Creature From The Pit: Doctor Who: Season 17
Creature From The Pit SYNOPSIS:
The TARDIS identifies a distress signal and brings the ship to the jungle world of Chloris, where metal is a rare and prized. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 discover the remains of an enormous egg and meet Lady Adrasta the callous ruler who controls the planet's very last metal mine, holding on to power through the Huntsmen and the Wolfweeds.
Her throne room contains metal trinkets including a shield patterned the same way as the eggshell remains. She mentions the Creature living in a deep pit on Chloris. Romana is captured by scavengers of metal. The Doctor leaps into the Pit to escape Adrasta determined to meet the creature and eventually finds the vast, shapeless blob and calculates it isn't dangerous noting the Creature produces metal from within itself.
The scavengers raid the throne room and are mesmerized by the alien shield taking the communications device belonging to the Creature who is the Tythonian ambassador to Chloris. It came to negotiate a treaty exchanging metal for chlorophyll. Adrasta , the huntsmen and the wolf weeds enter the pit to destroy the creature and stop the Doctor learning the truth.
Return to top of page
Creature From The Pit CAST & CREW
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Lalla Ward (Romana II)
David Brierly (K9 Mk.II)
Myra Frances — Lady Adrasta
Eileen Way — Karela
David Telfer — Huntsman
Geoffrey Bayldon — Organon
Morris Barry — Tollund
Terry Walsh — Doran
John Bryans — Torvin
Edward Kelsey — Edu
Tim Munro — Ainu
Tommy Wright — Guardsmaster
Philip Denyer, David Redgrave — Guards
Production Staff for Serial 5G:
Writer - David Fisher
Director - Christopher Barry
Script editor - Douglas Adams
Producer - Graham Williams
Return to top of page
Creature From The Pit REVIEWS
Remember, remember the 5th of November for that's when Creature From The Pit went out... ...well it could have done but you'll get the late 1979 table wine year transmission dates Grob? Unfortunately, as the pics below show this one ain't that memorable it terms of plot but in terms of another entrant into the all time, top ten shit house Dr Who monsters competition. The production team are trying to top last years Kroll with a bigger monster and fail spectacularly.
David Fisher wrote Creature From The Pit didn't he? After the high points of Blood and Tara we get this. It's all about the creature being an ambassador or something to this forgettable planet to trade metal for plants to eat. Meets a bitch of a trading minister and gets thrown down a mine. Actually the scenes shot in a film studio for the jungle set are pretty atmospheric as are the ones in the mine but the bright sets everywhere else let it down.
The acting is a mix of standard and sub standard, Tom is now spouting one liners like it's open mike night and milks everything for comedy - see below, think he blew into the creatures errrmmmm, appendage. Whatever Romana got up to in Creature From The Pit apart from look indignant and shout a bit is a mystery and the guy who replaced John Leeson doing K9's voice makes our tin dog sound as well as look ridiculous. I remember the woman Astra, Atrastra, Adrata...whatever...sneered a lot but didn't really make an impact in the bad guy stakes and her right hand man had a big bad beard / turban combo and controlled the wolf weeds.
They were an interesting creation and quite menacing how they rolled along when no one actually looked at them and crept up on people. This episode started what became known later as Timelash syndrome where Astranona, Admona...whatever, was killed at the start of part 4 which then meant a lot of padding and TARDIS scenes and a missile being sent to destroy the jungle planet. None the less this ones boring and the well the monster is...CRAP see below - 2.5/10
I guess the standouts for Creature From The Pit are the sets. The jungle looks green and lush with a nice mist and makes lots of rustling noises when people go through it. And the mine sets are good too. Pity we had to jam a bunch of boring actors from the local amateur theatre society in front of it.
I honestly can't think of any outstanding performance in this one. The thieves are all played like Jewish characters that have wandered into the studio from a production of Fiddler on the Roof. The other thing that is just plain awful is David Brierley who is voicing K9. God he sounds shite.
Tom's credibility is going out the door at a rapid pace now so you can see that most people on the series just aren't giving the proverbial now - certainly not Douglas Adams who is throwing anything and everything in their for a cheap gag. In fact, its looking a lot like a Cambridge University Revue skit.
And thats about all I can say about Creature From The Pit. Unless, you wanna wait till you get to Meglos. And go through the whole routine again.
I think Creature From The Pit is treated harshly as the creature from said pit looks like a scrotum... complete with it's own cock that the Doctor tries to talk into. But put it into context - they're on a planet that sounds like a female body part, and there's a nice plot device called organ-on... and it's set in amongst a lot of bushes... come on, it's all about genitals!
I enjoyed this when I last saw it, so I thought I'd watch it again last night to see if I was terribly mistaken. OK, it's not without fault, but I don't think it's as bad as everyone says.
It's main strength is another entertaining script written by David Fisher. It's a unique plot (normally "trading" related stories are boring) with a fair few interesting characters. Unfortunately, the stories weakness is also the script.
The concept of Erato isn't that bad... but it's impossible to realise... especially on a BBC budget that's already been stretched to it's fullest to create an excellent jungle set and wolf weeds. But even with a huge budget, I don't know if 1979 could produce what was needed. Did he have to be that big? And how the hell did Adrasta get it down there in the first place? As the story goes, Christopher Barry blamed the design team for its realisation, and the design team blamed Christopher Barry for constantly changing his mind... but really it was the writer's fault for writing something impossible to realise. I think by part 3, Barry's direction of it was quite good - having it talk to people as a big bean bag through cave doors (btw, the caves are a good chance to re-use the Shadow's planet from the Armageddon Factor set!!) is probably the only way to get the best out of it.
And I think this makes Creature From The Pit work. I like stories where there's a menacing monster that turns out to be kind of a good guy - and this is one that is handled well with good pace and, generally good character development... I say generally cos the metal thieves were a bit shit... but they served their purpose in the scene where they brought the communicating device. But the other main players, especially Adrasta, are all good here... and her Gran who's also her second in command is OK too. Romana is particularly haughty in this one... I like haughty. And that dress is pretty hot... mmmmm silhouettes!
On the other side, the decision to voice K-9 by someone who sounds like a Nanna was a big mistake... he just sounds dumb!
Just when everything seems fine, the script throws up one last hurdle... OK, so now we need to get the big scrotum thing into a giant egg and that's going to weave foil around a star that's coming to blow up Chloris... cos oh yeah, not only have I written a monster that looks like a ball bag, but I forgot to mention that he also shits metal!!
Impossible to make that look good, but they give it a good shot.
BTW - did they explain how the Doctor gets the TARDIS to work around the randomiser? He was able to steer it perfectly in City of Death too... does this mean the Black Guardian is back on his heals?
Anyway, a good script that's impossible to realise - but entertaining none the less!