First Doctor with Ben and Polly
Follows on from Season One
, Season Two
and Season Three
POLLY: When are we going to land?
DOCTOR: I don't know. That's the cause of half my troubles through my journeys. I never know.Overview
Season four of Doctor Who opens not with a bang but a whimper, as the four-part adventure The Smugglers
is completely missing and can be experienced only as an audio soundtrack or fan-made reconstruction. This sets the tone for the season to follow, as, out of nine adventures, four are completely missing and five partially missing, with not a single complete story to leaven the mix. It is the hardest hit season of the show, in missing episodes terms.
The second-last pure historical of the 1960s, filmed as part of the third season block and then held over as the season four opener, a few Australian censor clips and telesnaps, along with the soundtrack, are all that survive of The Smugglers
. Following on from the extensive location shooting around the street of London for The War Machines
, The Smugglers
was the first Doctor Who story to feature major location shooting outside of London, substantial portions of the story being filmed down in Cornwall, and a bit of amateur on-location colour film footage recorded behind-the-scenes during production at Trethewey Farm in Cornwall also survives.
It was during production of this serial that the decision was made not to renew William Hartnell's contract, after months of ill-health and behind-the-scenes turmoil.
The plot, in a nutshell, is this: landing on the Cornish coast in the 17th century, the Doctor and his new companions Ben and Polly find themselves enmeshed in the struggle between a local smuggling ring and a ruthless band of pirates on a quest for buried treasure.
Writer Brian Hayles
Director Julia Smith
Script editor Gerry Davis
Producer Innes Lloyd
Aired 10 September1 October 1966Observations
Random thoughts while watching:( Collapse )( Collapse )( Collapse )( Collapse )( Collapse )The Verdict
Overall and taken as a whole, The Smugglers
is a story that many people tend to overlook, and I can see why. Although engaging enough, with what sound like spirited performances by both regulars and guest cast, it's a very slight
story, really. As a pure historical, it lacks an iconic monster or villain to capture the imagination, and it also sort of falls between two stools, in pure historical terms, lacking either the outright comedy of The Romans
and The Myth Makers
or the pseudo-Shakespearean quality that makes stories like Marco Polo
and The Crusade
so special. It's a decent story, full of subtle jokes and humorous dialogue, with an interesting historical setting and plenty going on, but it doesn't stand out
in the way that some adventures do. That, really, is its only crime, however, and perhaps if the visuals still existed it would be better regarded. As an introduction to Ben and Polly as full-blown companions, it does its job well, giving both plenty to do so that we get to know them a little better. I enjoyed it a solid start to the fourth season of the show.