Category Archives: Kamelion

Planet of Fire

As Peter Davison’s era comes to an end, changes are afoot. Gone is Tegan, and in her place arrives Peri, an American student. Kamelion finally reveals he’s been hiding in the Tardis cupboard for the past four serials but his story comes to an end as he is destroyed by necessity. Finally, Turlough leaves us to return to his own people, after meeting his long-lost brother and finally revealing why he was exiled.

The Master redirects the Doctor's Tardis using his link with Kamelion.

The Master redirects the Doctor’s Tardis using his link with Kamelion.

This may be a story about a doomed volcanic planet and the Master’s attempt to mislead a god-fearing tribe of primitives in his ongoing attempt to gain immortality, but nevertheless, character drama features more strongly here than it usually does. There are some nice moments with Turlough and the Doctor, particularly when the Doctor tells him their friendship will be over if he is withholding important information. The large amount of on-location filming also lends a more natural (less staged) style to the events. It’d be nice to see the whole show shot on film, but I know that wasn’t the style at the time.

Turlough reveals the marking on his arm and what it means.

Turlough reveals the marking on his arm and what it means.

Peri’s story naturally begins on Earth, as she expresses boredom to her stepfather and wants to get away and travel. I think it’s good to have a more international cast of characters (even if her accent isn’t entirely convincing). Of course, it also helps that she looks good in a bikini. Conversely, Turlough should never wear shorts. Ever.

Rescued from drowning, Turlough brings Peri back to the Tardis to recover.

Rescued from drowning, Turlough brings Peri back to the Tardis to recover.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like about Planet of Fire. In an otherwise disappointing season so far, this stands out as pretty good. A relatively straightforward story with some good twists, nicely handled themes of faith and science, actual character development with the main cast and a shake-up to keep things fresh for a while.

The Doctor has a difficult time in siding with the 'unbelievers', almost getting them burned alive.

The Doctor has a difficult time in siding with the ‘unbelievers’, almost getting them burned alive.

I also liked the reveal of the Master’s true predicament at the end of part 3, and he was a pleasure to watch throughout. His fiery demise was… unexpected. How can he possibly return from that?!

Ow, ow, ow, oww!!!

Ow, ow, ow, oww!!!

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The King’s Demons

Every time the Master turns up now, I’m caught completely off-guard, though it’s good to know 1980s TV makeup, a wig and a bad French accent are all it takes to pull off a disguise. This time, he’s in 13th Century England with a chameleonic robot disguised as King John, attempting to stop the signing of the Magna Carta, which would obviously be very bad for the future of civilisation. By astonishing luck, the Doctor’s Tardis arrives in time to stop him. Phew!

The Doctor and the Master have a sword fight... not for the first time.

The Doctor and the Master have a sword fight… not for the first time.

There’s not much more to say about this one. It’s kind of fun to see period characters reacting to futuristic incursions as though they’re magical, and the writing is more olde worlde style than they usually bother with, which is something. With only two parts, it’s a shorter story than most, and quite a breezy way to wrap up the season. With its emphasis on history, it’s almost a throwback to the old Hartnell historical serials. Quite fitting that the Doctor should be travelling with an alien dressed as a schoolboy, as this incarnation is basically like a teacher on a field trip.

Tegan is distrustful of the Tardis's new recruit. Again.

Tegan is distrustful of the Tardis’s new recruit. Again.

Shockingly enough, the robot, Kamelion, is not a man in a shiny suit. It’s an actual animatronic, and probably the most remarkable part of this otherwise forgettable story. Freed from the Master’s psychic influence, he’s now tagging along with the Tardis crew. I guess the producers wanted to get their money’s worth out of it.