Peter Davison steps into the TARDIS for the first time in this four part story that opened season 19 of the series. It also saw the strange move of shuffling Doctor Who from Saturday evening, where it had been a mainstay since 1963 to airing twice a week, on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
The last piece of the Master Trilogy was written by Christopher H. Bidmead and aired from 4 January to 12 January, 1982.
It would seem the Doctor’s (Davison) latest regeneration is a bit unstable, so he and his companions, Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and Teagan (Janet Fielding) end up planning on traveling to the planet of Castrovalva for some rest and relaxation.
However, Adric is captured by the Master (Anthony Ainley) who lays a trap for the Doctor, who in his weakened state may not be able to best the evil Time Lord. The more he recovers, the more dangerous he realizes the Master’s plan for revenge is.
The story revisits the last moments of the previous story, to remind everyone of the regeneration, before bursting into an updated opening sequence, and then rushing right into the adventure. In fact there is a bit of a romp on Earth before they get underway, as the companions rally to get the Doctor safely into the TARDIS.
In a rather symbolic moment, the Doctor unravels his scarf, to guide himself through the TARDIS. He also seems to momentarily shift through his previous incarnations, and confuses his companions with some of his previous ones. He does find his new outfit rather quickly though, including glasses.
But while the Doctor is recovering in the zero room, the Master springs his trap through Adric, sending the TARDIS spiraling back in time to the Big Bang! The Doctor recovers enough to save them, while the Master tries to tempt Adric to join him.
The new Doctor brings with him a different sense of humor, and it’s going to be fun to see him at his best, once the regeneration has completely taken hold. He’s still the only person I know who can pull off wearing a vegetable on his lapel.
As the travelers attempt to recover in Castrovalva, they eventually realize the whole place is one big recursive trap, created by the Master to stop the Doctor once and for all. Still, even as he is recovering, the Doctor susses out what is going on, and prepares for yet another confrontation with the Master, showing that even at his lowest, the Doctor can outwit and triumph over the Master.
I love the new life that Davison’s portrayal injects into the series, and it’s going to be a fun ride seeing how he makes the role his own. I already know I’m enjoying it. He has some fun lines, has a sense of play, and hopefully the stories cater to this. (I love the sequence when he tries to explain what is going on to the inhabitants of Castrovalva with a chalk map).
Next time it’s a trip for Four to Doomsday!