After numerous misadventures, the TARDIS finally brings Charley to Singapore in 1930, right on time to make her appointment with a young man who she had originally stowed away aboard the R-101 to meet. While she is away, the Doctor meets a man named Sebastian Grayle – a man both blessed and cursed with immoirtality, a man who knows that the Doctor is a Time Lord, and a man who claims to have killed him some with the help of his masters at some point in the Doctor’s future. When Charlie returns, the Doctor once against whisks her away, urgently setting out to find out how Grayle came to be immortal, and who he serves who might want the Doctor dead. They travel back in time to the third century A.D. and meet Grayle in his original form: a naive priest who has made a tenuous pact with an alien power beyond his understanding. If the Doctor cannot stop Grayle from gaining immortality, his new nemesis will grow in power and cunning through the centuries until, at least, he does have the means to defeat a Time Lord.
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley), Stephen Perring (Sebastian Grayle), Stephen Fewell (Marcus), Robert Curbishley (Lucillius / Grayle’s Masters’ voices), Lennox Greaves (Edward), Sue Wallace (Edith), Stephen Fewell (Richard Martin), Justine Mitchell (Lucy Martin), Don Warrington (The Auditor)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: From its seemingly innocuous beginning, Seasons Of Fear – as one might expect from something co-written by Paul Cornell – breaks with a lot of Doctor Who traditions. The Doctor narrates the story (or so it would seem – of which more later), and the setting changes radically, and later one when Grayle’s masters are revealed, we discover that they’re one of the most laughed-at enemies in the history of TV Doctor Who, now elevated to a new level of menace (which I thought was a neat idea). The character of Grayle is cold, and swings dangerously back and forth from being calculating and precise to being an utter madman. The entire story is accomplished nicely with no more than two or three additional characters per setting, and some very eerie (if occasionally a little too-frequently repeated) music by Jane Elphinstone.
Undoubtedly, the biggest surprises occur in the fourth part of the story, but I can’t say much more than that without engaging in some major story spoilage. Suffice to say, things are definitely being set up for the future – the closest comparison I can draw to the end of part four is the end of the Babylon 5 episode Signs And Portents – the conclusion seems far too cushy at first and then something hair-raising happens which suddenly makes you realize that the whole story, the whole danger that the Doctor has been dealing with, has been a bit of a red herring. The real threat to the Doctor has slipped past him (and the listener) in the commotion. And in the narration…to whom is the Doctor recounting this story? All would become clear in time.