Number : Season 21, serial 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 episodes.

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 well 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 a village, which gives the impression of a period episode – to come. Only, 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 episodes, it is a much punchier Doctor Who – than the usual 4-episode format. It gets right down to business, from the off; with no long drawn out scenes, dialogue – or lulls in precedings.

In keeping with the trend for better companion character-development. Tegan is given some background, with a trip to see her Grandfather. Its fleeting but it’s much more, than previous companions – ever got.

The monster in this, called “The Malis” – appears from behind a broken church wall. The Malus is well imagined and quite creepy; in appearance – and less is definitely more, here. In terms of the fact; that this monster still gives a little chill (even today) when its on the screen.

“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 serials of the Pertwee era. Indeed, the 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 help develop it.

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

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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