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Doctor Who: The Keys of Marinus (Story 5)
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On a remote island of glass surrounded by a sea of acid, there is a machine that can remove evil from the minds of an entire population – the Conscience of Marinus. Fearful of its immense power falling into thewrong hands, its sole guardian has scattered the machine's operating keys across the planet. The TARDIS crew arrives to find the island underattack by the evil Voord. Marinus' last line of defense – and its only hope – is the Conscience machine. The Doctor and his companions must undertake a deadly quest to recover the keys of Marinus.]]>
Originally broadcast in 1964, The Keys of Marinus is a six-episode arc that features the doctor's original traveling companions, science teacher Ian Chesterton, history teacher Barbara Wright, and the doctor's granddaughter, Susan, who is given to screaming at the first sign of peril. Hartnell's doctor is a sprightly curmudgeon who relishes adventure and mystery, which he finds after the group lands on Marinus, an island of glass surrounded by a sea of acid. Doctor and company are compelled to retrieve four microcircuits that are the keys to the Conscience of Marinus, a computer that has eliminated evil from the minds of men (except apparently the evil Yartek and his web-suited Voords, who want to seize the machine). Their quest takes them most memorably to "a planet of the most contented people" (beware the brainwashing powers of the "mesmerent"), another world overrun by plants, and finally a city where Chesterton, framed for murder, is considered guilty until proven innocent--by the doctor, of course. As is characteristic of this series, the special effects are a hokey hoot and the actors sometimes step on each others' lines. Hartnell vacationed during production and is absent for two episodes. But this is a surprisingly prophetic cautionary tale: it may be good to heed the doctor's prescient observation that "man was not made to be controlled by machines." If you have yet to make an appointment with the doctor, perhaps the episodes featuring Tom Baker--the fourth and most popular of the doctors--are a more accessible introduction. --Donald Liebenson
The Sets of Marinus: Interview with designer Raymond Cusic
PDF material (DVD-ROM, PC/Mac): Radio Times listings, Cadet Sweets: Doctor Who and the Daleks (scans of the entire set of the Cadet Sweet cards, which features a mini Doctor Who story involving the Daleks and the Voord
Production note subtitles
Top Customer Reviews
Then our heroes are sent across the planet in search of the hidden micro-keys that will reactivate the Conscience machine and set Marinus to rights. They travel to such terrifying locations as the Screaming Jungle and the Snows of Terror. They're imprisoned in a Velvet Web, and then later, in a fine "Perry Mason" pastiche, Ian is framed for murder and it's up to the Doctor to act as his defense counsel. This reads great on paper, as the novelization (Doctor Who and the Keys of Marinus) demonstrates.
So, how could this story go wrong? Well, a low budget, for one. The DVD release of "Marinus" looks fabulous -- the original videotapes for this story have long since been destroyed, but the existing kinescope transfers have been restored to a pristine VT look. Unfortunately, that process doesn't serve the story well -- with "Marinus" already well known for tons of technical errors, it's hard to look at this DVD for 45 seconds without spotting a stray stagehand or a roaming boom shadow or a wobbly set.
The writing isn't great, either.Read more ›
The basic story has the Doctor and his companions, Susan, Ian and Barbara, land on the planet Marinus. They land on an island in the middle of a sea of acid and meet Arbitan, who is the Keeper of the Conscience of Marinus. Arbitan needs to reset the conscience of Marinus and requires 4 keys to work the machine. He prevents the travelers from entering the TARDIS and forces them to collect the keys which Arbitan has hidden across the planet. The TARDIS crew encounter many interesting people, situations and creatures on their travels across the planet to collect these keys.
The story sounds interesting. It was written by Terry Nation. There are some lovely performances by the regulars and a few of the guest actors. There were some very interesting bits such as the Morphoton from the second episode, the living jungle, the interesting justice system in the final segments, etc. However, these very interesting snippets never really gel into a cohesive story, and seem more like a series of vignettes.
There are some very nice things in this story: 1) It is delightful to see George Colouris in Doctor Who. 2) The Morphoton from episode 2 are quite interesting and would have made a great villain on their own. 3) Ian and Barbara are given very good roles and are equal to the Doctor in trying to work out the puzzles that confront them.Read more ›
Why I like it: The Doctor seems a bit closer to becoming something recognizable as the Doctor. Ian is still pretty much the main character and The Doctor the one who jumps in at the last minute with the plan to fix everything. The story here is also more engaging than the ones previous.
The Nitpicky: There's a scene where Ian is struck in the back of the head rendering him unconscious...except that he's actually kind grazed in the back. It's more amusing than anything else. The other thing is for two whole episodes Hartnell is MIA. This is evidently because he was scheduled to go on vacation. The show doesn't necessarily suffer either.
Who should buy it: As with The Beginning: fans who grew up with the classic series or new fans wanting to dive into the classic series. It's not a bad outing in the Hartnell era so if you've dabbled with the classic series and you're looking for a story arc of Hartnell's to experience his Doctor this might be a good place to start. If you're just toying with the idea of watching the classic series you may want to start somewhere else though.
I haven't had a chance to look over the extras. When I do I'll update!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a different style of adventure for the Doctor in this story. He and the Companions have to complete a deadly quest to save the planet Marinus. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Malbus
Keys of Marinus is a bold and imaginative idea. It's a six part-serial that is five interlinked stories centered around the TARDIS crew's quest for the Keys of Marinus. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Adam Graham, Superhero and Detective Fiction Author
I love Doctor Who and wanted to watch the series from the beginning. I was not disappointed!Published 7 months ago by Michael Whicker
My husband has been watching DR. Who ever since I first met him, and he was very happy to get a start on his series.Published 12 months ago by Pam