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Adam Adamant Lives!

It's that time of year again when America steals all the television. Every December it happens; they stop televisioning around the middle of the month, and refuse to start again until mid-January. Apparently we're supposed to spontaneously develop a desire to socialise, and go out into the world to talk to people instead around Christmas time. Ha. Anyway, yesterday I decided to go rifling through DVD-land, and thanks to some recent discussion over at cult_tv_lounge, I chose a random episode of Adam Adamant Lives! to help fill the gap. Actually it wasn't entirely random, as I was looking through the booklet that accompanies the set, saw a picture of Patrick Troughton, and stopped there. So this evening I intend to bother you with talk of "D For Destruction".

"D For Destruction" (so the helpful booklet informs me) was filmed between Tuesday 30th August and Thursday 1st September 1966, and was transmitted on Thursday 13th October 1966, at 8pm. To an audience of 8.8 million, just in case you were wondering, which I'm quite sure that you weren't. It's interesting though, as Patrick Troughton was to make his debut as the Doctor just a few weeks later, on November 6th. He looks hugely different here, with greying hair and a beard, although sadly his role is only a small one. He plays a general who gives Adam his case of the week, investigating odd goings-on in his old regiment. It's a cracking episode anyway, despite the sad lack of Trout.

Having heard that there is dubiousness afoot at the Glorious 51st, Adam dons his finest shiny uniform, and strides off to battle. Gerald Harper is in top form in this episode. Adam Adamant is a wildly over the top character at the best of times, with every Boy's Own cliché in place. He's a storybook Victorian adventurer with the dial turned up to twelve, and Harper always gives it his all, throwing himself into everything with gay abandon. He's great here, striding about the place with sword and swagger stick, cheerfully announcing that he's been AWOL since 1902, but has returned to do his duty by his regiment. Adam Adamant being Adam Adamant, his gallant adventuring inevitably leads to him being bashed over the head and tied to something, but fortunately Georgina Jones, equally inevitably, is on hand to rescue him. I like Georgina Jones. She fulfills the role of Doctor's companion, but back in the sixties that meant "Capable character who gets to think for themselves and save the day on occasion", not "Pretty young woman who never gets to do anything much", like it means now. In all fairness she did need rescuing a fair bit herself, but she also got to do a good bit of it in return; and frequently on a bouncy motorscooter, whilst wearing dodgy sixties fashions.

Anyway, despite being deprived of his usual cape and sword-stick (not regiment issue, clearly) good old Adam managed to avert nuclear catastrophe in the nick of time. Sadly, however, he was not quick enough to save Michael Sheard from being gunned down by the soldiers of the traitorous 51st. Poor Michael Sheard. It all happens to him. He did get to be terribly stoic and brave first though, before being annihilated by machine gun fire, which is something. So here, have some pictures, in which people stride about being very English, doing splendid things in crackly black and white. And Patrick Troughton wears a beard, because I don't know why. Maybe he was hiding from the Time Lords.

General Patrick Troughton talks urgently of urgent things that need Adam Adamant's urgent assistance. Adam lurks in the background, as only he can, toying with his sword-stick, and generally upstaging everything. Even his cravat pin is a blatant scene-stealer.

Back home, Adam fetches out his splendid uniform. Georgina Jones, and a dress that I think I'm probably very glad is only in black and white, are less than impressed with his 1902 finery. Strange girl. His epaulettes alone have more bling than the whole of rap music.

On an army base, Adam creeps around in the dark. Because that always goes well.

Adam, when confronted with deadly danger in the dark, does his usual act of confronting it head on, and expecting it to behave. Oddly, it doesn't. Neither is it anywhere near impressed enough with his shiny epaulettes or his sword. You just can't get good deadly danger these days.

Chained to a wall by this week's dastardly evildoers, Adam is careful to tell them exactly how despicable they are, and how much he knows about their despicability. Whilst chained to a wall and helpless. Because that always goes well too.

Fortunately, Georgina Jones has, as usual, refused to stay behind. You'd think he'd have given up telling her to by now, but no. Anyway, she (and her hat) sneak in to the rescue. Although not quite quickly enough to prevent Adam's skull from getting its weekly cracking.

She then manages not to giggle when discovering him in his highly predictable predicament.

Poor Adam. He's such an idiot, but such a likeable one.

Hot on the trail of the bad guys, they speed through the streets in their little mini, as the redoubtable Miss Jones simultaneously map-reads whilst sawing through the chain of Adam's cuffs. Adam is clearly enjoying everything massively, and so I suspect are his epaulettes. They really are very shiny.

I wanted to share some fight screencaps with you, to show the wonderful enthusiasm with which Gerald Harper hurls himself into such things, but sadly they all came out blurry. So here he is creeping down a corridor instead, just prior to bowling over a passing stuntman.

And here is Michael Sheard, just prior to being thoroughly deaded by the treacherous 51st.

Not a particularly illustrative screencap, I'll grant you, but I like the way that it makes Iain Cuthbertson look like the tallest man in the world. Here, Adam stands back and allows this week's bad guys to battle it out amongst themselves, as the nutball sergeant-major reveals that he intends to bombard London with nuclear missiles just because he can. Meanwhile, his colonel, who thought that the whole thing was a fun exercise with pretend bullets, boggles at the grand indignity of life, before helpfully committing suicide and leaving Adam to fight the whole bloody regiment on his own. Which he does in twenty seconds flat, because he's Adam Adamant. Hurrah!

And thus was the day saved, yet again, by our dashing hero.

The end.

By the way, I got about two hundred seriously belated e-mails this morning from LJ (this may be a mild exaggeration) informing me of replies to comments about the place, so if I've abandoned you mid-conversation, sorry. Apparently the LJ elves have been at the mulled wine again. I'll make some attempt to catch up, but I've just bitten the head off a chocolate penguin, so you probably don't want to talk to me anymore anyway.


( 5 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Dec. 25th, 2013 06:46 am (UTC)
Funny enough there's a lot on German TV I want to watch ... not enough time ... haha ...

I hope I can catch Dr Who online somewhere tomorrow. It sucks that they don't show it here! :-(
Dec. 26th, 2013 02:48 pm (UTC)
It is a shame. The internet is great for giving us television, but somehow it's nicer to be able to watch it properly. I hope you've been able to find it by now. :)
Dec. 26th, 2013 10:40 am (UTC)
Aw, Michael Sheard doesn't look old enough to be deaded, he's safe in 'Bulman' if a tad Mr Bronson-y.

Rappers will be weeping in the street because they don't have epaulettes like Adam Adamant.
Dec. 26th, 2013 02:52 pm (UTC)
It is a very young Michael Sheard, yes. Young enough to have made only the briefest of appearances. He was jolly brave though.

The epaulettes appear to be made out of very shiny chain mail. I don't know if they're genuinely part of some historical army uniform, as I don't ever recall seeing them anywhere before. They shine splendidly when he's creeping about in the dark, so they're rubbish clothing for a soldier. Perfect for an unbridled whirlwind of enthusiastic nutballery like Adam Adamant though.
Dec. 27th, 2013 11:29 am (UTC)
Epaulettes made out of chain mail sounds odd, but red jackets don't camouflage very well either! Probably made up though.
( 5 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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