Sunday, October 21

The Daleks' Master Plan Part 7/12: The Feast of Steven

The Doctor, Steven and Sara Kingdom have flown away in the TARDIS after giving the Daleks a fake hunk of Taranium for their machine of death and destruction. They have no idea where they are because the scanner is broken - the only thing they know is that the atmosphere outside the TARDIS is poisonous. "So dematerialise and go somewhere else!" you may be thinking. No, I know, that would make sense. But the first Doctor is kind of dumb, so they're all just gonna stay there for a while.

But we are not hanging out with them right now, we're in a police yard with three police dudes. The script mentions the fact that they're Liverpudlian several times, but in reality their accents are barely even Generic Northern. Don't worry, BBC, I know enough southerners to understand that you guys can't tell us apart. I don't blame you. (Racists.)

The Scouse Bobbies are singing and - wait, seriously? They're singing Good King Wenceslas. Okay. Well. That's the title of the episode out of the way with, isn't it. And it's a Christmas special! How nice. (I just looked it up - it was actually a Christmas episode! Aired December 25th, 1965. Our last 1965 episode too oh gosh all kinds of cool things are happening today.)

All three of Scouse Bobbies are taken by surprise when they see a shiny new police box sitting in the yard (and it warms me a little to remember that police boxes were just an ordinary thing in England back when this aired); Scouse Sergeant sets his two Scouse minions to watch it just in case it... does something, and he goes off to... fetch someone? I dunno, he didn't really explain himself.

Back inside the TARDIS, the Doctor and Steven are arguing again because the Doctor wants to go outside to fix the scanner despite the TERRIBLE AIRBORNE POISON.

STEVEN: And just why, if it isn't safe for us, is it safe for you?
DOCTOR: Will neither of you understand?
SARA: For heaven's sake, let's go and fix the scanner!
DOCTOR: No! Where you come from, in both places, the air is pure. Outside there is the worst kind of pollution I've met in years!
VIEWER: ... I think I see where this is going. That IS racist. Kinda.

So the Doctor leaves the TARDIS and runs right into Scouse Bobby 1. He nods and says, "Good evening," and goes right back inside the TARDIS again; Scouse Bobby 1 automatically replies with a "Good evening," before he realises that a person has just emerged from the empty police box he was supposed to be guarding. He makes a noise of surprise and his friend comes over to ask what the deal is. Also I dunno whether this is legitimately funny or if I'm just enjoying the accents, but I laughed so much at this exchange:

SCOUSE BOBBY 2: What's up?
SCOUSE BOBBY 1: See that?
SCOUSE BOBBY 2: See what?
SCOUSE BOBBY 1: That then!
SCOUSE BOBBY 2: What when?
SCOUSE BOBBY 1: That door!
SCOUSE BOBBY 2: That door?
SCOUSE BOBBY 1: It opened!
SCOUSE BOBBY 1: There's a bloke in there.
SCOUSE BOBBY 2: Oh, aye?

They sound like they're trying to be the Chuckle Brothers omg (and I realise how inaccessible this entire post is going to be to anyone who is not from a place in England anywhere north of Birmingham and I am sorry for that but let me enjoy my cultural heritage please and thank you).

Back inside the TARDIS, there's another good moment! The Doctor has told Steven and Sara that he saw some police, and Sara doesn't understand. The Doctor spells the word out for her, and she's all, "Oh cool! We're on your planet!" because they don't have policemen on Earth in the 41st century and it says the word 'POLICE' on the outside of the TARDIS. That's really adorable.

So the Doctor says he's going to go back outside to distract the northerners and Steven and Sara should wait a while then go out and fix the scanner. Steven reminds him that he said they shouldn't leave the TARDIS because of the atmosphere, and the Doctor is all like, "WELL I GUESS I SHOULD GO BACK OUTSIDE NOW LOL," and leaves. And then is immediately arrested by the Scouse Bobbies.

Man, I wonder if this episode had a different writer to the ones before it in the serial, because it keeps making me laugh, whereas I've been pretty unimpressed with the rest of The Daleks' Master Plan; this is almost definitely not relevant to the plot at all, but when the Doctor is escorted into the station, there's a dude at the desk talking to Scouse Sergeant.

DUDE: I've got a complaint.
SCOUSE SERGEANT: Well, the doctor's is just round the corner.
DUDE: No, no, no, no...I mean, I want to make a complaint. They keep moving me 'ouse.

So there's a fun but irrelevant moment for you. It's nice that I'm recording all the important bits so I can summarise the plot quickly and concisely.

Scouse Bobby 2 takes the Doctor into a room for questioning, and the Doctor just is not taking things seriously, telling the Scouse Bobby that he's a "citizen of the Universe and a gentleman" when he's asked whereabouts he's from.

Someone else who is not taking things seriously is Steven, as he just crept out of the TARDIS, stole a police uniform, and is now talking to the Scouse Sergeant in a legitimate Liverpudlian accent oh my GOD, STEVEN.

Steven manages to convince all the Scouse Bobbies (still speaking in his new and wonderful accent) that the Doctor is a crazy man that his division of policemen are used to. Because it's Christmas, the Scouse Bobbies are inclined to be more lenient towards crazy people trying to live inside police boxes, so they let Steven and the Doctor go. But then in the yard they all walk into Sara, who is messing with the outside of the TARDIS trying to fix the scanner. There's a bit of a kerfuffle, which ends in Sara getting frustrated and just elbowing a bunch of policemen in the stomach because she's fantastic, and the Doctor, Steven and Sara rush into the TARDIS and take off before the Scouse Bobbies can do anything.

The TARDIS lands again, still on Earth, and the gang take a quick look on the scanner to see where they're at. The console room is suddenly filled with the sounds of a woman screaming and a man laughing evilly so they rush outside to see what's going on. There's an American guy with a moustache (can never trust a man with a moustache) who's enthusing about how now nobody will ever find out about his plan! The woman is tied to a conveyor and is moving steadily towards a circular saw and screaming her head off. Understandable, given the circumstances.

Obviously Steven, Sara and the Doctor rush straight in to help the woman and then some OTHER guy yells, "Cut!" It was a scene from a movie the whole time! Crazy. The actors go absolutely bonkers that their scene was ruined and some security people start chasing after Sara, Steven and the Doctor. Because the BBC were going mental for this episode, it then turns into a silent movie kind of deal?

And then Charlie Chaplain is there and oh god, you drank way too much sherry this episode, BBC.

All three of them get split up; Steven, still wearing his Scouse Bobby uniform, is mistaken for an actor, as is Sara, who is on a completely different set. And then the Doctor is mistaken for a professor of Arabian customs to help out at the set that Sara is hiding in a trunk from and gosh, this is definitely a little different from the Dalek action we have seen so far this serial.

But, to be fair, the Doctor is actually being really good this episode. I'm liking him!

DIRECTOR DUDE: This is a rich Sheik's tent.
DOCTOR: Oh, yes, and who's this?
DIRECTOR DUDE: She's an Arabian princess.
DOCTOR: Nonsense! You put some more clothes on, child. Go along.

The Doctor then stumbles into the trunk that Sara's hiding in and asks what it is; Sara climbs out of it and the director dude is all, "Dude you should be in the harem scene right now what are you doing this trunk," and then the Doctor and Sara run away.

Steven, as it turns out, was just hanging around in the wardrobe department and they run into him pretty quickly. The three of them stumble back into the set they first arrived in (the girl playing the chick tied to the conveyor goes mad when she sees them again) and then the security dudes chase them AGAIN and there's jaunty piano music accompanying all this, obviously, and the Doctor bumps into a clown and has a little chat with him and Steven and Sara run through the scene with the Sheik and the harem and the clown is complaining about Charlie Chaplin and this is a DALEK EPISODE, guys, I just thought I'd remind everyone of that.

Steven and Sara eventually reappear and the Doctor scoots them all into the TARDIS and they dematerialise, leaving all the movie guys trying to figure out what kind of special effect was used to make that happen.

Oh my GOD and then - okay, no, listen - then inside the TARDIS, the Doctor breaks out the booze and is all, "Well, it's Christmas!" and Sara and Steven do not complain and help themselves to the alcohol and THEN the Doctor TURNS TO THE CAMERA and says, "And a happy Christmas to all of you at home!"




Also, here's a cool thing that I found out today: there's a graphic novel based around Eleven and Amy where they land in a forest of Varga plants and mention Bret and Sara. It's finding out stuff like this that made me want to watch Classic Who in the first place. VERY COOL.

But also he spoke to the CAMERA. I bet you TEN ENGLISH POUNDS that that wasn't scripted and it was just Hartnell being his weird unprofessional self.



  1. Pretty sure you're right about Hartnell going off script, from back when I used to read about, and know about, all this olde timey telly lark.

    Still loving these; so much so, I've decided that I'm gonna start my own long overdue watch/re-watch of classic Who. I'll watch a story a week, probs, until I catch up to you, then watch along at your pace. Looking forward to it :)

    1. I feel I should warn you that my current pace will take six years to catch up to the reboot. So be prepared to make a serious long-term commitment. ;)