The early stages of missing story The Smugglers sees the Doctor in a chirpy mood, as having managed to see off both Steven and Dodo in preceding stories (and particularly unceremoniously in the case of the latter!) he is free to travel alone for once. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last long as being so eager to be rid of Dodo he forgot about her TARDIS key, which is promptly used by Ben and Polly to unknowingly nip aboard.
Arriving on the Cornish coast a few hundred years earlier, it’s not long before the new team are embroiled in rumours of smuggling, piracy and hidden treasure. Such is their tenacity that it doesn’t even matter that they’re accidentally given the wrong name as part of the (actually quite basic in context) riddle that reveals the treasure’s location!
The story is a bit thin, and while not completely falling into archetypes the characters aren’t the most developed you’ll see, but it’s a real Boy’s Own adventure, and it works really well. The protagonists are suitably menacing, especially Pike, and the first appearance of Derek Ware’s HAVOC stunt team is reported to have highlighted their quality in a great final battle that would be fantastic to see in completion.
Adapted by Terrence Dicks, the novelisation is well-paced and keeps up the adventurous spirit, though occasionally dialogue exhibits the difference in style between Terrance and scriptwriter Brian Hayles. It’s a shame that the story wasn’t as popular back when it was originally shown, and it’s one kind of historical that is sure to be popular even today.