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Doctor Who story number 11

With the departure of Susan at the end of the previous story the writers needed to introduce another young female character. Unlike Susan the new character was to be human, to aid audience identification.

The story itself is a simple, minimal cast affair, but it works quite well. I have only read the novelisation, but as a vehicle to introduce a new companion for the Doctor it does so better than other stories, rather than having one of the supporting characters join the crew of the TARDIS after a conventional monster story the new companion joins them because of the events in the story.

David Whitaker

This story has 2 episodes with individual titles:

  • The Powerful Enemy
  • Desperate Measures

Plot Overview
The TARDIS materialises on the planet Dido, in the year 2943. there is a crashed spacecraft from Earth, with only two inhabitants, A paralyzed man, Bennet, and Vicki, a teenage girl. Bennet tells The Doctor that the Didonians massacred the crew of the ship, which arouses his suspicions. Vicki tells them of Koquillion, a native who is protecting them from the wrath of the rest. The Doctor says the last time he visited there were only 100 inhabitants of the planet, and they were all peaceful.

As the travellers explore the planet they find an ancient hall of justice, where the ceremonial costumes are kept, along with booby traps. Ian finds a missing costume, and they see the label: Koquillion.

The Doctor confronts Bennet, who he guessed was responsible for the deaths of the ships crew. He murdered someone on the ship and caused it to crash - After the ship crashed he slaughtered the crew of the ship and the Didonians when they met in a formal meeting, and has set up a beacon to signal for help. He plans to have Vicki, convinced he is a nice guy, testify on his behalf that he could not have done the first murder. As the Doctor confronts Bennet he realises he is alone with a mass murdering lunatic. Suddenly two surviving Didonians appear and Bennet is overcome with fear, and backs over a cliff. As the travellers prepare to leave the Doctor asks Vicki to come with them, and she accepts.

Main Cast

  • Ray Barett - Bennet/Koquillion
  • Tom Sheridan - Captain/Sand Monster
  • John Stuart, Colin Hughes - Didonians
  • Notes

    • Vicki got off lightly with her name. She was originally going to be Millie, then Valerie, then Tanni(!) and then Lukki (pronounced 'Lucky'). She finally was named Vicki, though never got a last name. Under the circumstances I think she should be grateful they stopped there.
    • Episode 2, Desperate Measures, was the first time Doctor Who episode to break into the top ten programmes. It was watched by 13 million viewers on January 19th, 1965.

    You're sorry for me aren't you? I'm perfectly all right, you know. I don't care if nobody ever comes. I'm fine. I'm perfectly all right! - Vicki

    The Rescue

    In addition to his statue of George Washington, Horatio Greenough's other infamous work is The Rescue, which stood on the right side of the steps of the East Facade of the US Capitol in Washington, DC for almost 105 years. The sculpture depicts a (rather large) white pioneer fighting off an Indian with a tomahawk, using only his bare hands, while a white woman (presumably the settler's wife) with an infant and a dog look on.
    Like Washington being modeled after Zeus, the pose of the Indian, is modeled after another classical sculpture the central figure of Laocoön from Laocoön and His Sons. Opposite on the left side of the steps was a companion sculpture called The Discovery of America, by a sculptor named Luigi Persico depicting a heroic and triumphant Christopher Columbus holding a globe of the world while a nimble and scantily clad Indian maiden cowering near him looks on. Unlike the Washington statue, "The Rescue" did not face much outcry until almost a half a century later when Native Americans deemed both sculptures on the Capitol steps as offensive and embarrassing and requested they be removed.

    In 1958, after years of protest by American Indian groups, both The Rescue and The Discovery were removed from the Capitol and placed in storage at the Smithsonian. The Rescue has been damaged beyond repair since it was accidentally dropped by a crane in 1976, the only figure that did not have much damage was the dog, which was exhibited as part of temporary show at Middlebury College showcasing Greenough's drawings in 1999.


    At the beginning of the first season of Doctor Who, the producers made the short, low-budget story The Edge of Destruction, as filler material. And that story, written so quickly, begin the tradition of suspense and psychological horror in Doctor Who; and also was a turning point in the characterization of The Doctor. At the beginning of the second season, the producers were again, due to external circumstances, forced to write a quick story to introduce a new companion, Vicki, to replace the departed Susan Foreman.

    The budget for "The Rescue" was a bit higher than for "The Edge of Destruction", but not by much. It still has a minimal cast (seven actors, two of whom only appear in one scene), some zeerust-y spaceships, and unconvincing monsters. It is the first story in which we gain a new companion, which would be an important aspect of the show for the next five decades. But there is another first in the show, an important point of character development for The Doctor.

    "The Rescue" is the first episode in which we see The Doctor full of righteous fury. When he was introduced in An Unearthly Child, he was a sinister figure, and it wasn't until Marco Polo that he softened up, becoming more jocular. It was in The Sensorites that he first became altruistic, going out of his way to help others. But here in "The Rescue", we see him go beyond being a helpful, avuncular figure to being enraged at violence and persecution, becoming the avenger of the weak. And not in a subtle, ironic way: he picks up a heavy object and tries to bludgeon someone he thinks is guilty of genocide. It is a moment that will define the character through five decades and ten different actors, with each of them projecting this side of The Doctor differently. And all of it beginning on a wobbly set thrown together for a filler episode.

    For the student of the show, it is interesting to find the little moments that would come to define the central themes of the show hidden in such unexpected places as this story.

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