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War Between the Drahvins and the Rills
Season 3 of ‘Doctor Who’ begins with ‘Galaxy 4’!
This is a four-part adventure by William Emms, starring William Hartnell as the Doctor with Maureen O’Brien as Vicki and Peter Purves as Steven. This is one of the ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the 1960s that is mostly missing from the BBC Archives. Before 2011, all four episodes of this story were gone.
Thankfully however, the third episode of ‘Galaxy 4’ had been recovered in 2011 along with ‘Episode 2’ of ‘The Underwater Menace’. Beforehand, all that survived of ‘Galaxy 4’ was a six-minute clip from the first episode, rescued by Jan Vincent-Rudzki from the ‘Whose Doctor Who’ documentary in 1977.
I saw that surviving clip from the first episode in ‘The Missing Years’ documentary from the ‘Lost in Time’ DVD. I didn’t think that any episode of ‘Galaxy 4’ would be recovered, even though I had a vain hope. I was so pleased to hear that the third episode was recovered and I hoped that I would see it.
Eventually the third episode of ‘Galaxy 4’ was released as part of a condensed reconstruction of the story on the 2-disc special edition DVD of ‘The Aztecs’ in 2013. This reconstruction included the surviving clip of the first episode; the complete third episode; photo stills; audio recordings and animation.
I enjoyed watching the third episode of ‘Galaxy 4’ in its entirety during the reconstruction on ‘The Aztecs’ special edition DVD. Beforehand, I listened to the TV soundtrack of ‘Galaxy 4’ on audio CD to appreciate the full story in its entirety. I knew what to expect when I saw the reconstruction on DVD.
The TV soundtrack of ‘Galaxy 4’ is given linking narration by Peter Purves on the audio CD. I enjoyed Peter Purves’ narration of the story on the CD. It helps to be guided by Peter on what’s going on in the story. I found myself easily engaged whilst listening to the complete story of ‘Galaxy 4’ on audio. The ‘Galaxy 4’ CD is also now available as part of ‘The Lost TV Episodes: Collection One’ CD box set.
It’s a shame that not all of ‘Galaxy 4’ is complete as a story, even without three more animation episodes to fill in the gaps for us to enjoy. But with the third episode’s recovery in 2011, there is hope more ‘Doctor Who’ episodes will be recovered, especially with two Patrick Troughton TV stories.
As for the story itself, I really enjoyed it. It’s not the greatest opener to Season 3 of ‘Doctor Who’ with William Hartnell’s Doctor, but it was a decent beginning. This was to be Verity Lambert’s last full-length four-part story to work on as producer of the series, before handing the reins to John Wiles.
The story has the TARDIS land on an unnamed planet in a sector of space called Galaxy 4. The Doctor, Vicki and Steven step out and encounter a patrol of squat robot machines that they nickname ‘Chumblies’. Very soon, the trio also encounter a group of female warriors on the planet.
These women are called Drahvins who come from the planet Drahva. They’re on this planet fighting against another alien race called the Rills. The Drahvins are beautiful and blonde-haired in appearance, whereas the Rills are ugly-looking and walrus-like. But who are the real enemies in this?
This was an intriguing story to listen to and watch whilst I heard the soundtrack and saw the DVD reconstruction. This story has a moral context throughout. It depicts a human-like race of beings in the Drahvins who are beautiful on the outside, but on the inside they are actually the story’s villains.
The Rills are also considered ugly and disgusting by the Drahvins, as there’s this certain race hatred during the story. But the Rills, despite looking ugly-looking, are one of the most peaceful and friendly races in the universe. This reminds me of an episode that I saw from the ‘Lost in Space’ 60s TV series.
I like how the story sees the Doctor, Vicki and Steven experience for themselves who are the good guys and who are the bad guys that they meet. They come to suspect the Dravhins are not being sincere in what they say. Eventually they meet the Rills and help them with defeating the Drahvins.
Behind-the-scenes, the story did not go down well with the main cast. From what I’ve read and what I’ve heard Peter Purves say at ‘The Capitol II’ convention in the Arora Hotel, Gatwick, May 2017, all three regular stars were unhappy with the scripts. Both William Hartnell and Maureen O’Brien hated the dialogue.
There was bitterness between William Hartnell and producer John Wiles during the making of this story. Maureen O’Brien’s unhappiness with the scripts was a factor that led to her contract not being renewed for the rest of the season. Peter Purves was also unhappy that script editor Dennis Spooner left the series.
I enjoyed the camaraderie shared between William Hartnell, Maureen O’Brien and Peter Purves as the TARDIS trio of the Doctor, Vicki and Steven in this story. I wish there were more stories with this trio as they work well together. Sadly that didn’t happen when Vicki soon left in ‘The Myth Makers’.
William Hartnell is very good as the Doctor in this adventure. I like that scene in the surviving clip of the first episode when he’s talking to Maaga of the Drahvins. Instead of judging them of their ideals and ways, he simply states, “Yours must be a very interesting civilization”, which is Hartnell all over.
Maureen O’Brien is equally very good as Vicki in this adventure. Vicki gets to spend a lot of time with the Doctor, especially when they visit the Rills’ spaceship. I like the scene when Vicki talks to the Rills in the third episode and begins to trust them when they explain what’s going on with the Drahvins.
Peter Purves is good as Steven, although sadly he’s rather let down by the script and is poorly underused. Originally the script was written for Ian and Barbara, so Steven is doing mostly Barbara’s stuff in the tale. At the third episode’s climax, Steven suffocates in the airlock of the Drahvin’s ship.
The Drahvins are led by Stephanie Bidmead as Maaga. She’s an interesting character in how she leads the Drahvins against the Rills who they consider their enemies. Maaga thinks herself superior and she disregards her subordinates, calling them unintelligent and bred to obey without a thought.
The rest of the Drahvins have no names in the story. There’s Marina Martin as Drahvin One; Susanna Caroll as Dravhin Two and Lyn Ashley as Dravhin Three. These three Dravhin women are easily intimidated and terrified of Maaga. They also happen to be clones of Maaga, which is…’interesting’.
The Rills are voiced by Robert Cartland when they speak through their robot servants, the Chumblies. The Rills are an intriguing alien race, as we don’t see much of them and they refuse to let the Doctor and his friends see them because of their ugliness. But they’re good-hearted all the same.
The Chumblies are rather cute squat-looking robots of the Rills in this story. They’re not very impressive in design, but they do get sent out by the Rills to scout and patrol. This is especially when the Rills cannot breathe oxygen, since they can only survive under a special atmosphere of ammonia.
‘Galaxy 4’ has been an enjoyable story to listen to on audio CD as well as through the reconstruction of the surviving clip of the first episode and the surviving third episode on ‘The Aztecs’ special edition DVD. It’s not the greatest ‘Doctor Who’ story ever, but I found it interesting and the TARDIS trio are great to listen to.
‘Galaxy 4’ rating – 7/10
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