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Doctor Who - The Keeper of Traken

episode 115

UK 1981
produced by
John Nathan-Turner, Barry Letts (executive) for BBC
directed by John Black
starring Tom Baker, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Anthony Ainley, Sheila Ruskin, John Woodnutt, Denis Carey, Margot Van Der Burgh, Robin Soans, Roland Oliver, Geoffrey Beevers
written by Johnny Byrne, script editor: Christopher H.Bidmead, music by Roger Limb

tv-series
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Tom Baker), Doctor Who (classic series), The Master

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Doctor Who (Tom Baker) and his annoying young boy companion Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) arrive on Traken, a planet of eternal harmony, where evil creatures - called Melkars - are just left to petrify in the grove, and even they are tended by volunteers - volunteers like Kassia (Sheila Ruskin). The peace and tranquility of Traken is looked after by the Keeper (Denis Carey), a sort of Chosen One, who has to sit in his (high-tech) chair for thousands of years and look after the affairs of state ... I think.

Now though, harmony of Traken is in danger since the old Keeper is dieing, and Kassia just got married to the appointed Keeper Tremas (Anthony Ainley), an important counsel on Traken, and she has no desire to lose her husband to any old chair. So she turns to her Melkar (Geoffrey Beevers), and he soon tells her how to make a mess out of all affairs of state and have made Tremas a traitor, and how to blame it all on the Doctor and Adric, and eventually - with Tremas, the Doctor and Adric all under lock and key, the Melkar has Kassia become the new Keeper ... and once she is the Keeper, the Melkar takes over her body and thus her place in the affairs of Traken, which he plans to use as his new headquarters for universal conquest.

Fortunately though, Tremas has a young daughter, Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), who has a few tricks up her sleeve and has soon freed her father, the Doc and Adric, and soon enough, too, the Doctor and Adric make up a plan to sabotage the Keeper's high tech chair ... and while the Doctor faces the new Keeper/Melkar on his own turf and finds out that a decaying Master (also Geoffrey Beevers) is behind it all, young Adric puts teh plan into action ... and the two of them almost blow up the planet, but instead save it in the end ...

And the Master ?

In the very last scene he takes over Tremas' body (and will thus in later episodes be played by Anthony Ainley).

 

One of the worst episodes of Tom Baker's tenure as Doctor Who: The script is riddled with plotholes and is essentially as convoluted as it is silly, the very stilted and theatrical dialogue is at times nothing more than ridiculous, the mock period costumes and sets seem strangely out of place (Similar costumes and sets have worked in earlier episodes of the series), but what's worse: The whole episode takes itself terribly serious. Forgettable !!!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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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