Please feel free to comment on my review.
Hello Vicki and Welcome to the TARDIS
I have fond memories of this ‘Doctor Who’ DVD box set when it came out!
‘The Rescue’ and ‘The Romans’ were both released in February 2009 and they feature the first two TV stories of Maureen O’Brien as Vicki. I enjoyed both stories each in turn and they both excel in unique measure. ‘The Rescue’ is a strong introduction to Vicki whilst ‘The Romans’ is a brilliant comedy tale.
I didn’t expect to like these two stories when they came out on DVD, as I assumed I’d give these a pass from the William Hartnell era of ‘Doctor Who’. But after watching them for the first time, I re-watched both ‘The Rescue’ and ‘The Romans’ over and over again with the DVD special features.
‘The Rescue’ is a two-part adventure by David Whittaker, the outgoing script-editor of ‘Doctor Who’ from its first season. The story was made after Susan left the TARDIS in ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’.
Rather than have the Doctor, Ian and Barbara in the TARDIS, the production team decided to add a new young companion to the already established four regular cast format. Would the new girl work?
Well she did for me! Maureen O’Brien makes a really good first impression as new companion Vicki. She doesn’t replace Susan, as she has her unique identity and is so wonderful to watch in the series.
Vicki is a young girl from the 25th century. The story takes place on the peaceful planet of Dido where a spaceship has crash-landed. Both Vicki and her friend Bennett survived the spaceship crash.
Vicki has sent a distress call for a rescue ship to come and collect them whilst Bennett lies in bed, seemingly ill and injured. Both live in fear as the monstrous Koquillion keeps coming to inspect them.
In this first story of hers, Vicki is a plucky young girl that seems to try and be positive. She’s understandably afraid of Koquillion and is upset that her father and other crewmembers were killed.
I’ve met Maureen O’Brien once at the ‘Dimensions 2015’ convention in Newcastle, October 2015. It was a brief meeting and I wish I chatted to her more. But my encounter with Maureen was pleasant.
Vicki assumes that the rescue ship has already landed to come and pick her and Bennett up off the planet Dido. But it’s actually the TARDIS with the Doctor, Ian and Barbara who have come to explore.
It’s interesting to see this story set after ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ and how the Doctor, Ian and Barbara are coping after Susan’s gone. They miss Susan still, as they seek to continue on without her.
The Doctor, Ian and Barbara eventually meet Vicki in the crashed spaceship as they help to deal with the menace of Koquillion. Vicki even rescues Barbara after Koquillion tries to kill her early in the tale.
I really like how this story is a character study of introducing Vicki in ‘Doctor Who’ and how she meets the Doctor, Ian and Barbara. It’s so straight-forward and it kept me engaged for two episodes.
William Hartnell delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this story. The Doctor misses Susan a lot, but quickly warms to Vicki when he meets her. I like how the Doctor interacts with Vicki in this.
Vicki and the Doctor clearly get on well with each other. It’s amazing how the Doctor encourages Vicki to trust him and his friends. It is something the new series Doctors would do with companions.
William Russell is great as Ian Chesterton in this story. Ian gets to share a lot of scenes with the Doctor in this adventure. This is especially when tackling booby traps and avoiding the sand monster.
Jacqueline Hill is equally great as Barbara Wright. I like how she interacts with Vicki, treating her in an almost mother-like fashion. Barbara does make a mistake when firing a gun on Sandy, Vicki’s pet.
Ray Barrett guest stars as Bennett, Vicki’s friend in the crashed spaceship. For me, Ray Barrett did the voice of John Tracy and the Hood in ‘Thunderbirds’ series. It was superb to see him in the flesh.
There’s also Sydney Wilson as the villainous Koquillion. Oh wait a minute! It’s actually Ray Barrett as Koquillion. Yes! Bennett and Koquillion are the same person in this story. It was quite a shock to see.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s the ‘Mounting The Rescue’ making-of documentary with cast and crew interviews. There’s also a photo gallery of the story and a commentary with William Russell, director Christopher Barry and designer Raymond Cusick, moderated by Toby Hadoke. There’s an info-text commentary option to enjoy and PDF materials including a ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story and ‘Raymond Cusick’s Original Design Drawings’. There’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Attack of the Cybermen’ with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant.
‘The Rescue’ is a great introduction to Vicki as the new ‘Doctor Who’ companion with William Hartnell’s Doctor, Ian and Barbara. I enjoyed this two-parter very much as it is strongly well-written.
‘The Rescue’ rating – 9/10
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