Number : Season 19, episode 1 of 7
Which One : The new Fifth Doctor on R&R.
Cast : The Doctor : Peter Davison
Tegan : Janet Fielding
Nyssa : Sarah Sutton
Adric : Matthew Waterhouse
The Master / Portreeve : Anthony Ainley
Head Of Security : Dallas Cavell
Ruther : Frank Wylie
Mergrave : Michael Sheard
Shardovan : Derek Waring
Child : Souska John
Written By : Christopher H. Bidmead
Produced By : JNT
First UK Broadcast : 4 – 12 Jan 1981.
Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.
Plot : The Fifth Doctor takes some time out to recuperate, following his regeneration – in the tranquil surroundings of Castrovalva.
Whats good : Davison comes to grips with his newly regenerated Fifth Doctor.
Whats bad : The hangover from Tom Baker leaving. The whole Castrovalva illusion and the Master doubling as the Portreeve. We knew – ok?
Review With Spoilers : Castrovalva is the opening episode of season 19 and is an interesting first turn for Davison – in the “role of death” following Tom Baker’s departure.
How should Davison best play this? Wisely, he comes off with the worst post regenerative stress – yet, which means the viewer can live it with him. After Baker’s career defining turn in the role, we were all a bit shell shocked, to day the least!
When he’s not flat out unconcious, he’s unpicking Baker’s scarf and tearing up Baker’s outfit so he can leave a trail back through the Tardis, which he can follow. He’s also on the lookout for the ‘zero room’. A Timelord post-regeneration suite, to help newly generated Timelords – relax and recover.
Of course, nothing goes to plan and the Doctor has to jettison the zero room, to save himself from being trapped in a blackhole – by the Master. So it’s a trip to the ‘Dwellings of Simplicity’, on Castrovalva, as a second choice recuperation destination.
“Thats the trouble with regeneration! You never know what you’re going to get!” Doctor
Castrovalva is another (based on real science-fact) episode from writer; Chris Bidmead. Bidmead also wrote the previous science mumbo-jumbo episode; Logopolis.
In Castrovalva, we have “recursive occlusion” to describe the whole Castrovalva illusion. Which sounds impressive but doesn’t make an awful lot of sense. This goes along with the “recursive loops” and “charged vacuum emboitments” psuedo-science waffle of Logopolis.
Castrovalva is a slightly better episode than it’s predecessor Logopolis. It marked the last time, (bar Bidmead’s other later Who episode; Frontios) that Who would be written in this way.
It wasn’t a great loss to the series either.
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