"Doctor Who" The Krotons: Episode One (TV Episode 1968) Poster

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One of the few complete surviving Patrick Troughton stories.
poolandrews26 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Doctor Who: The Krotons: Episode One starts as the Doctor (Patrick Troughton) along with his companions Zoe (Wendy Padbury) & Jamie (Frazer Hines) arrive on an alien planet in the TARDIS, stepping outside they decide to explore the rocky mountainous terrain. Eventually they come across a city populated by a race known as the Gonds, they approach a hatchway which opens & a Gond named Abu (Terence Brown) steps out & is engulfed in a strange gas emitted from pipes by the side of the hatchway & he is totally vapourised. The Doctor, Zoe & Jamie are disturbed by what they have witnessed & venture into the Gond city to see what's going on, they are greeted by the strangely Scottish sounding leader of the Gonds named Selris (James Copeland) who speaks of a mysterious alien race called the Krotons who have turned the Gonds into slaves to do with as they please including sacrificing their most intelligent people...

Episode 19 from season 6 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK three days after Christmas day 1968 & was Patrick Troughton's fourth story as the Doctor during his third & final season. Out of 21 stories Troughton appeared in only 6 now exist in their complete form which includes The Krotons after the tape wiping of the early 70's carried out by the BBC, in all probability the majority of Troughton's reign as the Doctor has been lost forever. The script by Robert Holmes was a quick replacement for another story The Prison in Space & was his first script for the show, Holmes would go on to become one of the show's most influential & talented writers & script editor's. Anyway, The Krotons: Episode One is alright, it's not exactly Earth shattering stuff & is a little bland but it passes 25 minutes harmlessly enough. The character's are forgettable, the story hasn't really grabbed me & nothing that exciting happens but it's watchable, it moves along at a decent pace & is hopefully building up to better things to come. The main intent with this one is to set things up & not a lot is given away in this episode so that probably accounts for this unspectacular start. The cliffhanger ending sees the Doctor menaced by a long vacuum cleaner hose with a torch stuck on the end!

Production wise things get off to a bad start here, the very first shot after the opening titles is of a small round hatchway in a wall which is split down the middle & is supposed to slide open. Well, the left hand side of the hatch opens OK but the right hand side sticks & jerks about before the prop guy operating manages to pull it all the way open! As for it closing back up again, don't even ask! Having said that the rubbishy hatch is the only real bad aspect of The Krotons, the sets are alright even if they do look like the inside of a castle, the costumes aren't too silly & there hasn't been any really bad special effects either although some of the 'sophisticated' technology looks extremely dated & the twin suns look like a pair of car headlights. A special mention for Zoe in this who looks pretty sexy dressed in a PVC top, a PVC mini skirt (& I mean mini) plus matching knee high boots, she's definitely easy on the eye & looks rather rather dishy!

The Krotons: Episode One is an OK start to the story, it's nothing brilliant but I didn't think it was too bad. It certainly kept me quiet for 25 minutes & Zoe dressed in PVC is as good a reason to watch it as any...
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Zoe In A PVC Mini Dress ! What More Do You Want
Theo Robertson20 August 2013
Arriving on an unnamed planet The Doctor and his companions find it is populated by a race of people called Gonds . During certain periods the Gonds give their brightest youths over to the Krotons an unseen race who live behind a doorway who wish to keep the intelligent Gonds as their companions . The Doctor quickly deduces that the Krotons are a malignant race working to their own agenda

This story was part of The Five Face Of Doctor Who a repeat season broadcast on BBC 2 in November 1981 which impressed myself and my classmates . This one impressed us all down to the fact that it featured Wendy Padbury as Zoe in a very naughty looking PVC minidress . Honestly you're a teenage schoolboy and if you've got Zoe in a PVC minidress what more do you want ? Words like " cute " and " hot " are very important to male youth . and phrases like " talented actress " and " character development " don't matter in these situations . I think one of my peers said he thought the best thing about the story was Patrick Troughton's performance and last thing I heard from him was that he joined the Metroplititan police . Very strange chap but for everyone else we all agreed that Zoe should have her own television show if not her own television channel , or indeed have all the television channels all to herself . Just watch these viewing figures

Taking a step backwards if not a very cold shower there's not a lot to this story . It's like one of those Greek myths where a bunch of backwards primitives are oppressed by a superior race of monsters . You've seen this type of story before all too often in sword and sorcerery , and sci-fi B movies though to be fair it doesn't happen all that often in DOCTOR WHO but it's surprising to think his is the debut script from Robert Holmes who would become the most prolific and popular writer the show had ever seen and whose reputation in fandom was of an almost deity like status . Personally speaking I always thought both David Whittaker and Malcolm Hulke were more consistent writers Despite the rather workman and unoriginal plot director David Maloney does manage to make THE KROTONS a better story than it possibly deserves to be . He brings a feeling of atmosphere and claustrophobia to the proceedings . Prolific Welsh actor Philip Madoc has something of a star turn as the clichéd treacherous villain Eelek , but the eponymous Krotons themselves are rather silly looking and myth has it they were winners in a BLUE PETER competition for design a monster . They weren't because the winner was " a steel octopus " which never appeared on the show and we'd have to wait till 2006 till the Azarbaloff made an appearance as a BLUE PETER competition . Mind you imagine if we had Benny Hill playing a baddie in the show with Zoe
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A story which starts as a promising political allegory but turns into a bit of a filler.
A_Kind_Of_CineMagic18 September 2014
Review of all 4 episodes:

The first episode is, in my opinion, a lot better than this story's reputation would lead you to expect. It comes across as an intelligently scripted, interesting political allegory. The story features the humanoid Gonds being exploited by a strange alien race known as the Krotons. This is the first script from future Doctor Who writing legend Robert Holmes and his talent is already starting to show in episode 1. However his talent is less visible in episodes 2-4. Another great talent and Doctor Who legend involved is Philip Madoc as Eelek. His great acting skills are not fully utilised but, of course, he portrays his part perfectly.

After the very solid start the following three episodes turn into just a slightly bland, not massively interesting 'filler' between more meaty stories in the season. It also suffers from technical limitations of the age and budget. The Krotons themselves look and sound very unimpressive.

The final verdict has to be this is decently scripted and acted but unremarkable. It is a disappointment, taken as a whole, after a promising 1st part.

My Ratings: Episode 1 - 8/10, Episode 2 to 4 - 6/10

Overall: 6.5/10
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Neither bad nor great - just middling
Leofwine_draca2 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
THE KROTONS is another middling serial from the Patrick Troughton era of DOCTOR WHO. This four-party story sees the Doctor and his companions Jamie and Zoe ending up in the usual small-scale futuristic society in which mankind has been subjugated by the titular race of robots who are controlling things for their own sinister purposes.

There are shades of THE TIME MACHINE here but as with the rest of the serial from this era, the whole thing is hard to take seriously due to the very low budget available to the production crew. The Krotons themselves are a rather laughable menace and a far cry from the Daleks or the Cybermen. They look like cheap Robby the Robot rip-offs and when you see their legs from a distance it's a laugh. The good news is that this is relatively short and fast-paced so there's little time to get too bored by it all, and the occasional actor like Philip Madoc does well in their part.
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