Episode 076 – “The Death of Doctor Who”

In today’s episode, our heroes arrive on what it is, to give the show credit, a very alien looking landscape. One where Vicki ends up being menaced by a fungus that wouldn’t have been out of place on any Sid and Marty Kroft production

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HR Puffinstuff…he’s your friend when things get rough!

I find it kind of amusing that it’s very clearly not Hartnell in the distance shots with the android duplicate of the Doctor, and then they use him for the close-ups. It’s an odd directorial choice.

I’m also baffled as to why the robot duplicate exists in the first place. I figured that, behind the scenes, Hartnell wasn’t going to be in this episode, so they decided to do something a bit different. But he is in it, and rather than simply using FX to show him on screen twice, or something like that, they instead cast an actor who really doesn’t look like him very much at all. Most odd. I mean, if they didn’t want to blow through the FX budget, surely they could have just had Hartnell film both roles and never showed them on screen together.

Vicki makes her way out of the Dalek ship and is molested by a mushroom. Every word in that sentence is basically accurate, but really strange. Mushrooms really are an ongoing theme here. If I were unkind I could speculate about Terry Nation’s recreational drug activity, but no.

So when the robot duplicate has actual scenes with Babs, they do have Hartnell playing the character. I’m very confused at this point. The concept of the robot duplicate is fine, but why have a very obviously different actor playing him in scenes where that’s completely unnecessary?

Ah, here we are. The Mechanoids have shown up. And now…it’s on.

Next time: “The Planet of Decision”

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