Number : Season 11, serial 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 episodes.

Plot : An alien Sontaran warrior, called Linx. Accidentally crashes in medieval England. Linx tampers with mankind’s progress – offering the local Baron; called Irongron; advanced weapons to barter ship repairs. Linx also pinchs scientists – from a 1973 UNIT conference, right 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 serial of a new season 11. It’s an important story, 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.

Doctor Who is adept ay putting on strong period-dramas; due to access to the Beeb’s extensive period-costume department. So it is always covered on that front. However, as this is a period-drama featuring aliens. What of the alien element?

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

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 help strengthen proceedings. David Daker – as ‘Irongron’ and John Carney as ‘Bloodaxe’ are useful secondary antagonists. Also helping here, to hold up the period-drama end of this tale. Both excel, as primitive Barbarians, doing their best to try and keep up, with the hi-tech barbarian – Linx (whom they nickname ‘the toad’).

Elizabeth 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.

Sarah-Jane Smith, also has some good interplay with Irongron. After her first trip back in time, refusing to believe she has time-travelled but was infact in the middle of a really convincing modern-day Medieval recreation.

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 Doctor plenty of room – to flex some 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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