The War Machines: Doctor Who: Season 3








The War Machines SYNOPSIS:

The TARDIS lands in contemporary London 1966 and they visit the new Post Office Tower, he and Dodo meeting Professor Brett the creator of WOTAN an advanced Computer with artificial intelligence. Dodo goes with Brett's secretary Polly to nightclub meeting Ben Jackson. While the Doctor attends a WOTAN scientific conference.

However WOTAN has now hypnotized Professor Brett and several others into doing it's bidding. The computer believes that mankind can not advance civilization any further and intends to build an army of giant computerised war machines to take over the world with the help of it's hypnotized human slaves. Dodo is also possessed by WOTAN and attempts to get the Doctor mentally controlled as well.

This fails but the Doctor gains valuable information on where the war machines are being built around London and frees Dodo from WOTAN's mental control. Ben discovers a warehouse where a war machine is constructed and an army task force organised by Sir Charles Summer attack the war machine. The Doctor knows the only way to stop the planned, concentrated war machine attack at midday is to destroy WOTAN itself.

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The War Machines DETAILS:

Episode Broadcast Run Time Viewership (In Millions)
Episode One 25-Jun-66 24:01 5.4
Episode Two 2-Jul-66 24:00 4.7
Episode Three 9-Jul-66 23:58 5.3
Episode Four 16-Jul-66 23:11 5.5

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The War Machines CAST & CREW

The Doctor:
William Hartnell (First Doctor)

Jackie Lane (Dodo Chaplet)
Anneke Wills (Polly)
Michael Craze (Ben Jackson)

Guest Stars:
John Harvey — Professor Brett
John Cater — Professor Krimpton
William Mervyn — Sir Charles Summer
Alan Curtis — Major Green
Gerald Taylor — Voice of WOTAN & War Machine Operator
Sandra Bryant — Kitty
Ewan Proctor — Flash customer
George Cross — The Minister
Kenneth Kendall — Himself
Ric Felgate, Carl Conway — American Journalists
John Doye — Interviewer
Dwight Whylie — Radio Announcer
Desmond Cullum-Jones, Eddie Davis — Workers
Roy Godfrey — Tramp
Michael Rathborne — Taxi Driver
Edward Colliver — Mechanic
John Rolfe, John Boyd-Brent, Frank Jarvis, Robin Dawson — Soldiers
John Slavid — Man in Telephone Box

Production Staff for Serial BB:
Writer - Ian Stuart Black
Director - Michael Ferguson
Script editor - Gerry Davis
Producer - Innes Lloyd

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The War Machines REVIEWS


The second to last of an era and the last story of a season that has only taken 2 days to review! Didn't mind the War Machines. Extensive location footage of London and The Doctor's first jaunt back to present day Earth in normal size. Thankfully Dodo's phased out of the story pretty quickly and becomes the first companion to not have a departure scene after attempting to Kill Bill. She was definitely convinced to do so because he kept effin' up his lines. Did she do something to piss off the producer? Instead for the bulk of this production we get leggy, blonde hornbag Polly and some tough nut midget cockney sailor. Least Ben is a nice contrast to Ian and they sort of ditched the idea of each new companion being a carbon copy of the previous one.

Imagine if they had kick arse Sara Kingdom as a companion for the whole third series? There's Wotan and it's plans of world domination by mental control and if that doesn't work it'll use big, bulky tank like computers which are a far cry from a lap top. Amazing that they get some decent action scenes in here as the war machines take on the army. There's actually a bit of pace to this story and it's the embryo to the UNIT era. The new Tardis crew having plenty to do and even the guest artists seem to have some competent acting ability 7/10.


The War Machines is THE template for what was to come; earthbound stories, lots of soldiers running about, meglomaniac computers, boring civil servants, and scientists in white coats that look like Neil Barnett. So, in a pre-Pertwee - Quatermass kind of way it should work, right?

Bollocks. Once again, Mr and Mrs Decent Plot take a holiday and won't be back until The Mind Robber but while they are away our good friends Mr and Mrs What The Fuck will be residing here. I know Tim loves to have a crack at me for listing the plot inconsistencies with a "its a show about a time travelling police box so there IS no logic!!" response but sometimes things can go even more extremely stupid than something out of his beloved Colin Baker Golden Age of Dr Who. How about the coincidence of the War Machines being made in the warehouse RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the Disco Inferno where Ben, Polly and Dodo the Dildo are hanging out? Then there is the timing of the whole thing. Within hours of arriving the Doctor views WOTAN, attends a press conference, meets Sir Charles in his home and goes off to a nightclub. That's not bad; considering that a) the Tardis has arrived in the early afternoon and b) the action is actually continuous.

Meanwhile, Professor Brett is taken over by WOTAN and is the FIRST of the human slaves. Now later on the Disco Inferno has shut its doors to pissed up Carlton supporters and everyone is buggering off home or buying a kebab. Ben befriends a tramp who has nowhere to go (he hasn't got a name so I'll pick one at random; Vin Waite) who is later murdered. Given that nightclubs in that time close at 2am, and Vin Waite goes to settle down for the night in the warehouse next door a little bit after that, it is probable close to 2.30 when he is discovered by WOTAN's gang and murdered. But it doesn't end there for Mr Waite as he is Front Page News in the paper the following morning.

Newspapers are actually printed the night before (say 11pm or so) and yet miraculously our Mr Waite has become an overnight sensation by being murdered and then later discovered by the police. Now, this would have taken place AT LEAST an hour later than his 2.30am zapping as WOTAN's cronies would have had to have dumped Mr Waite AWAY from the warehouse so they would not to be discovered themselves while they went through Basic World Domination 101 which makes it now 3.30am when the police (un-named, but lets call them Constable R. Walls and Sgt D McKay) found him with his toes pointing skywards.

Okay, with Mr Waite now demanding A-List front page status it seems that a photo of him is in order to accompany the article. As the photo displayed in the paper shows our Mr Waite very much alive that means that the police would have had to go through their records back at HQ to a) find it and b) send it to the newspaper (obviously first clearing it with Mr Waites agents and publicists along the way). Obviously fuck-all must be happening in London lately other than tramps popping their clogs in the very same street that WOTAN is firing up a very early version of Windows 95, so lets give the police (Const. R. Walls and Sgt D McKay, not to mention Desk Sgt B. Gill) time to locate said photo and run it over to the papers for printing. It is now 4.15am when Walls and McKay burst through the main doors of the Daily Chronicle demanding "Hold the Front Page!!" That is SOME newspaper!!!

However, time doesn't stand still for the Daily Chronicle either. Two and a half hours later at breakfast with Sir Charles, everyone sees the amazing newspaper with the world's most famous tramp, Vin Waite, staring out at them across their rice crispies. Able Semen Ben Dover knows what to do and off he goes to the warehouse where there are now a) lots more controlled workers b) lots more war machines and c) lots and lots of boxes with the letter "W" stamped on them. Less than 24 hours ago only Professor Brett was taken over. Now so has everyone else which leads to two more questions: a) where did the components come from to make the War Machines and b) who arranged Kwik Kopy to get the boxes printed up? Having worked at Kwik Kopy before I know how long it takes to print up a box - even one with a "W" on it which is why I am just astounded that time seriously has no meaning in London during the sixties.

But that's nothing to the tit-bit to come next; WOTAN has now shipped a whole heap of the War Machines all over the world which means they have a) had their cogs and bobs put in cardboard boxes with "W"s on them, b) phoned an all night courier that takes cash up front c) made it to the shipyards and cleared customs d) made it aboard several of the world's most powerful and fastest ships (no doubt driven by Santa Clause considering they are travelling the entire world in one night!) and e) cleared customs at the other end. And if you think THAT is incredible then consider this; WOTAN's deadline for World Domination is 12pm THAT DAY!

Now on another plot thread; at some point during this story Dodo the Dildo was bundled off (probably in a box with a big "D" on it) and sent to the countryside. Did you notice her go? Come to think of it did you notice her at all? As far as a production team getting rid of a companion goes, that was pretty up there. Although in a prime example of irony she is replaced by Able Semen Ben Dover and Polly Wannacracker who are later bundled from the series in EXACTLY the same manner! And there we have it; our final Billy story that contains all its episodes. I gotta give it a 3 at best cos if nothing else it provided me with enough material to write a review that contains a) Jibes at Colin Baker, b) Jibes at Tim Long c) Jibes at the Carlton Football Team and d) usage of the words "dildo" and "semen". 3/10


Another one that isn't too bad... I wonder if it was the fact that it's a four parter (like most of the ones I don't think are too bad in the Hartnell years) or if it was because it actually had some pace! Yeah, the War machines is reasonable - computer wanting to take over the world hadn't been done too often at that stage - and I guess the fact that it has a UNIT kind of feel to it makes it a little more familiar. Also, there were some interesting new ways to introduce new cast members. You really get the feeling that Bill's on his last legs here (in fact, I don't remember much of him in the War Machines at all), but I do like the way he solves the problem.

As for Grob's review, that has brought back some great memories of Carlton players of yester-year... almost makes me want to give the story an extra few marks! OK, yes there are coincidences, but what doesn't? Would we prefer that we padded it out to a nice 12 parter to see the press do their work, and see how WOTAN got it's printing done? I think I prefer it this way.

Was it also a coincidence that we were on Tatooine on the day that Princess Leia sent her message down with R2D2? Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope... geez camera crew, pity you weren't here last week... you could have had some awesome footage of the BBQ over at the Skywalker's... Ben was off his nut singing karaoke... oh well, you're here now, so I guess you can take a look at this message that a droid has sent hey...


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Screen Shots:

The War Machines Titles

The War Machines Dodo and Dr Who

The War Machines Post Office Tower

The War Machines Wotan

The War Machines Polly and Dodo

The War Machines Sir Charles and the Doctor

The War Machines Post Office Tower 2

The War Machines Wotan takes over Professor Brett

The War Machines the Doctor

The War Machines Brett and Green hypnotised

The War Machines Ben Polly and Dodo

The War Machines building a war machine

The War Machines war machine tested

The War Machines Polly Sir Charles and Dr Who

The War Machines Wotan close up

The War Machines Polly

The War Machines Major Green and the War Machine builders

The War Machines Sir Charles and soldiers at ready

The War Machines War Machine approaches London

The War Machines Army Battles

The War Machines War Machine 9

The War Machines ben and soldiers at ready

The War Machines Doctor faces War Machine

The War Machines Wotan the computer

The War Machines Ben and Polly