Synopsis: In Galaxy 4 The Doctor and his travelling companions Steven and Vicki arrive on an arid planet within the titular Galaxy 4. As they arrive they meet the beautiful but dangerous Drahvins and the hideous but friendly Rills who have both crashed on the planet and are in conflict.
When the Doctor, Vicki, and Steven land on a desert planet in Galaxy 4. They find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict between the Drahvins and Rills. The Drahvins are a race of warrior women, only their soldiers are clones that answer to a commander who they refer to as Maaga. While the Rills are a reptilian race that cannot breathe oxygen. So they have robots that are called Chumbleys.
The Doctor and his friends get captured by the warlike Drahvins and are pressured into helping them take over the Rills spaceship. However, The Doctor and his friends prove far too clever for the Drahvins who seem to operate only out of self-interest. Where in contrast the hideous Rills prove to be far more open and diplomatic. The problem is the planet that they are on only has two days before it explodes. While the Rills are happy to help the Drahvins by giving them a ride in their spaceship. The Drahvins who are repulsed by the Rills are not wanting their help. Instead, they just want to steal the Rills ship and escape on their own.
We get some solid performances in this story as we see William Hartnell’s Doctor work alongside fairly new companions Vicki and Steven who are played brilliantly by Peter Purves and Maureen O’Brien. By this point, these three actors had gotten to a stage where they seemed to be quite comfortable with each other.
Stephanie Bidmead is brilliantly authoritative as the Drahvin leader Maaga who comes right at the Doctor and his friends with ultimatums. Basically, “You’ll help us or else.” kind of thing. By contrast, the Drahvin soldiers played by Marina Martin, Susanna Carroll, and Lyn Ashley are very childlike and don’t seem to question orders. Robert Cartland’s voice for the more intelligent Rill works brilliantly.
Animation and Artwork
The artwork for the Blu Ray sleeve is a nice shot of the Doctor, one of the Drahvins, and a Chumbley. While on the reverse sleeve you have the same image affixed the old style DVD sleeve. This is a feature that is only available on the UK version of these animated releases.
As far as animation goes. It’s kind of average by today’s standards, but what I’d imagine it would have been like had this had been animated in the 1960s when the show was made. But compared to The Evil of The Daleks, which we reviewed last month. It’s not that great. That said though. It didn’t particularly ruin my enjoyment of the story. Which is the important part as far as I am concerned. Much like with Evil of The Daleks and Previous Blu Ray releases. You get both a black and white and color version of the animated episodes.
Blu Ray Extras
As with all Doctor Who sets. This comes with lots of extras, which includes audio commentaries from surviving cast and crew as well as documentaries and making-of of films. With this set, we get the surviving episode 3 as well as a remastered surviving clip from episode 1 and photographic reconstructions of episodes 1,2 and 4.
While not the best Doctor Who story I have ever watched. Galaxy 4 manages to tell a fairly solid story that explores human nature through the lens of a science fiction narrative. The behavior of the Drahvins was quite nasty and narrow-minded in contrast to how the Rills behaved. It’s quite a dark story in that sense that it is very much a race for survival, which ultimately sees the Drahvins selfish behavior being their undoing.
The performances were solid and the animation was passable. And as a fan that has never seen this story. I’m grateful that they made and released it as I found it a fairly enjoyable episode, but it’s definitely a very sixties production.
- Blu Ray Extras9.0