For the third outing in a row, the bods over in the shanties of the Classic Capitology wing are offering up a first story for a Doctor, but this time with a twist. Four to Doomsday was Peter Davison’s first story shot, although it went out second after Castrovalva, and sometimes it shows.
This was perhaps the most earnest story for the most earnest Doctor and, while it has some interesting points, feels quite stagey for vast stretches (and couldn’t help but be so owing to hit taking place entirely aboard a spaceship) and you also get the strong feeling that Davison was still working things out, a performance which wouldn’t really solidify until Castrovalva. In terms of hitting the ground running in the role, The Time of Angels this is not.
Four to Doomsday is also a story where the Four of the TARDIS crew stretches the abilities of writer Terence Dudley to keep everyone involved in ways which defy expectations, both in story and in retrospect. Tegan grates so much the TARDIS takes her away just far enough for rescue, Adric is gullible, and Nyssa is Nyssa. If on the other hand if your a fan of frogs on thrones, you just can’t beat Four to Doomsday, The signature sequence of the whole story is Davison, unprotected in the vacuum of space, using the thrown momentum of a cricket ball (which would have shattered against the hull of the ship amongst other physics atrocities) to drift over the TARDIS. Interesting I suppose, but even the casual viewer would be left with a collective ‘Huh?’ while it’s happening.
As for the caps themselves, be prepared for lots of shots of Monarch (and others) on his throne, reacting either to a monitor or two someone in front if him. Just couldn’t get away from them. These caps though are completely new for the Tour, filling in yet another gap in the fabric of ‘Tour reality.’
Classic Capitology hits the way way back button next round.