Doctor Who: Season 19, Episode 5

Four to Doomsday: Part One (18 Jan. 1982)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
7.0
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Trying to transport Tegan to Heathrow airport on present-day Earth, The TARDIS accidentally lands on-board a alien spaceship traveling to Earth which will arrive in 4 days. Where the Doctor... See full summary »

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Title: Four to Doomsday: Part One (18 Jan 1982)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
Stratford Johns ...
Matthew Waterhouse ...
Sarah Sutton ...
Janet Fielding ...
Paul Shelley ...
Persuasion
Annie Lambert ...
Philip Locke ...
Bigon / Control
...
Ilario Bisi-Pedro ...
Kurkutji (as Illarrio Bisi Pedro)
Nadia Hamman ...
Villagra
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Storyline

Trying to transport Tegan to Heathrow airport on present-day Earth, The TARDIS accidentally lands on-board a alien spaceship traveling to Earth which will arrive in 4 days. Where the Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan encounter the frog like Monarch, ruler of the doomed planet Urbanka. Only to find Monarch has abducted generations of humans from different cultures and converted them into cyborgs. The Doctor and Tegan discover Monarch's true goal is to travel faster than the speed of light, and traveling back into time where he will meet himself and wipe out the human race, repopulating the Earth with his own race. Written by Daniel Williamson

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18 January 1982 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This episode was watched by 8.4 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »

Quotes

Persuasion: [Confiscates the Sonic Screwdriver but says] You may keep the pencil.
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Featured in A New Body at Last (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Driven by concepts rather than plot, "Four to Doomsday" is an unusual but worthwhile story
13 November 2008 | by (prejudicemadeplausible.wordpress.com) – See all my reviews

"Four to Doomsday" is a perfect example of why I love Tom Baker's last season and Davison's entire era. No, the stories themselves weren't always good, but perhaps for the first time since the third season of the show in the sixties (with a few exceptions to the ensuing adventure/horror/fantasy with elements of science fiction, admittedly), there were genuinely interesting science fiction concepts being explored, and beyond just that, it's generally done far better and with far more intelligence than the Hartnell era, mostly because John Nathan-Turner and the writers he was working with were now writing for the show's fanbase, which they knew included many adults.

No, Peter Davison's seasons are not nearly as consistently enjoyable and wonderful as Tom Baker's, Graham Williams' rather silly era excepted, but they cover a larger range of topics, and in terms of the quality of the writing and the concepts used, they were pushing "Doctor Who" in a new and fresh direction, some would say 'bloody boring', I would politely disagree. Still, "Four to Doomsday" is a real oddity. A forgotten and neglected gem, perhaps, and hopefully the recent DVD release will change that, but a real oddity nonetheless. There's never been anything quite like this in "Doctor Who". There's big concepts and intellectualism here, but absolutely no overblown dialogue (in fact, some of it is so subtly performed that you could miss the best lines and allusions on first viewing. I didn't even realize that Enlightenment's description of love was taken from Renoir's "La regle du jeu" until I looked in the DisContinuity Guide this morning.

It's rather pointless to try to explain what "Four to Doomsday" is about. It's pretty concept-driven, and the plot is pretty thin. Still, it's worth talking about the quality of the script here by Terence Dudley (who also wrote "Black Orchid" and "King's Demons" and directed "Meglos"). It's really very good. The general lack of a strong plot is the story's biggest weakness, and what keeps it from reaching the potential it had (the story honestly could have been one of the top 10 or so "Doctor Who" stories), but there's enough wit in the dialogue and intelligence in the writing to keep the viewer interested.

"Four to Doomsday" is an odd viewing experience which benefits from good acting, set design, and model work, as well as fine performances. It's a very unusual story, but also a very worthwhile one.

8/10


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