MAWDRYN UNDEAD

Part One

Two boys are admiring a vintage car that has been parked in the grounds of a school.

Mawdryn UndeadSue: Is this story going to be about upper class toffs? Oh well, that’s the BBC for you.
Ibbotson: This car is a classic, Turlough.
Sue: Turlough? I know that name; I’ve heard you mention him before so he must be a companion. But that means we’ll have three companions again! Did Adric die in vain?

Turlough decides to take the car for a joy ride.

Sue: What the **** has happened to the music?

If you aren’t familiar with Paddy Kingsland’s haunting ‘Turlough and Ibbotson go for a ride’ theme, here’s a short extract:


Sue: **** me. Even the Chuckle Brothers would have balked at that.

The car crashes and Turlough has an out-of-body experience.

Sue: Meanwhile, on Top of the Pops.

The schoolboy is joined in this electronic limbo by an imposing figure dressed in black. He says he is Turlough’s ‘guardian’.

Mawdryn UndeadSue: Is it the Black Guardian?
Me: Yes.
Sue: Seriously? It’s really, really him?
Me: Yes.
Sue: I’d almost given up on him. It’s about bloody time. Hang on, what has he got on his head? Is that…? It’s not a dead bird, is it? Surely not.

The Black Guardian makes a pact with Turlough: murder for freedom.

The Black Guardian: You will be destroying one of the most evil creatures in the universe. He calls himself…
Sue: …the Master.
The Black Guardian: …the Doctor.
Sue: Oh.

Turlough will agree to anything, just as long as he isn’t sent back to Earth.

Sue: Eh? What? So he wants to die? Make your mind up.

Mawdryn UndeadAt the scene of the accident, a man surveys the damage to his 1929 roadster.

Sue: It’s the Brig! Blimey, it’s all go today, isn’t it? Hey, what happened to his moustache?

Meanwhile, on the TARDIS, Tegan is still trying to come to terms with Snakedance. I know how she feels.

Sue: Is she still going on about that snake? Get over it, chick.

Tegan wants to know why Dojjen didn’t just destroy the Great Crystal in the first place.

Sue: You can’t discuss the plot holes now. It’s too late for that, you had your chance to explain it DURING THE ACTUAL STORY.

Nyssa enters the console room.

Sue: Yes, she’s changed out the mess she was dressed in last week. That is so much better; it’s almost trendy. She’s gone overboard with the make-up, though. I think she’s subconsciously trying to compete with Tegan. I suppose it depends on whether the Doctor goes for the slutty look or not.

Turlough is recovering from his accident in the school’s infirmary when he finds a strange object under his pillow.

Mawdryn UndeadSue: I hope they don’t expect him to provide a sample in that.

The school’s matron tells Turlough to rest.

Sue: Does Turlough have learning difficulties?
Me: What makes you say that?
Sue: Well, he’s about 25 years old and he’s still at school. He must be very slow.

Incredibly, Sue is warming to Paddy Kingsland’s incidental music.

Sue: It’s very rocky, this. That’s quite a good riff he’s got going, there.

The Brigadier discusses Turlough’s actions with the school’s headmaster.

Me: Are you surprised to see the Brig in a school?
Sue: I assumed he was there to give a talk to the boys about serving in the military. Why?

We learn that Turlough’s parents are both dead. The headmaster tells the Brig that he deals with a very strange solicitor in London.

SuMawdryn Undeade: Yes, he’s so strange, he walks around with a dead bird for a fascinator.
Me: No, that’s a completely different strange man. I think. Actually, now that you mention it, maybe he is referring to the Black Guardian.
Sue: I’m confused.
Me: I know, you gave Snakedance 5/10.
Sue: What kind of name is Turlough? It’s a bit daft. And I can’t believe we are going to end up with three companions again. Unless they kill Nyssa. It won’t be Tegan they get rid off because they would have done it last week when they had the chance.
Me: Doctor Who doesn’t suddenly make a habit of killing off companions.
Sue: No? That’s a pity.

The TARDIS crew are forced to materialise on a spaceship that is heading straight for them.

Sue: Is it a hotel in space? I love the Rennie Mackintosh art nouveau feel. It reminds me of an old Odeon cinema I used to go to as a bairn.

Turlough follows the Black Guardian’s instructions and walks to an obelisk near the school.

Sue: Turlough is very odd, but I like the actor who plays him. He’s very good. There’s something about him.

Mawdryn UndeadSuddenly, a spherical object appears out of thin air.

Sue: It’s the Sontarans! I can’t keep up with this. It’s too much to take in.

The music kicks up a gear.

Sue: The music reminds me of Muse a bit. Prog rock with some electro funk. Do you think Matt Bellamy is a Doctor Who fan?
Me: Have you actually heard the song ‘Uprising’?

Incidentally, Sue and I are both learning how to play the guitar at the moment (Sue on lead and me on bass), so if anybody has the tabs for the Mawdryn Undead soundtrack, we’d be really grateful. You can skip ‘Turlough and Ibbotson take a ride’, though.

The Doctor and Turlough meet for the first time.

Sue: I liked the way they looked up at the same time to notice one another. That was a very nice scene.

Tegan and Nyssa give Turlough the once over.

Sue: Tegan’s not fussed but I think Nyssa may have the hots for him. She’s like that.

The episode concludes with Turlough preparing to brain the Doctor with a boulder.

Sue: Good cliffhanger. It’s a very interesting introduction for a companion. If I didn’t know better, I’d never guess he was one of the good guys.

 

Part Two

Mawdryn UndeadSue: The only problem I have with this story is the naff MTV effect behind the Black Guardian’s head. I keep expecting him to introduce a song by Soft Cell.

I take the hint and I switch the DVD to the new CGI effects option. Sacrilege, I know, but sod it.

Sue: That’s much better. Thanks.

The transmat unit explodes and this stops Turlough from committing murder.

Turlough: What’s happened? Could it have been affected by tangential deviation coming out of the warp ellipse?
Sue: What are they teaching them at that school? I thought he was thick.

The Fifth Doctor and the Brigadier are reunited, but the Brig doesn’t recognise his old friend.

Sue: He’s displaying the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
Me: He hasn’t met this incarnation of the Doctor yet.
Sue: Fair enough.

Mawdryn UndeadBack at the transmat capsule, Tegan and Nyssa walk in on a burns victim. Nyssa assumes that he must be the Doctor.

Sue: He looks nothing like him! That is definitely not Peter Davison’s crotch.

Tegan and Nyssa take the injured man back to the TARDIS.

Tegan: It’s too risky to move him again.
Sue: Too risky? You just dragged him across the floor like a sack of potatoes!
Tegan: It’s all right, Doctor. You’re safe inside the TARDIS.
Sue: That is NOT PETER DAVISON!

The Brigadier and the Doctor settle down to discuss old times. Sadly, the Brig still doesn’t remember his adventures with the Doctor.

Sue: See! I told you he had Alzheimer’s.

It turns out that Benton is now selling used cars for a living.

Sue: WHAT? I’m sorry, but WHAT?

Mawdryn UndeadThe Doctor triggers the Brigadier’s memories.

Sue: Ooh, this is nicely done.

We are treated to a sepia toned celebration of the Brigadiers greatest moments. Sue gives the first three clips – Yeti, Cybermen, Troughton – a hearty cheer.

Sue: I’m cheering and I’m not even a fan.

The transition back to the present day is very nicely done.

Sue: Lovely.

The Brigadier is now working as a maths teacher. I pause the DVD.

Mawdryn UndeadMe: The Brigadier wasn’t the first choice of companion for this story. They were going to bring someone back who was already a teacher.
Sue: Ian?
Me: Well done. Anyway, it didn’t work out and that’s why the Brigadier is suddenly teaching maths.
Sue: What a shame. Wouldn’t it have been better if he taught P.E. instead?
Me: The other thing this story is famous for is the UNIT dating controversy, because, as I am sure you will remember, Sarah Jane told us that she came from 1980 during Pyramids of Mars, which implied that the UNIT stories of the 1970s were set in the future. However, this story clearly states that –
Sue: Oh, not this bollocks again. I really couldn’t care less. Play the DVD, please.

Tegan arrives in 1977, where she meets a younger version of the Brigadier, complete with moustache.

Sue: Oh, this is very clever. It’s gone all timey-wimey. Hey, I bet Tegan was the person who gave the Brig his nervous breakdown.

The 1977 version of the Brigadier checks the school register for Turlough’s name.

Mawdryn UndeadThe Brig: Let’s see. S. T. Trevor, Trumper, Turner.
Sue: Trumper? Trumper? Is that his real name or his nickname? What kind of school is this?

But there’s no sign of Turlough.

Sue: Really? Are you sure he hasn’t been studying there for the last 15 years? Maybe he was expelled from several schools before he got there. He’s definitely a mature student.

Back in the infirmary, Turlough ties some bed sheets together.

Sue: Is he going to hang himself? Are things that bad?

Back on the TARDIS.

Tegan: The wounded thing in the capsule, maybe it isn’t the Doctor after all.
Sue: No shit, Sherlock.

But that raises the obvious question:

Sue: Is it the Master?
Me: Are you serious?
Sue: He’s regenerating and only Time Lords can regenerate so it might be him. They’re throwing everything else at the screen, so why not?

The creature calls himself Mawdryn.

Sue: Oh, so he’s Mawdryn! I thought Mawdryn was the name of the school. You know, like Mawdryn College, Oxford.

Mawdryn UndeadReader, this is why I married her.

Sue: So he isn’t a Time Lord but he wants to be a Time Lord? Is that it?
Me: Yes.
Sue: Well, he’s got Tom Baker’s coat on; that’s a good start, I guess.

The episode concludes with a close-up of Mawdryn.

Sue: His brain is falling out of his head! It’s moving and everything! We have to put the next episode on. Go on, I bet Steven Moffat really likes this one.

 

Part Three

Tegan isn’t convinced that Mawdryn is the Doctor.

Tegan: It wasn’t like this before. When he changed, he turned into a human.
Sue: Yeah, he didn’t end up with a bird’s nest on his head. Hey, maybe this where the Black Guardian’s dead bird comes into it.

Mawdryn is the victim of a terrible mutation.

Sue: I just about buy the fact that they might think it’s the Doctor at first. He is a bit like the Doctor, I suppose. He’s William Hartnell gone wrong. Or gone wronger.

The Brigadier is utterly convinced that Mawdryn is the Doctor.

Sue: What? He just told you that he wasn’t! Are you deaf? And if you aren’t sure, just ask him a question about the Yeti or something. Ask him what Benton’s first name is.

In 1983, the Doctor warns of the dangers of two Brigadiers interacting with each other.

A Christmas CarolThe Doctor: If the two of you met, you’d short out the time differential. Don’t you see? The Blinovitch limitation effect? Oh dear.
Sue: So, you can’t touch your other self?
Me: Well, that used to be the case. But then Steven Moffat made A Christmas Carol and there’s a scene when Michael Gambon gives his younger self a cuddle. When I saw it for the first time, I was convinced that the universe would explode.
Sue: I like the idea of the cuddle better. Sod the Blinny whatsit.

Mawdryn shows us what he’s wearing under his coat.

Sue: It looks like something Nyssa might wear. It’s dreadful.

And still they think Mawdryn could be the new Doctor.

Sue: They really should be asking him more questions. Like: why are you wearing a dress? And: are you always going to be this stroppy? Because if you are, I’d like to go home now, please.

The Brigadier orders Tegan to remain on the TARDIS.

Tegan: Chauvinist.
Sue: That’s rich coming from a person who described themselves as a mouth on legs. And the Brig might be sexist but I still love having him around. He makes me feel safe.

With the threat of the Brigadier touching himself hanging over this story, Sue finally puts two and two together:

Mawdryn UndeadSue: I bet meeting himself is what triggers his nervous breakdown. It’s very clever. The Moff would be proud of this.

Turlough ambles down a corridor, begging the Black Guardian to dispense his usual advice and threats.

Sue: Can you imagine Matthew Waterhouse in this scene? This guy is in a different league.

Turlough releases Mawdryn’s people from their hidey hole in the spaceship.

Sue: Roller skating aliens. Spooky.

And then the Doctor discovers the truth: Mawdryn’s people stole technology from Gallifrey in a desperate bid for immortality. And now they long for death, not that the Doctor is sympathetic to their plight.

The Doctor: It’s the result of your own criminal ambition.
Sue
: Yeah, like you never stole anything from Gallifrey, you hypocrite.

The only way the Doctor can put these aliens out of their endless misery, is if he gives up his remaining regenerations.

Sue: A moral dilemma for a cliffhanger – you don’t get many of them to the pound. I’m loving this. Let’s finish it off.

 

Part Four

Mawdryn UndeadThe Doctor tells Tegan that he can only regenerate 12 times.

Sue: That means he’s only got two bodies left. I hope they don’t waste them on shit actors.

Sue doesn’t understand Mawdryn’s problem.

Sue: Can’t they just chop their heads off? And if that doesn’t work, why don’t they fly themselves into the sun?

Even the Black Guardian is worried about two Brigadiers running around the ship.

The Black Guardian: The instability could destroy everything.
Sue: Or they might have a cuddle, which would be nice.

When the Doctor leaves Mawdryn to suffer his fate, the alien makes a veiled threat against him.

Sue: Ask him what he means! Don’t just walk out. Oh, that is frustrating.

Meanwhile, Turlough is still wandering around the spaceship.

Sue: This is the only ship I’ve seen where I keep expecting to find a concierge around the next corner. I like it, though. I’d rather have decor like this than grey steel flats any day.

Mawdryn UndeadHowever, when the Doctor tries to leave this ship, it’s Nyssa and Tegan who suffer the consequences.

Sue: That’s horrific. Although Nyssa’s outfit does match the pallor of her skin, now.

The Doctor decides to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow. Sue tuts.

But this results in his companions becoming younger and younger.

Sue: I never knew that Tegan used to be a boy.

When Nyssa as a child speaks, I pause the DVD.

Me: Okay, I’ll do the washing-up for a month if you can tell me the name of the EastEnders character she will grow up to play.
Sue: Okay, don’t tell me. I can do this. I recognise her eyes. It’s on the tip of my tongue.

At this point, Nicol walked into the living room.

Mawdryn UndeadNicol: It’s Lisa. She shot Phil Mitchell.
Sue: So it is! Ha! You have to do the washing-up for a month. Thanks, Nic.
Me: Hey, that’s not fair.

The Black Guardian threatens to kill Turlough if he doesn’t buck his ideas up.

Sue: Why doesn’t he just kill the Doctor himself? Why does he need Turlough anyway?
Me: He can’t be seen to be involved.
Sue: Why not?
Me: He’ll get into trouble with the Guardian police. I don’t know.
Sue: It’s ridiculous.

The Doctor makes a very difficult decision.

Sue: It would be a good way to go, saving your friends, but he won’t do it. We’re only half-way through Peter Davison, or at least that’s what you’ve told me. You could be lying, I suppose.

The Doctor prepares to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Sue: I bet the other Brig walks in and the explosion will sort everything out.

She’s right, of course.

Sue: So the Doctor survived because Turlough is inept. If he’d kept his eye on the Brig, that never would have happened.

On his way back to the TARDIS, Turlough makes a startling discovery: his crystal is defective.

Mawdryn UndeadSue: Did he just say “crack”?
Me: Cracked.
Sue: For a moment there, I thought he was going to smoke it.

The Doctor returns both Brigadiers to their respective time zones.

Sue: Does he come back again?
Me: Wait and see.
Sue: That’s a yes, then.

The story ends with the Doctor welcoming Turlough to the team.

Sue: It’s too crowded. But I like him. He’s interesting.

 

The Score

Sue: I really enjoyed that. It’s nice to have a plot where the villain doesn’t want to take over the universe, he just wants to die. I enjoyed the time-wimey aspect, too. They don’t do enough of that in the old series.

9/10

Sue: I’m taking one mark off because the direction wasn’t anything special. But it’s still very, very good.

 

Coming Soon

 

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Comments

  1. Nick Mays  October 9, 2012

    I have a very soft spot for Mawdryn Undead – when it was first screened I missed the first episode as I was in hospital, so eagerly tried catching up with the next 3 episodes when I was home. And like many a fan back then, I was intensely annoyed by the Unit Dating muck-up. I even write to JN-T about it (twice) and got an incredibly stroppy reply from the man himelf.

    As for the UNIT dating nowadays, I couldn’t give a flying fanboy fart. The Time War screwed it all up anyway. Or the Timewryrm. Or something. Even the Doc doesn’t know (The Sontaran Strategem).

    Anyway, it’s a rattling good story, it’s timey-wimey, the Brig’s in it (twice) and Nyssa looks well fit. What’s not to like?

    • DPC  October 10, 2012

      Given the production team of the 1970s, more than once, had plenty of calendars that showed the year “1972” (i don’t recall the story), “1975” (Sadly, I do recall the story: “Robot”), etc, UNIT took place in the 1970s.

      Sorry to read that JNT gave a stroppy response. 🙁 I met him in 1993 and he was the most cordial fellow… especially as I had been suffering from depression and self-esteem issues at the time…

      • Nick Mays  October 10, 2012

        DPC, I think there’ll always be this fan hoo-hah over the UNIT dating. It all stemmed from a Radio Times article (I think) when Jon Pertwee took over as the Doctor which said that the stories were set a few years in the future… which later was flatly contradicted by Dicks’ and Hulkes’ ‘Making of Dr Who’ book with the Unit memoranda being dated contemporaneously… and, as you say, the calendars in the series contradict it, (not to mention the fashions)! It’s a shame that Sarah had to say she was from 1980 in ‘The Hand of Fear’ because that opened up the whole can of worms anyway.

        I’ll stick with the Time War (or the Timewrym) messing it all up anyway. As the 10th Doctor says, even he doesn’t know!

        As for JN-T being stroppy to me in his reply, I’m sure he was under a lot of pressure at the time and the last thing he’d have wanted was a 20 year-old smart arse fan writing to him telling him he’d “got it wrong”. OK, the guy wasn’t perfect and made some mistakes with the series but then who amongst us is perfect and doesn’t make mistakes in what we do? I’m sure he was a very charming man at times and it’s good that he took the time and trouble to talk to you.

        DWM’s ‘Trial of John Nathan-Turner’ feature has been very illuminating!

        • Mark  October 11, 2012

          What is this DWM’s ‘Trial of John Nathan-Turner’ you speak of? and where can I see/read it?

          • Frankymole  October 11, 2012

            In the last two issues of Dr Who Magazine, the official publication (since 1979!).

            UNIT dating is fairly simple – it’s all set 1 year in the future, except that jokey reference in “Pyramids” which is one quote against about 20 on the contemporary side (and Sarah Jane was all over the place by then anyway). Once I realised that, no probs. Jon Preddle’s “Time Link” book is the best resource if you really care, but honestly, there’s no point. The Brig retired in 1976 and that’s all we need to know. Now, River Song…

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            Except for the thousands of things that point to it not being set in the then-present. Derrick Sherwin, who was Producer then, explicitly stated in interviews that the stories were set in the near-future. As did Jon Pertwee. And all the deliberate pointers such as the politics, the technology etc. Preddle’s “Timelink” goes in with one predetermined outcome, and then tries to bend everything to suit that. I’d much rather go with what the people who actually introduced the whole concept of UNIT believed, which was “near future”. Basing something on what clothes people are wearing would mean that Space 1999 and Blake’s 7 are set in the 70’s, and 2001:A Space Odyssey and Star Trek are set in the 60’s.

          • Leo  October 11, 2012

            Most of those are reliant on things that were never said in the programme. I don’t think it’s really valid to describe something as continuity error in a TV series when all it contradicts is something that production people had said in interviews about 12 years earlier. Exactly how many people watching Mawdryn Undead in 1983 would have had detailed knowledge of what Derrick Sherwin and Jon Pertwee were saying to magazine half a generation earlier? A lot of that audience probably hadn’t even been born then, and even many of those who had wouldn’t have had that kind of relatively obscure knowledge.

            This is what I mean when I say there’s a disconnect between the dedicated fan and the ordinary viewer’s perceptions. Something is deemed to be a major continuity error, based mostly on extremely obscure media interviews that were never directly referenced in the series. Verity Lambert didn’t think of the Doctor as being a Time Lord in the early days of the series either, because the concept hadn’t been invented then. There wasn’t much of a developed backstory in mind at that time, although there were vague hints which were mostly kept off screen and never intended to be taken any further – Susan supposedly coming from 5733 and all that sort of thing. Different production teams are bound to have had different ideas concerning background information, but if they were never directly stated on screen, then it’s a fairly academic matter.

            Moreover, a point which rarely seems to be made here – how does Mawdryn Undead contradict the idea that the UNIT stories were set in the near future anyway? Because it doesn’t. All it actually says is that he’d retired by 1977, it doesn’t date any of his earlier stories. So that doesn’t necessarily make it impossible to place most of those previous stories the character appeared in as being slightly in the future from when they were first shown. Quite possible for the likes of The Invasion, Ambassadors of Death and the rest of the Pertwee stuff to have taken place in the mid 70s, if that’s where you want to date them, which still leaves time for the early Tom Bakers, and the Brigadier’s retirement, to happen in 1976… It’s a question of what time scale they had in the world they were set in. The UNIT stories were transmitted over a 5 to 6 year period but, towards the end, were only featuring in one or two stories a year, so there’s room for compression, with, say, the entire period from The Invasion through to Seeds of Doom taking place between 1973 and 1977. There you are. All still happened in the near future, all still consistent with Mawdryn Undead, and it just leaves Pyramids the odd one out. In any case, even only one year ahead still qualifies as “near future”, and as most of these people making a claim for them to be set in the future rarely specified exactly how far that was supposed to have meant, or even when they did, weren’t particularly consistent about it either, one year is as reasonable as any other choice.

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            But this means that both Professor Travers and Sarah Jane Smith were liars and/or lunatics. As noted, Ian Levine spotted the error, but JNT preferred the dates as given. Then he was apparently abrupt to someone who wrote in to him, pointing out the mistake.

            There are other obvious things as well, such as the female PM in “Zygons”, or the fact that in the early 70’s NASA were fully expecting to launch a manned mission to Mars in…the early 80’s. Everything except the clothes/hairstyles pointed to the near future rather than the present. And how exactly would the production team have known what late 70’s/early 80’s fashions would be like? Even if they had, what kind of reaction would Jo Grant-looking -ike-the-fourth-Bananarama-member have got?

          • Leo  October 11, 2012

            Travers dated The Abominable Snowmen as happening in 1935, which he describes as being forty years ago. Could just be an approximation. Doesn’t have to be either lying or insane, especially if you assume (to fit in with the 1973 – 77 suggestion I mentioned earlier) that Web is set around 1970. That’s 35 years, which means he could just be rounding up, in a way that people sometimes do in real life. Although if you do take him literally at his word, that means accepting that The Invasion must be in 1979, which in turn renders Sarah’s reference to 1980 as erroneous, as the UNIT stories clearly do not all happen within about one year – too many references to the various times of year throughout for that to work. So there’d be a contradiction there even if Mawdryn Undead had never been written.

            Why is mentioning a female PM proof that a story must be set in the future? And even if it does, how does that make it impossible for it to be just one year? There was a female PM in 2006 according to the new series, Harriet Jones, which, of course, there wasn’t in real life. In any case, The Green Death had a Prime Minister called Jeremy, something which has yet to happen even 39 years later. If you can have a TV series where some details differ from real life, that straightaway gets rid any argument that it must be set in some undefined future. There can also be programmes now which are set in the present but feature fictitious Prime Ministers, it proves nothing. Or indeed fictitious events in international politics. Again, you only have to consider how much the new series of Doctor Who has veered away from real life politics, despite mostly being set only around a year or so at most after they happen. Tennant’s era even had a large UNIT spacestation in stories set about 2008 and 2009.

            The reason why this line of argument is so illogical is because it’s willing to accept “alternative realities” on a clearly unnecessary proviso – that they must be a set a few years in the future – even at a time when that context has long ceased to be meaningful. Hence with The Ambassadors of Death. It’s patently absurd to maintain, in the 21st Century, that this story cannot be set in 1970, but must be set about 1975 or 1980 or whenever, because it features Britain launching Mars missions. That being because this is something that Britain still can’t manage in the 2010s. And how long is it likely to be before it can, if ever? In other words, the argument relies on a ‘this must be set in an alternative [ie alternative from the point of the view of the real world] history in which this kind of thing was possible by the late 70s’ sentiment. But, by the very act of positing an alternative history, you’ve just cut off any valid grounds for insisting that it must be set in a particular year or part of a decade. If it’s set in an alternative history, then it could just as easily be an alternative 1970 ad an alternative 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, whatever.

            You could just as easily say that the cab driver having a pre-decimel fee in Silurians – and this was quite shortly before the changeover happened, so it would have been known that it was approaching at the time – is another indication of a contemporary setting. Mao Tse Tung is apparently still alive in The Mind of Evil, implying the story can’t be happening after 1976. But of course, if you accept that the details of the history of Earth in Doctor Who can be different from the real history, then there aren’t really any secure arguments to be made one way or the other by referring to historical events.

            The Earth depicted in the UNIT stories isn’t completely accurate with the Earth of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, or any other decade. Therefore, whichever era you choose to date them in, there’s no way round accepting that these aren’t set in the real world but a fictional representation of it which can differ from the real one in some respects. And if that is the case, then there’s no good argument for insisting that this or that thing proves a story must be set in the future relative to itself. That context is meaningless now.

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            This is getting way off-topic:Mawdryn Undead. But, a few quick points: Professor Travers said “more than 40 years ago”, so he’s not “rounding up”. If we accept that The Invasion took place in very early 1979,, it adds up. Sarah FIRST meets the Doctor in late 1980(Time Warrior).

            As far as other facts:well the fact that they don’t coincide with what’s happening now, means they aren’t happening now. Remember, boys and girls, Doctor Who was originally conceived as an educational show. All those trips involving Marco Polo, The French Revolution, The Crusaders, The Massacre, Nero, The Jacobite Rebellion etc. were meant to educate about history. Meanwhile, something like The Daleks(the first story), was a series of science lessons dressed up as entertainment. Everything was absolutely set in our world. The Doctor and his companions often travelled into Earth’s future(from the perspective of the television viewer). Here, attempts were made to portray what was a believable future(although depending on the writer’s social affiliations!) But, while the characters were fictional, it was all set in the real world.

            As noted, in 1970 NASA fully believed there would be manned Mars missions in the early 1980’s. For a 1970 viewer Ambassadors could only have happened then, NOT in 1970(or even 1969!) When Zygons aired, the fact that there had never been a female PM meant it had to be set in the future. Likewise, talk of the Cold War in the past tense meant it was obviously the future. And remember, nobody thought these stories were still going to be watched and analysed in 2012! They were shown ONCE, and then the videotapes were wiped.

            Interestingly the Mind Robber sees the villain attempting to fictionalise the Doctor and his companions, turning them from real people into characters in a story. They manage to escape. Sadly, all this “Doctor Who universe” excrement means that The Master of the Land of Fiction seems to have won. Especially when RTD has a PM who wasn’t the then-PM and says it’s “now”!

            Of course, all this “Universe” nonsense falls in on itself. If it’s a “fictional Universe” then why couldn’t the people in this “fictional Universe” have worn flares in 1980?

          • Leo  October 11, 2012

            However, it’s also possible that Travers is rounding down, meaning that Web of Fear could even be taking place later than 1975. Sarah doesn’t refer to 1980 as being the year she met the Doctor, she claims it’s the year she comes from. It’s quite clear from Planet of the Spiders and Robot that she is still living a day-to-day life on earth when not travelling with the Doctor, so the date would have to refer to when Terror of the Zygons was set. As for the Pertwee era, Terror of the Autons takes place in the summer, there’s a hint that Mind of Evil takes place over a year later, given that the Master’s TARDIS is out of action between those stories, The Daemons is in April/May, Day of the Daleks is in September, and Robot is in April, suggesting that it spans at least two or three different calendar years.

            In any case, if you’re prepared to accept that the entire UNIT era can be squeezed into about a year or so, then you’ve just made it possible for it all to take place in, say, 1975 – 6, or any other similarly brief period, which means there’s also a lot of potential room to fit it in. Travers saying it’s “over forty years ago” doesn’t cut off the possibility of it being an inaccurate – even if only slightly inaccurate – approximation. It does happen in real life, after all. It would mean most of it still set in the future relative to its first broadcast, and that only Pyramids of Mars is contradictory to that. In any case, as I say, the fact of him saying it’s more than that could be taken as implying that even 1980 is too early a date for The Invasion.

            As for your comments about fictional worlds and real worlds, I think you’ve misunderstood my point. The historicals are set in history as we know them, but the very act of being fictionalised, and featuring characters who didn’t really exist, and some events that never actually happened, and I’m not just talking about the regulars either, means that they are unavoidably fictitious, and the very fact of being fictitious means that they don’t take place in the real world. It is simply not possible for a fictional story, with fictional characters, to be taking place in the real physical world, just a fictive representation of it. I’m not talking about science fictional concepts about alternative realities or whatever, that’s a complete misunderstanding of what I mean. The UNIT stories would still have been only a fictive reality even had some of the scientific events they depicted eventually happened, because they clearly wouldn’t have happened in the way they did, and none of the characters would have existed.

            This comments about what an audience of 1970 would have thought only draw attention to the fact that this is relying on a context which no longer exists. Most of that audience probably wouldn’t have cared one way or the other about when it was set, or have thought it worth arguing about either, but you’re willingly doing so, so you’ve already distanced yourself from them philosophically. I mean, I could go on about how most viewers in 1983 wouldn’t have cared about what a story in 1968 or 1975 said about dates either, but as that argument clearly wouldn’t mean anything to you, why do you think an argument about what a 1970 audience would have thought should make any difference to anyone the best part of half a century later? We’re not living in 1970 anymore, we never will again, so how we consider or contextualise a story like Ambassadors of Death now isn’t the least bit reliant on what people then would have thought, or how they would have done so.

            Jim Hacker in Yes, Prime Minister was a fictional Prime Minister. The series as still set in the present. Whoops Apocalypse was set in the present. Thew Wonderful Mrs Pritchard was set in the present. There have been various other contemporary series with fictional Prime Ministers. In other words, no, the identity of a Prime Minister in a Doctor Who story proves absolutely nothing about when it was set. There have been plenty of stories, series, films or whatever, depicting fictitious politicians, with fictitious political developments and happenings, that haven’t been set in the future, so the idea that you can only account for things like that by placing the setting for the narrative in a different time is quite simply wrong.

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            In “The Invasion” The Brigadier clearly states that “Web of Fear” was “4 years ago”. In “Web Of Fear” it is clearly stated that it’s “more than 40 years” since 1935. It’s a good thing you weren’t the one they got to taught Maths!

            And, as I clearly stated earlier, the UNIT stories were NOT made for people in 2012 to chew over. They were made for viewers in the early-to-mid-70’s. And most of the tapes were then wiped. All television shows are made for the viewers at the time of original broadcast actually. Your argument about “we don’t have a 1970 mindset now” is just stupid. In addition, the fact that the events didn’t pan out as depicted on screen is no excuse whatsoever to argue that the dates should then be moved back to time of broadcast. I honestly can not understand that line of “logic”. So that means that Space 1999 was actually set in 1975 all along?

            Real world vs fictional world. I didn’t misunderstand you at all, but you seem to have misunderstood me. The Yes Prime Minister comment is meaningless. That is clearly set in a world where Hacker is/was the Prime Minister. Doctor Who was set in our world. I think you misunderstand the difference between fictional characters and a wholly fictional landscape. Remember the “Yeti on the loo” comment? Why would you be scared of a fictional creature on a fictional loo in a fictional world? However a supposedly fictional creature on YOUR loo in the real world would be scary.

            The bottom line is that these stories were made for early 70’s(and thereabouts) audiences. If you had told someone then that we would be having this discussion now, they would have locked you away in a padded cell. Of course the 1970 mindset is relevant when viewing these stories. Some of their future predictions never came to pass. But what kind of maniac would then suggest that they therefore should be dated at time time of broadcast, or even earlier?

          • Leo  October 11, 2012

            I’m sorry, but given that Doctor Who is set in a world in which TARDISes, Daleks, Cybemen etc exist, then, NO, it cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be said to be set in ‘our world’. That’s a preposterous argument. Just as Yes Prime Minister was set in a world in which Hacker existed and was Prime Minister, Doctor Who was set in a world where all these other things existed.

            All fiction is set in an unreal world. It has to, because it contains elements that are not real, even it is partly based on real events. And so, not being entirely real, NO fiction is, or can ever be, set in the real world. Just a representation of it. And as it’s a representation, it doesn’t always have to be entirely consistent with the real one.

            How the audience of 1970 would have viewed it is a question for history, not something that needs to affect anyone’s view now. Their alleged viewpoint means nothing now, their perspective no longer exists, and therefore no-one is in any way obliged to share the conclusions they’re alleged to have come to. It doesn’t matter who it was made for at the time, it exists now, it can be watched now, and people can form opinions about any kind of aspects of it as they please. Just as any other text or story which survives long after it was first written or made can be assessed independently of what anyone might have thought when it was new.

          • Leo  October 11, 2012

            While we’re at it, your own choice of words – “maniac” etc doesn’t help either. If you’re really so above this particular argument and think it so silly, then I’d suggest getting a bit less incensed about it. Ultimately, only one story in the UNIT gives any direct date, another is implied, but as an approximation, and the various events that do happen in them, being mostly unreal, allow for a wide range of possible dates for them to be set in, to say nothing of the fact that the stories contain conflicting and contradictory information in that respect in the first place.

            You’re the one who is insisting that only one point of view can be “right”. I’m just recognising that there are various possibilities. If you don’t like some of those possibilities, that’s too bad, but shouting at me and name -calling won’t make them go away, however much you may disapprove of them.

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            There are stories that are set in wholly fictional constructs, and there are stories that are set in the real world, but feature fictional characters and storylines. Just because one aspect doesn’t gel with the real world, doesn’t mean that you can dismiss it in such a manner. Eg. Arkwright and Nurse G-G-Gladys don’t really exist. Which must mean that “Open All Hours” is set in a fictional universe? Of course not. As has been stated several times already, Doctor Who was originally conceived as way to educate children, using fictional characters. Educate them about the real world that is. What is the point of a show which educates kids about some “fictional space”? It evolved away from its original premise, but the idea was always that these were characters who inhabited the same world that we do.

            And again, you just won’t get it. Television was always seen as Electronic Theatre. The idea that someone 2 years later would want to watch old shows, let alone 40+ years later, never occurred to anyone. All shows were screened once. I understand that we don’t have an early 70’s viewpoint today, but to properly appreciate the Pertwee shows, you need an early 70’s viewpoint. Because those episodes were made for viewers in the early 70’s and ONLY viewers in the early 70’s. Saying “But from a 2012 perspective…” is preposterous.

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            There are several references, “1935+40+4”, and the numerous references to events that hadn’t happened yet in the real world. Then there are the Production team’s own quotes, which you seem to find irrelevant! The only evidence for your preferred dating is Mawdryn, which the Production Team admitted they got wrong!

  2. Colin John Francis  October 9, 2012

    “Sue: What kind of name is Turlough? It’s a bit daft. ”

    Turlough is an Irish name – another translation for Turlough is the name Terry.

    • Terry Francis  October 10, 2012

      Now, come on twin bro, I pointed that fact out at least 18 years ago! 😉

  3. John S. Hall  October 9, 2012

    I, too, was always baffled by how old Turlough was meant to be, in both Earth years and Trion years. Cos as Sue mentions, Mark Strickson looks noticeably older than the rest of the boys at St Brendan’s!

    • Frankymole  October 10, 2012

      Bit of a clue there as to the alien outsider, going right back to 23-year-old teenager Susan at Coal Hill…

  4. John S. Hall  October 9, 2012

    Neil, did you tell Sue that Mawdryn was played by David Collings, whose performance in “The Robots of Death” she disliked so much?

  5. Richard L  October 9, 2012

    Wow, never knew that Ian was supposed to be in it. Kind of happy it didn’t happen if the suggestion is that he and Barbara didn’t live happily ever after. I much preferred the SJA resolution in that regard!

  6. tom_harries  October 9, 2012

    “The Doctor: It’s the result of your own criminal ambition.
    Sue: Yeah, like you never stole anything from Gallifrey, you hypocrite.”

    Hahaha. Class!

    I’m not sure if it’s a 9, but I agree with Sue’s reasoning.

    • Professor Thascales  October 10, 2012

      Can’t argue with her point there!

    • DPC  October 10, 2012

      Hot direct hypocrisy, but otherwise your point is well made. (And the Doctor did pay for his own criminal ambition – the Time Lords were never “evil” as such, but the Doctor was a renegade, got caught while wanting it both ways (their returning the humans to the proper Earthy time zones, while he and his companions escape in the other direction), lost a life and was exiled in return. The Time Lords were going to let him rot there forever, but the events of “The Three Doctors” gave him a pardon, which was reflected in “Genesis of the Daleks” (pt 1)…

      Mawdyrn’s lot had been punished, stuck in a cool time loop of sorts, and the Doctor – as usual – wanders right into the smack middle of events (unless the Guardian was manipulating events externally, as he states “the elements of chance are ranged against the Doctor”… given the time loop was situated around Earth, one has to wonder if the Time Lords WANTED the Doctor to get involved at some point (their CIA influence)…

  7. Glen Allen  October 9, 2012

    YAY
    I do like Mawdryn a lot. I guess it’s the fanboy in me (stop it)
    I chuckled heartily at the “Is he going to hang himself?” line
    Sue’s right, there really should have been a few more timey wimey stories especially as the TARDIS never seems to go where it’s supposed to, so in retrospect it’s quite surprising.

    9/10 eh? Good on ya Doctor Sue

  8. Jane  October 9, 2012

    Sue gets another one right on the button. MU is so much more fun than the episode preceding, Turlough’s magnificent, the Brig remembers, and there’s no such thing as a continuity error in a timey-wimey universe (if anything, they point to timey-wimey in the first place.) And yeah, I love the music, too.

  9. Jazza1971  October 9, 2012

    Great score.

    And this is a great line: “Sue: You can’t discuss the plot holes now. It’s too late for that, you had your chance to explain it DURING THE ACTUAL STORY.”

  10. CJJC  October 9, 2012

    Well, there goes my planned Big Finish pitch “Magdalen Undead” in which local corpses rise and terrorise Oxford due to being reanimated by an alien signal beamed from the top of Magdalen Tower. Would have featured a tense siege on a Magdelen College staircase (translation I once spent two nights staying with a friend in Magdalen College New Building and suddenly think I’m an expert).

    Lucy Benjamin, before going on to do EastEnders also appeared in three non-consecutive series of still-brilliant Steven Moffat series Press Gang.

  11. Warren Andrews  October 9, 2012

    “Sue: … I’d rather have decor like this than grey steel flats any day.”

    How prescient.:)

    I knew she’d like this one. After the disaster of Grimwade’s Time-Flight, he came back with a good’un. And Sue’s right about the direction (but I reckon it’s Moffatt best job on the show).

    • John G  October 9, 2012

      Interesting that Sue didn’t mention Moffatt or Grimwade by name this time round, given she has had plenty to say about them in the past. I agree though that they both give a decent account of themselves here, Grimwade especially given the “shopping list” he had to contend with.

  12. Dave Sanders  October 9, 2012

    Well that’s that hope dashed. Come on panpipe ketchup bottles, it’s all up to you now.

    • Dave Sanders  October 9, 2012

      Oh phew – no dilemma after all, the music just went a bit newt, It got better. 🙂

  13. Gavin Noble  October 9, 2012

    I think Sue’s gone a bit OTT over the score for this one, but it’s not a bad story. There’s a lot to like in it but I’d only score it as 7/10 myself.

    This was the first story I ever saw the Brigadier in when I was a kid and I liked him immediately. As I bought the old VHS releases I liked him even more. Nick Courtney really is one of the finest people ever to be in Doctor Who and I always feel a little sad that he never made it into modern Who before his death other than in the SJA’s.

    • Nick Mays  October 9, 2012

      I blame RTD for not letting Nick Courtney into new Who.

      DWM had the Brig starring in an adventure with the 10th Doctor of course, but my heart sank when I saw him in the comic strip, because I just KNEW at that point that RTD wasn’t going to have the brig in ‘his’ Dr Who.

      Okay, the Moff’s tried to put it right a bit with the Brig’s daughter heading up UNIT’s science branch (Power of 3) but it’s not the same. A sad, sad loss and a lost opportunity.

      • Andrew Bowman  October 10, 2012

        IN RTD’s defence, I would say that the decision not to include the Brig in any stories was down to the fact that the right stories hadn’t turned up. Of course, there’re the subsequent UNIT stories, but Nick Courtney was very ill at the time. As I understand it, the Brig was going to appear in The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith, but unfortunately fell ill again. I really don’t think blame can be apportioned here, as it’s just circumstances at the end of the day. And before anyone says, “what about Aliens of London or The Christmas Invasion?”, considering what happened to major UNIT personnel in both those stories, would that really be the best way to reintroduce the character?

        • Frankymole  October 10, 2012

          He could easily have fulfilled the Harriet Jones role with some minor tweaks to dialogue. As to stories — wasn’t RTD responsible for all 13 storylines in 2005?

          • encyclops  October 10, 2012

            I adore the Brigadier, but I wouldn’t want to have missed out on Harriet Jones.

          • Andrew Bowman  October 10, 2012

            Frankymole, he certainly was responsible for the ideas behind Series 1/Season 27, but I was referring to the two UNIT stories of that year. As Encyclops says, Penelope Wilton’s Harriet Jones was superb and frankly, the late Sir Alistair wouldn’t have fitted the criteria. Here’s a game we could all play: Where would the Brigadier fit in the series, 2005 onwards? Not as easy as you might think 🙂

  14. jsd  October 9, 2012

    It’s so nice to see (read) Sue enjoying herself again. I agree with her assessment. Luckily even Peter “That’ll Do” Moffat couldn’t scupper this one.

  15. Auntie Celia  October 9, 2012

    It is as well that mugs or tee shirts are no longer being spawned by this adorable ‘blog’ otherwise I daresay “That is definitely not Peter Davison’s crotch!” would be adorning one by the time the clocks go back. I’m afraid I have never cared for the type of jim-jams worn by Turlough in this story but I do think Mr. David Collings is a smasher and the scenery designs on the cakey spaceship are smart as a whip aren’t they?

  16. Simon Harries  October 9, 2012

    Hahaha! Fantastic review. And I love Mawdryn Unded so I’m thrilled with Sue’s score as well!

  17. Neil  October 9, 2012

    Very pleased Sue liked this so much. One of my favourites, which I’d always put in that category of ‘no-one else likes it but…’ — although I see several other people actually do too.

    Some great lines here, quoted already, but I did especially love Sue’s reaction to the flashback sequence, “I’m cheering and I’m not even a fan.” Oh, Sue… we all know that’s not true any more!

  18. Richard Lyth  October 9, 2012

    Has Sue realised that Turlough is actually an alien yet? When I was a kid I never worked it out until his final story, but there are definite hints in several episodes watching them back.

    • encyclops  October 9, 2012

      I can’t remember not knowing he was an alien, but I’m pretty sure I read the novelization first and I suspect it’s much clearer there.

    • Thomas  October 9, 2012

      There is a line that he wants to return ‘home’ away from Earth, but she might’ve missed it.

  19. Paul Mc Elvaney  October 9, 2012

    So glad Sue liked this one, the ‘brigadier remembers’ scene always gives me goosebumps. Also I adore the character of Turlough, he’s so deliciously intense, even at times when he has no reason to be!!

  20. Luke Harrison  October 9, 2012

    Great to see Sue liking this story and she’s right about the direction too. Pity they never let Peter Grimwade direct one of his own stories.

  21. encyclops  October 9, 2012

    So many things in this story are so promising and well-wrought that I don’t know why I don’t love it more than I do. A big part of it could be that I’ve always found Mawdryn himself really uncomfortably grotesque, both as obviously-not-Peter-Davison burn victim and as exposed-hairy-brain cake decoration. There’s also the fact that I find the timey-wimey aspect quite difficult to follow, so I never quite get a clear sense of who’s where when. And there’s the fact that the Black Guardian is, despite being played by Valentine Dyall, one of the lamest villains of the whole series. At least he gets a couple of good woo-woo-I’m-the-devil moments in this.

    But the sets really are a cut or three above the usual stuff, the plot’s interesting, and the two Brigs are great fun. Even Tegan is especially appealing here — her belligerence and suspicion are well-directed for a change and I found myself cheering her on. And as the second set of subtitles on the DVD point out, she is indeed the only one to thank the Doctor for his willingness to sacrifice so much of himself to save them. I suspect part of the reason I’ve always had mixed feelings about this is that I find it hard to warm to Turlough, but that’s not Mark Strickson’s fault — he’s really quite good, as Sue points out. David Collings is pretty fantastic, too, easily overshadowing Davison.

    I LOVED Sue’s “…the Master” comment. It wouldn’t make as much sense, but what if Turlough HAD been sent to murder the Master for some reason? I’m fascinated by that road-not-taken. I’m not sure I agree about the music, though; this is one of the few Paddy Kingsland scores I find it difficult to get behind, though I’m sure the driving music was partly responsible for setting me against it.

    9/10 is more than I’d give this, but I’m just pleased to see ANY of these reach those heights. The commentary is funnier when the episodes are bad, but it warms my heart when Sue actually enjoys the experiment.

  22. Antti Björklund  October 9, 2012

    Glad Sue noticed the dresses Mawdryn’s fellow scientists wore and the glide they seemed to have. Also the effect behind the Black Guardian is really 80’s!

    • Nick Mays  October 9, 2012

      I remember reading an interview with Peter Grimwade in DWM where he said he wanted Turlough’s Out Of Body Experience to be – at least until the Black Guardian showed up – a beautiful experience, as recounted by people who have temporarily ‘died’ and had OOBEs. But he said the production turned it into Top of the Pops!

      His novelisation was pretty darned good too, it was even worth a second read, and I hadn’t done that since the first Terry and Mac books in the Target series.

      Incidentally, I never thought Turlough was human. HumanOID maybe, but never human.

  23. MB  October 9, 2012

    Hurrah! I’ve finally caught up!
    I’m loving the commentary on the episodes, especially the ones that I enjoyed as books and felt were let down on screen (Snakedance comes to mind again). I’m looking forward to the next one!

  24. Pikor Trikokum  October 9, 2012

    I’ve always been very fond of Mawdryn, so it’s nice to see it get some recognition. Another one of the really evocative stories of childhood.

  25. Raymond (nz)  October 9, 2012

    Trying to remember some of the things Mark Strickson mentioned at a con in Christchurch a couple of decades ago.

    I think the small glowy crystal was hooked up to a car battery, with perhaps not the most comfortable sensation on the palm of the hand.
    It might have been working with Valentine which he said was quite good — because of the actor’s age they had to stop filming early so he could catch a bus home and still get the OAP cheaper fare.
    Also, he had to dye his hair to not be mistaken on screen for Peter (?)

  26. John G  October 9, 2012

    “Well, he’s about 25 years old and he’s still at school. He must be very slow.”

    That gave me a good chuckle at the end of a long, tiring day at work! While I wouldn’t quite give it a 9, I do think Mawdryn just edges out Enlightenment as the best story of Season 20. Grimwade manages to fashion a coherent, interesting script out of many disparate elements, and it’s always good to see the Brig, though it is a shame William Russell wasn’t available. I hope Sue keeps up her liking for Turlough as well, as he is probably my favourite companion of the 80s. Mark Strickson always gives a committed performance – perhaps a little too committed on occasion – and he deserved a much better deal from many of his stories than he would actually get, though of course he does have plenty to do here. I was a bit surprised Sue didn’t twig that Turlough is an alien, as I thought that it was made fairly obvious.

    Onward then to Terminus – what are the odds that Sue won’t make it to the end without falling asleep?

  27. DPC  October 9, 2012

    Strickson is older than the others, but a better actor for sure. 🙂

    Loved this story, then and now, even if Tegan and Nyssa are – for the most part – reduced to nothing more than spouting exposition. 🙁

    The direction is bog standard (save for the “Brigadier’s Memories” bit), but the writing and acting do make up for it.

    I’ve a feeling about what’s coming up, but that depends on which story I’m thinking about… 😀

  28. Thomas Bush  October 10, 2012

    One of my faves of the Davo era. Paddy Kingsland’s music is exemplary. Yes, including THAT bit! Tegan is much more likeable now and Nyssa’s FINALLY got a decent outfit. David Collings, class act. What more can I say?

  29. Wholahoop  October 10, 2012

    Mawdryn College Oxford makes me grin every time I see it. Just think of the opportunities for a crossover/mash up with University Challenge with Bamber Gascoigne regenerating into the Paxman

    One nugget that I thought I recalled was Peter Grimwade indicating in an interview, probably DWM, that Mawdryn was Welsh for dead. A quick google search has confirmed that this appears to be the case. It’s Dead Undead (which sounds scouse to my Merseyside brought up ears)

    I liked this one and have two distinct memories, firstly the Unit dating jumped out straight away and secondly that the significance of the line “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow” didn’t twig until the Five Doctors the following Nov.

    I am with the goosebumped in the Brig’s flashback and would love to know what JNT actually said to Nick Mays. Am I right that the production team blamed Ian Levine, who as their unpaid advisor should have pointed the dating issue out? Talk about abrogation of responsibility. At least the dating issue was handled with aplomb by Tennant’s Doctor

    • Leo  October 10, 2012

      Ian Levine claimed in an interview that he did point it out but was over-ruled.

      I’m with Sue on the issue in this case. Given that only one date for that era had ever been given before on screen, and that one in a story over seven years earlier, and that that had been after the Brigadier had made his last appearance as a semi regular, even if no-one at the time would have been aware of that, it’s very much something that only a fan would have been likely to notice, and even then, only some fans.

    • Nick Mays  October 10, 2012

      To be fair to Ian Levine he DID try to get the dates changed, but was overruled (probably sensibly, with hindsight) by J N-T. Seeing as the story had originally been written with Ian Chesterton as the returning companion rather than the Brig, using 1977 and 1983 as the story dating wouldn’t have caused so much grief. (After all, Tegan is clearly stated as being from 1981, so its ‘her’ timeline that the Fifth Doctor’s stories have been following).

      As for what J N-T said to me, it was along the lines of: “I am sorry for the brief and standard replies you have received. As regards the dates in this story, I certainly do not intend to alter something that has already been broadcast.”

      So there! ;o)

    • Dave Sanders  October 10, 2012

      On the other hand, Ian Levine was not responsible for writing Turlough And The Earthlink Dilemma.

  30. Frankymole  October 10, 2012

    Odd how Cardinal Borusa has gone from being the Doctor’s old teacher to Turlough’s headmaster…

    • Thomas  October 10, 2012

      Just makes me more pissed they didn’t give him Borusa back in Arc…

      • Dave Sanders  October 10, 2012

        Please mister, can we have our Borusa back?

        • BWT  October 10, 2012

          [b][i]Your[/i][/b] Borusa? Which Borusa would that be then?

        • Thomas  October 10, 2012

          That did read odd, didn’t it. I meant it as “give him Borusa in Arc of Infinity, back when that filmed”.

          Though there was likely some schedule conflict or something that would prevent him from taking it (of course, I doubt they even asked him since, despite McKay being the best actor to play the character, in continuity he’s regenerated and they dare not break the sacred continuity. Alas).

  31. Dave Sanders  October 10, 2012

    Does Mawdryn College share facilities with the University of Darlington?

    • Matt Sharp  October 11, 2012

      Hmmm, ‘Dead College’.

      It’s probably populated by those modern-type emo-vampires they have these days, who still go to school despite being hundreds of years old.

  32. BWT  October 10, 2012

    Ah… now that’s more like it. I love “Mawdryn Undead” – it’s fanwank without being overly so and the two time-lines with the two Brigadiers is well-realized and sensitively handled. And what’s a nice fanwankery, nostalgic catch-up with old friends without the obligatory sepia-toned montage down memory lane?

    And, on top of all that, it’s a charming little, inoffensive story with something for everyone – from nostalgia throwing us back to my childhood era of the show to the darkness of the Black Guardian infiltrating even poor Turlough’s dreams. And, yes, even the “Billy Bunter” meets “Whacko!” (complete with suitable music!), old school tie carry-on. Just superb, cosy Dr Who – with a tone a bit like a Christmas Special. Superb.

    This, for me, is one of Davos best.

    • BWT  October 10, 2012

      “It’s the Sontarans!”

      HAHAHA!!! Oh dear… You couldn’t make this up!

      • BWT  October 10, 2012

        Actually, just thinking about it… David Collings really is the greatest Doctor who never was, isn’t he?

        • Frankymole  October 10, 2012

          Except in “Robots of Death”, apparently. Neil surely has to show Sue his two ‘Sapphire and Steel’ stories, though.

          • BWT  October 10, 2012

            I agree. I sat my missus through all of the S&S eps and she loved every one of them (well… maybe not Adventure 5 so much). She loved Silver especially – finding he added so much more to the mix.

            We both commented that we’d love to have seen Collings’ Silver to have appeared in Adventure 2 (our joint favourite assignment – isn’t it everybody’s?)…

            Hey, perhaps I should have written a blog?

          • Philippa Sidle  October 10, 2012

            At the time I was very excited about this episode particularly because David Collings was in it, and I had become a huge Sapphire & Steel fan. Now that’s a show that has aged extremely well. Watched it again very recently and it’s still enthralling. Sorry, OT…

        • robert dick  October 10, 2012

          Have you heard Full Fathom Five?

  33. robert dick  October 10, 2012

    If you had the new effects on for episode two, does that mean Sue got the DVD version of the nostalgia clips rather than the TV version?

  34. matt bartley  October 10, 2012

    You showed the new special effects, instead of the original?

    EXPERIMENT INVALID EXPERIMENT INVALID EXPERIMENT INVALID EXPERIMENT INVALID

    • Frankymole  October 10, 2012

      The only dud I noticed in the new effects for this was a rather weak “glow” spot following Turlough’s crystal. The original looked more effective, and Mark Strickson paid for it in pain, the poor fella!

  35. Paul Mudie  October 10, 2012

    This one did nothing for me in 1983, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it again on DVD. It’s an interesting story with some nice timey wimey stuff, and a bit of moral complexity. Of course it was lovely to see the Brig again too, but it’s interesting to speculate on what the show would have been like if Ian had made a comeback.

  36. Matt Sharp  October 10, 2012

    The Doctor: If the two of you met, you’d short out the time differential. Don’t you see? The Blinovitch limitation effect? Oh dear.

    Sue: So, you can’t touch your other self?

    Me: Well, that used to be the case.

    Ah! The Blinovitch Effect appears to only apply to non-TARDIS time travelers (they’re using a Dalek Time Machine in ‘Day of the Daleks’, one of the Brigadiers arrived in the same time zone as the other via a warp ellipse rather than traveling in the TARDIS, and as their reality is disintegrating and the TARDIS isn’t there at all the Doctor has no idea what will happen if Rose touches the other Rose in ‘Father’s Day’). Plus, naturally, the Effect varies according to the needs of the plot anyway.

  37. DamonD  October 10, 2012

    *falls off chair*

    Well, not quite, heh.
    But this one falls really flat for me in episode 4. They just seem to have run out of story so it’s a runaround to fill the time before the conclusion they want. Up to that point Mawdryn goes along fairly well, with some nice ideas and performances by Courtney and Strickson.

  38. John Miller  October 10, 2012

    I’m genuinely surprised that so many people rate this so highly. It’s a decent enough story, but I would never give it a “9”.

    As for the you-know-what. Saward said Mawdryn is set in a parallel universe, which is good enough for me. Especially since the Brig states all that “UNIT is a top-secret, organisation” nonsense. The “parallel universe” idea is reenforced later on, but I won’t go into details for Sue’s sake. It also explains why the Black Guardian took so long to find The Doctor.

    • encyclops  October 10, 2012

      A parallel universe? Why would that ever have seemed like a good idea, either as deliberate plot point or lame excuse?

      Can you go into details and just tell Sue to skip the comment? 🙂

      • John Miller  October 10, 2012

        No lamer than “Season 6B”! Anyway, ””SPOILER ALERT:””

        In ‘The Five Doctors’ The Brigadier sees Turlough and there is NO hint of recognition on The Brigadier’s part. Also after all the “secret organisation” and signing Acts agreeing to never mention UNIT here, the UNIT HQ in that story has a ruddy great sign announcing it outside, to say nothing of the reporter from The Times.

        • Dave Sanders  October 11, 2012

          Buuuuuut, that was the Brig on his retirement day, ie. before the timeline of either of the Brigs in Mawdryn. Turlough hadn’t happened to him yet.

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            No, it was a UNIT reunion. His first words are how much he is looking forward to “this reunion”. “A chance of re-meeting old friends”.

        • Leo  October 11, 2012

          It is a reunion, yes, however, the Brigadier does recognise Tegan and greets her as “Miss Jovanka” in The Five Doctors, so that’s a clear indication that he has already experienced Mawdryn Undead, his lack of communication with Turlough notwithstanding. It’s fairly clear that he’s not especially fond of the latter character anyway, so it;s not really particularly mysterious if he prefers not to talk with him.

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            But how do you reconcile ”UNIT is a secret organisation. If you are aware of its existence, you would almost certainly have signed the Official Secrets Act” with the fact that pretty much everyone knew about UNIT, and the reporter from the Times, and the sign outside and….?.

          • Leo  October 11, 2012

            I know that there are fan theories about UNIT being something like MI5. Not officially acknowledged, but its existence being an open secret, or with people not being aware of its real purpose and just thinking of it as a security organisation. There is also the fact that the Brigadier’s memories have been tampered with when he tells the Doctor this, so he isn’t necessarily a reliable witness. But Doctor Who is full of inconsistencies of all kinds…

          • Dave Sanders  October 11, 2012

            Fair enough then.

          • John Miller  October 11, 2012

            “I know that there are fan theories”?! So in your view

            Doctor Who Production Team’s intent+ facts established onscreen < Fanwank theories ?

          • Leo  October 11, 2012

            No, that’s your chosen inference. But the production team’s intentions were clearly that the Brigadier in The Five Doctors was the same one who’d turned up earlier in the year, given that he recognises Tegan, whether or not there are any inconsistencies in the scripts about UNIT’s status.

  39. Neil Perryman  October 11, 2012

    I think it’s time we gave this subject a rest. Thanks.