Tuesday 10 July 2012

595 Mawdryn Undead Part Two

EPISODE: Mawdryn Undead Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 02 February 1983
WRITER: Peter Grimwade
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

The device the Doctor is working on explodes, knocking Turlough off his feet. The Tardis briefly materialises then vanishes and the Doctor wonders what has gone wrong. The Brigadier arrives with Ibbotson, looking for Turlough, but fails to recognise his old friend the Doctor. The Tardis materialises beside the Obelisk in the school grounds but the Doctor is nowhere to be seen. The Transmat capsule materialises containing a badly burnt man who Nyssa & Tegan believe must be the Doctor. They take him back to the Tardis and Tegan goes to the school for help. The Doctor realises the Brigadier has lost his memory and with mentions of UNIT, former colleagues and the Doctor's older companions he gradually jogs the Brigadier's memory. The Brigadier mentions he had a "spot of bother" a while back that the school Doctor described as a "breakdown". The Doctor needs to search for Nyssa & Tegan and the Brigadier recalls he once knew an Australian girl called Tegan..... Tegan realises the Tardis has materialised in the wrong time and she is at the school in June 1977, the occasion of the Queen's silver jubilee. Here she finds the younger Brigadier, and he helps her, especially when she mentions the Tardis & the Doctor. The Doctor tries to get the older Brigadier to recall what has happened under hypnosis. The Black Guardian appears to Turlough in a dream and reminds him of their bargain. Turlough escapes from the infirmary and heads for the transmat capsule, but his escape is discovered by the Doctor & older Brigadier. The younger Brigadier & Tegan, after summoning the school Doctor, arrive at the Tardis where they discover the figure rescued from the capsule has regenerated into a hideously deformed man.

For a show with time travel at it's heart Doctor Who rarely does stories that focus on Time Travel & it's consequences with the action more than one Time Zone. Excepting the Chase & Dalek Masterplan, both of which are essentially pursuits through differing locations, the only thing that really springs to mind is Day of the Daleks. (Added a day later: City of Death too!) Here we have two different Brigadiers: the older one seen in the first episode in 1983, clean shaven and slightly having gone to seed following a breakdown, and a younger one with the familiar moustache and much more like the Brigadier we remember. A fine performance from Nicholas Courtney clearly defining each one beyond the costume and hair styles.

We need to look at the dates for the time periods and open a particularly virulent can of worms. Queen Elizabeth officially celebrated her Silver Jubilee from 6th June 1977, the date given in this episode. There's no getting around it, that's the date Tegan is at Brandon school. They say so and the t-shirts the boys are wearing attest to this. The other time period isn't precisely dates but the year is given as 1983. So by June 1977 the Brigadier has left UNIT and is teaching. Which then forces UNIT's dating to be before this, ie roughly when the stories were shown. Now I don't have a problem with this but many fans who were around at the time will argue, based on secondary evidence outside of the show, that the UNIT stories should be dated a few years in front of when they were shown. The only piece of real concrete onscreen evidence for them being later is Sarah's claim that she's from 1980 in Pyramids of Mars. Well I think we dealt with that one when I did Pyramids of Mars part 2 (neatly solving when The Doctor reprogrammed Xoanon in the bargain).

This was the only other even numbered episode I saw this season, after Arc of Infinity 1. Wednesday night was Cub night. Why I escaped this week I don't know but I was pleased I did because I got to see a fabulous flashback sequence as the Doctor triggers the Brigadier's memories. The shown items are:

The Brigadier, from the Three Doctors
Yeti, from Web of Fear
Cybermen, from the Invasion
The Second Doctor (not sure which story this shot is from)
Axons, from Claws of Axos
Daleks, from Day of the Daleks
The Third Doctor, from Spearhead from Space I think
The First Doctor, from Three Doctors
The Robot, from Robot
A Zygon, from Terror of the Zygons
The Fourth Doctor, also from Terror of the Zygons
The Brigadier, from the Three Doctors again

Yes it's the third flashback sequence in three years but any glimpse of old Doctor Who was good.

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