Doctor Who: Looking Back At GALAXY 4

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Yeah, baby! Christopher Morley goes back to the 60s...


One to file in the "for the curious" pile, as we turn the clock back to September 11th 1965 and revisit Galaxy 4...



It's 50 years since the four part story was first broadcast, and sadly only episode 3 remains in the BBC's archive. However Galaxy 4 is one of those Doctor Who stories that arguably may be best experienced via the audio release, as that medium allows listeners to conjure up their own images of characters and locations. Whereas the costumes and hairstyles featured in the original filmed version very much date the story to the 'groovy' era of the 1960s.

As for that story, the scaly Rills find themselves in conflict with the Drahvins - humanoids who resemble the stereotypical blonde bombshell. Any resemblance whatsoever to Austin Powers' Fembots is probably entirely coincidental. Or at least nobody remembers them dancing for a bemused First Doctor as he desperately tries to think unsexy thoughts.


Harold Wilson on a cold day anyone?

He'll be doing anything but touching himself once he stumbles across the lovely androgynous ladies, led by Maaga! Who as it happens isn't very nice. Some things never change, eh?


Both parties' ships are damaged - the Rills would appear to be the more sporting, offering to aid those in a similar position. Maaga has other ideas, mind. She has her eye on getting rid of them & stealing their ship. There's gratitude for you. And the Doctor & companions- originally intended to be Ian, Barbara & Vicki before being rewritten evidently in a bit of a hurry for Vicki & Steven by one-shot scribe William Emms - are drawn into the head Drahvin's scheme to undercut their would - be rescuers.


Odder still are the Chumbleys, land-mine like robots used as interpreters/scouts by their Rill creators in dealings with other species/planets. And no, they're not the ones who enjoyed a degree of chart success with Tubthumping, either. One of them will come to like the Doctor, too:
"It is easy to help others when they are so willing to help you. Though we are beings of separate planets, you from the solar system and we from another space, our ways of thought, at times, do not seem all that different."
Isn't that lovely?
VICKI: Doctor! A Chumbley!
STEVEN: That one looks pretty vicious, Doctor. Is that a gun?
DOCTOR: Stand still, otherwise we all might be killed. We come in peace. We don't wish you any harm.
VICKI: He can't speak.
DOCTOR: No, but by the look of that thing sticking out in front, it's unmistakably like a speaker to me.
VICKI: It's trying to talk. Steven, look out!
DOCTOR: You dumb fool!
STEVEN: I was only trying to get...
DOCTOR: Oh, indeed. That was very noble of you, indeed. Now you've put the thing on its guard. Yes, it's interesting, it's fascinating. Did you notice that it didn't do anything until you made a noise?
STEVEN: Yes, it is blind.
VICKI: But it can hear.
DOCTOR: Oh yes, and very accurately. You know, I believe it can locate us by some form of heat wave, as it were.
STEVEN: Do you get that feeling that it wants us to go somewhere, Doctor?
DOCTOR: Stand still. Don't let it move you.
Hardcore feminists most likely found much to cheer about once things got around to the rather unique way the Drahvins have of doing things. Chaps, look away now!
STEVEN: All women?
MAAGA: Women?
DOCTOR: Yes, feminine. Ah, female.
MAAGA: Oh, we have a small number of men, as many as we need. The rest we kill. They consume valuable food and fulfil no particular function. And these are not what you would call human. They are cultivated in test tubes. We have very good scientists. I am a living being. They are products, and inferior products. Grown for a purpose and capable of nothing more.
STEVEN: Grown for what purpose?
MAAGA: To fight. To kill.
DOCTOR: Yours must be a very interesting civilisation. You attacked the Rills?
MAAGA: No. We were in space above this planet when we saw a ship such as we had never seen before. We did not know it, but it was a Rill ship. It fired on us, and we crashed. But before we did, we managed to fire back so that they'd crash, too. On landing they killed one of my soldiers.
STEVEN: What are they like, these Rills?
MAAGA: Disgusting!
DOCTOR: Well, that's no description, no description at all.
MAAGA: That's all I'll say.
Egads!



The soundtrack also served as a return for Les Structures Sonores, who had earlier supplied music for The Web Planet and, fact fans, were very nearly approached to create the Doctor Who theme itself.

But let's fast forward eleven incarnations now for the Doctor, who finds himself at Stonehenge...



Several foes have joined him in seeking the truth behind the mystery of the Pandorica. Among them the ladies from Drahva!
DOCTOR: Well, we need to start a fight, turn them on each other. I mean, that's easy. It's the Daleks. They're so cross.
RIVER: Sontaran. Four battlefleets.
DOCTOR: Sontarans! Talk about cross, who stole all their handbags?
RIVER: Terileptil. Slitheen, Chelonian, Nestene, Drahvin, Sycorax, Haemogoth, Zygon, Atraxi, Draconian. They're all here for the Pandorica.
DOCTOR: What are you? What could you possibly be?

Fembots perhaps? Yeah, babay, yeah!

From the older-looking then young man who first stole that magic box to the older fresh-faced one who'd later remember pinching it. Isn't it funny how time slips away?

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