Bradley’s Basement’s Strange Love – ‘The Keeper of Traken’


Tim Bradley:
“Hello everyone!

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’s Strange Love’!

The first of a new segment on my blog to celebrate 6 years of ‘Bradley’s Basement’ in 2021! I’m the super duper Tim Bradley of ‘Bradley’s Basement’ and I’m joined by the wordsmith Wolfie…”

Wolfie:
“Pleasure to be here, Tim!”

Tim Bradley:
“The motorsports mad but fun WilliamsFan92.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Greetings, Tim. I’m glad to have joined the team.”

Tim Bradley:
“And I’m pleased we have the bonkers but equally fun Timelord007 on our team.”

Timelord007:
“Thank you, Tim. And I’d like to point out I’m not bonkers. Just madly eccentric.”

Tim Bradley:
(laughs) “I’m sure a lot of us know that, Timelord.”

Laughter ensues.

Tim Bradley:
“So anyway! Thank you gents for joining me in this discussion as we look at ‘The Keeper of Traken’, one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the classic series! This is also to celebrate 40 years of Nyssa in ‘Doctor Who’. I hope everyone reading this discussion will enjoy our thoughts and insights about the story and I’m sure there’ll be good-humoured and tasty jokes along the way as we discuss.

First of all, I think we should start off by talking about what we make of ‘The Keeper of Traken’ in general. WF92, do you want to start? What are your overall thoughts of the story? Do you like it?”

WilliamsFan92:
“Yes, I do like it. The sets are well put together, Nyssa is a very sweet character and the ending sets us up for the next story very well.”

Timelord007:
“It’s purely an interesting tale of mystery and intrigue. The Melkur is eerie and the story builds up suspense as well as giving a bit of character drama to Nyssa.”

Tim Bradley:
“I recall purchasing the ‘New Beginnings’ DVD box set of ‘Doctor Who’ in 2007 which featured ‘The Keeper of Traken’, ‘Logopolis’ and ‘Castrovalva’. Is that how you first saw ‘The Keeper of Traken’, WF92? Through the ‘New Beginnings’ DVD box set?”

WilliamsFan92:
“No, I’ve never owned the ‘New Beginnings’ DVD box set. My first viewing of the story was on Britbox.”

Tim Bradley:
“Ah, I see. Well, when I first saw the story, I was pretty engrossed by certain scenes it had and it just felt gripping from beginning to end, especially when our heroes including the Doctor, Nyssa, Adric and Tremas were on the run and in trouble. It takes effort for a story like that to fully grip me, especially when the set design and the costume designs are very good and the direction by John Black is good.”

Timelord007:
“This was transmitted during my 6th birthday in 1981. I remember the Melkur scaring me and the emaciated Master terrifying me.”

Wolfie:
“I can’t recall where I saw ‘The Keeper of Traken’ for the first time. I think it was part of the ‘New Beginnings’ DVD box set, but I can’t be certain.”

Tim Bradley:
“Well, as long as you saw it, I think that’s all that matters.”

Wolfie:
“Oh I saw it, most definitely.”

Tim Bradley:
“Just to talk about Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’, I feel it’s a rather mixed bag. On the one hand, I like that it’s a season with bold ideas and it attempted to reinvigorate the show. It had become silly by that point, especially with the overdose of humour in certain stories script-edited by Douglas Adams. Not that I don’t like Douglas Adams’ writing. On the contrary, I’ve been inspired by his writing at times in my stories. It’s just that Season 17 had become uneven in terms of humour and storytelling.

However, I wish Season 18 had more variety in terms of its storytelling. It tended to be harder sci-fi as opposed to a balance of historical and outer-space adventures. It also didn’t help when producer John Nathan-Turner and the script editor Chris Bidmead toned things down in terms of the humour.

I know Tom Baker wasn’t happy with that and you could see he was getting tired in terms of this being his last season of ‘Doctor Who’. Season 18 also doesn’t showcase the best of Tom Baker’s Doctor. The only two stories that did him justice were ‘State of Decay’ and ‘The Keeper of Traken’.

What do you chaps think about Season 18 overall?”

WilliamsFan92:
“From watching ‘The Keeper of Traken’, ‘Logopolis’ as well as ‘Part One’ of ‘The Leisure Hive’ so far, I find this season to be very interesting as well as different.”

Timelord007:
“A hit and miss season in my opinion. Some clever ideas, but some story arcs weren’t given enough due care and attention with the end results being a confusing mess – ‘Warriors’ Gate’ as an example. I thought the show tried to be too clever for its own good and it backfired hugely in the ratings as everyone tuned into ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’ on ITV1 instead.”

Tim Bradley:
“I don’t know anything about ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’ since I haven’t seen the series yet, but if I was a kid living in the 1980s, I probably would prefer watching ‘Doctor Who’ on BBC TV than that.” (aside) “Sorry, Buck Rogers. No offence. I haven’t got to know you yet. Maybe I will check you out at some point.”

Timelord007:
“Ah, but remember ‘Buck Rogers’ was a big budget sci-fi series at the time with its ground-breaking special effects. It seemed fandom did away with rubber monsters and complex plots for pulpy action visual spectacle.”

Wolfie:
“I got a hell of a shock the first time I saw ‘The Leisure Hive’. As seasoned ‘Who’ fans, I think it can be easy to forget just how much of a statement Peter Howell’s theme music and Sid Sutton’s starfield were for Tom’s final year. Those first episodes didn’t come with an ethereal drumming, they screamed their way on beams of light right into our televisions. Like a bolt of thunder down the aerial. Where Season 18 succeeded was in presentation and sheer style. Australian audiences had to wait a full year back when it first aired for Season 18/19 to be aired back-to-back on the ABC. It doesn’t shy away from being a bold new era for the show.”

Tim Bradley:
“It must have been frustrating for you to have to wait for the next season of ‘Doctor Who’ in Australia whilst many of us in the UK were already watching episodes of Tom Baker and Peter Davison in Seasons 18 and 19. Was it tricky to avoid spoilers while waiting for a brand-new season?”

Wolfie:
“That’s a very good question. A very good question, indeed…and I don’t have an answer, unfortunately!” (laughs) “I got to ‘Who’ a bit later than that, so I was part of the wave actively seeking out spoilers from reference guides. I still have my copy of ‘Doctor Who: The Legend’ with Richard E. Grant slated as the Ninth Doctor in the back. I imagine back in the pre-internet days, fans didn’t have to worry too much outside of merchandise. Those guides didn’t start showing up until the late 1980s, so I’d been watching since the early 1970s, I was probably under the impression Jo Grant had left the Third Doctor after Spiridon in ‘Planet of the Daleks’. We didn’t get to see the next story ‘The Green Death’ until much later. Missing episodes, not just a 1960s phenomenon for overseas audiences as it turns out.”

Tim Bradley:
“I have to say, I love the Peter Howell theme music of ‘Doctor Who’. I know the Delia Derbyshire theme music is very recognisable and we’ve had some really good renditions of the ‘Doctor Who’ theme music over the years from people like Murray Gold and Segun Akinola. But the 1980s theme music by Peter Howell does excite me as it’s very recognisable every time you hear it in 80s’ ‘Who’.”

Timelord007:
“I get goosebumps every time I hear Peter Howell’s rendition of the theme. It’s pure 1980s nostalgic gold for me!”

WilliamsFan92:
“Even though I rate the Ron Grainer/Delia Derbyshire version of the ‘Doctor Who’ theme music highly, Peter Howell’s version is always a joy to hear.”

Wolfie:
“As a debut, I enjoyed Season 18. It’s interesting that Christopher H. Bidmead, the script editor, wanted to push the series more towards hard sci-fi because this season, more than any other before it, feels as though it embraces sword-and-sandal fantasy. For every ‘Full Circle’, we have a ‘Keeper of Traken’. If it has a weakness, it’s that all these high-concept ideas so heavily take centre stage at times that the characters feel as though they fade into the background. Something that rubbed me the wrong way on first viewing, but I’ve warmed to the stories since then (subjective tastes and all that). Like most seasons, that problem tends to vary depending on the story. ‘Traken’ strikes the right balance, I feel.”

Tim Bradley:
“Yeah, I think we can all be in agreement on that.”

Timelord007:
“I think ‘The Keeper of Traken’ would have worked better as a six-parter just to give some of the supporting characters a bit more depth as the overall story and concepts were interesting.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Does the Target novelisation cover that ground?”

Tim Bradley:
“Not really. Terrance Dicks did a straight-forward novelization of Johnny Byrne’s scripts as opposed to delving deeper into the story. If Johnny Byrne novelized the scripts himself, I’m sure we would have got more information about Traken and its history compared to what Terrance Dicks gave us. Not to say Terrance Dicks’ novelization is bad. I actually quite like Terrance’s novelization of the adventure.”

Wolfie:
“The impression I often get of Terrance Dicks’ modus operandi was that he tended to approach novelizations with certain sanctity around the original text. Keep the bones, flesh out the rest. Any background information would be to clear up certain vagaries and ambiguities in the screenplay. Things to help the story along, like providing an identity to the otherwise nameless human abducted for ‘Meglos’ (i.e. George Morris, a bank manager from 20th Century Earth). On the whole, ‘The Keeper of Traken’ has very few essential gaps to fill. It’s a tightly-plotted tale. It would definitely have been interesting to see it as a six-parter with a deeper delve into where Melkur came from (as we would discover two incarnations later).”

Tim Bradley:
“Yeah, I think that’s fair.”


Johnny Byrne

Tim Bradley:
“The author of this tale – Johnny Byrne! I haven’t come across his other sci-fi work such as ‘Space: 1999’, but I have come across him as a writer in other things apart from ‘Doctor Who’ such as the original ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ and he did devise ‘Heartbeat’. I like Johnny Byrne’s writing.

I’d like to think he understood how to develop characters in stories and not just focus on the plot, which quite a number of writers often did in 1980s ‘Doctor Who’. Even when stories don’t work out well like ‘Warriors of the Deep’, I always feel Johnny Byrne had good messages to tell in his stories.

What does everyone else think?”

WilliamsFan92:
“He seemed to always know what he was doing. I’ve seen ‘Warriors of the Deep’, ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Space: 1999’ and ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. Some of those episodes he did for those shows aren’t that great, but like you say, Tim, Johnny Byrne did well in his career.”

Timelord007:
“Johnny Byrne is a good writer. I was happy to see ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ done as a Big Finish audio ‘Lost Story’ and while ‘Warriors of the Deep’ is not masterpiece, that was simply down to the lack of production values and budget. Not Johnny’s writing.”

Tim Bradley:
“And the Myrka was a bit of a disaster, wasn’t it?”

Timelord007:
“Ugh, the Myrka was a terrible idea, which should have been omitted from the script. No way was a BBC effects budget going to create something terrifying. So either get around it by showing it in silhouette or darkly-lit areas or cut it out completely because the story loses credibility with a weak monster, which is a shame because the story had great ideas and a haunting emotional ending.”

WilliamsFan92:
“They should do a special edition with updated special effects for the story’s Blu-Ray release in Season 21. Or maybe that won’t make a difference.”

Tim Bradley:
(jokingly) “Maybe you should write to BBC Studios to prompt them to do that, WF92.”

WilliamsFan92:
(laughs; jokingly) “I’ll get right on that.”

Tim Bradley:
“Excellent! Pleased to hear it!”

Laughter ensues.

Tim Bradley:
“Out of the three ‘Doctor Who’ stories Johnny Byrne wrote for TV, I would say ‘The Keeper of Traken’ is the best, ‘Arc of Infinity’ is the second best and ‘Warriors of the Deep’ is the worst. That’s both in accounts of storytelling and production values. Would you agree with that assessment?”

Timelord007:
“Yep, I completely agree.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Sounds right to me.”

Wolfie:
“Just the TV versions?”

Tim Bradley:
“Well, I haven’t come across the Target novelization of ‘Warriors of the Deep’ yet, although I’m sure it’s better than the TV version we got. I have read ‘The Keeper of Traken’ and ‘Arc of Infinity’ novelizations, but judging the three TV stories alone, I would say ‘The Keeper of Traken’ is the best.”

Wolfie:
“Yeah, it’s a fair cop, guv. I have to agree.”

WilliamsFan92:
“The Target novels aren’t all better than the TV versions. Cough-cough ‘The Leisure Hive’, cough-cough ‘Time-Flight’.”

Tim Bradley:
“Yes, that’s true. And I’ve said that in my reviews of those novelizations.”

WilliamsFan92:
“You certainly have, Tim.”

Timelord007:
“Yes, you have, Tim.”

Tim Bradley:
“One of the things said about ‘The Keeper of Traken’ by Johnny Bryne in a DVD interview, is that the theme of the story is when a world rotates through peaceful harmony to a state of terrible crisis. Would you say that’s true in today’s context, especially with what we’ve been going through lately?”

Timelord007:
“They say life imitates art and there are some parallels in this story which mirror recent global events which viewers can relate to.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I can certainly see that, seeing as we have peace to begin with before everything goes awry.”

Wolfie:
“Oh, absolutely! There’s an interesting conversation to be had in the story about a paradise and the people that exist within it. Even in an apparent utopia like Traken, surrounded by harmony, Kassia fears losing her husband. However perfect the world, people themselves are still imperfect.”

Tim Bradley:
“Did you know Johnny Bryne wrote scripts for two abandoned ‘Doctor Who’ movies including ‘The Time Lord’ in 1988 and ‘Last of the Time Lords’ in 1991? Fancy that? A shame they didn’t happen!”

Timelord007:
“Never knew that.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I learn something new every day.”

Tim Bradley:
“Well, they were in the pre-production phases and I don’t think anything got beyond the scripts! I know a poster was done for ‘Last of the Time Lords’. I wonder what those stories would have been like had they been made for the big screen. I’m sure they would have been very exciting movies to watch at a cinema.”

Wolfie:
“One of the scripts had the Doctor locked in an asylum after his regeneration. Makes for quite the image, isn’t it? I rather liked the idea Byrne had of Pog, a small frog-like creature the Doctor confided to in the TARDIS gardens. Shame he’s never turned up elsewhere.”

Tim Bradley:
“Those are details I never knew about. Have you got the scripts for that movie, Wolfie?”

Wolfie:
“Not myself, but I did manage to catch a few pages of ‘The Nth Doctor’ reference book. It details outlines of Byrne’s two attempts, plus a number of other unproduced film ideas. Interestingly, his last script also delves into a benign society attacked from within.”

Tim Bradley:
“Hmm. Sounds eerily familiar!”


The Traken Society

Tim Bradley:
“Traken, described by the Doctor, is famous for its universal harmony. A whole empire held together by people just being terribly nice to each other. I don’t know about you three, but considering how our world has gone about lately, I wouldn’t mind visiting a planet like that where everyone’s nice.”

Timelord007:
“The thing is, while it would be lovely to visit a place of pure peace and calm, it’s the old yin/yang philosophy that good can’t exist without bad and vice versa.”

Tim Bradley:
“The Captain Kirk ‘Enemy Within’ logic, right?”

Timelord007:
“Argh! I’m now seeing images of William Shatner’s hammy acting from that episode! “I WANNA LIVE!!!”

Laughter ensues.

Tim Bradley:
“I’m quite disappointed we don’t get to see enough of Traken as it all seems to be in just one place with the Grove, the Sanctum and everything. When I did my Traken-like story called ‘The Tree of Riverloth’, I tried to make good use of geography in terms of there being a variety of places and making the world bigger. I don’t think you justify Traken’s geography by focusing on just one place.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Big Finish could create a Traken set spin-off like they did for ‘Jago & Litefoot’.”

Tim Bradley:
“They could do that! It’d be nice if they did that, yes.”

Timelord007:
‘The World of Traken’ by Tim Bradley! Here Big Finish, take my money!”

Tim Bradley:
“Hmm. I’ll have to think of some story ideas for that. Thank you for your confidence in me.”

Timelord007:
“If anyone can do a story arc about Traken, it’s you, Tim. I’ve said it many times, “Big Finish hire this talented young man”.”

Wolfie:
“Oohh, how about even bigger? ‘The Worlds of Traken’! Beside Traken and Serenity, we don’t really get to see much of, what are implied to be, at least half-a-dozen planets in the Trakenite Union. There’s still room for that in the gap between ‘Traken’ and ‘Logopolis’.”

Tim Bradley:
“Yeah, that’s a good point, Wolfie. They talk about the Traken Union, but apart from Traken and Serenity, we don’t get to see enough of those planets before they’re all destroyed by the entropy field in ‘Logopolis’. It’s rather sad we didn’t stay on Traken long enough.”

Timelord007:
“Again, a big plot arc completely glossed over for time constrictions. This is why the story needed to be a six-parter. Another gripe about Season 18 is the running time on the length of episodes which pushed to barely 20 minutes. That’s five minutes off per episode and twenty minutes off a four-part story. Twenty minutes which could have fixed many plot inconsistencies.”

Wolfie:
“Funny you should mention that, Timelord. We’ve gone from stories like ‘The Leisure Hive’ and ‘Meglos’ where the time elapsed for each episode could be as short as 19 minutes, through to ‘Warriors’ Gate’ and ‘The Keeper of Traken’ where they’re happily pushing 25 minutes on the regular. Almost as if the season’s grown into itself in terms of content. The closer we get to the end, the more it does feel like the characters have been given room to breathe.”

WilliamsFan92:
“From what I’ve heard, John Nathan-Turner hated six-parters. That was the reason ‘Black Orchid’ was a two-parter and was followed by the four parter ‘Earthshock’.


The Fourth Doctor and Adric

Tim Bradley:
“Tom Baker as the Doctor and Matthew Waterhouse as Adric! I don’t know if Lalla Ward leaving the series helped things, but I think these two got on well with each other in the TARDIS afterwards. They seem to get on very well with each other, especially in the opening and closing TARDIS scenes.”

Timelord007:
“I know from what I’ve read, Tom was very moody and just wanted to be gone. However he still managed to give an impressive performance here, despite the many behind-the-scenes clashes he endured during Season 18. I know Matthew irritated him and that the show’s changes upset him. However, you wouldn’t believe it by watching the episodes because there’s a nice chemistry between the Doctor and Adric throughout this adventure.”

Tim Bradley:
“It’s funny, because this was the first story of Season 18 I saw and I’d just seen Adric got blown up in ‘Earthshock’. I had no idea there were these behind-the-scenes tensions going on with Tom’s temperament after doing the show for seven years. I was put off that Tom tended to be bad-tempered when making the series, as most of the time he came across as really enjoying playing the character he played. It shows very naive I was and didn’t know much about Tom Baker as a person.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I just try not to let the on-set tensions spoil my enjoyment of the stories. Besides, it’s all in the past now.”

Timelord007:
“JNT and Bidmead wanted Tom gone and I find it unacceptable how Tom Baker was treated this season. Besides Tom’s health issues and his on/off relationship with Lalla Ward at the time, I’m surprised the season turned out as good as it did.”

Wolfie:
“I can’t really speak on the behind-the-scenes tensions. I don’t feel as though I know enough about it to make a judgement call one way or the other. On the subject of the Fourth Doctor and Adric as characters, though, I enjoy the ‘elderly wizard and young thief-turned-apprentice’ dynamic that the tale sets up here. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of it. It’s something we’ve seen perhaps once before with Leela, but it is curious how different the emphasis feels compared to the Sevateem huntress. Here, the Doctor is almost acting like the guardian of a foster child (something that Marc Platt would expand upon for the audio ‘Purgatory 12’). If the show had continued with just the two of them, I could see the dynamic evolving to something similar like Rothgo and Phil from ‘Into the Labyrinth’.”

Tim Bradley:
“I’ve yet to see ‘Into the Labyrinth’, but I’ll take your word for it.”

Wolfie:
“A side-step in time for ‘Who’ fans interested to see what the series’ alumni got up to outside of the show. It was a short series with tales from Bob Baker, Dave Martin, John Lucarotti, Anthony Read, Robert Holmes, even Morris Farhi who wrote the unproduced but later adapted ‘Farewell, Great Macedon’. It’s also a great place to see Pamela Salem, better known as Toos from ‘The Robots of Death’ or Rachel Jensen from ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’, play the sorceress, Belor. She’s clearly having a ton of fun in the role.”

Tim Bradley:
“Thanks for sharing that with us, Wolfie. Maybe we’ll check out ‘Into the Labyrinth’ someday.”

Laughter ensues.

Tim Bradley:
“I like how in the Big Finish audios, Adric’s character has developed greatly compared to his appearances in the TV  series, especially when he interacted with the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9 in the Series 9 stories. I hope there’ll be more to explore between the Fourth Doctor and Adric in the Big Finish audios. I assume that a season featuring Tom and Matthew is already in the works.”

Timelord007:
“I hope so. I’d like see a few more Fourth Doctor and Adric adventures set in between ‘Warriors’ Gate’ and ‘The Keeper of Traken’.”

Wolfie:
“I hope so too. If not, ‘Watchers’ by Matthew Waterhouse himself looks to be quite an interesting addition to those final weeks of the Fourth Doctor.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I’m currently looking forward to listening to the Series 9 audios once I’ve watched ‘The E-Space Trilogy’. Any Fourth Doctor and Adric audios set between this story and ‘Logopolis’ would be welcome too.”


Nyssa

Tim Bradley:
“Now you know how I feel about Sarah Sutton and Nyssa…”

Timelord007:
(teases Tim) “Err, no we don’t, Tim, please do tell.”

WilliamsFan92:
(teases Tim) “Oh I think Nyssa’s relationship with Billy Walker tells us everything we need to know.”

Laughter ensues. Wolfie waggles eyebrows teasingly at Tim.

WilliamsFan92:
“And Wolfie just teased Tim by waggling his eyebrows in Delphon language.”

Timelord007:
“A difficult language to master!” (teases Tim) “But very communicate and effective to tease Tim.”

Tim Bradley:
(rolls eyes) “Alright, that’s enough.” (laughs) “But seriously, it’s amazing that Nyssa’s debut in ‘Doctor Who’ was just meant to be one story. I chatted to Sarah about it at a convention and it’s amazing that the option was taken to carry Nyssa forward as a ‘Doctor Who’ companion. I’m grateful that happened since ‘Doctor Who’ would be a really different show today without Nyssa being in it.”

Timelord007:
“Nyssa is my favourite Fifth Doctor companion. Tegan just moaned throughout her travels; Adric was at times an annoying brat and Turlough was under the influence of the Black Guardian. Nyssa however wanted to be there and was on the same wavelength as the Doctor. It’s no surprise that ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ are my favourite Fifth Doctor and Nyssa adventures, because the chemistry is there between Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. They complement each other’s characters and work well together.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I wonder how different Nyssa’s life would be if she had never travelled with the Doctor. If a Traken spin-off was made, that’s all we would have had to go by. Then again, we might not be bothered since she wouldn’t have been a companion. Have you ever wondered that, Tim?”

Tim Bradley:
“Well, there are times when I wondered what would have happened if Nyssa never met the Doctor and never left Traken. I would like it if Big Finish did a prequel Traken series set before ‘The Keeper of Traken’ which showcased Nyssa’s early life and maybe a Short Trip audio where Nyssa was saved by the Watcher. That would be something nice for Big Finish to explore if they ever consider it.

Does that answer your question?”

WilliamsFan92:
“Absolutely, it does.”

Tim Bradley:
“Oh, that’s good to hear.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Also of note, I like Nyssa’s theme. It sounds a lot like the Ewok theme from ‘Return of the Jedi’.”

Timelord007:
“A wonderful theme for an excellent companion!”

WilliamsFan92:
“And very soothing!”

Tim Bradley:
“Roger Limb, who was the music composer for ‘The Keeper of Traken’ told me at a convention once that he was inspired by Béla Bartók when he composed Nyssa’s theme. I’ve not heard Béla Bartók’s music, but I’d like to think it’s classy and I’m sure his pieces of music are beautiful.”

Timelord007:
“Music is pivotal in setting up a character as it echoes the character’s moods and emotions of happy, sad, scared angry, upset, etc.”

WilliamsFan92:
“The way Nyssa is written and portrayed in the franchise puts her in pole position ahead of Tegan, Adric and Turlough. Forgive me for using motorsport jargon.”

Tim Bradley:
“No need to worry about that.”

Wolfie:
“Roger Limb is a name that tends to conjure up the frantic drumming of ‘The Caves of Androzani’ or the neon hiss of ‘Revelation of the Daleks’. Quite punkish and grimy stories! Starting at the beginning with ‘The Keeper of Traken’, it’s almost a bit of whiplash seeing his credit in the closing titles. He performs the idyllic panpipe tune of Nyssa’s theme and similar with equal confidence. Quite lightsome compared to where he’d be in a few years time.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Here’s something else about Sarah and this story that I should mention. Apparently Matthew Waterhouse recalled that he wanted to hug Sarah Sutton. He did so and she slapped him. I don’t know if that’s true for certain but it could be.”

Tim Bradley:
“I don’t know where you heard that from but it’s the first I’ve ever heard of it. I’m not sure what you just said might be true and just a rumour.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Probably a rumour. I only found it on the ‘Doctor Who’ wiki.”

Tim Bradley:
“Well either way, I owe a lot to Sarah Sutton from seeing her acting career and meeting her at conventions. They’re what led me to do reviews, timelines and stories on my ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog. It’s a credit to Sarah Sutton that she’s a great actress since she balances both the strength and empathy of Nyssa’s character throughout the stories that she’s in, including TV and audio. I’m glad ‘The Keeper of Traken’ is a testament to that.”

Timelord007:
“Sarah brought out a range of emotions with the character both on TV and Big Finish audio. As Tim says, inner strength, empathy and courageous caring make the character three-dimensional and not just another pass the tea, “Rescue me, Doctor”-type of companion.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Sarah certainly makes Nyssa seem kind and bubbly. I hope to see more of that when watching Seasons 19 and 20 as well as hearing the Big Finish audios and reading select novels.”

Wolfie:
“Kind, bubbly and capable! The rapport between Sarah Sutton and Peter Davison makes for a companion who was allowed to stand on her own two feet. She’s a capable scientist, theoretician and quite a genuine friend to the Fifth Doctor. In her audio stories, their dynamic has been allowed to grow into something that put to mind, in all seriousness, Scully and Mulder from ‘The X-Files’. I know, right? Not a comparison you’d really think of, but there’s something in Nyssa’s candid capability that brought them to mind in her first run of stories. She feels very much like an orphan who’s decided that her guardian needs as much care, as he thinks she does. Nice that they went the route of Frazer Hines with James Robert McCrimmon and brought her aboard the TARDIS in the same manner.”


Tremas

Tim Bradley:
“Anthony Ainley as Tremas! I like how the story builds up to the reveal that Tremas ends up being killed by the Master so that he can steal his body. Because for the most part, Tremas comes across as a noble figure, which is essential for him being Nyssa’s father; and I like how Anthony Ainley plays that in the performance he gives. It’s quite an underrated performance and it deserves recognition.”

Timelord007:
“The Master stealing Tremas’ body scared the hell out of me, because as a child, one expects a happy ending. Instead ‘The Keeper of Traken’ concludes on a downbeat note with the Master surviving and becoming whole again in his new body.

Anthony Ainley is often criticised for being too pantomime in his performances as the Master. However, I’ve always found he got the tone pitched right and played Tremas as a loving father and cared about Traken and its future.

By the way, nice four minutes to midnight on the clock reference which signals four more episodes until the end of the fourth Doctor era.”

WilliamsFan92:
“The very last shot is actually quite dark as well as sad. Nyssa then has to go on a journey to find her father at the end of which she will get a nasty surprise on Logopolis.”

Wolfie:
“Yeah, I agree with you three. Noble, frightening and dark. Good catch with the clock, Timelord. I’ve never noticed that before. Tremas feels almost like an old friend of the Doctor, despite the two likely never having met before. I could easily see him being Keeper and doing justice to that role in the Union. I have to wonder if the more giddy aspect of the Ainley Master isn’t him being enormously amused every time the Doctor sees his stolen body’s face. The Master’s always had a rather wicked sense of humour (flowers for a funeral in ‘Terror of the Autons’ for instance). His decision to parasitise Tremas would fit quite well with that.”

Timelord007:
“HMV! His Master’s Voice!”

Tim, WilliamsFan92 and Wolfie give odd looks to Timelord007. Timelord007 groans.

Tim Bradley:
“Incidentally, do you think it’s strange that Tremas happens to have a name which is an anagram of ‘Master’? I don’t know if that’s clever or bad fate.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I’d say it’s the former from a storytelling point-of-view but the latter in-universe.”

Wolfie:
“Is this the first instance of anagrammatic foreshadowing in the John-Nathan Turner era? You know, I think it might be.”

Timelord007:
“Ah! The beginning of ‘the anagram Master’!”

Tim Bradley:
“I did like it when Tremas was defiant towards Melkur in ‘Part Four’, even to the point when Melkur shots bolts of red beams into his eyes, which must have been painful.”

Timelord007:
“Not too painful though. I mean he’s going to steal his body soon so he doesn’t really want to damage Tremas too badly.”

WilliamsFan92:
“It would be hard to think if the pain from that would be worse than the pain from being run over by a car.”

Wolfie:
“Well, if we make a logical extrapolation of the weapon: it’s a laser. Lasers are made by concentrated light. Concentrated light generates heat. Heat directly in the eyes! With needles of light! Oohh! Oh, dear. Oof… That’s not a nice experience at all.”

Tim Bradley:
“That scene where Tremas was forced to kill Neman by Melkur was quite terrifying to witness. Melkur could have almost made Tremas shoot himself in the head like he was about to. Quite disturbing that.”

WilliamsFan92:
“If that had happened, the Master would never have been able to take over Tremas’ body.”

Timelord007:
“It’s a tense scene indeed! Very dramatic which no doubt made Mary Whitehouse wet her knickers.”

Tim Bradley:
“Timelord!”

Timelord007:
“I’m just saying. Just saying.”

Wolfie:
“Again, a part of the Master’s rather nasty sense of humour! It’s proof that he has as much sway over Tremas as he did Kassia. Even without the old scientist’s compliance. Johnny Byrne’s scripts – you’ll see this in ‘Arc of Infinity’ and, to a rather alarming extreme, ‘Warriors of the Deep’, as well – often have a nightmarish element of characters being forced immobile while they’re forced to act against their own nature. In this case, it harks back to an archetypal element of the Master’s character – his hypnotic influence over others.”


Kassia

Tim Bradley:
“In some ways, Kassia is the like the central character for a bit in ‘Parts One, Two and Three’. She could easily be mistaken as a villain, but all she’s trying to do as illustrated in the TV story and the Target novelization, is that she wants to stop Tremas becoming the Keeper and spend her life with him. I don’t think that’s explored enough in the story, but it’s intriguing how that’s portrayed here.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I always saw her as the villain. You could argue that she gets her comeuppance at the end of ‘Part Three’.”

Timelord007:
“Kassia sets up the story brilliantly but was then sidelined which I thought was an abrupt way to treat such an important character.”

Wolfie:
“Kassia’s a strong example of one of those complex characters like Hindle from ‘Kinda’, Carrington from ‘The Ambassadors of Death’ and Edward Waterfield from ‘The Evil of the Daleks’ that ‘Doctor Who’ does so well. Rather cruelly, Melkur takes advantage of Kassia’s misery in the cold hours after her wedding. She’s a woman who loves her husband, wishes he wouldn’t leave her, and is victimised for it. That’s quite tragic, really. As far as the Master’s plans go, it’s understatedly one of his nastiest and might have come from a lesson he learnt in ‘The Time Monster’ with Queen Galleia and King Dalios (i.e. his plan fell apart because, in the end, she really did love him).”

Tim Bradley:
“Incidentally, that faint that Kassia did in ‘Part Two’ after she said, “The evil is here before you! Before your eyes!” I’m sure Shelia Ruskin is a great actress and I’ve seen her in a ‘Miss Marple’ with Joan Hickson once, but I thought it daft and over-the-top when she fainted like that in the story.”

WilliamsFan92:
“The direction probably had a say in that faint. I’m sure Sheila Ruskin did her best.”

Timelord007:
“It was the 1980s. Enough said.”

Wolfie:
“I’m willing to say direction too. It’s also a product of the studio space of its time. The cameras were mounted on fairly obstreperous rigs and it was uncommon practice to do as a director like Graeme Harper would for his stories and have someone carry it over their shoulder for more dynamic shots. Nowadays, you’d have equipment small enough to get a point-of-view shot from the character’s perspective on set as she faints.”

Tim Bradley:
“Also, those moments when Kassia’s eyes glowed red once Melkur was controlling her. Even I could see those eyes were made out of cardboard and they weren’t her real eyes. They could have done without those cardboard eyes and actually had her shoot red beams from her eyes when the collar that Melkur gave her glowed red. Strange Neman didn’t have red cardboard eyes when he got his collar.”

WilliamsFan92:
“That is inconsistent. Perhaps the specials effects team didn’t have the budget for beams for Kassia.”

Timelord007:
“The budget for ‘Doctor Who’ was shocking. It was never given the due care and attention it deserved despite being one of the BBC’s flagship shows.”

Wolfie:
“The eyes were a curious choice, as I’m fairly confident they were painted on Ruskin’s eyelids. First time I saw it, I thought of the sigils and symbols you see adorned on the bodies of practitioners in magic. The eyes being a way for Melkur to channel its energy through Kassia as a medium! Re-watching it, looking at it from a practical production standpoint, I can understand why they chose it. Firstly, because chroma-key compositing is capricious at the best of times, and secondly, it does make for an unsettling moment when her eyes lose all definition. I will say though, that an effect that has stood the greater test of time would be Tegan’s possession in ‘Snakedance’, which applies a completely different means to the same result.”

Tim Bradley:
“I found it amusing when at the end of ‘Part Three’ of ‘The Keeper of Traken’, the Doctor and company tried to stop Katura and Luvic from granting Kassia access to the Source of Traken. Once Kassia did her convulsions and Katura and Luvic panicked, Tremas said “We warned you, Consuls!” as if to say, “We told you so!”

WilliamsFan92:
“And the rest of the Trakenites didn’t realise this until it was too late. Then again, as I said earlier, she probably deserved it.”

Timelord007:
“That scene needed work, but again it’s ‘Doctor Who’ on the clock. They probably filmed it at 9:50pm which was 10 minutes before the lights switched off.”

Wolfie:
“The Consuls strike me as a collection of Trakenites who have grown a little too reliant on answering to a single ultimate authority. Benevolent (as with the original Keeper) or not (as with Melkur)! They take the creature at its word when it says that Kassia gave her life for it to be installed in her place. The Doctor notes, with his own lived experience, that she didn’t have a say in the matter. There is a nice little moment in there where Tremas moves towards the Source before the Doctor stops him. Even after everything, he still cared about Kassia. Tremas seems to take no small amount of gratification from the new Keeper’s discomfort during the next day. It killed his wife and his defiant anger at that shows.”


The Melkur

Tim Bradley:
“I like the Melkur statue in ‘The Keeper of Traken’. I’ve included an army of Melkur statues in my story ‘The Tree of Riverloth’ and they were in ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’. I like how scary the statue is, especially when it has its red glowing eyes and when it walks about the gardens of Traken.”

WilliamsFan92:
“It’s certainly menacing with its physical appearance. I wonder how long this particular one’s been there. And it’s the Master’s TARDIS, so has he been there long?”

Timelord007:
“The Melkur scared the then 6-year-old me to the point I avoided statues in friends and family’s gardens because I was afraid the statues would speak to me. That’s the essence of great writing and a wonderful visual creation that it has the influence to scare someone enough to avoid statues.”

Tim Bradley:
“I know Timelord and I tend to criticise Steven Moffat’s writing in ‘Doctor Who’ quite often, but do you think that’s where he got the inspiration to create the Weeping Angels? Because, let’s be honest, the Weeping Angels are an impressive creation by Steven Moffat just as the Melkur is a really impressive creation of Johnny Byrne’s.”

Timelord007:
“To be fair, the Weeping Angels are Moffat’s best created monster. No doubt children felt the same fear with the Weeping Angels that I felt at 6 years old with seeing the Melkur.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I personally feel as though the Weeping Angels are scarier than the Melkur. Though the things the Melkur can do make it just as dangerous.”

Tim Bradley:
“Ah, that’s interesting, WF92. In what way do you think the Weeping Angels are scarier than the Melkur?”

WilliamsFan92:
“Well, the way the Angels’ facial expressions change look very unsettling. The Melkur doesn’t change its expression.”

Tim Bradley:
“An interesting observation. I always feel that the Weeping Angels worked well in their debut appearance ‘Blink’. I didn’t think they worked so effectively in their later TV adventures, but that’s just my opinion.”

Timelord007:
“A shame ‘The Keeper of Traken’ was all filmed inside a studio. If any story deserved location filming, it was ‘The Keeper of Traken’. Imagine those scenes from ‘Traken’ filmed on location with a bigger budget. The possibilities would be endless.”

Tim Bradley:
“Yeah, I’d agree with you, Timelord. ‘The Keeper of Traken’ needed to be more outside on location as opposed to outside in a studio.”

Wolfie:
“The similarities between the Melkur and the Weeping Angels are rather interesting. Both use their statuesque features to hide a predatory nature. In the case of ‘Traken’, the statue literally disguises a greater evil within. Like a nesting doll. It says something about how we view such sculptures, doesn’t it? We imbue an immovable thing with animal-like features (eyes, mouth and so on), a sense of intelligence, and then worry if it’s benevolent or not. There’s almost a fear there of what’s created (and, potentially, what’s left out).”

Tim Bradley:
“I have to say there is one moment where I thought the Fosters as security men was rather daft. There’s a moment in ‘Part Two’ where a Foster sees the Melkur and is terrified but doesn’t run away. I was shouting at him to ‘run’ three times before he got shot by the Melkur with its deadly eyes. Now, come on! It isn’t that difficult! You could have easily run away from the Melkur before you were shot!”

WilliamsFan92:
“Perhaps he didn’t anticipate being shot. But even so, it’s not hard at all.”

Timelord007:
“I understand the phrase fright or fight, but this guy had time to take a shower and boil an egg before being shot.”

Wolfie:
“Ah, but you have to remember what the Melkur represents, too. I thought the Foster’s reaction played into the fact that Trakenites weren’t really prepared to defend themselves. When faced with a legitimate threat, he didn’t have that instinct. The gun had become almost a ceremonial object.”

Tim Bradley:
“And I suppose the Trakenites forgot they had faced a great threat to their planet before in Kwaundar in the audio drama ‘Primeval’ to be ill-prepared for such an event!”

Wolfie:
“Oh, civilisations get complacent and they didn’t exactly respond well to Kwundaar’s invasion attempt that first time around. Funny you mention the Trakenites, because the Source seems to have learnt a trick or two since those days.”

WilliamsFan92:
“It depends on the time between those two stories for Traken. A lot can change if it was a decade or two.”

Tim Bradley:
“It’s a good thing Nyssa and Tremas were level-headed to help the Doctor and Adric!”

Timelord007:
“Yup! Two very well-written characters indeed.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I cannot fathom what kind of hole the Doctor and Adric would have been in if Nyssa and Tremas hadn’t been able to help them.”

Wolfie:
“Enslaved, or worse, at the hands of a practically omnipotent Master. Not a pleasant thought.”


The Master

Tim Bradley:
“Geoffrey Beevers as the Master! What can one say about him? He’s just amazing in that role both on TV and in Big Finish. I know he had to carry on the Peter Pratt interpretation from ‘The Deadly Assassin’ and he was inside his Melkur TARDIS the whole time, but it’s his chilling, sinister voice that did it for me. Even when he screams horrendously at the end in ‘Part Four’, that was very terrifying!”

WilliamsFan92:
“I’m not sure which one’s scarier. Both Pratt and Beevers are terrifying in their own way.”

Timelord007:
“A shame we don’t get more screen time with Beevers’ emaciated Master, because those spooky tones of his always send shivers down my spine to this day. A fantastic performance thankfully expanded by Big Finish in various ‘Doctor Who’ audio dramas.”

Wolfie:
“There’s an interesting question that always gets thrown around whenever someone is asked to succeed in a role. Is it tougher being the original, the replacement or one of the long successors? Roger Delgado defined the role with his Teflon charm, Peter Pratt broke the mould with his agonised revenger, Geoffrey Beevers had an extremely tough set of shoes to fill. He could be one, the other or both and – credit to him – he chose both. He’s only a voice for much of the tale, but we get both the fluidic, frictionless charm of that first incarnation with the tremorous determination of the second. Watch his face as he circles the Doctor in ‘Part Four’, all that acting going on beneath the make-up. He moves like a cobra. Hypnotising its prey before it strikes!”

Tim Bradley:
“It’s funny that the Master wasn’t originally intended to be in ‘The Keeper of Traken’ by Johnny Byrne. The villain was going to be someone else entirely different called Mogen and Tremas had a different name in the original TV story, which was Hellas. The Master was John Nathan-Turner’s idea.

I think it works well in the story to have the villain be revealed to be the Master inside the Melkur statue which turned out to be the Master’s TARDIS and that carried forward into ‘Logopolis’ and ‘Castrovalva’. It’s an ingenious combination of John Nathan-Turner and Chris Bidmead on their parts.”

Timelord007:
“Thank goodness the Master was carried over into the next two stories. Even though he didn’t have much screen time in ‘The Keeper of Traken’, the reveal was an excellent twist and that final scene has become one of ‘Doctor Who’s best endings to a story.”

Tim Bradley:
“Yeah, I agree with you there, Timelord. The moment where Nyssa called for her father at the story’s end once the Master killed and stole Tremas’ body was heartbreaking as well as thrilling.”

Timelord007:
“Absolutely!”

WilliamsFan92:
“Makes you think if Tremas would still have been killed and then led to Nyssa joining the Doctor. I expect adding the Master had something to do with Nyssa being made a companion.”

Wolfie:
“I’ve a strong impression that Tremas would have likely outlasted the day under Mogen. That said; part of ‘The Keeper of Traken’ is the Doctor believes he hasn’t visited the Union before. Except, he has! He and Adric double-check the Time Lord’s old diaries and discover that he made a visit quite some time ago (the expanded universe has since put that in his second incarnation with Jamie and Victoria). It’s possible that Mogen, in the original script, may have been recognised as an unseen former adversary similar to the Borad in ‘Timelash’. Nevertheless, the decision to change him into the Master fits rather snugly in the new context of the story.”

Tim Bradley:
“That’s interesting you said about the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria visiting Traken. I don’t think I’ve come across that before. Is that mentioned in a book or a comic?”

Wolfie:
“Not a bad guess, your first was right. Oddly obscure, it’s one of the Short Trips from Big Finish’s ‘The Muses’ anthology. Back when they were releasing them as print books. The story in question is ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ by Simon A. Forward. We learn a little of astronomy in relation to Traken and even get to see their equivalent of horses. Like ‘The Sandman’ before it, it delves into the concept of phantasmal images that run away with themselves.”

Tim Bradley:
“Ah. Intriguing.”

Wolfie:
‘The Keeper of Traken’, ‘Logopolis’ and ‘Castrovalva’ form an unofficial second trilogy for Seasons 18/19. While the two latter stories can be viewed as essentially a dissevered eight-parter (not unlike ‘Frontier In Space’ and ‘Planet of the Daleks’), it’s hard not to see the shadow that Traken will cast over future instalments of the series.”

Tim Bradley:
“Yes, a lot of people can easily overlook ‘The Keeper of Traken’ as being a significant story, especially since it sets up how things are going to turn out in the transition between Tom Baker and Peter Davison’s Doctors. And I suppose the Master helped in that regard too.”

WilliamsFan92:
“It really doesn’t make sense to discard ‘The Keeper of Traken’ from this small arc.”


The Legacy of Traken

Tim Bradley:
“We have touched upon them, but ‘The Keeper of Traken’ has had its legacy in its Target novelization and audiobook read by Geoffrey Beevers! There’s also ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’, which I loved hearing and I’ve written my own story ‘The Tree of Riverloth’, based on ‘Traken’. There’s also ‘Primeval’, which is an excellent pre-Traken tale with Peter’s Doctor and Sarah’s Nyssa.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I bet I will enjoy these when I get round to them. Maybe a Traken spin-off could be made by Big Finish to complete the Traken cycle.”

Timelord007:
“A brilliant world barely touched upon on TV, but what we do have is a wonderful mythology and lore which Big Finish have expanded upon.”

Wolfie:
“And how? The Union has been revisited in not too dissimilar a way to the planet Peladon from the Third Doctor’s tenure. Despite its scientific leanings, ‘The Keeper of Traken’ is one of the few stories in ‘Doctor Who’ to treat morality as a physical universal force.”

Tim Bradley:
“Yeah, it’s fascinating how things like good and evil in Traken-like stories are depicted in physical nature as opposed to invisible nature which is what we sometimes are often used to. I think it’s a metaphysical thing which, dare I say, has been carried over into tales like ‘Kinda’ and ‘Snakedance’.”

WilliamsFan92:
“Johnny Byrne must have put a lot of effort into that aspect of the writing.”

Timelord007:
“Bring back Traken, I say. Imagine how it would look now on a 21st century budget.”

Tim Bradley:
“Wolfie, do you want to share you what think of ‘Primeval’ and ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ each in turn?”

Wolfie:
“Well, ‘Primeval’ examines medieval Traken, still grappling with its own extremist views of morality and a cosmic horror sitting on their doorstep. By their ethics, a thing must be good or evil. It cannot be both. When the Fifth Doctor challenges that view, quite innocently, he inadvertently makes an enemy of the ruling elite. They treat his wisdom as an invitation to defy his ‘evil’ and much of the story revolves around moral relativity and those perceptions. Among those on Traken and in the dark fleet which circles on the edge of the Union. In order to save Nyssa, he’s forced to make a pact with the cult’s god Kwundaar, but the cost…? Well, you’ll have to listen to the audio to find out. But, as we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s not just Traken that gets a further exploration.”

Tim Bradley:
“I love how ‘Primeval’ tackles the themes featured in ‘The Keeper of Traken’ but on a darker level and it’s unusual to hear a story where things were more hostile and less civilised on medieval Traken compared to the Traken we would later know in ‘The Keeper of Traken’. It’s fascinating to discover!

Something for you to look forward to no doubt, WF92!”

WilliamsFan92:
“You said it, Tim. Right, guys?”

Timelord007:
“Trust me! You’re gonna love ‘Primeval’ most definitely when you hear it.”

Tim Bradley:
“And ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’, Wolfie?”

Wolfie:
‘The Guardians of Prophecy’, conversely, takes the high fantasy undertones of the original ‘Traken’ tale and pushes it right to the fore. ‘Doctor Who’ has a long and happy history of pastiche, ranging across all manner of inspirations. If ‘Leviathan’ could be described as taking a few pages from ‘Robin of Sherwood’, then ‘Prophecy’ could easily be said to possess a nod or two to ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. The Sixth Doctor and Peri walk into the aftermath of one his former incarnation’s biggest failures. It’s clear that the events of ‘Logopolis’ still haunt him as readily as the Lament of the Melkur, but their chilling resonance retains an evil purpose. One that draws the TARDIS down to that lonely, surviving planet of Serenity. You see, Serenity bears its own secrets, locked deep in a sarcophagus at the heart of their entropy-blasted society.”

Tim Bradley:
“I listened to ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ before setting down to write my ‘Tree of Riverloth’ story and I was fascinated by the world-building that was created in terms of how the planet Serenity was different to the planet Traken. It’s a real shame that ‘Prophecy’ didn’t get made into a TV adventure.”

Timelord007:
“It was probably due to budget concerns than storytelling. But ‘Primeval’ and ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ are both amazing high quality audios. They’re rich in storytelling and brilliantly performed by the cast.”

WilliamsFan92:
“I’ve been meaning to do something like what Tim did for his ‘Tree of Riverloth’ story from listening to ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ for some of my story ideas.”


Final Verdict

Tim Bradley:
“Okay, let’s give our final thoughts on this story. How would you sum up ‘The Keeper of Traken’ in one sentence?”

WilliamsFan92:
“A joy from start to finish! 9 out of 10!”

Timelord007:
“Awesomeness! 9 out of 10!”

Wolfie:
“A strong entry from Season 18! 9 out of 10!”

Tim Bradley:
“Great answers!” (laughs) “It’s 10 out of 10 for me with this story. I think the highlights of this story are the introduction of Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, the introduction of the Melkur, the introduction of Geoffrey Beevers as the Master, and the introduction of Anthony Ainley as Tremas who becomes the Master at the story’s end.”

Timelord007:
‘The Keeper of Traken’ is an entertaining spooky story that features a great debut for Nyssa. Plenty of tense drama; a creepy Melkur; the Master’s twist; him stealing Tremas’ body and my idol Tom Baker just being magnificent as the Fourth Doctor.”

Tim Bradley:
“Also if it wasn’t for this story and ‘Black Orchid’, I wouldn’t get to meet Sarah Sutton, who I’ve found lovely to chat to at conventions over the years.”

WilliamsFan92:
“It would be lovely for me to meet Sarah at conventions when the time is right.”

Wolfie:
“Oh, conventions! I miss them! I’d love to see them back at some point in our foreseeable future.”

Tim Bradley:
“Hopefully the one I’ve got coming up in Bedford in October 2021 will be a fun experience.

To finish off, has anyone attempted to cook the Kipper of Traken, which is a recipe by Johnny Byrne from ‘The Doctor Who Cookbook’? I’m not sure I want to try it out after seeing ‘The Doctor Who Cookbook Revisited’ bonus recipe with Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Toby Hadoke from the Season 23 Blu-ray box set. You can also see it on the official ‘Doctor Who’ YouTube channel.”

Timelord007:
“Kipper of Traken?!” (groans) “What next? Sea Devil Surprise? Silurian Curry?”

WilliamsFan92:
“Maybe someday, I’d need to purchase the cookbook and it comes up to £80 on Amazon. My cooking skills at the moment are limited to sandwiches and cereal. It’s safe to say that I do more eating food than I do making it.”

Laughter ensues.

Wolfie:
“I just watched the video. I could honestly go for a whole evening of watching ‘Doctor Who’ alumni attempt to make dishes from the cookbook. That would be an absolute riot. Nice touch at getting India Fisher to step in and do the voiceover segments. Charming!”

Tim Bradley:
“Well, just to say, thank you three for joining me in this ‘Bradley’s Basement’s Strange Love’ discussion on ‘The Keeper of Traken’. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.”

WilliamsFan92:
“It was a pleasure to be here, Tim.”

Wolfie:
“Always happy to pitch in, Tim.”

Timelord007:
“I always enjoy revisiting ‘Doctor Who’ in the company of friends. Even though I keep saying I’ve retired from reviewing, Mr. Bradley always charms me to come back.”

Tim Bradley:
“Maybe we could do another one these ‘Strange Love’ discussions in the future. Perhaps we can do one on the 1989 ‘Batman’ film or on the ‘Thunderbirds’ Christmas episode ‘Give or Take a Million’ next time! Who knows?”

WilliamsFan92:
“I’ve watched both, so either’s fine with me.”

Timelord007:
‘Batman’ 1989? I’m in as I’m very nostalgic about that movie!”

Wolfie:
“I suppose we’ll find out next time. In another time, another place! Until then, at the risk of sounding terribly official, this has been a very ‘Bradley Basement’s Strange Love’ look at ‘The Keeper of Traken’.”

Tim Bradley:
(laughs) “Very good of you to close us out on that note, Wolfie.”

Timelord007:
“Sorry, just one more mini moan to add about the VHS release of ‘The Keeper of Traken’. The artwork with the Fourth Doctor wearing the Season 17 attire and not the burgundy attire he wore throughout Season 18! Disgraceful!”

Tim Bradley:
“Yes, I’ve had a look at the VHS release cover on Amazon. Very shocking indeed!”

Laughter ensues.

Timelord007:
“By the way, on Tim’s request, I’ve done a couple of illustrations for ‘The Keeper of Traken’ including the Melkur and Tom Baker’s Doctor. Hope everyone likes them! Enjoy!”

3 thoughts on “Bradley’s Basement’s Strange Love – ‘The Keeper of Traken’

  1. Williams Fan 92

    Hello Tim.
    I like how this discussion turned out. You, me, Wolfie and Timelord007 certainly made some great points regarding ‘The Keeper of Traken’. I’m sure I will enjoy the story when rewatching via the Collection Season 18 box set in December.

    I guess I’ll wait and see if you plan on doing ‘Strange Loves’ on other ‘Doctor Who’ stories. We could do ‘Logopolis’ in December, Season 19 in 2022 and Nyssa’s Season 20 stories in 2023.

    Also of note, this is the only ‘Doctor Who’ tv story that features Nyssa, but not Tegan.

    Take care, WF92. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Timelord 007

    Have to admit i thoroughly enjoyed contributing on this review you have 4 opinions on the story with each reviewer bringing something exciting to the table.

    Happy to contribute in future discussions as this was such a joyful experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  3. Tim Bradley Post author

    Thanks both.

    I’m glad you enjoyed our discussion on ‘The Keeper of Traken’. It’s been great to do it with you two and Wolfie for ‘Bradley’s Basement’s 6th anniversary. Hopefully we’ll do another one of these again soon. Maybe we will do ‘Logopolis’ for December time. Or it might be 1989 ‘Batman’ next. Who knows?

    Many thanks,

    Tim 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.