Moving onto The Deadly Assassin now. This story is a real milestone in the series history and something of a turning point in Tom's era. Gone is his long serving companion, here he is totally on his own and right from the start the story feels like something significant with the voice-over and on screen text (a unique occurance in the series). It's amazing to think this is the first ever time we see the Doctor's home planet, as everything has been so well thought-out, Gallifrey's culture, customs, hierarchy and mythology all come across as fully developed (a credit to writer Robert Holmes). I love the different classes of Time Lord with their varying coloured robes and those distinctive high collars (something that the series has retained to this day). The whole Time Lord culture comes across as rather reminiscent of the catholic church or the vatican in a lot of ways and is presumably equally as rigid, stuffy and corrupt (highlighting the reason the Doctor ran away from them).
The story has clear influences from The Manchurian Candidate and is famous for it's surreal matrix scenes (some 20 odd years before the film The Matrix!) and I think it's really those scenes that help make the story what it is. The location filming is superb, really giving the impression you're in some sort of tropical wilderness. The Master's return is very well judged, making him all decayed as recasting another actor in the Roger Delgado mold so soon after his death probably wouldn't have worked or seemed right. A slight shame that his face is so obviously mask like (those fried egg eyes!) and his voice is sometimes slightly unintelligable).
Tom is on top form, nearing the peak of his powers, and looks very dashing in his baggy white shirt. This is also the first time he wears his boots. It is clear though that the Doctor does need a companion with him to explain plot points as without one it leads to scenes where he's talking to himself which just looks strange!
Despite not being one of my personal favourties, The Deadly Assassin certainly deserves it's high reputation.