The Deadly Assassin

Talk about Doctor Who when Tom played the Doctor (1974 - 1981).

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The Deadly Assassin

Postby Toothy Grin on July 9th, 2010, 3:16 pm

One of the highlights of Tom's era is this well-regarded story set on the Doctor's home planet, Gallifrey (the first story to be set there) and featuring the return of his arch enemy the Master in a decayed form. The story is extremely well made and full of intrigue and mystery, with the Doctor being framed for the president's murder and fighting against time to clear his name whilst the Master plots the destruction of the Time Lords. The story is particularly memorable for the episode set within the matrix, a surreal world full of deadly dangers where the Doctor has to battle a masked opponent. This episode is totally unique in Dr Who, featuring virtually no dialogue and hardly any cutaway from the action. Surreal images like the Doctor rubbing sand away from the ground to reveal a laughing clowns face, gasmaked horses, a surgeon with a huge syringe and a japanese samurai all contribute to making this episode so memorable, and frightening as this is a place where literally anything could happen.
Tom is outstanding in this story, one of his best performances, and looks very striking in his white Byronesque shirt - it's refreshing to see him out of his usual costume. The sets for Gallifrey are also cleverly designed to create a sense of grandeur, and the Time Lord costumes are now an iconic image. The decayed Master is a novel idea and a good way of reintroducing the character, although I think the mask is less than effective and sometimes obscures the actor's voice. The ambiguous ending (has the Master escaped?) adds to the impact of the story.
With little touches of humour and some great characters (Engin and Spandrell), plus the controversy of it's violence, The Deadly Assassin is Doctor Who at it's very best.
Shame about the silly title though - aren't all Assassin's supposed to be deadly? Assassin On Gallifrey would have been better.
Toothy Grin
 
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