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Doctor Who - The Arc of Infinity

episode 124

UK 1983
produced by
John Nathan-Turner for BBC
directed by Ron Jones
starring Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Michael Gough, Leonard Sachs, Ian Collier, Colin Baker, Paul Jerricho, Elspet Gray, Neil Daglish, Andrew Boxer, Alastair Cumming
written by Johnny Byrne, script editor: Eric Saward, music by Roger Limb

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Peter Davison), Doctor Who (classic series)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Ok, before I start writing my synopsis let me state that the story of this episode is incredibly muddled and actually unintelligible, so whoever has seen this one might thing he has seen something completely different from me. Still, I hope I managed to make heads and tails of at least the key elements of the story ...

 

There is this antimatter being, Omega (Ian Collier) - first seen in the episode The Three Doctors -, who is actually a Timelord and who wants to return to the real universe by taking over the body of Doctor Who (Peter Davison) - but the Council of Timelords cannot let that happen and have the Doctor executed - even though it's not his fault that Omega wants to take him over, and even though there is obviously a traitor among the Council of Timelords (who later turns out to be Hadin [Michael Gough], the Doctor's best friend among the Council).

The Doctor of course did not really die but got caught in the Matrix, the source of all wisdom of the Timelords, where he meets Omega who wants to persuade him to do something. And to really put the pressure on the Doctor, Omega has kidnapped his former (and future) companion Tegan (Janet Fielding) ...

Tegan has made a trip to Amsterdam, where she, her cousin Colin (Alastair Cumming) and his friend Robin (Andrew Boxer) have in a crypt stumbled upon something which appears to be the outpost of Omega's operations - why this is in Amsterdam, Earth and not on the Timelords' home planet Gallifrey - apart from the fact that producer John Nathan-Turner thought it would be nice to make a company trip - I fail to understand. Anyways, eventually the Doctor makes it out of the Matrix with his companion Nyssa's (Sarah Sutton) help, and in his space and time-machine TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) they travel to Amsterdam, free Tegan and company and throw a spanner into Omega's works. Ultimately, Omega turns into a splitting image of the Doctor and makes a getaway running through the streets of Amsterdam - but his structure in our universe is terribly unstable, and after being hit by one of these futuristic weapons the Doctor and company in his pursuit carry, he just disintegrates ...

Future Doctor Who actor Colin Baker plays Gallifrey's no-nonsense head guard in this one.

 

As I said at the beginning, the script is pretty muddled, and many story elements make no sense at all - especially the whole Amsterdam bit -, and many subplots just seem to go to nowhere in particular, which of course totally reduces dramatic tension of any sort. Pretty bad, even for a Doctor Who story from the 1980's, not the best decade of the series in general.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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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