And now we meet the meat of Tom Baker’s final season, the first of two sets of trilogies which would ride him out of the series and usher a complete change-out for the series, and it all begins in Full Circle.
There was a lot of justifiable hay made at the time that the author of Full Circle Andrew Smith was only 18 at the time, and that’s made all the more amazing by the structural, by necessity, nature of the story. Now it’s likely we’ll never know how much of that was banged into it by Christopher H. Bidmead, but set all of that aside for a moment. Eras of Doctor Who are most often defined either by the star of producer of the show at the time, and seldom the script-editor as they are rightly part of production team, but in this case it’s important to note that Full Circle and the two trilogies which follow, constitute the ‘Bidmead’ era of Doctor Who, and there is certainly a distinctiveness to it that marks it out for comment, if for no other reason than it feels more ‘science-y’ (the technical term) than the show had been since Jon Pertwee’s first season.
But the reason, more than anything else, that Full Circle is remembered is for Adric. Ultimately a somewhat divisive companion, Adric does hold the distinction for being the youngest male companion in the classic era and as such he’s a bit of an odd fit. It’s certain that both Lalla Ward and Tom Baker couldn’t quite figure out how to act against Matthew Waterhouse, with Ward in particular barely able to hide her contempt at times.
With an unusually generous dallop of location filming, Full Circle certainly looks good, as do the Marshmen, and the story has a pleaseant, almost circular quality to it, and to that end the HDelicious new caps are especially nice, perhaps even star worthy.