Still unstable following his latest regeneration, the Fifth Doctor convalesces on Castrovalva, a planet inspired by the paradoxical M.C. Escher print.
Newly regenerated, the Fifth Doctor needs to recuperate inside the Zero Room. If he can find it, in his unstable condition. This leave Nyssa, Adric, and Tegan to face the Master. Then Adric is taken, and the TARDIS plunges toward Event One. Also known as “the Big Bang”. The largest explosion in history!
The Doctor: The regeneration’s failing.
To escape Event One, the TARDIS needs more thrust. Which it gets by deleting 25% of the its’ rooms. And now, the Zero Room is gone. The Fifth Doctor’s regeneration is still unstable. To help him, Tegan locates the tranquil world of Castrovalva, and someone pilots the TARDIS there.
The Doctor: Smoke! Heat! And noise! Adrenaline! And neuropeptides! The brain’s working!
Something is wrong with Castrovalva. But the Portreeve cannot cannot help the Doctor identify the problem. And the Master is taunting Adric, who’s caught in his web of power.
The Doctor: Ah, which is the quickest way out of here?
[a group of helpful women point, but each in a different direction]
The Doctor: Yes, well, that’s democracy for you.
Recursive occlusion threatens to destroy everything and everyone in Castrovalva. Think M.C. Escher. Every path leads back to the starting point, so there’s no way of escape. The Master’s space/time trap is revealed. With Adric at it’s heart.
The Doctor: [to Mergrave and Ruther] You have got to help me defeat him. GOT TO, do you understand?
Shardovan: [addressing them, also] You do have doubts. You’ve spoken of it often.
[Mergrave and Ruther don’t know what to say]
The Doctor: Well, say something, please! “Yes,” would be best.
Cast of characters
- Peter Davison (All Creatures Great and Small, Doctor Who: Black Orchid) … The Doctor
- Janet Fielding (Logopolis) … Tegan
- Sarah Sutton (Through the Looking Glass, Doctor Who: The Keeper of Traken) … Nyssa
- Matthew Waterhouse (Doctor Who: Earthshock) … Adric
- Anthony Ainley (Doctor Who – Survival) … The Master / Portreeve
- Derek Waring … Shardovan
- Michael Sheard (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back) … Mergrave
- Frank Wylie … Ruther
Editorial review of Doctor Who Castrovalva courtesy of Amazon.com
The four-episode serial Castrovalva not only kicked off the 19th season of Doctor Who, but introduced the fifth incarnation of the venerable British sci-fi hero in the younger (and blonder) form of Peter Davidson, who replaced fan favorite Tom Baker at the end of the previous season. Castrovalva picks up where the Baker finale, Logopolis (also available on DVD), left off, with the Doctor in a weakened state after his transformation, and in need of rest and recuperation. His companions set a course for the planet of Castrovalva, but all is not as it seems on the peaceful and educated world: Could the Doctor’s old nemesis The Master be setting a trap for the ailing Time Lord?
It’s a strong debut for Davidson, who quickly sets his own path as the Doctor (while referencing his predecessor’s traits and quirks in several clever bits), and the single disc DVD’s extras do an excellent job of covering the transitional phase that the cast and crew underwent during the serial’s production. Davidson is front and center on the commentary tracks for all four episodes, and he’s joined by castmate Janet Fielding (Tegan), director Fiona Cumming, and writer Christopher H. Bidmead. And he’s the focus of two featurettes: “Being Doctor Who,” which covers his tenure as the Doctor, and “The Crowded TARDIS,” in which he joins Baker, Fielding, and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) to discuss the Doctor’s multiple companions in the Davidson years.
Cumming is also profiled in a short feature on directing the episode, and the BBC vaults yield interviews with Davidson from the period on the children’s shows Blue Peter and Swap Shop. A pair of deleted scenes, continuity announcements, a photo gallery, the usual above-par text commentary, a PDF of printed material on the show, and a music video for a remix of Peter Howell’s theme music round out the supplements. — Paul Gaita