18 September 1982
Vol 102 No 2225 (18-24 Sep 1982)
p50, 53: article entitled 'The Regeneration Game' by Sue McTagget, with
photos of the Fourth Doctor (col), the Master (col) [both from Logopolis],
Romana and Adric (b/w) [from State of Decay] and Peter Davison (b/w)
[from All Creatures Great and Small]. Article previews Logopolis
Part One (TV1, Monday 20/09/82)
In a four-part story starting this Monday on One, Tom
Baker who has played Dr Who since 1975 makes his final appearance and a new
Doctor is regenerated - the fifth since the series began back in 1963. Will Dr
Who continue forever? Staff writer Sue McTagget. a longtime Dr Who fan,
investigated, and found that there are definite limits in...
The regeneration game
IN NOVEMBER 1980 the BBC-1 Nine O'clock News carried two
major news items about actors. One was the election of Ronald Reagan as
President of the United States, the other was the announcement that Peter
Davison (best known as Tristan Farnham in All Creatures Great and Small)
was to be the fifth Dr Who. Davison was staggered. "I really had no idea Dr Who
was so important. I bet some of my friends thought I'd died when they saw my
Never. The transmutation, regeneration or whatever of Dr
Who is an event of extreme importance to millions of viewers all over the
world. Presidents come and go but they all tend to choose their enemies from a
pretty predictable and well-tried pool. For people all around the world only
one man can be really trusted to protect the human race from the most deadly
(unknown) peril it has ever faced and that is the good Doctor.
What's more, the fourth Dr Who was beginning to suffer
unspeakable aberrations, for a Time Lord. Traditionally a bachelor who despite
having two hearts is above any emotional involvement, the fourth Dr Who fell in
love with his assistant. Tom Baker has announced he will marry his Romana
(Lalla Ward). True, it is a straightforward earthly alliance but they do admit
they found romance battling deadly perils in the series. So ended another era.
Since the Dr Who series began in 1963 Dr Who has
waged battle in dozens of galaxies, facing enemies as legion and as fantastic
as producers' imaginations and the BBC design department could make them:
Daleks, Cybermen, Zygons, Kraals, Krynoids and yet more Daleks. Terry Nation
who created the Daleks (which were inspired by the pepperpot, over breakfast
and .realised over actors on tricycles) had them all killed off by the end of
the first series. But they have proved the most popular deadly peril the human
race has ever faced and so they are brought back now and again to satisfy
Fortunately for the writers and producers, within, a few
limits in the space-time continuum, they can do whatever they like. In 17 years
the series has embraced science fiction, science fantasy, free-booting
adventure, humour, social comment, gothic horror - and four very different Dr
The late William Hartnell played him as an elderly
professorial type assisted by his 15-year-old grand- daughter, a shy wide-eyed
frightened teenager. Regenerated by Patrick Troughton he became a bumbling
clown in checked trou and a funny hat. He was accompanied by a demure damsel
who was also in constant need of protection. The actress was required to scream
all the time.
Jon Pertwee, who took over in 1970, was the first Dr Who
to be seen in colour. Pertwee played him foppish and elegant, facing and
vanquishing enemies in velvet dinner jackets and frilly shirts. He also came
with some knowledge of wines and, in the face of flagging ratings, a few social
messages. The third Dr Who was confronted by awful things born of chemical
pollution. And the female assistants started getting smarter. (There has even
been talk of putting a woman in the lead role.)
In 1975 Dr Who went scruffy. Tom Baker with his long
scarf ("because the wardrobe woman bought too much wool") and his inexhaustible
supply of jelly babies took Dr Who into the realms of Gothic horror -
resurrected mummies and the intrigues of Renaissance Italy. Baker was told to
tone down his "jokey" style because it was established that the world-wide
audience was not made up only of children, that everyone took it very seriously
and that Sir Huw Wheldon, former managing director of BBC Television was among
its millions of adult admirers. Dr Who clubs had been formed in
universities around' the world and in fact there had become a sort of Dr Who
"university" in the Panoptikon 78. A very learned body. "Ask us when the Doctor
first said 'There's a flucose path forming on the periscarp' and we'll tell
you." Viewing ratings had soared to around 15 million.
Tom Baker was perhaps closest to the original writers'
conception - a "cosmic hobo, a time traveller from nowhere". Since then,
however, Dr Who's background has been filled out in some detail. He is a Time
Lord, one of a race of rather stuffy moralistic super-beings from the extra
galactic planet Gallifrey who are committed to the well-being of the Universe.
Like every Time Lord he has his own TARDIS (time and relative dimension in
space) time travel machine, the outward appearance of which can be changed to
suit its surroundings (Dr Who always emerges from a police telephone box
because his machine got stuck).
Not surprisingly the Tardis features in the last days of
the Tom Baker Dr Who to be seen now in New Zealand. With his new assistant
Tegan (Australian actress Janet Fielding) he travels to Logopolis, City of
Logic, where he hopes to carry out repairs to the Tardis, to repair the fault
in its chameleon circuit which makes it unable to change appearance. It is a
journey with dire consequences - not just for Dr Who but also for his loyal tin
But fans can be assured. Peter Davison waits in the wings
with a promise of even more suspense. His Doctor, he says, will be one of good
intentions but flawed by "a sort of reckless innocence". At 900 years old he
will be younger than ever and with Davison will have a tendency to
Dr Who has yet to confront his most deadly peril. That
comes, by current reckoning in the year 2011. For in 1976 the then producer
Philip Hinchcliffe made a crucial decision. He decided that contrary to general
belief Time Lords were capable of only 12 regenerations, that after that they
would summarily shuffle off this mortal coil like any other humanoid
inhabitants of the time-space continuum. In other words he has made big trouble
for the producer in 2011. Could be Dr Who will do battle with the BBC, and that
Peter Hinchcliffe will be recycled like the Daleks to face the reality of his
dastardly decision. Whatever happens Dr Who will not fail the human race. Of
that we can be sure.
DR WHO: Mondays on ONE. 5.30pm.
Tom Baker (right) as the Doctor and Anthony Ainley as The Master in Dr Who.
Lalla Ward with Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) in a
previous series of Dr Who: she and the Doctor (Tom Baker) found romance
battling deadly perils.
Peter Davison, the fifth Dr Who: "I really had no idea Dr Who was so important."