The Time Monster

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is disturbed by a recent series of dreams whose imagery has included the destruction of the world and the laughing face of the Master. But with no concrete basis for these visions, he ignores them and accompanies Jo as UNIT’s observers to the demonstration of the new TOM-TIT device – standing for Transmission Of Matter Through Interstitial Time. But things go wrong from the start, especially when the Doctor sees that the TOM-TIT research program is actually being run by the Master. The Master demonstrates a mere fraction of TOM-TIT’s potential by snatching soldiers and artillery from World Wars I & II and launching them at UNIT troops. But the Doctor realizes that TOM-TIT’s true power is still largely untapped. The Master plans to capture a Chronovore – a creature which lives outside of the dimension of time and feeds upon temporal energy – harness its power for his continual conquests. The Doctor pursues the Master through time and the lost continent of Atlantis to prevent the Chronovore’s incredible powers from falling into the Master’s hands…but the only way to stop that from happening may be mutual destruction for both Time Lords.

written by Robert Sloman
directed by Paul Bernard
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Roger Delgado (The Master), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), John Levene (Sergeant Benton), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates), Wanda Moore (Dr. Ingram), Ian Collier (Stuart Hyde), John Wyse (Dr. Percival), Terry Walsh (Window cleaner), Neville Barber (Dr. Cook), Barry Ashton (Proctor), Donald Eccles (Krasis), Keith Dalton (Neophite), Aidan Murphy (Hippias), Marc Boyle (Kronos), George Cormack (Dalios), Gregory Powell (Knight), Simon Legree (Sergeant), Dave Carter (Officer), George Lee (Farmworker), Ingrid Pitt (Galleia), Susan Penhaligon (Lakis), Michael Walker (Miseus), Derek Murcott (Crito), Dave Prowse, Terry Walsh (Minotaur), Melville Jones (Guard), Ingrid Bower (face of Kronos)

Broadcast from May 20 through June 24, 1972

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: This six-parter is a little more far-fetched than your average Doctor Who, delving into such fanciful realms as Atlantis (which has its own Minotaur, no less!), but it has a quirky appeal. I almost wish there’d been more opening sequences like the Doctor’s nightmare in part one – a scene made particularly effective by the fact that the rivalry between the Doctor and the Master, despite the considerable talents of such actors as Anthony Ainley The Time Monsterand Eric Roberts, was never more intense or frightening as he was in the Pertwee era. I can almost forgive every moment of silliness in the remainder of the story for that unique opening.

Oh, but it does get silly. Sergeant Benton turning into a baby? David “Darth Vader” Prowse as the BBC’s bargain-basement interpretation of the Minotaur? And Ingrid Pitt’s eye-rolling overacting as Galleia – not to mention a rare slice of overcooked ham from Roger Delgado as the Master pleads with the Chronovore for his life? Even Katy Manning gets in on the (overacting) act as the Doctor and the Master play chicken in their respective time machines.

Thankfully, there are some moments of genuine tension and SF weirdness – the sudden reappearance of weapons from past World Wars, the freezing of time, and the whole Time Ram sequence (despite the aforementioned overacting on Ms. Manning’s part). Somehow, if you can suspend your disbelief a little more than usual, it all holds together.

One more thing: the TARDIS interior was really cool in this one. And hey, let’s see you say TOMTIT and keep a straight face.