Doctor Who: Season 21, Episode 7

Frontios: Part One (26 Jan. 1984)

TV Episode  -   -  Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
7.4
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In the far flung future, the TARDIS is forced to crash land on the planet Frontios, where the Doctor finds some of the last surviving Human beings cowering from a meteorite bombardment.

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Title: Frontios: Part One (26 Jan 1984)

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
Janet Fielding ...
Mark Strickson ...
Peter Gilmore ...
Brazen
...
Norna
William Lucas ...
Range
...
Maurice O'Connell ...
Cockerill
Richard Ashley ...
Orderly
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In the far flung future, the TARDIS is forced to crash land on the planet Frontios, where the Doctor finds some of the last surviving Human beings cowering from a meteorite bombardment.

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celery | australian


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26 January 1984 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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William Lucas replaced Peter Arne as Range because of the latter's murder. See more »

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The Doctor: [Convinces the Gravis that Tegan is an android] I got this one cheap because the walk's not quite right... And then there's the accent...
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The End Of The Universe?
13 April 2012 | by (Camden, NJ (The Forbidden Zone)) – See all my reviews

Originally fascinated by both "LOGOPOLIS" and "CASTROVALVA", I was initially very put off by "FRONTIOS". All of Season 21 is so downbeat, nasty, violent & depressing. "FRONTIOS" is mostly just depressing. At least, until the 2nd half. Then it gets surprising.

In retrospect, Bidmead's 2 earlier stories make almost no sense at all. It's not that I didn't "get" them, they're just BAD across the board. But this is something else. It's weird-- but in a way, coherent. I like the observation that Bidmead is doing a "Saward" type of story (just as a few stories later, Holmes did a "Saward" type of story, and did it far, far better than Saward was ever, ever capable of doing himself).

Peter Davison has proved to me he's a capable actor. Just NOT on DOCTOR WHO. And it's obviously not his fault. His fans defend him for being a "nice guy", totally failing to realize that each regeneration of The Doctor is NOT supposed to be completely different in every way from all the others, but rather, a consistent character who simply looks and acts a bit different on the outside. Davison, for most of his run, seems like whoever the Doctor is or is supposed to be, has somehow gone into a 3-year-long coma and doesn't return until he's poisoned to death and takes 4 entire weeks to die painfully. But in "FRONTIOS", at least briefly, we finally see hints of the "real" Doctor. It's fitting that it happens in a story where things are so hopeless, that he finally rises to a challenge and has perhaps his biggest victory, in part, in DEFIANCE of the Time Lords (though that, like many things, is never quite explained in detail).

I couldn't even begin to comprehend what happened to the TARDIS the first time I saw this. I later realized it had to do with the fact that the TARDIS itself is, as stressed in "LOGOPOLIS", mathematically constructed to put the control room in a dimension separate from its outer shell. Lucky thing the control room was knocked back into the "real" world when that shell was destroyed. Otherwise, how could the shell ever have been re-created? Among the insane things here, the Tractators actually hit on the SAME idea The Daleks had in their 2nd appearance-- turning a planet into a giant spaceship. I wonder if there's any significance to the similarity between them and Nestor in "THE TWIN DILEMMA"?

My very favorite Peter Davison scene is in this story. It's when he has to save Tegan's life. And it's one of the only times one feels the "real" Doctor is alive in that under-aged exterior of his. "I got this one cheap because the walk's not quite right. And then of course there's the accent..." The look on Tegan's face is priceless. She wants to KILL him! He's put up with her big mouth and constant abuse for 2-1/2 years now, and FINALLY, he's giving it back, in a laid-back, seemingly polite, and genuinely FUNNY way. One could easily picture any other Doctor doing that scene. It's shocking to see Peter Davison do it. Why, WHY couldn't he have been written this way for the whole of his tenure? It's NO WONDER I was overjoyed when Colin Baker arrived. HE took crap from NOBODY.

Leslie Dunlop, who has a prominent role here, would return a few seasons later as a member of "THE HAPPINESS PATROL".


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