Well everyone, once again let’s return to Dr Who Classic and like me enjoy what once was, until the current (continues to ramble about hating New Who) season. So let’s look at another fully lost serial, one recently released in animation ( they used the classic Dr Who title not the crappy Chibnall era one) and enjoy the tales of the cosmic hobo himself Patrick Troughton.
You know looking back I’ve not talked about the 2nd Doctor nearly as much as I thought I had. So a bit of back story. After Power of the Daleks there was a story called The Highlanders. This story introduced a character who became a constant through the rest of Troughton’s run, Jamie McCrimmon, up in the running as one of the best companions ever. But here’s the catch, he wasn’t meant to be a companion. But he and Troughton got on so well together (probably a bunch of slash fiction out there) and they loved him so much that he became a companion to the Doctor. Problem is as he wasn’t meant to be, a bunch of the scripts of the next episodes had to be altered. This is VERY noticeable in The Moon Base where he’s spent a good chunk unconscious rambling about a piper. The Macra Terror is the story after Moon Base and I think by this point they had enough time to rewrite the scripts as I couldn’t really notice where he wasn’t meant to be so on to the story proper.
The Macra Terror can be described as such:- Doctor lands on a planet that is 1984 run by giant crabs. Yes they land on a colony that is secretly being run by giant crabs who have brainwashed the populace into obeying them whilst thinking the crabs don’t exist. Ben one of the companions from the start of Troughton’s era who has been in both 10th Planet and Power of the Daleks ends up getting brainwashed and betrays the doctor and they are all forced into the mines to farm a deadly gas that the people of the colony don’t know why they are mining it.
Wish there was more to talk about, but it really is just full of happy brainwashed people being used by giant crabs as the Doctor has to save them while they don’t realize they need to be saved. That’s not to say it’s a bad story, it’s rather enjoyable. Actual footage of the Macra is so small it’s safe to say the appearance in the animation is probably not how they appeared in the original showing but then is probably better than that as limitations in technology and all.
What plays out is basically a more trippy drugged out 1984 with a considerably more positive ending… and giant alien crabs. What is rather positive is this is the second lost Dr Who story to get a full animation and it looks like more are on the horizon. Why is this important? Because I really want Fury from the Deep. All we have is one scene that was ironically saved by being removed from a broadcast in Australia because it was too scary.
Now some of you may wonder – Wait a minute, Macra? Giant crabs? That sounds familiar well that’s because they appeared kind of in the episode Gridlock as basically mindless giant animals that had nothing to do with the brainwashing manipulative aliens from this story other than being giant crabs. It was an in-joke for people since this is a lost episode so only Classic Who fans who really look deep would know it had to include that.
The Macra Terror is not some lost classic but it is an enjoyable show. You do see more of Troughton’s Doctor developing as he often plays along and people underestimate him (as was his plan) and it’s interesting when compared to the earlier stories with Jamie now he’s fitting in to the scripts better.