OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 587
STORY NUMBER: 125
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 04 January 1983
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR: Ron Jones
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Time-Flight/ Arc of Infinity
The Doctor is stunned and taken back to the Tardis. Robin meets Colin's cousin, Tegan Jovanka, at the airport. He attempts to explain to her what has happened and she decides to investigate the crypt. The Doctor is taken before the High Council: his old friend Councillor Hedin, Cardinal Zorac, the Castellan and Chancellor Thalia. Presiding over the council is President Borusa who, due to the threat posed by the alien creature that has attempted to bond with the Doctor, sentences him to death. On his way back to the Tardis he is passed proof that his bio-data extract was stolen from the Matrix by another old friend Damon who then helps Nyssa try to rescue the Doctor. The Doctor talks Nyssa out of her plan and is terminated in a disintegration chamber.
Oh my goodness, that was horrible. Where do we start? Appalling performances all round amongst the High Council (Michael Gough as Councillor Hedin excepted). Zorac can't keep his skull cap on straight which makes him impossible to take seriously. Hedin we've never seen before is suddenly an old friend of the Doctor, surely a role better suited to Borusa who seems very emotionally detached from sending an ex pupil to his death. The Castellan already knows there's been a murder in a room connected to the Matrix and yet won't consider the possibility that there's a traitor on Gallifrey. So he's either incompetent or the traitor himself. Option B is the one I went for as a child so it might be that's the intent..... And the threat the alien poses to "billions" is curiously undefined. Awful.
Nyssa's a bit trigger happy isn't she? Any chance to get her hands on a gun and she takes it shooting down everything is sight. See also: Keeper of Traken & Earthshock. She's obviously doing something right because Damon obviously fancies her like mad! We meet two old friends of the Doctor in this episode, Damon and Hedin, neither of which we've seen before. Yet the only old friend of the Doctor we do see that we know is President Borusa. No Spandrell, no Elgin (both Deadly Assassin) and most importantly no Andred, Leela & K-9! would replacing Damon with a regenerated Elgin have worked better in this respect....
The main thing I remember about watching this episode when I was younger (9 going on 10!) was that I actually saw it. For the first week of Season 20 the two episodes of Doctor Who aired on Mondays & Tuesdays as per the previous year. However from the next week onwards Doctor Who moved to Tuesdays & Wednesdays which caused HUGE problems in our house because Wednesdays was the night I went to Cubs. I argued that I could easily miss 12 weeks for the rest of the season of Doctor Who, Mum said No, we've paid you're going and that was that. As a consequence I missed every other even numbered episode in Season 20 with one exception: Mawdryn Undead 2. I was not a happy camper, deprived of half of my Doctor Who ration. This was compounded by the summer repeat season in 1983 repeating 1982 (Season 19) stories instead of Season 20 ones. The first time I saw most of the even numbered episodes for this year was in my late teens/early 20s when they came out on Video/I "obtained" them on video/they were repeated on UK Gold.