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Doctor Who - New Beginnings (The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva) [DVD] 
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
Generally, there are a number of problems that beset all of the productions. Firstly of course: the effects, though not ALL of them fall flat. For instance, after the poorly staged struggle between the Doctor and the Master on the Pharos project gantry, the sequence at the climax of LOGOPOLIS where Tom Baker's Doctor regenerates into Peter Davison's version works extremely well. However, this is one of the few exceptions. The fake eyes painted on Kassia's lids when she's possessed in THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN, the risible model work in LOGOPOLIS and the cheesy visual representations of the recursive trap in the citadel in CASTROVALVA aren't exactly high points.
Secondly, despite what I'm going to say about the acting later, it has to be said not everyone deserves a BAFTA. For example, Sheila Ruskin is well cast as the zealous, obsessive Kassia in THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN. But for my money she overplays certain moments. Witness her stagey collapse after the murder of Seron in episode 2.
This though is nothing compared to Anthony Ainley's Master in CASTROVALVA. Either he or the director seemed to think that his commendable underplaying in the previous tales was a bad idea, and he often relishes his part just a little too much. Take a look at the moment in episode four when he cries out: "My web! MY WEB!" All seriousness instantly evaporates.Read more ›
These stories appeal because they're Doctor-centric. ...Traken, the slightest of the three but ideas-rich and beautiful looking, opens with the kind of Doctor-companion exposition not seen since the Hartnell era. John Nathan-Turner's tenure as producer would eventually become top-heavy with references to the show's past, but here it's still beguiling (perhaps thanks to the guiding hand of golden Pertwee-era stalwart Barry Letts), the looks back adding gravity as the end of everything looms. It's all in Baker's face, suddenly older, more gravely etched than before. The excellent commentaries across all the stories add texture, and the lead actor admits in his that, having agreed to stand down, he had many fears about the future - a neat mirror to the Doctor's own unspoken fear that perhaps there wouldn't be a future. The grin wasn't hiding the fear, and so all-the-more heroic, in the face of a dreadful unknown.
Logopolis is the dark heart of this set, brooding and funereal.Read more ›
The use of the Master was an old technique used by previous production teams in surrounding the new Doctor with familiar things to allow him to find his feet.
The Keeper of Traken is usually the forgotten story in this trilogy being overshadowed by the huge events of the next two but is in many ways the best of the three, I'm not going to go into plot details but will attempt to review to discs themselves. 'Keeper' has one wonderful thing going for it, an absolutely first rate audio commentary, by actors Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, the late Anthony Ainley and writer Johnny Byrne.
This is such a refreshing change to hear Matthew voice his opinions without being constantly insulted and treated in a dismissive way by his fellow contributers as has happened on previous releases. Anthony Ainley gives his only contribution to a DVD in this commentary, recorded shortly before his death and has many points of interest to say.
There is also a 'making of' style documentary and Sarah Sutton's apperance on Swop Shop and a nice featurette on the return of the Master plus the usual PDF documents that appear on all three discs. It isn't often that I think that the audio commentary is so good as to be the best feature on the disc but it is here.
Logopolis is of course Tom Baker's final story and Doctor Who has never been as dark but again no plot reviews just the disc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I purchased this box set and only received one Dvd from the box set.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Yeah this box set is quite good. It contains: The keeper of Traken, Logopilus and Castrivolva. Mainly it is good the only let downs are: the whole of the keeper of Traken and the... Read morePublished on 11 April 2015 by RSMMUIA!!!!!!