Thu, 31 January 2008
The TARDIS arrives on an English coastline in the year 1066. Exploring, the Doctor discovers that one of his own people, the Monk, is conspiring to wipe out the Viking fleet and thus allow King Harold to face the forces of William of Normandy with a fresh army at the Battle of Hastings. The Doctor succeeds in thwarting the Monk's plans and leaves him trapped in England.Synopsis
The Doctor, Vicki, and new companion Steven Taylor arrive in Saxon Northumbria on the eve of the Viking and Norman invasions. It is 1066, a pivotal moment in British history, and the hand of a mysterious Monk is at work in the nearby monastery. The Monk is actually a time/space traveller from the same planet as the Doctor, and is attempting historical alterations. The Doctor prevents this and traps the Monk in 1066 by removing a critical component of his TARDIS.
The First Doctor and Vicki are surprised to find Steven Taylor aboard the TARDIS. In a disorientated state on Mechanus, he stumbled aboard the ship and has stowed away. They are grateful he survived the collapse of the Mechanoid city and help nurse him back to health, but when the TARDIS lands on a rocky beach and they all step outside Steven takes some convincing that the TARDIS has really been able to travel in space and time.
They have in fact arrived in 1066 on the coast of Northumbria, and their arrival has been witnessed by a Monk who does not seem fazed by the materialisation. The TARDIS is soon after spotted by a Saxon villager called Eldred who runs to tell the headman of his village, Wulnoth, about it. The Doctor establishes the century from a discarded Viking helmet and heads off to the village while Steven and Vicki explore the cliffs above. The Doctor encounters Edith, Wulnoth’s wife, and convinces her he is a harmless traveller while probing her for more information. He soon finds out it is 1066, since Harold Godwinson is on the throne and has not yet faced Harold Hardrada at Stamford Bridge let alone William the Conqueror in the Battle of Hastings. He then turns his attention to the nearby monastery, at which monks are chanting despite only one of them ever being seen, especially after the chanting seems to slow down as if played back from a recording at the wrong speed. He determines to visit the building. When he gets there the Monk lets him in without revealing himself and then allows the Doctor to prowl around. He finds a gramophone playing the monastic chanting, and the Monk also has modern conveniences such as a toaster and a manufactured teapot. The Monk soon has the upper hand and manages to trap the Doctor in a makeshift cell.
Steven and Vicki have meanwhile encountered Eldred and noticed his possession of a wristwatch that the Monk dropped earlier. They spend the night in a clearing and the next morning head off back to the TARDIS, little realising Wulnoth has overheard them. Within minutes they are ambushed by the Saxons and taken to the village council. After a heated discussion they convince Wulnoth they are but travellers and are given some provisions to travel on, though Vicki is equally heartened to hear from Edith that the Doctor passed by her hut on his way to the monastery. Steven and Vicki decide to visit the monastery next to try and find their missing friend. The Monk tries to dissuade them from entering but gives himself away deliberately by describing the Doctor too accurately, and so Steven and Vicki decide he must be a prisoner inside the monastery. They decide to break in after dark, which delights the Monk as he prepares the same trap for them that caught the Doctor.
The Monk has meanwhile been surveying the seas with binoculars and is pleased to finally sight a Viking ship on the horizon. Soon the Vikings land and two small groups are sent to search the area, with one group of three heading toward the Saxon village. One of the Vikings finds and attacks Edith, leaving her traumatised, and in response some of the Saxons go hunting for the invaders. The three Vikings are drunk when they are found and the giant that attacked Edith is cut down, though his companions Sven and Ulf manage to flee. Eldred too has been badly wounded and Wulnoth takes him to the monastery for help.
At the Monk’s lair Steven and Vicki have stolen in under cover of darkness. They too find the gramophone and are stunned. The Monk has his trap prepared but cannot spring it due to the arrival at the door of Wulnoth and the injured Eldred, whom Wulnoth insists be taken into the Monk’s care. Steven and Vicki have meanwhile found the cell empty bar the Doctor’s cloak and they then manage to leave the monastery via a secret passage.
The Doctor has actually taken the same passage himself and returns to Edith in the Saxon village. He soon hears of the Viking invasion scouting party and, upon leaving Edith’s house, decides to head back to the monastery to track down Steven and Vicki, having learned they have gone there. Steven and Vicki have meanwhile found to their dismay that the TARDIS has been submerged beneath the incoming tide. Afraid that the Doctor may have had to leave in it, they resolve to check for him at the monastery anyway, especially after they discover an atomic bazooka trained out to sea from the clifftop near where the TARDIS was.
The Monk is intent on using the Vikings for his own ends and, once Wulnoth has departed his monastery, produces an elaborate checklist that builds to a meeting with King Harold himself. There is another knock at the monastery door and this time it is the Doctor who has the upper hand when the door is answered. Fooled into thinking he is being held at gunpoint, the Monk is marched back inside and is about to answer a few questions when there is yet another knock at the door. When the Doctor and Monk answer, they are overpowered by the two Vikings, Sven and Ulf. In the ensuing confrontation the Monk is able to slip away, leaving the Doctor as the Viking prisoner. It is a state of play that does not last long. The Doctor knocks out Sven and elsewhere the Monk does the same to Ulf and securely ties him up.
The Monk uses his freedom to persuade the villagers to light beacon fires on the cliff tops, lying that he is expecting materials by sea to enhance the monastery, when in fact he wishes to lure the Viking fleet to land nearby. Wulnoth says he will light the fires, but does not do so as he realises the danger.
Steven and Vicki return to the monastery via the secret passage and investigate the crypt, where a heavy power cable emanates from a sarcophagus. When they look inside, they discover that it is a TARDIS of the Monk's very own – he must come from the same place as the Doctor (though the term Time Lord is not used). The Monk has meanwhile returned to the monastery and is once more under the Doctor’s control. He reveals his plan is not to help the Vikings but to lure them to the coast where he hoped to destroy the invasion fleet with atomic bazookas. This would prevent the Viking invasion and thereby shore up King Harold to such an extent he would not then lose the Battle of Hastings. In short, the Monk is a Time Meddler who left his and the Doctor’s own planet some fifty years after the Doctor himself. Steven and Vicki have found further evidence of his meddling in his TARDIS: a journal recording his meeting with Leonardo da Vinci to discuss powered flight, providing anti-gravitational discs to help the ancient Celts build Stonehenge, and using time travel to collect a fortune in compound interest from a bank. The Doctor denounces the Monk for seeking to alter history and forces him to reveal his TARDIS, where they find Steven and Vicki. Together the time travellers piece together the Monk’s immoral plot, which the Monk insists is intended to stabilise England and benefit Western civilisation.
The Vikings have meanwhile freed themselves from their bonds and decide to avenge themselves on the monks who have imprisoned them. Eldred spots them and, despite his injuries, flees to the village where he raises Wulnoth and a squad of Saxons to deal with the marauders.
At the monastery the tables have turned. Ulf and Sven have formed a contrived alliance with the Monk and have tied up the Doctor’s party while the three of them take the bazooka shells down to the cannon on the beach. The scheme is foiled however when the Saxons arrive and engage the fleeing Vikings in a nearby clearing, presumably killing Sven and Ulf in battle.
The Monk hides while this fighting rages, little knowing that the Doctor and his friends have been freed and are tampering with his TARDIS. With his scheme in ruins, the Monk decides to leave and returns his TARDIS, though the Doctor has gone and left a note assuring the Monk his meddling days are ended. When the Monk looks inside his TARDIS he realises the Doctor has taken the dimensional control and the interior of his ship has shrunk beyond use, leaving him stranded in 1066 with an angry band of Saxons nearby. The tide having gone out, the Doctor and his friends are free to leave this primitive time in their TARDIS, and journey onward to the stars.
Broadcast,VHS and DVD releases
Fri, 25 January 2008
Two burglars break into a flat owned by a woman called Beth and her boyfriend. There’s a struggle, a flash of light and soon Torchwood are on the scene investigating the grisly fate suffered by the burglars.
Beth cannot remember events and is taken into custody by Torchwood, who suspect she is not of this earth. When they take her to a cell, she passes a Weevil and it cowers in her presence. Captain Jack, after flirting with Ianto, decides to take drastic measures and subject Beth to a mind probe.
Despite no initial reaction, the probe eventually uncovers alien technology buried under the skin of her right forearm. It emerges that she is an alien ‘sleeper agent’, yet to be activated and oblivious to its real identity having been given memory implants.
Around Cardiff, other sleeper agents are suddenly activated, with their right arms transforming into bayonet-like weapons. They carry out a series of suicide bombings at key locations, paving the way for their leader - a former doting husband - to head for a base containing nuclear warheads.
Beth manages to escape and is found with her ailing husband in hospital. She is struggling to keep her human identity and instinctively stabs him in his bed.
Captain Jack manages to track down the leading sleeper agent to the base moments before he can detonate the nuclear weapons. Jack is stabbed in the process and the agent warns him that there are others of his kind. Back at Torchwood, Beth turns the gun on Gwen, forcing the others to shoot and kill her. Gwen believes that Beth knew this would be the case and wanted to be killed.
Sat, 19 January 2008
Captain Jack returns, as the Torchwood team reunite to fight a rogue Time Agent. The mysterious Captain John Hart, Captain Jack's old partner in more ways than one, is determined to wreak havoc, and needs to find something hidden on Earth. But with Gwen's life in danger, and cluster bombs scattered across the city, whose side is Jack on? 
At night, a red sports car races through Cardiff, driven by an alien Blowfish. At a crossing, he stops to let an old lady cross the street. The Torchwood van stops and asks the lady if she saw the Blowfish. She points them in the right direction. The team catch up with the blowfish and shoot the tyres, forcing him to leave the car. He flees into a home where he shoots a resident and holds another hostage. The team hold him at gunpoint and the Blowfish dares Ianto to shoot him, but Ianto hesitates. A shot is heard, killing the Blowfish. When Ianto turns around, he sees Jack, who fired the shot. He greets the team with the words, "Did you miss me?"
When they return to Torchwood, the team want to know where Jack has gone, but he once again keeps them in the dark. He only tells them that he has seen the right doctor. When asked by Ianto why he returned he says he "came back for you (Ianto)", but then widens this statement to include the whole team. He takes Gwen to the side to tell her he has seen the end of the world. He then shows signs of having fallen for Gwen, and jealousy when he realises Gwen is going to marry Rhys because "nobody else would have her", but he covers this up by saying they should go "back to work". Tosh notices that there has been Rift activity.
Meanwhile, a man, Captain John Hart, walks through the Rift at the top floor of a multi-storey car park. He notices a man is held at knife-point, and intervenes by grabbing the mugger's throat and holding him over the edge. The man pleads with Hart to stop, but he says "no" and drops him to his death. Hart then turns to the victim and tells him that he was never here, and to go. Hart then goes to a nightclub and tells everyone to leave by pulling out two side-arms in front of a bouncer, causing everyone to panic and ran out.
Torchwood Three sees the body of the dead mugger on the street and Tosh notices traces of Rift energy from his neck. Jack then gets a message on his wrist device, where a hologram appears of Hart telling him to come to the nightclub, alone. He does, but the rest of his team follow him in a taxi. When Jack arrives in the club, he and Hart approach each other and kiss, but then proceed to fight. They then stop for a drink. Hart tells him that the Time Agency is gone, and that he has been to several rehabs for drink, drugs, sex and murder. Hart sees the others and realises that Jack has a new team now, called Torchwood. Jack explains that Hart was his partner. Hart also tells the rest of the team more about Jack than Jack himself said. He then asks the question "What are you doing here?" He then says that it was about time he would ask the question.
They enter Torchwood Three station and John is checked for weapons. He has many, including several concealed knives and pistols, detected by Gwen. Hart says that there are several deadly radiation cluster bombs scattered all over Cardiff that could endanger everyone on Earth. Tosh finds the locations of three bombs all over the city. Gwen organises the team to go searching for the bombs in teams of two; Jack and Ianto, Owen and Tosh, and Gwen and Hart. Jack has problems with this and talks to Gwen alone. Gwen explains that she could get to know Hart better and to learn what he is really up to. Jack agrees and gives Gwen three rules on how to handle Hart: she should keep him in front of her at all times, she should never trust him and she should not let him kiss her.
The teams splits up and Gwen and Hart are in the container docks. After some flirting from Hart, they find a cluster bomb in a container. However, once Gwen has it, Hart kisses her. Gwen realises that he has paralysed her with the kiss. Hart throws away her phone and tells Gwen she has two hours before her organs shut down and she dies. He then runs away.
Meanwhile, Owen and Tosh are in an abandoned building and find the bomb, but Hart arrives, knocks out Tosh and shoots Owen in the leg. Jack and Ianto are in an office building searching for the other bomb, where Jack asks Ianto out on a date. He explains that John Hart is someone reminding him of his past and wants to be done with him. Ianto accepts. They then split up, while Jack goes to the roof. Ianto hears a noise and then realises it is Hart, holding him at gunpoint. Hart tells Ianto that Owen and Gwen are in trouble and he gets him to run to rescue them.
Jack finds the last cluster bomb and is confronted by Hart again. Hart wants the cluster bomb, but Jack refuses. Hart wants Jack to join him running the Galaxy. Jack admits he isn't tempted, and throws the bomb over the edge. Hart then pushes Jack off the roof to another of his "deaths". Hart gets the remaining bomb and tells the "dead" Jack that rehab never worked. He then goes back to Torchwood Three.
Ianto goes to Owen and helps Tosh dress his wound. They then go to the docks and eventually find Gwen just in time and inject her with an anti-toxin.
At dawn, Hart goes to the corpse of the Blowfish, who worked for him, and takes out a small pyramid shaped object. He is then suprised to see the rest of the team, holding him at gunpoint, and realises that Jack is immortal. Hart then tells the truth; there are no cluster bombs. He was looking for a diamond that belonged to a lover of his once, but he killed her. The "bombs" are actually a device that would lead him to the location of the diamond. However, the woman's hologram says there is no diamond. A device shoots into Hart's chest, and the hologram explains that the device is a bomb that locks into the DNA of whoever killed her and it can't be removed. There are ten minutes until the bomb goes off, but Hart cuffs himself to Gwen. She has a plan that could kill her. Tosh says that the Rift is still open from Hart's arrival. Gwen takes Hart there, but Jack and Owen stay behind and quickly work on a solution.
They arrive at the car park, quickly followed by Jack and Owen, who inject Hart with the DNA of all Torchwood members, which will temporarily confuse the bomb. The bomb releases itself and they throw it through the Rift. Just as it explodes, they are shifted back in time to the same moment Hart arrived. Hart, impressed, agrees to let Gwen go and reluctantly agrees to go back home. Before he disappears, he says, "By the way, I found Gray". Jack, shocked, is asked who or what "Gray" is. He just says that it's nothing.
Wed, 9 January 2008
Doctor Who And The Silurians: Summoned by the Brigadier to an underground research centre at Wenley Moor, the Doctor and Liz Shaw learn from its director, Dr Lawrence, that work on a new type of nuclear reactor is being hampered by inexplicable power losses and by an unusually high incidence of stress-related illness amongst staff. Investigating a nearby cave system, the Doctor discovers it is the base of a group of intelligent reptiles, termed Silurians, who went into hibernation millions of years ago but have now been revived by power from the research centre. The Doctor strives for peace between reptiles and humans and manages to gain the trust of the old Silurian leader, but then a rebellious young Silurian seizes power and releases a deadly virus that threatens to wipe out humanity. The Doctor finds an antidote, but the Silurians retaliate by taking over the research centre and preparing to destroy the Van Allen Belt, a natural barrier shielding the Earth from solar radiation harmful to humans but beneficial to reptiles...
The Sea Devils: The Doctor and Jo visit the Master in his high-security prison on an island off the south coast of England and hear from the governor, Colonel Trenchard, that ships have been mysteriously disappearing at sea. Investigating, the Doctor learns from Captain Hart, commander of a nearby Naval base, that the sinkings have centred around an abandoned sea fort. He and Jo then visit the fort and are attacked by what one of the men there terms a Sea Devil - an amphibious breed of the prehistoric creatures encountered by the Doctor shortly after his exile to Earth.
The Master, aided by a misguided Trenchard, is stealing equipment from the Naval base in order to build a machine to revive the Sea Devils from hibernation. The Doctor takes a diving bell down to the Sea Devils' underwater base to try to encourage peace...
Warriors Of The Deep: The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough arrive at an underwater Sea Base on Earth, where a scientific and military team led by Commander Vorshak are monitoring a rival power bloc. The team undergo regular missile launch test sequences to ensure that they are ready at all times to combat an attack. Three Silurians led by Icthar - the surviving member of a Silurian triad - revive a colony of Sea Devil Warriors in order to invade the base and use its weapons to attack the opposing power bloc, thus provoking a global war that will allow the reptiles to conquer the Earth...
Tue, 8 January 2008
William Hartnell - One Hundred Years
Special EventsJanuary 8, 2008 • Posted By Shaun Lyon
William Hartnell, the actor who originated the role of the Doctor in the 1960s, playing the first incarnation of the character for BBC Television from 1963 to 1966, was born exactly 100 years ago today. For many of the original Doctor Who fans who were children in the 1960s, he remains the definitive Doctor.
Emerging from a difficult family background about which he was later evasive, Hartnell held down a succession of short-term odd jobs before turning to acting in the 1920s. He enjoyed success as a touring repertory actor, and in the 1930s began appearing in films, particularly the "quota quickies" companies were obliged to release to fulfil their obligations to promote British film. Here Hartnell developed his talents as a light comedy actor, but it was not until the Second World War that his reputation began to flourish. After being invalided out of the army, he appeared as the sergeant in the well-received propaganda piece The Way Ahead, and this helped him to develop a reputation for such tough-guy roles that won him many major supporting parts. Of all the actors to have played the Doctor he had the most successful film career, with major roles in landmark films such as Brighton Rock, as the eponymous sergeant in Carry On Sergeant and, cast against type in a sensitive character part, in the film version of This Sporting Life.
It was this role that led producer Verity Lambert to offer him the part of the Doctor. Although Hartnell was initially uncertain about it, Lambert and director Waris Hussein persuaded him to accept the part, and it became the role for which he is best remembered, making him a household name in 1960s Britain. Hartnell became incredibly attached to the role and particularly enjoyed the attention and affection it brought him from children, groups of whom would follow him around his local village. He would often happily open fetes and other functions in costume and character as the Doctor. Although ill health forced him to reluctantly relinquish the part in 1966, he remained fond of the series and in 1972, with his health rapidly deteriorating even further, battled his failing memory to film one final performance as the character in the tenth anniversary special The Three Doctors, which aired between December 30, 1972 and January 20, 1973. It was his final professional performance; he died on April 23, 1975, aged 67.
In celebration of his centenary, the Plymouth Who fan group are holding an event to mark his life and work this coming Sunday, January 13 at The Astor Hotel in Plymouth. The event runs from 1pm to 5pm and features a screening of one of the most popular stories of Hartnell’s era, The War Machines, which introduced Anneke Wills in the role of companion Polly. Wills will be a special guest at the event and will take part in a question-and-answer session with fans. There will also be Hartnell-themed quizzes as part of the day’s festivities. For more information about the event, please see the Plymouth Who website.
With thanks to Paul Hayes for the tribute.
Category:general -- posted at: 9:29am UTC