The War Machines

I know that I have said it a few time before, but I really appreciate these complete stories a lot more after watching so many reconstructions.
So Dodo goes the way of the dodo (see what I did there) and just sort of disappears to be replaced by Ben and Polly – who I like a lot more than I remembered. The two new companions are well characterised in their first story and very likable, with a possible love interest dynamic in the background.

As far as I’m aware this is the first time that a story has had it’s own title card animation – a pattern that The Tenth Planet, The Ice Warriors, The War Games, Inferno etc. goes on to repeat.

So the Doctor and Dodo arrive back in 1966 London where the building now known as the BT Tower is emitting strange signals to the Doctor. We find that a new super computer known as Wotan is being made inside. The Wotan is able to hypnotise people into becoming a servant via telephone, and is using these servants to produce War Machines. The War Machines are intended to take over the Earth because the Wotan thinks that Humans can develop no further so wants to take control.

Going to get all Clayton Hickman on you and highlight the Tardis prop on location vs the Tardis prop in studio after a refurbishment.
It has been repainted, the window frames are now painted blue rather than white and the lock has been changed.

Of course this story is also infamous for addressing the character of the Doctor as ‘Doctor Who’ which we all know is wrong. I hadn’t seen this story properly before and didn’t know that they actually call him Doctor Who about seven times in the story. I could deal with once but that many times is just irritating. Alas maybe because Wotan falsely identifies him as human and being called Doctor Who, maybe he actually wants that Peter Cushing chap who built TARDIS in his garden.

“Dr Who is required.”

Joking aside, it’s not that bigger deal. Missy pretending that his name is actually Doctor Who pisses me off more. So that’s something.
Wotan then produces lots of War Machines to stumble around London being generally slow and terrifying. They don’t look like the most efficient killers and you could probably get away from them by going into a reasonably small alleyway or yes up some stairs. Unfortunately they come across as being quite clumsy and slow. The working title for this story was The Computers – a title which I feel might be laughable to look back on now. Pleased that they went with the more intimidating title.

I wish that these titular villains did a bit more.

The story itself is very basic and I think that if it was reconstructions instead of a complete story I would have enjoyed it a lot less. However it was the first story set on modern day Earth with the Doctor fighting a threat alongside the armed forces. This is a story format that would be tested further in the Troughton era and an almost permanent feature in the Pertwee era. In this respect the story was quite innovative and with Ben and Polly now on board the Tardis, the First Doctor’s moving ever closer to his final story.

Fantastic imagery of the Doctor literally standing in the way of evil forces, protecting humans behind him. Very heroic.

Aside from these points, the story does also boast some great location filming for the time and it seemed to start and finish very quickly without much drag. For these reasons I’ll be awarding this story with seven diddy Wotans out of ten.

Seven diddy Wotans out of ten.

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