Number : Season 21, episode 2 of 7.

Which One : Evil face in the church wall.

Cast : The Doctor : Peter Davison
Tegan : Janet Fielding
Turlough : Mark Strickson
Jane Hampden : Polly James
Sir George Hutchinson : Denis Lill
Colonel Ben Wolsey : Glyn Houston
Joseph Willow : Jack Galloway
Will Chandler : Keith Jayne
Andrew Verney : Frederick Hall

Written By : Eric Pringle

Produced By : JNT

First UK Broadcast : 19 – 20 January 1984.

Length : 2 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : The Doctor takes Tegan to the English village of Little Hodcombe, in 1984 to visit her grandad; Andrew Verney. The village is in a state of lock-down and the inhabitants are re-enacting the 17th century Civil War. They are all under a strange spell and the Doctor finds an evil face in the wall of the local derelict church.

Whats good : The face in the wall is quite creepy and effective – even today. The weird and quaint English village formula works again here.

Whats bad : Could have been a longer.

Review With Spoilers : The Awakening cleverly begins with a group of 17th century soldiers riding through an village, which gives the impression of a period episode. Only it’s not, as it is actually 1984 and a English Civil War re-enactment is going on.

The Awakening is a shorter 2-part adventure and at only 2 parts, it is a much punchier Who than the usual 4-part format. It gets right down to business, with no long drawn out scenes, dialogue or lulls in precedings.

In keeping with the trend for better companion character development, to come (Ace). Tegan is given some background, with a trip to see her Grandfather. Its fleeting but its a damn sight more than previous companions ever got.

The monster in this, called “The Malice” – which appears from behind a broken church wall; is well imagined and quite creepy in appearance – and less os definitely more in terms of what this monster still gives a little chill (even today) when its on the screen; with its less than more approach.

“Listen! Sir George! Your village is in turmoil. You’re pointing a gun at a man who’s a friend. That’s the true influence of the Malus. Can’t you feel the hate and rage inside your head? Think, man! Did you have such feelings before you activated that thing?” The Doctor

In many ways, The Awakening takes its cue from the strong outside location-based episodes of the Pertwee era and setting of this brings to mind another strong ‘weird-goings-on-in-the-village’ location piece – The Daemons, maybe even Tom Baker’s; The Android Invasion.

Davison didn’t get too many strong stories to allow his Doctor to shine, which was a shame – as he was an excellent Doctor in his own right and this could have been a standout, with a couple more episodes to develop it.

Even with this, The Awakening is easily one of his best.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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