Production Code: 6E
1 - 03/01/1983 18:45
2 - 05/01/1983 18:45
3 - 11/01/1983 18:50
4 - 12/01/1983 18:45
An antimatter creature has crossed into normal space via a phenomenon known as the Arc of Infinity but needs to bond physically with a Time Lord in order to remain stable. A traitor on Gallifrey has chosen the Doctor as the victim.
The High Council, headed by President Borusa, decides that the Doctor's life must be terminated in order to avoid this danger. Tegan meanwhile arrives in Amsterdam to visit her cousin, Colin Frazer, only to learn that he has disappeared. She enters a crypt in search of him and is captured by a hideous creature, the Ergon.
On Gallifrey, the traitor is revealed as Councillor Hedin and his master as the legendary Time Lord figure Omega, who has been trapped for centuries in the universe of antimatter. Omega seizes control of the Matrix. The Doctor however is able to trace him to Amsterdam thanks to clues received via the Matrix from Tegan - who has been taken to Omega's TARDIS by the Ergon.
Omega's body is turning into a replica of the Doctor's, but the bonding is incomplete and there will soon be a massive explosion as he reverts to antimatter. The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan chase Omega through Amsterdam and eventually corner him.
Omega wills his own destruction, but the Doctor fires the Ergon's matter converter at him and he fades harmlessly away.
To Nyssa's horror, the Doctor is shot by Commander Maxil of the Chancellery Guard and lies motionless to the ground.
The Doctor is prepared for termination and the equipment activated. Nyssa and the members of the High Council watch as his body fades slowly away. Suddenly the room is bathed in a bright light and a negative image of the antimatter renegade briefly appears in the Doctor's place. Then the process is over and Maxil announces that judgment has been carried out. Nyssa looks accusingly at the Time Lords.
With Hedin exposed as the traitor and shot dead by the Castellan, the Doctor tells President Borusa that urgent action is needed if Omega is to be stopped. Nyssa then draws his attention to the screen behind him and he realises that it is too late: Omega controls the Matrix. A negative image of Omega dominates the Matrix screen.
Tegan tells the Doctor and Nyssa that she has been sacked from her job as an air hostess and that they are stuck with her. Nyssa gives her a delighted hug, but the Doctor appears less pleased...
Omega's degeneration echoes The Quatermass Experiment.
HR Giger (Omega and Ergon design).
An American Werewolf in London (two student types on backpacking hols).
Councillor Hedin : [To Omega] "What we are, we owe to you."
The Doctor : "Impulse laser?"
The Doctor : "A pulse loop, the very thing. Fetch it, Thalia."
Colin : [An Australian] "Well, I'm not too keen on the Neighbours..."
Robin : [To Colin] "Have I ever led you astray?"
"We must act now!"
It is not explained how Omega survived the events of The Three Doctors, beyond Hedin's unhelpfully dogmatic statement - 'No, he exists'. He has acquired a TARDIS [from Hedin]. It sounds different from the Doctor's when materialising (as does the Master's). In order to remain in our Universe Omega needs to bond with a Time Lord, thus reversing his polarity, and to that end Hedin steals and transmits the Doctor's bio-data extract (see 'The Deadly Assassin', where they are biog data extracts).
Omega left the anti-matter universe in the region known as Rondel, 'the gateway to the dimensions'. According to the TARDIS information banks Rondel is an intergalactic region devoid of all stellar activity, and formerly the location of a collapsed 'Q' star (so named because such imploding stars emit Quad magnetism, the only known 'shield' for anti matter, although it decays very rapidly). The region's colloquial name is the Arc of Infinity, and its star chart reference is 92 63.72 C2.
[Omega has abandoned use of the Gel creatures,] although the Doctor also dismisses the Ergon as one of Omega's less successful attempts at psycho-synthesis. Towards the end of the story Omega boasts that he can build another TARDIS [but given the primitive nature of Earth this seems unlikely].
Nyssa says that the TARDIS navigation system needs some repairs, damage having been caused by the Cybermen in Earthshock (although the Doctor is able to pilot it successfully to Amsterdam). The TARDIS is recalled to Gallifrey, only the third time in the history of the Time Lords that a recall circuit has actually been used (see The Deadly Assassin: it's unlikely to refer to Meglos/Full Circle). Once on Gallifrey the Doctor's TARDIS is incapacitated by the removal of the main space-time element from under the console, although this is later replaced by Damon. [The Doctor asks for an element without a recall circuit, but The Trial of a Time Lord suggests he doesn't get one.] Nyssa's room is closest to the console room (see also The Visitation).
Reference is made to the Doctor's failure to return Romana, (see Warriors' Gate). Although capital punishment has long been abolished on Gallifrey (cf vapourizaion in 'The Deadly Assassin), a single precedent for the Doctor's termination does exist (see The Brain of Morbius). The Doctor also becomes the second Time Lord to survive termination, and once more finds himself in the Matrix (see The Deadly Assassin). The Doctor's palm print has been cancelled so that he cannot open doors, but he can still remember the President's code (4553916592). Damon is a friend of the Doctor's [the implication is that the Doctor met him (not necessarily for the first time) during the events of The Invasion of Time]. The Doctor asks Damon about Leela (she is well) and expresses regret that he couldn't get to her wedding. Hedin is also an old friend of the Doctor's.
Tegan has lost her job and was hoping that meeting Colin Frazer, her favourite cousin, would cheer her up. Colin [like Tegan] comes from Brisbane (in Castrovalva Tegan painted a very unflattering picture of the city).
Gallifrey, Amsterdam [the 1980s, some time after Time Flight].
Future Doctor Colin Baker makes his Doctor Who debut as Maxil - and gets to shoot the current incumbent of the lead role in the closing scene of Part One.
Ian Collier takes on the role of Omega, originally played by Stephen Thorne in season ten's The Three Doctors. Collier had appeared once before in the series, as Stuart Hyde in season nine's The Time Monster.
Distinguished actor Michael Gough, who had previously played the Celestial Toymaker in the eponymous season three story and been married to Anneke Wills, alias the Doctor's companion Polly, appears here as the misguided traitor, Hedin.
Leonard Sachs, previously seen as Admiral de Coligny in season three's The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, plays the latest incarnation of Borusa, now elevated to the position of Lord President.
Producer John Nathan-Turner makes a Hitchcock-like cameo appearance in the Amsterdam location scenes.
New regular costumes for Nyssa and Tegan are seen for the first time in this story. (Although Tegan's new costume makes its debut here, Nyssa's is not seen until the following story, Snakedance. This myth derives from the fact that numerous publicity photographs of the two actresses wearing their new costumes were taken during Arc of Infinity's location shoot in Amsterdam.)
A silly bit as Omega does a quick impression of Reeves and Mortimer's the Ponderers in the third episode.
The sequences with Hedin get increasingly daft, with Michael Gough required to wave his Time Lord pencil around in ever increasing excitement.
If the Doctor is executed, won't Omega just bond with another Time Lord?
John Nathan Turner appears on screen in episode four trying to persuade a passer by not to get into shot.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Peter Davison
Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
Tegan - Janet Fielding from epsiode two
Cardinal Zorac - Max Harvey
Chancellor Thalia - Elspet Gray
Colin Frazer - Alastair Cumming
Commander Maxil - Colin Baker
Councillor Hedin - Michael Gough
Damon - Neil Daglish
Hotel Receptionist - Maya Woolfel
Lord President Borusa - Leonard Sachs
Robin Stuart - Andrew Boxer
Second Receptionist - Guy Groen
Talor - John D Collins
The Castellan - Paul Jerricho
The Ergon - Malcolm Harvey
The Renegade / Omega - Ian Collier
Director - Ron Jones