Thursday, 27 January 2011

Doctor Who The Ambassadors of Death (1970)

Doctor Who and the Ambassadors of Death is a 7 part story from Jon Pertwee’s first season of Doctor Who. 
A year after the American’s first put a man on the moon, the BBC rather optimistically had British Space Control send a couple of chaps off to Mars.  This being Doctor Who, it obviously all goes horribly wrong, with a failed rescue mission, deadly to the touch radioactive aliens, exploitative criminals, corruption from on high.... etc.   It’s a little bit too Quatermass to be totally original and maybe just a little bit too long to be loved but there are some nice ideas, some good action stuff and there’s three of the helmets from Moon Zero Two given a good rub down and painted rainy afternoon grey to match the outfits.
Now whether these are three helmets not used in The Double-Deckers (blue and red seem to be absent from that show) or maybe this is where they went off to afterwards I’m not yet sure but here they are adding, if not colour then a little style to the proceedings.
The suits have been replaced with a loose fitting slightly more old fashioned design knocked up by the Who production team by the look of it.  The demands of the script would have made the Moon Zero Two suits impractical to wear and it’s possible, if not actually being used elsewhere at the same time, that they were already beginning to show signs of wear and damage.
There is a DVD of this story due out 2011/ 2012 and hopefully when that happens some of the usually excellent extras and commentaries may yet shed more light onto the production.
One of the things they are bound to mention and which I’ve already covered here on the; Doomwatch: Re-entry Forbidden post is that the flight deck of the rocket was also recycled  in so much as the cost of the build was shared between the two production teams.  Doomwatch filmed for two days and then Doctor Who followed straight on in, making only a few minor alterations before jumping into the same hot seats back to earth.
And just because we can; let’s have a picture of effects man; Jack Lovell rubbing all the colour out of the helmets. 

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