Takeover Ad
Takeover Ad
10 September 2014

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 618: Mawdryn Undead, Episode Three

Dear diary,

I’m really enjoying the way the Doctor and the Brigadier are interacting in this story. I’ve been trying all day to think of the right way to put it, and it stuck me about a half an hour ago - they’re interacting like the Doctor and the Brigadier! Yeah, yeah, I know that sounds like I’m just being facetious, but what I mean is that the relationship they share here is in many ways the same that Patrick Troughton’s Doctor had with the Brig, or Jon Pertwee’s, or Tom Baker’s. It’s not identical to any of those earlier versions, but it fits right in with my memories of them. Way, way back, during Season Seven when the Third Doctor and the Brigadier weren’t often getting along, I mentioned that I’d always seen the pair as being best friends because that’s how they’re portrayed in the 1980s stories. I think this is specifically the tale that I was thinking of - it’s the way that Davison’s Doctor grins when he first sets out to follow the man back down to the school, and the way that the Brigadier has a dry remark to counter everything the Doctor says, before getting on with the task in hand because he trust’s the Doctor’s judgement, no matter what face he’s wearing.

I’ve not yet mentioned the Black Guardian in this story, who’ll be popping up over the next few tales, too, forming what fan’s tend to call the ‘Black Guardian Trilogy’ (it’s imaginatively titled). It always struck me as an odd return for the character, several years after he was last a threat, and operating in such an odd way. In The Armageddon Factor, he was trying to gain control of the Key to Time because he could use it to plunge the universe into chaos. Here, he’s using an alien in an English school to try and simply kill the Doctor. After appearing to be such an immensely powerful being in Season Sixteen (and slightly beyond - even though he often over-rode it, the Doctor had to install the Randomiser in the TARDIS to make sure he could escape the Guardian’s clutches), this all felt a bit… low key.

I can see now just how like The Trickster from The Sarah Jane Adventures he is. At the time I remember thinking that the Trickster felt familiar, and it’s strange to see this serial now when I’m so much more familiar with the spin-off. For some reason, though, I accept this kind of meddling from the Trickster and accept that he’s a supremely powerful being, whereas in the case of the Black Guardian, I simply don’t buy it. Maybe it’s because he insists on wearing that bird on his head?

He does at least escape his green vortex in this episode - but only because I’ve turned on the CGI effects. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what effects they’d actually replace (it’s hardly a story that relies on lots of laser beams, exploding castles, or giant snakes), so I thought I’d give it a go. It makes the Guardian’s appearances suitably more creepy - especially when he takes the place of a bust on Mawdryn’s ship - and it gives us a really rather nice effect as the Teleport capsule arrives back in place, too. I think I’ll leave them on for the next episode, just to see if they do anything with the two-Brigadier’s meeting moment.

While I’m at it - I’ve loved the couple of scenes in today’s episode of the Brig just missing himself in the ship’s corridors - and I’m hoping we get one or two more before they come face-to-face!

 

RSS Feed
News Key
News Home
General
The New Series
The Classic Series
Spinoffs
Merchandise
Site
Blog Entries
Reviews Key
Reviews Home
Books / Magazines
DVD / Blu-ray
Audio
Toys / Other
TV Episodes
Search