Number : Season 22, serial 3 of 7.
Which One : Giant space cockroachs.
Cast : The Doctor : Peter Davison
Tegan : Janet Fielding
Turlough : Mark Strickson
Plantagenet : Jeff Rawle
Brazen : Peter Gilmore
Norns : Lesley Dunlop
Range : William Lucas
Cockerill : Maurice O’Connell
Retrograde : Raymond Murtagh
Orderly : Richard Ashley
Deputy : Alison Skilbeck
The Gravis : John Gillett
Written By : Christopher H. Bidmead
Produced By : JNT
First UK Broadcast : 26 January – 1 February 1984.
Length : 4 x 25 minute episodes.
Plot : The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough; crashland the Tardis on Frontios. Here, a group of stranded and desperate Earth colonists; are seemingly being targeted, by intelligent asteroid strikes.
Whats good : The Tardis disassembling itself – is interesting. And it’s odd seeing the Doctor – willingly invite the Gravis, aboard the Tardis.
Whats bad : Turlough using the Tardis hat-stand, as a pretend gun.
Review With Spoilers : Frontios is the third and final story, written by Christopher H. Bidmead. The writer, behind the incomprehensible science-facty; Logopolis and Castrovalva.
Wisely, Bidmead leaves most of the complex science-guff – out of this. For a much more straight-forward tale, of colonists-under-siege by ‘intelligently’ controlled asteroids.
The destruction and atomic disassemblement of the Tardis, into the Frontios landscape; is an interesting sub-peril for the Doctor – to face. Aside from the meteor strikes and initially defensive colonists.
The Doctor meets the culprit behind the meteor strikes, the cockroach-like “Tractators” and their leader; The Gravis. The Tractators can control gravity and are using the meteorites – to clear the planet’s surface, of the human invaders.
“I’m not helping you, officially. And if anyone happens to ask whether I made any material difference to the welfare of this planet, you can tell them I came and went like a summer cloud!” The Doctor
The Tractators are (physically) large and rather unremarkable monsters. Save for the fact, that they are unique – in being one of the few beings; that the Doctor, ‘willingly’ invites aboard the Tardis. All part of a clever-plan to defeat them; of course.
A rather silly moment, of Turlough threatening the angry colonist-mob; with a silver hat-stand. Doesn’t threaten to undermine proceedings, too much.
Frontios is an effective siege-episode, with a few interesting ideas thrown in; which we haven’t seen before.
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