‘Full Circle’ (TV)

 the e-space trilogy dvd


Please feel free to comment on my review.

An Adventure in E-Space with the Marshmen

Early in January 2009, the ‘Doctor Who’ DVD range began with a brand new box-set release!

This is ‘The E-Space Trilogy’! These were three adventures set in a pocket universe during the seventh and final season of Tom Baker’s era in ‘Doctor Who’. It introduced new companion Matthew Waterhouse as Adric and was the last to feature Lalla Ward’s Romana and K-9 (voiced by John Leeson).

I enjoyed watching ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ when I saw it on DVD. It’s become more ‘The E-Space Season’ with ‘The Invasion of E-Space’ in it. I was intrigued by how things had changed in ‘Doctor Who’ during the 1980s, since Season 18 is where the show started reformatting itself with radical changes.

‘Full Circle’ is a great first story, starting ‘The-E-Space Trilogy’ very well. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 are summoned back to Gallifrey. But on their way, the TARDIS slips through a Charged Vacuum Emboitment (CVE) into E-Space.

They end up on the planet Alazarius, where they meet a boy named Adric and they face the menace of the Marshman, as Mistfall begins. Will the Doctor and Romana find a way back to their universe?

This four-part story is by Andrew Smith, who was a young ‘Doctor Who’ fan at the age of 18 when he wrote ‘Full Circle’. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Andrew at conventions and he’s a very nice chap.

Andrew submitted several story ideas to the ‘Doctor Who’ production office. His story ‘The Planet That Slept’ got accepted by the script editor Christopher H. Bidmead in 1980 and became ‘Full Circle’.

Matthew Waterhouse makes his first appearance as Adric, another young ‘Doctor Who’ fan who wanted to be in the series. This is a great introduction for Adric, who is a boy genius with a mathematical brain.

Adric runs into the TARDIS and becomes a helpful ally to the Doctor and Romana in stopping the Marshman. He seizes his chance to stow away aboard the TARDIS with the Doctor and Romana at the end.

I’ve now had the DVD cover of ‘Full Circle’ signed by Matthew Waterhouse and writer Andrew Smith at ‘The Capitol II’ convention in the Arora Hotel, Gatwick, May 2017. I’m very pleased to have met these chaps and to have the DVD cover signed by them for their debut contributions to ‘Doctor Who’.

Tom Baker delivers a terrific performance as the Doctor in this, as he assists the people of Alazarius and works out what the mystery is with the Marshmen. He strikes up a good friendship with Decider Login.

Lalla Ward is pretty good as Romana. I liked the opening scene in Romana’s bedroom where the Doctor checks in on her. She doesn’t want to return to Gallifrey since she was in ‘The Key to Time’ season.

I enjoyed K-9, voiced by John Leeson. K-9 gets pretty abused badly, as he has trouble controlling the TARDIS; gets to chase Marshmen through the boggy ground and gets beheaded, which did upset me.

The Outlers include Richard Willis as Varsh, Adric’s brother; Bernard Padden as Tylos and June Page as Keara. The Deciders include James Bree as Nefred; Alan Rowe as Garif and George Baker as Login.

I was delighted to see George Baker in this. I’ve seen George in an episode of ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Them’. Login is a likeable, noble character of the community, as he gets to be a Decider on Alazarius.

I found the Marshmen pretty daft. I did like that shot of them coming out of the water at the end of ‘Part One’. But looking at them, they are guys in rubber masks and costumes and they didn’t really convince me.

This was Peter Grimwade’s first ‘Doctor Who’ story as a director. He does a pretty good job making the action sequences exciting and I liked the location scenes of Alazarius and the Starliner’s interior.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s an enjoyable commentary with Matthew Waterhouse, writer Andrew Smith and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead. There’s also an isolated music option by Paddy Kingsland and an info-text commentary option to enjoy.

There’s a making-of documentary called ‘All Aboard The Starliner’ with cast and crew interviews; a ‘K-9 in E-Space’ featurette and a ‘Swap Shop’ interview with Matthew Waterhouse. There’s also an ‘E-Space – Fact or Fiction?’ documentary; continuities of the story; a photo gallery of the story and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story.

There’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for the ‘The Rescue’ and ‘The Romans’ with William Hartnell, William Russell, Jacqueline Hill and Maureen O’Brien.

‘Full Circle’ is a great story to start off ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ and it’s well-written by Andrew Smith. It’s a good introduction to Adric and a great start for the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9 in E-Space.

‘Full Circle’ rating – 8/10

doctor who - full circle novelization doctor who - full circle audiobook


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Planet That Slept

Here we have come ‘full circle’!

This is the Target novelization/audiobook of ‘Doctor Who – Full Circle’ which I’ve enjoyed immensely. I purchased the audiobook at a WHSmith’s whilst holidaying in Chichester in April 2015. I purchased the novel afterwards from Amazon.co.uk, as I wanted to read/listen to the novel/audio at the same time.

‘Doctor Who – Full Circle’ was published in 1982. It was novelized by Andrew Smith from his TV story called ‘Full Circle’, which was the first story in ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ shown in 1980. I like ‘Full Circle’ and it was good getting to know more about the background of the story and the characters in the book.

The book ‘Full Circle’ is divided into 12 chapters and it opens with an exciting prologue, not shown in the original TV story. Each chapter title in the book is taken from a quote spoken by one of the characters. I recall reading and listening to the book with the audio on some summery days in 2015.

The audiobook is a 4-disc CD set and it is read by Matthew Waterhouse, who played Adric in the original TV series of ‘Doctor Who’. I enjoyed Matthew’s reading of the story and how he interprets the characters. Matthew also gets to be joined by John Leeson, who does the voice for K-9 in this adventure.

I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Doctor Who – Full Circle’ signed by Matthew Waterhouse at the ‘Bournemouth Film and Comic Con’ in August 2015. I had a nice chat with Matthew about him reading the book and also his Big Finish audios as Adric with Peter Davison; Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Smith at conventions. ‘Full Circle’ was Andrew’s first contribution to ‘Doctor Who’ when he was 18 in 1980, and novelizing his TV story was his second contribution. Nowadays, Andrew writes some Big Finish audios for ‘Doctor Who’ which I’ve also enjoyed.

The Target novelization is greatly enriched in detail and provides more information about the world of Alzarius, the Marshmen, the supporting characters and introducing Adric. I’ve always been fascinated by ‘Full Circle’ and was keen to discover more about how Alzarius worked as an alien world.

The prologue was interesting to read and listen to. It details the Starliner’s crash-landing to Alzarius and how the survivors coped with settling on a new planet. It also depicts the survivors being attacked by Marshmen on the Starliner, setting things up very well for the rest of the story later on.

There is also a poem after the prologue which was written by the First Decider called Yanek Pitrus of the Tenth Generation Starliner. This poem crops up now and again in the book, as it forms the mythology of Alzarius. “When Mistfall comes, The giants leave the swamps, The Marshmen walk the world…”

As I said before, I enjoyed Matthew Waterhouse’s reading of the ‘Full Circle’ audiobook. I’ve listened to Matthew’s reading of another ‘Doctor Who’ audiobook before called ‘Doctor Who and the Visitation’. Matthew reads his introductory story as Adric well, since this is how it began for him in the TV series.

It’s fitting that Matthew should be reading his introduction as Adric, since he knows the character inside out. His narration is reasonably clear and it is easy to follow when reading/listening to the novel/audio. Matthew provides some interesting voices for the characters featured during the story.

I liked Matthew’s interpretation of Tom Baker’s Doctor in the audiobook. It’s an interesting interpretation, since it isn’t a booming voice as I was expecting. What Matthew gives is getting Tom’s rounded tones in the Doctor’s voice that make him sound pretty believable and amusing to listen to.

Matthew’s voice for Romana sounds pretty good, as it is soft and light when doing Lalla Ward. His voices for the supporting characters are equally good including Varsh, Tylos, Keara, Login and Garif. His voice for Nefred sounds exactly like how James Bree would have sounded in the original TV story.

But of course it’s Matthew’s voice in recreating Adric that stands out pretty well. Matthew tries to make Adric sound younger than he is when he was doing the TV series back in 1980. It’s something Matthew has done recently when returning to play Adric for ‘The Fifth Doctor Box Set’ by Big Finish.

I was delighted to hear John Leeson voicing K-9 in this audiobook of ‘Full Circle’ with Matthew. It was amusing when K-9 crops up now and again, as he’s speaking in certain scenes of the story. K-9’s role isn’t as big in the story, since the current production team were determined to get rid of the robot dog.

K-9 mostly features on the first two discs of the audiobook, before returning for a final appearance on the last disc. K-9 reads the titles of chapters from ‘quoted lines’ in the audio, which took me by surprise. It was amusing when K-9 squiggled and squeaked after he was beheaded by a Marshman.

I liked how Andrew Smith develops the supporting characters of ‘Full Circle’ in the book compared to the TV story. I like how Login’s anxiety is developed on when concerned for his daughter and becoming a Decider. Also Nefred and Garif’s incompetence as Deciders gets touched upon and explored in this.

It was interesting how Andrew develops the routineness-aspects of the Alzarians and how they keep on ‘the work of maintenance’ aboard the Starliner. It put me in mind of these people going around in circles and it infuriates the Doctor when the Deciders can’t decide and go by procedures all the time.

Adric’s character gets an interesting development in the book compared to the TV story. Adric is torn between loyalties to his brother Varsh and the Outlers, since he refuses to help them to take over the TARDIS and threaten Romana. I found Adric less annoying in the book compared to the TV story.

I took note that the names Nefred, Garif and Login were surnames for the Alzarian characters in the story. Their full names happen to be Ragen Nefred; Jaynis Garif and Haldrin Login. Keara’s full name turns out to be Keara Login. Strangely Adric and Varsh aren’t given a surname, which is odd for me.

I liked how the Marshmen get developed upon in the book compared to the TV story. They’re more convincing and ferocious as monsters compared to the TV story. They’re also more threatening, since they happen to have a rage and a dislike for the Alzarians which gets developed later on in the story.

The interior of the Starliner’s design is well-detailed in the book and is described well by Andrew Smith. The settings are visual, including the corridors and the Great Book Room. An interesting moment is when Nefred directly links telepathically to the System Files, not shown in the TV version.

I was expecting there to be an epilogue at the end of novel/audiobook of ‘Full Circle’. But as I discovered from the sleeve text, Andrew Smith had inserted an epilogue originally but it got deleted at the insistence of producer John Nathan-Turner. Why this happened, I’ve no idea and it is a shame.

There is an additional scene at end of the story where the Marshmen retreat to the swamps and are in telepathic communication by their Marshleader. They consider what to do when rising from the swamps again, setting things up for the Big Finish audio sequel ‘Mistfall’ with Peter Davison’s Doctor.

‘Doctor Who – Full Circle’ has been a great novel/audiobook to read/listen to. I’ve enjoyed listening to Matthew Waterhouse’s narration and John Leeson as K-9. Andrew Smith enriches the world of ‘Full Circle’ greatly and I have enjoyed exploring more of this story with the Marshmen and Mistfall.

I’m looking forward to reading/listening to ‘Doctor Who and the State of Decay’ next!

‘Doctor Who – Full Circle’ rating – 8/10

The previous story

For the Fourth Doctor was

For Romana was

For K-9 MkII was

For Adric was

The next story

For the Fourth Doctor is

For Romana is

For K-9 MkII is

For Adric is

Return to The Fourth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Romana’s Timeline
Return to The Timelines of K-9
Return to Adric’s Timeline

2 thoughts on “‘Full Circle’ (TV)

  1. Brilliant double review of episodes & Target adaption Tim that additional scene you mention explains a lot & shouldn’t been cut from the episode because until i read the novel i thought this story ended rather abruptly.

    The marshmen wete lit badly so instead of being terrifying they look like dancers in rubber costumes, should’ve had them rise out the water at night & just shown part of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Simon.

    Glad you enjoyed my reviews on both the TV story and novelization/audiobook versions of ‘Full Circle’. Glad you like my mention of the additional Marshmen scene at the end of the story in the novelization/audiobook. I’m pleased Andrew Smith used that as inspiration for his sequel story ‘Mistfall’ with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough.

    Yeah the Marshmen were pretty appalling in this story and the lighting on them should have been better. They looked good when rising up out of the water in ‘Part One’ with a cloud shadow cast upon them. But in full view and in bright lightning, they didn’t look so great. They should have proshetic moving mouths and faces and not static masks as they did in the story.

    Thanks for your comments, Simon.

    Tim. 🙂


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