The Massacre Of St Bartholomew’s Eve – 1966 – S3 – 5/10

image Number : Season 3, episode 5 of 9.

Which One : Meet Dodo.

Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Steven : Peter Purves
Annette Robertson : Anne Chaplet
Dodo Chaplet : Jackie Lane
King Charles IX of France : Barry Justice
Catherine de’ Medici : Joan Young
Admiral de Coligny : Leonard Sachs
Marshal Tavannes : André Morell
Teligny : Michael Bilton
Charles Preslin : Erik Chitty
Gaston, Viscount de Lerans : Eric Thompson
Nicholas Muss : David Weston
Simon Duvall : John Tillinger
Roger Colbert : Christopher Tranchell
Old Woman : Cynthia Etherington
Landlord : Edwin Finn
Captain : Clive Cazes
Servant : Reginald Jessup
Priest : Norman Claridg
Officer : John Slavid

Written By : John Lucrotti & Donald Tosh

Produced By : John Wiles

First UK Broadcast : 5 – 26 February 1966.

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Parts :
1) “War Of God”
2) “The Sea Beggar”
3) “Priest Of Doom”
4) “Bell Of Doom”

Plot : The Doctor travels to Paris, France – 1572; where dangerous religious fervour is being whipped up between Protestants and Catholics. Due to the marriage of the Protestant Prince Henri of Navarre, to the Catholic Princess Marguerite de Valois – the sister of the King.

Whats good : The Doctor and Steven’s argument over not saving Anne. The unverified Dodo/Anne time-parentage-anomoly – is clever.

Whats bad : Feels like a less interesting retread of The Reign Of Terror, due to an obscure history setting. The Doctor and the Abbot happened to look the same?

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Review With Spoilers : The Massacre Of St Bartholomew’s Eve is the 5th episode of season 3 and marks the joining of new companion; “Dodo” Chaplet.

The Tardis materialises in 16th century Paris, where religious tension between the Protestant and Catholic communities is dangerously high and will lead to the real-life historical slaughter of Protestants, known as the “St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre”.

The Doctor travels to visit a renowned Protestant chemist, known as Preslin to swap ideas with him and saves his life from a religious witch-hunt by masquerading as the infamous Abbot Of Amboise.

The Massacre Of St Bartholomew’s Eve has a similar feel to Reign Of Terror. Same location aside, however – that is where the similarites end.

The Massacre Of St Bartholomew’s Eve is a muddled and complex episode to follow. There is lots of detailed exposition crammed in, as to what is going on in this historical time-frame.

Whilst most are familiar with the basic notion of the French Revolution and the execution of Royalists, via the guillotine – as featured in Reign Of Terror. The same can’t be said for the more obscure Huguenot massacre time period from The Massacre Of St Bartholomew’s Eve.

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“My dear Steven, history sometimes gives us a terrible shock, and that is because we don’t quite fully understand. Why should we? After all, we’re all too small to realise its final pattern. Therefore don’t try and judge it from where you stand. I was right to do as I did. Yes, that I firmly believe!” The Doctor

The Doctor later comments that these events of history could not be altered. So why the Doctor chooses to masquerade as the strikingly similar-looking Abbot Of Amboise – doesn’t make much sense.

The Doctor remarks that he couldn’t save Anne Chapelot’s life for fear of altering history and yet he apparently saves Admiral De Coligny (or ‘Sea Beggar’) from a Catholic assassination plot and Preslin from the up-and-coming slaughter.

The Doctor had a much more effectively enjoyable turn, whilst masquerading as a provincial governor, in Reign Of Terror. This at least, had non-history altering purpose; in simply trying to secure the release of companions Susan and Barbara from gaol.

The serial is notable, for the introduction of new female companion; Dorothea “Dodo” Chaplet. Hinted at, as a distant relative of Anne. Dodo wanders into the Tardis in London – 1966, expecting it to be a real police box.

The Massacre Of St Bartholomew’s Eve is a confusing and rather pointless paint-by-numbers period epi. Whilst it is not quite The Romans bad, it doesn’t have any of the charm or humour; that other more successful period numbers have.

🔵🔵⚪⚪⚪ (2/5)

Old Doctor Who