Saturday, October 16, 2010

Target: The Power of Kroll

A Prologue explains how the People of the Lakes came to Delta Three, and how Kroll slept for many centuries before being woken by the noise from the Refinery. And then:

'It was a world of water,' begins Terrance, instantly fascinating young Shallow. The main body of water in the story, by the way, is always referred to as the lagoon, and not the 'baygule', the Holmesism used in the screen version.

Thawn isn't a businessman, the owner or a representative of a company, here, he's a member of the Government Scientific Service like the others (hence the blue and white uniforms). But the Refinery is his pet project: he did the preliminary survey, he was the driving force behind it, his career as a scientist depends on it. I approve of the nationalisation of the Refinery but Thawn is an unlikely scientist.

The air on Delta Three is warm and moist, with a hint of rotting vegetation.

We're introduced to the crew through Thawn's return to the Refinery:

Fenner, dark, round-faced with a look of irritable gloom, as though he had some perpetual grudge against life. Dugeen, young and eager, yet with an air of nervous tension. Harg, amiable enough, but often quiet and withdrawn. Thawn himself tended to be silent and uncommunicative, so they weren’t exactly a happy band of brothers.

Sounds just like the department I work in. Except we don't get drinks on trays. The drinks served at the Refinery are a fiery local brandy. I'm not quite sure how the Swampies distil spirits but there you go.

The narrator uses the word 'hence' in an explanation about overpopulation on Delta Magna - an unusual Target vocabulary item. The first mention of the Sons of Earth prompts a long explanation about their aims, and an explicit comparison of the Swampies' situation with that of the 'Red Indians on Earth', the Swampies having been promised that the moon should be theirs and theirs alone, until the Refinery came along. 'It was not a point which greatly concerned most of those in the control centre,' comments the narrator.

The name of the spaceport is Port Elevedor, not Elviden Port. Rohm Dutt does not have a hyphen in his name.

Dugeen's objection to the idea of the Sons of Earth arming the Swampies is put as a rhetorical question, not an assertion, which helps set up a certain assumption which we see more of later.

Fenner calls Thawn 'sir' at least once on the page. (Doubtless Mr Madoc had other ideas.) However, it's Fenner who wants to go and look for Rohm Dutt - Thawn is very laid-back about the whole thing but allows himself to be persuaded. (Dugeen thinks this is very odd, since usually any threat to the Refinery sends him into a rage). Thawn's on-screen plan to shoot him and pretend that he drowned in the swamps is, necessarily, entirely absent.

The TARDIS materialises on a hillock, not in a patch of reeds. The sky on Delta Three is grey (rather than the nice sunny day on screen).

Rohm Dutt says 'technicians' with 'the same contempt Varlik gave to "dryfoot"'. The conversation between Thawn and Fenner about what he looks like takes place in the hovercraft, not on the Refinery platform. When they do get to the hovercraft, Thawn operates it with 'big hands resting confidently on the guiding-wheel' - so not only do we get a further bit of characterisation, but we're shown this is a slightly futuristic hovercraft with a guiding-wheel instead of a steering-wheel. (The term 'swamp-glider' is not used at any point in the book).

The guns - as often in TD novelisations - seem to fire bullets on screen, but are laser powered on the page.

Thawn tells Fenner that the Doctor isn't Rohm Dutt - he knows because he's seen him on Delta Magna 'plenty of times'. (Shouldn't a gun-runner be more discreet?) The Doctor picks up Fenner's name and uses it when he reproaches him for shooting his hat - very Doctorish I always thought. Thawn also introduces himself, and Fenner as his 'assistant'.

The scene with Romana and Rohm Dutt starts with Romana having her blindfold taken off, and seeing him pushing through a crowd of Swampies. He says 'maybe you've heard of me?' and accuses her of being a Government spy.

The huge pipe in the pump room is drawn to our attention immediately. Thawn asks the Doctor if he claims to come from outside this 'star system', not 'constellation'. TD presumably knows that constellations are purely a geocentric illusion (though they might, I suppose, be used to designate conical sectors of space in an Earth-centred system). It's Binaca-Ananda that has a catalysing protein refinery in every town. After the Doctor identifies the air vent, he adds 'Very useful too, sometimes.'

Ranquin is the tribal chief - not the High Priest as I'd always assumed. That's Skart's job (the one who asks what a signature is). Varlik is the war chief. Ranquin has an elaborate head-dress.

When Ranquin suggests the Sign (not Mark) of Kroll for a signature, he means the carved head of his staff, which he's fingering. On screen he just makes his 'Kroll' gesture, although we do see Skart pressing the foot of a staff onto the receipt (on the page he produces a pot of thick black ink). The Sign itself is a squiggly octopus design.

The Refinery crew are so forthcoming with the explanations of how the place works because they're flattered by the genuine interest displayed by the Doctor. The latter, by the way, counts five workers (not six) and is corrected by Thawn to four (not five). I wonder where the error in the broadcast version came from?

Fenner's response to the tray-carrying suggestion, and the 'semi-savages' line, are both given to Thawn.

The Doctor doesn't ask why Mensch's friends are attacking the Refinery; instead he suggests that their non-countable status is part of the motivation. When he doubts the protein capacity of the lake, he's looking at a map of it on the wall.

The sacrifice scene starts with Romana being tied up - Skart then impressively ignites jets of swamp gas with a torch. Rohm Dutt, who's standing, not lying around, mentions her 'friends in Government Security.' And the only chanting is in the invocation done by Ranquin.

It's the Doctor who finishes the conversation in the pump room, by saying he wants to get some sleep. So Mensch isn't told 'Not you' by Thawn, he's just left there on his own to start signalling, which he does with a primitive lantern. The Doctor doesn't know about the lantern until he sees Mensch using it; he then uses the location of the answering light to navigate the canoe. (There's no business about opening the door with the sonic screwdriver, by the way).

The fake Kroll emerges from a pit, and rather than a costume with a hat and sleeves, it's more of a theatrical property, a bundle of skins with a snapping claw worked by tongs. The Doctor deals with it by hitting Skart with the gong-beater.

TD then creates a nice Doctor/Romana moment: 'It all looked incredibly crude, and primitive: Romana was disgusted with herself for being so terrified by such a simple device. The Doctor smiled, guessing what she was feeling.' Incidentally, the Doctor's smug because he detected the fake by a line of footprints leading out of the pit.

The scene where Rohm Dutt is told about the imminent attack is given much more atmosphere: he's asleep in the guest hut, having 'a nightmare in which he was being chased by hordes of green warriors, straight into the tentacles of a giant squid.' Varlik shakes him awake. When Varlik and Ranquin leave, Rohm Dutt lies back 'dreading the dawn'. But he's angered by Varlik's sarcastic use of the word 'brother' and the imputation of cowardice, because he's been in battles up and down the system (just not such one-sided ones).

Dugeen's initial conversation with Thawn about the lake bed disturbance is collapsed into the main scene so it doesn't break in on the Settlement action. So Thawn isn't in bed, he's standing next to him the whole time. When Fenner reports that the Doctor's missing, Thawn refers to 'the sleeping quarters' not 'his quarters'. That might seem an unimportant difference, but it always seemed odd to me that they'd assigned special quarters to the Doctor so quickly. There's no reference to their failure to find Rohm Dutt's ship in the swamp.

There's no Doctor/Romana bit about underground passages, the Doctor just suspects there's stuff down the pit, goes down and returns with the book, which he found in a secret room. The picture of Kroll doesn't show an 'aquarium'.

When the over-eager warrior fires his faulty rifle, the explosion blows away most of his head. Did Ian Marter write that bit? All the warriors join in praying to Kroll, except Varlik.

There seems to be a glitch in the screen version re the hovercraft occupants: there are clearly seen to be three of them, Mensch, Thawn and what looks like Fenner. But when Thawn gets back to the Refinery, it's clear from the questions Fenner asks that he wasn't there - Thawn says later that Fenner hasn't seen Kroll - and neither were Harg and Dugeen. Could this have anything to do with the Doctor referring to six personnel earlier on - maybe there was originally another, non-speaking Refinery worker?

The book, by the way, says that only Thawn and Mensch are in the hovercraft. Thawn 'roars off over the horizon' when Kroll appears - I was going to make a point about this, but it now occurs to me that the horizon would be closer on a small moon and in a flat swamp. Kroll is satisfyingly described in contrast to the landscape.

Harg suggests a Government Security Unit be brought in, not a police unit. Fenner explicitly tells Thawn that he won't agree to mass murder of the Swampies as a solution.

When Romana tells the Doctor that Kroll must be the source of the protein, he's already worked it out, and he's disappointed that she's come to the same conclusion.

Thawn doesn't make the remark about torsional stresses on the Refinery. It's Fenner, not Dugeen, who says that using depth charges will get them all killed.

When the Doctor and Romana are captured by the Swampies, Rohm Dutt isn't dragged past them - they encounter him back at the village. Varlik is more dignified in his conversation with Rohm Dutt, saying 'we are simple people - savages if you like - but we are not fools' and using the term People of the Lakes from the Prologue.

The Doctor's rude remarks about 'the insignificant one' are directed at Skart - out of scorn for his poor Kroll impression at the sacrifice - rather than Kroll himself.

Fenner is once again more the subordinate in the 'tentacle in the pipe' scene, urging Thawn to abandon the Refinery rather than saying 'we're abandoning'. (I've noticed that in both versions Thawn does a Cardinal Fang at this point: 'There's only one thing to do — find that creature and kill it!')

On the rack, the Doctor doesn't mention Romana's age. Skart arrives when Ranquin does: Varlik does all the explaining, and looks at the Doctor and Romana 'with a certain sympathy.' Ranquin is difficult (impossible) to hypnotise because 'He's got a bigoted mind and narrow little eyes.' A roll of thunder makes the Doctor look up hopefully.

Thawn, not Fenner, answers Dugeen's question about what Kroll looks like out of the water. (How does Fenner know - we established earlier that he hasn't seen it, unless he's extrapolating from what he saw in the pump room.) The words 'megaheads' and 'daddy' aren't used: Dugeen refers instead to 'a hell of a big storm' (strong words for a TD Target). The storm measurement scale doesn't have a name.

The shot of Thawn looking glumly out of a window is greatly expanded into an atmospheric paragraph with him standing in the observation dome watching the storm, hunched 'as if he could hold the storm off' - a good metaphorical link into his thoughts about the various threats to his Refinery.

The scene where Varlik argues for the Doctor and Romana's release takes place in the Chief's hut. The reference to Kroll killing Mensch has its point underlined: Mensch was a faithful servant of Kroll who took risks to act as a spy. Varlik refers to the Doctor as 'the tall one', Leela-style.

Thawn's voice rises 'to a hysterical shout' when he does the speech about lily-livered sentimentalists. He goes on to say that whichever of the Swampies and the monster survives, he'll exterminate the one that's left.

The Doctor and Romana's escape in the canoe is hindered by a warrior who swims after them and grabs the boat - the Doctor makes him let go by clouting him round the head with the paddle. (It's this warrior that gets eaten by Kroll).

Thawn calls Kroll an overgrown octopus, not a jellyfish, and refers to the rocket's payload (compressed protein) rather than its fuel. He chuckles when he refers to killing two birds with one stone, and calls the Sons of Earth fanatics rather than cranks. In response Dugeen shouts 'We are not fanatics.' So in this version he actually is a member, perhaps even a spy.

The Doctor and Romana both witness the attack - TD conveys this with a back-reference. (In one of his later books he'd have explained in parentheses).

Dugeen is slammed against the wall by Thawn's gun (which fires a laser-blast not a bullet, as mentioned earlier) and stares disbelievingly at him before dying.

The Doctor hits the control panel with the sonic screwdriver, instead of a ball-pein hammer for god's sake. They might at least have wrapped some foil round it to make it look like a futuristic hammer.

Thawn and Fenner's argument is much more convincing. Instead of saying 'I'm reporting you for murder' as if he's caught him throwing rubbish into his garden, Fenner says with cold anger 'That was murder, Controller.' (Though he does then say he'll report him as soon as they get back).

We don't join the Swampies again until the rocket action is all over. There are only a few survivors - many Swampies have been killed, not just Nual. On the other hand, Ranquin isn't stated to be injured (Skart's holding him up on screen). Varlik says all the rebellious lines rather than sharing them with Skart. 'Ranquin was fighting for his survival, and for his beliefs,' comments the narrator: Ranquin's fanaticism is undimmed, whereas on screen he looks decidedly shaken.

The 'putting two and two together' joke flows more freely, and the Doctor uses a severe tone when he says that the blast door was open, rather than a placatory one.

The Swampie invasion of the Refinery starts with a 'shot' of a green hand opening the pump-room window. That's Varlik, and the others don't come in until he gives the all-clear. There are other surviving warriors, but they're all hiding in the swamps in case Kroll comes back. The 'metal boxes' line is introduced by the observation that 'Varlik knew more about technology and had less fear of it'.

In the control room, Fenner is dragging Dugeen's body into a storeroom, rather than dumping it in a corner. He refers to sending an SOS to Delta Magna for a shuttle craft - they don't, it seems, have one at the Refinery itself. Romana's 'circumstantial evidence' remark is delivered feebly rather than with her on-screen confidence, perhaps because Thawn is really cross: his blaster hand is shaking with rage, and when the Doctor makes the pudding remark his flippancy (the first time young Shallow came across this word) sends him over the edge:

As he looked at the gaping muzzle of the blaster and at the mad eyes above it, the Doctor realised that at last he’d made one joke too many.

Ranquin makes 'a long rambling speech' of accusation against the Doctor. When Kroll lurches into the Refinery, Ranquin has just grabbed a spear with the apparent intent of dispatching the Doctor. We get some of Kroll's POV during the attack. When it's over, Ranquin is explicitly trying to retrieve his dignity with the 'Kroll has heard my prayer' remark, and Varlik's response about the machinery is delivered scornfully.

When Ranquin prays to the tentacle in the pump room, he's still asking Kroll to take the Doctor and Romana as his sacrifice. He won't take a hint will he? When he's dragged into the pipe by Kroll, the others don't try and rescue him, they just run off. 'The worship of Kroll was ended.'

There are some 'establishing shots' of the Doctor on his way to test his theory - climbing up ladders etc. The final combat with Kroll is enhanced by the sound of the Tracer at maximum volume. The cover picture of the Doctor, by the way, is clearly taken from the shot of him admiring the Segment: it's an uncharacteristic view of TB but it is a faithful rendition of the shot. (In the background, though, Kroll is attacking the Refinery, which makes it look like the Doctor is laughing carelessly at the destruction, not even bothering to look in that direction).

The 'You killed Kroll?'/'With that stick?' two-hander is all given to Varlik, and it's the Doctor who gets the 'special sort of stick' line. Fenner tells Varlik 'You can have Delta Three back now—and as far as I'm concerned you’re welcome to it.' 'Those of us who still live,' he replies sombrely, and leads the warriors away.

The final scene begins with the Doctor and Romana getting out of a boat. There's an extra item in the list of clues that Kroll was the Segment: the blurred Tracer reading at the start of the story, while Kroll was under the swamp. There's no silly 'Hello?' joke, and we hear 'delighted electronic barking' from K9.

As with The Time Warrior, there's an excellent sort of pre-epilogue which would have made a nice final scene: left on his own, Fenner sends off an SOS message and then thinks about the Doctor's suggestion that he help the Swampies out:

'Me! Some kind of Swampie missionary!' he grumbled. Then he began checking through the supplies of food and medicine. It would be something to do, till they came and took him home.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Target: The Androids of Tara

The view of Tara on the scanner sounds like a wide panorama - rolling hills, neatly-fenced fields - rather than the tighter shot seen on screen.

Among the junk in the console room cupboard is a partially-dismantled Martian sonic cannon.

There's an odd passage when Romana is being stalked through the woods:

She ran faster, and faster forcing her way through obstructing branches and bushes, her fear growing at each second then.

Is it poetry, or is the full stop a mistake?

The Count says that the woods are part of what's left of the Estate of Gracht after his father's debts were paid.

Having seen the Count's electro-sword, Romana wonders if the horse is a real animal or actually a robot. Either way, the situation reminds her of the romantic videonovels she used to watch when she was very young. As they gallop off, she has the decency to regret telling the Doctor off for getting involved in local complications.

Madame Lamia is beautiful in an 'intense almost angry way.' Nicely put sir. Romana can tell that she and the Count are 'more to each other than master and servant.'

The initial encounter between the Doctor and the swordsmen is enlivened by a bit where the Doctor expects to be fined for poaching, and demonstrates that he hasn't caught anything. When he examines his smouldering hat he makes a comment about 'incendiary moths'.

There's no reverse bargaining about the android repair fee, which is 500gp from the start, but we do get the Doctor thinking that he refused the money, they'd just offer more, and if that didn't work, they'd just go back to threatening him - simpler to take the money.

It's Farrah who bars the way when the Doctor thinks he's free to go, not a mugging extra. Prince Reynart's comment about wishing he'd been allowed to learn peasant skills leads to more Docthink, this time about the nature of Taran society and parallels therewith in Earth history (Engineers in the Victorian navy...).

When he hears the need for the Prince to be punctual at the ceremony, the Doctor says 'I thought Kings were allowed to be late?' Not on Tara, he's told.

How did 'George' come to be damaged in the first place? The android took the Prince's place in a hunting party, which was attacked in the forest by an assassin.

When Zadek says that he and Farrah will take on Grendel's men, he adds that the Prince has an additional 'handful' of followers (his House is impoverished and he can't afford to hire mercenaries like Grendel).

Romana can't help feeling sorry for Madame Lamia after the 'certain courtesy' speech.

We actually see the reverse shot of the Palace of Tara that the Doctor and Farrah are looking at while they wait for Zadek to find the tunnel entrance.

the enormous white building below them, its innumerable towers and turrets crowded inside an encircling wall. Flags were flying, guards patrolled the ramparts and an endless line of people on horseback and on foot, wound its way through the main gates.

(and the BBC couldn't even afford a model).

The 'peasant's weapon' crossbow is brought to the Doctor's attention by its owner firing it as he dies, and blowing up a tree.

K9 takes care to stay out of sight on the way to Castle Gracht - fortunately, everyone's gone to the Palace of Tara for the coronation, so the countryside's deserted.

The Doctor thinks that the great plague accounts for the the 'curiously deserted feeling of Tara.' Farrah tells him that androids work in the fields, mines and factories (I suppose Tara must have factories if it has technology) though there's still a lot of prejudice against them. The noble families won't even have them as servants - Prince Reynart is presumably happy to put any such feelings aside in the interests of being crowned.

When Count Grendel's men arrive at the tunnel mouth, they note the guard by his absence, and find his body in a bush. Meanwhile, in the tunnel 'George' does not bang his head on the ceiling.

The complex chronometer seen in the Throne Room is the Great Clock of Tara, hundreds of years old, but still accurate to a micro-second. The Archimandrite of Tara is head of the Church of Tara, and is the leading religious figure on the planet, as well as a 'tough and wily old politician, with a strongly developed sense of survival'.

At the ceremony, the person about to step forward in response to the call for the first lady of Tara is a 'plump and matronly Grand Duchess', but she's pre-empted by the android Strella (presumably the Duchess had been promoted to no.1 after Strella's disappearance).

Grendel recognises the Doctor from the hunting lodge - he'd assumed he was 'some mountebank friend of Prince Reynart' - and is annoyed that he didn't kill him when he had the chance.

Kurster (the Count's sidekick) is a 'giant' (actually appears shorter than him on screen).

Lamia's feeling that the Segment is part of a very important whole is made more of. It's nice to see this interesting character being given the distinction of being the only person in season 16, other than Cessair of Diplos, to get an inkling of what's going on.

When K9 arrives at the Palace (having located Romana) Zadek brings the news of his arrival to the Doctor, saying that K9 caused quite a stir at the palace gates.

The punt in which the Doctor and K9 cross the moat of Castle Gracht was brought overland from the river by some of Reynart's men.

The chair in which Grendel is sitting when he throws the wine at Till is a throne, which he's had made a while back: 'it would come in handy when Castle Gracht was a Royal Residence.'

The gown Romana wears at the abortive wedding is one of Princess Strella's, taken taken from the baggage captured with her.

When Kurster comes to kill Strella, she isn't working on the tapestry frame, but is embroidering a handkerchief, because she thinks she won't live long enough to finish the tapestry.

Grendel does not do the 'lenient' line, instead saying 'Nothing like a midnight swim. I'll finish giving you that fencing lesson, Doctor - one day.' It's suitably suave and villainous, but I much prefer the original. The Doctor doesn't throw him the hat, either, instead raising his blade in a salute of reluctant admiration for Grendel's consistency. 'All in all, he'd seldom met a more thoroughgoing villain in all his lives.'

While Reynart and Strella are kissing in the cell, Romana goes next door to change her clothes, while the Doctor waits in the corridor.

There's an extra final scene where the Doctor fetches a rope and grappling hook from the castle gatehouse, and, after several tries, pulls K9 in to the bank of the moat. Romana then jokes that he managed to catch a fish on Tara after all. I mean, really.