Keeper Of Traken – 1981 – S18 – E6/7

image Number : Season 18, episode 6 of 7

Which One : The Master’s new body.

Cast : The Doctor : Tom Baker
Adric : Matthew Waterhouse
Tremas/Master : Anthony Ainley
Nyssa : Sarah Sutton
The Keeper : Denis Carey
Kassia : Sheila Ruskin
Melkur/Master : Geoffrey Beevers
Seron : John Woodnutt
Katura : Margot Van der Burgh
Luvic : Robin Soans
Neman : Roland Oliver

Written By : Johnny Byrne

Produced By : JNT

First UK Broadcast : 31 January – 21 February 1981.

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : Back in N-Space, the Doctor travels to Traken, at the Trakenites request – to help them, protect the “source” from a mysterious and evil rock creature known as ‘Melkur’.

Whats good : Well written return for the Master. Melkur.

Whats bad : The Master’s decomposing make-up – teeth painted on lips?

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Review With Spoilers : Keeper Of Traken marks the first, of a 3-story arc involving the Fourth Doctor’s transition into the Fifth and the beginning of a regular run for the returning Master character.

It also introduces Nyssa to the series, although she will not become a regular companion until Logopolis.

Keeper of Traken introduces the Trakenites, who have a power source, called the “source”, which is not too dis-similar to the Timelord’s; Eye Of Harmony.

Some time ago, a mysterious creature appeared in the clearing nearby and turned to rock, it was named “Melkur”. Some think it evil and others worship it. Including Tremas, whose family tend to Melkur’s upkeep.

The Melkur is infact, the Master’s Tardis and the Master – is still on his final regeneration and still horribly disfigured, from his last appearance in The Deadly Assassin.

Attempts to use Melkur’s form to bond with the source and give a new run of regenerations, in the process killing Tremas’ wife Kassia – who was chosen, to replace the previous dying Keeper.

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“Through the resources of the Keepership, and through you, Doctor. The knowledge will be taken from you atom by atom, and what is left of you, the husk of your body, that will also have its uses!” Melkur

The Doctor manages to turn off the Source before the Master can complete his plan, foiling him. Instead, the Master resorts to “plan B” by “possessing” and stealing Tremas.

Keeper Of Traken is really a story written around the Master’s return, played by Anthony Ainley – who initally plays another character, called Tremas (anagram of Master).

The idea of the Melkur is an interesting early sub-plot in the episode, prior to the unveiling that the Melkur is infact the Master’s Tardis. Casting an ominous un-quantified threat over proceedings. It’s a creepy statue – with glowing red eyes, which stands in a grove near the Trakenite city.

Keeper Of Traken has some interesting strands to it, including the Trakenite – source and the Melkur, all woven together into a decent structure for the Master’s return.

It begins proceedings on an unofficial trilogy of stories, to mark Tom Baker’s departure, from the role. Taking into account the other 2 stories, Logopolis and CastravalvaKeeper Of Traken is the best of the 3.

Thankfully, Keeper Of Trakensuffers the least from head scripter Chris Bidmead’s baffling real life science drop-ins. No “charged vacuum eboitments” or “recursive loops” here.

🔵🔵🔵🔘⚪ (3.5/5)

Old Doctor Who


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