Thursday, 2 March 2017

Doctor Who and the Pescatons Review


Written by Victor Pemberton (born in London in 1931), a veteran of the Patrick Troughton era, this two-part adventure is notable for being the first Doctor Who 
audio drama ever produced, and was released by Argo (Decca) on vinyl LP in
1976 (between TV seasons thirteen and fourteen) and cassette in 1986. Silva
Screen Records issued the first CD version in 1991, followed by BBC releases
in 2005 and 2011.
Running at forty-six minutes (the equivalent of two television episodes), the 
story starred the current Doctor, Tom Baker, and departing companion,
Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane, with Canadian voice actor Bill Mitchell
(the Newscaster in part six of Frontier in Space) as the Pescaton leader, Zor.
Often overlooked by it's parent programme, The Pescatons is worthy of further 
interest beyond it's novelty value, due to it's Doctor Who credentials, and it could even be argued that this adventure is a precursor of the later Big Finish dramas.
Pemberton's lost TV story, Fury from the Deep, was itself loosely based on his
 own 1966 radio serial, The Slide, which actually originated as a submission to
David Whitaker for the classic series in 1964. This seven-part play saw an
English coastal community under attack from sentient mud, released from
fissures after an earthquake, and was earlier rejected by Whitaker as being too similar to Nigel Kneale's work. Indeed, both The Slide and The Pescatons clearly display their Quatermass roots. The former play featured the first actor to portray
the Master, Roger Delgado, Maurice Denham (Azmael in The Twin Dilemma), 
and David Spenser (Thonmi in The Abominable Snowmen).
Pemberton also had a minor acting role (as Jules Faure) in The Moonbase, and
went on to story edit The Tomb of the Cybermen (both 1967). He novelised
The Pescatons for the Target book range in 1991.

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