One fat geek's SUCCESSFUL attempt to regenerate into a not-so-fat geek by watching the entirety of Doctor Who while walking on a treadmill

It's a mistake to clutter one's pockets, Harry

Sep 01 2018
It's a mistake to clutter one's pockets, Harry

Wow, I got lazy in August. I mean, sure, I crossed the finish line and then took some well-deserved time off. But after a year-and-a-half of daily posts, I only worked out on 1/3 of the days in August. That changes in September. I am still working my way through the Tom Baker Season 12 BluRay set, and will be for another five days, and then I will start in on Torchwood. As for today, I had a unique pop-up-video style viewing. So let's talk about that.

The Sontaran Experiment - Parts 1 & 2

(TARDIS Data Core recap)

(My Previous Watch)

I already covered this episode last year, so I won't re-hash any of that. The cool thing today is that I watched it with the special subtitles turned on that gave a running text commentary with interesting facts about the story.

As I am sure you will remember, the gist of the story is that the Doctor, Sarah Jane, and Harry transmat down from to Earth from Nerva Beacon in order to check things out and to check on the transmat reception apparatus. Which is somehow still mostly working after ten thousand years, because of course it is. There they find a handful of humans (who all speak in distinct South African accents), plus an evil Sontaran warrior named Styre who is performing experiments on humans prior to a full fleet invasion of the Earth. Which kind of makes sense until you ponder the fact that, when Styre arrived there were no humans actually on the planet and had not been for ten thousand years (what with the whole Great Diaspora thing). Rather than just claiming the Earth for the Sontaran race, Styre lured a ship with nine humans down to the planet and then proceeded with several Nazi-type experiments to test the limits and weaknesses of the human body. So that the Sontarans would know how to fight humans for control of the Earth. Which contained no humans.

Sontarans are not that bright, apparently.

So anyway, there is a lot of running around Dartmoor National Park, a fair bit of torture, and then Styre gets melted like a flaccid balloon. Literally, since the effect was done by deflating the empty costume.

A couple of interesting things I didn't note the last time around:

1. The story features Glyn Jones as one of the humans, making him one of only five people to have both written for and acted in Doctor Who, having written The Space Museum back in 1965.

2. During filming, Tom Baker slipped on some wet grass and fractured his collar bone. At the time he fell it was not apparent that it was a comparatively minor injury, and for several hours there was a very real possibility that he would have to be replaced as the Doctor only a few weeks into his new job. If you watch the second episode carefully you will note that most of the Doctor's screen time is shot from the rear, where he was doubled by stuntman Terry Walsh. As it turned out, the costuming choice of the Fourth Doctor wearing a very long scarf became extremely fortuitous in that they were able to cover up Tom's neck brace with the scarf for the remaining speaking scenes. 

There is also one very tragic thing I didn't note the last time around:

Actor Kevin Lindsay, who played Styre (and did an excellent job of it, btw) had a severe heart condition. Wearing the heavy costume and working in the rugged remote location was extremely hard on him, and he would have to remain on location all day each filming day even when the rest of the cast and crew went to lunch. This was because he was physically unable to make the trek back down to the trailers, and so a production assistant would bring him his lunch each day as he sat and rested up in the rocky peak of Hound Tor. Tragically, six months after filming and only a few weeks after the episodes aired, Mr. Lindsay passed way from heart failure. This story became his final acting credit.

So geez, yeah, now I'm kind of depressed. I think I'll go have a drink and contemplate mortality. Tomorrow I begin my re-watch of Genesis of the Daleks, which I am really looking forward to.


Doctor(s): Fourth
Companion(s): Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan
Episode(s): The Sontaran Experiment - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,478 today, 3,675,652 total
Distance Walked: 3.84 miles today, 1,921.12 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 32 today, 6,794 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 1,029 total
Weight: 251.20 lbs (five day moving average), net change -56.10 lbs

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