Number : Season 22, episode 3 of 7.
Which One : Giant cockroach in the Tardis.
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 parts.
Plot : The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough crashland the Tardis on an outlying world of Frontios. Where a group of stranded and desperate Earth colonists are seemingly being targeted, by intelligent asteriod strikes.
Whats good : The Tardis disassemblement 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; for a much more straight forward tale of colonists-under-siege by intelligent 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 the forces of gravity and are using the meteorites, to clear the planets 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 (phyiscally) ) largely unremarkable Who monsters. Save for the fact, that they are wholly unique – in being one of the few beings that the Doctor ‘willingly’ invites aboard the Tardis. All part of his 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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