Say Something Nice – Doctor Who: The Underwater Menace

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 #265–100 days to go to complete the year)

Read the previous entry here. Today, we continue with the fifth story of the show’s fourth season…

The Underwater Menace

The story features the same regular cast that we left off with last time: Patrick Troughton as the Doctor, Anneke Wills as Polly, Michael Craze as Ben Jackson, and Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon.

The serial is written by Geoffrey Orme, and directed by Julia Smith.

Episodes one and four of this four-part story are missing from the BBC archives. An animated re-creation of these two episodes was planned but ultimately cancelled. It’s available to see with “telesnap recreations” of the missing episodes.

Say Something Nice…

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

The Underwater Menace (most of which I have never seen) makes a game attempt to present an “alien” culture, including simple religious and political structures. It’s the first story in which Jamie functions properly as a companion, which is significant as he is one of the people to serve in that capacity for the longest time.

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)

My memory of Episode 3 (the only one I’ve seen) is that the ambitions of the production far outstripped its capacity–the visualization of the fish people and their swimming was quite silly. Indeed, on the show’s budget, it was never going to convincingly pull off the stuff that the story contains. But beyond that, in addition to being over-the-top, Professor Zaroff is a horribly undeveloped villain–he seems to want to destroy the world for no actual reason.

Catch you next time!

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