02 Sep 2003Logopolis, by Douglas Westwood
04 May 2004Logopolis, by Paul Clarke
04 May 2004Logopolis, by John Dziadek
01 Sep 2004Logopolis, by Joe Ford
29 Oct 2005Logopolis, by Bill Albert

This was undoubtedly the most portentous DW story I had ever seen (pretentious even? Surely not!), featuring mathematics, physics, entropy and Aldous Huxley - all things I knew nothing about. So much of this story went over my head, but even then I thought it was good. The Doctor had changed from a clown to a sombre, craggy faced figure in a wonderful burgundy costume - was this the same person who had had such dire adventures as the Invasion of Time and Underworld, who had hammed it up shamelessly in stories like the Horns of Nimon. Now he is a dignified time traveller once again, but a little too late....

The background music sets a nice sombre tone, especially when Logopolis starts to fall down around the main cast, and the sets look superb. The real attraction of the story, however, is the Master. I love having old baddies come back on the show and who better, really, to cause the fourth Doctor's downfall - though I did think the Black Guardian might have made an appearance. Actually he does but, well, you know what I mean.

After taking over Tremas in the shock ending to Traken, we don't actually see the Master in the first two episodes here. He kills people, chuckles quite a bit, but is not seen. This is good, brings out the tension. But his eventual appearance in part three - dear oh dear! Okay, he looked the part - beard, gloves, dressed in black, etc, I even liked the penguin suit and his voice was chilling in a toneless sort of way. Not unlike the War Lord's voice, another excellent baddie. But the Master just keeps laughing and chuckling, when the Tardis is shrunk and when he is controlling the CVE - it is way over the top and you just want someone to jab him with a sharp stick. But, that aside, he is a true villain and I loved his TCE gun - he shrunk people, humans and Logopolitans alike, with cheerful indifference although his motives were a tad baffling at first. I didn't know about the Numbers, or suchlike.

So, a wonderful swan song for a Doctor I had grown up with for so long I couldn't remember the last one. And thank heavens the Tardis interiors looked like the console room - no more YMCA type sports centres!

Filters: Television Fourth Doctor Series 18

‘Logopolis’ sets out to achieve a great deal. It has to reintroduce the Master, finish establishing Nyssa as a new companion, introduce another new companion, and write out Tom Baker after a mammoth seven-year stint as the Doctor. With these criteria and some fascinating science fiction concepts it has all the makings of a classic, but despite all that it is a massive disappointment.

‘Logopolis’ benefits from two interesting concepts, which are the Watcher and Block Transfer Computation. The Watcher, despite being conceptually similar to Cho-je from ‘Planet of the Spiders’, adds a new spin to regeneration for the Doctor and serves as an ominous omen throughout of the Doctor’s fate at the climax. The reason I feel that the Watcher works so well is that, unlike Cho-je, he is an unformed, amorphous figure, which provides more of an air of mystery than cameos from Peter Davison throughout the story would have done. To emphasize the mystery surrounding him, he has no lines, his conversations with the Doctor, Adric and Nyssa taking place out of shot, and no explanation is offered for how he comes to be in the first place. His eventual role in the Doctor’s regeneration tells us all we really need to know about him, and for the less intelligent audience members, the production team kindly deign to bolt on a line from Nyssa (“He was the Doctor all along!”) to state the bleeding obvious. 

The idea of Block Transfer Computation, and the role of Logopolis in the scheme of the universe, is also fascinating. Despite strangely persistent fan rumours that Christopher H. Bidmead brought hard scientific concepts to Doctor Who, it’s pure pseudo science, but rather like dimensional transcendentalism it is handled in such a way that it works very well. The revelation that the Logopolitans are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the universe by forestalling entropy with their mathematics makes for a novel plot device, and the subsequent disruption of their work and the ensuing entropy field means that for his final story Baker’s Doctor gets to face a suitably awesome threat to the entire cosmos, giving a certain extra weight to the proceedings and lending a considerable sense of desperation to the final episode. Sadly, despite these two intriguing plot elements, ‘Logopolis’ is also saddled with a considerably amount of rubbish.

It is almost inconceivable that a story with as much to achieve as ‘Logopolis’ could feel padded, and yet the first two episodes are woefully dull. Very little actually happens; the Doctor and Adric spend two episodes wandering about whilst the Master lurks unseen in the background, before realizing that he’s hiding in the TARDIS and conceiving one of the stupidest plot developments in the entire series to try and get rid of him, before the Watcher eventual has a word with the Doctor and tells him to stop prevaricating and bugger off to Logopolis. The Doctor’s plan to flush out the Master is so ludicrous that it beggars belief; all it could possibly do is ruin all of the Doctor’s stuff, since the Master could just close the doors of his own TARDIS and therefore not have to worry about the fact that the supposedly colossal TARDIS interior has just drained the Thames… On top of this we have the tedious and ultimately pointless “gravity bubble” sub-plot in Episode One which goes nowhere and interests nobody, all of which adds up to padding. There is some dialogue in Episodes One and Two that introduces the concepts of Block Transfer Computation and Logopolis, but two episodes of twaddle are not justified by such a small amount of plot exposition. 

Of course, what the first two episodes of ‘Logopolis’ do achieve is to introduce Tegan. The way in which Tegan joins the TARDIS crew recalls the introduction of Ian and Barbara way back in the series’ beginning, as she stumbles on board and becomes a reluctant traveler desperate to return home. As such, her characterisation and Janet Fielding’s performance are both realistic, as Tegan, already stressed by the problems she has faced in getting to her new job on time, eventually gives in to panic when she gets lost in the TARDIS corridors, eventually bursting into tears in the Cloisters in Episode Two. In a nod to another early companion, in this case Vicki, she later discovers that the villain of the piece has murdered one of her loved ones, and as a result she gets a more convincing characterisation as she bursts into tears when the Doctor reveals Aunt Vanessa’s fate. The trouble with this is, I’m not wild about sitting through four episodes of grief stricken hysteria, and Tegan, despite being convincingly realized and well acted, rapidly becomes annoying rather than sympathetic. This only serves to heighten my negative attitude towards ‘Logopolis’, although at least by the latter half of the story Tegan’s potential as a companion starts to be realized as she demonstrates strength of character by challenging the Monitor and standing up to the Master, and proving brave and resourceful when necessary. 

The other companions are already established, and Adric is used well here again, although his impressive loyalty to and concern for the Doctor are increasingly undermined by Matthew Waterhouse’s limited supply of facial expressions. Nyssa on the other hand is largely superfluous; whilst I like the way that her quiet, gentle character contrasts with Tegan’s stroppier, boisterous nature, she does little here except remind us that the Master is a complete bastard. Unfortunately, the death of Aunt Vanessa serves this purpose more than adequately, and the fact that Nyssa’s reaction to the death of her father and the subsequent eradication of her entire world is far less well scripted than Tegan’s reaction to her Aunt’s murder, doesn’t help to make Nyssa seem especially useful to the plot. I will however defend Sarah Sutton’s oft-criticized performance; as Douglas Adams considered in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the destruction of one’s entire planet is almost certainly too big a thing for anyone to grasp. Nevertheless, when Nyssa flatly states that the Master has killed her step-mother, her father, and wiped out her entire world, Sutton’s supposedly “wooden” performance actually conveys a great deal of suppressed emotion and is worth a mention. 

So far then, ‘Logopolis’ is not scoring particularly highly. Before I discuss the two most significant characters in the story however, I’ll just comment on the overall production and also the guest cast. Unlike ‘The Keeper of Traken’, it benefits from location work, which always benefits the series, but like its immediate predecessor, the actual studio sets look horribly cheap. Having said that, it is to the story’s credit that the sets used for Logopolis do match closely the model shot of the city, even if both look like they’re made of polystyrene (which they probably are). However, it’s churlish to criticize Doctor Who’s budgetary limitations, and the sets are adequate enough, without resorting too much to the use of CSO. The incidental score is generally rather good too, adding to the ominous atmosphere of impending doom, and the direction whilst unremarkable is solid. ‘Logopolis’ also benefits from a fine performance from John Fraser as the Monitor, who is likeable enough to make the character’s friendship with and concern for the Doctor entirely believable, and who is also capable of looking convincingly worried and angst-ridden when the story calls for it. Dolore Whiteman is rather likeable as Aunt Vanessa, and the character’s obvious closeness with Tegan adds weight to the tragedy of her murder, which is basically the character’s sole function. There aren’t really many other supporting characters of note; the policemen in Episodes One and Two are pure clichés, and the Logopolitans and Security Guards in later episodes are of course extras. 

The most memorable guest star in ‘Logopolis’ is of course Anthony Ainley as the Master. After his restrained performance as the anagrammatically unfortunate Tremas in ‘The Keeper of Traken’, here he gets to play for the first time one of the series’ most enduring villains. He’s really quite good for the most part; in Episodes Three and Four he recalls some of Roger Delgado’s charm as he manipulates Nyssa by cruelly pretending to be her father, but the callous edge he displays on occasion is a constant reminder that he is thoroughly villainous. In fact, the Master’s ruthlessness and disregard for life is emphasized here in a way that it never was during the Pertwee era, thanks largely to his murdering of Tegan’s aunt and Nyssa’s father. And yet, it isn’t just his beard and propensity to reducing people to shrunken corpses (something he only previously did in the Robert Holmes’ scripted ‘Terror of the Autons’ and ‘The Deadly Assassin’) that provides a link to the past; in Episode Four, when he and the Doctor are forced to collaborate, their ability to work together, often seen during the Pertwee era, is brought to light once again, as is the Master’s seeming need to impress the Doctor. As with the Pertwee era, the Master’s seemingly genuine grudging admiration for the Doctor is barely reciprocated; whilst the Doctor is impressed by the Master’s idea to use their TARDIS to try and halt the entropy field, his attitude to the Master is one of quiet loathing. This is significant, because it marks a turning point in their old rivalry; whereas in the past the remnants of their old friendship motivated the Doctor to visit his rival in prison (admittedly partly to get his hands on his TARDIS) and beg Kronos to spare him, by this point he seems to have had more than enough of the trail of misery and carnage that the Master has left in his wake since ‘The Deadly Assassin’. This is essential given the Master’s impact on the lives of Tegan and Nyssa, and even more so in light of the danger to the entire universe that he unleashes here. In summary, the Doctor’s slight tolerance towards the Master has long since evaporated, as will be demonstrated further during the Davison era. 

Unfortunately, for all that Ainley’s performance here is quite good, the actual story starts to erode the Master’s credibility as a villain. Renowned for going over the top, Ainley starts down that path due to the cringe worthy chuckles that denote the Master’s presence throughout the first two episodes, reducing him to the status of some malevolent auditory Cheshire Cat. The character’s credibility takes a far greater blow however at the end of the story; the Master’s plan to hold the universe to ransom is almost absurd as the Doctor’s plan to flush him out of the TARDIS. Justify the Master’s spur of the moment gambit all you want, but he still sends a message to the universe on a small hand-held tape recorder, in English. How long would it take to reach a significant number of the “peoples of the universe”? How many would actually receive it, and how many of those would pay it any heed? It’s absolute gibberish. To compound this character assassination even further, the Master becomes, during this moment, a generic nutter; he doesn’t demonstrate charm or cunning, he just grins maniacally at the camera and delivers lines that would make Joseph Furst wince whilst the Doctor looks on appalled and points out that he’s mad. The Completely Useless Encyclopedia described the Master as “nuttier than squirrel shit” and it is here that this really starts to become true. His old motivations (power, survival, and his eternal game of one-upmanship with the Doctor) will remain throughout the remainder of the series’ television run, but from ‘Logopolis’ onwards his actual plans become increasingly ludicrous. 

And finally, in many senses, there is Tom Baker. Throughout Season Eighteen I’ve praised his performance as the Doctor and ‘Logopolis’ is no exception, whatever its other faults. The funereal atmosphere often ascribed to the story is largely down to Baker, and he bows out in style. It is clear from his first meeting with the Watcher that the Doctor knows what is to come, and it is reflected in his downbeat mood throughout. The Doctor’s reaction to the Master is superbly realized; appalled by his enemy’s crimes, he exudes contempt for the Master throughout. Baker shows this superbly, the expression on his face as the Doctor and the Master shake hands being a perfect example. His solemnity when the Doctor tells Tegan of her aunt’s death is also memorable, but what really stands out about ‘Logopolis’ is the way in which the Doctor is clearly prepared to stop at nothing to save the universe, ultimately sacrificing his fourth life in the process. His final line, “It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for” marks the end of an era, as my favourite Doctor departs after a lengthy tenure that includes some of my favourite Doctor Who stories. ‘Logopolis’ is not a story worthy of being Baker’s swansong, but it has some redeeming features, and for all its faults it gives him a memorable exit as one of the most distinctive regeneration scenes transforms him into Peter Davison…

Filters: Television Fourth Doctor Series 18

Logopolis was my introduction into the greater mythos of the Doctor Who phenomenon. It was not the first story I watched (that was Planet of Evil), which is a statement that needs to be elaborated on to give the context within which I write this review. 

I had been watching Doctor Who for about five years when Logopolis was broadcast by my local PBS station. At the time, with no internet and no local fan club to get information from, every episode was a new adventure. I still spent every week hoping that the famous multi-coloured scarf would somehow return to replace the burgundy version. At this point, I had seen most stories from Terror of the Zygons onward, but had absolutely no idea that the Doctor was going to be (or ever had been) played by someone other than Tom Baker. You can imagine what a shock the end of part 4 brought to me....

Almost everyone here knows the story, so I won’t do a summary. Logopolis seemed in many respects to start slowly. The Doctor and Adric wandering the TARDIS corridors, some annoying stewardess stumbling along with a flat tire, the knowledge that the Doctor would probably meet the stewardess, and the confirmation at the cliffhanger that behind everything, the Master really had escaped from Traken and was stalking the Doctor. Oh, and who the heck was the Watcher in white?!

These are the feelings that part 1 left me with.

As the middle parts progressed, the excellent story of revenge and the search for power leading to the potential destruction of the universe if Logopolis failed, took over. The viewer could not help but notice the general sense of dread that pervaded the story, getting more and more pronounced as it got closer to the end. By the cliffhanger of part 3, it was readily apparent that the situation facing the Doctor is one that even he might not be able to take care of.

Part 4 had a lot of running around, which, seemed to only be there to take up time. All events lead us to the tower, with the Doctor’s desperate attempt to cut off the Master’s signal to the CVE. As I, for the first time, watched the Doctor hanging from the tower, his past flashing before his (and my) eyes, the realization hit me for the first time: this isn’t your usual ending – the Doctor is going to loose, even if he wins....

Naturally, what happened next gave me a whole new perspective on the show. Regeneration: I would have to wait until next week to see what it meant for the hero. Anticipation was mixed with dread at the loss of a familiar face.

Viewed now, as a whole, the story still impresses. Acting by most of the cast (Mr. Watterhouse and Ms Fielding excepted) was good and Tom Baker clearly was off the slapstick comedy routine of the prior few seasons. The new menace of a rejuvenated Master, still fresh enough that the “evil chuckling” was not annoying added to the story in my opinion. Logopolis was and is one of the very best Doctor Who had to offer.

Let’s hope the new series has a long and successful run. If the stories even come close to the quality of Logopolis, we should be in for a heck of a revival.

Filters: Television Fourth Doctor Series 18

There seems to be a theory in Doctor Who fandom that Logopolis is one of the best stories to have ever been transmitted and that it is a fitting and climatic end to the ultimate Doctor’s reign. Well I say dog doo-doos to that and more besides. Logopolis is no-where near the best Doctor Who story, it certainly isn’t the best Tom Baker story and it’s not even the best of season eighteen. It’s a story that aspires to greatness but never quite reaches it, that teases with a coherent storyline but instead delights in frustrating a random viewer. It is the weakest Christopher H Bidmead story by a square mile and reveals that the poor guy is running out of steam after practically re-writing every single story for the season (or so he claims). 

Often praised is the feeling of doom throughout, that teeth chattering sense of unease as we approach the end of the fourth Doctor. I have to agree whole-heartedly that Tom Baker, director Peter Grimwade and musician Paddy Kingsland all work hard as hell to make sure that any feeling of entertainment is sucked out of the end result. The story is just too depressing, never ending doom, brotherly rivalry, universal destruction, portents of death…oh yes perfect for those of us who want to dissect the thing and explore all the emotional nuances but not a whole lot of fun to watch. For me the Tom Baker years epitomise what was great about Doctor Who, no matter which producers term you dip into there is a touch of magic to be found (hard as nails Hinchcliffe, fluffy Williams or polished JNT) but they truly missed the point with his swansong, a depressing hour and a half devoted to mathematics.

Ladies and gentlemen will you all give a warm round of applause to that sparkling personality from the land of Oz…Teeeegaaaan Jovankaaaa! The feeling that all hope for the series has finally arrived in the form of a hysterical, wrist-flapping ball of anger. Janet Fielding’s entrance is actually not as bad as I feared; there is some attempt to create a likable person here. At least in episode one…her scenes with her jolly Aunty Vanessa are a joy and (for me) the highpoint of the tale because it injects a little humour. Tegan’s reaction to stumbling into the TARDIS is probably the most natural since Ian and Barbara way back in 1963…sheer horror. Unfortunately this leads to endless tiresome scenes of the woman wandering the corridors and blubbing, which quickly dispel any idea that she might be an empowered female companion. To be frank it’s a pretty poor performance by Janet Fielding whatever way you look at it…she can’t do angry (“I DEMAND TO SEE WHOEVERS IN CHARGE OF THIS SHIP!”) or happiness (“EARTH!” she screams at the camera in what I’m sure is supposed to be funny) or revulsion (“You revolting man!” she spits with a rather pathetic slap) and alas even regular informative dialogue seems to be a challenge (just listen to how amateurishly she says “Nyssa and Adric have gone after the Master!”). Like a whirlwind of emotion I can see how some Mikes enjoy her ‘drama’ (because hey it provided a bit of spice in an otherwise bland era!) but if I were on board the TARDIS I would risk the vacuum of space over an adventure with her. 

After his spectacular return in The Keeper of Traken this is the story that tips the Master back into melodramatic territory. Taking over universe? What again? Doesn’t he ever get tired of that same old plan that is inevitably thwarted by you know Who. I understand the purpose of the Master in this story…to bring the universe to the brink of collapse as a backdrop for the even more powerful drama between the Doctor and his archenemy (there is a delicious touch of Holmes/Moriarty as the Doctor and the Master stand at a great height and tussle). I realise Bidmead wants the Doctor to go out in a blaze of glory, defeating pure evil but I cannot invest an ounce of credibility in the Master when he is played with such cartoonish conviction by Anthony Ainley. The man who gave us the sensitive and thoughtful Tremas just one story ago seems to have lost all sense of subtlety and poured into a mock-evil costume he never, ever seems capable of the catastrophic events he causes here. How someone as goonish as the Master could wipe out half the bloody universe is beyond me…hey maybe there’s hope for Scrappy Doo yet! Without a strong, believable villain this story (and particularly the climax) is sabotaged beyond repair. He is given little motive (and after recovering from his emaciated state you might think he would want to hide out for a while instead of leaping back into the universal domination game) besides being evil and that just exposes how flimsy a villain he was all along. Basically he destroys stuff because he’s the Master…that’s just what he does. Boring lazy writing. Frankly after a year of excellent baddies I expected more. 

Miaow! Get the claws away Joe! Unfortunately I cannot because the entire story is just one (padded) long-winded excuse to get the Doctor to the top of that tower and fall off. It seems to abandon all sense of structure by diverting itself wherever it pleases to fit the JNT series changes. The first episode is just an excuse to introduce Tegan…there is little other reason to spend half an hour on a bypass (except to measure a police box…hmm), the second wastes plenty of time on the Doctor’s foolish and inexplicably stupid scheme to ‘flush’ out the Master. The story doesn’t actually begin until the end of the second episode until we reach Logopolis but that’s where the tedium really settles in…

Whilst the idea of a planet being held together by pure mathematics is an intriguing one (albeit a little dull…why can’t we have a planet made out of treacle?) the execution of Logopolis is dire. We are talking original Star Trek style ‘outside’ sets here, bushy wigged nerds hiding in polystyrene rock alcoves and (most brilliantly of all) cardboard cut out rows of actors to give the impression that there are far more people involved in this project than there actually are! The model shot of Logopolis doesn’t seem to tie in with the sets either and unfortunately before we can get to the actual content of the story the visuals are embarrassing and distracting. 

These sequences are boring. There I said it. With the Doctor stuck in a shrinking TARDIS, Nyssa shoehorned into the action from no-where and being controlled by the Master in her fathers body, Tegan shrieking and Adric reading out a bunch of sums I cannot say this exactly thrill a minute. Suddenly from no-where it appears that Logopolis is responsible for holding the entire universe together (say what???) and the Master has set about its (and Logopolises) destruction. There is also some guff about CVEs that non-regular viewer Joe Bloggs does not have clue about and does not care that it was set up way back when in Full Circle. Cue lots of cardboard stone bouncing around the set and a desperate rush to Earth to make sure that entropy is filtered through the CVEs and not into the universe. This sudden revelation would carry more weight had it been set up with a few hints but it just feels like whack bam…there’s the danger now we’ve got Tegan, Nyssa and the Master involved…deal with it. Besides does that mean all these other universe is getting all our crap flushed into them? In the end of the day it’s a bunch of non-characters (does anybody honestly see any depth to Adric, Tegan, Nyssa, the Monitor or the Master?) chatting about universal devastation the likes of which could never be portrayed on screen convincingly. 

Its only when things return to Earth that events get a little bit exciting. I hate to admit this but my favourite scene in Logopolis is when the Doctor and co are being chased by the guards around the Pharos Project to some reject seventies chase music. It’s exhilarating and fun and silly…everything Doctor Who should be. Plus the location work here is lovely, a gorgeous sunny morning, perfect for running about in. 

What’s the deal with the Watcher? Is there ever an explanation as to why this wraith like creature should disturb the fourth Doctor in his last days? Its another mystery is a script that is full of wrong decisions and unanswered questions. Yes Tom Baker’s haunted reaction to the creature is spine tingling but it serves no real purpose but to remind us that Tom is leaving. Oh boo hoo, get over it. It pads out the story a bit more too. Those fans who said they cried when he fell off the tower and melts into the Watcher need to get out more, this isn’t emotional drama…its audience manipulation and Doctor Who rarely stoops to such levels. The fifth Doctor’s heroic sacrifice for Peri…now that was tear jerking but some ghost who pops up to say “Oi you… you’re gonna die!” that’s just silly. 

Tom Baker did deserve a big finish and certainly saving the entire universe seems the way to go. However saving the entire universe by pulling out a wire…that’s an anti-climax. And again he is let down by an unspectacular array of poor special FX which undermine the gravity of the event. Season eighteen looks GORGEOUS for fucks sakes why the hell couldn’t you have saved a bit of money for THE most important event of the last seven years? It’s bloody Planet of the Spiders all over again. Gaah…it just makes me so mad that money mad producer JNT could not lavish more time and money on this seminal moment. Simon watched this with me and laughed himself silly when he saw the dolly Tom hanging on the wire and cardboard cut out Master giggling behind the Doctor as dish rotates. The flashbacks are cute and almost make you forget how amateurish this all is. 

And if things weren’t bad enough already…the story closes on Peter Davison grinning. Ladies and gentlemen we have our new Doctor. Oh vomit. 

Logopolis is given far too much credit for being different but what people fail to mention is that it has no heart. Season seventeen may have sucked when it came to production values but it always had plenty of heart, lots of fantastic characterisation and a rock solid plot. Logopolis meanders all over the place and is populated by unconvincing ciphers who fail to light up the screen; it has some big ideas but never explores them properly or engagingly through the characters. And the Master is a big prat. Besides some witty dialogue and the genuinely marvellous scene where Nyssa watches her planet be destroyed there is nothing here worth seeing. 

A must see because of its climax but not because of its content, this could be the most depressing Doctor Who story ever.

Filters: Television Fourth Doctor Series 18

Tom Baker's final story has a really bright and creative idea in it. The planet of Logopolis itself is a really very exciting. The idea of a society that is completely based and has such faith in the power or math is quite good. A faith that is so strong they can actually use it to hold back entropy is such a powerful idea that it deserved to be at the front of this story instead of just the background.

Sadly enough there isn't much else in this four part story to get excited about. Baker's color and charisma were pulled way back for this story and it hurts. It may have worked as an idea to promote the dark and funeral like feel of the story but without the Doctor there are no pick up moments or bright points in the story and it just makes it dreadful to watch. The mysterious Watcher in the background doesn't add much depth to what is going on. Even the TVM regeneration was better than this.

The first wheel spinning episode is incredibly dull. The Master lands his TARDIS around a real police box and disguises it as a police box so the when the Doctor lands his police box he'll actually be landing both around and inside the Master's police box. Then the Doctor and Adric wonder from console room to console room. Soon Tegan manages to get herself into the TARDIS so she can start wondering from corridor to corridor. YAAAAAAAAAAWN! The story never really picks up from that point.

Adric is actually the only credible character in the story. Most of the tale is told from his point of view as he learns more from the Doctor, asks the right questions, and develops quite well.

Tegan has a miserable first start. Janet Fielding gives a way over the top performance that has no credibility to it at all. She was supposed to be a strong independent character but just comes off as being bitchy with personality swings you almost have to duck to avoid. There's nothing wrong, really, with playing a character at 100% but switching from one direction, doesn't believe a word the Doctor says, to another, desperately dependant on him, as fast as lightning is really lousy for character development. She decides that he is her only hope of survival and is counting on him to get her back to Earth so she snaps into action and completely ignores what he tells her to do.

The only character that comes of worse in this story is the Master. For the first two episode he turns it into a slaughter fest and all we get is the Master's hollow laughter in the background. To make evil characters work there has to at least be a reason for them doing what they do but there is none. A policeman uses a telephone from the box and the Master kills him. Aunt Vanesa opens the police box door and he kills her. As the story progresses he goes to Logopolis so he can start killing more people at a time. His evil scheme to finally destroy the Doctor is set in place by killing people at random? Even with that simple of a plan he fails miserably and gets in way over his head. The plan is as flat and as one dimensional as Ainley's performance. He never had the charisma or depth that an actor needed to make the character work and never improved much from his introduction. His message to the peoples of the universe that he tries to send out is so weak and laughable I can't imagine it being taken seriously by anybody who came across it. He's basically threatening people who've never heard of him or know the truth about entropy that if the universe doesn't immediately accept him as their ruler he will allow entropy to destroy everything. Nobody will be shaking in their boots when they get that signal.

After it's all said and done this story is a miserable waste of time. The worst of the regeneration stories.

Skip it.

Filters: Television Fourth Doctor Series 18