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!
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.
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.