Trompé Setsuled (setsuled) wrote,
Trompé Setsuled

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A Pitt for All Doctors

The great Ingrid Pitt, star of some memorable Hammer horror films and a supporting player in The Wicker Man, appeared in two Doctor Who serials. The above image is from the 1972 Third Doctor story The Time Monster, my favourite Third Doctor story. Pitt came back to Doctor Who to play a scientist in the 1984 Fifth Doctor story Warriors of the Deep, an inferior story and Pitt was given inferior hair, makeup, and costume.

A big contrast to the ravishing image she presented just a year before in a BBC production of A Comedy of Errors.

Around this time, Pitt was also trying to participate in Doctor Who in another fashion--she and her husband wrote a script for the Sixth Doctor a year after Warriors of the Deep. That script, The Macro Men, was rejected but was finally produced as an audio play in 2010, just months before Pitt's death, starring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as his companion Peri.

Gods only know why this script was rejected originally though it was par for the course in a season defined by a series of bad decisions. The Macros, as the audio play was retitled, isn't one of the best Doctor Who stories but it's at least as good as anything that appeared in Colin Baker's run, saving possibly only Robert Holmes' scripts. Possibly it was rejected due to the fact that the story partly concerns The Philadelphia Experiment and in 1984 a Hollywood film based on the same subject was released. Pitt's script is a bit weirder than that movie, though.

The TARDIS materialises on the time jumping ship, the USS Eldridge, which had been the subject of an experimental invisibility shield--essentially a cloaking device--during World War II. That much is part of the real legend. The Doctor and Peri find most of the crew unable to see or hear them, endlessly repeating the same actions for years. The story feels much more like genuine science fiction than Doctor Who usually does as the plot ends up concerning energy uses and distorted cultural perspectives in the form of a microscopic society where slave labour is employed to produce less energy than what's stored in a torch battery the Doctor has in his pocket.

In real life, Pitt, as a child, was placed in a concentration camp in World War II and barely survived. With this in mind, the strange story of terrible military power pursued by culturally isolated minds or leading to chaotic results rather than peace or dominance takes on a poignant light. The story's not perfect--the Doctor comes off as oddly naive in several scenes in order to move the plot along, but Pitt overcomes one of the more infamous shortcomings of the Sixth Doctor era by having the Doctor and Peri actually expressing concern and affection for each other. I wouldn't mind seeing this story adapted for television now in the new series.

Twitter Sonnet #787

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Tags: audio play, doctor who, ingrid pitt, television, the macros, the philadelphia experiment, tv show
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