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This is a four-part serial, first broadcast between 28th February 1981 - 21st March 1981. A brief and somewhat spoiler-ish summary of the plot: the Doctor's decision to finally fix the Tardis' chameleon circuit starts a chain of events that leads to the Doctor's final battle with his greatest enemy.
'Logopolis' is Tegan's first and Nyssa's second story, and by adding the two of them to the Tardis crew this serial saddles the Doctor with the worst set of companions in the history of the series. None of the three companions are played by great actors - with Matthew Waterhouse as Adric clearly the worst of the lot - and their characters remain ciphers, not helped by the fact that in most serials they're in there's simply not enough story to give all three of them something significant to do.
This serial - beware, spoilers ahead - is also the first full story with the new incarnation of the Doctor's arch-nemesis, the Master. The Master, then played by Roger Delgado, had been a recurring villain in the Jon Pertwee era. After Delgado's death Anthony Ainley eventually took over, first appearing in the part at the end of the previous serial 'The keeper of Traken'. The only serial with Roger Delgado that I have on DVD is 'The claws of Axos', where Delgado plays the Master as a villain from a 19th century novel complete with suave manner and the ability to hypnotise people. Ainley's Master is funnier, something between the Trickster and a comic book villain. Though his performance can be over the top, and would become more so over the years, Ainley is obviously a competent actor and always entertaining in the part.
The story of 'Logopolis' is a mess. The ideas - the recursive Tardis in the first two episodes and the whole concept of Logopolis - aren't bad at all and the first two episodes are pretty entertaining, but at the end of part two things start to come apart with part four making little sense at all.
The Doctor regenerates at the end of this story and, unfortunately, there are several problems with the regeneration scene. One problem is that two of the three people present, Nyssa and Tegan, hardly know the Doctor but still act like they're grief-stricken by his impending demise. The other problem is that it's unlikely that either of them knew in advance that the Doctor was going to regenerate rather than die, and yet neither shows any surprise when he merges with the Watcher and turns into the blond bloke.
The serial is worth seeing for a couple of clever story ideas, for Tom Baker's final performance as the Doctor and for Anthony Ainley's first full story as the Master.
This serial is included on the 'New beginnings' boxset. Review:
Doctor Who: New beginnings
Doctor Who reviews: introduction
More "quite good, actually" Doctor Who:
Doctor Who reviews: quite good, actually
More from the Tom Baker 1981s:
Doctor Who reviews: 1974 - 1981
Doctor Who reviews: alien invasion
Original version of this review:
Behind the sofa
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