The TARDIS encounters a huge, fibrous mass in space, and as it attempts to pass through the obstruction, a violent discharge from the central console knocks the Doctor out. He manages to set a course for a medical outpost, the Bi-Al Foundation. Barely able to explain the Doctor’s predicament, Leela leaves the Time Lord in the capable hands of Dr. Marius, a brilliant but eccentric pathologist (he has fashioned his portable computer in the shape of a dog and christened it K-9). But whatever affected the Doctor soon spreads to others at Bi-Al, and the Doctor is now clearly the center of a hive mind directing the actions of the infected. The fight to save the doctors and nurses at Bi-Al is a losing battle; the Doctor and Leela must take the fight to the source of the problem: inside the Doctor’s own body!
written by Bob Baker & Dave Martin
directed by Derrick Goodwin
music by Dudley Simpson
Guest Cast: Michael Sheard (Lowe), Frederick Jaeger (Professor Marius), Brian Grellis (Safran), Jay Neill (Silvey), Edmund Pegge (Meeker), Anthony Rowlands (Crewman), John Leeson (Nucleus voice), John Scott Martin (Nucleus operator), Neil Curran (Nurse), Jim McManus (Opthalmologist), Roderick Smith (Cruikshank), Kenneth Waller (Hedges), Elizabeth Norman (Marius’s Nurse), Roy Herrick (Parsons), Pat Gorman (Medic)
Broadcast from October 1 through 22, 1977
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: I don’t suppose I need to tell you what ripples this adventure sent through the history of Who-dom. Still, as legend would have it, the producers weren’t quite sold yet, and filmed two endings: one with K-9 remaining with Dr. Marius, and the one with K-9 boarding the TARDIS and almost taking over the series at various points in the future. I don’t mind the mecha-mutt in small doses, and actually he’s used quite effectively here. It’s when K-9’s appearance is all but heralded with deus ex machina neon signs later on that I grew to resent his presence.
A pale imitation of Fantastic Journey, this four-parter is one big delirious chase scene. If anything, the best parts to watch for are those creepy scenes in the TARDIS before it materializes on the Bi-Al asteroid. (Kudos to the BBC’s effects shop for the Bi-Al model work, by the way.) On the whole, Doctor Who utilizes the “lead character mentally possessed by alien baddies” plotline a lot less than, oh, say, any given Star Trek after the original series does. So when it happens here, it’s really a bit unnerving.
Overall, a nifty little check-your-brain-at-the-door romp that is both surprisingly lightweight and dark and menacing. Now, if only they could explain why the Doctor has Greek architecture floating around in his head…