Wednesday, 4 January 2023

587 Arc of Infinity: Part Two

EPISODE: Arc of Infinity: Part Two
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 04 January 1983
WRITER: Johnny Byrne
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 7.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Time-Flight/ Arc of Infinity

"Each and every time the Doctor returns to Gallifrey there's violence!"

The Doctor is stunned and taken back to the Tardis. Robin meets Colin's cousin, Tegan Jovanka, at the airport. He attempts to explain to her what has happened and she decides to investigate the crypt. The Doctor is taken before the High Council: his old friend Councillor Hedin, Cardinal Zorac, the Castellan and Chancellor Thalia. Presiding over the council is President Borusa who, due to the threat posed by the alien creature that has attempted to bond with the Doctor, sentences him to death. On his way back to the Tardis he is passed proof that his bio-data extract was stolen from the Matrix by another old friend Damon who then helps Nyssa try to rescue the Doctor. The Doctor talks Nyssa out of her plan and is terminated in a disintegration chamber.

Where do we start? With a good bit: Hurrah, Tegan's back!

2 Tegan 2 Tegan Cafe

Sounds like not all has gone well for her since we last saw her:

TEGAN: Marvellous, isn't it. First I lose my job. Not to worry, I think. I'll go and see my favourite cousin, cheer myself up. Now this.
Neither Logopolis or Time Flight has a fixed date beyond "The 1980s" but it's unlikely that by chance The Doctor returned Tegan to Earth the day she left so she's probably ended up getting the sack for absence!

We've already met one member of Tegan's family, her Aunt Vanessa who's murdered by the Master in Logopolis. Now it's revealed that Colin Frazer is her cousin. Is he Vanessa's son? This isn't the last member of Tegan's family we'll run into either. Although we've met companions relatives before - Dodo's antecedent, Victoria's Father, Sarah-Jane's aunt, Leela's father, Adric's brother and Nyssa's Father (with all the Fathers meeting a sticky end!) plus mentions of Jo's Uncle - Tegan's family is the one we meet the most of.

The High Council lays out the problem that they face:

BORUSA: The space-time parameters of the Matrix have been invaded by a creature from the anti-matter world. We know its composition and how unstable is the magnetism that shields it. The creature must be expelled immediately if we are to avert disaster.
DOCTOR: Without knowing its purpose here.
BORUSA: Its presence here must be our first concern. Anti-matter cannot co-exist in harmony in our universe.
The problem here is the threat remains rather undefined. What happens when Anti-Matter enters the Universe? Why is it such a threat? The Three Doctors is a bit more clear on this and says that there would be an explosion if matter and anti-matter come into contact, and makes it clear there are ways round this. But understanding this threat does rely on you having seen that story.
DOCTOR: Lord President, this creature is here now because it bonded with me. To do so it needed something very special, full and precise details of my biological makeup. Now, I didn't pass this information on. Somebody did. The question is who.
CASTELLAN: We considered this, Doctor, but the implications are quite preposterous.
The Castellan, seemingly a new one so neither Spandrell or Kelner from previous Galifrey stories, already knows there's been a murder in a room connected to the Matrix and yet won't consider the possibility that there's a traitor on Gallifrey. So he's either incompetent or the traitor himself. Option B is the one I went for as a child so it might be that's the intent.....

The council already appear to have decided their course of action:

DOCTOR: Chancellor, can bonding occur without the full imprint of a so-called bioscan?
THALIA: Not to my knowledge. But the power of this creature is outside the limits of what we know, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Lord President, I ask for time to have this fully investigated.
BORUSA: I'm sorry, Doctor, but we must deal with the situation as it exists now. The time factor involved leaves only one course of action open to us. Commander! You know that capital punishment has long been abolished here in Gallifrey, but there is a precedent for a situation like this. Have you nothing further to say, Doctor?
DOCTOR: I have a great deal to say.
NYSSA: You can't do this! You must destroy the creature.
BORUSA: Child, do you think we have not considered this? The creature is shielded. We have no way of tracing it.
NYSSA: So you're prepared to kill the Doctor?
BORUSA: Commander! Remove the Doctor to the security compound. As soon as the warrant is issued, you will convey him to a place of termination. I'm sorry, Doctor.
NYSSA: No! You can't!
DOCTOR: Executing me will not alter the fact there's a traitor at work on Gallifrey!
They aren't great performances all round from the High Council (Michael Gough as Councillor Hedin excepted). Zorac can't keep his skull cap on straight which makes him impossible to take seriously, but that's probably down to him wearing a costume recycled from The Deadly Assassin and Invasion of Time.

Hedin, who we've never seen before is apparently an old friend of the Doctor, surely a role better suited to Borusa who seems very emotionally detached from sending an ex pupil to his death.

Damon too is supposedly an old friend. As a Technician I'm forced to wonder if replacing him with a regenerated Elgin, from Deadly Assassin, might have worked better in estalishing a prior friendship.

DOCTOR: Excellent. Well, Damon, what news of my old companion Leela?
The Doctor does have a number of friends on Galifrey and we see none of the rest of them: No Spandrell or Elgin (both Deadly Assassin) and most importantly no Andred, Leela & K-9, the last two of which travelled with the Doctor and remained on the Time Lords home Planet at the end of Invasion of Time!

Nyssa's a bit trigger happy isn't she? Any chance to get her hands on a gun and she takes it shooting down everything is sight. See also: Keeper of Traken & Earthshock. She's doing something right because Damon obviously fancies her like mad!

2 Nyssa & Damon 2 Nyssa gun

In his first appearance in Deadly Assassin the then Cardinal Borusa was played by Angus MacKay, who we'll see later this season as the Headmaster in Madryn Undead. Chancellor Borusa reappears in Invasion of Time but in that story he's played by John Arnatt.

Deadly AssassinInvasion of Time

On his third appearance, and having gone up in the world again, President Borusa is played by Leonard Sachs who previously played Admiral Gaspard de Coligny in The Massacre. He's been in the 1953 version of Robin Hood (1953 TV series) with Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, where he played Sir Gilbert in two episodes and The Adventures of Sir Lancelot with William Russell (English actor), who played former companion Ian Chesterton, as King Rolf in Witches Brew. In Hancock's Half Hour he is the Defending Counsel in Twelve Angry Men and in the Hancock's Half Hour and in the Sean Connery James Bond film Thunderball he's the Group Captain. At the time he was probably best known as the compère of The Good Old Days. I've seen his son on TV a lot: Robin Sachs has several Babylon 5 appearances to his name.

c1g Borusa c Hedin

Councillor Hedin is played by Michael Gough who we've seen before as the Celestial Toymaker in The Celestial Toymaker. In Moonbase 3 he's Sir Benjamin Dyce in View of a Dead Planet, and in Blake's 7 he was Hower in Volcano. He'd recently appeared in the first two episodes of Smiley's People as Mikhel. In the Inspector Morse story The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn he plays Philip Ogleby. He then plays the butler Alfred in the 80s & 90s Batman films. He is the ex husband of former companion Anneke Wills. Michael Gough died 17 March 2011, aged 94, making him one of the longer lived Doctor Who actors.

Chancellor Thalia is played by Elspet Gray, the wife of actor,writer and charity worker Brian Rix. In the second Catweazle she played Lady Collingford, with Black Orchid's Moray Watson as her husband. In Fawlty Towers she was Mrs. Abbott in The Psychiatrist and in the original The Black Adder she plays The Queen. She too is in the Inspector Morse story The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn where she plays Mrs Bartlett: Mr Bartlett in that story is Clive Swift who will appear in Revelation of the Daleks and the new series episode Voyage of the Dammed. In Four Weddings and a Funeral she's the mother of Laura, the bride at Wedding One.

c1i Thalia c Zorac

Cardinal Zorac is played by Max Harvey. In Blake's 7 he was Borr in Animals and in The Professionals he was a Pedestrian in Lawson's Last Stand. He appears as M. Dubois in the 12th episode of The Tripods and plays the Torturer in the Blackadder II episode Chains.

We mentioned Castellan Paul Jerricho in the first episode in connection with Triangle where he played Charles Woodhouse. He'd also previously appeared in Space: 1999 where he was the 1st Security Guard in Dorzak and in The Empire Strikes Back as an uncredited AT-AT Driver. He goes on to appear in Knights of God as the Chapel Officer in the first episode and in Cry Freedom he plays Sergeant Louw. He had a regular role in the sixth season of Howards' Way as Robert Hastings. He appears in the second series of Look Around You playing Computer Jones in Computers and Live Final. In Lewis he plays Mr. Atkins in The Soul of Genius.

c1j Castellan c2 Maxil

In his youth Colin Baker had shared a flat with fellow actor David Troughton, son of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, and was Best Man at his wedding. Baker was then best known from the BBC soap The Brothers, alongside Time Flight's Richard Easton, where he played villainous financial wiz kid Paul Merroney, a role that allegedly gained him national hatred. He'd recently appeared in the Blake's 7 episode City at the Edge of the World. We'll be hearing a lot more from Mr Baker shortly.....

Onto the cafe scenes, which were originally intended to be filmed in the Hoopman Bodega in Amsterdam.

The Waitress Barbie Denham returns as a Patient in Frontios. In Blake's 7 she was a Pyroan in Volcano. In 'Allo 'Allo she was a German Soldier in the pilot episode The British Are Coming and she appears as a Disco Dancer in the The Young Ones episode Bambi. On the big screen she had played a Saurian in the Cantina scenes in Star Wars. She's in Quadrophenia (film) as a Disco Dancer and the Roger Moore James Bond film Octopussy as a Russian Soldier.

c2a Waitress c2b Cafe

Most of the customers in the bar I can't find on IMDB. Rachel Wheeler, who I think is initially obscured by the waitress, was in Horns of the Nimon as an Anethian Sacrifice while Judith Jeffrey returns in Frontios as a Colonist. John Koeung doesn't return to Doctor Who but Peter Daysan appears in 'Allo 'Allo as a German Soldier in The Fishmonger Float.

There's one new location used in this episode and that's Schiphol Airport where Tegan arrives.

2LocA1 2LocA2

The bridge and canal we see Tegan and Robin crossing is another part of Lijnbaansgracht where the police station was located in episode 1.

2LocC1 2LocC2

We get to see the Police Station again and also Frankendael House.

2LocB 2LocD

The main thing I remember about watching this episode when I was younger (9 going on 10!) was that I actually saw it. For the first week of Season 20 the two episodes of Doctor Who aired on Mondays & Tuesdays as per the previous year. However from the next week onwards Doctor Who moved to Tuesdays & Wednesdays which caused HUGE problems in our house because Wednesdays was the night I went to Cubs. I argued that I could easily miss 12 weeks for the rest of the season of Doctor Who, Mum said No, we've paid you're going and that was that. As a consequence I missed every other even numbered episode in Season 20 with one exception: Mawdryn Undead 2. I was not a happy camper, deprived of half of my Doctor Who ration. This was compounded by the summer repeat season in 1983 repeating 1982 (Season 19) stories instead of Season 20 ones. The first time I saw most of the even numbered episodes for this year was in my late teens/early 20s when they came out on Video/I "obtained" them on video/they were repeated on UK Gold.

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