The Doctor (Davison) tries to return Teagan (Janet Fielding) to the 20th century, so that she can take up her position as flight attendant, unfortunately they land in the 17th century, and encounter a threat to humanity.
This four part tale was penned by Eric Saward and ran from 15 to 23 January, 1982, and saw the end of the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, at least for a few regenerations, as well as his involvement with the Great Fire of London.
Arriving in the 17th century, the Doctor and his Companions discover a crashed spaceship, and that it’s three passengers, prison escapees, from a race known as Terileptils, and their android (a rather flamboyant 80s boy band bit of design), plan to wipe out the human race by using rats to carry a dangerous new version of the Plague.
As the story progresses, I have to admit that Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) is getting to be very annoying, and a bit sulky. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise that he and Teagan are captured by the vaguely reptilian Terileptils, who learn about the existence of the TARDIS through their interrogation and want to use it for their own ends.
Adric is lucky enough to escape, but Teagan is recaptured, and once again ends up being under control by an alien, this poor character.
The aliens are also able to control some of the villagers through devices that the humans are forced to wear, while others are simply stirred up by the fear of the Plague.
As always, the Doctor, with some help from his Companions, and the locals, and a fire that has gone down in history, end up being able to put a threat to the purposed eradication of the Earth.
Davison’s Doctor is still having fun, his dialogue is playful and very much what we have come to, and would learn to, expect from the Time Lord. It is amazing considering where they are, and the amount of wildlife, and lack of paved roads, how clean his outfit stays.
Of course, as mentioned previously, these Companions are far from my favorite, despite how much I am enjoying the Fifth Doctor… I just wish he had some Companions that better complimented this incarnation of the Doctor.
The Terileptils are an interestingly designed race, and there is some promising animatronic work on the masks of the creatures. I think I’d like to see them return in the new series.
While I understand why the sonic screwdriver would be taken away from the Doctor from here on out, it can be used as a bit of a crutch to solve any problem, I was glad of it’s return in the new series. And, perhaps the Doctor felt the same way, I mean he could have made another one at any time he wanted… Instead he travels without it for a time, even as he races into his next adventure, the Black Orchid.