‘The Awakening’ (TV)

 earth story dvd


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Malus in Little Hodcombe with the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough

War games take place in Little Hodcombe, as the awakening of the Malus is about to take place!

This is a two-part adventure by Eric Pringle, set in the English village of Little Hodcombe in 1984. It features Peter Davison as the Doctor with Janet Fielding as Tegan and Mark Strickson as Turlough.

The Doctor takes the TARDIS to Little Hodcombe so that Tegan can see her grandfather. But when they get there, the villagers re-enact dangerous war games from 1643 as the Malus wakes up with its evil.

This is an interesting two-parter that flew by pretty quickly for me. I don’t fully understand the story and I think it would have worked better as a four-parter, since a lot of it gets very rushed at the end.

I liked the English village setting of ‘The Awakening’. ‘Doctor Who’ stories set in English villages seem to work well, as they provide an excellent backdrop for engaging action-packed sequences shown in this.

Peter Davison excels as the Doctor in this adventure. The Doctor gets pretty tetchy and flippant at times, as he’s determined to find out what’s going and makes intriguing discoveries about the Malus.

Janet Fielding is okay as Tegan in this adventure. It was interesting to find her wanting to meet up with her grandfather. She gets forced to become the Queen of the May as a part of the village’s traditions.

Mark Strickson is equally okay as Turlough in this adventure. He tends to be shifty and cowardly at times, especially when he and Tegan split up. He meets Tegan’s grandfather when they get locked up.

Polly James guest stars as Jane Hampden, the village school teacher. She doesn’t like what goes on with the war games in the village and soon helps the Doctor in finding a way to stop the Malus’ evil.

Denis Lill (who was also in ‘Image of the Fendahl’) guest stars as Sir George Hutchinson. Sir George is in charge of the war games and he’s determined to see them continue. He’s under the influence of the Malus and becomes its servant.

Keith Jayne guest stars as Will Chandler, a boy taken from 1643 and put into 1984. He meets the Doctor and helps to stop the Malus. I don’t know how Will would have worked if he became a companion.

The cast also includes Glyn Houston, who I’ve seen in ‘Lord Peter Wimsey’, ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave Them’ and the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Hand of Fear’, as Colonel Ben Wolsey. There’s also Jack Galloway as Joseph Willow and Frederick Hall as Andrew Verney, Tegan’s grandfather.

The Malus is impressive! The special effects are amazing when it’s in the church wall with smoke. It gets tense when it infilitrates inside the TARDIS somehow. The story should’ve been longer to feature the Malus more.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s the ‘Return to Little Hodcombe’ making-of documentary; the ‘Making the Malus’ featurette; the ‘Now & Then’ locations featurette; a ‘From the Cutting Room Floor’ item; ‘The Golden Eggs Award’ outtake from the story and a photo gallery of the story. There’s a commentary with director Michael Owen Morris and script editor Eric Saward, moderated by Toby Hadoke. There’s also an isolated music option by Peter Howell; an info-text commentary option to enjoy and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story. There’s a ‘coming soon’ trailer for ‘Paradise Towers’ with Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford.

I enjoyed ‘The Awakening’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson. It’s not the best Fifth Doctor story I’ve seen, but it’s far from terrible and I love the lush location of the English village.

‘Earth Story’ has been an enjoyable if unusual set of ‘Doctor Who’ stories to watch on DVD. It’s not the best collection I’ve seen, but ‘The Gunfighters’ and ‘The Awakening’ are worth the entertainment. If you fancy an adventure set on Earth with the Doctor, then this box set is for you!

By the way, Kamelion makes a cameo appearance in a deleted scene from ‘The Awakening’. And that’s it!

‘The Awakening’ rating – 6/10

The previous story

For the Fifth Doctor was

  • ‘Mark of the Medusa’ (Penguin/Audio)

For Tegan was

  • ‘Mark of the Medusa’ (Penguin/Audio)

For Turlough was

  • ‘Mark of the Medusa’ (Penguin/Audio)

For Kamelion was

  • ‘Mark of the Medusa’ (Penguin/Audio)
The next story

For the Fifth Doctor is

  • ‘And You Will Obey Me’ (Audio)

For Tegan is

  • ‘The King of Terror’ (Book)

For Turlough is

  • ‘The King of Terror’ (Book)

For Kamelion is

  • ‘Imperial Moon’ (Book)
Return to The Fifth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Tegan’s Timeline
Return to Turlough’s Timeline
Return to Kamelion’s Timeline
Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index
Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index
Return to Doctor Who Timelines
Return to Doctor Who
Return to Sci-Fi

4 thoughts on “‘The Awakening’ (TV)

  1. Timelord 007

    Never understood the two part format, only story that it worked for was Black Orchid, The Kings Demons & The Awakening are underwhelming stories in my opinion, this could’ve been good as a potential 4 parter & i agree Tim, the ending is very rushed & the story certainly suffers because of it.

    I’d rather this been 4 parts & Frontios two as i think Frontios was a slow paced story & cutting it down to two episodes might have tightened up the pacing? What do you think Tim?

    I’d also give this one a 6/10

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      ‘Black Orchid” always stands out for me as a two-part ‘Doctor Who’ story. Maybe if Nyssa was in ‘The King’s Demons’ and ‘The Awakening’, the stories would be better. I’ll have to check out the novelizations/audiobooks of those two stories and see how they compare. Hopefully they should be better.

      Well I like ‘Frontios’ as a story. I didn’t find it slow-paced as you found it, but it would be interesting if ‘Awakening’ was a four-parter and ‘Frontios’ was a two-parter. So long as Nyssa and Billy are in the stories, they’ll be fine. 😀

      Thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂


  2. Williams Fan 92

    Great review Tim.

    I must admit to enjoying ‘The Awakening’ a bit more than you did. Granted there were some things that could have been explained better, but I enjoyed the story for what it was. I haven’t felt as tense when watching a Fifth Doctor story since ‘The Visitation’. Did you catch that the Malus is supposedly related to the Terileptils?

    As for the Malus itself, it’s certainly unlike any other ‘Doctor Who’ monster. It kinda reminded me of Azal from ‘The Daemons’. In fact, I’d say ‘The Awakening’ is very much like ‘The Daemons’. I guess the villagers were under it’s influence. I hope the Target novelisation/audiobook elaborates on this. I’m not sure adding Nyssa and/or Billy to the story would have automatically made it better. It’s ironic that you’re not a fan of two-parters, yet your favourite ‘Doctor Who’ story is a two-parter.

    Interesting that Timelord007 found ‘Frontios’ to be slow going. I’ll see what I make of it when I get around to watching it soon. I hope to have finished watching Season 21 before moving onto Season 22. I’ve seen the details of the Blu-Ray box set in DWM. Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are attending a convention in Great Yarmouth next weekend. I’m thinking of going to it, but I’ll have to wait and see.

    Take care, WF92.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      Glad you enjoyed ‘The Awakening’ and I’m glad you enjoyed my review on it. Once again, I will have to re-examine my thoughts on this story when it comes to updating it for the Season 21 Blu-ray box set sometime whenever that comes out. Yes, I did pick up that the Malus had a connection to the Terileptils in this story. A shame the Terileptils didn’t appear.

      I wouldn’t say I’m not a fan of two-part ‘Doctor Who’ adventures. ‘Black Orchid’ is definitely my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ story in the Peter Davison era and the show overall, and I have enjoyed two-parters like ‘Alien Heart’ and ‘Dalek Soul’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton as well as the two-parters featured in the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc run of stories. I feel four-parters work better compared to two-parters, considering they allow more time for a story to be told compared to two-parters that have a limited amount of time to tell a story properly. ‘The Awakening’ was meant to be a four-parter instead of a two-parter according to what Eric Saward said in a DVD interview once. I wouldn’t object to checking out the Target novelization/audiobook of ‘The Awakening’ by Eric Pringle, as I’m sure the story would be better in that compared to how I’ve seen it in the TV version. But again, that’s something for me to address when it comes to revisiting ‘The Awakening’ in future.

      Regarding adding Nyssa and/or Billy into ‘The Awakening’ to make the story better, perhaps not. But I find it more exciting when a Fifth Doctor story features Nyssa in it compared to featuring Tegan and Turlough in it, but that’s my preference anyway. I’m looking forward to the Season 22 Blu-ray box set when it comes out, having had a look at the preview for it in the latest issue of ‘Doctor Who Magazine’. It looks to be an exciting box set release. I’m slowly getting around to providing updated reviews on ‘Eve of the Daleks’ and ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’. Hope you get to see Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant at the ‘Great Yarmouth Comic Con’. Looks to be exciting.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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