Monster of the Day #864

Doctor Who has unsurprisingly occasionally had Quatermassian overtones (where’s that mash-up?!), but this is one of the most obvious. Great stuff, again. Seriously one of the best runs the Doctor ever had. Miss the Brigadier, though.

One of the few six-parters that doesn’t lag much, either, maybe because the first two parts are a discrete prologue to the latter four.

F/X-wise, man, they’ve sure come a long way from the guy with bubble wrap on his arm in Ark of Space.

  • Flangepart

    Quatermass and the Dr.- Me like! It could be a keeper!

  • Ken_Begg

    Quatermass is kind of a dick, though, so you’ve definitely have a lot of bickering between the two.

  • Ericb

    Quatermass vs. the John Pertwee doctor would have been a major rumble.

  • bgbear_rnh

    and they could explore King Salomon’s mines together. . .oops, I did it again didn’t I?

  • Ericb

    There was a Thing From Another World vibe to the first two parts as well. Plus you had a James Bondian villain in the last 4 episodes. One the great things about these is picking out all the influnences and homages that are going on in these stories.

  • Ericb

    Mary Whitehouse must have really freaked out during the man-killed-in-the-woodchipper scene.

  • Ken_Begg

    Yes, none of the Doctors liked being patronized (well, maybe the 5th), but the 3rd least of all, perhaps.

    The 1st wouldn’t have handled it very well, either.

  • Acethepug

    I remember that part, poor UNIT soldier :(

    Loved Seeds of Doom, and the Krynoid was an awesome monster especially when it was full-sized.

    And that tool Scorby got exactly what he deserved when he ran!

    So many gems in the early Tom Baker episodes.

  • Flangepart

    Ya know…The IDW Comics Dr. Who/Star Trek Next Gen crossover was good, except for the barftastic art. So, Dr. and Quatermass…could be!
    Well, we can dream…

  • rtpoeman

    I rather doubt that (especially since it’s been acknowledged that the Quatermass serials were a major influence on the creation of Doctor Who). I suspect that after an initial “Who are you, and why are you sticking your nose into this situation?”, they’d have recognized each other as kindred spirits and gotten along swimmingly. Kind of like the Doctor and Professor Amelia Rumford in “The Stones of Blood”.

    For an even closer comparison between The Doctor and Prof. Quatermass, check out “Image of the Fendahl” and “Quatermass and the Pit”…

  • Ken_Begg

    Well, the Doctors traditionally don’t like the other Doctors much either. Except the new, fanboyish meta ones.

  • Thing is, that’s an old costume refurbished. In a previous life… er… episode, it was an Axon costume.

  • Ken_Begg

    Ah. Well, still a spiffy suit.

  • Luke Blanchard

    (Spoiler warnings for “Ark in Space” and the TV versions of THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT and QUATERMASS AND THE PIT.) “Seeds of Doom” was by Robert Banks Stewart and “Image of the Fendahl” by Chris Boucher, but the script editor of both was Robert Holmes, who drew on the Quatermass serials in more than one of his own scripts. “Spearhead from Space” imitated the invasion-by-meteorite element from QUATERMASS II. “Ark in Space” was another that imitated the transformation element from THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT. It also imitated the resolution of the TV version, in which Quatermass appeals to the humanity of the astronauts who have been absorbed into the monster.

    More subtlely, at the end of one of the episodes of QUATERMASS AND THE PIT the heroes penetrate into the nose of the cylinder and find the aliens there. One of them falls out of position, but they’re all long dead. I think Holmes imitated this when writing the cliffhanger of the first episode of “Ark in Space”, where the Wirrn appears to be alive as it falls out of the cupboard. The scene in which the Doctor relives the Wirrn Queen’s experiences recalls the sequence in QUATERMASS AND THE PIT where Roney’s device is used to record and replay Barbara’s visions of life on Mars.

    The scripts of the first three Quatermass serials were published in Britain in book form, and reprinted with new introductions by the author, Nigel Kneale, in 1979 when the fourth serial came out. (It was novelised by Kneale instead.) In his introduction to QUATERMASS II Kneale describes the first Hammer film as having “turned my trouble professor into a bawling bully”. In the one for THE QUATERMASS EXPERIMENT he says he set the climax in Westminister Abbey “because, apart from any symbolic overtones, it was the place that remained vividly in the audience’s mind from the Coronation a few years earlier, and the simplest scenery would act as a reminder.” He did the special effects for the climax himself: “Stuck through holes in a blow-up of Poets’ Corner were my two hands in rubber gloves liberally stuck over with vegetation. I had prepared this model the night before, with my girl friend’s help, in the crumbling studio where rainwater dripped on us through the ceiling.” The cameras used for the serial “were the oldest operational ones in the world, in use since 1936 apart from being moth-balled during the war. They had fixed lenses and back-to-front, upside-down viewfinder images that must have given their operators a mild form of madness when they panned.”

    Kneale was asked to write for DOCTOR WHO early on, but declined. His biography page at the IMDB has a quote from him explaining why and criticising the show, and another in which he criticises the show for stealing his stuff.

    Roger Delgado, the original Master, played the journalist Hugh Conrad in the TV version of QUATERMASS II. If anyone doesn’t know, the second and third Quatermass serials survive, but only the first two episodes of the first one. Also, the film THE TROLLENBERG TERROR/THE CRAWLING EYE (1958) was based on a rival serial written by Peter Key which appeared on Britain’s commercial network.

  • Ken_Begg

    I always loved how in TROLLENBERG they imply that Forrest Tucker is a trouble shooter who has dealt with alien invasions before. It really fills out the world in that film.

    Great info! Thanks!

  • Flangepart

    Does that mean Larry Storch joined U.N.I.T’s Amurrican branch?

  • Luke Blanchard

    I’ve not been able to see it. Reportedly it was the last film finished at London’s Southall Studios.

    I think there’s a parallel between the plot of THE TROLLENBERG TERROR and that of the DOCTOR WHO story “The Abominable Snowmen”. In the latter item a glowing substance linked to the Great Intelligence takes over the top of a mountain and spreads down it towards the monastery where much of the action is set, which the Yetis have been besieging. I think this recalls the cloud in THE TROLLENBERG TERROR and the siege of the observatory at its climax. A BBC photonovel account of “The Abominable Snowmen” using production photographs can be found through Wikipedia’s page on it.

    On the subject of British SF, I was just watching DEVIL GIRLS FROM MARS. I was surprised to learn from its credits that it’s a filmed play (Braineater notes this in his review, but I hadn’t read that). It really shows. I noticed a possible DOCTOR WHO connection there, too. The spaceship, with its top-like shape, struck me as very similar to the Movellan ship in “Destiny of the Daleks”. But that might be a coincidence, as in the serial the shape of the ship is connected to the action: the Movellan ship burrows into the ground.

    That should be “troubled professor” in my first Kneale quote.