Now I believe that episode 3 of this story has been recovered, however I was unable to source it and so watched all four episodes as reconstructions. Unfortunately the quality of the reconstruction wasn’t great, with a lot of the audio being a bit tricky to understand.
But with all of those things that negatively effected my experience of the story, I still really enjoyed the premise. The Tardis lands on an unnamed planet in Galaxy 4. It is inhabited by the Drahvins (female, blonde cloned warriors) and the Rills (warthog- like creatures who rely on little robots to do their work). These two races are at war. On face value it may look a little like another rehash of The Daleks story. However, the Rills possess a spaceship that is able to leave the planet (that will explode in 2 days) whereas the Drahvins do not. This creates a little race against time element into the story. Especially when you are first introduced to the Drahvins as being a force for good; when actually they are needlessly hostile and selfish. I think this is one of the first times that Doctor Who has attempted to do as much of a twist as this regarding it’s monsters. Although when the robots (nicknamed Chumblies) turn out to be wanting to help the Drahvins, it isn’t too much of a surprise. They are too adorable to be evil. And with their size and a name like ‘Chumblies’, they aren’t particularly intimidating.
Once the Doctor realises that it is actually the Drahvins who are causing the trouble by trying to steal the Rill’s spaceship instead of sharing it; he agrees to help the Rill to leave the planet as soon as possible. The idea of a misunderstood villain is used a lot in Doctor Who today; but I think this may be one of the first times that it is seen.
The characters don’t get a lot of development in this story, if any. Steven is the one who is detained for most of the story; allowing Vicki to be a little more proactive in moving the story forward than normal. I can’t really comment on the sets or the acting since I wasn’t able to watch much more than a couple of minutes of surviving footage; but all of the main cast seem on top form as usual.
The story does have something different about it from most previous stories set between two warring factions. There is the race against time element; and rather than just wanting to wipe each other out, the Drahvins mostly want to go GTA and steal their spaceship. Even with those different things in the story, it doesn’t really have much to it. It feels a little like we have seen the story before and doesn’t really add much new to the format. For this reason I award Galaxy 4 with four Chumblies out of ten.