Number : Season 1, Episode 5 of 8.

Which One : Doctor searches for lots of missing keys.

Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Susan : Carol Ann Ford
Ian : William Russell
Barbara : Jacqueline Hill
Arbitan : George Coulouris
Altos : Robin Phillips
Sabetha : Katherine Schofield
Voice of Morpho : Heron Carvic
Darrius : Edmund Warwick
Vasor : Francis de Wolff
Ice Soldier : Anthony Verner
Tarron : Henley Thomas
Senior Judge : Raf De La Torre
Kala : Fiona Walker
Eyesen : Donald Pickering
Yartek : Stephen Dartnell
Voord : Gordon Wales
Eprin : Dougie Dean

Written By : Terry Nation

Produced By : Verity Lamb

Parts :
1) “The Sea of Death”
2) “The Velvet Web”
3) “The Screaming Jungle”
4) “The Snows of Terror”
5) “Sentence of Death”
6) “The Keys of Marinus”

First UK Broadcast : 11 April – 26 May 1964.

Length : 6 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara visit a mysterious temple on planet Marinus. Here they meet Arbitan; Keeper of the ‘Conscience of Marinus’. The Conscience is a dormant mind controlling computer, which once controlled the populace of Marinus, with a “justice field” and prevented criminal behaviour.

Coerced by Arbitan, the quartet are forced to travel to various locations on Marinus. To attempt recovery of five “keys”, to restart the justice field and abate the activities of Yartek and his wetsuit clad Voord; who are wrecking havoc and currently – immune to the Conscience.

Whats good : Being a retrieval adventure, there is a different scenario for each episode. There are several mini-adventures in one. The Voord are memorably menacing, with their triangular heads and black wetsuits.

Whats bad : The First Doctor mysteriously disappears in parts 3 & 4. Due to Hartnell taking a holiday, right in the middle of production!!!

Review With Spoilers : The Keys Of Marinus is the fifth episode of season 1. It plays out, as an interesting retrieval mission, taking in -a different story and environment, each episode; which is a distinctive feature of Terry Nation’s writing (see the Natiin episode The Dalek’s Masterplan also).

This style of retreival story, set in many differing environments seems to have been homaged in the Fourth Doctor’s “Key To Time” season.

In The Keys Of Marinus, the First Doctor is also trying to retrieve some keys. This is to restart the Conscience of Marinus and prevent the rebel Yartek, taking over.

As a result, we are taken on quite the adventure, to different areas of Marinus to look for the keys. Including – a trip to the polar region, a jungle setting, and a city controlled by brains in jars. We even have time for a bit of courtroom drama (when Ian is accused of murder).

The Doctor is noticeably absent from episodes 3 & 4 and it becomes noticably jarring as to where the Doctor is – whilst Ian stands trial for murder.

There was actually a good reason for this, as Hartnell actually went on holiday, mid-production! His absence is noticable, even though most of episodes 3 & 4 take place during Ian’s murder trial. With these episodes – from Ian’s perspective.

The minature model work in The Keys Of Marinus, is also very good for a Doctor Who episode. Especially the island and Temple setting, at the beginning and the Voord landing craft sequences.

“The machine will enslave them now. Bring Sabetha and the young man to me. I want them here when the final key is inserted and my power is absolute!” Yartek

Talking of the Voord, these form the main antagonists in this and are memorable looking. They are clad from head-to-foot in black wetsuits, with big triangular symbols on their heads and sporting combat knives, for weapons.

Ultimately, The Keys Of Marinus has a strong civil message (about facism) contained. In that, once the conscience is finally destroyed by the Doctor. The people of Marinus must find a way to govern themselves. No doubt, this was a sideways swipe at Russia communism; when it was written.

The Keys Of Marinus is a good value Who adventure. Mainly because, being a retrieval mission – it encompasses so many mini-adventures, in one episode. There is a different sci-fi concept here, present – for everyone.

🔵🔵🔵🔵⚪ (4/5)

Old Doctor Who

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