EPISODE: The Krotons: Episode Four
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 231
STORY NUMBER: 047
TRANSMITTED: 18 January 1969
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Terrance Dicks
PRODUCER: Peter Bryant
FORMAT: VHS: Doctor Who: The Krotons
Thara finds the injured Doctor but is injured helping him to safety. Jamie takes advantage of the situation to escape the confused Krotons before they restore the balance of the Dynotrope. The Doctor finds a leaking crack in the Dynotrope. Finding out Jamie went into the machine they race to the back door to help him escape. Eelek and Selris argue but as they do a Kroton emerges from the machine demanding the Doctor & Zoe. They need them to operate the drive mechanism of the Dynatrope. Eelek says he will find them. The Doctor & Zoe rescue Jamie who the Doctor sends to get Beta to make more acid. Vana sneaks away to warn the Doctor but is captured by Eelek's guards as are the Doctor & Zoe who are taken to the Krotons. The Krotons start the preparations for lift off. Selris dives into the closing door of the Dynatrope to give the Doctor the acid he needs but after doing so he is soon slain by the Krotons. The Krotons need the Doctor and Zoe to replace two of their crew who were exhausted before they crashed. Zoe tips the acid into the tank which the Krotons are connected to which causes the Krotons to dissolve. The Dynotrope starts to melt to as Jamie, Beta, Thara and Vena tip acid on it. The Doctor explains that since the machine was mainly Tellurium it was susceptible to sulphuric acid. The Doctor, Jamie & Zoe make their exit.
Eelek is a nasty piece of work isn't he? He spends the first episode obeying the Krotons: he's floating around in the background of the ceremony, is absent for the second, turns up in the third wanting to attack the Krotons and then is all to willing to surrender the Doctor and Zoe to them as soon as they ask. I like the Krotons as a story, I think it distills one of the essential Doctor Who storylines down quite well: The Doctor arrives on a planet, finds something is wrong (usually caused by a monster) and does something about it. There's nothing wrong with this story that changing some slightly dodgy monster legs wouldn't fix.
Serial WW, the production code assigned to the Krotons was originally intended to be “The Dreamspinner” by Paul Wheeler. When this fell through it was replaced by Dick Sharples' comedic “The Amazons” which was renamed “The Prison In Space” and would have seen the exit of Jamie. Fraser Hinds announced his intention to leave early in the season having been persuaded by his agent that now was the time to go and not to get typecast despite Hinds wanting to stay. When Patrick Troughton decided to leave at the end of the season he spoke to Hinds and persuaded him to stay until he too left. It's possible that Dick Sharples' script Prison in Space may have been re-worked as the Two Ronnies mini serial The Worm That Turned. Both feature strong female lead societies. I know Sharples was a comedy writer by trade but research hasn't been able to tell me if he worked on the Two Ronnies or wrote that segment.
Episode 4 of this story is a 16mm film print sourced from the British Film Institute which was offered film copies of three Patrick Troughton stories when BBC Enterprises were finished with them - they also had the Dominators and the War Games, Patrick Troughton's final serial. As it turns out the BFI were given negatives for these three stories too which proved very useful in the creation of the DVDs.
Novelised by Terrance Dicks, the Krotons was Target Books #99. Dicks, script editor at the time, has been most vocal over the years in his dislike for the monsters in the story! A VHS release of the Krotons was made in 1991. A DVD version is due in 2011.
Twenty Two episodes into season six, we're half way through Troughton's last season, but there's just three stories to go.