Pyramids Of Mars: Doctor Who: Season 13:
Pyramids Of Mars SYNOPSIS:
While excavating pyramids in Cairo, Professor Marcus Scarman opens the tomb of the ancient Egyptian God Sutekh to find he is still alive.
The Doctor and Sarah are diverted to an old priory house in the year 1911 when a malevolent force infiltrates the Tardis. They intervene in an argument between an Egyptian gentleman and a Dr. Warlock which ends with the latter being shot and wounded. They manage to escape pursuit and take refuge in the lodge currently occupied by Lawrence Scarman who has been banned from his own house by the Egyptian servant on the orders of Professor Marcus Scarman.
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Pyramids Of Mars CAST & CREW
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)
Gabriel Woolf — Sutekh
Bernard Archard — Marcus Scarman
Michael Sheard — Laurence Scarman
Peter Copley — Dr Warlock
Michael Bilton — Collins
George Tovey — Ernie Clements
Peter Mayock — Namin
Vic Tablian — Ahmed
Nick Burnell, Melvyn Bedford, Kevin Selway — Mummies
Production Staff for Serial 4G:
Writer - "Stephen Harris" (Robert Holmes and Lewis Greifer)
Director - Paddy Russell
Script editor - Robert Holmes
Producer - Philip Hinchcliffe
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Pyramids Of Mars REVIEWS
Pyramids Of Mars....Right slap bang in the middle of the golden period. Think I bought this on VHS years ago, along with Zygons, the only two I'd seen for ages after the great Dr who repeat drought that lasted in the last years of the 80's. Had to save up a fair wad of pocket money back then. Anyway got the DVD recently and it's still brilliant. Tom had already nailed his Doctor yet here he starts to develop his character as a true galactic wanderer, a genius prone to brooding, righteous bursts of temper and humourous one liners.
Lis is on top form as bewildered, spunky and forthright Sarah Jane who we find out in this is a dab hand with a rifle. What a combo! Sutekh really never stood a chance. Which brings us neatly to a Robert Holmes plot that's tighter than a Nun's knickers and pays yet another nice homage to the horror mythology, this time focusing on bandaged mummies. Who are not dead Egyptians but are a bunch of band-aid covered robots helping a animated human cadaver build a rocket to Mars which will then blow up a prison on the red planet and free the imprisoned alien with god like powers that the Egyptians have based their whole culture on - Gits!
A small but perfect supporting cast, who couldn't like Michael Sheard's Lawrence Scarman? Bernard Archard shines as the possesed Marcus Scarman, the scene where is brother tries to break his hypnosis is awesome. The sets and gothic atmosphere in this is great and the nice English countryside and stately home surroundings contrast perfectly with the lumbering mummies, deadly Egyptian servants and ancient power.
Sutekh is perfectly cast too, probably the most downright evil of all the mad demi God's the Doctor has faced in the past, totally all powerful and Gabriel Woolf's voice is perfect, really malevolent. Still think Tom Baker's best piece of acting during his time in the role is the scene in part 4 when Sutekh is torturing him, never before as our hero seemed so totally helpless, sends a shiver up my spine every time I watch it. Plus his and Sarah's banter over him not acting 'human' is pefect too when he callously dismisses Scarmans dead body.
Sure at the end of the day it's simple old science that saves the day and who wasn't happy to see Sutekh cop It - the prick! Not to mention little touches like the poacher who comes a cropper from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bet Hinchcliffe and Holmes were thinking - we keep making 'em like this, the show will still be around in 20 years, well 15, maybe 13. Pyramids Of Mars is a deserving of the term Classic 10/10
Pyramids Of Mars - well this one always sits at the top (or near the top) of the Fanboy Hit Parade and it certainly deserves its place there. Hinchcliffe and Holmes are such a fantastic double-act behind the scenes of the series that its not hard to see that their enthusiasm was rubbing off all over the place in the Who offices. The acting, direction, set designs and technical jiggery-pokery is first rate and its a real pleasure to sit back and watch this "Hinchcliffe era" of the show unfold.
For starters, the Doctor is being played exactly right. The range, the depth and the alien-ness of Tom Baker's Doctor is superb. He has that nice "walk in eternity" speech at the beginning, he matter-of-factly shows Sarah what will happen to earth if he doesn't intervene in Sutekh's plans and he shows very little compassion or remorse when his allies like Laurence Scarman and Dr Warlock start dropping like flies. We also see the Doctor genuinely meeting his match when Sutekh nails him to the wall at the end of episode three. Unlike previous actors in the role, Tom really shows that when the Doctor is in pain it actually HURTS!
Sutekh himself is one of the best villains of this era and full points to Gabriel Woolf for bringing to life a real character using his remarkable voice. Right from the get-go, Sutekh just oozes power and evil which sets him above the standard cardboard Who monster. Gabriel Woolf has lost none of his chilling vocal abilities when he returned much, much later in the new series for The Impossible Planet. As with a lot of Holmes scripts, even the secondary characters are well written. Laurence Scarman who can't quite accept what has happened to his brother which leads to his downfall, Professor Scarman himself his horribly creepy (although he is channelling Sutekh) and even Warlock and the Poacher are good too.
And again, Sarah is just the best companion ever. She and the Doctor are clearly friends, and although she is mesmerized (and at times horrified) by his alien manner, she is never afraid to playfully poke a bit of fun at him and he never cracks it with her for doing so. So yeah, its up there with the best of them. Even the Pyramids of Mars sets look okay, particularly the walls with the swirly light effects on them. 10/10.
Yep, Pyramids Of Mars really is as classic as they come… and it's hard not to give this one a perfect score. But I'm going to be the dick that doesn't give it the perfect score.
The bulk of this episode has everything. The best thing being that you really think that the Doctor wont be able to get out of this one. As Goldby said, the performance at the end of the third part / start of the fourth is brilliant - and the thought that he might just be stuffed this time is the mark of a story that has a bit of everything. Sutekh is great, and the way he controls things with his mind (like the rocket and the bullet) makes him all the more threatening. The Mummies are a brilliantly brutal monster. Scarman is the perfect archetypal henchman. The Egyptian mythology is woven in perfectly ("eye of horus" just sounds so cool!). Taking Sarah to the Sutekh ruled 1980 is extremely effective. The "time tunnel" thing is so good it's almost iconic. And it all fits together in a creepy, eerie and threatening atmosphere.
Until they get to Mars. I don't know, there's something about the stuff on Mars that just takes away from the whole feel of the episode. I'm not sure if it's the game playing just doesn't fit as a big enough danger, or if it's just that the Mars sets look a lot less eerie than the Priory. Either way, that takes away a little from this episode for mine. How did they get to Mars to control the pyramid lock in the first place?
But I do like the way Sutekh gets it in the end… if they cut out the Mars bit just had him escaping, then the Doctor realizing how to stop him by changing the time corridor thingy, then I reckon it'd be perfect.