The second tale in what is known as the E-Space trilogy finds the Doctor (Baker), Romana (Lalla Ward), Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) – though they don’t know he’s stowed away on the TARDIS yet – and K9 taking on vampires!
This four part story was penned by Terrance Dicks, and originally ran from 22 November to 13 December, 1980. This one ends up being a bit of the Doctor’s take in Bram Stoker’s classic vampiric tale, Dracula.
Arriving on a rather medieval looking planet, the Doctor and company hear rumors and tales of The Three Who Rule from an impressive looking castle, which as the Doctor discovers, is actually a spaceship, and the Three were once astronauts, over a thousand years ago, who were turned to vampires, you can tell because of their eye makeup.
With the townsfolk at his side, and Romana and Adric kidnapped, the Doctor leads the charge against a terrible enemy, one that once even threatened Gallifrey, the King Vampire.
The story marries some typical Doctor Who science fiction with the stereotypical vampire lore, living for thousands of years, castles, carnivorous bats that also serve as messengers, and townspeople who are aware of the nature of their rulers, but are unwilling to rise up against them… except for a band of rebels who have discovered some of the technology from the spaceship/castle, and of course the fact that the vampiric presence is alien by its very nature.
All of this while they are stuck in e-space!
Adric proves himself a pretty typical Companion right off the bat, wandering off to explore immediately and getting himself into trouble, as he is captured and selected to be turned.
The story, itself, is rather typical, and sadly lacks any real darkness or terror. We’ve come a bit of a way from episodes that had children hiding behind the sofa, and while the stories are still, mostly, entertaining, it definitely needs something to freshen it up… perhaps a regeneration? perhaps a new showrunner? At least we’ll get one of them soon…
And, something else I thought I would never say… I’ve grown tired of a Doctor. As iconic as Baker made the role, for all he did while he was in it, I’m tired of his performance now, and I think, that by this time, he was too. There’s no real spark in his character anymore, and the Doctor, if anything should not only be a spark, but a conflagration.
That simply isn’t happening anymore.
I guess we’ll just have to see what happens next time when the E-Space Trilogy comes to a conclusion with Warrior’s Gate.