The Rescue (Doctor Who)

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011 – The Rescue
Doctor Who serial
Rescue (Doctor Who).jpg
"Koquillion". The creature's design was inspired by a close-up of a fly.
Cast
Others
Production
Writer David Whitaker
Director Christopher Barry
Script editor Dennis Spooner
Producer Verity Lambert
Mervyn Pinfield (associate producer)
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Tristram Cary[a]
Production code L
Series Season 2
Length 2 episodes, 25 minutes each
Date started 2 January 1965
Date ended 9 January 1965
Chronology
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Dalek Invasion of Earth The Romans

The Rescue is the third serial of the second season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in two weekly parts on 2 January and 9 January 1965 on BBC1. It was written by outgoing story editor David Whitaker and directed by Christopher Barry.

The Rescue was produced in a six-episode block with The Romans and was the first story produced in Doctor Who's second production block. Rehearsals and recording took place from 30 November to 11 December 1964, entirely in-studio. The two episodes were watched by 12 and 13 million viewers in the UK respectively and have received generally positive reviews from critics, who praise the character-based storytelling, although plot holes were noted. Both episodes of The Rescue have been retained in the BBC archives, and the story has been novelised and released on VHS and DVD. The serial is notable as the first appearance of Maureen O'Brien as companion Vicki.

Plot[edit]

The Doctor, Ian, and Barbara are still missing the Doctor's granddaughter Susan when the TARDIS lands on a planet the Doctor eventually recognises as Dido, a world he has visited before. The trio soon encounter two survivors of a space crash, Vicki and Bennett, who are awaiting a rescue ship that is due to arrive in three days time. Vicki and Bennett live in fear of Koquillion, a bipedal inhabitant of Dido, who is stalking the area. Koquillion encounters the time travellers and attacks, pushing Barbara over a cliff and temporarily trapping Ian and the Doctor. Vicki finds Barbara injured and rescues her from Koquillion, and they share reminiscences. Vicki's father was amongst those who died when the survivors of the crash, save Bennett and Vicki, were lured to their deaths by the natives of Dido. She is evidently very lonely, having befriended an indigenous Sand Beast for company. However, when Ian and the Doctor reach the ship, tempers are fraught because Barbara mistook the Sand Beast for a threat and killed it.

The Doctor enters Bennett's room, and finds things are not as they seem. The supposedly crippled Bennett is missing, and a tape recorder hides his absence. He finds a trap door in the floor of the cabin and follows it to a temple carved from rock where he unmasks Koquillion as Bennett. Bennett reveals he killed a crew member on board the ship and was arrested, but the ship crashed before the crime could be radioed to Earth. It was he who killed the crash survivors and the natives of Dido to cover his crime. He has been using the Koquillion alias so that Vicki would back up his story, and had hoped the planet would be destroyed when his version of events was given. Just as Bennett is about to kill the Doctor, two surviving native Didonians arrive and force Bennett to his death over a ledge. They then stop the signal to prevent the Rescue Ship reaching their planet. With no living family and nothing left for her on Dido, Vicki is welcomed aboard the TARDIS.

Production[edit]

The Rescue was written as a short vehicle to introduce Vicki as the new companion, replacing Carole Ann Ford (Susan) when Ford decided she wanted to leave the series, and is thus more character-driven than anything that had preceded it.[2] Vicki was a replacement for the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan (Carole Ann Ford), who was the first companion to leave Doctor Who; Ford was displeased with the lack of her character's development.[2] In contrast to Susan, Vicki was is an Earth orphan from the future; the production team considered many names from here, some of them odd like "Lukki" and "Tanni".[1][2] Doctor Who creator Sydney Newman told actress Maureen O'Brien that they were considering having her cut her hair and dye it black. O'Brien refused, saying, "Why don't you just get Carole Ann Ford back?"[2]

The Rescue is the first story under Dennis Spooner as script editor, though he is not listed in the credits because he had little to do since much of the job was given to his predecessor David Whitaker and thus he is not credited.[1] The story was commissioned on 1 November 1964, the day after his contract with the BBC for his position as script editor had expired.[1] The scripts were due on 10 November. In Whitaker's original draft, entitled Doctor Who and Tanni after one of Vicki's original names, there are a few differences from the broadcast version. Bennett was more unkind to Vicki. Notably, Koquillion had a "torch" device which he used to paralyse Ian upon meeting and interrogating him and Barbara in the first episode. He hypnotised Ian and Barbara and tried to get them to encourage the Doctor to come out of the TARDIS, but the Doctor could see this on the TARDIS' scanner and demands the teachers be released. In a scuffle Ian's trance was broken when he was shoved against the TARDIS and Barbara's was broken when she was thrown to the ground.[1] The beginning of the first episode also had Ian confide to Barbara that he was afraid of a time where the Doctor would close the TARDIS on them and leave like he did with Susan, to which the Doctor, overhearing, replied that there would be warning if they were to part.[1]

O'Brien had just come out of drama school when she was cast as Vicki;[2] it was her first television acting job.[3] Director Christopher Barry originally wanted Bernard Archard for the role of Bennett/Koquillion, but was not able to get him. Barry would later cast Archard in The Power of the Daleks (1966).[1] The role went to Australian actor Ray Barrett, whom Barry had seen on TV and marked in his book of actors he wanted to remember, and so he "dug him out of the book" when the time came.[2] Barrett played Bennett as a "normal, straight human being" so as not to give the ending away.[2] To preserve the mystery, Koquillion was credited in the first episode as being played by "Sydney Wilson" — a name made up by the production team in tribute to two of the creators of Doctor Who, Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson. This was the first instance of an alias being used in the credits in order to conceal a plot twist in Doctor Who; the practice would be employed later on to conceal the appearance of villains Davros and the Master.[4] Tom Sheridan provided the voice of the space captain and also played the Sand Beast. He was originally scheduled to play one of the Didonians at the end, but for unknown reasons they were played by two uncredited extras, John Stuart and Colin Hughes.[1]

The Rescue was the first in a new production block of Doctor Who; the first production block lasted for 52 weeks with one episode filmed per week, though the final two stories, Planet of Giants and The Dalek Invasion of Earth, were held back and the first season ended early. As such, there was a six-week break for the regular cast before work on The Rescue began.[1]The Rescue used the same production team as the following story, The Romans, and the two were combined to form a single six-episode production block.[2] Model filming took place in Ealing studios on 16 November 1965.[1][5] The models were made by an outside modelmaker called Shorecraft Models. As they were not designers, Doctor Who designer Raymond Cusick drew what he wanted the spacecraft to look like in more detail than he normally would have. He drew the spacecraft in flight as well as it wrecked so they could visualise it from the two.[2] Cusick had found a cheap material he called "reeded hardboard", which was spray-painted silver and used for the outside of the craft prop.[2] The design of Koquillion was based on a close-up of a fly.[1]

Rehearsals for the first episode took place from 30 November 1964 to 3 December, with the episode recorded on 4 December. Ford visited during rehearsals to meet O'Brien and wish her luck.[1] Rehearsals for the second episode took place from 7−10 December 1964, with the episode recorded on 11 December.[1] Recording of the first episode overran its schedule by fifteen minutes.[1] The Dido temple was a large set that was lit in such a way to create a dark atmosphere; dark drapes and smoke were also used.[2] When shooting Vicki's Sand Beast, Jacqueline Hill underestimated the gun's power and fired too soon; she was not seriously injured, though suffered shock and a sore face because it blew back in her face.[2][6] The sound the Sand Beast makes while dying was modelled after the "horrible noise" a dying Dalek made in The Daleks. To save money, the score is reused from The Daleks, which Barry had partially directed. He selected pieces from episodes one and four through seven of that serial.[1]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewers
(in millions)
Archive
"The Powerful Enemy" 2 January 1965 (1965-01-02) 26:15 12.0 16mm t/r
"Desperate Measures" 9 January 1965 (1965-01-09) 24:36 13.0 16mm t/r
[7][8][9]

The Rescue was broadcast on BBC1 in two weekly parts; the first episode aired on 2 January 1965, with the second on 9 January. The first episode, "The Powerful Enemy", was watched by 12 million viewers and was the eleventh most-watched programme of the week. The second episode, "Despearate Measures", was watched by 13 million viewers and was the eighth most-watched programme of the week.[1] This figure was higher than the preceding story, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, which was an event story.[2] Audience Appreciation Indexes were taken for both episodes and garnered 57 and 59 per cent respectively.[9]

On 13 December 1966, a retention order was issued that included both episodes of The Rescue to be retained by the BBC. However, both episodes were wiped, the first on 17 August 1967 and the second on 31 January 1969. Fortunately, BBC Enterprises had retained both episodes and returned them to the BBC in 1978.[1]

Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping wrote of the serial in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), "As a vehicle to introduce a companion, The Rescue just about works, but it's too inconsequential to sustain any real interest."[6] In The Television Companion (1998), David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker described the story as "one of the best examples of character-driven drama from this period of the series' history". While they noted there were some unexplained parts of the plot, they felt that it was generally believable and said that "Vicki actually steals the show here".[10] In 2008, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times described The Rescue as a "neglected gem" with a strong debut for Vicki and many production improvements. Despite this, he wondered "how convincing Bennett's masquerade as Koquillion was in 1965" as in the present day it seems "a tad obvious".[5] DVD Talk's Stuart Galbraith felt that the story was "quite strong" with a "smart, if somewhat predictable climax and resolution" that worked due to the dialogue.[11] Den of Geek wrote that the serial was only let down by its "weak and convenient resolution" and provided good material for the main cast.[12] Dreamwatch gave The Rescue a score of 7 out of 10, calling it a "solid enough adventure" with a slight plot but brisk pacing that allowed Ian and Barbara to be more heroic.[13]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Doctor Who book
Book cover
The Rescue
Series Target novelisations
Release number 124
Writer Ian Marter
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Tony Clark
ISBN 0-491-03317-6
Release date

August 1987 (Hardback)

21 January 1988 (Paperback)

A novelisation of this serial written by Ian Marter was published by Target Books in August 1987. Marter died soon after completing the manuscript. It was subsequently edited and published, with some new material added, by Nigel Robinson, editor of the Target Books line.[14] An unabridged audio reading of the novlisation, read by O'Brien, was released by AudioGo on 1 April 2013.[15]

Home media[edit]

The Rescue was released in 5 September 1994 on VHS with The Romans.[16] It was released on DVD on 23 February 2009, again with The Romans.[17] The Region 1 release followed on 7 July 2009.[11]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Richard Molesworth (compiler) (23 February 2009). The Rescue with Information Text (DVD). The Rescue DVD: BBC Worldwide. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Barrett, Ray, Christopher Barry, Raymond Cusick, Maureen O'Brien, William Russell, Ian McLachlan (2009). Mounting the Rescue (DVD). Doctor Who: The Rescue: BBC. 
  3. ^ "A New Companion For Dr. Who?". Radio Times: 3. 31 December 1964. 
  4. ^ Gallagher, William (27 March 2012). "Doctor Who's secret history of codenames revealed". Radio Times. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Mulkern, Patrick (7 December 2008). "Doctor Who: The Rescue". Radio Times. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "The Rescue". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 
  7. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. "The Rescue". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  8. ^ "The Rescue". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  9. ^ a b Sullivan, Shannon (24 March 2013). "The Rescue". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 30 August 2008. 
  10. ^ Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed. ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7. 
  11. ^ a b Galbraith, Stuart (28 August 2009). "Doctor Who: The Rescue/The Romans". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  12. ^ "Doctor Who: The Rescue/The Romans DVD set review". Den of Geek. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  13. ^ "Doctor Who: The Rescue / The Romans". Dreamwatch. 17 February 2009. Archived from the original on 14 June 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  14. ^ Neal, Tim. "The Rescue facts". On Target. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "Doctor Who: The Rescue (Classic Novel)". AudioGo. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "Doctor Who - The Rescue / The Romans (1964) (VHS) (1965)". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Brew, Simon (9 February 2009). "Doctor Who's 2009 DVD Releases". Den of Geek. Retrieved 31 March 2013. 

External links[edit]