Doctor Who: The
Awakening (Story No. 131/BBC DVD)
Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: A Episodes: B
BBC delivers another installment of Peter Davison’s Doctor Who with story no. 131, “The Awakening.” Joined by companions Tegan (Janet Fielding)
and Turlough (Mark Strickson), the three arrive in the “current era” (1984) at
the small village of Little Hodcombe to visit Tegan’s grandfather. From their arrival things appear strange, as
a weird phantom visage manifests outside of the TARDIS. From that point they discover the town has
been taken over by Sir George Hutchinson (Denis Lill), a Civil War reenactor
who takes his history a bit too seriously.
This short, two episode story develops quickly as the Doctor uncovers
a more malign force than Sir George behind the growing troubles in the
village. The Malus, an evil alien force
trapped on Earth since the 1600s once again exerts its psychic control over
time, space, and the minds of the Little Hodcombe’s villagers.
In the end the Doctor must convince the villagers that their pending
reenactment will unleash the Malus’ full fury, something to be much
feared. Script writer Eric Pringle
manages a nice balance between an admonishment against the glorification of war
and good old-fashioned sci-fi fun. Mr.
Davison delivers his usual energetic performance, and Polly James does a
wonderful job providing the town’s voice of reason as Jane Hampden. She shares a great moment of realization with
the Doctor when it becomes clear to her that he really is some sort of
time-trotting alien bent on helping anyone he comes across.
The usual plentiful extras include a featurette on the production of
the story, audio commentaries, and more.
This tight little tale will once again remind Who fans that Mr.
Davison’s run as the Doctor was all too short, especially in light of what was
still to come for the show.
- Scott Pyle