I don’t believe that man was made to be controlled by machines

The Keys of Marinus 2So, this was a bit of an odd one. I can’t say I fully understand what was happening. The crew get separated from the TARDIS which seems to be fairly typical by now. And then they go on a quest. To find keys. For a computer.

But this computer is going to control people. And the Doctor’s OK with this. At least, he is right until he’s got them all and returned them, then he realises his mistake. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood but this just seems bonkers. I guess back in ’64 viewers wouldn’t be picking up on such banal ideas as motives and would be kept going by the rather urgent plot.

There’s a fair bit to admire about this story. Nation’s approach was ambitious requiring new sets each week. That must have irritated the designers no end. There’s a rather good interview with Raymond Cusick, the designer, of these episodes on the DVD. Despite coming across as rather humourless, it was quite entertaining listening to how he’d manage to scrape enough materials together to make a set.

This is the first time the regulars start taking holidays. This means that the Doctor leaves the rest of the crew to fend for themselves whilst Hartnell took a break. Not a bad thing in itself as the cast are strong enough to carry the show without him. It does make a nice moment when he returns later in the story. I’m sure there would have been plenty of kids crying out for him to return.

Overall though, it’s a charmless story. It would be a sad day when I next plonk this one in the DVD player.

DOCTOR: Yes, I can’t imagine why Barbara left of her own free will.
SUSAN: No, surely she’d wait for us.
IAN: Of course she would.
DOCTOR: It seems there’s only one conclusion. What ever it is that’s behind that door must have taken her by force.
IAN: Let’s get inside.
DOCTOR: No, no, no, no. Don’t let us be precipitous.
IAN: Doctor, there’s blood on this strap. That means she’s hurt, maybe badly. We can’t argue now. Let’s get inside.
DOCTOR: Very well, but I say I’m sure it’s a mistake.