Friday, 21 June 2013

The Visitation (Part One)

Originally Broadcast 15th February 1982

Written by: Eric Saward

In a nutshell: In an attempt to get Tegan home to Heathrow, the TARDIS instead takes them to the right place but three hundred years previous where the Doctor discovers even more trouble.

Review: There’s a lovely little introduction to this episode which sets the scene for what’s to come nicely. It has some quite nice music, some decent ‘lights in the sky’ effects, good costumes and some…ok acting. The attack is pretty cool as well and then there’s the question “From who (are we under attack)” before the glitzy disco robot breaks through the door. Uh-oh, I think the 1970s is calling.

When we reach the TARDIS team our characters are fighting. Great. That’s different from usual for the fifth Doctor’s haul of companions. But the writing and the acting is really confident, yes, even Adrics. I’m enjoying the scene but this is definitely less Doctor Who and more soap opera. I feel this is what producer JNT wanted when he took over the show, slowly integrating these elements into his first series where he managed to shoehorn Tom Baker out of the TARDIS.

Team TARDIS on form!
It has to be said, there’s a lot of action in this episode. We’ve now got the Doctor and co fighting some locals. I’m still really enjoying this episode, I think the writing is pretty strong and I’m loving what our four regulars are doing. Even with the added inclusion of dropping the homing device and the twisted ankle, I’m still a fan of this episode. Michael Robbins as Richard Mace gives us a beautiful performance, slightly over the top but because he’s so believable in himself it works without a second thought. When he delivers the line about once being a thespian until falling on hard times, do you think he’s making a metaphor for his own career?

I know the regulars have since spoken out about their costumes and I have to agree, they don’t work. I don’t understand why our companions can’t change between stories in the 1982 series, especially because every time Adric turns around or is filmed from behind we get a nasty imprint of his bum. Let’s hope he never got too excited whilst filming…

This episode does really have it all: great period piece, action, humour, brilliant acting, intelligent storytelling and even some detective work for the Doctor and Nyssa toward the climax of the episode. I have to go out on a limb and say this is possibly one of the best single episodes of Doctor Who I’ve seen and if you watch it with the DVD commentary it’s even funnier! The cliffhangers a bit limp though.

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