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Reviewed by Paul Scoones


'Logopolis is a cold place, a cold, high place overlooking the Universe. It holds a single great secret.'

Infused with a very palpable sense of doom and imminent tragedy, Logopolis has perhaps the strongest sense of mood of any Doctor Who story, an effect which is clearly realised through a skilful coordination of Peter Grimwade's masterful visual direction and Paddy Kingsland's brilliantly appropriate music.

Logopolis is a sophisticated tale, highly recommended as the perfect selection of story to screen in defence of any claim that Doctor Who is bug-eyed monsters, childish concepts, or wobbly sets. The story is by no means perfect; a nit-picker who sits down to watch this story armed with pen and notepaper will come away with writers' cramp. Witness the negligent continuity regarding the TARDIS controls, the occasionally poor CSO and the mistimed reactions of certain actors. Not to mention the cringe-factor associated with the Master's broadcast to the universe in Part Four.

All of this is however overshadowed by the sheer style of the story. Tom Baker is in fine form, imbuing his performance with a refined melancholy. Here is a Doctor who knows that his own end is nigh, and that price of his sacrifice will be the salvation of the entire Universe. The enigmatic Watcher is a superbly subtle concept, a shadowy prefiguring of the Fifth Doctor. The moment when the Doctor first steps from the TARDIS on Earth and looks across the motorway at the vision of his future, is etched forever on my mind as one of the series' most hauntingly effective moments.

My favourite companion makes her debut in this story, and whilst Janet Fielding is clearly not always comfortable with her role in this story, the seeds of what will make Tegan one of the show's strongest characters are nevertheless present. Tegan represents the return of a more Earth associated feel to the series after a few seasons of watching two very adept Gallifreyans travelling time and space. This change is signposted early in Part One when the Doctor tells Adric that instead of going to Gallifrey, they will visit his other home - Earth. The last word is voiced over the first shot of Tegan as she closes her Aunt's front door, over which is a sparkling piece of music recognisably lifted from Paddy Kingsland's score for The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy television series.

Tom Baker for many people defined the Doctor and his departure reflects the stature of his role. Nothing less than the imminent heat death of the Universe through entropic collapse could overshadow his larger-than-life portrayal. The reintroduction of the Master played just this side of madness by Anthony Ainley and the radio telescope brings to mind the Master's introduction in Terror or the Autons, a perhaps conscious reuse of this imagery to remind the well-informed viewer that the climax represents the playing out of a conflict spanning a larger portion of the series than just Tom Baker's own era.

A truly masterful tale loaded with sophisticated pseudo-scientific theory and dramatic intensity, Logopolis is one of the series' pinnacles of success.

This item appeared in TSV 49 (November 1996).

Index nodes: Logopolis