Doctor Who: Season 26, Episode 1

Battlefield: Part One (6 Sep. 1989)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 168 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Knights from a parallel universe arrive on Earth to find the legendary sword Excalibur. And only the Doctor and Ace with the assistance of Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart and save the Earth from total catastrophe.



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Title: Battlefield: Part One (06 Sep 1989)

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Episode cast overview:
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The TARDIS arrives on present day Earth where the Doctor and Ace investigate a distress signal, only to discover knights from another dimension led by the evil sorceress Morgaine and her son Mordred have arrived in our dimension to seek out Excalibur, the mythical sword of power of the legendary King Arthur. The Doctor is mistaken for Merlin, and the Doctor believes Merlin may be his future incarnation. Reuniting with Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, The Doctor, Ace, a young Chinese woman named Shou Yuing, U.N.I.T officer Brigadier Winifred Bambara and a knight named Ancelyn set out to stop Morgaine and her knights unleashing the demonic Destroyer of the Worlds and prevent Morgaine and Mordred from destroying the planet with a nuclear warhead that U.N.I.T is transporting across the countryside. Written by Daniel Williamson

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Release Date:

6 September 1989 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This serial was released by the BBC on video cassette in the UK in March 1998. See more »


The Doctor: You haven't won the game yet, Morgaine.
Morgaine: I could always defeat you at chess, Merlin.
The Doctor: Who said anything about chess? I've been playing poker. And I have an Ace up my sleeve...
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User Reviews

Better when I was a kid
16 December 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Review of the Complete Story:

I remember watching BATTLEFIELD when I was eight years old, and it was a story that really inspired me - I even wrote a tale about myself and others trapped in a glass tank filling rapidly with water. Nowadays I'm older and wiser and my eye is more critical, so it was with some hesitation that I revisited the adventure. After all, the previous Colin Baker outing (VENGEANCE ON VAROS) had left me a little cold.

And, sad to say, this is a story that just doesn't hold up that well these days. The sum of the parts is much less greater than the individual elements, and despite the Arthurian mythology and the soldier stuff it all comes across as a bit silly. The direction doesn't help - this was pitched as a big, exciting, action-packed adventure but what we get are lots of knights doing some embarrassingly slow stage-fighting and many pointless explosions.

It's not all bad, and there are certainly reasons for the fans to seek it out. The return of Nicholas Courtney (for the last time) is an obvious one, but Angela Bruce's new Brigadier is also good value. Jean Marsh is the 'proper' actress thrown into the mix, and there's even a role for ARMY OF DARKNESS actor Marcus Gilbert. CARRY ON fans may get a kick out of seeing Angela Douglas as the Brig's wife.

I'm still a fan of Sylvester McCoy - I think his mysterious character suited the Doctor very well - and Sophie Aldred is one of the better of the '80s companions. And it's certainly a fast-paced outing, much of it filmed in an old woods near my home (it was fun seeing the locations I've explored). But in other places it's truly cringe-worthy, like the scene with the cross-cutting between Ace going "bang!" and a grenade exploding; what were they thinking?!

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