The 26th and final season of regular Doctor Who got under way with this four part story written by Ben Aaronovitch which aired from 6 to 27 September, 1989.
The Doctor (McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred) are joined in this adventure by a familiar face, the Brigadier (Nicholas Courtney) and UNIT. I love that there is a hint (yet to be followed up) on that the Doctor may in fact be the face behind the name of Merlin.
The story crosses with some other famed English legends, that of King Arthur, whose body is apparently in a spaceship from another dimension that is laying at the bottom of a lake, sending out signals, and interfering with a UNIT patrol that is guiding a nuclear convoy.
A number of knights, from other dimensions, come looking for Arthur, and Excalibur, and none present more of a threat than Morgaine (Jean Marsh) and The Destroyer (Marek Anton), a fine looking monster, truth be told, if blue.
While all of this is going on, Ace meets a young woman who shares her passion for destruction and explosions, Sou Yuing (Ling Tai) and a fast friendship is formed, even as they find themselves coming up against knights, and mysteries with the Doctor at their side.
Before the story is over, guns and swords will be drawn, the Brigadier will be back in uniform, the Doctor’s car, Bessie will make an appearance, and a confrontation between Morgaine and the Doctor will have to play out.
I love that the Brigadier is back, drawn to the case because he hears the Doctor mentioned, and despite the fact that the story moves on at a very healthy pace, it takes far too long for the two icons to share a scene together.
I do like that the Brigadier’s reactivation causes the current Brigadier, Winifred Bambera (Angela Bruce) no end of consternation, even with a be-smitten knight, Ancelyn (Marcus Gilbert) at her side. . And there is a wonderful reference to Clarke’s law, which says that any advanced technology would appear as magic to a lesser advanced species.
It’s hard to believe that I am coming up on the end of the run of the classic series! There are only three stories to go, which is too bad as I am quite enjoying this incarnation of the Doctor and delight in his companion, Ace, who lets loose with the cry, Geronimo! this week.
The pacing of the episodes are drawing closer to modern storytelling, and consequently, I’m finding them much more engaging, and delighting in the goofy computer-generated effects that are showing up now.
Next time, the Doctor and Ace encounter the Ghost Light.