“The Rescue” was made with one purpose in mind - to introduce viewers to the new companion, establishing her background and the reasons for her joining
the travels of the TARDIS. The serial succeeds admirably on this point, however it has many other strengths which means that it is always a pleasure to watch.
The extremely small cast means that characterisation comes to the fore with Vicki and Bennett both being convincing in their roles within this crime drama.
The story has elements of a “whodunnit” within its narrative although the straightforward presentation is the puzzling reason as to why the Didonians,
and Koquillion in particular, react the way that they do to the crash survivors from Earth.
However, like most crime fiction, upon close examination the plot has large holes but these are neatly papered over by excellent production. The action is
well paced using effective dialogue, Ray Cusick’s final sole design work for a science fiction serial is as dependable as ever with some excellent sets such
as the Hall of Judgement. Also, atmospheric re-use is made of Tristram Cary’s tracks originally composed for “The Daleks” the previous year.
One of the main strengths of this serial is the direction of Christopher Barry, making it all the more regrettable that his contributions to the programme
were so infrequent during this period of the programme’s history compared to some of his contemporaries. Whereas the work of other Directors (Richard Martin
and John Gorrie in particular) could appear clumsy and unsure, Barry gets good performances out of his cast complemented by professional work by all concerned
“behind the camera’s”. Moments of high drama are never let past but always complemented by good timing of music, sound effects and character reaction.
The serial’s only film requirements were those for model work and these were shot at Ealing on 16th and 17th November 1964 - the first work done for the
programmes second production block. Video recording took place in Riverside studio 1 on 4th and 11th December 1964 with several daily newspapers attending a
photocall on the first of these dates for pictures of Maureen O’Brien’s debut. Her characters name was only settled on as being Vicki a few days after the
Ealing filimg had taken place.
The first episode was boradcast a week after the end of “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” and the massive success of this latter serial meant that “The
Rescue” attracted the highest viewing figures for the serial so far - 12.5 million average for the two episodes.