The Ambassadors Of Death: Doctor Who: Season 7
The Ambassadors Of Death SYNOPSIS:
UNIT is providing security to the British space program and Pr. Ralph Cornish is overseeing the launch of Recovery 7, a capsule designed to rescue Mars Probe Seven. All contact is then lost with Recovery Seven before it begins a return to Earth. Once it has landed UNIT troops are ambushed retrieving the capsule and the astronauts are abducted.
The Doctor and the Brigadier find that head of security, General Carrington, is behind the abductions and working on ministry orders. He has placed the astronauts in quarantine as they are suffering from high levels of alien radiation. Before the Doctor can examine the astronauts they are abducting from quarantine by a criminal called Reegan. Liz Shaw is soon kidnapped by Reegan and forced to help his aide Pr. Lennox keep the astronauts alive.
The Doctor deduces the astronaut suits contain alien beings, the originals are being held hostage in space. The strange sounds heard earlier were the martians attempt to make peaceful contact with Earth. Reegan is using the radiation dependent aliens to commit crimes and spread public panic. The Doctor must negotiate the peaceful return of the alien Ambassadors to exchange for the captive human astronauts or war will be declared with Earth.
While the Brigadier must expose the traitor in the ranks of space security who is one step ahead of UNIT and knows where the alien ambassadors and Liz are being held and avert the panic of the threatened alien invasion.
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The Ambassadors Of Death DETAILS:
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The Ambassadors Of Death CAST & CREW
Jon Pertwee (Third Doctor)
Caroline John (Liz Shaw)
Nicholas Courtney — Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
John Levene — Sergeant Benton
John Abineri — General Carrington
Ronald Allen — Ralph Cornish
Robert Cawdron — Bruno Taltalian
Cheryl Molineaux — Miss Rutherford
Robert Robertson — Collinson
Ray Armstrong — Grey
Dallas Cavell — Sir James Quinlan
Michael Wisher — John Wakefield
William Dysart — Reegan
Cyril Shaps — Lennox
Juan Moreno — Dobson
Gordon Sterne — Van Heldorf
John Lord — Masters
Tony Harwood — Flynn
Roy Scammell — Technician
Bernard Martin, Joanna Ross, Carl Conway — Control Room Assistants
Derek Ware — UNIT Sergeant
James Haswell — Corporal Champion
James Clayton — Private Parker
Geoffrey Beevers — Private Johnson
Max Faulkner — UNIT Soldier
Peter Halliday — Alien Voices
Peter Noel Cook — Alien Space Captain
Ric Felgate — Van Lyden/Ambassador
Steve Peters — Lefee/Ambassador
Neville Simons — Michaels/Ambassador
Production Staff for Serial CCC:
Writers - David Whitaker, (uncredited) Trevor Ray (episode 1 only), Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks (episodes 2 to 7)
Director - Michael Ferguson
Script editor - Terrance Dicks
Producer - Barry Letts
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The Ambassadors Of Death REVIEWS
These seven parter stories aren't bad. Remember Ambassadors Of Death all looking very adult. With ton's of action and battles between UNIT troops and the bad guys, lot of hardware etc. There seemed to be a lot of creepy stuff happening, the ambassadors were scary in their silence and the fact that touching anyone, even through their spacesuits could kill. The spaceship stuff didn't seem as laboured as say Seeds of Death and they are trying to use 1970's special effects as they were then to the best of their ability in a lot of cases. The whole production seems so mature compared to what came out only a year before.
The cast are top notch, Generel Carrington being of note (except that stupid bearded Frenchman who irritated me) and think half way through Ambassadors of Death we get an additional regular UNIT member in Sergent Benton. Two scenes really stick in the mind though: One where Reagan, one of the few human villains to constantly out think the doctor casually dumps dead bodies of his henchman at a mining site and covers them with piles of grit, gruesome for 1970. The one other scene where we see the face of an alien all-too-briefly when it removes it's space suit helmet in front of Liz to show it's human like face dissolving. Only shown for a split second yet remember it vividly. You can only imagine what this was like in colour.
Although there's a lot happening though, it's the only one that seems to wander a bit all over the place with the story and sometimes you're not quite sure what's going on - was that the intention? Still not bad all round and not every story in a series can be perfect 7/10
The interior of the space centre is very good and even the model shots of the rockets and the alien space ship are good too. The interior of the alien ship looks like it was designed by members of Pink Floyd which can only be a plus! Director Michael Ferguson has some really good moments here. There's the aliens walking towards the space centre with the sun directly behind them, there is the action sequence mentioned above and the kidnapping scenes with Liz Shaw. Plot wise, yeah Ambassadors Of Death is a bit all over the shop but I think it may have had something to do with the input of so many writers; David Whitacker who started the initial story, then Trevor Ray who took over and got as far as episode one, then Malcolm Hulke on the remainder of the episodes (no doubt with Uncle Tewwance's help along the way!)
However, when Ambassadors of Death works - it works well. You get the impression that a "something" is going on in the background of this story but "what" that could be isn't explained. Its kind of like watching the X-Files with all the government cover-ups; its just a pity that some of these (or indeed any of them) weren't fleshed out. The aliens themselves - although they do fuck all - actually appear...well, ALIEN! I think that this is a perfect example of "less is more" with the three ambassadors. In fact, when you don't actually SEE them, they ARE referred to in almost all the other scenes - everyone is out to get/find/rescue/exploit/use/return these guys in one way or another. One thing I really like about these aliens is the fact that you only see what they look like for a brief second - and even then its from behind a window with a blind on it (or louvre, or whatever). This really build the mystery around them.
I better mentioned the regulars here since I didn't say much about them in my previous review. Pertwee has really grabbed the character of the Doctor and made it his own. Well, since all he is doing is being Pertwee himself then what can you expect. "Troughton who? Never heard of him!" is what people at the time were probably saying until THE THREE DOCTORS came along. Liz is great and its good to see her using her brain although its a pity that Barry and Terry are using every opportunity to turn her into a screaming girlie at every chance they can before booting her out the door. Boo. Hiss. And the Brig is great. He takes the whole thing seriously by dashing about and being diplomatic and waving his pistol about. Pity Barry and Terry got stuck into his character as well. idiots. But this is a good season. Enjoy it while it lasts. I'll go a 7/10.
Well, it’s easy to see the inspiration behind the Ambassadors Of Death . James Bond. Pretty much each episode has a little action sequence in it. A gun battle in episode one, chase sequence in episode two... oh but the highlight of the story is Liz Shaw’s wig and hat. They were probably glued together I’d say. Great cliff hanger (almost literal) at the end of episode three when Liz is chased by goons and falls over the side of the bridge.
I used to love Ambassadors Of Death , but in review I struggle to see why. Maybe because it was weird and strange and didn’t feel like a standard Doctor Who tale. But for such a simple plot it does go on! And it’s all one paced, rather flat through seven episodes, and then the ending seems rushed and inconsequential. Carrington just accepts defeat. Still, the aliens aren’t the bad guys for a change, and it taps into a bit of space fever not long after Messers Armstrong and Co. Had been on the moon. The introduction of the ‘sting’ at the end of the episode makes it special in its own way. Then we have the opening titles, split in two for the only time in Who history. The words ‘The Ambassadors’ come towards us and then the tag ‘OF DEATH’ is added.
Good? No. But rather funny.
Then there is the tedium. Half an episode of Ambassadors Of Death wasted on Reagan running around turning taps on and off as he sabotages the capsule. Okay I’m just delaying the inevitable mark.
4.4............ OUT OF 10!