Say Something Nice – Doctor Who: The Savages

In an effort to find something quick that can be written as part of Daily Doctor Who, we are continuing with Say Something Nice, where I look back at each of the Doctor Who stories and pull out one or two cool things about it.

(Daily Doctor Who #208)

Read the previous entry here. Today, we continue with the third season’s ninth story…

The Savages

The regular cast remains the same as last time: William Hartnell as the Doctor, Peter Purves as Steven Taylor and Jackie Lane as Dodo Chaplet.

The serial is written by Ian Stuart Black, and directed by Christopher Barry. For the first time, the different episodes don’t have their own name, but are instead simply referred to as Episode 1, Episode 2, etc.

Say Something Nice…

(Named for Missy–aka the Master–and her catchphrase from her first full appearance in Dark Water).

This is one of the Doctor Who stories that I’m least familiar with–it’s been missing from the archives for years and it doesn’t happen to be one of the novelizations that I’ve read. But looking over the summary now, it seems like a gem of a story–an intriguing science fiction morality play dealing with some pretty deep ideas, about one class of society literally thriving off the suffering of another. The companions are well used and the plot reads as tight and well-paced. The idea of part of the Doctor’s own morality and conscience being transferred to someone else as part of the story’s development is pretty interesting.

But because we’re equal-opportunity fans here, we’re not going to only be sycophantically complimentary.

You craven-hearted spineless poltroon!

(Another cry from the Master, but not exactly a catch-phrase, this time from The Deadly Assassin)

Awkwardly, one of the lead guest stars of the story, the elder Jano, was played by a white actor (Frederick Jaeger) in blackface. Apparently, at one point this was the plan for all of the elders, as part of a commentary on Apartheid. Thankfully that didn’t happen. It’s all well-intentioned, of course, but uncomfortable to look back at today.

Some reviewers who have more exposure to the story than me describe it as not bad, but dull.

Catch you next time!

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