Writer: Eric Saward
Director: Peter Moffatt
Producer: John Nathan-Turner
Companions: Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), and Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding)
No. of Episodes: 4
Season: 19, ep 4 (13-16)
Summary: The Doctor comes to Heathrow, hoping to get Tegan home, but arrives in 1666. They find a space capsule occupied by Terileptils and an android. The Terileptils are attempting to wipe out humanity with infested rats.
Review: I have a feeling if a story like this aired today, the Whovians would be in uproar. This is the story that destroyed the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. It’s hard to imagine the Doctor without it. It’s like watching Batman without his utility belt. On the other hand, I think this was a bold move on John Nathan-Turner’s part. He felt that the sonic screwdriver had become a crutch for the writers and had become a deus ex machina.
Tegan and Adric are especially annoying in this story. And this is coming from someone who actually tolerates Adric. Nyssa, however, gets some good moments to show off her smarts. Season 19 attempted to introduce each of the Doctor’s companions with spotlight episodes, and this one is Nyssa’s.
Aside from that, this story is a notch above average. The Terileptils’ design isn’t that great. The android looks slightly less silly than Dr. Kettlewell’s robot, but not much.
Continuity: At the beginning of the serial, The Doctor and his friends allude to events in the previous serial, “Kinda.” The Doctor would not have the sonic screwdriver again until the TV movie. When the Doctor says “Oh no, not again” at the prospect of being beheaded, he is alluding to “Four to Doomsday”. Many of the Sixth Doctor’s audio stories alluded to this as the Sixth Doctor was blamed for the fire caused in this story. The Terileptils are referenced in “The Awakening”.
Trivia: This was the first story Eric Saward wrote for Doctor Who. Peter Moffatt also worked with Peter Davison during his stage career.