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Doctor Who: Castrovalva (Story 117)
Doctor Who Castrovalva
Story 117
Actors: Peter Davison, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, Anthony Ainley
Director: Fiona Cumming
Genres: Television, Cult Movies
NR     2007     1hr 36min

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. Onl...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Peter Davison, Matthew Waterhouse, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding, Anthony Ainley
Director: Fiona Cumming
Genres: Television, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Studio: BBC Video / Warner Bros.
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 06/05/2007
Original Release Date: 06/05/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 36min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 16
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Bidmead Vision of Dr.Who!
tonisherlock | 04/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Apparently Christopher H Bidmead and John Nathan Turner publicly declared their aims to make Dr.Who into serious, mature, intelligent SF viewing for the 1980s and from all accounts had trouble getting any scripts at first, settling for a revamped story by David Fisher (intended for Graham Williams) and an updated Vampire tale which was meant to have opened season 15!
But with Warrior's Gate, I feel Bidmead's ambition was fulfilled, as SF writer Steve Gallagher wrote a surreal, intellectual masterpiece that was arty, cool, sophisticated and challenging.
Bidmead himself followed up with Logopolis and then this story, Castrovalva, which have the same bizarre, concept-driven, reality bending SF qualities. Here, the new Doctor, Peter Davsion is almost plunged back into the big bang before arriving in the phantom city of Castrovalva whose inhabitants have no inkling that they are only a few hours old and have been created soley as part of a nightmarish trap. The whole place is a giant pocket in time and space which begins to close in on itself!
Stunning! Soon, Chris Bailey, whom Bidmead had impressed with his vision of multi-layered SF writing, would deliver the equally bizarre and challenging Kinda, before season 20 would fully realize the Bidmead vision with four in a row, Baily's Snakedance, Mawdryn Undead (by Peter Grimwade)Terminus (by Gallagher again) and finally Barbara Clegg's awe-inspiring Enlightenment! But nowhere is Christopher H. Bidmead's unique and startling vision for Dr.Who seen than in his own scripts for the series, and this, Davison's debut is probably the most polished and accomplished. The city looks superb and Davison's Doctor is magnificent. Despite the initial impression that he is too vulnerable to be the Doctor, it becomes clear on repeated viewings that with his body so physically weak and afflicted, it takes enormous inner strength, guts and determination from the new Doctor to rise to the occasion and defeat the Master, who has created this trap. The Master is only a minor consideration here, serving as the progenitor of the situation, but this story, like all those in the Bidmead vien, are far more about the stunningly imaginative and intriguing situation than any typical Who villains. The Master, like the Black Guardian, are really only there to generate the trouble and to remind viewers after seven seasons of Tom Baker that this is still Dr.Who, despite the new face in the Tardis. All in all, this story rocks like a cradle in a strong wind, and kicks off my favorite era of Dr.Who, the era of the brilliant Peter Davison!"
Memory Cheats with Castrovalva
Stepchild | Bloomingdale, IL United States | 05/24/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"The term 'memory cheats' represents a concept I'd never been able to apply to myself before, or at least when it came to remembering 'DW' (now, names and faces... my memory doesn't know how to play fair!). Never before did that nasty shock of disappointment arise until CBS/Fox got around to releasing 'Castrovalva'. That's right, fellow saddos, I said 'Castrovalva'. I used to think of 'Castrovalva' as the definitive regeneration story. It was the tail end of the Master trilogy, the three stories that ended the over-extended reign of Tom Baker and made this young viewer a fan. This video release, now in its proper episodic format, still retains a bit of the magic I recall from multiple viewings in the early Eighties. The pre-credit sequence is as fabulous as ever, but that's only because it's a 'Logopolis' leftover. The first episode has held up very well over the years; Peter Davison does a great job playing the here-and-away Doctor. The cornucopia of continuity was then a new thing and fit perfectly well into the plot, unlike the shuffle and deal method applied later in the novels. The last few seconds of episode one exemplifies what goes wrong in the other three parts. Lame special effects, a that-can't-really-happen-can-it plot line, Adric being crucified with cheese wire, and, of course, Anthony Ainley's first try at the Brian Blessed approach to acting. Sadly, Anthony's hideous job at playing the Master is loudly underscored by his convincing performance as the Portreeve. Alas, Ainley is more easily remembered for his panto performance in episode four, when he tries opening the indestructible zero cabinet with a crowbar, only to have it fall apart with a firecracker flash and an accompanying 'P'yoo!' when he drops it on the floor. And then... 'My WEB!!!' Ugh. But still, the recursion theme is rather catchy (catchy could be used to describe the music on the tape as well) and is stressed with the cute artwork that adorns the video jacket. Too bad the video inside the box wasn't as rewarding; perhaps I wouldn't have been able to admit, finally, that memory can cheat."
It's the end, but the moment has been prepared for.
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 01/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Picture the scene: the Fourth Doctor's dying body lying beneath the radio telescope tower of the Pharos Project, his concerned companions Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan gathered around him. He gives them a weak version of his toothy grin, and says "It's the end, but the moment has been prepared for." He merges with the Watcher, an alternate body, and lo and behold, becomes a younger man.So begins Castrovalva, the debut story of Peter Davison. After surviving an attempt by the Master to send them back in time to Event One (the Big Bang), the girls and the Doctor journey to Castrovalva, a Dwelling of Tranquility in order to cure the Doctor's post-regenerative weakness. However, all is not as it seems. When they try to leave, they find themselves caught in a loop, a recursive occlusion, i.e. a space time trap. And how do the Master and Adric, kidnapped by the former, fit in?Nyssa and Tegan's personalities emerge here. Nyssa is calm, rational, and gentle, while Tegan is headstrong, emotional, and cynical. Adric is also rational and intelligent, but weak-willed, as he falls under the Master's thrall. And the Fifth Doctor is more vulnerable than his previous incarnations. Speaking of which, Peter Davison does a good job impersonating the other Doctors during his lapses into their personality, especially Hartnell's Doctor, holding his suspenders in the same way that the First Doctor held his coat lapels: "I wonder, boy, what would you do if you were me, hmm? Or rather, what would I do if I were me?" He even lets out the amusing hmmph.The Portreeve's stacked hat has to be seen to be believed. There is bad make-up at work here, for in episode 3, his face is very very familiar. The medieval costumes of the Castrovalvans are charming, especially the women's hats. Oh yes, and the eye make-up from Robots Of Death has returned, though not with a vengeance.What also works well is the concept of the Zero Room and recursive occlusion, and the puzzle of Castrovalva. The scene where the child teaches the Doctor that three comes after two is precious, and the way he tries to show Mergrave and Ruther that something is wrong with Castrovalva via the map Mergrave has drawn on the back of the mirror is also great.I used to be a computer science major and we had to learn recursion in my Pascal class, where as Nyssa so rightly says, procedures fall back on themselves. A procedure for calculating factorials or Fibonacci numbers are classic examples of recursive programming.Oh, and if the Doctor wanted a place cut off from the rest of the Universe, he can come here to Farmpit, NM as well as Brisbane, Queensland.This is the second of the two John-Nathan Turner trilogies he designed for Season 18, beginning with The Keeper Of Traken, and continuing with Logopolis. The first one was of course, the E-Space Trilogy. Both trilogies provided links towards phasing out old characters and bringing in new. In this case, it was goodbye to the Fourth Doctor, hello to Nyssa, Tegan, the regenerated Master, and the Fifth Doctor.Michael Sheard (the pharmacist Mergrave) has come out in other Doctor Who's, including The Mind Of Evil, Pyramids Of Mars, The Invisible Enemy, and later in Remembrance Of The Daleks, but may be best known to American audiences as the ill-fated Admiral Ozzel in The Empire Strikes Back.Castrovalva serves as a worthy introduction to Peter Davison and Season 19. The cohesive team is at its best here and in The Visitation."
Get Well Soon Doc!
Michael Christy | Henderson, NV United States | 09/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This story revolves around our good Doctor recovering from his latest regeneration. Of course, the evil Master wishes to take advantage of the weakened Doctor during this phase. The Doctor attempts to heal within the "Zero" room, which is a recovery room within the Tartus. Unfortunately, the meddling of the Master makes this a daunting task at best. I really enjoyed this story because of the city Castrovalva and the culture that is derived from this make believe race of people. The sets used in this episode were really nicely done and the people and places were believable and fascinating, I found myself almost wanting to visit the city myself. hehe. The Doctor is taken to Castrovalva by the Master who creates this entire city and its people in order to get at the Doctor, which is very very hard to believe, but none the less happens. Tegan and Nyssa do their best to help the Doctor to get into the city where the hope is that he can recover from his regeneration there. All in all I believe you will enjoy this episode as much as I did. There is something very relaxing and enjoyable about the theme of the story and I often find myself playing this tape after a hard and busy day so as to relax and unwind. Its a great night time story for any age. Definately invest in this episode and you will not be sorry. Bye for now friends!"