OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 591
STORY NUMBER: 126
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 19 January 1983
WRITER: Christopher Bailey
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Mara Tales (Kinda / Snakedance)
Nyssa is sent to search for Tegan but, although she finds her briefly, Tegan goes to hide in Dugdale's hall of Mirrors where she confronts the Mara within her. The Doctor goes to see Ambril, the Director of Historical Research, who isn't helpful and throws the Doctor out but his assistant Chela supplies the Doctor with a Crystal, as used by the Snakedancers, which may have some relation to the great crystal the director keeps that was removed from the Mara's cave. The Doctor attempts, and eventually manages to persuade the crystal to respond telepathically. He goes to seek Ambril out again but Ambril has him arrested and flung in a cell. Tegan has Dugdale take her too the Mara's cave, but discovers the crystal missing. They summon Lon, who the Mara possesses, and reveal a hidden chamber in the cave containing archaeological treasures which the Mara controlled Tegan & Lon will use to force Ambril to bring the great crystal to the cave for use in the forthcoming ceremony to commemorate the Mara's banishment.
Some nice imagery here again with Tegan arguing with a version of herself with a snake's skull for ahead, and some great acting by Janet Fielding as the possessed Tegan.
The chances are if anyone has seen any of a Peter Davison story it's a bit on Snakedance. Why? Because it's the first major TV role for Martin Clunes, playing Lon, who has gone onto general fame via Men Behaving Badly and Doc Martin. By the time 1983 had drawn to a close he'd found regular work in No Place Like Home and a few years later I can remember him as Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps in Jeeves & Wooster.
Another young actor in this story who's gone on to wider recognition is Jonathon Morris who plays Chela. By this point he'd already been in the Douglas Camfield directed Beau Geste amongst others but was a few years away from gaining national recognition as Adrian Boswell in Bread.
But oddly when I watch this neither of them jump out at me as being exciting. No. That's because I know that Lon's bodyguard is comedian, TV presenter and former GLR late night DJ Bob Mills. I know none of you will have ever heard of him (unless you watched In Bed with Medinner or Win, Lose or Draw) but that radio show he did was fabulous. I've still got odd things I won off that show for knowing rubbish including that Millsy himself had been in Doctor Who. IIRC he'd asked a question about what connected Brian Cant, Chris Tranchell & Chloe Ashcroft and knowing the answer got me on the air!