OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 437
STORY NUMBER: 088
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 November 1976
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: David Maloney
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
RATINGS: 12.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Deadly Assassin
"Vaporisation without representation is against the constitution!"
The Doctor is put on trial but puts himself forward as a Presidential Candidate protecting himself from Chancellor Goth who wants to have him killed. The trial as adjourned allowing the Doctor & Castellan to gather evidence. The shadowy decayed figure is upset by this and swears he will see the Doctor die & destroy the Time Lords. After demonstrating the gun he was found with was faulty he claims a member of the high council shot the President. They find the shrunken body of the technician hidden in the camera, which the Doctor identifies as the work of the Master. The Doctor works out that the Time Lord's Matrix was used to project the image of the assassination into his mind. He mentally journeys into the Matrix finding himself in a barren dream like landscape where he is taunted & attacked by a series of masked foes.
The Doctor stumbles onto a railway line where his foot is trapped in a set of points as a train roars towards him!
As the episode starts the Doctor is quickly apprehended for a crime that not even we are sure he didn't commit given the visions he'd had and that the gun was in his hands when the shot rang out and the President fell!
Look carefully in the background as the Doctor is captured: it's the return of the triangular & hexagonal wall pattern created for The Mutants.
The scene of the Doctor in a call, with a long shot of the cell showing it hanging in the air is one of the nicer effects done on the show: it's simple but it works.
At this point it looks like curtains for the Doctor but he enacts a nice little dodge to postpone his imminent execution:
GOTH: Thank you. Has the accused anything to say before sentence is pronounced?This episode then turns into a Poirot style investigation trying to prove the Doctor's innocence before the finding of the technician's body makes it obvious to the Doctor & us who's responsible for the killings:
DOCTOR: Yes. Article Seventeen.
GOTH: Article Seventeen?
DOCTOR: I offer myself as a candidate for the Presidency.
GOTH: The application is frivolous.
DOCTOR: No, sir. I invoke Article Seventeen of the Constitution which is a guarantee of liberty and says, in part, that no candidate for office shall in anyway be debarred or restrained from presenting his claim.
GOTH: The guarantee of liberty does not extend to murderers.
BORUSA: As a jurist, Chancellor, I must point out that until the accused is pronounced guilty, he is protected by Article Seventeen.
GOTH: He is abusing a legal technicality.
DOCTOR: No, sir, I am claiming a legal right.
SPANDRELL: Good grief. What's happened to him?Judging that enough time had passed since the death of Roger Delgado in 1973, the actor that played the original Master, Robert Holmes was keen to bring the character of the Master back for a one off appearance.
DOCTOR: Matter condensation. A particularly nasty sort of death.
HILDRED: No wonder we couldn't find him.
SPANDRELL: I've never seen anything like it.
DOCTOR: I have, I'm afraid.
SPANDRELL: You have?
DOCTOR: Yes. It's a technique the Master picked up somewhere on his travels.
SPANDRELL: Who's the Master?
DOCTOR: Who is the Master? He's my sworn arch-enemy. A fiend who glories in chaos and destruction.
SPANDRELL: A Time Lord?
DOCTOR: Yes, a long time ago. You know, a lot of things are becoming clearer.
SPANDRELL: Not to me.
DOCTOR: If the Master is here on Gallifrey, then this represents the final challenge. It explains why I was brought here. There are old scores to settle. And that's just a sort of greetings card.
SPANDRELL: Shut that thing up. Runcible, we are still waiting for you to find the last sequence.
RUNCIBLE: It's here, Castellan. You can tell by the numbers.
SPANDRELL: I can tell when I see it. Take it to Records. I'll have a look at it there. I want to know all you can tell me about this Master. And I warn you know, if there is some private feud between you, do not try to settle it on Gallifrey.
DOCTOR: It cannot be avoided. Like it or not, Gallifrey is involved, and I'm afraid things will never be quite the same again. Shall we go down?
Oddly this is only the second time the Master's killed someone by shrinking them! The first occasion it happened, and the Master's very first on screen victim, was in Terror of the Autons where Goodge is shrunk and placed in his lunch box. That story, which introduces the character, was the only previous occasion Holmes had written the Master. The only authors to have written the character more than once were Robert Sloman and Barry Letts (two stories: The Daemons & The Time Monster) and Malcolm Hulke (three stories: The Colony in Space, The Sea Devils & The Frontier in Space).
Bernard Horsfall, as Chancellor Goth, is a regular performer for director David Maloney appearing in The Mind Robber as Lemuel Gulliver, The War Games as a Time Lord (who is possibly the same character as the one he plays here) and Planet of the Daleks as Taron, all of which were directed by Maloney. He's got an Out of the Unknown appearing as John Stewart in the missing third season episode 1+1=1.5 and also appears in Doomwatch: Sex and Violence as Steven Granger and three appearances in The Avengers in The Cybernauts, The Fear Merchants and They Keep Killing Steed.
Castellan Spandrell is played by George Pravda who was previously Alexander Denes in The Enemy of the World and Professor Jaeger in The Mutants. It's worth looking at his IMDB entry for the shear number of productions he's been in that you'd remember him from but I can see a whole load of thing I've seen on his CV: the Bond film Thunderball in which he plays Kutze, The Prisoner, where he's the Doctor in A Change of Mind, Doomwatch, as Prof. Miklos Egri in the missing first season episode Spectre at the Feast, Moonbase 3, in which he plays Gen. Alexis Trenkin in Castor and Pollux, I, Claudius, he's in Some Justice as Gershom, The Professionals: First Night as Hirschfield and Firefox where he's General Borov!
The actor playing Co-ordinator Engin, Erik Chitty, was Charles Preslin in the first Doctor story The Massacre. He's got THREE Out of the Unknowns on his CV: from the first season he was in Andover and the Android as Bernard, from the second The World in Silence as Dr. Hammond and from the 3rd The Naked Sun as Thool. All three are missing from the archives. As well as a starring role in Please Sir! as Mr Smith he too has a Doomwatch to his name as the Old Man in Project Sahara and an appearance as a Museum Guard in One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing which every older Doctor Who fan has seen to spot Jon Pertwee in!
Angus MacKay, playing Cardinal Borusa, will return as the Headmaster in Mawdryn Undead. He's got a Doomwatch on his CV as Professor Lewin in No Room for Error. He appears in the first episode of first series of The Sweeney, Ringer, as Alec Prosser and is also in the first broadcast episode of The Professionals, the Douglas Camfield directed Private Madness, Public Danger, as Gerald Harvey.