Doctor Who: Castrovalva

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  • After plummeting from the Pharos Project telescope, the Doctor regenerates. The time travelers escape the Master’s clutches, but the Doctor’s regeneration is failing, and Adric goes missing in the depths of the TARDIS. Only Nyssa and Tegan can save the day by steering the TARDIS to the city of Castrovalva, renowned for its healing powers. But evil lurks at the heart of this simple paradise. (Episo

Description
After plummeting from the Pharos Project telescope, the Doctor regenerates. The time travelers escape the Master’s clutches, but the Doctor’s regeneration is failing, and Adric goes missing in the depths of the TARDIS. Only Nyssa and Tegan can save the day by steering the TARDIS to the city of Castrovalva, renowned for its healing powers. But evil lurks at the heart of this simple paradise. (Episodes 1-4, 96 mins) DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Audio Commen… More >>

Doctor Who: Castrovalva

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5 Comments
  1. Most Whovians regard this as one of the finest episodes in the entire canon of Doctor Who; it is certainly among the best of the Peter Davison era. Although the acting from The Doctor’s companions is not quite up to the usual high standards, it is certainly redeemed by Anthony Ainley’s splendid performance as The Master, The Doctor’s Gallifreyan nemesis. The most riveting scenes are in Part I, as the Tardis hurls back in time towards the Big Bang, but I was quite intrigued as well with the interactions between the inhabitants of Castrovalva and The Doctor and his companions. Admittedly Peter Davison comes across as a stylish wimp in stark contrast to Tom Baker, but I believe this owes more to John Nathan Turner’s stewardship of Doctor Who, than incompetent acting from Davison.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. I have to say that even though this Doctor is not my very favourite one, I certainly was intrigued by this episode and this Doctor(the best Doctor of course being Sylvester McCoy!!!). The storyline rather grabbed me and kept me interested and all the while I was wondering just exactly what the outcome might be. As I watched the two shows previous in the series I was caught unawares when scarf? Dotor was terminated, as it were. I also enjoy the charactors involved with this Doctor, Adrik, the girls…etc. I am a huge fan of the Doctor series though not extremely well versed in all of them quite yet. All in all very good!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. This beginning season of Peter Davison was a good watch, but what’s with all the “ifs”? It’s over done. Aside from Tegan and Nyssa’s iritating lines and Adric’s whining, The Doctor(what little we saw of him) was very good, even this first Peter Davison episode. The Castrovalvans were reminiscent of Trakanites, very wise and mysterious(for lack of a better word). I do not know if it is directing, lack of funds or what, but the compaginions seemed to be missing something they all had in the few Tom Baker episodes they did. Tegan was the only real compaignion and very well done by Janet Fielding, the others were wooden at best, they are not bad actors(see Keeper of Traken, Logopolis and E-space) but not enough attention was given to them after the Doctor’s regenoration, too much excitement about the new DW I guess. However, This season had some very good episodes, this one being the best of this season besides ‘Kinda’ and ‘Snakedance’. 1983 was a much stronger year and 1984 was different entirely and as far as production was very well done, but not to my personal taste. Too much negative gloom and doom. Like Blake’s 7 or on a newer and completely different topic, ‘First Wave’.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. The thing about Peter Davison was that his first few stories were good then some of them were only mediocre. The compagions in this one were anoying(I guess I’m used to Romana and K9) This first story I’d say was pretty good kinda silly compaired to Logopolis or Keeper of Traken though. I think it was the lousy acting of the compainions more than the story. “No! Nyssa don’t touch me, I’ll disolve!” kinda thing. And that romping around the stair case thing at the end, kinda reminded me of the play room at Show Biz Pizza when I was a kid.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  5. Castrovalva: great ideas, excellent science fiction, and odd bits of perspicacious dialogue scattered about in an overall muddled execution. The show was still good at this point, though the deleterious stranglehold of John Nathan-Turner’s obsessive quest to leave his “mark” on the show–which consisted of random spur-of-the-moment decisions–had already begun to choke the air out of the most brilliant show on television. Before I begin I’d like to say that I’ve often been accused of “hating” Peter Davison. This is ABSURD. Actually, from what I know about Peter Davison, I think he’s a very neat person. I like Peter Davison; I simply think he was miscast as the Doctor. Furthermore, given that even Peter Davison has pretty much said this himself, I really don’t know why this is such a controversial thing to say. (Actually Davison said he thinks his entire run of the Doctor was pure crap–even I don’t go that far.) Yes he tried hard, and he even had some excellent stories. Also, he was a lot better than Colin Baker, whose misguided attempt to show the Doctor’s “dark side” reduced him to a snobbish, petty windbag who endlessly engaged in juvenile arguments and squabbles. But I digress. Castrovalva’s main failing is that it is seriously unbalanced. It’s first half is nothing but padding, the Master laughing like a Warner Brothers cartoon villain, and disturbing shots of Adric’s package. Once we finally get to Castrovalva the story improves immediately. In fact from then on it’s brilliant, though it’s a little too obvious that the Master is Portreve. Castrovalva is a city constructed by the Master using Adric’s mathematical acumen to employ block transfer computation, a sophisticated form of math so pure that its mere calculation creates physical objects. (By the way, it’s great that Castrovalva was released in a boxset with Logopolis, because Castrovalva makes NO sense if you haven’t seen Logopolis.) Since he created Castrovalva and controls the math sustaining its existence, he is able to manipulate its properties at will. Thus, once the Doctor enters the town, the Master changes its structure, turning it into a recursive arrangement, much like the M. C. Escher drawing this episode was doubtlessly inspired by. Stairways that seem to lead down lead continuously back to their beginning. (Instead of filming it the way they did however, they should have shown the Doctor and Nyssa going down a staircase, turning left to another descending staircase, and then starting down the second, at which point the camera would pivot to show them arriving at another bend leading to another descending staircase, etc., until eventually they arrive at the same courtyard.) Recursion even shows up in dialogue, as when the Doctor asks a Castrovalvan, “How do I know you are not lying to me?” at which point the Castrovalvan says something like, “Because I swear to you I’m telling the truth, and I’m a man who keeps his word,” which is obviously circular. How the Doctor discovers that Castrovalva is not what it seems is brilliant. The Master, in creating this city out of thin air, created some things that logically could not be the case. The Doctor realizes that the books containing the history of Castrovalva are all 500 years old, but they contain an account of its history extending up to the present day! Love it! Davison also gets one of the Doctor’s best bits of dialogue of all time here: He asks a group of people what the quickest way out is. They all point in different directions. The Doctor says, “Well that’s the trouble with democracy.”
    Rating: 4 / 5

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