The Doctor and Nyssa’s visit to a tranquil region of space known as the Arc of Infinity is cut short by a strange phenomenon – some kind of entity penetrates the TARDIS and tries to merge with the Doctor’s body. The attempt is short-lived, and the Doctor escapes harm, but apparently the incident has been noticed – the Time Lords are recalling him to Gallifrey. With Nyssa in tow, the Doctor returns home only to discover that his biodata extract has been accessed by an unknown party – information that could be used to allow someone to take over his physical form. Fearing the ramifications of a Time Lord being taken over by an alien entity, the High Council – now led by the regenerated Borusa as Lord President – votes to have the Doctor executed. But a second attempt at a merge interrupts the execution, and the Time Lords find out that it’s no alien entity at work, but one of their own.
Season 20 Regular Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough)
Guest Cast: Leonard Sachs (President Borusa), Michael Gough (Hedin), Ian Collier (Omega), Colin Baker (Maxil), Paul Jerricho (Castellan), Neil Daglish (Damon), Elspet Gray (Thalia), Max Harvey (Zorac), Andrew Boxer (Robin Stuart), Alastair Cumming (Colin Frazer), John D. Collins (Talor), Maya Woolfe (Hostel receptionist), Malcolm Harvey (The Ergon), Guy Groen (Second receptionist)
Broadcast from January 3 through 11, 1983
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: The visual imagining of Gallifrey has never really been consistent in Doctor Who history. The amorphous spaces and techno-wizardlike Time Lords of The War Games and The Three Doctors, the ornate intricacy and intrigue of The Deadly Assassin (and, to a lesser degree, The Invasion Of Time), and then the garish look of the 80s. I hate to quote someone else’s review in my own review, but I think someone else put it best when they said that Gallifrey, as envisioned by John Nathan-Turner and his production team, looked like “a bloody disco.” Shiny and colorful and full of blinky lights…yes, this must be the future!
Arc Of Infinity does, at least, keep up with the forced, stilted political machinations of The Invasion Of Time, so there’s some consistency. And speaking of forced, can anyone really explain Tegan’s departure in Time-Flight followed up by her reintroduction in Arc Of Infinity? It really does nothing for her character development (though it could have done wonders there if it had been addressed at all) and it’s always made me wonder if there wasn’t some dispute with Janet Fielding that didn’t get negotiated away between seasons.
The Amsterdam location shooting is nice, though as many have pointed out, it doesn’t have much to do with the story. Then again, what with giant gangly muppety birds shooting people in the sewers of Amsterdam, it’s hard to say what does.