Pathfinders to Venus. Episode Three – The Living Planet

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As also often happened with Doctor Who, the end of episode cliffhangers were re-recorded the next week.  This is very evident here, since both Stewart Guidotti and Hester Cameron are much more restrained at the start of this episode than they were at the end of the previous one.

Geoff and Margaret, locked inside Wilson’s rocket for safety, are pondering exactly what powerful creature could have caused such damage.  Geoff has plenty of ideas.  “For all we know it might have been a reptile, or a bird with a huge beak. Or an insect with some kind of nippers like a crab”.  Given the series’ budget, I’ve a feeling it’ll be somewhat less impressive than these wild imaginings ….

It’s plain that they’re not alone though.  For a while, the camera has sometimes shot from behind flapping branches, giving the impression that someone or something is observing them.  As with the previous serials, this one is also in no hurry to show its hand (understandable, with eight episodes to fill).

So The Living Planet concerns itself with the continuing hunt for Wilson whilst Brown burns with a desire to explore what he believes to be a Venusian city.  The parallels between this story and The Daleks seem pretty obvious, was this a coincidence or did Terry Nation tune in back in 1961?  One difference is that Brown just decides to wander off by himself to explore the alleged city (unlike the Doctor, who had to trick the others into accompanying him).

Another Doctor Who connection is the distinctive piece of stock music which appears some ten minutes about ten minutes in, which also cropped up during the Hartnell era, The Space Museum to be precise.

Brown meets up with Wilson and the pair head off for the city together.  For those keeping a watch on the Conway/Mary relationship, there’s another kiss here – albeit it’s just a smacker on the top of her head.

Graydon Gould, as Wilson, starts to emerge as a more defined character in this episode, helped by the fact he finally has someone to talk to.  Gould might not have been an American, but he was the next best thing (Canadian) so at least he sounds pretty authentic.  Brown and Wilson don’t exactly see eye to eye – Brown believes that the only aggressors in the solar system are to be found on Earth and despairs that the Americans rocket was kept a secret (presumably because it contained military secrets).

You probably won’t be shocked to learn that Conway and Geoff venture out to find Wilson and Brown whilst Mary and Margaret remain behind in the safety of the rocket.  Although maybe it’s not that safe since something breaks into the rocket and begins to menace the girls.

And then Conway disappears which is the cue for Geoff to start over-emoting again.  We must be close to the end of the episode ….

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