- Format: VHS
- Studio: BBC
- VHS Release Date: 24 Jan. 2000
- Run Time: 98 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00004CNC0
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,713 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Adric, fresh from E-Space, are summoned to the peaceful planet of Traken by its ailing Keeper. 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 (last seen in 'The Deadly Assassin'). Tom Baker's penultimate story as the Doctor.
Top customer reviews
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I think the easy aspect of the story to focus on is Baker's performance. In my mind there are one of two explanations for Baker's darker portrayal - either the Doctor is mentally preparing himself for regeneration or Tom Baker really lost interest in putting any energy into the role - either way, it doesn't matter as we get a far less manic and interesting version of the fourth Doctor.
The re-introduction of the Master is handled beatifully - you really get the sense of evil in Anthony Ainley's acting that gave way to pantomime villainy in later Davison stories. Nyssa's grief at the loss of her father is handled well and you sympathise and feel sorry for despite knowing her for only for four episodes.
The only reason this doesn't score maximum stars is the presence of Adric - who always irritates and detracts from every single story he appears in with perhaps the exception of Earthshock!
Johnny Byrne's scripts have never been given justice in the actual production, and this, his debut, suffers from crap sets and panto costumes. Nyssa makes her debut and is much warmer than on her later appearances where she constantly appears to have a bad smell under her shiny nose, while Anf Ainley delivers a nice performance as the doomed Tremas. Pity about Baker though - his enthusiasm seems to have finally been excorcised and it is well that the following story was his last.
The whole scenario - the plot, sets, costume and execution - smacks a bit of Star Trek which can never be a good thing. Furthermore, the action is slow-paced and the effects are extremely poor (check the Tardis in space shot - aaagh!).
The only uplifting point is the return of somebody rather special at the end. But really, save yourself the effort. Do something more worthy with your time.
Join Tom Baker's Doctor in one of his greatest adventures as he battles to save Traken and the universe.