Doctor Who - The Visitation
John Nathan-Turner for BBC
directed by Peter Moffatt
starring Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, Michael Robbins, Michael Melia, Peter Van Dissel, John Savident, Anthony Calf
written by Eric Saward, script editor: Antony Root, music by Paddy Kingsland
Doctor Who, Doctor Who (Peter Davison), Doctor Who (classic series)
Doctor Who (Peter Davison), along with Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), Tegan
(Janet Fielding) & that brat Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) are brought
to England 1666 by their time machine, the TARDIS. There they encounter
a land plagued by ... well, the plague, & villagers more than
willing to irrationally blame it on hust about anybody they don't know.
But they also find an alley in Richard Mace (Michael Robbins), a theatre
actor turned highwayman, & they find technology far too advanced for
that time period, & soon walk right into the trap of an alien
Terileptil (Michael Melia as a dragon-like monster) who they find out
wants to kill all the inhabitants of the earth with the plague to
rebuild the planet as his homebase.Of course all our heroes try to
escape, but not all successfully & the rest end up mostly as
prisoners of the villagers thinking them to carry the plague or
villagers mindcontrolled by the alien.. It is actually surprising that
Nyssa manages to get back to the TARDIS & build some device to
destroy the alien's android-bodyguard that is disguised as the Black
Death, allowing our heroes - who have freed themselves somehow in the
end - to follow the alien to London, where it plans to unleash the
plague bigtime, & finally destroy it, but by accident start the
Great London Fire.
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This is one story of missed opportuinities: it has the plague, 17th
century backdrops, aliens on the verge of invading, androids dressed as
the Black Death and actors in the guise of highwaymen, but it all that adds up to nothing more
than our heroes running to & fro & continuously getting captured
by one side or the other but managing to escape somehow, with
the plague only mentioned but never really used to build up a creepy
atmosphere, making this, despite a great set-up that seems to be a surefire
hit, only another lame alien-invasion-story. That the plastic alien
outfit & the android's Black Death disguise look particularly
unconvincing does not help either.
review © by Mike Haberfelner
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