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Doctor Who - Castrovalva

episode 117

UK 1982
produced by
John Nathan-Turner for BBC
directed by Fiona Cumming
starring Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Anthony Ainley, Michael Sheard, Derek Waring, Frank Wylie, Souska John
written by Christopher H.Bidmead, script editor: Eric Saward, music by Paddy Kingsland

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Peter Davison), Doctor Who (classic series), The Master, The Master (Anthony Ainley)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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While Doctor Who (Peter Davison) has still problems regenerating into his new body (see Logopolis), his arch-enemy the Master (Anthony Ainley) has kidnapped the Doctor's child companion Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) and uses him (or rather a mental image of him) to sabotage the Doctor's time machine the TARDIS.

At first, the Master tries to steer the TARDIS right back to the big bang and have it blown up as a result, but somehow, the Doctor's two female sidekicks Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) manage to save the TARDIS (and themselves) just in time, even despite the Doctor's bad condition. Then the two women decide to take the Doctor to Castrovalva, a city famous for its soothing qualities ...

Once on Castrovalva - a cross between a midieval town and a health spa -, the Doctor really does get better, but when ok again, he soon starts to get interested in the city's history ... and discovers it is all forged. Plus the city seems to be caught in some kind of spatial anomaly, which seemingly turns the city into a maze without an exit. The Doctor and his friends soon suspect the local librarian Shadovan (Derek Waring) to be behind it all, but it actually turns out that Shadovan is the only one on Castrovalva who does suspect foul play just like the Doctor does. The real baddie is Castrovalva's old president Ruther (Frank Wylie), who - wouldn't you know it - ultimately turns out to be the Master, with Castrovalva being nothing but a trap to finally catch and dispose of the Doctor - and the brains of Castrovalva (quite literally) is Adric, the little maths genius, who has created (and calculated) the whole city in his head while strapped to an electrically charged web by the Master. However, when Shadovan discovers this, he destroys teh web, even if it means his own death and the destruction of Castrovalva.

Only the Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan make it out of Castrovalva just in time (mainly because Adric, who created the city, knows its exit), while the Master is torn apart by the Castrovalvans ... or is he ?

 

Despite some gaping plotholes (why did the Master create such an elaborate scheme to kill the Doctor, why do the Castrovalvans destroy their city, ...), Castrovalva is one of the better Doctor Who episodes of the 1980's, thanks to some intelligent concepts the plot is based on. However, this is one episode that terribly suffers from insufficient special effects which could have really taken the episode to another level ... but oh well, that's cheap TV for you ...

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD