OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 689
STORY NUMBER: 157
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 13 September 1989
WRITER: Ben Aaronovitch
DIRECTOR: Michael Kerrigan
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 3.9 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Battlefield
The injuired knight draws the attention of his opposite number, Mordred, to the Doctor who he claims to be Merlin and, using this guise, the Doctor drives the other knights away while returning to the hotel wih the wounded knight, Ancelyn, and Bamberra. Mordered retreats to a local deserted house where he uses his sword and advanced technology to summon his mother Morgaine from an alternate dimension. This activity creates a storm and earthquake, causing the scabbard to fly off the wall of the hotel and embed itself in the wall nearest the lake. Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart is briefed on London and sets out by helicopter again for Carbury. Walmsley takes the Doctor & Ace to the local dig site showing them a mysterious transcription which the Doctor translates from his own handwriting to read Dig Hole Here which Ace obligingly does with explosives revealing an underground tunnel which the Doctor & Ace go down. Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart 's helicopter is brought doen by Morgaine and his pilot injured. He goes for help but finds Morgaine and her warriors holding a ceremony to comemorate Earth's war dead. Morgaine promises the next time they meet she will kill him. The Doctor and Ace open a door at the end of the tunnel, keyed to the Doctor's voice print, and find themselves in a chamber within a spaceship containing the body of King Arthur and his sword, Excalibur, which has been sending the distress call they picked up. Ace frees the sword from the stone it's buried in but this activates the ship's defences unleashing glowing green spirits which trap Ace in a chamber and knock the Doctor over. As the Doctor watches helplessly the chamber begins to fill with water.....
Just lacking something this episode. I mean we're two episodes in and the Doctor and Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart haven't shared a scene yet. The rememberance ceremony seems out of place (I haven't seen the special edition on the DVD recently to know if it explains this. Yes the model of the ship under the water looks good, but it does look very Zygon spaceship in Terror of the Zygons.
I mentioned the Knights yesterday and how they could have been so much better. This episode we see one that stands out from the croud by wearing red trousers. Why? It just looks so cheap like they couldn't find anoter set of whatever is substituting for chain mail for this one character.
The main guest star for this show is of course Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart. Courtney first appeared in the Douglas Camfield directed Dalek Masterplan in 1965 as Bret Vyon where he was shot by Sara Kingdom (his own sister), a character played by Jean Marsh an actress who also reappears in this story as Morgaine. Prior to Dalek Masterplan Camfield has used he as Joanna in the Crusade. Famed for appearing in and co-creating Upstairs, Downstairs, Marsh was also the first wife of Courtney's frequent Doctor who co-star Jon Pertwee. (an aside: he brother in the Crusade, Richard the Lionheart, was played by Julian Glover who was at the time married to one of the other creators of Upstairs Downstairs Eileen Atkins!)
Angela Bruce appears as Brigadier Winifred Bambera. Science fiction fans would have seen her the previous year as the female Dave Lister in concluding episode of the first season of Red Dwarf. Apparentlly Ling Tai, playing Shou Yuing, has been in Doctor Who before as an extra: IMDB thinks she was in The Leisure Hive: Part 1 as a Tourist (uncredited) and Warriors of the Deep: Part 1-3 Seabase Crewmember (also uncredited). June Bland, here as Elizabeth Rowlinson, definitely has been: she was Berger in Earthshock. Her character's husband Pat Rowlinson is played by one of two actors in the cast closely associated with BBC Police series: Noel Collins was Sergeant George Parrish in Juliet Bravo while James Ellis, playing Peter Warmsly in this story, was in Z-Cars right the way through it's run Bert Lynch rising in rank from PC to Inspector through the 17 years the show was in the air. Robert Jezek as UNIT Sergeant Zbrigniev has appeared in many Big Finish productions as Frobisher, the sixth Doctor's shape changing penguin companion while Stefan Schwartz, Morgaine's Knight Commander, went on to direct the film Shooting Fish.
Location time: all the material of the Brigadier inside the helicopter was filmed at Black Park, close to the location used for his home in episode 1 and previously used by Doctor Who in Full Circle & the Visitation. We saw lots of locations around Hambleton last episode but the village itself provides the street the Brigadier walks up and the church where he meets Morgaine while Hambleton Woods provide more of the lake & the dig site.