After the anniversary Season 25 helped partially restore fan goodwill, unfortunately the writing was on the wall for the original Doctor Who, as ratings unfortunately continued to suffer. In 1989, the show was put on indefinite hiatus, where-apart from a 1996 TV movie, and various media spinoffs-it would stay for the next decade and a half.
However, there’s still one more classic season to go.
The cast-and car-of Battlefield. McCoy’s outfit also undergoes a change, becoming dark brown instead of cream-colored.
The season starts with the return of an old friend-or two, rather. England has become a battleground for a group of Arthurian techno-knights from another dimension, and UNIT is called in, along with the Lethbridge Stuart as an adviser to the current Brigadier, a woman named Bambera. Naturally, the Doctor and Ace get involved.One faction of the knights actually hold the Doctor in high regard, as they recognize him as “Merlin” (possibly a future or alternate incarnation). The Third Doctor’s fancy yellow car, “Bessie”, is also brought out of mothballs by his old friend, and used by his seventh incarnation in this adventure.
The next few stories follow a sort of mini-arc dealing with Ace’s past. The Doctor lands in an old mansion during the Victorian era, where an explorer has gone mad, there’s a group of mesmerized maids,a Neanderthal acts as a butler and the master of the house is hiding something strange in the basement.Turns out he’s an escaped science experiment, used by a strange, angelic life form called “Light”. Light escapes and wants to get rid of Earth’s life by turning it into primordial soup, since he’s sick of the evolution and change. However, the Doctor is able to confound light by using logic, and the alien is destroyed, allowing his experiments to have their own adventures. However, the mansion’s evil aura remains, and it’s revealed that the mansion is in Perivale, Ace’s home London suburb. In the 1980s, in revenge for the death of a friend, she burnt the mansion down. Learning about the mansion’s past, she finally is able to come to terms with that part of her past.
Classic publicity photo of the Seventh Doctor.
The next adventure takes the Doctor and Ace to World War II Northern England, at a military base near a town of London refugees and an old church. A group of Russians is attempting to steal a device called the Ultima machine, a code-breaking cipher computer. However, the British officers at the base has also booby-trapped the computer with a toxic nerve gas mined from the local area. At the church, there are mysterious Viking runes, and vampiric monsters are killing or transforming people at the local beach.
It turns out that a lot of this is due to the manipulations of Fenric, an evil entity older than the universe. The Doctor defeated Fenric before, encasing him in a flask by having him lose some sort of chess game (sort of like an old tale or something). However, Fenric, using his limited power, has been manipulating events around him, much like chess. Using events at the base-including the Russians, British, the computer, the monsters-and even the Doctor and Ace-he plans to release himself destroy humanity using the nerve gas. Ace’s role is sort of a paradox. During Fenric’s attack, she’s able to save a friendly local radio operator and her infant daughter. Turns out that the infant eventually becomes Ace’s estranged mother, and Fenric was the creature who took Ace to Iceworld in the first place. She also unwittingly gives Fenric the solution to the Doctor’s chess puzzle which imprisoned him in the first place-making the Doctor almost lose.
“You couldn’t resist it, could you? The Game of traps. The Contest as before. One move. Find the winning move. Spring the trap on me-if you can….”
However, The Doctor has persuaded the leader of the vampiric monsters that Fenric is just using him, and that it would be best to betray and defeat Fenric. Unfortunately, like in Vampiric literature, Vampires can be stopped by faith-and Ace has a lot of faith in the Doctor.
“You know what’s going on, don’t you. You ALWAYS know and you can’t be bothered to tell anyone! It’s like some kind of a game and only you know the rules!”
The Doctor is unfortunately forced to destroy Ace’s faith, by insulting her, and strongly implying the only reason he chose her in the first place. This causes Ace to collapse, emotionally defeated. Fortunately, it also allows the Vampire to kill Fenric and thwart his plans.
After apologizing to Ace, Ace also partially comes to terms with her feelings towards her mother.
“Love and hate, frightening feelings, especially when they’re trapped struggling beneath the surface.”
In the final original adventure, the Doctor and Ace return to Perivale-modern day, this time-where Ace hopes to catch up with some of her friends. However, the London suburb is being plagued by mysterious dissapearences, and strange black cat trails the Doctor and Ace. The Doctor, realizing something’s not quite right, tries to catch one of the black cats, while Ace is attacked by a strange humanoid cheetah monster on horseback. She then vanishes to a strange alien world. The Doctor meanwhile, snares a cat, taking him to the same planet. He then makes his way to a tent, but it’s occupied by:
“Why Doctor….what an unexpected pleasure.”
The Master. He’s trapped on the planet and now possesses yellow eyes and teeth, slowly mutating into a Cheetah person himself. He’s also trapped there It turns out the planet has a strange bewitching effect on those who end up there, turning them into cheetah people. Ace is able to reunite with her missing friends, but she starts to come under the influence of the planet herself. Eventually the Doctor and the Master find a way to escape, by using the cheetah people’s teleportation powers. The Master does this by hypnotizing Ace’s friend Mitch, who turns into a Cheetah person himself, and the Doctor uses Ace. However, it’s not over yet. The Master-still posessing this power-uses Mitch and others to try to take out the Doctor. The Doctor escapes the attempt, and confronts the Master at the TARDIS (Which of course the Master’s trying to steal).
“Master:It seems we must always meet again. Doctor:”They Do say opposites attract.”
Master:” But this is the end, Doctor.”
The Master then teleports the Doctor back to the cheetah planet, and the two engage in a duel on the planet. The Doctor is able to gain the upper hand, and is about to deliver the killing blow, when he eventually realizes that it’s the influence of the planet. He stops and pleads for the Master to stop fighting.
“IF WE FIGHT LIKE ANIMALS, WE’LL DIE LIKE ANIMALS!!!!”
The Doctor gets teleported back to Earth at the last minute. He collects Ace, and the two return to the TARDIS, bringing the original series to a close….but the adventures will continue, in time…
“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea’s asleep and the rivers dream, people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we’ve got work to do….”
Next: The TV movie…and then, the new/current series.