Sunday 1 July 2012

586 Arc of Infinity Part One

EPISODE: Arc of Infinity Part One
TRANSMITTED: Monday 03 January 1983
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.2 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Time-Flight/ Arc of Infinity

A Time Lord communicates with a robed being confirming that their plan can take place and the Doctor has been chosen. However while information is transmitted to the being from Gallifrey it is detected and the Tim Lord is forced to go to the computer room and murder the technician monitoring the situation. In Amsterdam two youths Englishman Robin Stuart, who has lost his passport, and Australian Colin Frazer, who expects to meet his cousin tomorrow, spend the night in a pumping station adjoining a crypt. As the Doctor works on faults in the Tardis it is invaded by the being which seemingly merges with the Doctor before he collapses. Colin is woken in the night by a wheezing & groaning sound and a bright light. Investigating he is confronted by an alien creature which fires a gun at him causing him to disappear. Robin flees the premises, returning the next morning to retrieve his gear where he is confronted by a zombie like Colin performing tasks for the alien. The Doctor determines the region of space they are in, the Arc of Infinity, contains quad radiation which is able to bridge our universe and that of anti matter where he believes the creature was from. He is forcibly summoned back to Gallifrey and confined to the security zone but with aid from the dead technician's colleague, Damon, he & Nyssa escape only for the Doctor to be shot down by the head of the Chancellery Guard, Commander Maxill.

Am I allowed to say who the villain is? No? I can't remember if we knew at the time or not but watching it now and seeing a figure projected in negative automatically makes me think anti-matter, which is confirmed later in the episode. Now if you're a long term Doctor Who fan, or at least one who can remember back to the the Five Faces repeats less than 15 months earlier, anti matter and Time Lords mean just one thing...... The identity of the traitor Time Lord is a little harder to work out and I can remember being completely sure I knew who it was from the first few episodes.

Is "impulse laser?" the worst final line anyone has ever had? Deary me. The actor delivering it as Talor, John D. Collins, would shortly find fame in 'Allo 'Allo as Flt. Lt. Fairfax. And as for the monster seen in the crypt, identified on the end titles as The Ergron, it looks like a particularly poor sub Geiger Alien knock off.

We're on location in Amsterdam this episode. What? You couldn't tell? All the shots of canals & bridges with "Tulips from Amsterdam" playing in the background on an organ wasn't enough of a clue? Doctor Who filmed in Paris for the 1979 story City of Death and going abroad would generate a few column inches and photo opportunities for the show so off to Amsterdam the crew went for a filming session lasting from 3rd to 5th May 1982, exactly three years after their Paris visit. The BBC was used to filming in Holland as their Soap Opera Triangle regularly used the country as a location. Several actors in Doctor Who have the stain of working on this show on their CV including one in this very story!

So a quick raid on Triangle's IMDB entry gives us the following list

Michael Craig - Captain John Anderson (78 episodes, 1981-1983) is Commodore Travers in Trial of a Time Lord 9-12
Paul Jerrico - Charles Woodhouse (78 episodes, 1981-1983) is the Castellan in Arc of Infinity & The Five Doctors.
George Baker - David West (52 episodes, 1982-1983) was Decider Login in Full Circle
Kate O'Mara - Katherine Laker (27 episodes, 1981-1982) will be the Rani in Mark of the Rani & Time of the Rani
Scott Fredericks - Tom Kelly (26 episodes, 1983) was Boaz in Day of the Daleks & Stael in image of the Fendahl
Nigel Stock - Wally James (15 episodes, 1981) was Professor Hayter in Time Flight
Glen Murphy - Engineer (4 episodes, 1981) will be Dibber in Trial of a Timelord 1-4

I also spot Sandra Dickinson as Penny Warrender (52 episodes, 1982-1983): she was Peter Davison's wife when he was Doctor Who. We also have Peter Arne (Kevin Warrender in 12 episodes during 1982). In 1983 he made newspaper headlines by being murdered while preparing for a role in the Doctor Who story Frontios.

Behind the camera we find Doctor Who directors Darrol Blake, Terence Dudley & Andrew Morgan working on the show.

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