July 16, 2024

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Doctor Who “The Underwater Menace Part 1”

The Second Doctor. "The Underwater Menace," Episode One.

OK, here I am at the last (for now) of the Second Doctor adventures I picked up recently.  Like the others, this one had some missing episodes.  So, they animated the missing ones, right?

No.  Oh dear God, no.

From what I understand, it wasn’t uncommon for the BBC or whoever to take surviving audio and still photos that episode directors would take for their portfolios and then get an actor, preferably a cast member, to narrate the action over the stills while the audio plays.  You know what?  If they did that, I’d be really happy.  That sounds fine.  Instead, well, I got that without the actor’s narration.  So, still photos, audio, and that’s it.

Consequently, I have only a vague idea what happened.

Here’s what I pieced together:  it’s Jamie’s first trip on the TARDIS, and Ben and Polly are explaining things.  The TARDIS lands on a beach that Polly figures is sometime after 1970, and the Doctor makes some other comments about where and when they are, most relating to a nearby volcano.  The Doctor goes one way, Polly goes another, and Ben and Jamie yet another.  All three are captured and taken to some sort of underwater city that may or may not be Atlantis.

However, there’s a prediction made, something about travelers coming, and they’re set to be sacrificed to the gods or something.  The Doctor realizes a missing Professor Zaroff is down there and says he has special knowledge that only Zaroff can get, so they let him go.  He does see Zaroff and reveals he made it up to save himself and his friends, but he does so only after he gets the others released.  Zaroff seems amused by all this.

However, Ben and Jamie are sent off to work in the mines…wait, mines again?  OK, this serial ran before “The Macra Terror,” but still.

Oh, and Polly was taken away to be surgically turned into a fish person.  She doesn’t want that.

Anyway, there may have been more, but again, just some still photos and the audio.  Dialogue helped, but scenes like, where Polly was off by herself exploring and no one was talking…yeah, I had no idea what happened until she was with the others and captured.  So, hopefully there are some actual episodes on the rest of this DVD.