Last updated 04 May 2015

Doctor Who: The Awakening

The Awakening

Story Number: 131 (6M)
No of Episodes: 2

Writer: Eric Pringle
Director: Michael Owen Morris
Producer: John Nathan-Turner

Starring: Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Polly James, Denis Lill, Glyn Houston

BBC One (United Kingdom):
First Broadcast: Thursday 19th January 1984 - Friday 20th January 1984
Running Time: 50 minutes, 5 seconds

Average Audience: 7.25 Million   Average AI: 64

In the village of Little Hodcombe in 1984, schoolteacher Jane Hampden (Polly James) is being tormented by Colonel Ben Woolsey (Glyn Houston), Captain Joseph Willow (Jack Galloway) and their leader, Sir George Hutchinson (Denis Lill), who are on horseback and dressed as roundheads. It is Sir George who has organised a series of war games to celebrate the English Civil War, which came to the village on 13 July 1643. Jane wants him to stop the games but he refuses. 

The TARDIS arrives in the crypt of a disused church after experiencing some time distortion and an energy field. The crypt is full of broken masonry, and more falls as the Doctor and his companions watch on the scanner. The Doctor spots a fleeing figure (John Kearns) and dashes out to help, but the figure has now vanished. As the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough leave the church to investigate, smoke starts to billow from a crack in the wall. 

The three travellers are soon captured and taken to Sir George. Tegan explains that they have come to this village to see her grandfather, Andrew Verney. She is informed that Verney is missing, and runs off in disgust. The Doctor follows but loses her as she has been trapped in a barn wherein she sees the ghost of an old man. 

Returning to the church, the Doctor meets Will Chandler (Keith Jayne) who breaks through the wall. He has been hidden in a priest hole and believes the year to be 1643. They are joined by Tegan and Turlough, who has rescued her from the barn. The Doctor and Will investigate the church. Tegan and Turlough meanwhile wait in the TARDIS, where they see a sparkly projection on one of the walls. They go to tell the Doctor but are re-captured. Turlough is locked in an outbuilding with Verney (Frederick Hall) while Tegan is forced to change into a May Queen costume by Willow. 

The Doctor has found a secret passage back to Ben Woolsey’s living room under a slab marked with a picture of a creature that Will identifies as the Malus. The Doctor and Will meet Jane coming the other way through the passage – she was locked in the house by Willow and found the passage’s other end by accident. They avoid Sir George, who has followed Jane down the passage, and the Doctor finds a small ball of metal with which the man has been playing. It is tinclavic, a metal mined by the Terileptils on the planet Raaga for the almost exclusive use of the people of Hakol, a planet in the star system Rifta, where psychic energy is a force to be harnessed. 

Returning to the church, the Doctor and Jane are astonished when a massive alien face pushes its way through the crack on the wall, roaring and spewing smoke. They manage to escape from the psychic projection of a cavalier, and head back to the house via the tunnel. The Doctor realises that the Malus in the church was found by Verney and then exploited by Sir George. The psychic energy released by the war games will feed the Malus. The Doctor and Jane again try to persuade Sir George to stop the games, as the final battle will be for real. He refuses. Ben however joins forces with the Doctor. 

Tegan, dressed as the Queen of the May, is taken in a horse-drawn cart towards the village green, where she is to be burned. When the cart arrives, however, a straw dummy has been put in her place by Ben. Sir George is furious, but Will causes a distraction which allows the Doctor, Jane, Ben, Tegan and Will himself to get back to the church, where they enter the TARDIS. The Doctor locks the signal conversion unit on the frequency of the psychic energy feeding the Malus, hoping to be able to direct it. Willow and a trooper (Christopher Saul) try in vain to break their way into the TARDIS, and Turlough and Verney knock them unconscious with lumps of masonry. The Doctor succeeds in blocking the energy, and the projection of the Malus in the TARDIS dies. 

The Doctor and his friends all return to the main church, where they are confronted by three roundhead projections. The trooper in the crypt recovers but is beheaded by the roundheads when he enters the church. Sir George has been summoned by the Malus and now arrives, brandishing two pistols. Ben tries to reason with him but he will not listen. The Malus also summons Willow and, in the confusion, Will pushes Sir George into the Malus’s face, killing him. The Malus goes wild. It is fulfilling its program and destroying the church in its death throes. To escape, Will, Willow, Jane, Ben, Tegan, Verney, the Doctor and Turlough all leave in the TARDIS. 

The Doctor is persuaded to stay in Little Hodcombe for a while for a rest.

Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Fifth Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted. Available from Telos

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