Doctor Who – The Keys of Marinus

In sharp contrast to The Twin Dilemma, here’s a bit of classic Doctor who that’s actually rather good. Starring William Hartnell as the Doctor, with the original TARDIS crew of Susan (Carole Ann Ford), Ian (William Russell) and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill), it was first shown over six weeks in April and May 1964. Yes, folks – this is early Doctor Who, and none the worse for that.

It’s pretty much a classic quest story – the TARDIS crew have to travel to various bizarre locations on a planet to recover the Keys of Marinus[1] , which will enable the guardian[2] to use the planet’s last defence – the Conscience machine. Lots of challenges along the way, with the crew being split up several times.

The story was written by Dalek creator Terry Nation, and still stands up well. The pace of these older stories is a lot slower than 70s or 80s Doctor Who, and positively glacial by the standards of the current version, but that’s no bad thing. It’s quite a different experience, but definitely a pleasant one.

Extras are slight this time:

  • The Sets of Marinus – designer Raymond Cusick talks about the challenges of making this story, which required different locations each week.
  • And apart from the production subtitles, not a lot more

[1] Not to be confused with the Key to Time
[2] No, no – not that Guardian