Doctor Who: Battlefield: Part Four starts as Morgaine (Jean Marsh) manages to gain possession of Excalibur from Ace (Sophie Aldred) & teleports herself back to her disused Church hideout along with the Destroyer (Marek Anton). The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) & Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) follow her where Morgaine frees the Destroyer who then starts to bring about the destruction of Earth...
Episode 4 from season 26 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK during Septmeber 1989, directed by Michael Kerrigan I have enjoyed Battlefield more than I thought I would & I don't think it's half bad actually. The script by Ben Aaronovitch has had a fairly interesting story revolving Arthurian legend & in which the Doctor is said to become Merlin at some point in his future, however it's not perfect & despite having a neat little premise explanations & motivation are thin on the ground. It has imaginative foundations & ideas but does nothing with them which is a shame. After watching all four episodes in a short space of time I was left confused as to what Morgaine's plan was. Why did she want Excalibur so badly? What was she going to do with it? When she does get it from Ace why doesn't she just do what she planned to? Where did her son Mordred, her evil Knights & Ancelyn come from? They all fell to Earth from space but where did they originate? The most frustrating aspect is that the plot holes are from major points in the story & they left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied. Battlefield is fun for the first three & a half episodes when these holes don't matter but when it finishes & you realise there are large gaps in the narrative then it leaves you with a slightly empty feeling. Also some of the character's are quite poor, Brigadier Bambera is really awful & that Chinese girl Shou Yuing is maybe the most pointless character in a Doctor Who story & there was absolutely no point in her being around. There's a unusually emotional type ending as the Doctor & the Brigadier are left standing by the women who speed off in Bessie while it is suggested that the Brigadier adopts Ancelyn to help him in the garden.
Battlefield: Part Four features several 'lasts' for classic Doctor Who, it sees the very last appearance of the Doctors yellow car Bessie, it sees the last appearance of Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart, it sees the last appearance of UNIT & Part One saw the very last appearance of the inside of the TARDIS (shot from one tight angle with very low lighting because the TARDIS set was apparently destroyed at the end of season twenty five). It has taken three episodes but at last we get a monster & what a monster it is. The Destroyer is a blue skinned horned devil like demon & looks fabulous, in fact it's maybe the single most impressive monster mask in the entire classic series. It's brilliantly sculptured & has animatronic lips, eyebrows & mouth which move very convincingly. Unfortunately it's only on screen for about five minutes & is killed off far too quickly considering we are meant to believe that this creature is so powerful that it can single handedly destroy the entire world.
Battlefield: Part Four is a slightly underdeveloped final episode although it's still pretty fun & there's a great monster in it. Overall I will give Battlefield a solid six stars out of ten across it's four episodes & say it's certainly one of the better McCoy stories out there.
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