Wednesday 20 June 2012

575 The Visitation Part Four

EPISODE: The Visitation Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 23 February 1982
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 10.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Visitation

The Doctor frees Tegan & Mace from the Terileptil control. The Terileptil leader leaves for the city with the plague, sending the miller to secure the house and the Android to bring the Tardis to Earth. The Android scares off the men holding Adric and follows him back to the Tardis where Nyssa destroys it with the sonic device. Escaping from their cell the Doctor, Tegan & Mace free deactivate Terileptil control system. Adric brings the Tardis to the house and the Doctor seeks the Terileptil in the nearest city, London, by tracing some high technology emissions. They materialise outside a bakery where the Miller's horse & cart are waiting. Going inside they confront the Terileptils but in a scuffle the bakery is set on fire and the Soliton gas explodes. The Doctor has the remaining plague samples thrown in the fire and he makes an exit with his friends in the Tardis as Mace stays to fight the flames. As the Tardis leaves the London Street Name is revealed - Pudding Lane.

The Doctor causing The Great Fire of London is another entry into the cannon of his interference in/contribution to historical events including, but not limited to, the invention of fire, the burning of Rome, making sure the Battle of Stamford Bridge occurred and inventing the Trojan Horse. Historians argue as to whether the fire actually did contribute to stopping The Great Plague but here it foils the Terileptil plot.

The Visitation isn't a bad story, building on genuine historical event, the Plague & the Fire, and adding a science fiction twist to it. It's competently done, easily accessibly & understandable and there's not really a lot wrong with it. On the strength of this it's writer Eric Saward got the script editor's job and he'll be making an important contribution for the next few years.

The Visitation was repeated in 1983 as the first of that summer's repeat stories over the evenings of 15th to 18th August. The author novelised his script in 1982 and it was the first Target novel featuring the fifth Doctor to be released and the first to bear a photo cover. It was released on video in July 1994 in a double pack with the following story, Black Orchid, and on DVD in January 2004.

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