The Highlanders – 1966 – S4 – E4/9

image Number : Season 4, episode 4 of 9.

Which One : Meet Jamie.

Cast : The Doctor : Patrick Troughton
Polly : Anneke Wills
Ben Jackson : Michael Craze
Jamie : Frazer Hines
The Laird : Donald Bisset
Alexander : William Dysart
Kirsty : Hannah Gordon
Willie Mackay : Andrew Downie
Solicitor Grey : David Garth
Perkins : Sydney Arnold
Captain Trask : Dallas Cavell
Lt. Algernon Ffinch : Michael Elwyn
Colonel Attwood : Guy Middleton
Sergeant : Peter Welch
Sentry : Tom Bowman
Mollie : Barbara Bruce
Sailor : Peter Diamond

Written By : Elwyn Jones & Gerry Davis

Produced By : Innes Lloyd

First UK Broadcast : 17 December 1966 – 7 January 1967.

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Tardis lands in the aftermath, of the 18th Century – Battle Of Culloden and the Doctor meets a fleeing group of Highlanders; who are being persued by the English Garrisons.

Whats good : It is the last purely period Who for a while. Jamie joins. Seen from Highlanders side. Polly’s impressive blackmail of Ffinch.The Doctor plays it fun. Troughton is beginning to find his feet in the role.

Whats bad : Jamie hardly features.

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Review With Spoilers : The Highlanders is the fourth episode of season 4 and is notable as the first [fleeting] appearance of new companion Jamie McCrimmon.

The Tardis lands at the aftermath of the Battle Of Culloden, in 1746. The Doctor is taken prisoner by a bunch of fleeing highlanders (Jamie, Kirsty, The Laird and Alexander) but both have to flee from a troop of English Redcoat soldiers.

Alexander is killed and Polly and Kirsty escape but the Doctor, Jamie and The Laird are taken prisoner by the Redcoat’s and transported to Inverness – to be sold for slavery.

The Highlanders is the last truly historical period drama of the Troughton era. In a move away from historical episodes, which was something of a personal request of Patrick Troughton; who wanted his reign to feature more sci-fi.

On the whole though, The Highlanders is one of the better period numbers in Who’s historical hit-and-miss back-catalogue due to a bit of fun had with the story.

Helped by a generous free reign for Patrick Troughton, who imbues a sense of fun and chaos throughout. Troughton continually pops up in different disguises causig mischief; as a German Doctor, an old serving wench; before before finally impersonating an Redcoat guard.

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[in German accent] “Doctor von Wer, at your service!” The Doctor
“Doctor who?” Redcoat Sergeant
“That’s what I said” The Doctor

Polly uses her womanly charms, to impressively manipulate a Redcoat Officer – to help her, called Ffinch and Ben even manages an impressive Houdini underwater rope escape, after being bound and tossed over the side of a ship.

The Highlanders is also notable for introducing cult companion; Jamie. Although Jamie barely features in this and it is difficult to ascertain the impact he will make, over the next 3 seasons; from such small beginnings.

The Highlanders is in the vein of the better Hartnell period numbers and in a wish to move away from them in Troughton’s reign it is the last truly non-sci-fi period number to feature – until Davison’s The Black Orchid 16 years later.

It is however, a decent episode in it’s own right, helped by an unusual take on the Jacobite Rebellion. As we see the aftermath of this battle, from the Highlanders point of view and the Redcoats are the antagonists.

🔵🔵🔵🔘⚪ (3.5/5)

Old Doctor Who