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.

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