Number : Season 11, episode 1 of 5.

Which One : Meet Sarah-Jane Smith and the Sontarans.

Cast : The Doctor : Jon Pertwee
Sarah-Jane : Liz Sladen
Brigadier : Nicholas Courtney
Linx : Kevin Lindsay
Irongron : David Daker
Bloodaxe : John J. Carney
Edward of Wessex : Alan Rowe
Lady Eleanor : June Brown
Hal : Jeremy Bulloch
Professor Rubeish : Donald Pelmear
Meg : Sheila Fay
Eric : Gordon Pitt
Sentry : Steve Brunswick

Written By : Robert Holmes

Produced By : Barry Letts

First UK Broadcast : 15 December 1973–5 January 1974.

Length : 4 x 25 minute parts.

Plot : A Sontaran warrior, called Linx – crashlands in medieval England. Tampering with mankind’s progress, Linx offers the local Baron Ironmonger, advanced weapons – to barter ship repairs. Linx also pinchs top scientists from a 1973 UNIT conference, under the nose of the Doctor.

Whats good : Introduction of the Sontarans. Linx. Strong period piece. Sarah-Jane’s introduction. Linx and Third Doctor’s scenes. Irongron and Bloodaxe.

Whats bad : The Brigadier only has a small part in this, due to the setting.

Review With Spoilers : The Time Warrior is the opening episode of a new season – season 11. It’s an important episode, as it marks a number of firsts in the series :

1) Gallifrey is mentioned by name for the first time.

2) A new companion Sarah Jane Smith, is introduced into the series.

3) The Sontarans make their debut in the series.

Who always does strong period dramas, due to access to the Beeb’s extensive period costume department. So it is covered on that front. What of the alien element?

Well Kevin Lindsay is a revelation as the cunning and evil Sontaran; Linx and he was by far the best actor to play the role. Somehow bringing emotion and facial expression to the thick looking Sontaran potato-head mask.

Lindsay reprised the role one more time in Tom Baker’s The Sontaran Experiment and then stepped aside, due to health reasons.

Which was a shame – as Lindsay’s scenes with Pertwee, debating the problems of giving primitive humans high tech weaponry, are by far the best thing about The Time Warrior.

“You give them breech-loading guns now, they’ll have atomic weapons by the seventeenth century. They’ll have the capability to destroy their own planet before they’re civilised enough to handle it!” The Doctor

Other good performances by David Daker as ‘Irongron’ and John Carney as ‘Bloodaxe’, help hold up the period drama end of this tale. As primitive Barbarians, doing their best to try and understand – and keep up with the hi-tech barbarian – Linx.

Liz Sladen starts her long companion run here, as Sarah-Jane Smith. She is a noticable transistion from previous companion Jo, being a much stronger and forthright companion to the Doctor.

SJS also has some good interplay with Irongron after her first trip back in time, refusing to believe she has time travelled but is infact in the middle of a really convincing Medieval recreation society.

Also spot appearances by Eastenders Dot Cotton actress – June Brown as Lady Eleanor; and a young Jeremy Bulloch, playing the archer Hal; who later went on to play the cult Star Wars character ‘Boba Fett’ in Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi.

The Time Warrior is an enjoyable action romp which gives the Third Doctor plenty of room to flex his action muscle. Due to the action edge and some strong performances – all round, it never gets boring or dull.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Old Doctor Who

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