Number : Season 3, Serial 1 of 9.
Which One : Drahvins v Rills.
Cast : The Doctor : William Hartnell
Vicki : Maureen O’ Brien
Steven Taylor : Peter Purves
Maaga : Stephanie Bidmead
Drahvin One : Marina Martin
Drahvin Two : Susanna Carroll
Drahvin Three : Lyn Ashley
Rill : Robert Cartland
Garvey : Barry Jackson
Written By : William Emms
Produced By : Verity Lamb
First UK Broadcast : 11 September – 2 October 1965.
Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.
1) “Four Hundred Dawns”
2) “Trap of Steel”
3) “Air Lock”
4) “The Exploding Planet”
Plot : The Tardis lands on a desert planet, which is going to be destroyed in a supernova. On the planet, 2 rival crashed parties; Drahvins and Rills – fight to destroy each other – and to leave the world.
Whats good : Twisty ‘opposing tribe’ – type thriller. Doctor needs to do the detective work to see who is telling the truth. Stephanie Bidmead as Magaa. Rill design. The shock ending.
Whats bad : Episodes 3 & 4 feel a bit stretched out. Another wiped Dr Who. Only part 3 remains. Chumblies?
Review With Spoilers : Galaxy 4 is the 1st serial of season 3 and is missing, apart from recently re-discovered episode 3; “Airlock” – in 2011.
The Tardis dematerializes on a desert world, where it is -approached and scanned by some round looking, small white robots (which Vicky nicknames “Chumblies”).
The Chumblies eventually lead the Doctor, Vicki and Stephen to discovering two crashed spaceships; the Drahvins and the Rills – and to complicate matters, the Doctor learns that the planet will be destroyed – in 2 days.
The Dravhins, are a female-only, aryan race of warriors, led by the tough and uncompromising Magaa. The Rills, are a large and bulbous lizardy race, who are seldom seen; as they live in an enclosed ammonia atmosphere – and have small robots (the chumblies) to do their bidding; out on the planet’s surface.
Both races have been attempting to repair their ships and escape (as they are both aware of the impending planet-wide catastrophe). The Dravhins though, have not been able to successfully repair their ship but the Rills have. As a result, the Dravhins want to comandeer the Rill ship for themselves.
“We were in space above this planet. When we saw a ship such as we had never seen before. We did not know it, but it was a Rill ship. It fired on us, and we crashed. But before we did, we managed to fire back, so that they’d crashed, too!” Magaa
Galaxy 4 is a straight-forward bit effective tale, of 2 crashed ships working against an impending deadline of a planet-wide destruction; to repair their ships and leave.
All is not how it seems though, following the Doctor’s meeting with the Dravhins; who paint a less than rosy picture of their nearby rivals – the Rills. Leaving the Doctor to do a bit of detective work, to uncover the real truth of their situation.
The Drahvins, (looking like a 60s troop of go-go dancers) are progressively written strong feminist conquerors. Who grow their Drahvin men in test-tubes, merely as reproductive aids.
The Rills, on the other hand – are the mysteriously elusive and ugly looking (rather well designed) boogeymen of the piece. Who turn out in truth, to be benevolent.
Infact, the actually aggressor here is infact Maaga herself, chief of the Dravhins. Who wants to kill the Rills and steal their ship – and even killed one of her own officers, blaming the Rills to rile up her Dravhin troops; against them.
Maaga is strongly (and memorably) played by Stephanie Bidmead in her role – as Chief Dravhin war-monger. Despite her shortcomings, it’s a shock ending for her and the other Dravhins. As the Doctor chooses, to help the Rills and leaves the Dravhins stranded on the planet; as it explodes.
Galaxy 4 benefits from a few twists in proceedings, following the introduction of both the Dravhin and Rills – as the real truth of their shared predicament, emerges.
It plays cleverly with the prejudice, that the alien-looking monster – is the evil aggressor and not the attractive looking blond women. When infact, the truth is the opposite.
Episodes 3 & 4, do feel a touch stretched out – to fit the 4-episode running time and pacing suffers but on the whole. Galaxy 4 is a reasonable season opener, which contains good concepts and plot devices.
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