Reviews & Ratings for
"Doctor Who" The Time Warrior: Part Four (1974)

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S11: The Time Warrior: Enjoyably punchy serial

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
24 May 2015

The Doctor is called in by UNIT to help protect a group of scientists, some of whom have already gone missing. Meanwhile, back in England in the Middle Ages, an aspiring bandit called Irongron makes plans with a very strange knight who has fallen from the stars – the latter will give the former advanced weapons, if he can get assistance in repairing the craft he arrived in. With the connection made between these two periods in time, the Doctor sets off to specifically investigate – albeit unknowingly taking a stowaway with him as he travels back in time.

The first serial of the new season sees some changes of varying degree – the first is the cosmetic change to the titles, but the bigger one is that we have what we assume will be the new assistant (well, we know for sure she will be since Sarah Jane is a name that even casual Dr Who viewers will recognize). I am not sure if there was resistance or not to any such changes – for sure if it were today then the internet would be ablaze with "discussions" over such things – back then maybe it got a few letters on Points of View (which was the internet forum as moderated by Anne Robinson); either way, one thing that would have helped the audience is that this serial is actually pretty entertaining. At only 4 episodes there is really no filler or padding, and the whole thing has plenty of color to it in terms of the events and also the characters. There are plot holes and contrivances of course, but you probably do not worry about these or look too closely because it is quite a lively and enjoyable serial.

The plot is quite good as a frame but it is the characters that make it work. The Sontaran Linx is an enjoyable character; I like the similar character in the modern show even though he plays too much for laughs, but here he is a good presence and colorful. Irongron is great fun though, and David Daker goes for it wonderfully, making it fun pretty much most of the time he is on the screen. Pertwee is also on good form, and he has some humor surrounding him (I particularly enjoyed his description as "a longshank rascal with a mighty nose"). Sladen makes a solid start, much less screaming and much less just being in trouble – I like what Manning's Jo eventually became, but Sladen is a tone I prefer; although we will see how she develops since the previous companion in this style (Liz Shaw) really did not last and was clearly not working with what was being written.

A good start to the new season though; lively, entertaining, well paced, and with a good sense of easy adventure that doesn't take itself overly seriously.

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Brilliant debut for The Doctor's best companion Sarah Jane Smith and also for the Sontarans.

Author: Christopher Evans from South Wales, UK
12 November 2014

Review of all 4 episodes:

This marks the first appearance of a Sontaran in Doctor Who. A race of alien warrior that would become an icon in the show right up to the present day. The design and realisation of the Sontaran in this debut is absolutely superb. Kevin Lindsay puts in a great performance as Sontaran warrior Linx and the costume, make-up and original design are of top quality.

The story is a 'pseudo-historical' where much of it is set in England in the time of Richard I (1189-1199 AD) with Linx having been stranded there by his damaged spacecraft but able to drag scientists from 1970s England back to force them to help him fix his craft. The Doctor follows back to the 1100s in the TARDIS along with stowaway journalist Sarah Jane Smith who becomes The Doctor's long serving companion. Her debut is great, with Elizabeth Sladen's wonderful performance giving a taste of how she would become the most enduring and most loved companion The Doctor ever has. She manages to be strong and independent but gentle and feminine at the same time.

There is a lot of great fun, action and great scripting along the way with only a few less successful scenes. This is a brilliantly entertaining story with a great new companion and a great new alien menace.

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