Part One

Sue: Has Johnny Byrne written for Doctor Who before?
Me: Yes, The Keeper of Traken.
Sue: Shit. Oh well, I’m still looking forward to seeing the Doctor on his own for a change.
Me: What about Nyssa?
Sue: Oh yeah, I forgot about her.

The story begins on Gallifrey. Sue recognises the collar straight away.

Sue: Ooh, a Time Lord.

This particular Time Lord is conversing with a very mysterious figure.

Sue: Am I supposed to know who that is?
Me: Sort of.
Sue: Is it the Master? Is he wearing another disguise? Why does he go to so much trouble? I don’t get it.

Elsewhere, two men are talking about bio-data extracts.

Me: Do you know where we are?
Sue: Yes, we’re on Gallifrey. I know we’re on Gallifrey because that guy on the left is dressed in my mam’s curtains.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Nyssa are spending a pleasant Sunday afternoon doing a spot of DIY in the TARDIS.

Sue: He could have given his round thing a good dust before he put it back in again. Has he no pride?

The next thing we know, we’re in Holland.

Arc of InfinitySue: Hey, it’s Amsterdam! I recognise that clock! And that bridge! I remember the police breaking up a fight there. Actually, while we’re on the subject, don’t include any of our Amsterdam stories on the blog.
Me: Not even the one where you accidentally gave your boss magic mushrooms at a conference and –
Me: Are you impressed that they’ve gone abroad again?
Sue: Yes. New York on Saturday and now this. It’s great. It really opens everything out. I guess this must be their Paris?
Me: I guess so.
Sue: Will we see the Doctor and Nyssa falling head over heels in love as they run through the streets of Amsterdam?

I bite my tongue and say nothing.

It quickly becomes clear that Robin and Colin are tourists in the city of sin.

Colin: Oh, come on, let’s grab something to eat.
Sue: (As Robin) **** that, let’s get a huge spliff and a prostitute!

Sue isn’t impressed by the saucy boys’ acting.

Arc of InfinitySue: The crew must have dragged them off the streets when they got there. They were probably wandering around the red light district in a daze. I refuse to believe that the BBC flew these two out to Amsterdam with them. They can’t act!

Back on Gallifrey, the mysterious figure is worried that his transmissions will be detected by the Time Lords.

Sue: Hey, don’t be so negative.

Oblivious to these shenanigans, Colin and Robin arrive at a deserted crypt.

Sue: This place should be full of hypodermic needles and used condoms. We’re supposed to be in Amsterdam!

The boys get ready for bed.

Sue: Are they lovers?

If they are, Colin is playing very hard to get.

Robin: Oh, come on! It’s only a pump house.
Sue: Is that a euphemism?

Later that night, a TARDIS materialises in the crypt. Its occupant isn’t what Sue was expecting:

Sue: **** me, it’s the Atomic Rooster!

Arc of InfinityMeanwhile, the Doctor is attacked by a mini-extradimensional-time-tornado that has invaded the TARDIS.

Sue: Anti-matter, eh? That can’t be good. Nicol should have watched this with us; she has some very strong opinions when it comes to anti-matter universes.

Robin searches for Colin but he comes face to face with Ergon the giant chicken instead. It fires its weapon but Robin manages to escape.

Sue: He just shot a weeping angel in the face!

Meanwhile, back on Gallifrey.

Sue: The music is dreadful. For the last time, WE ARE NOT IN MEDIEVAL TIMES! Get the bloke who did the music for Earthshock back. **** Zelda.

The High Council have convened to discuss the situation. Sue recognises Michael Gough as the man who played Batman’s butler, but that’s all. I decide not to bring up The Celestial Toymaker, just in case it spoils her mood.

And then Colin Baker turns up.

Arc of InfinitySue: Did they cast him as the Doctor because of his performance in this story?
Me: No, they cast him as the Doctor because of his performance at a wedding reception.
Sue: That makes sense, you couldn’t play the Doctor like this.

Robin has been abandoned in Amsterdam.

Sue: He had better not be the new companion! I’m serious, Neil. He has a face you want to slap.

Robin returns to the crypt to find his friend working for the giant chicken. He has a vacant, zombified look on his face. Colin doesn’t look great, either.

Sue: He’s just having a whitey. Too many space cakes will do that to you. Quick, give him some orange juice.

Meanwhile, as the Doctor and Nyssa race through the corridors of Gallifrey, I remind Sue that the last time we were here, the Doctor left some companions behind.

I pause the DVD so Sue can access her memory banks.

Sue: Yeah, I remember now. So are they going to bring Leela and K9 back because the other companions are hopeless?

Commander Maxil (“What? Like the C90 tapes?”) appears to relish his job.

Arc of InfinitySue: He isn’t very nice, is he?
Me: Colin was known for playing tough guys. He was in The Brothers, you know.
Sue: Was that on BBC? We were an ITV house so we probably didn’t watch it. I like his performance, though. It’s memorable.

The episode concludes with Maxil shooting the Doctor at point-blank range.

Sue: That was a fabulous cliffhanger and a very strong episode. There’s a lot going on. Hurry up and stick the next one on.


Part Two

Before we began this episode, I placed our cushions out of Sue’s reach.

Arc of InfinitySue: Does Colin ever put his hat on? Or does he have to carry it around with him the whole time?
Me: If he puts the hat on, he won’t get through the doors on the set.
Sue: Colin is very good in this.

An unconscious Doctor is carried back to his TARDIS.

Sue: Is this Nyssa’s bedroom?
Me: Yes, unless the Doctor is a cross-dresser on the quiet.
Sue: Hey! Nyssa does have other clothes she could wear!
Me: Do you really want her to run around in that butterfly costume again?
Sue: Anything’s preferable to that sweat magnet.

When we cut to Schiphol airport, I feel my buttocks clench.

Sue doesn’t recognise Janet Fielding at first. In fact, she stands a better chance of recognising Omega.

Arc of InfinitySue: Wait a minute… Isn’t that…?
Robin: Excuse me. Tegan Jovanka?
Sue: WHAT?

She reaches for a cushion that isn’t there.

Sue: So Tegan is Colin’s cousin? Really?
Me: Yes.
Sue: So every relation she has ends up being killed by aliens! Why isn’t she being investigated for murder? ****ing hell, I can’t believe she’s back.
Me: It is a bit of a coincidence.
Sue: Maybe she’s stalking the Doctor? Or maybe the Master got to her in the last story and she’s been sent to kill the Doctor in this one? Yeah, that would make sense.

Yes, it would.

Sue: Her hair is so much better. That style really suits her.
Me: What about the boob tube?
Sue: You can’t blame her. We all wore boob tubes in the 1980s.
Me: Speak for yourself.
Sue: It’s not doing her any favours but it’s John Galliano compared to her purple outfit.

Tegan and Robin retire to a coffee shop to discuss their next move.

Arc of InfinityRobin: You’re not going to believe this.
Sue: Your eyes are the size of saucers! Of course she won’t believe you. She’ll think you are tripping your bollocks off. I wouldn’t believe a word he says, especially when he gets to the bit about the giant chicken.

Back on Gallifrey, Nyssa and Damon discuss the Doctor’s plight.

Sue: Is this scene taking place in a Gallifreyan wine bar?
Me: It always reminds me of an airport departure lounge.

The Doctor retires to Nyssa’s bedroom so he can examine the bio-data extract that Damon has given him.

Sue: Why are we in Nyssa’s bedroom again? Why can’t we see the Doctor’s bedroom? That’s the bedroom I really want to see.

Damon, Nyssa and the Doctor plan their next move but Maxil barges in on them. This gives Sue a fit of the giggles.

Arc of InfinitySue: Rewind that bit. Look at the way Colin Baker comes through that door. He’s so arsey. I love him.

The Doctor is led away while Nyssa and Damon conspire some more.

Damon: Be careful and good luck.
Sue: (As Damon) Oh, and by the way, I love you. (As Sue) She is so going to stay on Gallifrey with him. He’s like a love-sick puppy when she’s around.

The High Council have assembled to oversee the Doctor’s execution.

Sue: Colin’s got his hat on, hip, hip, hip, hooray!

Maxil leads the Doctor to his death.

Sue: He can’t wait to take over the role, can he?

Nyssa intervenes but the Doctor talks her down.

Sue: Nyssa is so much better when she’s given something to do. She must be gutted that Tegan is coming back.

Arc of InfinityThe Doctor surrenders to his fate.

Sue: Are they lightly steaming him to death?

The Doctor vanishes.

Sue: Not bad. But he isn’t dead. He’s been taken over by the bad guy. It’s obvious.

I point out to her that the character is credited as The Renegade.

Sue: Is he a Time Lord?
Me: Yes.
Sue: And I’ve seen him before?
Me: Yes.
Sue: And it’s not the Master?
Me: I’m not saying.
Sue: Is it The Monk?
Me: Wait and see.
Sue: Is it the Black Guardian?
Me: The Black Guardian isn’t a Time Lord.
Sue: Right. Yes. I knew that. Is is Romana?
Me: Okay, that’s enough. You’ll find out tomorrow.
Sue: The tension is killing me.


Part Three

Arc of InfinityThe Doctor is trapped in the Matrix, taunted by an enemy he doesn’t recognise.

Sue: Well, if the Doctor doesn’t know who he is, I don’t feel so bad.

It’s Peter Davison who Sue feels sorry for.

Sue: It must have been an embarrassing afternoon in the studio for him. All that hip thrusting. Backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, back –
Me: Okay, that’ll do. We get the idea.

Tegan and Robin find Colin toiling away in the crypt.

Sue: For God’s sake, give him some vitamin C!

Omega dispatches his pet chicken to deal with the situation.

Sue: It’s definitely plucked – you can see its ribs. Who came up with this idea? And who decided to light it so brightly? They are insane. Why isn’t the cast laughing at it?

The Renegade confers with the Time Lord traitor once again.

Arc of InfinitySue: What is that thing he keeps waving about? It’s really distracting me. What is it?
Me: I think it might be a pen.
Sue: You think? It could be a key-ring, I suppose. Or a tiny orchestra baton. Or maybe he’s been whittling some wood in his spare time? It must be important, whatever it is.

In the Matrix, the villain threatens to kill one of the Doctor’s companions if he doesn’t cooperate.

Sue: The Doctor wouldn’t fall for that. The chances of him bumping into Tegan must be a million to one.
Me: But still she comes.

The villain tortures the Doctor’s ex-companion; her cries are unmistakable.

Sue: The Doctor isn’t that bothered if you ask me.

We discover that Hedin is the traitor.

Sue: Batman’s butler did it! That’s a shock. I really wasn’t expecting that. He’s been really nice up to now.

The President is so appalled, he stumbles over his lines.

Arc of InfinitySue: I just had a flashback to William Hartnell. I’m not impressed with this guy.
Me: It’s Leonard Sachs!
Sue: Well, he might have been a great actor once, but he’s very dithery now. It’s like watching Bruce Forsyth on Strictly. I’m a bag of nerves waiting for him to cock it up.

Hedin persuades Nyssa to drop her weapon.

Sue: It sounds as if her gun shattered into a thousand tiny pieces when it hit the floor. That’s shoddy Gallifreyan workmanship for you.

Hedin drops the bombshell – the villain is Gallifrey’s first Time Lord.

Sue: I should know this, shouldn’t I?
The Doctor: Omega?
Hedin: Yes, Omega.
Sue: Nope. Sorry, that doesn’t ring any bells.

Arc of InfinityI pause the DVD.

Me: How can you forget Omega?
Sue: I’ve never seen him before!
Me: He’s wearing a different hat. Wait.

I find a picture of Omega circa 1973.

Me: Ring any bells? The Three Doctors? You kept mispronouncing his name. Gary watched it with us. Gel guards (with a hard G)? No?
Sue: Vaguely. I don’t remember those kinds of details. I’m not a fan. I haven’t got enough room in my brain to store that sort of information. If he’d worn the same hat, I might have stood a better chance.
Me: I know. I remember being bitterly disappointed when I saw this aged 13. I wanted him to look exactly like he did on the cover to The Three Doctors Target novelisation. It still annoys me to this day.
Sue: You complain about Nyssa never changing her clothes but when a villain does it, you go mental. It’s double standards, Neil.

The episode concludes with Omega taking control of the Matrix.

Sue: That was very exciting.
Me: Was it?
Sue: Yes, there’s an epic quality to this one. I’m actually following it, too. What’s not to like?


Part Four

Arc of InfinityThalia prepares the Matrix terminal for a pulse loop.

Sue: She looks like she should be married to Henry VIII.

When the Doctor tells Nyssa that Tegan is alive and well, Nyssa smiles.

Sue: I’m surprised by that. I thought Nyssa would want to keep the Doctor all to herself.

The Doctor and Nyssa arrive in Amsterdam. The Doctor traces Tegan to a youth hostel, but he doesn’t have the money to make a phone call.

Sue: He’ll have to pimp Nyssa out in a shop window. It should only take her half an hour or so.

As the Doctor and Nyssa continue their investigations, Sue decides to sing the theme tune to Van der Valk.

Sue: This is very interesting. It’s a snapshot of what life was like before mobile phones and sat-navs. If they remade this story today, they would have found Tegan 15 minutes ago.

Tegan, Colin and Robin decide to sit it out in Omega’s TARDIS.

Sue: Tegan is a wimp in this story. After everything she has been through, I expect her to be in the middle of an escape attempt by now.

Arc of InfinityThe Doctor reaches Omega’s crypt, but when he disconnects the fusion booster from the wall, the Ergon attacks him.

Sue: Hang on a minute… if the Atomic Rooster kills the Doctor, wouldn’t that completely **** up Omega’s plan? He hasn’t thought this through.

Nyssa shoots the Ergon in the head.

Sue: Fried chicken!

The Doctor enters Omega’s TARDIS. Omega threatens to kill Tegan if the Doctor interferes with his plans.

Sue: So the choice is basically Tegan or the safety of billions? It’s not exactly rocket science, is it?

The Doctor drops his gun.

Sue: Idiot.

The Arc of Infinity destroys Omega’s TARDIS.

Sue: Did Omega just do an Adric? I’m sure he jumped off his chair before the explosion went off.

Omega removes his helmet. The Doctor stares back at himself in disbelief.

Arc of InfinitySue: That would have been a fabulous cliffhanger. They wasted it. However, I do like Peter Davison with a deep voice. It’s very sexy.

Omega wanders off into Amsterdam. He becomes fascinated by a steam organ.

Sue: If he thinks that’s good, just you wait until he sees the red light district. It will blow his mind.

Omega bonds with a small boy. No, that like that.

Sue: That’s a bit creepy. Actually, I’m not sure who is the most creepy: Omega or the kid? That boy will grow up to be a serial killer, you mark my words.

The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan pursue the renegade Time Lord through the streets of Amsterdam. They hear a woman screaming in the distance.

Sue: False alarm – it’s just somebody having a bad LSD trip. It happens all the time in Amsterdam.

Omega begins to fall apart.

Arc of InfinitySue: It looks like he’s had an accident with a carton of mushy peas.

Nyssa spots Omega across the street.

Sue: (As Nyssa) Quick, Doctor! He’s run into the History of Sex Museum!

Omega ducks into an alleyway. When he comes back out again, he is played by Ian Collier.

Sue: Hey! That’s not Peter Davison! Why did they do that? Did Peter refuse to go all the way?

The chase goes on.

Sue: The cobbles are so uneven, it’s a miracle no one was hurt.

The pursuit terminates at the end of little pier.

Sue: I’m surprised you didn’t drag me to this location the last time we went to Amsterdam. Didn’t you want to visit the place where Peter Davison shot Omega?
Me: I was too busy dealing with your boss –
Sue: STOP!

Sue feels sorry for Omega.

Omega: If I am denied life, then all must perish!
Sue: Okay I’ve gone off him now. Shoot him.

The Doctor obliges and Omega pops his clogs.

Sue: He’s made of tiny fireworks. That’s nice.

Arc of InfinityThe episode concludes when Tegan rejoins the TARDIS crew. The look on the Doctor’s face says it all, really.

Sue: I think he secretly hates Tegan.

The credits roll and Sue has a question:

Sue: What happened to Colin and Robin? We didn’t say goodbye to them.
Me: Don’t worry, they’ll be back in the next story. Oops, sorry, that was meant to be a surprise.


The Score

Sue: I really enjoyed that. The location was excellent, I could follow most of the plot and I can even forgive the silly chicken. Okay, I can’t forgive the silly chicken, but the rest of it rattled along at a fair old pace and it definitely had its moments. I’ve seen a lot worse.



Coming Soon




  1. Mark Taylor  October 2, 2012

    So, Arc of Infinity is officially as good as Terror of the Zygons!

    The thought of that makes me stupidly happy for some reason.

    • SpaceSquid  October 2, 2012

      “Officially?” I do not think it means what you think it means…

      Still, that’s upset the apple-cart and no mistake. Two clear points better than Omega’s first appearance? Fascinating.

      Also, how has it taken me so many years to realise that Omega Mark I and the Witch-King of Angmar were clearly separated at birth?

      • DPC  October 2, 2012

        Omega, in “Three Doctors”, was a generic loud Hitlerwannabe.

        In “Arc”, he has a little more depth… it’s easier to sympathize with Omega in “Arc”, though how he grew out of his tantrums from his first story remains up for grabs…

        • Thomas  October 6, 2012

          They waste it for most of the story, though. Once he becomes Peter Davison he’s pretty good, but before that he’s basically stuck in a chair the whole story making threats.

    • Cracked Polystyrene Man  October 2, 2012

      Hey, be nice everybody. The previous story was TIME-FLIGHT. Everything looks better compared to that.

  2. John Williams  October 2, 2012

    Was Colin Baker in The Brothers? Fancy.

    • chris-too-old-too-watch  October 2, 2012

      Yes, but he wasn’t one of them (brothers that is).

  3. Dave Sanders  October 2, 2012

    That’s Arc of Infinity for you – all style and no substance, pretending to be more grandiose and meaningful than it actually was, just because it had Omega in it. Nobody watching BBC1 in 1982 seemed to particularly mind that too much – well, apart from Roger Limb’s unberable music, that is – so it’s not like you can complain about Sue’s score, seen through the same eyes. Fans were glad to see Gallifrey and Omega back, and the scenery looked nice to everyone else. It’s only now that fandom (and let’s stress that word) knows what an absolute load of old toss it really is; the same writer as Keeper Of Traken dredges up much the same plotpoints and the exactly the same vomitous technobabble to cover up a plot based of ludicrous contrived coincidences and chasing-around sound and fury signifying nothing. Luckily, Johnny Byrne doesn’t get to do it again… but the one time his script gets it right, *he’s* the one who gets screwed instead. We can’t win.

  4. chris-too-old-too-watch  October 2, 2012

    Can’t believe Sue enjoyed this as much as she did. At the time, I was busy at Uni, so missed most of it, but hated the entire thing when I got to see it.
    I was disappointed that Omega was brought back: he was definitely a one-off villain, and didn’t work for me. The rubber chicken was ludicrous (why not a gel guard). The story even more so. I always asumed that they got some cheap ferry tickets on offer and nipped across for the day just to do a quick bit of filming, and then built a very lacklustre story around it.
    At least we were soared windmills and clogs…..

    • Neowhovian  October 2, 2012

      Not that he was great here, but I like the concept of bringing Omega back. Frankly, I wish they’d do it again…

      • John G  October 2, 2012

        “The rubber chicken was ludicrous (why not a gel guard).”

        I can’t decide which is worse…

      • chris-too-old-too-watch  October 3, 2012

        There was no need to bring him back. His destruction at the end of Three Doctors was total. His appearence here was totally un-called for. It could have been anyone (Hedin returning from the Matrix?)

        • Frankymole  October 3, 2012

          He had no physical form any longer in “The Three Doctors” – his being was said to be pure willpower. If Sauron can make a new ‘form’ for himself, so can Omega!

          • chris-too-old-too-watch  October 3, 2012

            I think that’s may be what’s called “a leap of logic”, comparing Omega to Sauron.
            I stand by my original statement: Omega’s return was not necessary to the plot. Any 2-bit timelord villain who wants to extend his life would have done (Is it the Master?). The story arc (forgive the pun) in Three Doctors was complete, and bringing him back in this fairly arbitrary way spoils the original appearence of what was supposed to be a major villain and enemy of the timelords.

          • Frankymole  October 3, 2012

            Probably Morgoth more than Sauron, but both are equated to Lucifer in Tolkien’s mythology (and end up being cast into – literal – outer darkness after being shining paragons of the dawn of their society. Omega’s just following the Satan myth really. The point remains though – how do you kill someone who is pure thought?

            I agree that his “arc” (sorry) was already finished. So was the Master’s and – even more so- Davros’s, but they brought them back too. Just for fun, I guess. A lot of the time, Dr Who is just entertainment. It’s nice when it is more, but that’s rare.

      • Paul Greaves  October 3, 2012

        Have you listened to “Omega” the Big Finish adventure by Nev Fountain? I love that 🙂

  5. Mark Faulkner  October 2, 2012

    Blimey, there’s a turn-up. Sue bucks the trend for another trad-slated story (c. Time Monster). At this rate she might enjoy the first story of Season 21.

  6. Duncan  October 2, 2012

    Hurrah, at last someone else recognises that there is more to this story than Amsterdam, Omega and Gallifrey. The rabid element of Who fandom gets its knickers in such a twist over the difference in costumes between 83 and 73, the location shoot not being that exotic (its ruddy Amsterdam for heavens sake, the Dutch version of somewhere like Weston-Super-Mare and not Paris) and Colin Baker turning up that they fail to see that underneath the trimmings they dont like is a rather nice story of one persons quest to keep himself alive no matter what the cost.

    Sue is correct and all of the naysayers are wrong, wonderful to see this story finally being appreciated.

  7. Adam Birch  October 2, 2012

    I quite liked Arc and have to agree, Omega without the huge pointy headgear wasn’t the same.

    Ah, the ITV/BBC house schism. We were BBC, though I made sure Sapphire and Steel, Quatermass and (Goddess help me!) Tomorrow People slipped through the net.

    • Bestbrian  October 2, 2012

      Okay, as an American, I’ll bite: What was the difference between BBC and ITV?

      • Stuart Ian Burns  October 2, 2012

        BBC is publicly funded ala PBS. ITV is a commercial station and funded by adverts and sponsorship ala NBC, ABC etc

        • Bestbrian  October 2, 2012

          Oh, I got that. I was just wondering about the implied subtext over being an “ITV home” v. “BBC home”.

          • Dave Sanders  October 2, 2012

            It’s a class thing. Even before it was properly set up, ITV was thought of by the establishment as lowest-common-denominator when, in the pre-Murdoch days, the BBC was proud of its self-imposed mandate to inform and educate. Up to the 1970s ‘BBC families’ meant more middle-class than ‘ITV families’, and a lot of programmes (particularly sitcomes) followed this artificial schism; for the quintessential mid-70s example, it has to be On The Buses versus The Good Life.

          • Adam Birch  October 2, 2012

            ITV was often viewed (correctly or not) as being a working class, populist broadcaster, whereas until the middle 80s, the BBC was viewed (again, correctly or not) as being somewhat middle class.

          • Dave Sanders  October 2, 2012

            And that was getting very quaint and outdated by that time. The Young Ones blew the whole notion straight out of the water in 1984, but there was BBC1 at the same time putting out Terry & June.

          • John Callaghan  October 2, 2012

            Would it be fair to say that the Beeb would be seen as a bit classier?

          • John G  October 2, 2012

            “And that was getting very quaint and outdated by that time. The Young Ones blew the whole notion straight out of the water in 1984, but there was BBC1 at the same time putting out Terry & June.”

            While at the same time ITV was making Brideshead and Jewel in the Crown.

  8. Damon  October 2, 2012

    Neil, you should have Sue listen to some of the commentary, given its double-doctor-inspired awesomeness.


    And yes, my name is actually Damon. I kept hearing that character’s name and doing a double-take when I watched this one.

    • Jay  October 2, 2012

      Oh, Baker is a hoot, it gives me hope for actually, you know, watching Six, which I’ve avoided, because if nothing else he seems to be a good commentator.

      • DPC  October 2, 2012

        A shame… but do keep the hope up. Between 1985, 2000, and 2012, my opinions have changed on all of his stories… I’ll go into more detail when Wife blog gets there…

        Sixie’s era is different, but even if one does not like the story, Colin’s input in commentaries and documentaries more than makes up for it…

        • Jay  October 2, 2012

          Well, The King’s Demons nearly made me cry last Friday night, and I was still having hysterical aftershocks Saturday morning.

          How can I be scared of a guy dressed as a clown NOW?

    • DPC  October 2, 2012

      That commentary ROCKED!

      Colin, who is great with technical details and presenting them in an engaging way, also put his humor on display with “Arc”‘s commentary. The chicken jokes with the hat are hilarious!

  9. Broadshoulder2  October 2, 2012

    The Doctor and Nyssa arrive in Amsterdam. The Doctor traces Tegan to a youth hostel, but he doesn’t have the money to make a phone call.

    Sue: He’ll have to pimp Nyssa out in a shop window. It should only take her half an hour or so.


    • BWT  October 3, 2012

      My thoughts exactly. Half an hour to make up the price of a phone call?

  10. Matthew Turnage  October 2, 2012

    This is one I’ve always liked more than the average fan, even if it’s no classic (6/10 from me). I’m glad Sue gave it a good mark.

  11. Rassilon  October 2, 2012

    & Blakes 7 as Bayban the Butcher.

  12. Gavin Noble  October 2, 2012

    So disappointed that Tegan returned…

  13. John S. Hall  October 2, 2012

    I have to admit that while I can now agree with fandom’s reassessment of “Arc of Infinity”, I didn’t think it was all that bad when I saw it for the first time as a teen. I get where Sue is coming from — especially after the crap-fest of “Time-Flight”.

  14. Tom N  October 2, 2012

    This story’s down the bottom of my imaginary rewatch list… so I’m surprised and glad to hear it’s not that bad.

    Good read too, particularly liked ‘But still she comes’. And not recognising Omega… I don’t blame her, really, there’s been ten years of the show inbetween.

  15. Marty  October 2, 2012

    I’m surprised that Sue liked this one.
    Though I agree with Sue these brief jaunts into what was modern when the story was made are nice little portholes into the past of a time before mobile phones and hybrid cars.

    “You complain about Nyssa never changing her clothes but when a villain does it, you go mental. It’s double standards, Neil.” I think this is my favourite quote from Sue this entry.

    • Nick Mays  October 3, 2012

      I love that quote too.

      Well, not only is Omega’s return “possible” in the Whoniverse as he exists as pure thought, but surely it’s a simple matter for him to change his clobber too.

      Besides which, it’s not like he’s the only returning villain to wear different clothes. The Sontarans had new body armour, the Silurians were two different species, the Daleks and Cybermen both got makeovers (twice) and I’m pretty sure if the Ice Warriors ever return they’ll have a natty line in Martian knitwear. Hell, even UNIT changed their uniforms!

      And the Doctor himself changes quite a lot….

      As for the ‘sweat’y outfits worn by Nyssa and Tegan (and the late lamented Adric) I’m pretty certain the Tardis has some sort of snazzy dry cleaning device. Maybe even a clothes replicator?

      Anyway, it’s academic, because Nyssa changes her clothes several times in the stories coming up, and in one of them she decides to get changed halfway through the story!

  16. DPC  October 2, 2012

    Another surprising and wonderful review – thanks as always!

    Colin does steal the show as Maxil and, no, he does not play the Doctor the same way. 😀 I’ll leave it at that but it’s cool she recognized his name and knew he played the Doctor…

    The commentary for this story is fun as well, as one the actors states how something naughty was purchased… 😀

    The making-of I liked as well; nicely directed and had a lot of good info.

    “Arc” isn’t without its problems, but it’s far better than “Time-Flight”…

  17. Paul Mc Elvaney  October 2, 2012

    Neil: If he puts the hat on, he won’t get through the doors on the set. Of course, if he ever returned to the series, he’d have exactly the same problem, only it wouldn’t be because he was wearing a hat.

    I had exactly the same reaction as Sue. You mean person!!
    Ergon the giant chicken reminds me of Family Guy’s Ernie the giant chicken. Maybe Ergon should make a comeback and have a random, epic punch-up with Matt Smith.

  18. Oz Baxter  October 2, 2012

    “Not cool, Neil.”

    EDIT – I have deleted my initial comment and yours (which was even more offensive).

  19. encyclops  October 2, 2012

    I’ve never loved this, but I’ve never hated it either. It surprised me when I learned that I was supposed to consider it the nadir of the Davison era. *Fans.*

    “This is very interesting. It’s a snapshot of what life was like before mobile phones and sat-navs. If they remade this story today, they would have found Tegan 15 minutes ago.”

    Yes, but not just because of the technology. If they remade this story today, they’d have to squeeze it into 45 minutes, and if you think it’s thin at four episodes, just imagine.

    “So the choice is basically Tegan or the safety of billions? It’s not exactly rocket science, is it?”


    • BWT  October 3, 2012

      Exactly. This is hardly the nadir of the Davison era; that honour belongs to “Four to Doomsday”.

      It does come pretty close though. Well… that and “Terminal”…

      • encyclops  October 3, 2012

        My vote’s still for “Time-Flight” or either of the two episodes featuring K*******. They make “Four to Doomsday” look like “Talons of Weng-Chiang.”

  20. Richard Lyth  October 2, 2012

    “I know we’re on Gallifrey because that guy on the left is dressed in my mam’s curtains” pretty much sums up this entire blog in one sentence. (In a good way!)

    I really liked Arc Of Infinity as a kid, but watching it again on DVD it is a bit of a mess. Maybe Sue will go off it if she watches it again thirty years from now?

  21. Antti Björklund  October 2, 2012

    When I watched this for the first time (a couple of days ago via Dailymotion), I felt quite irritated by Robin’s whiny voice.

    • BWT  October 3, 2012

      I have misjudged many, many people in my past just because they have Robin’s whiny voice. But then, it does tend to irritate people, doesn’t it?

      • Antti Björklund  October 3, 2012


        • Antti Björklund  October 3, 2012

          Or maybe “nasal” is the correct word.

  22. Warren Andrews  October 2, 2012

    Arc of Infinity was always on a hiding to nothing for me as I read the book first. Ron Jones dreary beige production with Roger Limbs’ dirgey music didn’t have a hope.

    Sue was far too kind on this but it’s always interesting to read a different perspective.

  23. Jazza1971  October 2, 2012

    I loved Sue’s views. Always liked “Arc of Infinity” (which is also the title of a song by Pallas) and was surprised to find out it isn’t well thought of by the fan community. Yeah, it isn’t the best, but it isn’t the worst by a long chalk. 7 seems totally reasonable to me.

    • Antti Björklund  October 2, 2012

      I agree. I quite liked it!

      • Frankymole  October 3, 2012

        Ir’s not the worst story. It’s not even the worst Gallifrey story!

        • Thomas  October 6, 2012

          How so? Invasion of Time isn’t great, but the first four episodes are a good deal more interesting than about 3/4ths of this episode.

  24. Noodles  October 2, 2012

    I’ve said many times in these comments that Sue is going to hate Colin Baker. Turns out she loves him. I just hope that that remains true when he becomes the Doctor.

    • Andrew Bowman  October 3, 2012

      I would suggest that because the Sixth Doctor has a fine line in sarcasm, as does Sue, then she may find a kindred spirit in him. After all, anything’s possible! 🙂

  25. Brendan Jones  October 2, 2012

    I showed this story to Dutch friends I was staying with in Amsterdam. The funniest reaction was in the Ep4 reprise…

    NYSSA: Doctor!
    TIM: “Doctor! Doctor!” God she’s useless. Kill her or give her another gun. I don’t care which.

  26. John G  October 2, 2012

    “The crew must have dragged them off the streets when they got there. They were probably wandering around the red light district in a daze. I refuse to believe that the BBC flew these two out to Amsterdam with them. They can’t act!”

    Oh Sue, if you thought these two were bad, just wait for the last story of the next season! I was also amused by her comment about Thalia looking like she was married to Henry VIII – a few months after this was first screened, Elspet Gray would turn up in The Black Adder married to Richard IV…

    I think for me this was Sue’s most unexpected verdict since The Time Monster. Although the first episode is promising, I found Arc infinitely tedious, especially during that interminable chase in part 4. The only purpose it serves is to show off the location and justify the budget, as there is absolutely no reason for the story to be set in Amsterdam at all, except to make it look more expensive. Peter as Omega is pretty good, and it’s nice to see Nyssa get a bigger slice of the action, but that’s about all I can say in favour of this one. I was a bit disappointed Sue didn’t recognise Omega, but with a different actor and costume involved it is not that surprising, especially as Sue saw his previous appearance the best part of a year ago.

    Sue’s views on Colin were very interesting, but it’s probably wise at this stage not to read too much into them, as her reaction to the sixth Doctor could well be very different. I’m a bit surprised Neil didn’t exploit the part 1 cliffhanger by pretending that the Doctor regenerates and merges his body with Maxil’s, but perhaps Sue is getting too wise for his deceits! Either that or he feared GBH might follow…

    • DPC  October 2, 2012


      Especially the locale. Amsterdam was a great idea, but “Arc” didn’t need it, and the number of coincidences made to justify it were too many to be believed. Too much on the shopping list (Tegan back, Gallifrey, Omega’s woolly explanation for the need of Amsterdam, etc…)

      I don’t dislike the story despite the conveniences, though…

      • encyclops  October 3, 2012

        This sort of thing is still happening today. For instance, you would think “a city that never sleeps” would be precisely what Angels immobilized by open eyes would NOT want to “take.”

        • PolarityReversed  October 3, 2012

          That bothered me about “Over the Pond” too. “What better place for the Angels than a city ‘that never sleeps'” – errrrrrr? Doesn’t really make sense to me, no matter how fast Matt Smith says it. Unless they can’t zap you when you’re asleep, I suppose. Still, never mind the logic, feel the iconography.
          Perhaps the Beeb was involved in a marketing drive to sell the brand to the Dutch back in the 80s.

          I dipped in on this one after having pretty much given up on Who. Such promise – Gallifrey/free, Omega, exotic locationsh. Don’t think they made a total biscuits of it, but it didn’t win me back to the cause.

          Sue’s got a pretty funky past, eh? A propos nothing very much, I’m probably the only person in history to have been using the toilet on a train out of Omshterdom for legitimate reasons when cushtoms inshpectors bust in on me…


          • PolarityReversed  October 3, 2012

            Oh, and the chances of anything decent coming from JNT are a million to one, they say…

          • Jazza1971  October 3, 2012

            I’ve just been watching the “Snakedance” DVD and on the Production Subtitles it says that “Arc of Infinity” was set in Amsterdam as JNT was trying to get the Netherlands to take “Doctor Who”. The subtitles states it worked and explains that “Snakedance” was one of the stories that was bought and gives it’s name in Dutch.

  27. Ollie  October 2, 2012

    I just watched this last night. I agree with Sue, a strong 7 /10 for me.

  28. DamonD  October 3, 2012

    “But still she comes.”
    Oh. Nice!

    My name is actually Damon as well, which means it’s not so great having this limp cabbage of a character bearing the same name. Could be worse, but only if I was named Andred.

    Arc is…not good. I think I’ll have to catalogue this 7 rating down as the continuing effect of Time-Flight, by which almost all things seem a little bit shinier and more interesting.

  29. bbqplatypus  October 3, 2012

    Wow. That score is…surprising.

  30. Piers Johnson  October 3, 2012

    Sue: He’ll have to pimp Nyssa out in a shop window. It should only take her half an hour or so.

    Nyssa would have the cash in 30 seconds, given her predilection (slight spoiler) for getting down to her scanties for hairy blokes.

    • BWT  October 3, 2012

      Someone been telling you all stories about me again…?

  31. Wholahoop  October 3, 2012

    I would expected it to have lost at least 8 marks for the Ergon, I mean what was it supposed to be apart from a less than successful attempt at psychosynthesis. A pile of horse poo would be a better attempt. Mostly harmless would be the best I can sày about this

  32. BWT  October 3, 2012

    Sue: “The Doctor wouldn’t fall for that. The chances of him bumping into Tegan must be a million to one.”

    Me: “But still she comes.”

    I really think you’ve outdone yourselves; this must rate as your cleverest comment/rejoinder yet…

    • Dave Sanders  October 3, 2012

      I only just got the reference. Shame on me….

    • chris-too-old-too-watch  October 3, 2012

      But as any Pratchett reader knows, all one million to one shots come off…

  33. RichardAKJ  October 3, 2012

    My first ‘New’ Who since 1970 and some great comments from Sue. I think I’ll have to go and watch this story now.

    Great ‘Next Time…’ trailer from Glen as well. It’s good to see the profits from the mug sales being well spent, Glen’s trailers are a nice and funny addition to the blog.

    Keep up the good work. You cheer me up no end.

  34. P.Sanders  October 3, 2012

    Ha ha great stuff Sue – this is what the blog is about for me: watching Who with a fresh perspective. I had strong memories of this as a kid – the Doctor’s execution and the final chase especially – and used to quite enjoy it on VHS. Got the DVD and was bored by it very quickly. Gave it another chance thanks to Sue and it was alright – not great but not terrible. A contrived plot (and yes not unlike Traken in general structure) but I enjoyed it much more than I thought. I so hope she likes the next story but all bets may be off…

  35. Paul Mudie  October 3, 2012

    There’s a surprise! I was fully expecting Sue to dub this one “Arse of Infinity”!

  36. John Miller  October 3, 2012

    Sue: And it’s not the Master?

    Me: I’m not saying.

    Sue: Is it The Monk?


    Sue: Vaguely. I don’t remember those kinds of details. I’m not a fan. I haven’t got enough room in my brain to store that sort of information. If he’d worn the same hat, I might have stood a better chance.


  37. DPC  October 3, 2012

    Best wishes to you, Neil… I hope all is well, or if anything happens, I hope it is minor.