Box set of Doctor Who adventures from the Tom Baker / Peter Davidson years. In 'The Keeper Of Traken'(1980), Baker's penultimate turn as the Doctor, he and Adric, fresh from E-Space, are summoned to the peaceful planet of Traken. Dark forces are at work, and, as usual, the Doctor gets the blame. The Trakenites would do better to look to the Melkur statue in the Grove, in reality the base for the Master. In 'Logopolis' (1981) the Doctor (Baker in his final adventure) and Adric become caught up in a plot by the Master to gain control of the Universe via the Logopolitan art of block transfer computation. Instead, he releases the forces of entropy, causing the fabric of Space to unravel, and the Doctor must join forces with his deadliest foe to prevent the destruction of the entire cosmos. 'Castrovalva' (1981) is the debut adventure for the fifth incarnation of the intrepid Time Lord. The Doctor's (Peter Davison) regeneration is failing; with Adric kidnapped by the Master and the stable environment of the Zero Room jettisoned, it is up to Tegan and Nyssa to pilot the TARDIS to Castrovalva, the only planet in the Universe tranquil enough to aid the Doctor's recovery. But all is not as it seems on Castrovalva, and the Doctor must act quickly to save himself and his companions from the Master's space/time trap.
A good value boxset that unites a loose trilogy of stories of varying interest from the back catalogue, Doctor Who: New Beginnings
maintains the high standards set of late by the shows catalogue releases. Beginnings is the underlying theme, with the stories following the introduction of the late Anthony Ainleys take on The Master, the swansong of Tom Bakers Doctor, and the debut of Peter Davison in the title role.
The first story, "The Keeper Of Trakken", tells of a living statue that poses a threat to Traken World. Its quite a good tale, introducing Nyssa to the Doctor Who Universe, but more worryingly for the Doctor it also plays host to a resurgent Master. And its he too who plays a crucial part in "Logopolis", Tom Bakers final story in the title role. Its the best story in the New Beginnings boxset, as the Doctor battles both The Master, and the potential end of the Universe when the mathematicians of Logopolis are threatened. Along the way, he also adds Tegan to the crew of the TARDIS for the first time, with the first appearance of Peter Davison as the Doctor, too.
Davisons first full story though, "Castrovalva"", is the weakest link of the set. Again it features The Master, and it follows the newly regenerated Doctor--in a very shaky state--as he heads for the supposedly peaceful retreat of the title, only to find, as youd expect, that all isnt as it seems. Sadly, the premise isnt really realised, resulting in one of the more tepid stories of Davisons reign.
Ultimately though, Doctor Who: New Beginnings delivers two very good stories. Yet this being Doctor Who, each is backed up by enough extra features to paper over even the most telling of cracks, and theres plenty on offer to justify the asking price.--Simon Brew