Let's try not talking about you know what for a change.
Although this show is coming out on the right day, it is the reason that I watched the most of this DW serial, wrote the notes, and edited and uploaded the show a day late, which even as I say this sounds like time travel was involved; it wasn't. I think.
Third Doctor: Jon Pertwee
Sarah Jane Smith: Elisabeth Sladen
Director: Alan Bromly
Writer: Robert Holmes
Producer: Barry Letts
First serial of season eleven, following The Green Death that we covered in CRRRaSh! episode 299, 4 x 25 mins, first broadcast from 15 December 1973 to 5 January 1974.
I couldn't find anything happening worth remembering in the UK on the 15th, so thanks to officialcharts.com, here, my fellow time travelling pop pickers, is the entire top ten run down of the most popular singles in the UK on that day instead. And yes, I know, Tony Blackburn and Noel Edmonds presented Christmas Top of the Pops in 1973, not pop picking Alan Freeman, and it was a different top ten on Christmas Day. I know because I popped back in my dimension jaunting vimana to that exact day. Really? No, I Googled it. Besides, we're talking about the exact day of this Doctor Who serial's first broadcast, not Christmas Day. Man, I miss Christmas.
And the weather, what was the weather like that day? Yes, there was indeed weather and we definitely had some. So there you are; a thorough an accurate picture of the UK on the 15th December 1973.
UNIT sends the Doctor to investigates the disappearance scientists at a research centre. There he meets Sarah Jane Smith, a reporter who has infiltrated the facility by impersonating her scientist aunt.
The scientist have been abducted by Linx, a Sontaran commander, and taken back in time to help repair his spacecraft.
When the Doctor chases the Sontaran back to medieval England in the TARDIS, Sarah stows away on board.
Linx strikes a bargain with Irongron a local warlord to supply him with advanced weapons while he repairs his ship.
After some initial confusion, Sarah, the Doctor, and a noble overcome the warlord and returns the scientists back to their own time.
Irongron is shot by the Sontaran, but just as he starts to launch his ship, he's shot in the probic vent, dies, collapses on the control panel, and the Doctor, Sarah, and Hal escape just before the Sontaran ship explodes and destroys the castle.
Sarah Jane Smith! Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elizabeth Sladen, is a tough, no nonsense reporter, who isn't above a little social engineering to get her story. How could I not like her?
This is our introduction to the diminutive galactic clone warriors. There's something endearing about their hairy potato heads. I feel it's a quite unusual alien design. For an empire of warlike conquerors, I find the Sontarans quite likeable. One of the less horrible of the series villains.
Sarah Jane takes the time as an undercover scullery maid in the Irongron's kitchen to preach a little women's lib that falls on deaf ears. But this, her subterfuge at the beginning, along with her command of the nobleman's men-at-arms give us an insight into her tough character and shows how the series was ramping up roles for women... until screamy Mel played by Bonnie Langford in the 80s. Oh dear. Or at least that's what I remember. Tell me if I'm wrong about Mel.
One of the weapons the Sontaran creates is a robot knight reminiscent of zombie terminator knight Ser Gregor in Game of Thrones and Grike in the Mortal Engines series of books.
There a long and elaborate angled overhead single shot fight scene with the Doctor fighting off and evading the warlord's men with the help of Sarah's friendly archer.
At one point the Doctor is described by Irongron as a "longshank rascal with a mighty nose".
Elizabeth Sladen was only in Doctor Who for three years until she reprised the role in a few episodes of the 2005 series, but really came into her own in the excellent spin off The Sarah Jane Adventures, and a spin off of the spin off Sarah Jane's Alien Files, of which I knew nothing about until this episode.
David Daker plays Irongron, but I recognised him as Harry Crawford in the ITV show Boon (1986--1995)
June Brown plays the nobleman's wife Lady Eleanor. She later went on to play Dot Cotton in BBC One's EastEnders for thirty-five years, before retiring this year... in her nineties!