
LINX: By virtue of my authority as an officer of the Army Space Corps, I hereby claim this planet, its moons and satellites, for the greater glory of the Sontaran Empire.



Among these intended tools of conquest is a robot knight- similar perhaps to those forming part of the plans of the similarly power-hungry Sheriff of Nottingham in Robot Of Sherwood.
IRONGRON: Help you? Why should I help you, star warrior? Why should I not kill you and take your ship and its treasure for myself?
LINX: The ship is in need of repair. Even if it were not, you would destroy yourself should you tamper with it.
IRONGRON: Then why should I not just slay you for sport? Can you overcome all of us with your magic?
LINX: You are a soldier, are you not? A warrior?
IRONGRON: I took this castle by force of arms. Those that were here before me I slew. All the countryside around here pays my tribute.
LINX: Yet no doubt you have enemies. Other warriors who envy your good fortune.
IRONGRON: Aye, but they cannot harm me. The King has levied tribute. All their troops are at the wars.
LINX: And when they return?
IRONGRON: Then we shall fight.
LINX: I can give you weapons. Weapons that can make you master, so that none dare stand against you. You shall take what castles you will.
IRONGRON: Magic weapons? Like that, that smote the sword from my hand?
LINX: Other weapons fitter for your purpose. Weapons that can strike a man dead from far away. You can be supreme warrior.
IRONGRON: I can be king. But what do you ask in return, apart from your life?
LINX: Shelter. A place to conceal my ship and help with its repair. You have men that can work in metal?
IRONGRON: An armourer to sharpen weapons, a smith with a forge if these will serve your need.
LINX: I need more, much more. There is damage to the drive mechanism of my ship. I need alloy, skilled technicians, complex circuitry.
IRONGRON: Oh, we have none of these things of which you speak.
LINX: Then I must take them from those who have.

The castle isn't even really Irongron's- he's just taken it while its true owner, a nobleman, is away at war. Resentment against the robber is building-
ELEANOR: But for how long, Edward? How long are we to tolerate this upstart, this insolent usurper as our neighbour? He robs, he pillages, he murders. He flouts your authority every day, the authority which comes from the King.
EDWARD: Unfortunately, my dear, the King who gave me my authority has taken away my troops to fight in his interminable wars.
ELEANOR: Irongron's band is small, and we still have Hal the archer, and one or two men at arms.
EDWARD: I have sent letters to all our neighbours. Each, like myself, has but a mere handful of men yet, if all these handfuls be combined they might yet make a force that will crush this Irongron.
...& Edward of Wessex ( Alan Rowe, whose good Lady wife Eleanor is played by June Brown. She's perhaps better known as EastEnders' Dot Cotton) is building an alliance against the blaggard! An assassination attempt is deemed the best way to deal with him, & so archer Hal is sent to ensure he snuffs it promptly.



Amazingly Sarah-Jane hadn't initially believed she really had travelled back in time- yet by the time she's dropped off back on Earth in The Hand Of Fear she'll have seen more than she could possibly imagine. Her return in School Reunion alongside the Tenth Doctor reveals that he'd actually taken her about as far from South Croydon as its possible to get- she ended up in Aberdeen!


Here though, she's still gloriously naive-
SARAH: Oh, it must be some sort of pageant. I say! Hey, you there!
(One of the men grabs her arm.)
SARAH: Hey! What are you doing? Get off! Let go! Hey.
(Sarah is dragged back to the castle, protesting.)
Even after all this she still comes to the conclusion that she must be at a re-enactment!
SARAH: Let go!
BLOODAXE: She was found within bowshot, Captain!
SARAH: Idiots! Why don't you stop this ridiculous pantomime.
IRONGRON: Ah, she spits fire, eh, Bloodaxe? Come here, girl.
SARAH: Get lost.
(Irongron rips a chain from around Sarah's neck.)
IRONGRON: She wears gold, Bloodaxe.
SARAH: That hurt, you fool!
IRONGRON: You call Irongron a fool? I'll have the marrow from your bones, my little chicken. Now, where are you from?
SARAH: Look, just pack this up, will you. It's not funny. I happen to be a reporter and I've got a big story
IRONGRON: Take her away, Bloodaxe. Throw her in the dungeon.
SARAH: Why don't you take off that ridiculous gear and go home to your butcher's shop. Let go! Look, I warn you, any more of this and I'm going straight to the police.
IRONGRON: Stay, Bloodaxe!
BLOODAXE: Captain.
IRONGRON: Leave her.
SARAH: That's better. Huh. Now, if I could just use your telephone.
(There is a shout outside, and the archer is dragged in.)
BLOODAXE: This is the dog that shot at you, Captain.
IRONGRON: So you thought to kill Irongron, eh?
HAL: Aye, and I would, but for her. She drew my aim aside.
IRONGRON: You treacherous dog! Did Sir Edward send you?
HAL: No.
IRONGRON: You lie.
HAL: I speak the truth.
IRONGRON: If not Sir Edward, who then?
SARAH: I don't understand. Where am I?
HAL: It was my Lady Eleanor.
IRONGRON: Ah, that narrow-hipped vixen. Bloodaxe, tomorrow we dine at Wessex Castle.
BLOODAXE: Yes, Captain. And what of the prisoner?
IRONGRON: Ere long we shall deal with him sharply.
(Hal is dragged away. Irongron sits down at his dining table.)
IRONGRON: Sharply, eh? 'Tis richly put.
BLOODAXE: Aye, that'll be a fine jest, Captain Irongron.
IRONGRON: I'm not one of your stuffy Norman nobles. I like a bit of rough fun.
BLOODAXE: 'Tis true Captain, you have a merry wit indeed.
SARAH: Look, please. Now you've had your laugh, now, you know, just let's stop it and let's talk sensibly. I mean, if it's any consolation to you, you're scaring me out of my wits.
BLOODAXE: Perhaps the wench is crazed, Captain.
SARAH: Oh, come on. What is this place?
IRONGRON: You are in the castle of Irongron, my lady. Few uninvited guests come here and few that do leave alive.
SARAH: All right, if you insist on playing guessing games. Now, it's not a village pageant, it's too elaborate for that. A film set. No. No, no lights, no cameras.
IRONGRON: Aye, the wench is crazed right enough. A pity. She is not uncomely.
SARAH: I've got it! It's one of those tourist places. A medieval castle all restored to its original condition, with jolly banquets and buxom serving wenches. That's it, isn't it? Mind you, I think you've overdoing the sordid realism a bit. I mean, I know things were a bit grotty in the Middle Ages, but, really, you might leave the tourists a bit of glamorous illusion.
And so began her run as one of the best-remembered companions in all of Doctor Who- rest in peace, Lis Sladen.....

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