Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement, It's Saturday, which means I'm going over another episode of classic Doctor Who... and this is one of those episodes where the actual footage is missing. As I explain in the video and down in my script / notes below, episodes 4 and 5 of the Reign of Terror story are missing, as a result of the junking done by the BBC... and also an actual shell attack in the mid-70s. Now I am aware that there is an 'animated' version of this episode, but I have a soft spot for the Loose Cannon Reconstructions... even if it made this week's thumbnail a pain to make...
Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement… It’s Saturday, which means it’s time for another episode of Doctor Who: Tales From The TARDIS
This week we are up to part four of The Reign of Terror, with the ‘Tyrant of France’
Now this is one of those episodes that is missing as a result of the junking done by the BBC, and so the version I have is the reconstruction done by Loose Cannon Productions, which includes an intro done by the lovely Carol Ann Ford that explains that this episode and episode 5, were destroyed as a result of a shell attack in Cyprus during the Turkish Invasion of 1974. So I’m looking at stills with the audio.
Also of note from that intro, in the scenes from part with Susan and Barbara in the prison, the director told Ms Ford to not be so ‘maudlin’ despite the fact that her character was locked in rat filled prison and was going to have her head chopped off, and that she liked this particularly story, since she had a preference for the costume dramas.
Anyway the episode opens with the last scene of part three with the tailor showing the ring to the jailer saying it’s evidence against a traitor.
LeMaitre and The Doctor meet with the ‘Tyrant of France’ , Robespierre, who is a bit of a psycho-zealot, who focuses on wanting to increase the rate of executions thanks to his paranoia over those wanting to take his power. Yeah, he’s a bit off his rocker, The Doctor tries to sway his opinion, and makes little progress, but Robespierre does want to meet The Doctor again
Back with the rebels, Susan is still unwell, and Leon offers to find a physician to treat her, which gets him into Barbara’s good graces. One thing its established that Susan’s illness started in the jail cell, but it’s not said exactly what she has, only a few symptoms. After Leon leaves, Susan teases Barbara about liking him
Meanwhile Jules and Jean are checking out one of their other safe houses, where they comes across Ian, not knowing its him and Jules knocks him out. So at least we know where Ian was… but we don’t know what he’s been doing since he escaped from the prison. There is a bit of sympathy towards having to knock him out, but with the amount of soldiers around, better safe than sorry.
The Doctor and LeMaitre go to back to the jail, and The Doctor tries to get out of meeting with Robespierre again, but LeMaitre insists… The Doctor ends up agreeing to stay, but as LeMaitre goes to his own quarters, where the tailor is there to meet with him, The Doctor tries to leave, the jailer pulls a gun on him to make sure the Doctor stays. Basically the reason for this is that LeMaitre fears Robespierre and the jailer fears LeMaitre… so yeah, when they say ‘it rolls down hill’, they aren’t kidding.
Meanwhile, The tailor informs LeMaitre about the Doctor, explaining he exchanged clothing, the sash of the regional officer and writing material for his disguise, saying he became very suspicious and it was his duty to report it. LeMaitre takes the ring and gives the tailor some money telling him not to say anything about this to anyone.
Back at their safe house, Jules and Jean return with Ian who is gradually recovering from being bonked on the head, and obviously Barbara recognizes him instantly. Obviously it’s a happy reunion, but there is concern over the whereabouts of the Doctor. Barbara makes the introductions, and Ian asks if Jules is ‘Jules Renan’, saying he’s being looking for him. Babrara goes to check on Susan, Jean goes to get some wine… leaving Ian and Jules to talk. Ian tells Jules about his prison-mate Webster and how he was tasked to find a James Stirling… Jules figures that Leon may be more helpful in this matter, since he himself has no idea who Stirling is and is probably using an alias of some kind.
Jean has some concerns because helping English ‘spies’ makes them traitors, but England is at ‘war’ with those currently in power of France (Robespierre and his ilk), but Jules is optimistic, as once the tyranny ends, the war ends. Still, Jean is off to try and find the Doctor
Back at the prison, The Doctor is on his way out, but LeMaitre intercepts him, and thus for a bit of comedy, the Doctor complains about the bed being too hard. LeMaitre invites The Doctor to breakfast and says ‘that today will be quite eventful’
We then learn from Danielle that Leon said word that the physician won’t come to the safe house, so Susan has to be taken there. The physician tends to Susan, saying she has a feverish chill, and is suspicious over how she got ill. He goes off to get some leaches and tells them to wait there… Susan is quite suspicious… but as they leave, they realize the door is locked. The physican goes to the jailer, and he’s a spy, which leads to Susan and Barbara being arrested by the soldiers.
Ian is worried and fears something has happened, but Jules has arranged the meeting with Leon where Ian will meet him at an abandoned church.
Back at the prison, LeMaitre summons the Doctor to have interrogate Barbara while eavesdropping on the conversation. And it’s another reunion, but under less than pleasant circumstances.
The episode ends with Ian entering a crypt for his meeting with Leon. He’s incredibly cautious, and reaches Leon, and he’s surrounded by soldiers, with Leon smugly telling him that he walked right into his trap!
Even without the benefit of footage, this is a good chapter, but certainly plays the ‘keep the heroes in peril’ card quite heavily here, with Susan, Barbara and Ian all being recaptured while the Doctor is forced to play into the role of his disguise We don’t get much in the way of character development, but we see that LeMaitre is certainly up to something, exactly why is unknown at this point in the story. Jules being revealed as a villain was obvious as I noted with how the camera lingered on him in part 3 last week.
Still we got two episodes left in the Reign of Terror, and next week of course will be part 5 with a ‘A Bargain of Necessity’