Doctor Who episode 74: Flight Through Eternity (5/6/1965)
The episode opens with a rather unique quasi-pre-credits sequence of the regulars celebrating their victory over the Daleks on Aridius – before the Doctor notices that the Time Path Detector is alerting them to the fact that there is a time machine on their tail. Cue a strange starfield through which flies the TARDIS and the Dalek timeship.
The TARDIS lands on top of the Empire Statue Building, and we get lots of stock footage of New York and an over-long comedy sequence of a Noo Yoik guide doing his normal tourist patter to a small crowd including Peter Purves as Morton Dill. Morton meets the TARDIS crew, and Hartnell’s exasperation with him is a joy to behold. As is a Daleks’ similar reaction a few moments later. Clearly the Daleks have almost as much of a thing for New York as they do for London given they’ve been there on at least four occasions – one of them to destroy it comprehensively so it’s just a picture in one of Vicki’s history books.
The New York sequence isn’t hilarious, but it is mildly amusing. Which is more than can be said for the Marie Celeste sequence which features far worse American accents, and some tiresome and sloppily directed ‘action’ that leads up to the sub-Tales of the Unexpected reveal of the ship’s name.
After the holiday fun of the first episode and the grim twist of the second, this is neither funny nor tense enough to work. What does work is the cliffhanger: the Daleks are closing in.
Other things to note:
- The Doctor mentions he built the Time Path Detector, but it’s never activated before – perhaps he’s been worrying that the Time Lords will try to track him down.
- There’s mention of the Time Rotor, although it’s not entirely clear it means the up-and-down cylinder
- Morton points out that Dalek bumps are blue
Next episode: Journey into Terror