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Logopolis, the Master and the End of the Fourth Doctor
And now we come to the end of Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’! And of course, we come to the end of the Tom Baker era of the show! Season 18 was a tumultuous season of ‘Doctor Who’ to make behind-the-scenes. But miraculously, the season was completed despite the many dramas behind it.
It is amazing how much has changed in the stories that were made in Season 18 overall. It started being about the Doctor, Romana and K-9. Here it ends with the Doctor now joined by three new companions including Adric, Nyssa and the debut of brand-new companion Janet Fielding as Tegan.
I’m glad I’ve had my DVD cover of ‘Logopolis’ signed by Sarah Sutton at the ‘Acceptable In The 80s’ convention in Chiswick, London, October 2011. I’m sure Sarah found the story complex and hard work to make, especially with it being Tom Baker’s final story. But she excels very well as Nyssa here!
I’ve discovered in behind-the-scenes documentaries how fraught the production of Season 18 was, with it being Tom Baker’s final season as the Doctor and John Nathan-Turner’s first season as producer. Tom and JNT clearly didn’t see eye-to-eye and things weren’t any easier working on the set.
I can only imagine what the making of Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’ would’ve been like and what it would’ve been like to work with Tom Baker as an actor. Like Sarah Sutton, I probably would’ve been terrified to work with Tom Baker with his ego getting the better of him, causing him to be bad-tempered.
Tom Baker is still loved by the fans of ‘Doctor Who’ and by this point he had played the character for seven years. Clearly Tom didn’t want to go as he enjoyed playing the character. But due to the production teams changing and not always seeing eye-to-eye with the producer, Tom decided to go.
It’s a shame to think of Tom Baker in a light where he wasn’t always the easiest actor to work with and that he could be bad-tempered at times. Matthew Waterhouse had the worst of it when he worked with his hero, being naive and unaware of the bad temperament that his fellow actor had.
But despite this, Tom did his best to not shirk away from promoting the series and continued to play the Doctor to the end. The clock had chimed for Tom’s era to come a close and he did it bravely. But would the final story reflect the heroism of Tom Baker’s Doctor? Um…well…let’s have a look here.
First of all, when I saw ‘Logopolis’, Tom Baker’s final story of ‘Doctor Who’ on DVD as part of the ‘New Beginnings’ trilogy, I found it to be an enjoyable experience. As well as Janet Fielding’s debut as Tegan and the last to feature Tom’s Doctor, it was also the second story to feature Sarah Sutton as Nyssa.
‘Logopolis’ is a four-part adventure by script editor Christopher H. Bidmead. It’s interesting that Chris Bidmead became the writer of the final story of Season 18 where it wasn’t usually the script editor who was allowed to write the final story of the season. Chris Bidmead seemed to get lucky. 😀
The first time I saw ‘Logopolis’, I found it to be a pretty complex tale. I did have to re-watch it more than once in order to follow and understand what was going on. I referred to ‘The Fact of Fiction’ article on ‘Logopolis’ in an issue of ‘Doctor Who Magazine’ and the Target novelization for help on it.
I’ve gained a clearer understanding of ‘Logopolis’ over the years and it is a fascinating story to watch more than once. But even so, I have noticed plot-holes in the story. Maybe it was rushed when being written before going into production, but I would’ve thought Chris Bidmead left no margin of error.
I don’t mean any disrespect to Chris Bidmead as a ‘Doctor Who’ writer as he’s pretty fascinating in terms of the stories he comes up with. But I’m afraid I don’t feel this final story of Season 18 defines the Tom Baker era of ‘Doctor Who’ overall and it doesn’t conclude on a reassuring heroic high either.
‘Logopolis’ is a story that doesn’t suit Tom Baker’s Doctor. It’s got some fascinating concepts in it including a TARDIS within a TARDIS within a TARDIS situation. The concepts of Block Transfer Computation are fascinating as well as the world of Logopolis itself in it being all about mathematics.
But as a story to end Tom Baker’s reign of ‘Doctor Who’, it just doesn’t do that. Tom Baker should be saving the universe with bonkers’ eccentricity; toothy grin; all teeth and curls; making jokes and offering jelly babies to anyone. In fact, there aren’t any jelly babies to be featured in Season 18 itself.
The elements of Tom Baker’s Doctor have been mostly diluted in his final season, caused by the changes to the production by producer JNT and script editor Chris Bidmead with their radical envisioning of the show. This doesn’t match to how David Tennant’s Doctor left in ‘The End of Time’.
I can appreciate and understand why Tom Baker was so grumpy and bad-tempered in his final season of ‘Doctor Who’, since his desires on how he wanted to play the Doctor were overridden by JNT. Tom Baker couldn’t be his usual bonkers self anymore as he wasn’t allowed to by the producer.
This isn’t the right attitude to go about with ending an era of ‘Doctor Who’ for an actor who had played the Doctor for seven years. I appreciate the changes made to improve the show for the 1980s period, but if you’re not going to end an actor’s time as the Doctor on a big high, then don’t bother!
With that said though, ‘Logopolis’ isn’t all that bad. It’s an intriguing and decent end to Tom Baker’s era of ‘Doctor Who’. I just wish it had ended with him being more cheerful and not as moody as he seemed to be. Tom Baker has rare moments of smiling, but most of the time he’s pretty sullen and unhappy.
This I can appreciate. Tom Baker didn’t want to go when he made the decision to leave. You can argue that this is reflected in his performance of the Doctor, especially when he sees the Watcher who reminds him that his time is up. I wish that could have been signified further in the dialogue he’s given.
That’s another problem I have with ‘Logopolis’ and Season 18 overall. There’s not much emotional drama happening and I don’t think Chris Bidmead is one for emotional drama. Even in the moments when you are supposed to feel emotion for certain characters, they feel pretty fleeting in execution.
Anyway, let’s talk about the introduction of Janet Fielding as Tegan Jovanka in ‘Doctor Who’. Tegan is a combination of John Nathan-Turner’s idea of a ‘Doctor Who’ companion; Chris Bidmead’s writing of her in her debut story and Janet’s performance. Tegan would become a very popular companion.
JNT wanted a bouncy Australian air stewardess in Tegan Jovanka as the new ‘Doctor Who’ companion. And that’s what she is by the way. Tegan is an air stewardess who goes on her way to work at Heathrow Airport when driving with Dolore Whiteman as her Aunt Vanessa in her red car. 😀
After the car breaks down on the Barnet Bypass, Tegan comes across the TARDIS parked there and stumbles into it by accident. Pretty soon, Tegan gets caught in an adventure of high stakes when meeting the Doctor, Adric and eventually Nyssa as they visit the planet Logopolis – the city of words.
That is Greek by the way. Logopolis is Greek for ‘city of words’. I looked it up. By the way, why was the TARDIS there on the Barnet Bypass anyway? Well, the Doctor wanted to visit one the police boxes on Earth and measure it in order to take the measurements to Logopolis to repair his TARDIS.
In this story, the Doctor seems fed up with his TARDIS being stuck in its police box shape and wants to repair the chameleon circuit. I’m surprised it’s taken the Doctor this long to think about repairing the TARDIS’ chameleon circuit when he could’ve done it earlier. I thought he liked it as a police box.
Well, actually there is another reason. The Doctor wants to avoid another confrontation with the Master who he guesses may have escaped from Traken following the end of ‘The Keeper of Traken’. He believes repairing the TARDIS might help with outwitting the Master. That does sound plausible.
But the Master has already got there inside the blue police box on the Barnet Bypass. Thus when the Doctor and Adric arrive there afterwards, a TARDIS within a TARDIS within a TARDIS situation is created. I found it thrilling and scary when the Doctor and Adric went inside the TARDIS again and again.
Matthew Waterhouse, I believe, is very good as Adric in this adventure. I know he was inexperienced as an actor back then, but he does his best when performing alongside Tom Baker. Adric does become helpful and useful especially when assisting the Doctor to take down measurements for the TARDIS.
Adric is even helpful when assisting the Monitor on Logopolis to find the fault when the Doctor’s TARDIS has been shrunk down to size. I think the writing and the acting could have been better though as it didn’t seem to be relaxed when the actors were saying their dialogue to each other in the story.
It was great to see Sarah Sutton as Nyssa again. I was pleased she was asked back to play Nyssa as a regular character in the series. Of course if Sarah didn’t say “Yes!” to coming back to play Nyssa in ‘Doctor Who’, I wouldn’t get to enjoy her in the Big Finish audios and meet her at conventions. 😀
Nyssa’s appearance in ‘Logopolis’ is rather limited since she doesn’t appear until the last five minutes of ‘Part Two’ in the story. Chris Bidmead had to re-introduce her at the last minute. But it was great to see her and she has defining moments that make her join the TARDIS team at the end.
Anthony Ainley also returns in the ‘Doctor Who’ series, this time playing the Master. He previously played Tremas in ‘The Keeper of Traken’. Now he’s playing the Master walking in Tremas’ dead body when he stole it at the end of the previous story in Season 18. It was a shock to see how that got revealed.
I felt for Nyssa when she discovered gradually that her father was killed by the Master. It was so heartbreaking when Nyssa saw the Master for the first time and she assumed him to be her father, only younger, before discovering the truth. I wish that could have been elaborated more in the series.
Anthony Ainley has to be my favourite Master in ‘Doctor Who’. I still like Roger Delgado and John Simm’s versions, but Anthony Ainley’s Master is pretty cool and calculating and I do like his elegant evil. He can be charming whilst being sinister at the same time since he wanted to conquer the universe.
I found the Logopolitans to be an extraordinary bunch of people on their planet in the titular story. The Logopolitans are led by Noel Edmonds, I’m sorry…John Frazer as the Monitor. Seriously though, he does have an air of Noel Edmonds about him? It’s the eyes; the beard and facial expressions, I think.
Anyway, Logopolis happens to be a world dedicated to mathematics and creating solid objects out of pure mathematics. I’m not exactly sure how and why Logopolis seems to be important as a planet in the main universe we live in. It’s revealed that Logopolis has a secret in being the ‘key’ to the universe.
I don’t buy the explanation when the Monitor reveals it to the Master in the story. I’m certain there’s another way the universe got created. God for example! I know this all fantasy and not to be taken seriously. It’s certainly a Chris Bidmead idea and he would come up with that to suit his story.
I imagine that life on Logopolis would be pretty boring if I had to live there. All the Logopolitans seem to do is mutter numbers and sit in cells with abacus beads in their hands. One can imagine what Logopolitans would daily talk about. It’d be all maths! “Did you know two plus three is five?” 😀
As I’ve stated before, there’s a mysterious character in the story called the Watcher, played by Adrian Gibbs. He’s a ghostly figure dressed in white who appears to the Fourth Doctor when he’s on the last vestiges of his life. It’s not clear who he really is at first as we’re meant to guess in the story.
But it soon gets revealed that the Watcher is actually a future version of the Doctor who is ‘watching’ the Fourth Doctor before he regenerates. This is a very neat idea and I found it fascinating as I watched the story. I wonder if the Doctor notices the Watcher every time before he regenerates.
I like the concept of the cloister bell being introduced in this ‘Doctor Who’ story and it has gone on to become a popular thing in the new series too. I like how Chris Bidmead ties things up with Logopolis being the cause of the Charged Vacuum Emboitments (CVEs) being featured in ‘The E-Space Trilogy’.
I found it heartbreaking when Nyssa saw her home planet of Traken being destroyed by an entropy field. This is rather fleeting mind and Sarah has said so in the ‘Hanging on a Thread’ making-of documentary. But even in that fleeting moment, I could feel the emotion from Sarah’s performance.
A major theme of ‘Logopolis’ as well as possibly Season 18 overall is the concept of entropy. Entropy is the waste and decay of energy according to the law of thermodynamics. I didn’t understand this concept when I first saw ‘Logopolis’ on DVD. But over the years, I have gained an understanding of it.
The direction by Peter Grimwade (who previously directed ‘Full Circle’ in Season 18) is stupendous. I enjoyed the thrilling climax to the story, especially when the Doctor and the Master tussled with each other at the Pharos Project on Earth and when the Doctor was dangling from the big telescope itself!
I like how the story concludes with the Doctor seeing his life flash before his eyes with the various monsters he fought just before he collapses to the ground. He then sees visions of his former companions as he dies with Nyssa, Tegan and Adric looking over him once he landed on the ground.
It would’ve been nice if the Doctor’s exit has been more heroic and if more time was spent as he was dying. He didn’t made a farewell speech to his companions as he lay on the ground. I did like it when Tom Baker’s Doctor uttered his final words, “It’s the end… but the moment has been prepared for.”
Then we have the regeneration. The Watcher comes and soon dissolves into Tom Baker’s Doctor before he regenerates into Peter Davison. I found the regeneration scene to be very impressive and heartbreaking for its time. It was emotional during the moment before Peter’s Doctor sat himself up.
The original DVD special features were as follows. There was the ‘A New Body At Last’ documentary that detailed the end of Tom Baker’s era and the beginning of Peter Davison’s. There was a ‘Nationwide’ interview with Tom Baker and a ‘Nationwide’ interview with Peter Davison. There was also a ‘Pebble Mill at One’ interview with Peter Davison. There were also some news items on Tom Baker and Lalla Ward’s wedding; Tom Baker’s exit from ‘Doctor Who’ and Peter Davison’s announcement as the new Doctor. There were some BBC continuity announcements of the story; a photo gallery of the story; an info-text commentary option to enjoy; a ‘Doctor Who Annual 1982’ PDF and a ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story.
There were also three audio options. There was a mono sound audio mix option for the story; a DVD audio commentary with Tom Baker, Janet Fielding and writer Christopher H. Bidmead. There was also an isolated music option by Paddy Kingsland to enjoy.
On Disc 7 of the ‘Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 18’ Blu-ray, the ‘A New Body At Last’ documentary; the ‘Radio Times Listings’ PDF of the story; the mono sound audio mix option for the story; the DVD audio commentary and the isolated music option can be found on there. The BBC continuity announcements, the photo gallery and the info-text commentary option for ‘Logopolis’ have been updated for 2019 on the Blu-ray. The ‘Nationwide’ interview with Tom Baker isn’t included on the ‘Logopolis’ Blu-ray disc and is now included on Disc 7 of the Season 17 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’. The ‘Nationwide’ interview with Peter Davision is now included on the ‘Full Circle’ Blu-ray disc and the ‘Pebble Mill at One’ interview with Peter Davison is now included on the ‘Castrovalva’ Blu-ray disc. The Tom Baker’s exit news item is now on the ‘Meglos’ Blu-ray disc; the Peter Davison’s announcement as the new Doctor news item is on the ‘Full Circle’ Blu-ray disc and the Tom Baker and Lalla Ward’s wedding news item is now on the ‘State of Decay’ Blu-ray disc. The ‘Doctor Who Annual 1982’ PDF isn’t included on the ‘Logopolis’ disc for the Season 18 Blu-ray box set. It is now included on the ‘K-9 & Company: A Girl’s Best Friend’ Blu-ray disc for the Season 18 Blu-ray box set and on the ‘Time-Flight’ Blu-ray disc for the Season 19 Blu-ray box set.
The new special features on Blu-ray include the making-of documentary ‘Hanging on a Thread’ with cast and crew interviews. There’s also the ‘Behind the Sofa’ feature on ‘Logopolis’ with Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor), costume designer June Hudson and John Leeson (K-9) as well as Wendy Padbury (Zoe), Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa). There’s also some studio footage and audio restoration on the story. There’s also ‘The Five Faces of Doctor Who’ trailer featuring ‘Logopolis’. There’s ‘Tomorrow’s Times – The Fourth Doctor’ presented by Wendy Padbury (taken from ‘The Face of Evil’ DVD); the ‘Stripped For Action – The Fourth Doctor’ documentary that looks into the comic book adventures of the Fourth Doctor era (taken from ‘The Seeds of Doom’ DVD) and the ‘Doctor Who Stories – Tom Baker’ interview (taken from the ‘Terror of the Zygons’ DVD). There’s the ‘Entropy Explained’ science featurette (taken from the ‘Meglos’ DVD) and the CGI effects option for the story to enjoy on the Blu-ray disc.
On the PDF front, as well as the ‘Radio Times Listings’ of the story, there are also production documents and scripts for the story. You need a special Blu-ray computer drive for that.
So yeah! ‘Logopolis’ isn’t what I would call a great swansong story to end Tom Baker’s era of ‘Doctor Who’. It doesn’t emphasise the best of Tom Baker’s Doctor and it doesn’t define his era as a whole. But I enjoyed ‘Logopolis’ and I found it to be a decent end to Tom Baker’s era as it rightly should be.
The story is about change and it’s reflected in Season 18 overall. This is where the new era of ‘Doctor Who’ begins properly with Nyssa, Tegan and Adric joining the Doctor at the end. The Master’s return to the series is a pretty exciting one here and Tom Baker’s regeneration into Peter Daivson is memorable.
As for Season 18 overall, well…it’s not what I call a great season of ‘Doctor Who‘ in general. ‘The Keeper of Traken’ has to be my favourite and the best story of the season. ‘State of Decay’ is pretty good too and there were some nice ideas featured in some stories such as ‘Meglos’ and ‘Full Circle’.
But as the final season of Tom Baker’s era, it’s rather run-down and sombre. I appreciate producer John Nathan-Turner going for new changes to rejuvenate the show, but the lack of humour and the sombreness in some of the storytelling felt rather off-putting and it wasn’t appropriate for the show.
Tom Baker clearly didn’t like the changes made and it’s what prompted him to be on his way out of the show. But despite that, Tom Baker gives his best and is still highly regarded as one of the best Doctors in the series. Thankfully Tom Baker has reprised the Fourth Doctor in many Big Finish audios.
The first season of JNT’s era of ‘Doctor Who’ in 1980 was a rocky ride and it’s a miracle that he managed to complete it despite the behind-the-scenes dramas. Things would get better, especially with Peter Davison as the new Doctor and his three new companions as the next season came along.
I’m thankful I’ve been able to enjoy Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’ in its complete form on Blu-ray. I’ve enjoyed revisiting the stories; the brand-new special features attached to them and of course seeing Sarah Sutton in her first two stories as a new companion and I still regard her as my absolute favourite!
So with Season 18 out of the way, it’s time to take a look at Season 19, one of my favourite seasons of ‘Doctor Who’ ever…
CUDDLES: (interrupts) “Um, Master!”
(puzzled) “Yes, Cuddles? What is it?”
CUDDLES: “Master. Aren’t you forgetting another story in the Season 18 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’?”
(thinks; still puzzled) “No, I don’t think so.”
CUDDLES: “There is another story in the Season 18 Blu-ray box set.”
(self-denial) “No, no, no, no. There isn’t another story in the Season 18 Blu-ray box set! We’ve finished it! All complete!”
“Now come on, Cuddles. Don’t give me that look!”
“Look, I know what you’re insinuating! Especially after all we’ve been through!”
(slightly annoyed; sighs; gives up) “Okay, fine! There…might be another teeny-insy-winsy little story in the Season 18 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’ called…‘K-9 & Company: A Girl’s Best Friend’.”
CUDDLES: (cheers) “Yay!!!”
(disgruntled) “I’m surprised at you, Cuddles! I thought you wanted to see the Season 18 Blu-ray box set because of Nyssa.”
CUDDLES: “I did! But I’m K-9 and I’ve got to see myself in my own show!”
“Cuddles, just because you’re a dog it doesn’t mean you’re K-9!”
CUDDLES: (mimics theme song) “K-9! K-9!”
(sighs) “Me and my big mouth!”
Cuddles dances to the ‘K-9 & Company’ theme song as it’s being played whilst Tim’s annoyed…
‘Logopolis’ rating – 7/10
‘TOMORROW’S TIMES – THE FOURTH DOCTOR’
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‘Tomorrow’s Times – The Fourth Doctor’ was available on ‘The Face of Evil’ DVD. Now it’s available on the ‘Logopolis’ disc for the Season 18 Blu-ray box set of ‘Doctor Who’.
‘Tomorrow’s Times – The Fourth Doctor’ is presented by Wendy Padbury, who played Zoe Heriot in ‘Doctor Who’ with Patrick Troughton. It was lovely to see Wendy in this special feature and I’ve met her in real life at conventions. I found her really good presenting the Fourth Doctor era in newspapers.
In this edition of ‘Tomorrow’s Times’, Tom Baker’s era gets examined by critics and reviewers on how the ‘Doctor Who’ show was presented to teatime audiences of the late 1970s. Criticisms were made against the horror and violence of the early Tom Baker years, especially from those like Mary Whitehouse herself.
It was interesting and amusing to hear Tom Baker and writer/script editor Robert Holmes’ points of view on the matter. The death of William Hartnell also gets covered in this ‘Tomorrow’s Times’ edition and there’s a tribute made by Daleks’ creator Terry Nation to the man who portrayed the First Doctor.
Leela’s departure from ‘Doctor Who’ in ‘The Invasion of Time’ was covered. I’m surprised Sarah Jane’s departure wasn’t covered in this ‘Tomorrow’s Times’ edition since she was a popular companion. It was amusing to hear a ‘SOL’ (Save Our Leela) campaign getting formed. I confused it with ‘Soldiers of Love’. 😀
The item concluded with K-9 and Tom Baker’s departures announced in the newspapers as well as the announcement of Peter Davison’s appointment as the Fifth Doctor. Matthew Waterhouse gets quoted about K-9’s departure and a newspaper reviewer shared how good and gothic ‘State of Decay’ was. 🙂
‘DOCTOR WHO: MESSAGES FROM SPACE’
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I love the ‘Messages From Space’ extra with Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding! This was clearly meant to be for the ‘Logopolis’ disc on the Season 18 Blu-ray box set, but it was never included on the Season 18 Blu-ray box set. Here it makes its exclusive worldwide debut on home media for this DVD. Amazing!
‘Messages From Space’ was originally shown at select cinemas in the USA for ‘Logopolis’. It has Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton visiting the Lovel Telescope at Jodrell Bank where they meet and talk to Professor Tim O’Brien. He talks to them about what a space observatory like the Lovel Telescope does.
It was intriguing to hear Professor Tim share the scientific stuff about pulsars and quasars. He clearly knows his stuff and Sarah and Janet seem intrigued by what he says. I think though Sarah must’ve been baffled throughout as she didn’t explain the difference between pulsars and quasars to Janet. 😀
I enjoyed seeing Sarah and Janet together for this DVD special feature. It was funny when Sarah pleaded to Janet not to touch anything when they were in the observatory control room. 😀 First, the two ladies are outside talking to Professor Tim about the telescope before they go inside the control room.
After talking to Professor Tim, I enjoyed Sarah and Janet share memories of working on ‘Logopolis’ as well as ‘Doctor Who’ in general. They compare the real life telescope to the one in the TV story and they share their journeys in the series. There’s a nice interview bite with Tom Baker at the start too. 🙂
‘DOCTOR WHO – LOGOPOLIS’
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‘Events cast shadows…’ – Doctor Who – Logopolis, Chapter 1
This is ‘The Last Adventure for the Fourth Doctor’ according to the CD cover.
I’ve enjoyed this novelisation/audiobook of ‘Doctor Who – Logopolis’ very much! This is a unique listening experience as the novelization/audiobook provides more depth and detail to an unusual TV story that closed off the Tom Baker era of ‘Doctor Who’ in 1981. This is a novelization/audiobook you can’t miss!
‘Logopolis’ was novelised by Christopher H. Bidmead and it was published in 1982, a year after the TV story’s original transmission in 1981. This was Chris Bidmead’s first contribution to the Target range of ‘Doctor Who’ novelizations. He provides a richer depth to the story that he wrote to end Season 18.
Many years later, BBC audio decided to do an audiobook on Chris Bidmead’s novelization of ‘Logopolis’. They also invited him to read it. Chris readily agreed and he provides a compelling and interesting reading of his ‘Logopolis’ novelization. I don’t know if Tom Baker would’ve read the story.
I had the ‘Logopolis’ audiobook CD for my birthday in May 2010. It was a 4-disc CD set whilst the novelization is divided into 12 chapters. Each of the four CD discs has 3 chapters that comprise one out of the four episodes from the TV story. So 3 chapters times 4 equals the 12 chapters found in the book.
I remember watching ‘Logopolis’ from seeing the ‘New Beginnings’ trilogy DVD box set. I had to re-watch ‘Logopolis’ on DVD more than once since I wanted to understand it, due to my interest in Nyssa and having read ‘The Fact of Faction’ article about the story in an issue of ‘Doctor Who Magazine’.
I was delighted to have the audiobook CD on my birthday and I was easily captivated into Chris Bidmead’s reading of the story. I listened to the complete audiobook in the summer of 2010. When I attended the ‘Regenerations 2010’ convention in Swansea, September 2010, I purchased the Target novelization.
The ‘Logopolis’ audiobook is Chris Bidmead’s show! He wrote the story in novelization form and reads it using his acting skills from being at RADA. Chris knows the story inside and out. To hear him provide the characters’ voices is mesmerising. It helps to guide his ‘target’ audience – no pun intended.
In terms of the actual writing of the novelization, the plot isn’t very different to the TV story. Chris adds more depth and detail to the story; characters and places. He describes the world of Logopolis in greater detail and goes deeper into the mind-sets of Tegan, Adric, Nyssa, the Doctor and the Master.
Certain changes to some action scenes are made though. These include Tegan nearly crashing her aunt’s car into a lorry on the Barnet Bypass and Adric throwing a bicycle at policemen to rescue the Doctor. I wonder if Matthew Waterhouse as Adric could have thrown a bicycle from the top of the TARDIS. 😀
One thing that I liked about the ‘Logopolis’ novelization is the dynamic dialogue and not having too many truncated scenes since they were extended. These included the Doctor attempting to drown the TARDIS in the Thames and the Doctor holding Adric back in the TARDIS within a TARDIS within a TARDIS scene.
I like how the characters are developed including the companions. Adric’s more useful and less annoying; Tegan’s abrasive nature is explored when Bidmead strikes a balance and Nyssa’s inclusion is enhanced compared to the TV story. This is especially as she faces the Master and sees Traken destroyed.
A notable scene that I liked is where Adric meets up with Nyssa when trying to find the Master. She reveals to Adric that she saw her father. I would’ve loved to have heard those pieces of dialogue between Nyssa and Adric in the TV story and to see how Sarah and Matthew would’ve performed them.
Chris utilises the use of mathematics to dramatic effect in the novelization. Maths is described in detail as a language and is an important element to the story and how it’s a key to Logopolis’ existence. John Milton also gets referenced when describing the Master as well as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
As a narrator, Chris Bidmead reads his ‘Logopolis’ novelization very well. I liked listening to him voice Tegan and doing her “Oh rabbits!” swearing. Chris is engaging to listen to and if you’ve seen ‘Logopolis’ more than once and know the story off by heart, you know what’s going to come up next.
You have to be pretty IT literate to know what’s going on with the Logopolitan mathematics and the Block Transfer Computation. Chris delves into real science and writes for scientific journalism. He understands the theory of entropy far more than anyone else. I don’t think I can match to his level.
I found that Chris Bidmead hasn’t summed up the Fourth Doctor era as a whole in the book. I say this because the presence of the Fourth Doctor doesn’t seem reassuring and the montage sequences of monsters and companions from his era don’t feature in the book, which I found very disappointing.
One interesting thing about the book is that the Fifth Doctor gets to say something after he’s regenerated. This didn’t happen in the TV story. I found it interesting that Peter Davison’s Doctor said something before his new life began. It’s something that the new series Doctors have done once they’ve regenerated.
I found the background music and the sound effects for the ‘Logopolis’ audiobook good, especially at the beginning when Chris Bidmead begins to read the story. It introduces a darker, harrowing tone to the story compared to what was on TV. Those cues were used again for the regeneration scene at the end.
‘Doctor Who – Logopolis’ as a novelization/audiobook is very good indeed. I enjoyed reading and listening to Chris Bidmead’s deeper and extended version of Tom Baker’s final adventure as the Fourth Doctor. You definitely need to get this novelization/audiobook to understand the TV story of ‘Logopolis’ properly.
‘Doctor Who – Logopolis’ rating – 8/10
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