Monday, 22 August 2011

You Could Have Lent Her Hers!

Nearly half a century after they made their only appearance, the Voord - created by Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks - are fondly remembered as one of the greatest Doctor Who villains, and even to this day ardent fans campaign for their long-overdue return to the series.

Okay, that's bollocks. But hey, I liked them...

Doctor Who: The Keys Of Marinus
UK Gold - Sunday 6th February 1994

Despite being the fourth earliest surviving Doctor Who story, The Keys of Marinus was the sixty-fourth to be screened by satellite channel UK Gold. Yes, I actually counted. So what was the problem? Did they forget to add it to the schedule? Were they just too embarrassed to show it? Had someone accidentally taped over it with last week's Eastenders omnibus? The real answer? Money. Specifically how much part-time Doctor Who scriptwriter Terry Nation wanted before he allowed the channel to screen any of his episodes. The two parties eventually reached an agreement in the autumn of 1993, and Marinus was the last of Nation's surviving stories to be screened, in early 1994. Better late than never, I guess. Glen Allen provided the continuity as the omnibus edition was shown on the morning of Sunday 6th February 1994.

You'll notice something about part five (skip to 5:49 above) - no, not Ian's manky fur coat - I'm talking about the technical quality. It's dreadful. The crackling, the scratches, the dirt, the stray hairs, the crushed out detail, the zoomed-in picture, the large black bar at the bottom of the screen... it's enough to make the members of the Doctor Who Restoration Team cry! Although thinking about it, they probably saw it as an exciting challenge! Sadly for the viewers, BBC Enterprises supplied UK Gold with any old copies - one fan once said it was like watching "through a net curtain" and I couldn't agree more. Luckily for us, the 16mm film recording negatives were nowhere near as murky and, thanks to the hard work of the Restoration Team, Marinus is now available to watch in pristine quality on DVD. Plug plug.

Anyway, that's enough about Doctor Who, let's talk about the trailers that followed - I know you love seeing them as much as I do. The most interesting of the three shown that day was for Then Churchill Said To Me, a six-part BBC sitcom starring comedian Frankie Howerd set during the Second World War, which had never actually been shown on BBC television! Made in 1982 shortly before the Falklands conflict, the sitcom was subsequently deemed unsuitable for broadcast and shelved for over a decade, before UK Gold decided to transmit the series in March/April 1993. Oh and yes, that is Nicholas Courtney. Gold also trailed the 1987 film House of Games, and promoted their brand new programmes for 1994, which included Man About The House, Robin's Nest and Callan... so, new to UK Gold anyway...

Many thanks to regular contributor Rich for donating today's clips. WhoGold will be back slightly earlier than usual on Wednesday August 31st 2011 with a 21st century screening of a Dalek story, courtesy of another of our regular contributors, kinggodzillak. In the meantime, why not play the WhoGold Jacqueline Hill Blinking Drinking Game? Simply grab a bottle of your favourite alcoholic beverage, skip to 7:40 in today's video, and have a drink every time she blinks. The very best of luck to you.

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