March 16th is a significant day in the history of Doctor Who with FOUR momentous moments!
Fury from the Deep: Episode 1
First Broadcast March 16th, 1968 @ 5.15pm (8.2m viewers)
After the TARDIS, the Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver has accompanied the Time Lord on more adventures than any other individual or object. Few could’ve predicted back in 1968 the longevity such a simple tool would have had over the next 48 years. Sadly, however, this episode and the majority of ‘Fury from the Deep’ no longer exists in the BBC’s archive, as a result, we can no longer watch the sonic screwdriver’s first appearance in Doctor Who.
Amusingly the episode opens with the TARDIS coming to land on the surface of the sea, a shot which required a helicopter lowering a prop TARDIS, suspended on a piano wire, onto the water. As a result the TARDIS crew of the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are left needing to row to the shoreline in a dingy! Proud Scot Jamie also manages to get a dig in about the English weather. Before the Doctor answers his companion’s questions regarding the frequency of their visits to planet Earth, he wanders off to inspect some foam. The wonderful relationship between the trio is at it’s most adorable as they are soon throwing each other into the foam like adolescents. Spotting the potential source of the foam the trio inspect a nearby pipeline, labelled ‘EuroSea Gas’. All of this occurs within three minutes, starting the story and putting all the introductory plot pieces in place very quickly.
Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)
The sonic screwdriver has at times been criticised because of it’s overuse and convenience, for example ‘The Power of Three’ has a plot quickly resolved by the Doctor using his sonic. However, at its best it is a useful tool for speeding up the plot, getting the Doctor through locked doors and other similar purposes such as it’s original use, undoing screws “all done by sound waves”. For the enjoyment of fact fans, the original sonic screwdriver prop was a slim penlight from Ever Ready and good luck to anyone attempting to track one of those down. Now, of course, the latest screwdriver has a very elaborate design, far beyond the streamlined original, with the second model used by Doctors 3, 4 and 5 proving to be a design classic. Replicas are now essential to all cosplay efforts, thrilling children and continue to be one of the most popular pieces of merchandise. All of that started here, on this day in 1968.
The rest of the episode begins to unravel the traditional Troughton story line of the base under siege, the location for this tale being a refinery base for the gas and once again there is a difficult individual charge. Robson and Harris are immediately in conflict, Robson stubbornly determined to continue operations and Harris using his knowledge gained at university to support his theories. At this point, we also get introduced to the mysterious seaweed, which first stings Mrs Harris before being seen to glow and pulsate.
‘Fury from the Deep’ has one of the best soundtracks in the history of Doctor Who, a relief given that the soundtrack is all that remains in the archives. The incidental music built around a rhythmic heartbeat adds to the air of unease with events unfolding as the mysterious foam first encountered on the beach now conceals a menacing and dangerous creature.
Also first aired On This Day…
- Death to the Daleks: Part 4
- Earthshock: Part 4
- The King’s Demon: Part 2
- The Caves of Androzani: Part 4
- Timelash: Part 2