Quite by accident, the TARDIS brings the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough to Frontios, the home of the last surviving colony of the human race. A meteor storm brings the TARDIS tumbling out of orbit and right into the middle of the colony. The paranoid colonists, who have been enduring killer meteor showers for many years, believe the Doctor and his friends are responsible. The Doctor tries to lend a hand and is met only with suspicion, but soon he is as trapped as the colonists when another meteor shower appears to destroy the TARDIS. Tegan stumbles across evidence that there are more menaces to the population of Frontios than just rocks from the sky, and Turlough discovers that he has a terrifyingly intimate knowledge of that menace.
written by Christopher H. Bidmead
directed by Ron Jones
music by Paddy Kingsland
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough), John Gillett (Gravis), Peter Gilmore (Brazen), Lesley Dunlop (Norna), William Lucas (Range), Jeff Rawle (Plantagenet), Maurice O’Connell (Cockerill), Richard Ashley (Orderly), Alison Skilbeck (Deputy), Raymond Murtagh (Retrograde), George Campbell, Michael Malcolm, Stephen Speed, William Bowen, Hedi Khursandi (Tractators), Jim Dowdall (Warnsman), John Beardmore (Captain Revere)
Broadcast from January 26 through February 3, 1984
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Though a few things aren’t explained as well as they could be in the course of the story, Frontios is a fairly interesting adventure for Peter Davison’s Doctor, and especially for Mark Strickson, who has his first chance in a long time to make Turlough a fascinating companion again. As with Mawdryn Undead, Strickson displays a total command of essaying the emotion of sheer panic, but he does it so well that it’s hard to fault him. It also turns a classic Doctor Who convention on its head, leaving a male companion stricken with panic while the female companion is notably stronger.
Though it really isn’t explained all that well, an interesting notion is presented, that the TARDIS could be reduced to rubble leaving only a hat stand (which, amusingly, Turlough brandishes as a high-tech weapon against the terrified colonists for several scenes), and that the interior dimensions of the TARDIS could be scattered underground. But the Davison years did see a growing trend toward treating the TARDIS not as an extraordinary space-time machine, but as a fairly run-of-the-mill spaceship, mainly for the convenience of subjecting it to typical sci-fi plot devices.