OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 584
STORY NUMBER: 124
TRANSMITTED: Monday 29 March 1982
WRITER: Peter Grimwade
DIRECTOR: Ron Jones
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 9.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Time-Flight/ Arc of Infinity
"I do not wish to believe, therefore I hallucinate. Is that the philosophy of Darlington men, Professor?"
The Master attempts to steal the Tardis but the Doctor has left the co-ordinate overload on forcing it to return to the Mausoleum. The Doctor & Hayter direct the now freed passengers & crew into penetrating the sanctum where they reach Nyssa & Tegan. They find it contains a Sarcophagus with a being on huge power within. Stapley & Bilton hide in the Tardis, attempting to stop the Master from using it but he removes the components he needs and then sends the Tardis away to hover over the Mausoleum. The Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan & Hayter are confronted by a projection of a being. It tells them that he is Anithon, and that the entirety of his race the Xeraphin is stored in the sarcophagus, merged into one being. He wishes to help the Doctor but is opposed by another Xeraphin, Zarak, who believes the Master's promise of power. They try to bring Nyssa into the Xeraphin gestalt but Hayter takes her place and has his body destroyed. The Sarcophagus vanishes, taken into the Master's Tardis.
That was a struggle!
Last time out I wrote:
No, I'm sorry I haven't a clue what was going on there. Lots of wordy explanation that just didn't make sense.and I think I'd go along with that again now, everytime I watch it this episode just looses me. I've watched it three times now for this reblogging and am struggling to find much new and interesting to say about it!
A vast proportion of the action takes place in the chamber containing the sarcophagus and that just looks like a cheap fibreglass shell both inside & out!
Once inside a big fuss is made about the contents of the Sarcophagus....
DOCTOR: Look in the sarcophagus, Professor..... but all we, very briefly, get to see is a pulsating orange blob!
HAYTER: It's alive!
DOCTOR: An immeasurable intelligence at the centre of a psychic vortex, all seeing, all knowing.
HAYTER: I've certainly never seen a living organism like this before.
The blob is apparently the entirety of the Xeraphin merged into one being. When they started to revive and separate off, The Master picked off the first few to revive and murdered them in traditional fashion with the Tissue Compression Eliminator.
At this point Nyssa gets possessed for reasons I'm not entirely clear on. It could well be just down to she's closest to the Sarcophagus at the time, it's just not explained on screen!
NYSSA: Don't be afraid, Doctor.At which point he promptly vanishes in a flash of light ad his body disintegrates to slush!
DOCTOR: No, Nyssa, you'll be absorbed.
NYSSA: The Xeraphin is calling us. The Xeraphin is very close.
DOCTOR: No, stop! Nyssa, talk to me. Explain it to me.
NYSSA: The Xeraphin contains the wisdom of the universe. Without the knowledge, you cannot escape from the sanctum.
DOCTOR: But the knowledge will consume you!
NYSSA: The sacrifice is required for your survival, Doctor, and the future of the Xeraphin.
HAYTER: Stop! I shall talk to the Xeraphin.
DOCTOR: No, Professor.
HAYTER: I'm a scientist, Doctor. The chance of inheriting the wisdom of all the universe is an opportunity I cannot ignore.
DOCTOR: It will destroy you. You don't understand what you're doing.
HAYTER: Precisely, Doctor. But soon I shall know everything.
NYSSA: The Xeraphin welcomes you, Professor.
DOCTOR: Professor Hayter, get back from there!
DOCTOR: The molecular structure has completely broken up.We get two separate Xeraphin appearing to us: Anithon, played by Hugh Hayes representing their good side, and the evil Zarak, who sides with the Master, played by Andre Winterton who voiced the Plasmaton in part two. He later plays Angelo Pordenne in the Star Cops episode This Case to Be Opened in a Million Years.
NYSSA: He's become a Plasmaton.
DOCTOR: I think the Xeraphin is trying to materialise.
ANITHON: I am Anithon, of the race of the Xeraphin.
They get to deliver some complicated exposition, argue and then vanish ever to be seen again!
Deary me. As I said a big struggle!
Playing Professor Hayter is Nigel Stock, the only actor other than Patrick McGoohan to play Number Six in The Prisoner, which he does during the mind swap episode Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling. McGoohan was away while this episode was being filmed making Ice Station Zebra, mainly to finance the production of the remaining Prisoner episodes! Other science fiction appearances include Out of This World, where he played Dr. John Frame in The Yellow Pill and he achieves a rare double by also appearing in Out of the Unknown as Charles Dennistoun in Second Childhood. Sadly neither are currently known to exist. In Doomwatch he was Commander Charles Keeping in the first season episode Project Sahara which can be found on The Doomwatch DVD. In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy he played Roddy Martindale in the opening episode Return to the Circus and in Yes Minister he was Sir Mark Spencer in the episodes A Question of Loyalty and The Bed of Nails. He'd been in the 1948 film Brighton Rock, as Cubitt, alongside First Doctor William Hartnell, and featured in Knights of God, as Brother Simon, alongside Second Doctor Patrick Troughton: that production was the last TV appearance for both actors
Richard Easton (Captain Stapley) was probably best known for playing Brian Hammond in the BBC serial The Brothers. I've never seen The Brothers but many of it's cast get roles in Doctor Who around this time, the most important one being in the very next story..... Richard Easton went on to have a successful stage career in the US and was the winner of Broadway's Best Actor Tony Award in 2001 for The Invention of Love.
Bilton, Stapley's first officer, is played by Michael Cashman shortly to find fame as Colin Russel in Eastenders where he would come to national attention being involved in the first gay kiss in a UK soap opera. From 1999 he has served as a Labour MEP and is now The Right Honourable The Lord Cashman, CBE!
There is a very odd departure in this episode: it's the last appearance of Judith Byfield as Angela Clifford.
She walks into the Master's Tardis, never to be seen again! Is she still in there, a Prisoner of the Master, hypnotised and serving him in flight drinks? It's very odd for a credited character to just disappear mid story!