OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 556
STORY NUMBER: 116
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 28 February 1981
WRITER: Christopher H. Bidmead
DIRECTOR: Peter Grimwade
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva)
On Earth a policeman uses a police box to make a call but is cut off while it flutters visually and is pulled inside. Pacing the cloisters in the Tardis the Doctor decides to avoid going to Gallifrey, evading questions about what Romana has done, and instead suggests a trip to Earth. On Earth Australian air line hostess Tegan Jovanka is being driven to the first day of her new job by her Aunt Vanessa when the car breaks down. The Doctor decides to start the Tardis' long needed overhaul by fixing the chameleon circuit and travels to Earth to measure a real police box for use in Block Transfer Computations materialising round a Police Box on the Barnet Bypass next to the broken down car. Across the road from Vanessa & Tegan a white figure observes the events taking place, but vanishes when they try to summon him to help. The Doctor & Adric measure the police box, with the Doctor explaining about the Logopolitan Block Transfer Computations when the Doctor detects a gravity bubble. Popping out of the Tardis he sees the white figure in a field. The Doctor & Adric open up the police box, finding a darkened Tardis control room and another police box within. Tegan goes to into the Tardis, believing it to be a real Police Box, just missing the Police Box within dematerialising. She quickly becomes lost in the Tardis' maze of corridors. The Doctor and Adric penetrate the second Police Box finding another yet darker Tardis within. Vanessa approaches the Police Box on the bypass and steps inside to be confronted by an unseen figure who laughs at her. The Doctor & Adric eventually break out of the nested Tardises with the Doctor meeting a police inspector on the road who shows him the shrunken bodies of Vanessa & the police man on the seat of Vanessa's sports car. The Doctor, observed by the white clad watcher, tells the police that this is the work of the Master.
And so the end for Tom Baker's Doctor begins. Picking up the themes of entropy & decay that have been there all season the Doctor decides to fix the Tardis Chameleon Circuit and falls into a trap set by the revived Master. We've got real Police Boxes and someone stumbling into the Tardis believing it's a real Police Box just like Dodo at the end of the Massacre.
Playing airline hostess Tegan Jovanka is Australian born Janet Fielding. The character was probably designed to attract Australian money for a co-production that failed to materialise. It's not the last time that John Nathan-Turner would create a character with the intent of attracting money or audience from another country..... Tegan's character will give direction to the next year or so by wanting the Doctor to get her home in a manner similar to the original human companions Ian & Barbara. Meanwhile the Detective the Doctor meets in the lay by is Tom Georgeson, previously Kavell in Genesis of the Daleks and the Watcher, Adrian Gibbs, was a Marshman in Full Circle.
Tegan's house is Number 43, Ursula Street, Battersea, London which was at the time the home of Andrew McCulloch, where he and John Flanagan wrote Meglos. Meanwhile the "Barnet Bypass" is actually the A413 with the initial views of the bridge looking north towards Amersham and the lay by being located on the south bound carriageway roughly where the M25 now crosses it. I've driven this road many times due to at one point having a girlfriend in Aylesbury (Hello Barbara!) but never realised it was a Doctor Who location until years later when I bought Richard Bignell's Doctor Who on Location. This location is a very short distance from the field used in Reign of Terror for the very first Doctor Who location filming.