Writer: Robert Holmes
Director: David Maloney
Producer: Phillip Hinchcliffe
Companion: N/A (this is the only story from the classic era that did not feature a companion)
No. of Episodes: 4
Season: 14, ep. 3 (9-12)
Summary: The Doctor receives a premonition that the Time Lord President’s life is in danger. The Master has returned, having run out of regenerations. He is now a decaying husk, desperate to find any way to lengthen the one life he has left. To that end, he frames the Doctor for the murder of the president and attempts to kill him within The Matrix, where he can manipulate reality.
Review: “The Deadly Assassin” is truly a milestone. While previous episodes such as “The Sensorites” hinted to Gallifrey’s appearance and even named the planet, this was the first story to actually take place on the planet. It also introduces a new actor for the Master, starting the events that would lead to Anthony Ainley’s portrayal starting in “The Keeper of Traken”. We see the Time Lords in their iconic uniforms, although slightly more colorful than they would become in later appearances.
Tom Baker is brilliant .Even though he doesn’t have a companion to play off of, he’s still able to carry the role as only he can.
The one thing that brings the story down is Peter Pratt as the Master. The Master’s mask makes it difficult for him to talk properly, making him almost intelligible. However, the Matrix still holds up.
In spite of the flaws, I can still recommend this story. It’s one of the Fourth Doctor’s best.
Overall Review: 7/10
Continuity: This is the first story to reveal that Time Lords have a limit of twelve regenerations. Although this story does not state whether Time Lord Goth was the Time Lord who persecuted the Doctor in “The War Games”, most expanded universe material seems to imply this because both characters are played by the same actor.