Monday, 28 May 2012

553 The Keeper of Traken Part Two

EPISODE: The Keeper of Traken Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 07 February 1981
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: John Black
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva)

Tremas defends the Doctor taking him into his custody. Returning to the Grove, Melkur slays two Fosters whose bodies Kassia hides. Melkur gives her a gift of a neckband, which will enable her to be his eyes and ears. Tremas falls under suspicion by associating with the Doctor but Consul Seron volunteers enter rapport with the Keeper to defend him. The Keeper appears telling Seron he is innocent and they are both betrayed: Kassia slays Seron and, interrupted by Tremas & The Doctor, orders them arrested but they flee to the Grove. The Doctor tracks the Tardis to the location in the Grove where they left it, but when they get there Melkur speaks to them, telling them recovering the Tardis won't help them. They are captured by Fosters and Kassia reports to the statue like being

It is done Melkur!

Oh no, Kassia, it is only beginning!

More of the same as the first episode. The big revelation to us as a viewer here concerns Melkur, that it isn't the evil that there is something sitting in a darkened room watching through two eye shaped screens controlling it. The full reveal of what's going on here will have to wait for another episode or so yet.

The idea of a stone man isn't a new one and as I was watching this I was reminded of the Stone Men in the Tim & The Hidden People series of books I'd have been reading at school when this story aired: compare Melkur with the book cover image here . In fact 7, nearly 8, year old me has clear memories of watching this episode (I missed the first and only caught it on the repeat) and the scenes in the dark control room, the net falling on the Doctor and Melkur addressing Kassia at the end stick *very* clearly in my mind.

Playing the Keeper if Traken is Denis Carey who'd recently failed to appear on our screens as Professor Chronotis in Shada. He'll be back as the Old Man in Timelash. Sheila Ruskin, Kassia, has a long Television career on her CV, including an appearance in the classic I, Claudius (and I really must look at all the Who thesps in that) but is best known to science fiction fans as Alta 1 in the Blake's 7 episode Redemption (alongside Genesis of the Daleks' Harriet Philpin. Consul Katura is played by Margot Van der Burgh who was Cameca in The Aztecs while her colleague Seron is a final Doctor who role for John Woodnutt who was George Hibbert in Spearhead from Space; the Draconian Emperor in Frontier in Space and both his grace the Duke of Forgill & the Zygon Leader Broton in Terror of the Zygons.

Credited as Melkur is Geoffrey Beevers, who was Private Johnson in Ambassadors of Death and is the husband of Caroline John, companion Liz Shaw. However he's only providing the voice and is actually playing the character within it, whose identity we shall not spoil for those who have not seen the story and should be buying it right now. Within the Melkur costume and, in my opinion, harshly uncredited is young actor Graham Cole who would later go on to find fame as PC Tony Stamp in The Bill. This isn't his first Doctor Who appearance, he was previously in Full Circle as a Marshman. He'll return in Kinda as a Kinda tribesman (two other Bill cast members in that one!), Earthshock as a Cyberman, Time-Flight as Melkur, The Five Doctors as a Cyberman, Resurrection of the Daleks as a Crewmember and The Twin Dilemma as a Jacondan. Over the years Doctor Who has credited actors inside Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Silurians, Yeti and Alpha Centauri who don't speak their lines. Melkur is a central part of the story and his performance is crucial so I think it's rather off that he's not credited here or, as it turns out, in any of his other roles!

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