Production Code: 4P
1 - 30/10/1976 18:05
2 - 06/11/1976 18:05
3 - 13/11/1976 18:05
4 - 20/11/1976 18:05
The Doctor arrives on Gallifrey, where he is accused of the assassination of the Time Lord President. Investigating with the aid of Co-ordinator Engin and Castellan Spandrell, he discovers that this is part of a plot hatched by his old adversary the Master.
Having used up all twelve of his regenerations, the Master is now a wizened husk. He is seeking to control the presidency in order to obtain the official regalia, the Sash and Rod of Rassilon, which are really keys to the Eye of Harmony, the source of all the Time Lords' power.
The Doctor links his mind to the Amplified Panatropic Computer Net, containing the accumulated wisdom of the Time Lords, in the hope of tracking the Master down. In the virtual reality of the Matrix, he finds himself in a life-or-death struggle with a hooded opponent. The Doctor proves the stronger and his opponent is revealed as Chancellor Goth, the leading presidential candidate, whom the Master has been using as a puppet. Following his defeat, Goth dies.
The Master meanwhile seizes the Sash and Rod of Rassilon and starts to access the Eye of Harmony, located beneath the floor of the Panopticon meeting hall, in the hope of drawing off enough energy to enable himself to regenerate. The Doctor manages to stop him before Gallifrey is destroyed, and the Master falls down one of the fissures that have opened up in the floor.
The Doctor then departs in the TARDIS, unaware that the Master has survived his fall and escaped to fight another day.
The Doctor finds a weapon on the deserted balcony overlooking the Panopticon, where the Time Lord President is about to make his resignation speech. He fires a shot into the crowd below. The President is hit and falls toward the floor.
In the unreal environment of the Matrix, the Doctor's foot is caught in some railway tracks as the points change. He struggles desperately to free himself as a train rushes towards him.
Goth gains the upper hand in his battle with the Doctor within the Matrix. He holds the Doctor's head underwater, intent on drowning him.
The Master leaves Gallifrey in his TARDIS, which is disguised as a grandfather clock, moments after the Doctor. Spandrell speculates to Engin that the universe is not a big enough place for the two of them.
The Manchurian Candidate.
The Parallax View.
The murder of JFK and Watergate (political assassinations and cover ups).
North By Northwest (the Doctor chased by a bi-plane).
Sherlock Holmes (The Empty House).
Star Trek (Shore Leave, Arena).
The Doctor quotes from The White Devil ('flea bitings').
There is an oblique reference to Harold Wilson's controversial resignation honours list.
The Doctor : "Vapourisation without representation is against the constitution!"
The Doctor : [On a voice-over accompanying a roller-caption text presented at the beginning of Part One.] "Through the millennia, the Time Lords of Gallifrey led a life of ordered calm, protected against all threats from lesser civilisations by their great power. But this was to change. Suddenly, and terribly, the Time Lords faced the most dangerous crisis in their long history..."
Borusa : "As I believe I told you long ago, Doctor, you will never amount to anything in the galaxy while you retain your propensity for vulgar facetiousness."
The Doctor : "I deny this reality. The reality is a computation matrix."
Master : "You weak fool! You craven hearted spineless poltroon!"
Master : "Resistance is futile!"
Concepts first used here include the Panopticon (a Time Lord ceremonial hall), the Castellan (the head of Capitol security), the Chancellery Guard, and the Matrix, part of the Amplified Panotropic Computer net. Gold Usher is a ceremonial figure. Artron energy is mentioned [In Four to Doomsday it is said to power TARDISes; here Engin says the Doctor possesses an unusually high level of artron energy. Either TARDISes are powered by the psychic energy of the operator (although on various occasions it does work in the Doctor's absence) or this energy 'leaks' in the same way that nuclear power stations shouldn't, and the Doctor's journeys have 'irradiated' him, although the effects are benign].
Time Lord chapters include the Prydonians (the 'notoriously devious' sect to whom the Doctor belongs, colour coded scarlet and orange), Arcalians (green) and Patrexes (heliotrope). Spandrell makes a derogatory remark about Sheboogans [who appear to be the Gallifreyan equivalent of hooligans. They are not the Outsiders seen in The Invasion of Time.] Engin gives Earth its Gallifreyan name ('Sol 3 in Mutter's Spiral'), which is described as 'an interesting little planet'.
Borusa, the Doctor's old tutor, has recently become a Cardinal. In the Doctor's class at the academy was Runcible, the Public Register Video broadcaster, who recognises the Doctor ('Weren't you expelled?') and asks if he has had a 'face lift'. ('Several so far!'). Runcible's broadcasts suggest a Gallifreyan populace not directly involved with the ceremonies of the Time Lords. The Doctor is aware of worlds where the APC Net would be considered primitive, so Gallifrey isn't the most advanced civilisation.
The Master is still using a matter condensation device. Chancellor Goth met the Master on Tersurus.
The Doctor invokes Article 17 of the Constitution, offering himself as a Presidential Candidate to avoid execution (Goth calls this 'abusing a legal technicality'). Time Lord Presidents traditionally free prisoners [from Shada] as their first act in office. Time Lords are said to die after 12 regenerations. References are also made to the Time Lord book of legends 'The Book of the Old Time' (see Silver Nemesis).
Chancellor Goth is excellently portrayed by Bernard Horsfall, who had previously played a Time Lord in season six's The War Games as well as Gulliver in the same season's The Mind Robber and the Thal Taron in season ten's Planet of the Daleks - all three directed, like The Deadly Assassin, by David Maloney.
The Prydonian seal seen in this story (referred to later in the series' history as the seal of Rassilon) had previously appeared as the Vogans' emblem in season twelve's Revenge of the Cybermen - a consequence of both stories having the same designer, Roger Murray-Leach.
The Doctor's TARDIS is a type 40 (obsolete) protected by a 'double curtain trimonic barrier' which requires a 'cypher indent key'. The Matrix has 'exitonic circuitry' The Master uses Tricophenylaldehyde (a neural inhibitor) to feign death.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Cardinal Borusa - Angus Mackay
Castellan Spandrell - George Pravda
Chancellor Goth - Bernard Horsfall
Commander Hilred - Derek Seaton
Commentator Runcible - Hugh Walters
Co-ordinator Engin - Erik Chitty
Gold Usher - Maurice Quick
Solis - Peter Mayock
The Master - Peter Pratt
The President - Llewellyn Rees
Time Lord - John Dawson
Time Lord - Michael Bilton
Voice - Helen Blatch
Director - David Maloney