The Creature From The Pit

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The Creature From The Pit

Postby John on November 4th, 2009, 1:47 pm

Despite containing the two highest ever rated stories in the history of Doctor Who (Destiny of the Daleks and City of Death) -- though admittedly this success can be attributed to industrial action which put ITV off the air -- season seventeen is not generally held in very high regard.

Though this is mainly due to a perceived general decline in production values brought on by the rampant inflation of the late seventies, some have blamed the drop in standards on the more comedic themes favoured by Douglas Adams. Others have even pointed the finger at Tom, citing what they belive to be his over the top performance.

Yet despite the general feeling held by fandom -- reflected by a recent DWM poll, which placed the final three stories of the Graham Williams era in 184, 167 and 189th place respectively -- all three stories attracted an average audience of nine million viewers.

The most successful of the final three stories, 1979's The Creature from the Pit was watched by ten million people, and is my second favourite story of the season, only losing out to the mighty City of Death.

Boasting an impressive cast consisting of the strangely erotic Myra Francis, the wonderfully sinister Eileen Way and one time potential fourth Doctor, Graham Crowden, David Fisher's script -- albeit light weight -- is full of slapstick humour, memorable scenes and is positively littered with terrific one-liners, though I think it is safe to assume that Tom -- ever conscious of pleasing his young audience -- would have had a lot of input into his lines. Certain members of the supporting cast also get in on the act, with Adrasta's wonderfully absurd outburst "Point the dog at the rock...!" A truly disastrous, yet hilarious piece of dialougue!

In fact it is testimony to his acting talents and larger than life performance that Tom could take such a troubled production and turn it into a work of art, though he is helped along the way by some terrific performances from Francis, Way and Crowden, and despite the frankly awful realisation of the Tythonian ambassador, Creature from the Pit never fails to entertain, and is long overdue a DVD release.

Rating: 3 Tom's out of 5
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Last edited by John on December 17th, 2009, 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby pattie anne on November 5th, 2009, 1:41 pm

"The Creatue From The Pit," always makes me laugh. And it's the same sort of laughs one gets from say a Star Trek's tribble story. In episdoes like them, you feel the writers, the production staff, and the actors are poking good fun at themselves. And it is always a joy to watch. No matter how many TIMEs you've seen them. I remember at a SF con in Jopin, MO, we echoed the entire tale of "The Trouble With Tribbles," and the audience hardly missed a line. :lol:
Last edited by pattie anne on January 10th, 2010, 10:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby John on November 5th, 2009, 1:46 pm

I agree. Sometimes it's nice to see Doctor Who not taking itself too seriously.
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby Toothy Grin on November 5th, 2009, 3:37 pm

The Creature from The Pit is a pretty ropey story, but I find it a lot more enjoyable than surrounding season 17 stories The Horns of Nimon (tacky and cheap) and Destiny of the Daleks (tacky, cheap, and shoddy). For a start it looks good, the jungle set is excellent, one of the best jungle sets seen on the show. It seems like a lot of effort went into it, even down to steam and sweat on the actors. Lady Adrastra is a great villainess, Organon is a hoot, and the realisation of Erato is so ludicrous, you can’t help but love it. Tom does seem to be making it up as he goes along but is brilliant, as ever, to watch, the beardy bandits are a bit silly (their leader sound like Fagin from Olive Twist), the Huntsman looks like he’s off to a bondage club, the wolfweeds are daft and K-9 sounds far too smug and haughty (David Brierley wasn’t a patch on John Leeson). If you’re in the right mood this story is great entertainment (alcohol does help!) :P , and the whole scene of the Doctor trying to communicate with Erato is hilarious. Creature from the Pit is camp, silly and pantomimish, but unlilke Horns of Nimon, it’s actually fun to watch.
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby ivocaliban on January 8th, 2010, 4:43 am

Some good news for fans of this story! :D

The British Board of Film Classification has cleared the Fourth Doctor story The Creature from the Pit for release on DVD.

Extras cleared for the story are
•Christopher Barry: Director - 19'01"
•Team Erato - 14'46"
•Photo Gallery - 4'48"
•Animal Magic - 2'34"

No release date has yet been confirmed.
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby merlinsseer on January 10th, 2010, 8:12 am

Toothy Grin wrote: the wolfweeds are daft

they do remind me of something the cat coughed up
Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby ivocaliban on January 10th, 2010, 11:56 am

John wrote:Boasting an impressive cast consisting of the strangely erotic Myra Francis, the wonderfully sinister Eileen Way and one time potential fourth Doctor, Graham Crowden...


I believe you mean Geoffrey Bayldon instead of Graham Crowden (who later played Soldeed in The Horns of Nimon). Bayldon was a potential first and second Doctor, but Crowden was, as you said, up for the role of the fourth!
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby Doctor31074 on January 19th, 2010, 11:15 pm

I really do like to watch The Creature from the Pit, and it in my opinion is the second best story of season seventeen. The first scene in the TARDIS is wonderful and the exchanges between the Doctor and the other characters are excellent. The only moment that I giggle a bit is when Tom is trying to communicate with the creature, it's not Tom's fault but the whole thing looks like he's doing something else. Luckily I only manage to think about laughing before remembering that Tom's Doctor would never even think about the possibility that it isn't a communicator. The ending is fairly memorable in my opinion as well.
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby merlinsseer on January 19th, 2010, 11:58 pm

Doctor31074 wrote: The only moment that I giggle a bit is when Tom is trying to communicate with the creature

I wondered when someone was going to mention THAT scene. I know that it is meant to look like the Doctor is trying calm the creature down by smiling and being friendly, but the look on the Tom's face as he approaches the "appendage" appears as though he is going to bust a gut at any moment. He is just barely holding it together and it makes you wonder just how many takes they had to do before they could get everyone on the set to NOT burst out laughing in the middle of the shot.

I don't know who all was involved in the design of the creature or the set up of the scene but they must have been living under a rock for most of their lives to NOT realize what they were doing or they just really , really wanted to see poor Tom get the ribbing of a lifetime.

A big kudos to Tom Baker for pulling it off and keeping his sense of humour about the whole thing.
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Re: The Creature From The Pit

Postby GluttonousAnorexia on January 21st, 2010, 3:15 am

The only moment that I giggle a bit is when Tom is trying to communicate with the creature


Yeah... uhm... that was supremely awkward... *cough*
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