Thursday 9 February 2023

597 Mawdryn Undead Part Four

EPISODE: Mawdryn Undead: Part Four
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 09 February 1983
WRITER: Peter Grimwade
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

"The Doctor chose to involve himself. Soon he will be a Time Lord no longer. That is his reward for compassion."

The Doctor tells the older Brigadier, Tegan & Nyssa that helping Mawdryn will cost him his remaining eight regenerations and refuses, leaving for the Tardis. Turlough has found his way to the Tardis but the Black Guardian appears to him, warning him that two Brigadiers represents a threat to his plan and ordering Turlough to keep them apart. Turlough searches the ship, finding the younger Brigadier and locking him in the chamber that contained the Mutants. The Doctor tries to leave the ship in the Tardis but the necessary course causes Tegan & Nyssa to age as they travel through time. He returns to the ship, reverses the polarity of the neutron flow and tries again but this time they are reduced to youth. He theorises that they have become infected by a virus produced by Mawdryn's Mutations and returns them to the ship. They will be unable to travel in time and unable to leave the ship so the Doctor agrees to Mawdryn's plan on the condition that the process is used to cure Nyssa & Tegan too. The younger Brigadier escapes from the mutants chamber, finding his way to the Transmat Capsule where he removes the Tardis homing device to seek the Tardis. When he finds his way there nobody is present so he continues to wander the ship. The Doctor wires himself, Nyssa and Tegan into the circuit and has the older Brigadier activate it. Turlough attempts to stop the younger Brigadier from entering the lab but at the precise moment that the sequence comes to power the younger Brigadier enters, and shorts out the time differential between the two versions of himself, providing the energy for the process, granting Mawdryn & the Mutants the death they long for and saving the Doctor.

4u 4v

Nyssa takes the older Brigadier back to the centre of the Tardis, while the Doctor speaks to the grateful dying Mawdryn. Turlough finds that the crystal the Black Guardian provided him with has cracked and flees. The Doctor & Tegan take the younger Brigadier to the Tardis as the ship starts to destabilise. They materialise in 1977 and leave the younger Brigadier on the hill where he is found by the school Doctor, responding to the Brigadier's earlier summons. The older Brigadier is returned to 1983, but recalling that Turlough is still on the ship the Doctor is forced to make a quick goodbye. Entering the Tardis they find Turlough aboard who requests that the Doctor take him with you.

4w 4x

Aw that's fabulous stuff, I loved that. That just works for me, clever story with the eventual solution using stuff set up in earlier episodes IE The Doctor is saved by there being TWO Brigadier's wandering round the ship.

4s 4t

Yeah we can gloss over quite how that works but when you think about it the Doctor giving up his remaining regenerations and the shorting of a time differential having the same effect does make you wonder if the Time Lords' ability to regenerate are somehow linked to their travelling in time. (a similar idea is hinted at in the new series in Amy & Rory's child River Song, conceived in the Tardis, having the ability to regenerate). And how much energy was released by the Brigadiers touching? Enough to give the Doctor extra regenerations?

I missed this episode on original transmission (Cubs) so it was some years later before I saw it to find out how it ended!

The child actresses playing the younger versions of Nyssa & Tegan, Lucy Baker & Sian Pattenden had worked together before in the first two episodes of the Douglas Camfield production of Beau Geste. Neither actress is credited here despite each of them having a line of dialogue which I thought Equity rules say they should be. Lucy Baker now acts under the stage name of Lucy Benjamin finding fame as Lisa Fowler in Eastenders.

c4 N LB c4 T SP (2)

Sian Pattenden works as a writer and you can see her website at which has a section on her acting career. There are a few interesting plot holes here, almost unavoidable when doing a time travel story. The younger Brigadier picks up the Homing Beacon from the Capsule, which is presumably the one he said he got from Tegan in the previous episode. We'll forgive his memory being faulty due to what happens afterwards and the resulting breakdown that causes the younger Brigadier but think about it.... the younger Brigadier takes the homing device home, puts it in his toolbox, the older Brigadier digs it out and gives it to the Doctor who uses it to reactivate the transmat capsule where the older Brigadier finds it and takes it home ...... If that's true it's the same homing device going round and round and round! It's probably best to assume that Tegan *did* give him the homing device she was carrying offscreen and that the younger Brigadier ends up with two in his possession. Still the release of energy when he meets his older self does nicely explain why the homing device was broken when he found it in 1983!

I'm also forced to ask who set up the machinery on Earth that the Doctor deactivated in 1983 and disguised it in the statues? It wasn't Mawdryn! Does Mawdryn have tiny robot servants that set up the equipment after he leaves? And who made the Transmat capsule invisible after Mawdryn left it? Was it under instructions to cloak itself? And isn't it a huge coincidence that the same school Mawdryn materialises at would later have an alien pupil secreted away at it *AND* have an old friend of the Doctor's teaching there? As the Doctor indicates in this story there does seem to be some cosmic forces working here and you do wonder if the entire chain of events was set up by the Black Guardian (and the White Guardian, acting in opposition and guaranteeing the Brigadier's presence) with his servants doing the necessary tidying up following the events of 1977.

But these are just minor details in what is otherwise a superb story from Peter Grimwade. It's a big starring story for Nicholas Courtney and really shows him off, the subtle difference between the two Brigadiers. We introduce a new companion, one with an edgy secret and a hidden past: you have to ask questions about Turlough, which planet is he from and why is he on Earth? We bring back a Doctor Who villain last seen swearing vengeance in the form of an actor possessing one of the best voices ever. I really can't believe that there are some people out there who don't like this story.

Mawdryn Undead was novelised by the television story's author in 1984. It was released on video in November 1992 followed by Terminus & Enlightenment in early 1993. All three stories were released together on DVD as part of the Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy boxset.

And that's it for us here: Forty Years Of Doctor Who is done, on a regular basis at least. 've been writing about DW constantly since the 50th anniversary in 2013 and we're now approaching the 60th. Before that I wrote everyday from 2010 to late 2012. I got into good practice of having a significant number of blogs in hand in case anything went wrong. In 2018 I had my first major stall and went a couple of months without being able to write anything but was able to pick up after that and finish the blogs for the later Tom Baker stories for the 40th Blog and Jon Pertwee for the 50th: My s11 blog file has a last edit date in late 2019 and I'm pretty sure that that was an edit and the blog itself had been in the bag for a while by then! So the 50th blog entries for s10 and s11 will follow this year and next, that's happening.

I took the choice to push on with the Peter Davison stories for the 40th blog even though that was beyond the original remit of the blog which had been to do the Toms. I especially wanted to say stuff about Earthshock. But, iirc, I stalled again quite early on, and then again later in the season. I got stuck in episode 4 of Arc of Infinity in Jan 2020 then Covid happened, my head fell apart and I didn't write a word about DW for a year. Early 2021 something clicked, I finished the problem Arc 4, sailed through Snakedance, which I'm generally not to fond of, and went into Mawdryn Undead, one of my favourite Fifth Doctor stories. Writing about episode 1 wasn't too bad but I very quickly ran into trouble with episode 2 and had to down tools again but knowing I had 2 years to work it through and get going again.

I never did.

I just could not find the new words to write, and by this time last year I knew I wasn't going to so the question changed from "How can I push on?" to "How can I salvage what I have?" Do I want to even start a season I can't finish? Just stopping might be neater but I've got two and a bit stories worth of blog entries I've slaved over that I don't want to waste.

So I settled for finishing Mawdryn 2 then taking the existing episode a day entries for 3 & 4 and plugging some screencaps in.... which was the point my DVD drive decided to refuse to play my Mawdryn Undead disc any more. Fortunately we managed to persuade one of the laptops in the house to cooperate so episodes 3 & 4 have at least got some nice pictures and a little polish up.

I'm sorry, but I've hit my limits and need to acknowledge that taking this further than this point is beyond me and I don't have the words anymore. I would have LOVED to redo Five Doctors with lots of nice pictures but ..... :-(

I am fortunate that most of later the Episode a Day blogs - see aren't too bad.

As I said above all blog entries for the later Pertwee stories are in the bag so 50 Years of Doctor Who *WILL* continue. I've got all the Tom Baker episodes redone in the 40 years blog so there's a good few years of once a week entries on the 50th anniversary yet to come. And by the time we get to 2033 I may have managed to write some more.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

596 Mawdryn Undead Part Three

EPISODE: Mawdryn Undead: Part Three
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 08 February 1983
WRITER: Peter Grimwade
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

"I, Mawdryn, have returned. It is time for the awakening!"

In 1977 the Creature in the Tardis insists it is the Doctor and has the younger Brigadier, Nyssa & Tegan take it back to the ship in 1983. He exits the Tardis, insisting the others stay there but after a while the younger Brigadier follows him. The Doctor & older Brigadier catch up with Turlough at the transmat capsule. The device guiding the capsule on Earth is damaged but the Doctor jury rigs a replacement using the Tardis homing beacon that Tegan left with the Brigadier and, once the Brigadier has assured the Doctor he never went with the Tardis in 1977, they return to the ship. The Doctor & older Brigadier find a laboratory containing a regenerator stolen from Gallifrey which the Doctor condemns as being a very dangerous piece of equipment. The older Brigadier wanders off, narrowly missing his younger self, but when he returns he finds the creature from the Tardis who he mistakes for the Doctor and helps into the regenerator equipment. Under the Black Guardian's guidance Turlough finds a room with seven similarly mutated creatures in which awaken and proceed through the ship witnessed by the younger Brigadier. Finding the Tardis the Doctor goes inside but is angered to find Nyssa & Tegan brought the younger Brigadier with them. They go back to the laboratory, hoping to find either Brigadiers, but there encounter the creature who says his name is Mawdryn. He and his fellows stole the regenerator, hoping to make themselves into Timelords. Instead they were hideously mutated and trapped in a state of perpetual regeneration. Cast out by their race they are set on an endless voyage round the stars encountering a planet every seventy years where one goes down disguised, supported by the mental energy of the other seven. Six years ago Mawdryn went to Earth. But now the Doctor is here he can save them all by sacrificing his energy but this will mean the end of the Doctor as a Time Lord.

People narrowly missing people? People being mistaken for other people? This is a farce in the theatrical sense of the word!

3a 3b

It might seem a lot of running around, so potentially a time filler/waster episode but the plot is advanced, we learn the identity of the creature, who was on the ship and why they're there. Throw in a nice reference here to the Blinovitch Limitation Effect, referred to several times in the past from Day of the Daleks onwards, as to why the Brigadiers meeting would be disastrous. And we get another good look at those fabulous ship sets. Third decent episode this story.

All the locations used in this story are in or near Trent Park in Middlesex, close to Cockfosters Tube Station. The house was later used by Middlesex University.

3 Loc 2 3 Loc 1

Playing Mawdryn is the great David Collings. He'd already been in Doctor Who twice as Vorus in Revenge of the Cybermen and Poul in The Robots of Death. In Blake's 7 he plays Deva in the final episode Blake but is probably best known for his recurring role in Sapphire & Steel where he plays Silver.

c3 M1 c3 M2

The two credited Mutants are Brian Darnley, who I have no information about, and Peter Walmsley, who was in an episode of Sink or Swim with Peter Davison as a Bus station clerk.

U 1 U 2

There's a number uncredited too: David Cole & Mitchell Horner both played schoolboys in previous episodes. They're joined by Ian Craig & Richard Olley, the latter of which was a Guard in the Blake's 7 episode Traitor. Rounding out the group is 3-4 Michael Leader. Leader has been in Doctor Who before as one of the Pangol Army in The Leisure Hive and a Terileptil in The Visitation. and returns as a Man at Arms in King's Demons. In Blake's 7 he was a Technician in Dawn of the Gods and a Rebel in Rumours of Death. In Red Dwarf he's one of the Hooded Horde in Terrorform. He was an extra in Star Wars where he recalled playing a Stormtroooper. He had a recurring role in EastEnders as The Milkman and the 27th December 2016 episode carried an "in memory of" caption following his death.

Mawdryn Undead was a late replacement for another story, the Song of the Space Whale by 2000AD and former Doctor Who weekly comic strip writer Pat Mills. Space Whale would remain as a work in progress for another two years before being abandoned.

The Mawdryn Undead story that replaced it, based around the idea of a Flying Dutchman in space, always featured a teacher in a public school, but it wasn't always going to be the Brigadier. First choice was Ian Chesterton, the science master introduced in An Unearthly Child, who was one of the first Doctor's earliest companions. I'm almost glad he wasn't used because that would have meant us asking "Where's Barbara?" (Wright), a history teacher from the same school who travelled in the Tardis at the same time. They left together and the expectation of many fans was they went off and got married. The real reason Ian Chesterton didn't appear was a simple one: actor William Russel wasn't available. Neither was Ian Marter, former Fourth Doctor companion & UNIT Medic Harry Sullivan. The Brigadier was the third choice candidate: Nicholas Courtney had been sounded out about the possibility of reprising the role at Tom Baker's leaving do, was happy to oblige, and I think he works fabulously. I can see the Brigadier, post soldiering, settling down for a bit of Maths, bit of Rugger, CO of the school corp. And, thanks to the Three Doctors repeat during Five Faces, he would have been recognisable once again to many viewers.

Thursday 2 February 2023

595 Mawdryn Undead Part Two

EPISODE: Mawdryn Undead: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 02 February 1983
WRITER: Peter Grimwade
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

"Oh, I know how many beans make five, Doctor, and you don't have to be a Time Lord to cope with A level maths. It may come as a surprise to you, but I also happen to like teaching!"

The device the Doctor is working on explodes, knocking Turlough off his feet. The Tardis briefly materialises then vanishes and the Doctor wonders what has gone wrong. The Brigadier arrives with Ibbotson, looking for Turlough, but fails to recognise his old friend the Doctor. The Tardis materialises beside the Obelisk in the school grounds but the Doctor is nowhere to be seen. The Transmat capsule materialises containing a badly burnt man who Nyssa & Tegan believe must be the Doctor. They take him back to the Tardis and Tegan goes to the school for help. The Doctor realises the Brigadier has lost his memory and with mentions of UNIT, former colleagues and the Doctor's older companions he gradually jogs the Brigadier's memory. The Brigadier mentions he had a "spot of bother" a while back that the school Doctor described as a "breakdown". The Doctor needs to search for Nyssa & Tegan and the Brigadier recalls he once knew an Australian girl called Tegan..... Tegan realises the Tardis has materialised in the wrong time and she is at the school in June 1977, the occasion of the Queen's silver jubilee. Here she finds the younger Brigadier, and he helps her, especially when she mentions the Tardis & the Doctor. The Doctor tries to get the older Brigadier to recall what has happened under hypnosis. The Black Guardian appears to Turlough in a dream and reminds him of their bargain. Turlough escapes from the infirmary and heads for the transmat capsule, but his escape is discovered by the Doctor & older Brigadier. The younger Brigadier & Tegan, after summoning the school Doctor, arrive at the Tardis where they discover the figure rescued from the capsule has regenerated into a hideously deformed man.


For a show with time travel at it's heart Doctor Who rarely does stories that focus on Time Travel & it's consequences with the action more than one Time Zone. Excepting the Chase & Dalek Masterplan, both of which are essentially pursuits through differing locations, the only ones that really spring to mind are Day of the Daleks & City of Death. Here we have two different Brigadiers: the older one seen in the first episode in 1983, clean shaven and slightly having gone to seed following a breakdown, and a younger one with the familiar moustache and much more like the Brigadier we remember. A fine performance from Nicholas Courtney clearly defining each one beyond the costume and hair styles.

2b1977 2 Flashback 1

We need to look at the dates for the time periods and open a particularly virulent can of worms. Queen Elizabeth officially celebrated her Silver Jubilee from 6th June 1977, the date given in this episode. There's no getting around it, that's the date Tegan is at Brandon school. They say so and the t-shirts the boys are wearing attest to this.

1977 Boys

The other time period isn't precisely dates but the year is repeatedly given as 1983.

NYSSA: You found the fault?
DOCTOR: In a manner of speaking. It's on Earth.
TEGAN: Earth?
DOCTOR: If these readings are correct, it's 1983 on Earth.
DOCTOR: Well, the capsule originally left the ship six years ago.
TEGAN: 1977.
DOCTOR: Yes. I wonder what it's been up to all that time.
TEGAN: Don't want to miss the Tardis, do we? I've just realised. The Doctor is expecting the Tardis to follow him through to 1983. Don't you see? The wounded thing in the capsule, maybe it isn't the Doctor after all. Come
So by June 1977 the Brigadier has left UNIT and is teaching. Which then forces UNIT's dating to be before this, i.e. roughly when the stories were shown. Now I don't have a problem with this but many fans who were around at the time will argue, based on secondary evidence outside of the show, that the UNIT stories should be dated a few years in front of when they were shown. The only piece of real concrete onscreen evidence for them being later is Sarah's claim that she's from 1980 in Pyramids of Mars. Well I think we dealt with that one when I did Pyramids of Mars part 2 (neatly solving when The Doctor reprogrammed Xoanon in the bargain).

This was the only other even numbered episode I saw this season, after Arc of Infinity 2. Wednesday night was Cub night. Why I escaped this week I don't know but I was pleased I did because I got to see a fabulous flashback sequence as the Doctor triggers the Brigadier's memories.

DOCTOR: Brigadier?
BRIGADIER: Oh, it's you.
DOCTOR: I'd forgotten.
BRIGADIER: I beg your pardon?
DOCTOR: I've regenerated.
DOCTOR: What would you say if I told you I was looking for my Tardis?
BRIGADIER: Very little.
DOCTOR: What about our time together with UNIT?
DOCTOR: So you do remember.
BRIGADIER: UNIT is a secret organisation. If you are aware of its existence, you would almost certainly have signed the Official Secrets Act.
DOCTOR: Is there somewhere we could talk?
BRIGADIER: Oh, very well. My quarters. This way.

DOCTOR: An undercover operation, is it, Brigadier? I mean, I hardly expected to find you at a boy's school.

BRIGADIER: There you are.
DOCTOR: Your quarters?
BRIGADIER: Serviceable.
DOCTOR: Quite.
BRIGADIER: Well. Here we go. Sorry about the door. Do go in. Now then, what's all this about UNIT?
DOCTOR: Brigadier, I need your help. I've lost the Tardis.
BRIGADIER: I don't know what the Tardis is. I've already told you.
DOCTOR: And you don't remember me?
BRIGADIER: Certainly not. But whoever you are, I can't let you wander around blabbing about classified UNIT operations.
DOCTOR: Oh, there's much more at stake than a breach of security. I've lost my Tardis, you've lost your memory. I'd be surprised if the two events weren't connected.
BRIGADIER: Let me tell you, sir, that I'm in full possession of all my faculties. After all, if I was suffering from amnesia, I'd be the first to know about it, wouldn't I?
DOCTOR: By the way, how's Sergeant Benton these days?
BRIGADIER: Oh, left the army in 79. Sells second hand cars somewhere.
DOCTOR: And Harry Sullivan?
BRIGADIER: Seconded to NATO. Last heard of doing something very hush-hush at Porton Down.
DOCTOR: Do you ever see anything of Jo Grant?
DOCTOR: My assistant, Jo Grant.
DOCTOR: Sarah Jane?
BRIGADIER: Sarah Jane?
DOCTOR: Liz Shaw you'll remember, of course.
DOCTOR: Are you all right?
BRIGADIER: Someone just walked over my grave.
DOCTOR: Perhaps it was a yeti, Colonel Lethbridge Stewart.

2 Flashback 1 2 Flashback 2

The shown items are:

The Brigadier, from the Three Doctors

2b3 2b4

Yeti, from Web of Fear

Cybermen, from the Invasion

2b5 2b6

The Second Doctor (not sure which story this shot is from)

Axons, from Claws of Axos

2b7 2b8

Daleks, from Day of the Daleks

The Third Doctor, from Spearhead from Space

2b9 2b10

The First Doctor, from Three Doctors

The Robot, from Robot

2b11 2b12

A Zygon, from Terror of the Zygons

The Fourth Doctor, also from Terror of the Zygons

2b13 2b14

And finally The Brigadier, from the Three Doctors again

DOCTOR: One lump or two, Brigadier?
BRIGADIER: Well, bless my soul. So you've done it again, Doctor.
Yes it's the third flashback sequence in three years but any glimpse of old Doctor Who was good.

It's obvious that SOMETHING has happened to the Brigadier between 1977 and 1983 with his changed appearance, slightly less tidy & organised quarters and most obviously his memory loss:

BRIGADIER: I must apologise for my cavalier behaviour when we met, Doctor.
DOCTOR: It's hardly your fault, Brigadier.
BRIGADIER: It is good to see you. Yeah, the Doctor and the Tardis. How could I ever forget?
DOCTOR: Exactly.
DOCTOR: The mental block, there must be some reason for it. Some trauma, some shocking experience, maybe some induced effect.
BRIGADIER: I don't scare quickly, Doctor. Nor do I succumb easily to brainwashing techniques.
DOCTOR: No, no, of course not. So, if there was a way of tracing how far back the inhibition goes, you could perhaps get some treatment.
BRIGADIER: Treatment? Treatment? There's nothing wrong with me, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Well, no.
BRIGADIER: A one, always have been.
DOCTOR: Absolutely.
BRIGADIER: I suppose you've been talking behind my back with Doctor Runciman.
DOCTOR: Brigadier
BRIGADIER: Oh, there's loyalty for you. It's no good. I'm not taking my leave at the funny farm. There's nothing wrong with me, I tell you. Fit as a fiddle, always have been. Sorry about that, Doctor. Had a bit of bother a while back. Overwork, you know. Doctor Runciman called it a nervous breakdown. Breakdown. Don't know the meaning of the word. This one goes on till he drops.
But what's caused this "breakdown", if that's what it is?

Even prior to the breakdown, the Brigadier is in a different role to when we last saw him leading UNIT in 1975's Terror of the Zygons:

DOCTOR: When did you leave UNIT, Brigadier?
BRIGADIER: Seven years ago. Oh, of course, I could have retired on my army pension, grown vegetable marrows and died of boredom in a twelve-month, then this job turned up. Bit of admin, bit of rugger, CO in the school corps.
DOCTOR: And you teach?
BRIGADIER: Mathematics. Oh, I know how many beans make five, Doctor, and you don't have to be a Time Lord to cope with A level maths. It may come as a surprise to you, but I also happen to like teaching.

In addition to those we met in 1983 we encounter some of the Brigadier's pupils in the shape of their 1977 predecessors: The new actors playing them consist of Derek Chessor, Timothy Slender, Stephen Kebell & Mitchell Horner , who had been a Squash Player in The Leisure Hive, He plays a Mutant in later episodes of this story and a Vanir in Terminus.

1977 Boys 1977 Boy

Not sure which of those is the Powell accosted by the Brigadier and lumbered with finding Doctor Runciman!

Earlier in the episode, but in the later 1983 time period, The boy passing by the Headmaster's door behind the Brigadier & Doctor looks like Paul Ryan from episode 1, whose lighter coloured jacket makes him easy to spot.

In School Boy 1983 Schoolmasters

The 1983 School Masters we briefly see are Fred Haggerty & Gerry Alexander.

Wednesday 1 February 2023

594 Mawdryn Undead Part One

EPISODE: Mawdryn Undead: Part One
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 01 February 1983
WRITER: Peter Grimwade
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Black Guardian Trilogy: Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment

"In thirty years of soldiering, I've never encountered such destructive power as I have seen displayed here and now by the British schoolboy!"

Schoolboys Turlough & Ibbotson "borrow" a vintage Humber belonging to one of their Schoolmasters' and take it for a spin becoming involved in a road accident. Turlough gazes down on the scene in a dream like state where he is joined by the Black Guardian, who bargains with him. For Turlough to achieve his desire and leave Earth he must kill the Doctor..... The damage to the car is surveyed by it's owner, an ex-army officer Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart. Turlough is taken to Brandon School's sickbay where he finds a crystal in his jacket pocket. The Tardis is drawn off course by a warp ellipse and in order to avoid collision with a huge spaceship the Doctor is forced to materialise inside it and the Tardis crew explore their opulent surroundings. Turlough escapes from the sickbay and, directed by the Black Guardian through the crystal, walks towards the obelisk on a nearby hill accompanied by Ibbotson where he finds a disguised Transmat capsule that takes him to the ship where he finds his way to the Tardis and meets the Doctor, Nyssa & Tegan. Ibbotson fetches the Brigadier, who is dismissive of the story saying that "a solid object just can't de-materialise!" The Doctor has determined that the Transmit is interfering with the Tardis' ability to leave so he & Turlough journey to Earth in the Transmat capsule to deactivate the Transmat link there and sets the Tardis to follow them when it is free. As he works Turlough seizes a stone and prepares to strike the Doctor's head with it.....

Ah that's much more like it. A mysterious spaceship, a schoolboy who wants to leave Earth to get home in league with the Black Guardian and a Brigadier claiming that things don't just dematerialise. And if anyone knows that they do it should be this Brigadier, yes our old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is back for the first time since 1975's Terror of the Zygons and teaching in a boy's public school, not in itself an unusual role for an ex army officer. Judging by his choice of car, his time spent with the Doctor had some effect on him. Of course if you'd not seen the Brigadier all those years ago you'd have probably seen him a year and a bit previously when The Three Doctors was repeated as part of the Five Faces of Doctor Who. It's funny how that one repeat has so much influence over Doctor Who at this point, that's the third time I've cited it in two weeks! We ain't done with it yet either oh no..... Back too is the Black Guardian who we last saw swearing vengeance on the Doctor at the end of 1979's The Armageddon Factor for preventing the Key To Time from falling into th Black Guardian's hands. Judging by the out of body experience that Turlough has, he's now running a rave party! Though why he has a dead bird on his head is never revealed.....

Thankfully Nyssa gets a new costume this episode. Yes it looks like something that the female crew members might have worn in Blake's 7 season 4, but it's a big improvement on the previous one!

Reprising their roles as the Brigadier & Black Guardian are Nicholas Courtney and Valentine Dyall respectively.

1a Brigadier 1b Black Guardian

We've seen two of the school staff before as well. Angus MacKay, playing the Headmaster, was the first Borusa in The Deadly Assassin. His diaries are available online at and make a very interesting read in places!

1c Headmaster 1d Runciman

Roger Hammond, Dr Runciman, was Francis Bacon in The Chase.

Mark Strickson, introduced here as Turlough, is another Who actor with hospital soap Angels as prior form on his CV. Born in 1959, so aged 23 at the time of filming, he's possibly slightly too old to be playing a schoolboy. However I suppose he could be a particularly old looking sixth former.

1e Turlough 1f Ibbotson

The actor playing Ibbotson, Stephen Garlick, was also born in 6th April 1959 so the illusion works while they're on screen together but unfortunately several of the background artists are obviously of proper school age and that breaks the illusion somewhat. Garlick is most famous for playing Dan, one of the two human children, in the 1971 Look and Read story "The Boy from Space". He seemed to have got stuck playing schoolboys: here he is playing John Standen in the 1982 Minder episode The Son Also Rises:! He'd also been in The Tomorrow People playing Kwann in all four episodes of the fifth season story Into The Unknown and voices Jen in The Dark Crystal.

Public schoolboys driving vintage cars around. Ring bells from anywhere? Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy contains a sequence of the schoolboys driving Jim Prideaux's Alvis at the prep school where Prideaux is teaching. Writer Peter Grimwade worked on the BBC TV Version as a Production Assistant. It may well have influenced his casting of both Beryl Reid & Alec Sabin in Earthshock: could it now be influencing the script of this story?

Both Turlough and Ibbotson are stunt doubled during this episode in I suspect the sequence where the car is being driven Mark Strickson/Turlough was stunt doubled by Nick Gillard, the stunt arranger on this story, who also joint stunt arranges Silver Nemesis with .... we'll come onto who with in a moment! In a long career he worked on The Professionals, Agatha Christie's Poirot, and the 1990s version of The Tomorrow People. In film he worked on the Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights, GoldenEye & Tomorrow Never Dies, Aliens & Alien 3, Superman, Superman II & Superman III, Pink Floyd's The Wall, Krull, Legend, Labyrinth & Willow, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Interview with the Vampire, the 1990s Judge Dredd film, Waterworld, Notting Hill and Sleepy Hollow. But he's probably best known for his sword and stunt work on Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode IIL Attack of the Clones & Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

The Stunt Double for Ibbotson/Stephen Garlick is Paul Heasman who was a Kinda in Kinda & a Plasmaton in Time Flight. He returns as Stunt Double for The Doctor & Stuntman/Cyberman in Silver Nemesis, which he was the other Stunt Arranger for along with Nick Gillard, Stuntmen/Haemovores in Curse of Fenric and was Stunt Arranger for Ghost Light & Survival. In Blake's 7 he was a Guard in Traitor and in Red Dwarf he did stunts on Backwards and Terrorform.

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The very briefly seen Van Driver is also a stuntman: Mark McBride. He'd worked as a stunt double on The Avengers episodes My Wildest Dream & You'll Catch Your Death, was a Man in Pub and did stunts for Regan, the Armchair Cinema pilot for The Sweeney. He also did stunts on The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Curse of the Pink Panther & Son of the Pink Panther, The Spy Who Loved Me & A View to a Kill, The Professionals Hunter/Hunted, Superman & Superman II, Willow, Batman and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

Stuntmen as both drivers and the passenger: I wonder if something more elaborate was intended to be shown onscreen for the crash?

And speaking of elaborate.... The aftermath of the crash caught my eye. We've got two vehicles, one a vintage car on it's side and the other a police car which is only in this scene. There's an aerial shot. Plus a large portion of the extras for this episode are only in this scene and at most a couple of shots!


Playing the Police Sergeant is our old friend John Cannon. In the aerial shot you can see the Sergeant's stripes on his arm, he's the police officer by the car. Cannon had been a Miner in Monster of Peladon, Elgin in Hand of Fear, a Passerby in Talons of Weng Chiang, a member of the Audience/Stagehands/Doorman (Fred) in Talons of Weng Chiang, a Trog in Underworld, a Technician in the Pirate Planet, a Guard in The Armageddon Factor, a Guard in Creature from the Pit, would have been the Executioner in Shada and was a Security Guard in Timeflight. He returns as the Shadow Helmsman in Enlightenment and a Retainer in King's Demons. In Blake's 7 he's a Federation Trooper in Project Avalon, Cevedic's Heavy in Gambit, a Labourer in The Harvest of Kairos and a Federation Trooper in Children of Auron. In Moonbase 3 he's a Technician in Castor and Pollux and in I, Claudius he's the Cake Ship slave in - A Touch of Murder. He's in Porridge twice: he's a Prisoner in A Night In and No Way Out. In The Sweeney he's in Supersnout as a Constable and Thou Shalt Not Kill as a Policeman while in The Professionals he's Huey in It's Only a Beautiful Picture. In The Empire Strikes Back he's a Holographic Imperial Officer while in Beau Geste he played a Legionnaire.

His Police Constable Robert Smythe had been a Guard in Invasion of Time, a Guard in Creature from the Pit, a Citizen in Full Circle and one of the crowd in the Caves in Snakedance. He returns as a Citizen/Unbeliever in Planet of Fire, a Gunruner in Caves of Androzani, a Jacondan Guard in The Twin Dilemma, a Guard in Vengeance on Varos, He'd been in Blake's 7 as a Federation Trooper in Weapon, a Crimo in Hostage, a Albian Rebel / Federation Trooper in Countdown, a Federation Trooper in Voice from the Past, a Customer / Gambler in Gambit and a Federation Trooper / Rebel in Rumours of Death. In Red Dwarf he plays Hermann Goering in Meltdown. There's a pair of Farm Labourers at the bottom right of the overhead shot. I can't find Bill Felton elsewhere in Doctor Who but Bill Hughes had been a Prison Guard & Prisoner in The War Games, a UNIT Soldier in Claws of Axos, a Passerby & Audience Member/Stagehand in Talons of Weng Chiang, a Guard in The Pirate Planet and a Technician in the Armageddon Factor.

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Being interviewed by the Police Constable to the left of both shots of the accident is a Middle-aged Lady played Judy Roger. A Middle-aged Man played by Dennis Jennings can be seen to the right of the overhead shot talking to one of the two schoolmasters present.

One of the School Masters is Mark Allington who had worked on the show since the sixties first appearing as a Male Guardian in The Ark then a Settler in The Gunfighters and, after a considerable gap, a Unit Soldier in The Android Invasion then after another smaller gap a Castrovalvan Warrior in Castrovalva and one of the Marketplace Crowd in Snakedance. In Blake's 7 he is a Star One Technician in Star One and in Fawlty Towers he's a Hotel Guest in The Wedding Party.

The other teacher is long time extra Les Conrad who had been a Tavern Customer in The Massacre, a Unit Soldier in The Invasion, a Pirate in The Space Pirates, a 1862 Union Soldier and an Alien Guard in The War Games, a UNIT Soldier in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a UNIT Soldier, Control Room Assistant & Policeman in The Ambassadors of Death, a RSF soldier in Inferno, a UNIT soldier again in Terror of the Autons, a Prisoner & Military Policeman in The Mind of Evil, a Colonist in The Colony in Space, a UNIT Soldier in Time Monster, a Technician/Guard/Citizen in Pirate Planet and a Policeman in Timeflight. He goes on to play a Gunrunner in Caves of Androzani, a Jacondan Guard in The Twin Dilemma, which also features his twin sons as the Sylvest twins, and a guard in Vengeance on Varos. He'd been a British Soldier in The Andromeda Breakthrough: Gale Warning, a man in Doomwatch: Burial at Sea, appears in the Blake's 7 episode Gold as a Space Princess Guard/Passenger, is a soldier in The Day of the Triffids and is a Legionnaire in the Douglas Camfield helmed classic serial of Beau Geste.

The other member of school staff seen in this episode is the Matron played by Sheila Gill.

Matron Boys

As it's a boys school there's a few younger extras playing schoolboys. We'll start with the two in the corridor later in the episode as The Brigadier approached the Headmaster's office. The one in the darker jacket closer the door is Wayne Norman, who's only in the studio sequences in this episode but appears in a different role next episode. His friend is Paul Ryan whose lighter coloured jacket makes him easy to spot when he also appears on location at the start of the episode. He returns as a retainer in The King's Demons.

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Right onto the Schoolboys who are outside on film either running, or gathered round the car.

Chris Bradshaw was a Kinda in Kinda and the Terileptil in Time Flight. He returns as a Lazar in Terminus and a Young Karfelon in Timelash. In Blake's 7 he is a Passenger in Gold.

Miles Ross was previously Trooper Jones in Earthshock. He returns as a 1983 Schoolboy in Mawdryn Undead, one of both Wrack's & Striker's Deck Crews in Enlightenment, a Retainer in King's Demons and an orderly in Frontios. His brother Adam Ross is also present and again returns as a a Retainer in King's Demons. They are both brothers of Jonathan Ross. There are two very similar looking blond haired boys, one wearing a hat, towards the back left of the group shots round the car: I suspect these are the Ross Brothers.

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John Hamilton Russell return as a Vanir in Terminus & an Orderly in Frontios.

Colin Forsyth is also, like the Ross brothers, a Retainer in King's Demons

Russell Brook come back as a Man at Arms in King's Demons, one of the Sea Base Personnel in Warriors of the Deep and a Lakertyan in Time and the Rani. Brook has a long list of credits of which I've seen nearly all of them! He was a Train Passenger in Chariots of Fire, a German Soldier in Raiders of the Lost Ark, a Red X-wing Pilot in Return of the Jedi, a Soviet Solider in Octopussy, Donald White in Superman III, a Red Slayer / Wedding Guest in Krull, a Man dancing at party in One Enchanted Evening, an episode of No Place Like Home which we looked at during Snakedance, a diner in A View to a Kill, the waiter in the Hi-de-Hi! episode Spaghetti Galore, a reporter in Little Shop of Horrors (film), a Punter in Bar in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a British Solider in Goodbyeee, the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth and a Police Officer in the One Foot in the Grave episode Alive and Buried.

Oscar Peck is making his Doctor Who debut but can be previously seen in the first Fawlty Towers episode A Touch of Class he plays Master Wareing. He returns as a worker/native in the first four episodes of Trial of a Timelord, a Court Guard in the last six episodes of Trial of a Timelord and a Lakertyan in Time and the Rani.

One of the Schoolboys on Film is a David Cole but the problem here is there are probably TWO David Coles who have worked on Doctor Who. There is a David Cole who played Billy Clanton in 1966's Gunfighters He was born on April 8, 1936 so, aged 45, is likely to have still been working at this time.

During the late 70s and early 80s period there's a supporting artist under this name playing a Crewman in Nightmare of Eden, a Student in Shada, a Pangol Army member in The Leisure Hive, a Savant in Meglos, a Citizen in Full Circle, a Kinda Tribesman in Kinda, a Student in Arc of Infinty, a Schoolboy in Mawdryn Undead, a Mutant in Mawdryn Undead, one of Ranulf's Knights, a Spectator & a Beggar in King's Demons and a Trooper in The Awakening. Some of those could well be the David Cole from the Gunfghters but The Student in Arc of Infinity and Schoolboy in Mawdryn Undead would seem to require a much younger actor and indicate that there is a second one so who knows quite how these roles are split!

I'm unable to find anything else Glen Paul, Paul Lawrence & Piers Keating have been in.

We mentioned that Stephen Garlick played Dan, one of the two human children, in the 1971 Look and Read story "The Boy from Outer Space" which I remember vividly seeing odd bits off when I was a child and off school ill. The cast list of this reveals several other who've been in Doctor Who: Dan's sister Helen was played by Sylvestra Le Touzel (b 1958) who was one of the children in The Mind Robber. The Thin Space Man was John Woodnutt (Spearhead from Space: Hibbert, Frontier in Space: Draconian Emperor, Terror of the Zygons:Broton/His Grace, the Duke of Forgill and The Keeper of Traken: Seron) while the Father of Peep Peep, the Boy from Outer Space of the title, was played by Gabriel Woolf (The Pyramids of Mars: Sutekh & The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit: The Beast). The Boy From Space is now available on DVD.