DOC­TOr WHO: THe un­Der­Wa­Ter menaCe

A fishy tale

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

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.

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