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K-9 & Company: A Girl’s Best Friend

K-9 & CompanyAfter her Aunt Lavinia leaves for a lecture tour in America much earlier than expected, her niece, Sarah Jane Smith, takes up temporary residence in her house in the quaint village of Moreton Harwood. Sarah finds the locals to be a little bit backward, and one of Lavinia’s recent letters to the editor in the local paper decrying the belief that black magic will help the crops grow – a belief that some of the villagers apparently take quite seriously. Lavinia’s ward, Brendan, also arrives to stay at the house, and Sarah finds a note from Lavinia herself, pointing her in the direction of a large box that has been in Lavinia’s possession for years. The box, which has never been opened, contains a present for Sarah from the Doctor – her very own K-9. Brendan, who’s delighted with computers and technology, makes fast friends with the robotic dog, but that night when Sarah visits one of the neighbors, Brendan finds himself in need of one of K-9’s more unusual abilities when two men break into the house. K-9 stuns one of the men and then pursues the other, but doesn’t catch him. Sarah finds the local police oddly uninterested in the incident, and begins to wonder if there’s something to Lavinia’s witchcraft worries. When Brendan is kidnapped and the police still aren’t interested, her suspicions are even more aroused, and she’ll need K-9’s help to find out how far this small-town conspiracy goes.

Order the DVDwritten by Terence Dudley
directed by John Black
music by Peter Howell / title music by Fiachra Trench & Ian Levine

Cast: Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), John Leeson (voice of K-9), Bill Fraser (Commander Pollock), Ian Sears (Brendan Richards), Colin Jeavons (George Tracey), Sean Chapman (Peter Tracey), Mary Wimbush (Aunt Lavinia), Linda Polan (Juno Baker), Gillian Martell (Lilly Gregson), Neville Barber (Howard Baker), John Quarmby (Henry Tobias), Nigel Gregory (Sergeant Wilson), Stephen Oxley (PC Carter)

Notes: Though not strictly speaking an actual part of the Sarah Jane Adventures series, K-9 & Company establishes numerous important parts of the series backstory, and perhaps more importantly established plot points which later Doctor Who episodes (The Five Doctors, School Reunion) regarded as official. It was also the first (and, until Torchwood was greenlit, only) official Doctor Who TV spinoff. As is the case with the current slate of Doctor Who spinoffs being produced by the same team responsible for the parent series, K-9 & Company would have been produced by Doctor Who’s then-producer John Nathan-Turner, who admitted that he wasn’t fond of the dog’s deus ex machina antics in Doctor Who, but realized that the massive outcry over K-9’s departure meant that there was an audience. Nathan-Turner later admitted that the biggest failure of K-9 & Company was its opening episode’s theme of black magic and the occult; like The Sarah Jane Adventures, K-9 & Company was envisioned for the younger segment of Doctor Who’s audience, and so the pilot episode’s human sacrifice and pagan ceremonies failed to play well against the Christmas/New Year holidays. (A widespread power outage at the time of broadcast didn’t help ratings either.) Ironically, Sarah did get her own spinoff, with K-9 in the opening episode, premiering 26 years and 4 days after K-9 & Company. (For those wondering: K-9 & Company was to have been the series title, while A Girl’s Best Friend was the name of this particular episode; it’s worth noting that in their book “Doctor Who: The Eighties,” authors David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker reveal that only Nathan-Turner was envisaging a full series, something which his superiors at the BBC had not seriously discussed at the time.)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Regeneration

K-9In a dystopian world, street kids Starkey and Jorjie seek refuge from omnipresent police patrols in the secluded lab of Professor Gryffen, an enigmatic scientist who is trying to retrieve his family from another place in time and space. Spooked by what he’s witnessed, Starkey tries to make his escape… and promptly ruins Gryffen’s experiment. The space-time coordinates of Gryffen’s equipment shift and a group of vicious aliens called the Jixen appears through the portal, followed shortly thereafter by a robot dog who takes on the Jixen single-handedly. Declaring the battle an unwinnable situation with its dwindling power reserves, the dog warns the humans to retreat so it can self-destruct and eliminate the Jixen. In the resulting pile of debris, Starkey finds an electronic “heart” – and it soon begins to hover under its own power, building a new metallic body: a smaller, more mobile version of the metal dog that saved them. Starkey, Jorjie, Professor Gryffen and Gryffen’s cocky lab assistant Darius Pike are too stunned by this to notice that the original K-9’s destruction left one of the Jixen alive… and dangerous. But the authorities are more interested in finding Starkey – also known as Stark Reality, a voice favoring a resistance against the near-totalitarian rulers of London – and once the new K-9 begins exploring the city, he attracts attention as well.

Season 1 Regular Cast: Robert Moloney (Professor Gryffen), Keegan Joyce (Starkey), Philippa Coulthard (Jorjie Turner), Daniel Webber (Darius Pike), John Leeson (voice of K-9)

written by Shayne Armstrong and S.P. Krause
directed by David Caesar & Mark DeFriest
music by Christopher Elves
K9 theme music by Michael Lira

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner)

K-9Notes: Filmed on a soundstage outside Brisbane, Australia (which is also where the cast and crew hail from), K-9 isn’t technically a spinoff of Doctor Who. It utilizes the K-9 character created by the late Dave Martin and executive producer Bob Baker outside of the Doctor Who context. In online pre-publicity, Baker mentioned that this K-9 was the original K-9, which remained on Gallifrey with Leela in the Doctor Who story The Invasion Of Time (1977), though this isn’t ever established in on-screen dialogue, and with the new Doctor Who series’ assertion that Gallifrey was destroyed in a war with the Daleks, begs for an explanation of where that K-9 was during those events. (This also assumes that one overlooks the destruction of Leela’s K-9 in the Big Finish Gallifrey audios.) In any case, the London depicted in this series is clearly not a London that has been seen in Doctor Who, so everything here – including K-9 – may be in a parallel universe handily unencumbered by the still-unfolding Doctor Who mythology. However, taking Baker’s mention of Leela’s K-9 as gospel may explain why the original model has the ability to regenerate (a term actually used numerous times in dialogue) – Leela’s K-9 may well have been upgraded with Time Lord technology. No elements of Doctor Who mythology are mentioned in dialogue at all. Baker’s attempts to create a K-9 spinoff have been in progress for many years, as documented in the 2000 video documentary K-9 Unleashed! (which happened to have been written by series co-creator Paul Tams), featuring a primitive computer-generated flying K-9 not entirely dissimilar to the one which appears in this series. Baker’s attempts to launch K-9 on his own – thanks to a loophole in UK copyright law which allows the creators of characters or situations to control and exploit their creations even after inclusion in a larger franchise like Doctor Who – languished with Doctor Who off the air, but with the new series thriving, Baker finally found parties interested in funding a K-9 spinoff (and allowed one-off Doctor Who appearances of the “original model” in School Reunion, Journey’s End, and the Sarah Jane Adventures series). K-9 had, in fact, been central to the very first attempt to launch a Doctor Who spinoff, 1981’s K-9 & Company. The series airs on Disney XD in the UK and Europe, and the airdate of this episode reflects its world premiere as a “sneak preview” special; the series proper would not begin until 2010. Bob Baker gave permission for the “original model” K-9 to make more appearances than usual in the third season of The Sarah Jane Adventures, perhaps in an attempt to draw additional attention to this spin-off.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Korven

K-9Professor Gryffen’s latest attempt to reactivate the device that could retrieve his family fizzles before his eyes – but as he walks away in disappointment, he doesn’t notice that it powers up again and admits a visitor to his house: an alien called a Korven. Gryffen disappears, and Darius reluctantly decides to call Jorjie and Starkey, who are hiding from Department troops with K-9. The Korven is an alien being from 300 years in Earth’s future, who will attempt to invade by terraforming the planet to provide the rest of its species with their ideal environment: bitter cold. This particular Korven intends to remove Gryffen’s memories in the hope that his scientific knowledge can speed the invasion by several centuries. The gas the Korven is using to keep its immediate surroundings cold is not only freezing K-9’s human companions, but it’s affecting K-9’s computer brain – leaving him a very limited time to heat up the rescue effort.

written by Tim Pye
directed by Karl Zwicky
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Todd Levi (Medowin), Matthew Renner (Korven), Stephen Sourkis (Dept. Technician), Josh Norsend (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Eugen Bekaford (CCPC), Dane Paltman (CCPC)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Bounty Hunter

K-9After spending a long day trying to retrieve some of K-9’s lost memories, Professor Gryffen grudgingly gives in to Starkey’s idea of taking K-9 for a walk to jog those memories. While out, the two pass an out-of-control ferris wheel surrounded by Department guards – and Inspector Drake is standing by, claiming that a dissident bomb well go off if the ferris wheel is slowed down. But Starkey and K-9 suspect that Drake is stalling until more news cameras arrive before he disarms the device, and they do it themselves and win the dissident movement a little bit of positive publicity in the process. The time portal in Gryffen’s lab is activated remotely, and a bounty hunter emerges from the year 50,000, hot on K-9’s trail. When he spots K-9 and Starkey in the news coverage of the ferris wheel incident, the hunter decides to make the Department an offer that it can’t refuse: if the Department will make its manpower and technology available, the bounty hunter can rein in a robot dog who’s wanted for murder in the future.

written by Ian McFadyen
directed by James Bogle
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Brad McMurray (Bounty Hunter)

Notes: There’s no indication of where in K-9’s timeline the incident with Zanthus Pia falls, but since the heads-up display from K-9’s point of view shows the post-regeneration K-9, it may – paradoxically – be from K-9’s future – either that, or it’s a memory recorded by the pre-regeneration K-9 and the HUD is merely showing K-9’s current form as a default. The “news ticker” at the bottom of the Department-approved TV news broadcast includes a reference to “NX-2000” making its first test flight; this may or may not be an in-joke for SF fans of a certain age, who would know that NX-2000 was the original registry number of the brand-new U.S.S. Excelsior in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. Maybe K-9 has slipped into more of an alternate universe than we imagined – one in which a ferris wheel is controlled by an early 1980s-model television production switcher.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Liberation

K-9With the Jixen still at large on Earth, and still following a biological marker that will lead them to Starkey, K-9 may not provide enough of an advantage to keep Professor Gryffen and his friends alive. They learn that the Department – the totalitarian government whose oppressive rule Starkey opposes – has been infiltrated by the Meron, sworn enemies of the Jixen. K-9 warns against pinning too much hope on the Meron, since their ongoing clashes with the Jixen have laid entire innocent civilizations to waste, and goes to the Department’s headquarters to investigate. Starkey and Darius follow K-9, and wind up being thrown in the alien prison themselves – and then they discover that Jorjie’s mother is one of the Department’s chief operatives. Worse yet, the Jixen follow Starkey’s scent to the prison, where they can easily corner him…

written by Shayne Armstrong & S.P. Krause
directed by David Caesar & David Napier
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Jared Robinsen (Thorne), Rob Horton (Dept. Field Officer / Meron #1), Michael Thompson (Dept. Field Officer / Meron #2), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Michael Donnet (CCPC), Edgen Bekafigo (CCPC), Tyler Rostedt (CCPC), Janardan Kewin (Jixen), Simon Preston-Barnes (Lochnessy Alien), Noel Sheridan (Mr. Whiffy Alien), Paul Tams (Mr. Whiffy Alien), Leah Tilney (Geisha Alien), Sam Tromans (Geisha Alien), George Pikusa (Alien), Jessica Field (Alien), Nick Burgess (Alien), Amy Verwayen (Alien), Hayley McFarlane (Alien), Vince Holland (Alien), Billy Shannon (Alien), Cathey Burgess (Alien)

Original Title: Feast Of The Meron

Notes: Liberation is effectively the second part of Regeneration, the first episode of K-9the series; both episodes have a darker tone (and much darker lighting) than most of the rest of the series, with the Department experimenting on captured alien life forms and Inspector June Turner exhibiting more ruthless behavior (and more advanced technology) than in the remainder of the series; also, Jorjie seems to know nothing of her mother’s day job, whereas by The Sirens Of Ceres she seems to take it for granted. There’s also more overt violence than the rest of the series: Darius orders K-9 to use “lethal force”, and the kids use a grenade-like device to deal with the Jixen. In-joke references to other SF series abound: Starkey appears to be wearing a T-shirt with a stylized version of the masks worn by Berg Katse’s guards in the anime series Gatchaman (better known to the English-speaking world as Battle Of The Planets), and the Department’s operating room uses Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s tricorder sound effect. The K-9 series isn’t allowed to refer overtly to the Doctor Who universe beyond K-9 himself; none of the aliens seen in the Department’s alien prison compound are from the Doctor Who, but intriguingly (and entirely coincidentally), the Meron bear some resemblance to the unnamed fishlike humanoid cornered by Torchwood in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. The changes in tone and storyline between Regeneration / Liberation and the rest of the first season is probably a symptom of a major rethink of the show’s premise after the pilot was shot, making the Department less of an all-conquering Orwellian enemy and changing many of the dynamics between the main characters, all in an attempt to make the series more kid-friendly; this may also explain why the episode had yet – as of its Australian premiere – not appeared on Disney XD in the UK, which also did not repeat Regeneration after its “sneak preview” premiere in 2009. Series co-creator Paul Tams gets in front of the cameras here – see the cast list above.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Sirens Of Ceres

K-9When she, Starkey and K-9 catch a glimpse of police brutality in action, Jorjie takes action. At Inspector Drake’s command, the CCPCs try out a new weapon derived from an alien substance, but K-9 makes sure that it misfires badly and suffers serious damage while protecting his friends. In the meantime, Jorjie’s mother, Inspector June Turner, is put in a precarious position within the Department, and enrolls Jorjie in a private school for her own protection. What she doesn’t realize is that the school is just another of Drake’s secret weapons – one which works on the same principle as the one that backfired catastrophically.

written by Deborah Parsons
directed by Daniel Nettheim
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Sophia Emerson-Bains (Vibeka), Cathy Tucker (Malena), Natalie Stephenson (Hilena), Britt Henderson (Kalena), Michael Coglan (CCPC #1 / School CCPC), Josh Norsend (CCPC #2), Manuel Saubie (CCPC #3), David Pawsey (CCPC #4), Catarina Hibbard (Teacher)

Notes: The CCPCs are confirmed to be completely robotic in this episode, rather than uniformed guards. Signage seen at the school identifies it as both the “Magdalene Academy” and the K-9“Magdalen Academy,” even before Starkey interferes with the school’s systems. (The logo seen on-set on various computer screens was probably made by the scenic art department, while the signs that Starkey hacks outside the school were probably the responsibility of the visual effects department.) In a throwback to his days in 1970s Doctor Who, K-9 is sidelined for much of the story for repairs, affording his human co-stars a larger share of the action. Somewhat confusingly, references are made here to events in the episode Liberation, which had yet to air in the UK – even though it had aired in other territories, and effectively serves as part two of the pilot, Regeneration.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Fear Itself

K-9Fear and panic grip London, as rioting and fires break out across the city. At the heart of it all is a battered old wardrobe hidden away in a warehouse, guarded by CCPCs and Inspector Drake. Darius is shoved into the wardrobe, and discovers that it’s bigger inside than out, with a seemingly bottomless pit where its floor should be. He escapes, and brings his friends back with K-9 – and they quickly find that Drake is as terrified of what’s in the wardrobe as they are. Drake is certain that there’s an alien inside the wardrobe, something causing irrational fear to ripple through the city. K-9 is determined to discover what’s hiding inside, but his investigation may only prove Drake right.

written by Everett DeRoche & Graeme Farmer
directed by Daniel Zwicky
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Brian Vaughan (Tramp #1), Nick Neilo (Tramp #2)

Notes: The new K-9 has apparently added a tractor beam to his capabilities, and it sounds remarkably like a long phaser blast from the original Star Trek. Professor Gryffen mentions the Great Plague of 1665, an event which history says culminated in the Great Fire of London – but history seems to be unaware of the Doctor’s role in events. The wardrobe – bigger inside than out (though seemingly only in a vertical sense) – might be a TARDIS; Discuss it in our forumgiven the wardrobe’s resemblance to a certain sinister grandfather clock, could this be an experiment of the Master’s gone horribly wrong?

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Jaws Of Orthrus

K-9The Department’s plan to implant microchips into every citizen of London meets with a rowdy protest – one at which K-9 appears, fires on Drake (non-fatally), and causes even more very public commotion. Inspector Drake immediately applies for an arrest warrant for K-9, but Gryffen’s initial examination of K-9’s memory seems to show that K-9 didn’t attend the rally… and certainly didn’t do any shooting. But even K-9 himself finds the accusation disturbing, and prepares to turn himself in to the authorities, even though it’s almost surely an elaborate ploy on Drake’s part to dismantle the robot dog.

written by Lindsay James
directed by James Bogle
music by Christopher Elves

Discuss it in our forumGuest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake)

Note: Orthrus – K-9’s “evil twin” – is named after the treacherous twin brother of the mythical dog Cerberus in Greek mythology.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Dream-Eaters

K-9Starkey, Jorjie and Darius all experience vivid, disturbing dreams of being pursued by Jixen, of K-9 turning against them, being surrounded by sinister clowns, and of being captured and goaded by a strange creature. And they’re not alone: all of London is sleeping and having similar nightmares, but no one can wake up. Jorjie ventures out into the city and returns quickly when the creature about whom they’ve all dreamed appears. Gryffen confirms that this being is no hallucination: it’s very real. Is this a new alien attack that has overpowered the Department’s defenses, or is someone from the Department involved?

written by Jim Noble
Discuss it in our forumdirected by Daniel Nettheim
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Curse Of Anubis

K-9An unknown object approaching Earth gets the Department’s attention, and Inspector Drake’s first instinct is to blow it out of the sky. When it disappears before he can unleash all of the Department’s firepower on it, it’s assumed to be a meteor. But K-9, Starkey and Jorjie, out for a walk, see an enormous, pyramid-like spacecraft appear in the sky, while soldiers dressed as ancient Egyptian gods appear out of nowhere, with enough firepower of their own to overpower CCPCs. When the alien soldiers move to take Starkey prisoner, K-9 intervenes… and is promptly worshipped as a god. The soldiers even follow K-9 back to Professor Gryffen’s home, where they begin redecorating the lab as a shrine, supposedly to help jog K-9’s memory. Gryffen begins to worship K-9 as well. Starkey and Jorjie discover more about the aliens’ true plan, but then they are captured and brainwashed into serving K-9’s every whim. Only Darius remains unchanged… and now saving the world is up to him.

written by
directed by Karl Zwicky
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Michael Turaine (Nehebka), Matthew Reimer (Geb), Todd Levi (voice of Nehebka), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Eugen Bekaford (CCPC), Dane Paltman (CCPC), Stephen Sourkis (Dept. Technician)

Notes: In Egyptian mythology, Anubis was edged out by the god Set (who, in some interpretations of the mythology, was Anubis’ father) as the Egyptian god of the underworld. Set was also known as Sutekh. Sutekh figures into Doctor Who mythology as the last of the alien Osirans, godlike beings who occupied the planet Mars until internecine conflict wiped out most of their race. Sutekh survived long enough to be defeated by the fourth Doctor in Pyramids Of Mars, though the Egyptian mythology elements in this episode appear to be a coincidence. In the scene where Jorjie and Starkey look at the book containing the Anubins’ history, two aliens from classic Doctor Who episodes can very clearly be seen: Alpha Centauri (The Curse Of Peladon / The Monster Of Peladon) and a Sea Devil (The Sea Devils / Warriors Of The Deep). If the notion of an alien playing the role of an Egyptian god, hovering over Earth in a pyramid ship, isn’t familiar to you, you probably haven’t watched enough Stargate SG-1 – a show in which K-9 star (and Canadian actor) Robert Moloney has also appeared.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Oroborus

K-9Professor Gryffen’s dimensional gateway activates by itself, something which should be impossible; before forcing it to shut down with brute-force firepower, K-9 is able to determine that an outside power source is the cause. Strange jumps in time begin occurring, but only Starkey notices them. An inflamed area on Starkey’s arm also begins to itch, and a blood test reveals alien matter causing Starkey’s immune system to go into overdrive. Gryffen recognizes the alien material, remembering an incident in which a couple of scientists implanted themselves – and their young son – with alien DNA. The dimensional gateway reactivates, and Starkey remembers how to close it again, but this isn’t a new incident: it’s the same incident repeating itself… but only K-9 believes him.

written by Deborah Parsons
directed by Daniel Nettheim
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Alien Avatar

K-9Starkey tries to take K-9 fishing, only to find that the fish are apparently frying of their own accord, covered with an unknown substance. Starkey brings a sample back to Gryffen’s lab, where it’s identified as an alien substance. Inspector Turner makes a similar finding: Inspector Drake is holding an alien spacecraft, and has authorized extreme measures to get its crew to reveal the technology aboard. When she deduces that Drake is working on turning the alien technology into a surveillance device of unlimited range, Inspector Turner decides that even the Department shouldn’t have that kind of power, and turns to Gryffen and K-9 for help.

written by Graeme Farmer
directed by Karl Zwicky
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake)

Notes: Starkey reveals that K-9 has 5,000 movies “on his hard drive,” which accounts for the casual, colloquial speech of this K-9 model. (It’s possible that Starkey’s just guessing about the hard drive and doesn’t have a better technical term to explain K-9’s memory.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Aeolian

K-9A freak hurricane seems to appear out of nowhere, and Professor Gryffen immediately formulates a theory that the severe weather is the product of unusual music that can be heard outside. The combined force of the weather and the vibrations of the music bring the roof of Jorjie’s home down on her, and while Darius tries to free her from the debris, K-9 and Starkey go to see if the alien Aeolian behind the disaster is taking requests – namely, to avoid destroying Earth.

written by Dave Warner
directed by Karl Zwicky
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Liam Nunan (Aeolian)

Notes: Oddly, both K-9 and Inspector Turner know of the Aeolians and their extinction. Also, the Aeolian’s signals are conveyed as music, therefore it would seem logical that the signals travel at the speed of sound… and yet, the reply to those signals arrives within the running time of the episode, from 10,000 light years away. Clearly, the Aeolian is using something with a bit more power than an average tube amp.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Last Oak Tree

K-9The last oak tree in England is stolen from a museum, cutting short Starkey and Jorjie’s participation in a virtual reality exhibit claiming the tree to be the only survivng piece of Sherwood Forest. K-9 quickly spots a webbing made of alien mucus, and cuts a sample loose for Professor Gryffen to analyze. Inspectors Drake and Turner arrive from the Department, also acquiring a sample of the strange substance, though Turner suspects that, with K-9 on the case, Gryffen’s investigation will be far ahead of her own. K-9, Starkey, Darius and Jorjie have already started tracking down the source of the mucus: a near-extinct alien creature protecting the eggs of her young. But why did she need the tree, and how far will Drake go to make the endangered creature extinct?

written by Jim Noble
directed by Dale Bradley
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Gabriel Egan (Postman Pat), Remi Broadway (Robin Hood)

Original Title: The Last Oak Tree In England

Notes: K-9 claims to have met the real Robin Hood, and also says he is invulnerable to “mere” electromagnetic interference – perhaps an in-joke on the fact that the original ’70s K-9 prop was prone to mere radio frequency interference that would send it haywire in the studio. This is the first episode since Liberation to show the airborne propaganda screens. Guest star Remi Broadway would appear in K-9 again later in the first season.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Black Hunger

K-9Exploring some of the underground tunnels below Professor Gryffen’s lab, Darius spots two Department scientists experimenting with a piece of alien technology… and then unleashing something alive into the air. What Darius doesn’t see, however, is that the airborne life form quickly consumes anything near it – anything alive or dead, including one of the scientists. As far as Darius knows, the scientists simply abandon their experiment and leave their equipment there, which he then gathers up and takes to Gryffen’s lab. Darius discovers the purpose behind the alien life form: it consumes anything, and can then be retrieved by the device – the perfect miracle cleaning solution, except that it’s capable of devouring human life as well.

written by Chris Roache
directed by James Bogle
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Jared Robinsen (Thorne), Scott Tilly (Worker #1), Anthony Kidd (Worker #2), Stephen Sourkis (Dept. Technician), Josh Norsend (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Dane Paltman (CCPC)

Notes: There’s a fairly interesting piece of rather major character development in this episode, as Inspector June Turner admits that Jorjie’s involvement with K-9’s adventures does represent a conflict of interests for her work with the Department, but she also says that she stays with the Department to keep the likes of Drake from winding up in charge. There’s also a major Doctor Who reference here, as K-9 says he’ll evacuate his fuel cells when he next visits the planet Atrios, which has “no carbon-based life forms” – presumably the Atrios-Zeos war didn’t come to a conclusion that favored the survival of any life there.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Fall Of The House Of Gryffen

K-9A violent storm strikes London, and Starkey and Jorjie are marooned at Professor Gryffen’s house. When the power goes out, Darius, Jorjie and Starkey spot two children in the house – Darius recognizes them as Gryffen’s children, who disappeared with their mother during one of Gryffen’s space-time experiments. Gryffen’s wife appears as well, though she seems to be focused on forcing Gryffen to forget his friends. K-9 is unable to repel the advance of Gryffen’s family, but they’re more than capable of putting him out of commission. Have they really returned, or have bloodthirsty aliens taken their place… and either way, can Gryffen bring himself to stop them?

written by Shayne Armstrong & S.P. Krause
directed by Daneil Nettheim
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Sarah McIntosh (Eleanor Gryffen), Rachael Everett (Mina Gryffen), Joshua McIvor (Jacob Gryffen)

Notes: Starkey reads from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”, while the episode plays off of the title of Poe’s “Fall Of The House Of Usher”. When K-9, Starkey and Jorjie first see the children, the scene is very reminiscent of the appearance of the twins in the classic horror Discuss it in our forummovie The Shining. Scheduled by the producers to be shown seventh in the season, The Fall Of The House Of Gryffen was the third episode shot – and, to date, hasn’t aired in the UK at all. (The airdate for this episode guide entry reflects the Australian premiere date.)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Cambridge Spy

K-9Jorjie uses VR glasses to access a virtual encyclopedia during a storm – at exactly the same time that Professor Gryffen is attempting another time-space experiment. Jorjie finds herself in the same place – the site of Gryffen’s lab used to be a London police station – but in a different time, namely 1963. At the height of cold war tensions, Jorjie finds herself in the company of Bill Pike – a dead ringer for his great-grandson, Darius – who is being accused of spying for the Russians. But history doesn’t record his arrest or imprisonment until now, at the same moment that Bill Pike’s future changes, Darius begins to vanish. Now it’s up to K-9 and Starkey to take a very risky trip into the past to free Jorjie and restore the history of Darius’ family.

written by Jason Bourque
directed by Mark DeFriest
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinson (Agent Barker), Daniel Murphy (Burley Constable), Corey Robinson (Myles)

Notes: In a sly nod to the origins of the series that spawned K-9, William Pike is shown in a photo to have been booked by police on November 23rd, 1963 – the date of the premiere of Doctor Who. Considering that a Dalek incursion was taking place in and around Shoreditch at the same time, the clumsiness of the MI6 detail assigned to finding and interrogating Bill Pike is understandable; this activity may also explain the lack of immediate official concern about the disappearance of schoolteachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. Coincidentally, 1963’s Agent Barker bears a striking resemblance to new Department boss Inspector Thorne (both are played by Jared Robinsen).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Lost Library Of Ukko

K-9Over K-9’s objections (and under his watchful eye), Starkey and Darius attend an open house at the London headquarters of the Department. The boys aren’t there for the official tour, however – they’re at Department HQ to gather intelligence. The absence of ever-present CCPC patrols seems almost too good to be true, but there are other dangers inside: Starkey looks at an unusual framed picture and is sucked into the frame. Darius steals the frame and escapes from the Department as quickly as possible. At Gryffen’s lab, K-9 identifies it as a holographic “library card” from the planet Ukko, a world whose librarians can compress a snapshot of an entire planet into such a card. But it will take a librarian from Ukko to free Starkey before he starves on the isolated planet preserved in the picture…

written by Deborah Parsons
directed by Mark DeFriest
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinsen (Inspector Thorne), Cathey Robinsen (Librarian)

Notes: Inspector Thorne mentions that the Department is a presence in the UK, the Americas and “the Pacific Union”.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Mutant Copper

K-9Starkey stokes the fires of a protest gathering against the Department, but the CCPCs present are simply too slow-witted to find him. But Starkey, K-9 and Jorjie are surprised when they find a CCPC who’s even dimmer than his fellow cyborgs: he’s too busy birdwatching to apprehend potential agitators. When this particular CCPC helps the kids hide from the other CCPC patrols, Jorjie is certain that this particular cyborg is somehow evolving into something more than the average robotic thug deployed by the Department. What they don’t know is that this CCPC – nicknamed “Birdie” by Jorjie – is the result of an experiment to see if the CCPCs can be made more ruthless with the addition of human emotions and instincts. All Birdie knows is that he doesn’t want to go back to being like the rest of the Department’s henchmen, and K-9 and his friends risk everything to help him escape.

written by John O’Brien
directed by James Bogle
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinsen (Inspector Thorne), Thomas Calder (Marcus), Josh Norbido (Birdie), Peter Kent (voice of Birdie)

Notes: Starkey says that he “used to be known as” Stark Reality, his nickname from the pilot episode, a further indication that the series writers are attempting to distance themselves from the darker premise of the early episodes. Peter Kent, who provides Birdie’s voice, is also the drama and dialogue coach for the series’ young cast.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Custodians

K-9Across Britain, millions of kids fall victim to a popular massively-multiplayer virtual reality game, whose headsets first render their victim “players” comatose and then begins to mutate them with alien DNA. Never one to fall for trends, Starkey remains unaffected, and he and K-9, along with Inspector Turner, pay a visit to the game’s makers. There, they find a powerful telepathic being is behind the addictive game – and that the creature has seized control with the full knowledge of some of Turner’s cohorts at the Department in a bid for total mind control of the population. But even the Department can’t control this intruder.

written by Shayne Armstrong & S.P. Krause
directed by James Bogle
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinsen (Thorne), Dash Kruck (John: The Custodian), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Dane Paltman (CCPC), Tarek Beheiry (Etydien)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Taphony and the Time Loop

K-9Professor Gryffen takes it upon himself to right a wrong for which he feels responsible: at some point in the past, he helped the Department with a project involving a time-sensitive being known as Taphony. Despite the warnings from K-9, who has a bit of time travel experience, Gryffen uses his dimensional gateway to bust Taphony out of her cell at Department headquarters. She hides out at Gryffen’s lab, but K-9 warns that to survive, Taphony will have to siphon off another person’s life force – namely Jorjie. With only a momentary touch, Taphony ages Gryffen several decades. Jorjie and Gryffen have only hours left unless K-9, Starkey and Darius can convince Taphony to leave of her own free will.

written by Anthony Morris & Graeme Farmer
based on a story by Shayne Armstrong & S.P. Krause
directed by Mark DeFriest
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinsen (Inspector Thorne), Maia Mitchell (Taphony), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Eugen Bekafigo (CCPC), Michael Donnet (CCPC), Tyler Rostedt (CCPC)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Robot Gladiators

K-9Darius and Starkey hatch a plan to take down an old rival of Professor Gryffen’s, a man named Freddie who long ago stole Gryffen’s secret advances in robotics to create a breed of fighting robots that now feature in no-holds-barred, pay-per-view competitions. While Gryffen has been unable to get the authorities – including the Department – interested in the theft of his secrets, Freddie has become a rich man. But Darius has a robot warrior of his own to help him take down Freddie’s empire and expose the crime: K-9. What Darius and his cohorts don’t know is that Freddie has very highly-placed allies of his own who are willing to bet against the robot dog.

written by Jim Noble
directed by James Bogle
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Jared Robinsen (Thorne), Gareth Harris (Freddie), Remi Broadway (Chuckles), Michael Donnet (Boris), Josh Norbido (Pain Maker), Peter Kent (Lomax), Eugen Bekafigo (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Tyler Rostedt (CCPC)

Notes: K-9 himself hasn’t encountered robotic clowns before, but his former time traveling cohort the Doctor did in 1988’s The Greatest Show In The Galaxy; fortunately, the ones K-9 meets aren’t homicidal. This story, in which Thorne reveals that he knows about K-9’s regeneration capability, and will do anything necessary to induce the amount of damage necessary to force another regeneration, is the beginning of a story arc that leads up to the season finale. Robot Gladiators is one of the only season 1 episodes not to feature Robyn Moore as June Turner.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Mind Snap

K-9Professor Gryffen discovers, to his great dismay, that K-9 has been performing unauthorized experiments with the interdimensional equipment that first brought him to Gryffen’s lab. But instead of restoring K-9’s lost memories, the latest experiment renders him dangerously unstable and he even fires on Gryffen. Starkey and Gryffen have to convince K-9 to restore his own recent memories and discontinue his experiments.

written by Bob Baker & Paul Tams
directed by David Napier
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinsen (Thorne), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake)

Notes: a “clip show” consisting of a few “framing” scenes meant to link clips from previous episodes, Mind Snap was intended primarily to keep the production schedule on track without leaving a dent in the show’s budget. As such, the only new footage filmed for this episode features Keegan Joyce as Starkey and Robert Moloney as Gryffen, with new K-9 lines recorded by John Leeson; all other cast members (including those credited as guest stars) appear only in scenes from past episodes. This is also the first time that K-9 co-creator Bob Baker has been credited as a scriptwriter in the spinoff series.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Angel Of The North

K-9An unusual disturbance in space and time is detected, affecting everything in Gryffen’s lab – everything except K-9. The epicenter of the disturbance is in the northernmost reaches of Canada – near the crashed spacecraft from which Gryffen salvaged the interdimensional transport equipment in his lab. Despite his phobia of setting foot outside his lab, Gryffen contacts the Department and all but begs to take an expedition to Canada, hoping to find the final piece of alien technology that will bring the interdimensional transport under his control, and perhaps even send K-9 home. Inspector Thorne agrees to Gryffen’s request – perhaps too eagerly – and joins the Professor on his journey. K-9 and Starkey decide to go to Canada by other means in case Gryffen needs help. When they learn the identity of the alien race whose technology Gryffen has been researching, everyone will need help.

written by Bob Baker
directed by James Bogle
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinsen (Thorne), Craig Lee (Canadian Dept. Inspector #1), Emma Gibbs (Canadian Dept. Inspector #2), Matthew Reimer (Korven), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Eugen Bekafigo (CCPC), Manuel Savdie (CCPC), Tyler Rostedt (CCPC)

Notes: This episode establishes that, like the actor who portrays him, Professor Gryffen is from Canada.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Last Precinct

K-9A wave of incidents spreads through London, often involving CCPCs being disabled by a group calling itself the Last Precinct. CCPCs raid Gryffen’s lab, blast K-9 and take hostages, but they’re not looking for evidence – in fact, some of them aren’t CCPCs at all. Two humans remove CCPC uniforms and reveal themselves as members of the Last Precinct: the last London Metro Police officers remaining when the Department relieved all human police of duty to replace them with CCPCs. Pike is also Darius’ father, though the two barely acknowledge one another after years of estrangement. Pike has an ace up his sleeve, however: a computer virus that will put all of the CCPCs in London under his control. But who engineered that virus… and will deploying it actually help his aim of demonstrating the unreliability of CCPCs to the public, or will it only unleash an even more dangerous situation?

written by Shayne Armstrong & S.P. Krause
directed by James Bogle
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinsen (Thorne), Chris Betts (Pike), Lloyd Morris (Halloran), Jason McNamara (Green Hand), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Eugen Bekafigo (CCPC), Tyler Rostedt (CCPC), Simon Preston-Barnes (CCPC)

The Last PrecinctNotes: The CCPCs are revealed to be cyborgs – cybernetic organisms – in this episode, and mention is made of cloning centers that produce the CCPCs. Even more menacing is the fact that someone has been integrating alien biotechnology into the latest round of CCPCs cloned. As the CCPC raid on the last police precinct in London happened only two years ago, back when Gryffen’s lab was that police station, it’s reasonable to assume that Gryffen’s occupancy of the building is very recent, despite enough clutter to suggest that he’s been there for years.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Hound Of The Korven

K-9Darius is awakened by Inspector Thorne – a bit of a shock, since Thorne is on Gryffen’s property – who tries to sway Darius’ loyalty with a chance to see how his father is handling a stay in the Department’s virtual reality prison. Thorne’s price for this favor seems simple: he wants a piece of K-9’s circuitry, a piece he claims won’t be missed. And Thorne has something to tempt K-9 into cooperating as well: a memory chip that K-9 is missing.

But the circuit Thorne wants is the regeneration unit that restored K-9 in his new form. Even with his father’s freedom on the line, Darius knows this isn’t an even exchange. K-9 makes the trade anyway, and when he accesses the chip that supposedly contains his missing memory, the trap is sprung: a trojan horse program that takes over K-9’s programming, turning him into a mobile bomb dedicated to taking out an enemy of the Department’s choosing. And it can hardly be a coincidence that a lone Jixen has returned to Earth to find Starkey…

written by Shayne Armstrong & S.P. Krause
directed by Mark DeFriest
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (Inspector June Turner), Jared Robinsen (Thorne), Chris Betts (Pike), Jandardan Kewin (Jixey), Stephen Sourris (Dept. Technician), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Eugen Bekafigo (CCPC), Michael Donnet (CCPC), Tyler Rostedt (CCPC)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Eclipse Of The Korven

K-9The dimensional gateway in Gryffen’s lab activates of its own accord, but its energy is twisted, forming anembryonic black hole and a white hole in mid-air. K-9 predicts that Earth will be destroyed when the two converge – something that should take only 20 minutes. K-9 races to find out what Thorne is doing, certain that Thorne’s double-cross to gain possession of his regeneration unit is part of what is happening. He finds that Thorne also has another dimensional gateway similar to the one that Gryffen has pieced together, but much larger, and intended for a more sinister purpose: Thorne will use it to give his alien masters the means to invade Earth. He’s even anticipated every countermeasure Gryffen will use to close all of the dimensional portals, and has planned accordingly. K-9 will have to make an unthinkable sacrifice to save the world, and this time without his regeneration unit.

written by Shayne Armstrong & S.P. Krause
directed by David Napier
music by Christopher Elves

Guest Cast: Robyn Moore (June Turner), Connor Van Vuuren (Drake), Matthew Reimer (Korven Leader), Josh Norbido (CCPC), Jason McNamara (CCPC), Eugen Bekafigo (CCPC), Michael Donnet (CCPC), Tyler Rostedt (CCPC), Jarod Grodecki (CCPC)

Notes: Several elements planted through the entire season have been leading up to this episode: the missing element of the Korven-built gateway (Angel Of The North), Thorne’s involvement in the Department prison that held the Meron (Liberation), the virus that unleashed the CCPCs from human control (The Last Precinct), K-9’s regeneration unit (Regeneration / Hound Of The Korven), and Gryffen’s gradual fight against his agoraphobia (almost the entire season). For the first time, K-9 appears with the plaid collar similar to the one he wore in his original form in the Doctor’s company – perhaps a coincidence, or perhaps evidence that he has begun to recover some of his memories. The second and third Greek letters of Gryffen’s verbal deactivation code are sigma theta: whether coincidentally or not, a reversal of the Doctor’s Gallifreyan nickname, Theta Sigma (The Armageddon Factor).

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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