Wednesday, 5 January 2022

561 Castrovalva Part Two

EPISODE: Castrovalva Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 05 January 1982
WRITER: Christopher H. Bidmead
DIRECTOR: Fiona Cumming
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva)

"Dwellings of Simplicity. Castrovalva. Where's that?"

The Doctor makes his way to the console room with the aid of an electric wheelchair and programs the Tardis' architectural configuration to delete 25% of the mass to provide the boost for them to escape event one. However in the process the Zero Room is deleted leaving Nyssa to make a Zero Cabinet out of the remaining door panels. Tegan lands the Tardis, awkwardly, on the planet Castrovalva, famed for it's tranquillity. Tegan & Nyssa try to transport the Zero Cabinet using the electric wheelchair, but the wheelchair is damaged in a stream so they hide the cabinet and try to find the dwellings of Castrovalva on foot. When they return the cabinet is empty and blood is on the ground nearby....

A little bit of a nothing episode... essentially it serves as a bridge between the threats of episode one and the main thrust of the story in episodes three & four.

The Master is observing events in this episode from the safety of his own Tardis, with just t he captive Adric for company who he's trying to coerce into helping him:

MASTER: Well, Adric, this is my proposition. Life will immediately become more comfortable for you if you join forces with me. Or do you prefer to remain in the web throughout eternity. A mere utility. You may speak.
ADRIC: What do you want me to do?

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MASTER: So, this petty feud with the Doctor is over, Adric. You were wise to join me.
ADRIC: You've got to keep your side of the bargain.
MASTER: But are you truly sincere? I sense a barrier behind your eyes. Are you keeping something from me?
ADRIC: How could I?
MASTER: The universe is purged of the Doctor and his impossible dreams of goodness. You and I belong to the future.
ADRIC: The Doctor was doomed. I see that now.
MASTER: He might've escaped from the in-rush. Yes, even that was a possibility. But I had installed a trap behind that trap that would have been a joy to spring.
ADRIC: Yet another trap?
MASTER: A journey back in time. Long awaited. Why are you so curious? Residual voltage? You're receiving an image! What are you concealing from me? Some distant event beyond the range of my own scanner? I'll burn through your barrier, boy. Bring it to me!
ADRIC: No. No!
MASTER: It can't possibly be.

The longer shots of Adric & The Master in the Master's Tardis show some large round circles which betray the set's origins: it's a redressed Zero Room!

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Meanwhile back in the Doctor's Tardis, the theme of the episodes is "thing hidden behind Roundels". We have a First Aid Kit - the Roundal that was behind caught my eye last episode for looking little different - and a manual control, which I presume is for venting the thermo-buffer, at leat that's the last thing The Doctor asking Nuyssa to do!

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Not sure we've seen the trick of hiding things behind Roundels before, but we'll see a lot more of it going forward.

Then we have the Tardis Databank Display screens:

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Nothing dates like computer technology and these look very early 80s!

With Adric out the way it's left to the two newer companions Nyssa and Tegan, who first appeared two stories ago and last story respectively, to much of the heavy lifting for this episode, literally in the case of the Zero Cabinet!

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The only other hint of a threat come from the warriors in the forests near Castrovalva, and then not much of one.

Two more locations pop up in this episode: Buckhurst Park provides the main woodland setting for the exteriors in the episode.

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The climb to the dwellings of Castrovalva is represented by Harrison's Rocks which was previously used in a similar way in the Second Doctor story the Mind Robber.

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It's during this episode that Nyssa changes her costume, loosing the skirt she's been wearing since Keeper of Traken and gaining a pair of trousers.

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It's worth drawing attention to for as number of reasons: Firstly, although it's a very practical change, it does happen at an odd moment. Surely it would have been better for Nyssa to have got soaked wearing the dress, giving her a need to change, and then return to the Tardis rather than change, leave the Tardis and the get soaked, staying wet for the rest of the episode? Secondly, why doesn't Tegan change at the same time? Which bring us to, bar the dressing up in Black Orchid and Tegan's appropriation of overalls in Earthshock, it's the only costume change any of the Companion cast have all season! Right to the end Tegan is still wearing her Air Hostess Uniform and Adric his Alzarian Outfit. Nyssa too remains the same from herein. Have they had duplicates made or are they wearing the same set of clothes? In past years the companions have changed outfits regularly and the idea here that everyone has a specific costume doesn't really work.

The first and second episodes of this story were seen on the Monday & Tuesday of the first week in January in 1982 at about 7pm. It's the first time that Doctor Who was shown on a day other than Saturday for it's initial airing (there had been repeats on other days before). These days would be Doctor Who's home for the thirteen weeks of 1982 that it was on: twice weekly episodes mean the season lasts half as long. Over the next few years it would wander from day to day over the schedules occupying Tuesdays & Wednesdays for the next season before moving to Thursday & Friday for season 21 in 1984. It's generally interpreted that the BBC was using Doctor Who to try out twice weekly viewing slots in preparation for launching it's own evening soap opera. That turned out to be East Enders which started in 1985 with Doctor Who being returned to Saturday evenings with disastrous consequences for the show. However at the same time as Doctor Who was airing twice weekly the BBC was already having some success with a twice weekly soap opera/medical drama: Angels. That series will crop up on several of the CVs we'll see of actors new to the show in the next few years.

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