Number : Season 4, serial 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 episodes.
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 this fun. Troughton is beginning to find his feet, in the role.
Whats bad : Jamie hardly features.
Review With Spoilers : The Highlanders is the fourth serial 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, Alexander and the Laird) 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 Redcoats and transported to Inverness – to be sold for slavery.
The Highlanders is the last truly historical period drama, of the Troughton era. In a departure from historical episodes; which was something of a personal request of Patrick Troughton. Troughton wanted his reign to feature more sci-fi.
On the whole though, The Highlanders is one of the better period numbers – in Who’s hit-and-miss period drama back-catalogue, due to a tongue-in-cheek take – on the story.
Helped, by a generous free reign for Patrick Troughton; who imbues a sense of fun (and chaos), throughout. Troughton continually disappears – and then pops up in different disguises, causing mischief; as a German Doctor, an old serving wench; before finally impersonating a Redcoat guard.
[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 sailing-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 that Jamie will eventually make, over the next 3 seasons; from such small beginnings.
The Highlanders is in the vein of the better Hartnell period numbers – and is a sign-off to them – in a conscious move away from them in Troughton’s reign – it is the truly last non-sci-fi period number to feature; until Davison’s The Black Orchid 16 years later.
The Highlanders, is 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 Highlander’s point of view – and the Redcoats are the antagonists.
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