Doctor Who: The Keeper of Traken

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  • Traken is a planet ruled by the all-powerful Keeper, who reigns for a thousand years and ensures that his subjects live a life of tranquillity and harmony. Now the Keeper is dying. Summoned by the ailing Keeper, the Doctor and Adric discover that all uis not well on Traken. An evil presence threatens the future of the planet – an evil that knows all about the Doctor. (Episodes 1-4, 98 mins)Running

Traken is a planet ruled by the all-powerful Keeper, who reigns for a thousand years and ensures that his subjects live a life of tranquillity and harmony. Now the Keeper is dying. Summoned by the ailing Keeper, the Doctor and Adric discover that all uis not well on Traken. An evil presence threatens the future of the planet – an evil that knows all about the Doctor. (Episodes 1-4, 98 mins) DVD Features:
Audio Commentary:Audio Commentary by actors Anthony A… More >>

Doctor Who: The Keeper of Traken

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  1. The show was recorded in TV format wide screen is impossible and the info is wrong. Traken was one of the better Doctor Whos and the best of Nathan Turner(who later cheapend and went to pot in a laurle in the Davison-McCoy eras). Very atmpsheric like most of Tom Baker’s Late 70’s/early 80’s from Ribos to Creature from the Pit(and I’ll not be second guessed for thinking it was superb despite others ‘opinions’ of it!) as well as the bulk of season 18 with serious stories for more mature audiences and well placed actors and sets. I am surprised they are releasing Traken and Logopolis(even thouhg they are the best of them) as most people don’t like the gothic brainy non-flashy Doctor Whos in theatrical format. And how dare Carolin John say you have to be an old foogie to like this I am 36 and I got hooked in highschool becasue of this “boring” stuff. And to not sound like a Nyssa of Traken young foggie in old folks towne, my H.S buds talked about these “last Baker Season” in class all the time. these Turner shows(before his laurel resting place in the inner sanctum) were the talk of the school and the subject of art class drawings(to my shock). right next to my taco bell clay mod sht and the ‘dog faced boy’
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Keeper of Traken is a very simplistic story, but it does set things up for the return of the Master and the conflict that will ensue between him and the Doctor.
    Rating: 3 / 5

  3. The Keeper of Traken gives you the best of most worlds. Both in the feature and in the extras.

    The story is my favorite of the last season and of of the best episodes of the whole Tom Baker era. The story flows very well and the actors really put out quality performances. It is part of the three episode story arc that culminates in the first adventure of the 5th Doctor Doctor Who: Castrovalva (Story 117). If that wasn’t enough the episode itself is important. It introduces Nyssa who would become a new companion staying until Doctor Who: The Black Guardian Trilogy (Mawdryn Undead / Terminus / Enlightenment) (Stories 126-28) (and appearing in many audios with Peter Davidson begining with The Land of the Dead (Doctor Who). It also marks the return of the Doctor’s greatest enemy, the Master first played by Geoffrey Beevers (he would return for the role in the big finish audio’s Dust Breeding (Doctor Who) and Master (Doctor Who) and then replaced by Anthony Ainley who would play the roll until the final episode of the first series Doctor Who: Survival (Story 159).

    If all of that wasn’t enough the special features are solid. An interview with Sarah Sutton at the time she got the role, Geoffrey Beevers sits down about the Master and finally a Making of “The Keeper of Traken”. All really work and are worth the time to watch them.

    This one works, get it.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Dr. Who and the Master go head to head…again, which means this is a great story. This is a definite buy to add to anyone’e Dr. Who collection.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. A lot of anagrams went into the making of “The Keeper of Traken”. That’s the fact you’ll remember best after watching the story’s DVD release. Three of the four guest commentators (author Johnny Byrne, and actors Matthew Waterhouse and Anthony Ainley) make much play of the origins of the names “Adric” and “Tremas”. For fun, Ainley also comes up with an anagram for story editor “Christopher H. Bidmead”. The result is reprinted in the title of this review, and it almost makes sense.

    Of course, “The Keeper of Traken” doesn’t need a whole lot of effort invested into the DVD to highlight its strong points. Tom Baker’s penultimate story is one of “Doctor Who”‘s finest-looking entries. The combination of Byrne’s first “Who” script, a small well-portrayed cast of characters, Roger Limb’s melodious background score (so unlike his later militaristic “DW” themes), and the intricately designed sets make “Traken” a joy to watch.

    Waterhouse played the sole companion in this story — a rare instance where the Doctor has no female companions. But while the much-maligned Adric has taken his lumps in mainstream fandom for a quarter-century now, “Traken” stands as one of his better stories. Waterhouse and Tom Baker’s exchange of witty banter for this story’s first three minutes works very well and stands as a “what might have been”, had not the changing nature of the production removed Baker from the cast and added two extra companions to the TARDIS within a matter of weeks.

    The plot’s fairly simple, though it’s spiced up, as with all Season 18 stories, by Bidmead’s keen ear for techno-babble. “The Keeper of Traken” is really a morality play at heart, dressed up with the science of “bio-electronics”. When Kassia (Sheila Ruskin, the story’s weakest link) tries to save her husband by turning to an inanimate extraterrestrial Evil, the Melkur (Geoffrey Beevers provides the voice for an unnamed stuntman in an uncomfortable looking costume), Traken’s paradise falls apart. Not merely in an array of pyrotechnics, however, or in a display of histrionic acting, although those are both on display. Rather, it’s the minor flaws in each individual which Melkur exploits to bring paradise to its knees. Pulling the strings is the most flawed individual of them all — for Melkur cloaks an even greater threat, the dying Master, last seen thwarted in “The Deadly Assassin”.

    Pay special note to Anthony Ainley’s first Doctor Who appearance — though he doesn’t become the Master until the story’s final minute, it’s all here! The over-acting! The snarled words! The incomprehensible stressing of odd syllables! As the Master within the Melkur wields ever great power over first Kassia and then over the entire planet, characters fall prey to their own vices — greed for money, greed for power, and in one notable case, one character done in by his own compulsive honesty. The story ends on one of Doctor Who’s rare tragic notes — but fortunately, to quote Melkur, this is only the beginning, and for the Return of the Master story arc, the best is yet to come.

    The DVD release of “Traken” features one of the more entertaining commentary tracks, devoid of the repetitive on-set anecdotes that plague a lot of the releases of Troughton and Pertwee-era episodes. Episode writer Johnny Byrne spends a lot of time describing the thought processes that went into his development of the world of Traken, and both Waterhouse and Sarah Sutton are clearly fascinated by his ideas of the millennial society — both separately express regret that they didn’t speak to him during production and thus missed out on a lot of his intended themes. Waterhouse does spend far too much time repeating lines of dialogue and reading the closing credits in a baroque voice, however.

    The nicest discovery on the commentary is Anthony Ainley, who recorded this track (and one brief video clip as an Easter egg) shortly before his death in 2004. He doesn’t speak much, but his interest in the script, the sets, and the anagrams all lend great value to the track. It’s a shame he never recorded another.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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