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"The Ambassadors of Death" was the third story from Jon Pertwee's first Doctor Who season, slotting between "Doctor Who and the Silurians" and "Inferno." Capitalizing on the then-contemporary Apollo moon landings, the ambitious seven-part adventure told of a space capsule returning from Mars under radio silence, and of the alien occupants eventually retrieved by a space rescue mission. The elaborate government cover-ups and hints of high level conspiracy not only took Doctor Who in a more adult direction, but harked back to the classic BBC Quatermass dramas of the 1950s. The action is particularly elaborate, with a prolonged gun battle in the tense opening episode, a well-shot chase across a river in episode 3, and an especially notable set-piece hi-jacking involving a helicopter in episode 2. It all goes on an episode too long, but Pertwee makes a convincing action hero and the story is interesting for showing the development of UNIT, even if they are depicted as the world's most inept security force. Fans should note "The Ambassadors of Death" uniquely split each week's main titles into two separate sections. The video presents the episodes in a mixture of color and black and white, as not all the material survived in color. --Gary S Dalkin
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