This story is not known to exist in its original format
(4 black-and-white 25-minute TV episodes)
in its entirety.
|(Doctor Who Story No. 28, starring William Hartnell)
- written by Brian Hayles
- directed by Julia Smith
- produced by Innes Lloyd
- no music
- 4 episodes @ 25 minutes each
Story: The Doctor has his hands full getting Ben and Polly
to respect the 17th century customs of a coastal English town
while convincing them that they have traveled through time.
But when the church warden imparts a secret riddle to the Doctor,
and is later found murdered, Ben and Polly find themselves accused
by law enforcers, while the Doctor becomes a much sought-after
figure at the center of a pirate treasure hunt. How many of the
locals are after a share of the treasure? Which of them are
involved in the secret smuggling ring? Who can be trusted,
and who will stop at nothing for Avery's gold?
In-Depth Analysis Review
by Martin Izsak
WARNING: This review contains "SPOILERS", and is intended for
those who have already seen the program.
To avoid the spoilers, read the
Buyers' Guide version instead.
No doubt about it, this four part adventure is better than any
of its rival televised season three historical stories,
although not quite as powerful as the novelized version of
"The Massacre" (story no. 22). For once,
there is no attempt to form the story around any actual historical
figure or event, and thus the writer has full control over his
characters and their actions. The end result is an adventure
very similar to later stories like
"The Ribos Operation" (story no. 98) and
"Dragonfire" (story no. 151).
Several groups of characters are on a quest for a
cursed treasure, while a lot of scheming, backstabbing, and
plot-twisting abounds. It just happens to take place in the past
this time. The 17th century coastal setting has a personal
appeal for me, with its beaches and cliffs, old churches, secret
tunnels and caves. I just plain like it. I feel like waving
my hand mysteriously and muttering, "This period intrigues me"
as I go off for an exploring walk around the place myself.
This serial has no music whatsoever, and gets away with it.
A little bit of crashing waves and seagull cries as background
sound is all one really needs to enjoy it.
Ben and Polly rush through the opening exploration scenes,
thinking they're still in the 1960's and late for their appointments,
but this only detracts minutely from allowing the Doctor (and myself)
to enjoy the setting. The companions' accustomization to time
travel drives episode one's drama well enough, and requires that
we see where they came from. Including the dematerialization from
"The War Machines" (the previous story)
was a good move.... and there is enough dialogue here to
make the idea of the TARDIS plain to new viewers. The novelization
also does justice to Ben and Polly in introductions, although
I can't think why Terrance Dicks chose to do this twice - once
with a silent and purely visual description of what occurred, followed
by a flashback that fills in the character's biographies, previous
adventures and meetings, and the essence of the dialogue from the
previous scene. It would have made much more sense to do all this
in one run-through instead of two.
John Cura's "telesnap" still photos of the story
show no evidence of a visual materialization
to start "The Smugglers" off, unfortunately,
but we can't always have everything.
The Doctor's experience and expertise in getting in and out
of trouble is showcased in this story, a far cry from where he
should have been and wasn't in
"An Unearthly Child" (story no. 1).
This element of the story is probably heightened because it is
a historical without any sci-fi elements swooping in to magically
save the day, making relatively simple threats feel real and have
good dramatic weight, and emphasizing that one's wits are much more
important here. And the Doctor excels in this story.
to gain the trust and secret clues of the most mysterious character
from the beginning, and quickly becomes the most sought-after
commodity amongst the rest of the guest characters. Exploration
soon leads to capture. Episode two is the Doctor's mandatory
captivity episode - this includes a confrontation with the most
notorious of the villains and many very humorous scenes, so it
remains satisfying. By episode three, the Doctor and his friends
have a good grasp of the characters and situation, and they have their
liberty. They could pop off back into the TARDIS and leave, but like
any good hero, the Doctor expresses a moral urge to help out with
local affairs, and he chooses to stay to do so instead. William
Hartnell remains fully present and active throughout all four
episodes, and instrumental in the story's conclusion as the guest
characters all find their way to him to experience their resolution.
Ben and Polly also prove quite resourceful throughout the
middle episodes, adapting to time travel fairly well. Like Vicki in
"The Crusade" (story no. 14),
Polly (or Paul-y) is mistaken for a lad,
though how the guest characters are so easily fooled when she
is at the same time supposed to attract the Dads in the family
audience is a puzzling contradiction. In the final episode, it is the
companions who do the scurrying back to the TARDIS, although Ben is
a bit torn between running for safety and joining the heroic fight.
As guest characters go, Cherub is not particularly to my liking,
often being little more than a mouth for a knife that serves to
randomize the plot now and then when it needs it. Both he and
Jamaica are quite expressive in their telesnap photos, but judging by
the audio only Jamaica seems to have gone over the top in his
performance. George A. Cooper playing Cherub gives a decently
tasteful performance under the circumstances, though neither he
not the pirate captain will rank too highly amongst Doctor Who's
most memorable villains.
The rest of the characters are enjoyable enough, and are
all fairly well portrayed by the actors.
Paul Whitsun-Jones does excellent justice to his role of Squire Edwards,
not surprising as the character explores many similar areas
as his character of the Marshall in
"The Mutants" (story no. 63).
Even then, his character here is one of the more interesting ones
in this story, as his
villainy is limited by a few moral scruples that come to the fore
in the end. The Doctor's eventual compassion for him is nice to see.
John Ringham, a chameleon more famous for playing both Tlotoxl in
"The Aztecs" (story no. 6),
and the polar opposite of likeability as Ashe in
"Colony in Space" (story no. 58),
also puts in a much welcome performance as Blake in this story.
Director Julia Smith seems to have done a lot of good work in this
story, bringing a compelling drama to life on screen. Curiously,
there seems to be more location footage here than I can remember
in any previous Doctor Who story, and it seems to have been put
to good use. But as the censor clips indicate, action
in the video studios was not Smith's strong point, and these
often turned out to be the moments that indicated that
Doctor Who was still being embarrassingly cheap with its
The TARDIS makes a beautiful dematerialization in a shot that
highlights the coastal setting, bringing a top-notch historical
story to an end. If only more historicals were this good, they
might not have cried out so loudly to be axed. Ah, but who's to
argue if such stories set in the past continue with a few extra
sci-fi elements thrown in? Say hello to Weng-Chiang, Lynx the Sontaran,
Human-Factor-seeking Daleks, the Mandragora Helix, Haemovores, and a
host of others...... but that's in later years.
This story is not known to exist in its original format
(4 black-and-white 25-minute TV episodes) in its entirety.
Coverage on The Smugglers includes:
||Doctor Who: Lost in Time - William Hartnell
1 DVD disc
(also included in Lost in Time Boxed Sets)
More details & buying options for "Lost in Time" DVD's
- Censor clips from Episodes 1, 3 & 4 with full sound (1 min.)
- Behind-the-scenes location footage (colour, no sound, 2 min.)
This 2 CD set features the complete audio tracks of all
4 television episodes of this story in one format:
||Audio CD -
Doctor Who -
narrated by Anneke Wills
- The CD Audio version features narration by
actress Anneke Wills (who also played Polly)
to help listeners follow what used to be visual aspects
of the story. This version spans both discs
and is playable in any normal audio CD player.
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