The TARDIS materialises on an extinct volcanic island, beneath
which lies the lost city of Atlantis! A scientist, Professor
Zaroff, has persuaded the Atlanteans that he can raise their
city above the waves, but the Doctor realises the professor's
plan could trigger the destruction of the entire planet. Meanwhile,
Ben and Jamie are put to work in the mines, while Polly looks
set to be transformed into a water-breathing Fish Person...
is the final substantial Doctor Who release from BBC
Audio (everything else on the drawing board has already been
released in one form or another). Sadly they haven't saved
the best for last. I doubt that The Underwater Menace
is regarded as a classic in anyone's book. From the sequinned,
goggle-eyed Fish People to the OTT performance of Joseph Furst
as Professor Zaroff, this is all rather silly. Zaroff wants
to destroy the world because... well, just because he can
and he's insane.
at least we can't actually see the dodgy visuals, as soundman
Mark Ayres and narrator Anneke Wills concede during their
20-minute interview at the end of the second CD. Adding considerable
value to the product, this interview contains a few surprising
revelations, including the admission that the regular cast
did not get on at all well with director Julia Smith (who
on to create EastEnders).
by the one episode that exists in the BBC archives, Episode
3 (which can be seen - should you wish to - in the Lost
in Time DVD collection), this story probably
works better on audio that it would have done on video. One
long Fish People sequence from Episode 3 is rendered as nearly
two minutes of nothing but music on the audio version, but
count your blessings that you are spared so much "swimming"
about on Kirby wires.
usual, the performances of the regular cast, Pat Troughton,
Michael Craze (Ben), Anneke Wills (Polly) and Frazer Hines
(Jamie), are well worth listening to. Joseph "Nozink in ze
vorld can stop me now" Furst is also good fun as the very
case you were wondering how the Atlantis depicted here ties
in with the Atlantis of the Jon Pertwee serial The Time
Monster (You weren't? Oh well, I'll tell you anyway!)
I favour the assumption that the Atlanteans of The Underwater
Menace are a small colony of survivors from the destruction
witnessed in The Time Monster. The cultural upheaval
of the decimated population could easily explain their turning
to a new deity, the goddess Amdo, in the centuries that elapse
between Monster and Menace.
This double CD is worth buying for two hours of undemanding
fun, so long as you don't expect high drama.
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