Doctor Who: Looking Back At VENGEANCE OF THE STONES - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: Looking Back At VENGEANCE OF THE STONES

Chris Morley charts the rise and fall of UNIT's own Greyhound Three, Mike Yates...

As we continue to look through the Pertweeian Period of Who, has there ever been a better time to get comfy in your nook or indeed cranny of choice & mentally transport yourself back to the Seventies for a look at one of the key members of the UNIT team both on-screen and off? As part of the Destiny Of The Doctor audio series, originally released for the fiftieth anniversary, we were given an excuse to do just that with Richard Franklin's, aka Captain Mike Yates, reading of Vengeance Of The Stones.

Andrew Smith's tale of how exactly Yates came to leave the regular Army for UNIT also features the Third Doctor investigating the disappearance of Frank Parry, an RAF airman on a training flight over deepest Scotland. Thanks to a bit of local knowledge - Mike had maternal family north of the border - and a sighting of the missing pilot near Inverurie, the mystery deepens. Parry is found at the Easter Aquhorthies stone circle but dies after touching it......very Stones Of Blood, no?

This being the incarnation before the velvet shirt was swapped for coat & scarf (though that particular chap comes to have his part to play in the overarching Destiny narrative thread during its next entry in Babblesphere), time to find a considerably more practical solution!

And so UNIT's unpaid scientific adviser takes to the skies following the path originally flown by Parry, unknowingly tailed by the Brigadier just in case - Lethbridge-Stewart's presence proving handy as a massive energy blast from a cluster of similar stone circles knocks the Doctor from his plane into the sea. Just how & why is such power being generated? Mike will soon find out, going off to have a further look into the whole murky business & getting himself captured by the latest alien race to have decided to take a closer look at Earth since the only Time Lord on the payroll went & got himself exiled to it.

Say hello to the Armidians. They've been using their telepathic affinity for the stones of their native planet, Tharos, to in effect attempt to rebuild it, their home having been destroyed & the remaining few members of the race having been on Caledonian soil since around 2000 BC, before being rudely awoken by roadworks in 1970, as writer Andrew Smith mines The Silurians while invoking the spirit of several similar outings for the man behind Bessie's steering wheel.

An important call from his future self, instructs the younger Doctor not to let the Brigadier resolve the stand-off with the Armidians by violent means. Rather he's got to get the Tharon Stone to a Professor Reynard of the Royal Society as the latest small piece of a bigger puzzle which has seen the Second Doctor look into the Quiet Ones & the First stave off an outbreak of heightened xenophobia in Sixties London during its earliest rumblings in the previous two adventures from the Destiny Of The Doctors series.

With the Brig having secured Yates on secondment to UNIT, Mike is now well placed to be part of the eventual solution to the latest problem facing both his new employers and the man he'll come to see as a friend & colleague in dispatching those who'd stand in the way of the wider objective. Far better a calling in life than simple postings to the likes of Inverness - though the account of his recruitment & subsequent promotion to Captain rather confusingly contradicts the original print explanation of his rise up the ranks which is included in the Virgin Missing Adventure novel The Eye Of The Giant.

Within the novel's pages it suggest that Mike Yates had already enlisted as a UNIT man & achieved the rank of Sergeant after arriving during The Scales of Injustice following the departure of Liz Shaw, subsequently becoming Captain.

The Eye Of The Giant itself finds him sent deep into the countryside to look for debris from both the Auton & Silurian invasions of Earth, before the events of both The Mind Of Evil & The Daemons, before the Doctor attempts to take him to Karfel in another Missing Adventure, Speed Of Flight.

Yates' UNIT career will of course end somewhat ingloriously following a bout of mental strain in The Green Death having been hypnotised by BOSS.
DOCTOR: Mike! You don't know how glad I am to see you. How did you get away?
YATES: They let me go.
DOCTOR: But why?
YATES: To kill you. You do see that I have to kill you, don't you?
Invasion Of The Dinosaurs seems to hint that his troubles have turned him into a bit of an eco-warrior.
YATES: Well, after all that business in Wales with the giant maggots, I had to have a spot of leave. Suppose it was a reaction, really.
SARAH: Oh, I'm not surprised.
YATES: As soon as I get back, of course, all this business blows up.
SARAH: It's weird seeing London like this. All those deserted streets.
YATES: I rather like it.
And as the Doctor prepares to regenerate once more, Mike is offered the chance to take medical leave & quietly exit UNIT service.
SARAH: Oh, come on, Mike. Out with it.
MIKE: Hmm?
SARAH: What is it all about?
MIKE: I told you. It's a great story for that magazine of yours.
SARAH: A couple of refugee Tibetan monks setting up a lamasery in darkest mummerset?
MIKE: It's not a lamasery. It's a meditation centre.
SARAH: Okay, so maybe meditation's the in-thing. Maybe I can sell it to Percy. I still want to know what it's all about. Look, you'd better start at the beginning. I mean, what are you doing here anyway?
MIKE: Trying to sort myself out, I suppose, after that golden age mess.
And so, our meditation upon the rise & fall of Mike Yates, and indeed the Doctor he served alongside, concludes.

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