DOCTOr WHO: THe unDerWaTer menaCe
A fishy tale
released oUT NoW! 1967 | PG | dvd
Director Julia smith
Cast Patrick Troughton, anneke Wills,
michael Craze, Frazer Hines
Four years after its second instalment was recovered, this long-overdue release finally gives fans the chance to see the Second Doctor’s earliest extant episode. Set in Atlantis, it centres on the lunatic Professor Zaroff, who plans to blow up the world by draining away the oceans.
It’s a delight to see more of Pat Troughton – who, three stories in, has nailed his incarnation’s disarming innocence. But the actor’s angry assessment of the script as “rubbish” is spot-on. Not one detail of this world convinces. That Zaroff’s somehow built a nuclear reactor but – in a key plot point – hasn’t mastered refrigeration rather sums it up. With its daft-looking fish-people, bushy eyebrows (every male Atlantean is full-on Scorsese) and OTT villain (typical line: “I could feed you to my pet octopus!”), this preposterous romp is pure ’50s B-movie. And yet… like the work of Ed Wood, it’s so stupendously silly that it’s rather good fun.
Extras A five-person team provides commentary on the surviving episodes two and three: no one remembers much, so it’s heavy on generalities, snark and banter. One and four are represented by audio and off-air photos. There’s also a decent Making Of doc; a TV Centre piece which takes Peter Davison and two companions back to reminisce; two brief clips from the missing eps; and a gallery. Ian Berriman
The seashell dresses worn by the Atlantean women were made by sewing novelty ashtrays onto a leotard.