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A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.pig@live.co.uk. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Doctor Who at 50: Galaxy 4, Episode 3 Airlock and BBC Reconstruction

I’ve been promising Doctor Who reviews for a while now, but I have yet to deliver. However with the 50th anniversary celebrations in full swing it seems like no other time would be more appropriate. What to begin with though? I didn’t wish to start with a personal favourite, no I’d much rather save those for November when it’s the anniversary good and proper. Fan favourites have been done time and time again and anyway I felt like I should start with something from the Hartnell era. Logically I jumped straight to An Unearthly Child, rather reluctantly so as it seemed this was what everyone was doing. Then however I managed to get my hands upon the special edition DVD release of The Aztecs which of course contains the recently discovered Galaxy 4 episode Airlock. Much more than this though, the DVD not only contains the missing episode but a cut-down one hour recon of the whole story.


The Tardis lands on a desolate planet where there seems to be no life at all, coming across a spaceship whose entire crew is made of beautiful but warlike women. They are the Drahvins and their leader Marga informs the Doctor and his friends that the planet they are on only has 1400 “dawns” left before it disintegrates. The Drahvins claim that another race of creatures that are also stuck on the planet, the hideous Rills, attacked their spaceship and forced them to crash. However the Doctor notices several flaws in their story and their warlike nature troubles him. Discovering that the planet has in fact only two days to live, the Doctor has to decide whose telling the truth before it’s too late...

Now, aside from a tatty old target paperback, I’ve never experienced Galaxy 4 before so I can’t compare the recon to the full audio or indeed the recovered episode to the full story. What I do know though is that Galaxy 4 has a pretty low level of fan appreciation, often being described as boring and dull. Sadly does little to make me think otherwise. The first two episodes, despite being cut down to almost half their length and not containing the episode 1-2 cliff hanger and titles, drags none the less. The problem, as far as I can tell from what I know of this story anyway, is that it attempts to be moralistic yet has no depth at all. Instead of providing the viewer with any mystery over who is in the wrong, the Drahvins or the Rills, it’s quite clear from the start that the Drahvins are the real villains. This eradicates any mystery aside from what the Rills look like which just wasn’t enough to interest the viewer. I understand the moral of “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but it’s handled so badly here that part of me is almost glad the rest of episodes 1 and 2 aren’t included or I may have fallen asleep before I got a chance to see Airlock.

Admittedly though I suspect the real reason for my boredom during the first part of this recon was in fact a desire to see the long awaited episode 3, Airlock, I was not disappointed. As soon as the titles rolled, I was away from a few scraps of footage and telesnaps and into something that seemed a great deal more interesting. I think one of the greatest achievements of the rediscovered episode is that it allows us to see some of the visual achievements of this story, the Rills and their spacecraft being among the most impressive. Perhaps due to the incomplete nature of this story the Rills seem to be a forgotten “Monster of the week”. It’s a shame really as although airlock allows us to see them only through a fogged up pane of glass I was still suitably impressed. The CGI recreation in the episode 4 recon gives us an impression of what the full creature would of looked like, but I wish we could see the real thing. The Rills robotic assistants the Chumblies also impressed me a great deal more than expected. Amusingly the Chumblies have always been met with scoffs and giggles from the fanbase but they actually work rather well onscreen. Ok so their hardly the best 60’s creature but they fulfil their purpose of being cute but robotic in appearance. Admittedly after the excitement of seeing a previously missing episode wears off I will probably be a lot harsher in my judgement of airlock. It’s not without its silly moments and it does drag but personally I’m great full that we can see an episode from this story and I enjoyed myself.


Afterwards we’re back to a rather hurried recon and then the whole thing is finished. Admittedly I was left wanting more as to the presentation of the recovered episode (there’s not even an option to watch Airlock on its own away from the recon) and despite the fact that the fans have been putting on pressure for its release, I do feel like after nearly a year and a half we could of got something a bit more. Personally I feel for those fans fans that already have the Aztecs in their collection, in order to the recovered episode they now have to go buy a story they already had. All in all though, I did enjoy Galaxy 4, admittedly more than I was expecting due to its dire reputation. Don’t get me wrong it was still boring as hell in places and I’m not sure how I would cope with the full four episodes, but it’s a real pleasure to see a previously missing episode. Especially when you consider that before now all that was left from Galaxy 4 was about 5 or 6 minutes of footage. If you want to see Airlock then I’d defiantly try and pick this up, however if you’re not that bothered and are prepared to wait a bit longer until it pops up on the internet then do so. I’m going to continue the Doctor Who at 50 reviews with one posted every four weeks, these won’t always be Television episodes but all different items from across the “Who-niverse”.

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