Friday, April 3, 2009

C2 - The Brink of Disaster



The Edge of Destruction and The Brink Of Disaster were the 12th and 13th episodes recorded during the programme's first season, and, while it was recorded a couple of weeks after the Daleks had begun to take off in the UK, it was planned for and written under very different circumstances. Although the cast and crew would, for years, live and breathe in the understanding that this two-parter was made as a band-aid because the sets for the following story, Marco Polo, weren't ready yet, in reality, these were the last two episodes of the initial 13-episode run that the programme was granted during the early stages of development. If the show was canceled after that baker's dozen of episodes (a very real possiblity at the time), then there would at least have been some sort closure on the series.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, the arrival of the Daleks into the public conciousness of the UK viewing public meant that all bets were off. The show would rarely face such a danger to its survival for the next 20 years. The Brink of Disaster is the last episode made in the world of an uncertain Doctor Who. A week later, the show would feature on the cover of the Radio Times for the first time ever. And the rest, as they say...

Oh, and as for the episode itself, somehow the TARDIS crew get out of the situation they're in by somehow gleaning clues from a bunch of melted clocks and fritzy scanners. The end. But there are some lovely character scenes, particularly between William Hartnell and Jacqueline Hill. The team is finally coming together after some harrowing experiences, and it's a joy to see. I think I've said it before (it's only been thirteen entires, and I'm already forgetting what I've written), but the first TARDIS crew is one of the strongest in the series' history, and I can't wait to see them in full motion action in the very next episode! Hooray!

4 comments:

sjcaustenite said...

Hooray, indeed! The "Beginnings" boxed set has some of the best stuff anywhere in the series, old and new. Personally, I really like this serial--it is hard to follow, but there's a certain wonderful quality about that. Even Barbara, who figures it out, doesn't really quite get it. And the Doctor's speech...

36 said...

Even on my 42" TV you can barely see that the clocks are melted and even if you could, the Tardis crew seriously and inexplicably overreact to them (it's a bit of a delayed reaction too). And then at the end it's because a spring was jammed (I think Michael Crichton ripped this episode off for the plot point in the Andromeda Strain) - and the name of that switch is written on in felt tip pen...

But it's still fantastic to see the characters start to bond as a crew at the end of the episode :)

James said...

The plot really doesn’t make much sense and the idea of the spring is just silly but I can't help but love this story. After the last Dalek epic this is a nice length and we get to see a real study of the relationships between these four characters. I have to say that my favourite part of the story is the very end as the Doctor talks to Barbara before taking her arm to venture out into the snow. I will probably come back to this later but I think Jacqueline Hill is fantastic and Barbara one of the best companions in the series. She is excellent here figuring out what is happening despite the Doctors opposition even though she is clearly terrified of the situation she has found herself in.

Coming to the end of this story it feels like the end of a series (and would be now after 13 episodes). The crew have settled in and there has been genuine character development for all 4 regulars, if the show had ended here there would at least have been a sense of conclusion to some extent for the viewers who has stuck with the show.

Mike said...

Hear, hear! I know this story doesn't get a lot of love from Who fans, but I like it, despite its (painfully obvious) flaws. I extol it at some length here. I especially like the interplay between Barbara and the Doctor. She calls him on the carpet for his imperious, irresponsible behavior (and quite rightly), and even forces him to grow (a smidge) at the end. And, despite the smile on Barbara's face as she takes his arm at the story's end, I don't think for a moment she is just "forgiving and forgetting." I think Jacqueline Hill imbues Barbara with as much depth as 1960s teatime TV for kiddies would allow. Nowhere near as terrible a story as others would have you believe!

Post a Comment