Doctor Who: Four To Doomsday
Another adventure for everyone's favourite Time Lord. When the TARDIS makes an unscheduled landing on a mysterious spacecraft heading towards planet Earth, the Doctor (Peter Davison) and his cohorts are surprised to find that the crew members are drawn from a variety of ancient Earth cultures. Their leader, however, is a frog-like alien known as Monarch (Stratford Johns), and the more the Doctor finds out about his plans for the future of Earth, the less he likes them.
Burdened by the most irritating trio of companions in the history of the show, (Adric, Nyssa and Tegan) Peter Davidson's recently regenerated Fifth Doctor finds that they are Four to Doomsday when the Tardis materialises inside a vast starship with a multiracial crew from Earth's distant past. Downloaded into computer chips are the memories of the three billion survivors of the Urbankan race, and the Earth is to be their new home. Meanwhile Monarch, a giant green frog-thing, wants to travel back to the Big Bang to meet God, whom he is convinced is himself.
The Alien-influenced spaceship sets are striking, and there are enough ideas to make a decent adventure. Unfortunately, the gentleman autocrat Monarch--your only opportunity to see distinguished actor Stratford Johns maintain his dignity while dressed as a giant green frog--is far too reasonable and easy going an opponent for the Doctor. The ideas underlying the plot are barely explored, and in constantly trying to find something for three companions to do, the pace slows to a crawl and dissipates any suspense. Fatally, there is an almost complete lack of action. Following Peter Davidson's introduction in the mind-bending Castrovalva this is thin stuff indeed. --Gary S DalkinSee all Product description
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The story moves on steadily throughout, with the audience learning new things through all 4 episodes, without any of the 'it's episode 3 (or equivalent in longer stories) so let's just run round in circles to use up the time' that occurs in many stories that are considered much better (what proportion of Genesis or Web of Fear consists of nothing actually being learned and people just running round in circles?) My main criticism would be that Adric and Nyssa are rather underused (in Nyssa's case this is all too frequent), but then I suppose the production team wanted to give Dacison a chance to get to grips with the character, and also Fielding for that matter, since it was only her second story). And there are worse culprits on this score!
It's standard 'Doctor foils an alien invasion of Earth 'story. Not madly original, not one of the greats, but it certainly doesn't deserve its reputation.
Christopher H Bidmead's influence is still visible; problems are solved inventively and scientific ideas are thrown about unnecessarily (but certainly not as interestingly as during Bidmead's own scripts). I wouldn't have minded sitting through parts 1-3 if part 4 was somehow climatic, exciting and a great payoff, but you never get the sense of urgency and excitement you got from the classic stories.
It's a shame, as the central idea is an intriguing one but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
Slow Episode 1
Does get a bit complex at times
Lots of forgettable scenes
Prompt delivery, good value and required to complete collection