This week, the Doctor (Pertwee) gets off Earth in his TARDIS, with Jo (Katy Manning) tagging along in this six-part adventure written by Malcolm Hulke that ran from 10 April to 15 May, 1971.
The Time Lords restore the TARDIS’ travelling ability when they learn The Master (Roger Delgado) is up to no good again, though this is something they don’t quite pass on to the Doctor, instead, they simply let the TARDIS take off, much to his delight, and Jo’s consternation. They end up on a distant planet in the year 2472, where a group of colonists try to eke out an existence. But there are other beings on the planet, including a group who steal the TARDIS, and there is definitely more going on here than our characters know about.
Ashe (John Ringham), the leader of the colony, reveals to the Doctor, the existence of some telepathic locals (the same who knicked the TARDIS), referred to the colonists as primitives. Yet as the Doctor investigates, he finds an interesting strata of beings, and that they have been here for a long, long time, regressing from a once great society to merely a semblance of its former self.
More trouble is added, when we learn that the Interplanetary Mining Corp has arrived to do a survey, colonists or not. In fact, Captain Dent (Morris Perry) is planning on driving the colonists off, and isn’t worried about some bloodshed to do it. So very early on in the story, we get a nice, and still relevant, profits versus humanity arc.
Things get worse when a survivor from another colony (supposedly) shows up citing the danger of the planet’s primitives, but again there is more going on there than we initially know!
The colonists and the IMC are at almost violent loggerheads, and things are about to become increasingly exacerbated, as they’ve asked for an Adjudicator to come and mediate the situation. Unfortunately, the Adjudicator has a very familiar face… he’s The Master!
The Doctor cannot convince anyone to believe him about The Master’s intention, as, typical with a bureaucracy, the villain has all his paperwork to prove who he is, and the Doctor doesn’t have anything, and consequently cannot convince anyone to believe him.
There were a couple of things I liked in this story, and a few things I didn’t. The thing that most bothered me was the fact that Jo, apparently, didn’t believe the TARDIS could travel in time and space, and is more than a little bothered to find out she’s on an alien planet. What was the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) thinking when he assigned her to the Doctor? On the plus side, this episode has lots of examples of Venusian Karate, and sees the return of the sonic screwdriver!
Next week, the final story of Season 8 of Doctor Who, as The Doctor, Jo and no doubt, The Master encounter the Daemons!