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William Hartnell: The Lost Stories - GALAXY FOUR

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Author Topic: William Hartnell: The Lost Stories - GALAXY FOUR  (Read 414 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: January 03, 2011, 03:06:02 pm »

Hello Friends and fellow Hartnellians. Before I crack on with my review, I have a series of confessions. My first confession is that I actually did not buy the 'Lost Stories Collection'. I already had all of the stories as they were released individually from 2000-2006. Secondly, I used to think that William Hartnell stories were a bit rubbish. Poor sets, jerky camera work and poor production values - pah (I thought) this lacks any sophistication at all (I thought). Then in 2000 my world turned upside down.....



GALAXY FOUR

As usual, let us cut to the chase and let the blurb tell us all about this story...

When the TARDIS lands on an arid planet, it seems as though the whole place is desolate and lifeless. But then the Doctor, Vicki and Steven discover two crashed spaceships: one contains the Drahvins, a race of stunning beauty, the other contains the hideous Rills. However, as the team soon find out, appearances can be deceptive. It emerges that the beauty of the Drahvins hides a colony of mindless clones who are controlled by the cruel, powerful matriarch Maaga, whereas the ugly Rills are friendly and intelligent explorers.

The Rills tell the Doctor that the dried up planet is about to die. Back in the control toom of the TARDIS, he discovers that they are right, but things are worth than they thought. There is only one day of life left - one day to escape.

With the Drahvins' ship damaged beyond repair, can the Rills get off the planet before the evil Maaga hijacks their craft in her own effort to escape.


This was the story that turned me around on the Hartnell years. Released in 2000 this was one of the first 'missing stories' that I bought and I loved it! At it's heart, this is a very basic and simple morality tale: all that glistens is not gold and one must look beyond physical appearances. There is nothing particularly groundbreaking in that, except this is a beautifully paced story with a moving, elegant backdrop, specifically that the story takes place on a planet that has one day of life left. With the battle for survival in full swing, the true nature of each of the aliens are brutally exposed.

There has been considerable change in TARDIS personnel since the last of our missing stories. Ian and Barbara have gone to be replaced by Steven and Vicki. Both of these companions perform extremely well and add a different dynamic to the show. William Hartnell's Doctor is now clearly established as the leader of the crew and bringing him to the fore really allows his considerable charisma and gravitas to shine through. It seems that the 'elderly' Doctor is gone forever from the nu-Who and Hartnell's performance shows just what depth it added to the show.

Galaxy Four is not without its problems however. William Emms script is a little clunky at times with sprawling long speeches from the Drahvins occasionally grating (especially towards the end of the story). Whilst Peter Purves does a great job in providing the linking narration, you can't help feeling a slight sense of sorrow that the visual element of the story is a real loss.

Nonetheless, and in spite of these limitations, this is a cracking little tale. It has little robots called 'Chumblies' for goodness sake, I mean, what more do you people want! Hartnell's Doctor is imperious and the tension is ratcheted up with the countdown to the end of the world. I would heartily recommend this - particularly if you have not accessed any missing story audios before. It is an excellent entry-point and I should know - because this was my entry point!
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2011, 03:23:42 pm »

Great review. This isnt one that I am familiar with in any capacity (a lot of my classic knowledge revolves around Dalek or Second and Third Doctor stories, though I am slowly catching up on everything else) but I love the premise you described about having just one day left. I may just have to give this a listen.

Incidently, I am sure that Chumblies were mentioned on the bonus features of a Third Doctor story I was watching a few days ago. Were they not the ones that were named in the story by Vicki, or was that something else?
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 04:46:21 pm »

Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed Smiley I must confess I was really looking forward to reviewing this one because I enjoyed it so much when I first listened to it. So as I was typing the review I had it on in the background and I loved it just as much as when I first listened to it.

The premise is brilliant - and actually quite advanced for Sci-Fi of the time. The Doctor cannot save the world this time. The end is inevitable and it's just part of the circle of life. It is up to the Doctor and his companions to ensure that there is minimal loss of life between the two different parties. Like I said above, some of the Drahvins dialogue can get a little long winded and verbose at times and there is a lot of moments that would really have benefited from the visuals but that said, its a great little story and only lasts 90 mins or so.

I think the Chumblies have been mentioned a few times - I know RTD once famously said (very tongue in cheek) that he was going to bring back the Chumblies and the Nimon! So it wouldn't surprise me if they popped up on DVD extras.
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 05:38:26 pm »

Another great review and another great audio. The only place I think I would argue with you is about Steven. There is just something about him that to me just doesnt sit well. I never fully grew to trust him (in this, or any story) and always felt like he could pull a gun on the Doctor at any moment. He is often way too argumentative for my liking also. Everything else is spot on though Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 05:45:35 pm »

Another great review and another great audio. The only place I think I would argue with you is about Steven. There is just something about him that to me just doesnt sit well. I never fully grew to trust him (in this, or any story) and always felt like he could pull a gun on the Doctor at any moment. He is often way too argumentative for my liking also. Everything else is spot on though Smiley

Steven, in my mind suffers from the actor, Peter Purves. The perception I have of him is as a Blue Peter presenter and its very hard to shake that off. I quite liked the double-edged nature of Steven's time with the Doctor, but I can totally see how he is a bit of a 'marmite' companion.
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« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2011, 01:07:03 am »

This was one that made a huge impact on my when I originally saw it, especially the turn-around about who were the goodies and baddies - it's a twist that wouldn't be too surprising now, but it was back in 1965. 

And the Chumblies (yes, it was Vicki who called them that).  I think the robots in The Dominators were an attempt to do something similar which didn't come off.

I watched a reconstruction recently, with the full soundtrack - it did feel a bit slow, but I'm not sure how much that's just not having the visuals.
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 11:03:12 am »

I got this for Christmas. I haven't listened to it yet but I am quite excited for it.
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2013, 02:02:11 am »

I got this for Christmas. I haven't listened to it yet but I am quite excited for it.

It's a good one. Not the best, I must admit, but one that I always enjoy nonetheless. Have you listened yet?
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 12:22:58 pm »

I was actually listening to this one last night for the first time in years. Only managed about half hour though and then fell asleep. I'll try again later today if I have the time.
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 10:50:26 am »

I got this for Christmas. I haven't listened to it yet but I am quite excited for it.

It's a good one. Not the best, I must admit, but one that I always enjoy nonetheless. Have you listened yet?

Not yet. Well, I started it but then fell asleep after about 20 minutes and I haven't had time to go back to it yet. Next time I will do it before bed time though so I actually get through it.
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2013, 09:31:02 am »

I picked this up yesterday, along with audios for The Romans and The Myth Makers. I listened to about half of it before bed last night and it's great. I know this story has a rough rep but I'm really enjoying it so far.
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