Number : Season 8, serial 3 of 5.
Which One : Beware Axons – bearing gifts.
Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Jo : Katy Manning
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Captain Mike Yates : Richard Franklin
Sergeant Benton : John Levene
The Master : Roger Delgado
Corporal Bell : Fernanda Marlowe
Chinn : Peter Bathurst
Bill Filer : Paul Grist
George Hardiman : Donald Hewlett
Winser : David Savile
Captain Harker : Tim Pigott-Smith
The Minister : Kenneth Benda
Pigbin Josh : Derek Ware
Tech : Royston Farrell
Written By : Dave Martin & Bob Baker
Produced By : Barry Letts
First UK Broadcast : 13 March – 3 April 1971.
Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.
Plot : The Axons crashland on Earth, offering gifts of unknown scientific wealth. The Doctor is suspicious and discovers The Master is imprisoned – in the Axonite spaceship. It seems the Axons are not what they seem – and have a “tangled” secret to uncover.
Whats good : New take on the standard Earth invasion piece. The Master. The Axon’s design and look is good – both of their forms (golden cherub humanoid and huge vine-monster). The Axonite organic ship exterior and interior; set design.
Whats bad : The ‘Chinn’ subplot.
Review With Spoilers : Claws Of Axos is the third serial of season 8 and features The Master – and new monsters; The Axons.
The Axon spaceship seemingly accientally crashlands on Earth. To the UNIT welcoming committee, THE Axons appear friendly and benevolent – in a gold humanoid/cherub-looking form.
They offer the humans “Axonite” – a
crystalised substance which they claim, can mimic any substance that the humans want and ask the humans to distribute it; around the world.
The Axons have also brought with them, an imprisoned Master; who they are using to plot to take over and absorb the whole Earth, using the distributed Axonite gifts.
The Doctor and The Master, have another moment of teaming up here; to use the Tardis to cast the Axons – into an infinite timeloop.
In doing so, the duo make the Tardis flightworthy again for a short-time but it automatically returns to Earth; as soon as the task is done.
“…Obviously the Time Lords have programmed the TARDIS always to return to Earth. It seems that I’m some sort of galactic yo-yo!” The Doctor
Claws Of Axos, is the best of the ‘UNIT’ Earth invasion’-type stories. This is mainly due to the effective way the Axons “stealth” inflitrate; by bearing unusual gifts.
This allows the episode to build – a fair bit of tension and mystery, which then gives way to an action packed final third. As the Doctor and UNIT, attempt to fight off the Axons – in their true vine-monster form.
The Axon’s “false” look – is striking aswell, cleverly borrowing from the Religious image of a cherub and a gold statue. It gives the subtle undertones of a god-like entity – or a greek statue.
Reverted to their true form, the Axons take on a giant bulky monster form, covered in tentacles and vines; which can shoot deadly gas and incapicitating vines; at their victims.
It’s one of the better Who monster-getups – and the SFX dept must have at least, spent a bit of time on these get-ups.
Claws Of Axos also features the other staples of ‘Invasion Who’. A succession of inefficient humans and government ministers; who come into conflict with the Doctor and the Brigadier – and a power-station location backdrop (in this case Kent’s Dungeness filling in as ‘Nunton Power Complex’).
The action scenes are well staged. Especially the jeep chase and the Axon attack on the powerstation. It’s also interesting, seeing the Doctor and The Master team-up, to defeat the Axon threat. This shows what a usefully broad range – The Master character has in the Pertwee era; all-out villain and/or untrustworthy temporary ally.
Claws Of Axos is the most purposeful invasion tale – in the Pertwee era; thanks to a fresh-take on the invasion concept, some good SFX and a well designed monster; in this case – both of them.
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