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Tuesday, 16 January 2007 - Reviewed by Eddy Wolverson

The first time I listened to “Galaxy 4” on CD (as all four episodes are missing from the BBC archives) I thought that it was one of the weakest stories of William Hartnell’s reign. The second time around I was slightly more impressed, largely because I’ve found that this dialogue-heavy serial is actually more suited to audio than many of the other ‘lost’ stories recently released by the BBC Radio Collection are. Nevertheless, I’m afraid to say that my thoughts on this serial are still far from positive.

William Emms’ story is heavily grounded in the old maxim “it’s what is inside that counts”, and whilst this may be a noble sentiment it is one that is all too often done-to-death in science fiction. The idea that the rather horrific Rills are a race of thinkers, learners and explorers whilst the more aesthetically pleasing Drahvins are an aggressive and warlike species is borne out well in the story, but with no telesnaps or photographs of the Rills the moral of the story falls a little flat – a tremendous shame as otherwise the story works so well in the audio medium. Obviously, this is no fault of the makers of “Galaxy 4” as they were not to know that the story would be junked, or even more surprisingly that forty years on somebody would be writing a review of it!

However, quite a substantial amount of footage from “Four Hundred Dawns” exists, including some shots of a ‘Chumbly.’ Their atrocious nickname (given to them by Vicki) is unfortunately fitting, as they are as feeble in appearance as they are in name. The Drahvins are probably the most interesting aspect of the serial; a race of militant females lead by the despicable Maaga. I’m not sure if Emms was deliberately trying to write a satire about Women’s Lib., but that’s how it comes across at times which is quite amusing considering Doctor Who’s sexist reputation in the sixties and early seventies! I also think this serial could be a possible contender for containing the most ever fluffs by the actors, and whilst that isn’t a damning indictment of “Galaxy 4” in itself, it serves as the proverbial icing on the cake. No, that’s a lie – the icing on the cake is the TARDIS flying past the planet Kembel whilst the Doctor and his companions cheesily say aloud “Oh, I wonder what’s happening on that planet…” dovetailing into their week off…