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Doctor Who: Battlefield

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Doctor Who: Battlefield (1989) starring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Nicholas Courtney
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Doctor Who: Battlefield (1989) starring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Nicholas Courtney

In Battlefield, Earth — and The Doctor — get caught up in the middle of a war between an other dimensional version of the warring factions of Camelot. Where the wicked Morgaine is convinced that he’s Merlin!

Part 1

As UNIT is transporting a nuclear warhead around Carbury, knights in armor arrive. They continue waging a war that began a thousand years ago. In a different dimension, no less.

Ancelyn: He has many names, but in my reckoning, he is Merlin.
The Doctor: Do you recognize my face then?
Ancelyn: No, it is not your aspect, but your manner that betrays you. Do you not ride the ship of time? Does it not deceive the senses by being larger within than without? Come, Merlin, cease these games.

Part 2

The Doctor and Ace explore King Arthur’s spaceship deep under Lake Vortigern. Meanwhile, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart arrives in Carbury. Mordred summons his mother, Morgaine, to Earth. Where Lethbridge-Stewart encounters her …

The Doctor: Yes, remember Baden and my mighty arts. Do you think I would use mere trickery against someone as formidable as you? Go, before I unleash a terrible something on you.

Flight Lieutenant Lavel: [the Brigadier and Lavel have just escaped from a helicopter crash] Sir, we don’t know what the situation is here!
Brigadier: The situation, Lavel, is normal, and it doesn’t get much worse than that. You know, I’m rather enjoying this.

Morgaine: How goes the day?
Brigadier: I’ve had better.
Morgaine: I am Morgaine, the sun-killer. Dominator of the thirteen worlds and battle queen of the S’Rax. What say you?
Brigadier: I am Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. Surrender now and we can avoid bloodshed.

Ace: Are you Merlin?
Doctor: No. But I could be. In the future.

Part 3

Morgaine is furious at her inability to find and engage Arthur in battle. So, Morgain threatens to unleash the Destroyer on the planet. Unless the Doctor gives her what she wants, of course. And Ace has escaped the underwater spaceship with Excalibur …. Which Morgaine wants, and is unwilling to unleash the Destroyer to get it!

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: [showing the Doctor their ammunition] Armor-piercing, solid core with a teflon coating. Go through a Dalek.
The Doctor: A nasty bullet.
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: UNIT’s been very busy, Doctor. We’ve also got high explosive rounds for yetis and very efficient armor-piercing rounds for robots. And we’ve even got gold-tipped bullets for you-know-what.
The Doctor: No silver?
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Silver bullets?
The Doctor: Well, you never know.
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Quartermaster Sergeant! Silver bullets! Have we any?

The Doctor: [the Doctor stops the duel between Mordred and Ancelyn] STOP! I COMMAND IT! THERE – WILL – BE – NO – BATTLE HERE!

Part 4

The Brigadier slays the Destroyer, while Morgaine takes control of UNIT’s nuclear warhead. She prepares a countdown that will destroy the entire Earth!

Mordred: [to Doctor] Look me in the eye, end my life. [the Doctor does nothing] Ha! It is a weakness, this lack of spirit!
Brigadier: [the Brigadier points his revolver at Mordred’s head] Try me.
Morgaine: Ware this man, Mordred, he is steeped in blood.

The Destroyer: Pitiful. Can this world do no better than you as a champion?
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: Probably. I just do the best I can.

The Doctor: [sees the Brigadier’s body] You stupid, stubborn, pigheaded numbskull! You were supposed to die in bed!
Brigadier: [gets up] Nonsense, Doctor!… Oh, really, Doctor, do you think I’d be so stupid as to stay inside, do you? Have a little faith!

Cast of characters

  • Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who: Survival) … The Doctor
  • Sophie Aldred (Greatest Show in the Galaxy) … Ace
  • Jean Marsh (Willow) … Morgaine. The extra dimensional villainess. She wants to fight King Arthur once more. And thinks the Doctor is Merlin. She just might be right …
  • Nicholas Courtney (Terror of the Autons) … Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. He comes out of retirement, “one more time” to help the Doctor with the current crisis.
  • James Ellis … Peter Warmsly. The archeologist. His discovery of a King Arthur-era scabbard is more relevant than anybody knows.
  • Angela Bruce … Brigadier Winifred Bambera. The military person in charge, although out of her depth. It’s fun to watch the rivalry between her & Ancelyn.
  • Christopher Bowen (Darkman) … Mordred. Morgaine’s son, who depends on her. Only to be disappointed.
  • Marcus Gilbert (Army of Darkness) … Ancelyn. Leader of Arthur’s forces. Mordred’s foe, Bambera’s equivalent. It’s fun to watch his “romance” with Bambera.
  • Angela Douglas (Carry On Screaming) … Doris Lethbridge-Stewart. The Brigadier’s loving wife. Who doesn’t want him to come out of retirement. Since she knows how dangerous his job is.
  • Noel Collins … Pat Rowlinson
  • June Bland (Earthshock) … Elizabeth Rowlinson
  • Ling Tai (Doctor Who: Warriors of the Deep) … Shou Yuing. Ace’s teenage friend. She and Ace are almost enticed out of their protective chalk circle by Morgaine.
  • Robert Jezek … Sergeant. Zbrigniev

Editorial review of Doctor Who: Battlefield courtesy of

Responding to a distress signal, the Doctor and Ace arrive near the village of Carbury, where a nuclear missile convoy has run into difficulties. The peace of the English countryside is shattered as UNIT troops are besieged by armored knights from another dimension. As the crisis deepens, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart is called out of retirement to join the battle. Together, he and the Doctor must face the Destroyer, a fearsome demon summoned by the witch queen Morgaine to devour the world.

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