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Tom Baker
The Keeper of Traken
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Synopsis


The Doctor and the Melkur
The Doctor and the Melkur
 The empire of Traken has lived in total harmony for over a thousand years, governed by the sacred Keeper and his loyal consuls. Until now. Fading fast, the Keeper calls The Doctor and Adric to Traken, fearing the impending disintegration of his world and the onset of a terrible evil. For the malignant presence of the Melkur lurks close by, growing stronger, plotting to replace the Keeper upon his death.

 The Doctor must stop it before it gains control of the Source - the energy that sustains the very life of the planet. But just who is controlling the Melkur? The Doctor smells a rat of the very oldest kind...

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Eighteen
Production Code: 5T
Story Number: 114
Episode Numbers:546 - 549
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: November - December 1980
Broadcast Started: 31 January 1981
Broadcast Finished: 21 February 1981
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC6 and TC8)
Location: None
Writer:Johnny Byrne
Director:John Black
Producer:John Nathan-Turner
Executive Producer:Barry Letts
Script Editor:Christopher H Bidmead
Editor:Rod Waldron
Production Assistant:Alan Wareing
Production Unit Manager:Angela Smith
Assistant Floor Manager:Lynn Richards
Designer:Tony Burrough
Costume Designer:Amy Roberts
Make-Up Designer:Norma Hill
Cameraman:Alec Wheal
Incidental Music:Roger Limb
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:Alan Fogg and John Holmes
Lighting:Don Babbage
Visual Effects:Peter Logan
Title Sequence:Sid Sutton
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Peter Howell
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 2The Companions: Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) (Joins) Guest Cast: Anthony Ainley (Tremas), Geoffrey Beevers (Melkur / The Master) Additional Cast: Sheila Ruskin (Kassia), Denis Carey (The Keeper), John Woodnutt (Seron), Margot van der Burgh (Katura), Robin Soans (Luvic), Roland Oliver (Neman), Liam Prendergast (Foster), Philip Bloomfield (Foster)Setting: Planet Traken Villains: The Master and The Melkur

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
546Part 131 January 198124'05"7.6PAL 2" colour videotape
547Part 207 February 198124'50"6.1PAL 2" colour videotape
548Part 314 February 198123'49"5.2PAL 2" colour videotape
549Part 421 February 198125'11"6.1PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 38 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 6.2
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)76.18%  (Position = 32 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)73.59% Lower (Position = 70 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)73.14% Lower (Position = 94 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 2" colour videotapes.



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Notes


This story introduces the character of Nyssa, played by Sarah Sutton, although she does not leave and begin travelling with The Doctor during this story and so technically does not become a travelling companion until the events of the following story "Logopolis".

This story also contains the first appearance of Anthony Ainley. Initially he plays the part of Tremas but who would become The Master when the decaying form of The Master kidnapped the body of Tremas at the conclusion of this story.

This story was written by Johnny Byrne. Johnny Byrne became a key player on the Gerry Anderson science-fiction series Space: 1999, for which he contributed a dozen episodes and also served as Script Editor.

Johnny Byrne had been approached several times to write for Doctor Who, by Script Editors Robert Holmes and Douglas Adams. In late 1979, Johnny Byrne was even offered, but declined, the post of Doctor Who Script Editor himself. Previously he had worked with Producer John Nathan-Turner when he wrote episodes of All Creatures Great and Small. However, Jonny Byrne did indicate his interest in providing scripts for the show.

With the immanent departure of Tom Baker (it was around this time that Tom Baker decided to leave the show at the end of Season Eighteen after being the Fourth Doctor for seven years), and the recent departure of both Romana, played by Lalla Ward, and K9, voiced by John Leeson, John Nathan-Turner wanted to reintroduce a popular element of the programme’s past in order to bridge the changeover from Tom Baker to his successor. He initially planned to bring back a former companion for a handful of stories and so he approached both Elisabeth Sladen (who had played Sarah Jane Smith from 1973 to 1976) and Louise Jameson (who had played Leela in 1977 and 1978), but both actresses declined his invitation to return to the show.

Since his efforts to bring back a former companion had failed, John Nathan-Turner decided instead to reintroduce an old enemy. He choose The Master, the evil Time Lord who had originally been played by Roger Delgado (from the 1971 Third Doctor story "Terror of the Autons" until the 1973 story "Frontier in Space") before the actor’s untimely death.

The Master has also been resurrected once before in the 1976 story "The Deadly Assassin", in which Peter Pratt had played the character in a condition of near-complete physical deterioration. John Nathan-Turner however, wanted to restore The Master to an echo of Roger Delgado’s incarnation - albeit in a less humorous and more malevolent form. John Nathan-Turner’s idea was that after the new Master was re-introduced in this story he would then appear in both Tom Baker’s final story ("Logopolis") and concludes in "Castrovalva" – the first story to feature the Fifth Doctor, so forming a loose trilogy of stories that would guide the audience through the major upheaval of Tom Baker’s departure.

John Nathan-Turner and Script Editor Christopher H Bidmead felt that the character of Mogen could easily be replaced with The Master. However, in order to keep the true villain’s identity a surprise until the final episode, Mogen was replaced by the statue-like Melkur.

To play the revitalised Master, John Nathan-Turner cast Anthony Ainley, son of noted Shakespearean actor and silent film star Henry Ainley. The younger Ainley had enjoyed small roles in movies such as the James Bond movie "You Only Live Twice" but his career had chiefly been spent working on television. He had appeared in programmes as varied as The Avengers, Out of the Unknown and Upstairs, Downstairs, often playing the villain.

Anthony Ainley would go on to reprise the role of The Master in almost every season through to the end of the original run of the show in 1989, as well in the special Twentieth Anniversary special "The Five Doctors". It has been reported that Anthony Ainley was cast partly because of his facial similarity to the late Roger Delgado.

The name Tremas was chosen to be an anagram of ‘Master’, foreshadowing the fact that The Master would now possess Tremas’ body at this story’s conclusion. The Master has adopted numerous pseudonyms over the course of the show which usually plays on the word ‘Master’. Other examples include: ‘Colonel Masters’ ("Terror of the Autons"), ‘Reverend Magister’ - Magister is Latin for Master ("The Dæmons"), ‘Professor Thascalos’ - Thascalos is Greek for Master ("The Time Monster") and ‘Sir Gilles Estram’ - Estram is an anagram of Master ("The King's Demons").

This is the first story to feature a Master body change - though it is not a true regeneration, but rather the acquisition of another person’s body. The director appointed to this story was John Black, whose previous credits included Play For Today and Softly, Softly: Task Force. John Black had been recommended to John Nathan-Turner by costume designer Amy Roberts.

Amongst John Black’s first duties was to secure a cast for this story, including the role of the decrepit version of The Master and Nyssa – who would, in the next story, become a companion.

As the decrepit version of The Master, John Black cast Geoffrey Beevers on the strength of his vocal abilities. Geoffrey Beevers’ previous credits included Coronation Street and the part of Private Johnson in the 1970 Third Doctor story "The Ambassadors of Death". He was also married to Caroline John, who had played companion Liz Shaw ten years earlier. So as to conceal this plot twist Geoffrey Beevers was credited as The Melkur.The walking Melkur statue was played by Graham Cole (now better known for his starring role in the ITV police series The Bill).

The actress selected to play the part of Nyssa was Sarah Sutton. Sarah Sutton had been acting since childhood, including starring roles in Alice Through The Looking Glass and the supernatural drama The Moon Stallion.

Denis Carey, who plays the Keeper, previously played Professor Chronotis in the Season Seventeen uncompleted "Shada". He also played the Old Man in the 1985 Sixth Doctor story "Timelash".

Margot Van der Burgh, who plays "Katura", had previously appeared as Cameca in the 1964 First Doctor story "The Aztecs".

This story also marks the final appearance of John Woodnutt in Doctor Who. He also appeared in the Third Doctor stories "Spearhead From Space" (1970) and "Frontier in Space" (1973) as well as Commander Broton in the 1975 story "Terror of the Zygons".

The Master’s TARDIS is not an ‘ordinary Type 40’ as The Master is heard calling it his ‘new ship’. His TARDIS first appears disguised as the Melkur and then, as in "The Deadly Assassin", as a grandfather clock. It is also shown to have offensive weaponry, which it uses in its Melkur form, and will again in "Castrovalva".

The decrepit version of The Master in this story is implied to be the same form as that portrayed by Peter Pratt in "The Deadly Assassin".

Peter Pratt’s Master costume from the 1976 story "The Deadly Assassin" was refurbished for Geoffrey Beevers’ use, although the mask was altered so that more of the actor’s face was visible.

The Master again mentions that he has passed through all of his twelve regenerations (see "The Deadly Assassin").

The Melkur statue’s design was based on a 1913 statue by Umberto Boccioni.

It is revealed that the planet of Traken is in Mettula Orionsis, and its Union is the most harmonious the Universe has ever seen. Despite this Traken seems to attract evil, although such creatures are calcified on contact with the planet, and pass harmlessly into the soil. Melkur means ‘a fly caught by honey’.

The Keeper is the ‘organising principle’ of all the minds of the Traken Union, channelled through the Bioelectronic Source. The Keeper typically lives for a thousand years or more before his or her Dissolution, and the period of transition between Keepers is usually difficult. It seems that The Keeper is also one of the few beings capable of penetrating and controlling the TARDIS (see "Warriors' Gate").

The Doctor consults two old hand-written time logs, presumably detailing some of his journeys, but says that he doesn't keep them any more.

The Doctor and Romana’s recall to Gallifrey (see "Meglos and "Full Circle") is mentioned again.

This story continues the season-long thread on entropy; The Doctor refers to the Second law of thermodynamics, of particular relevance to the earlier "E-Space trilogy", and which will be of far greater significance in the following story, "Logopolis".

The BBC Books’ The Past Doctor Stories novel "Asylum", by Peter Darvill-Evans, reveals that the Fourth Doctor actually met an older Nyssa. This however, took place in her future after she left the TARDIS crew in the 1983 Fifth Doctor story "Terminus" and before she met the Fourth Doctor and Adric in this story.

In the Big Finish Productions audio story "Dust Breeding", the body The Master steals is lost so reverting him back to his zombie-like state. Once again, he is played by Geoffrey Beevers.

A prequel to this story can also be heard in Big Finish Productions’ 2001 Fifth Doctor audio story "Primeval". This story reveals how the Source was created and the origins of the position of The Keeper.

In the DVD release the fourth episode is extended slightly to incorporate a dedication to the memory of Anthony Ainley, who died between recording his commentary and the DVD’s eventual release. This dedication includes a brief outtake of Anthony Ainley from his recordings for the videogame "Destiny of the Doctors".



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The introduction of companion Nyssa played by Sarah Sutton.

 Anthony Ainley's first appearance in the show as The Master.

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Johnny Byrne.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by John Black.

 Roger Limb's first involvement in the show providing the incidental music.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
The Keeper Arrives in the TARDIS
The Keeper Arrives in the TARDIS

The Doctor and Adric are visited in the TARDIS by the Keeper of Traken, an elderly wizened man, who is in charge of an empire of peace and harmony.

The Keeper explains that his title is about to pass on soon to Consul Tremas, giving him access to the powerful Source that is the centre of Traken’s technology advancement. But The Keeper is concerned as he senses that a great evil has come to his planet in the form of the Melkur, a calcified statue which was once an evil entity, drawn to the goodness and tranquillity of the Union of Traken as a moth is to a flame.

The Melkur arrived years ago on Traken but became calcified in a grove in Traken’s capital. The Melkur has since become something of a holy symbol, and Consul Tremas’ wife, Kassia, has been tasked by talking to it and keeping it clean; that task is soon to be passed on to their daughter Nyssa.

Nyssa and Kassia Argue
Nyssa and Kassia Argue

The Keeper requests that The Doctor come to Traken to help him prevent the evil from taking control of the bioelectronic Source which is the keystone of the Union’s peaceful society.

When the TARDIS arrives on Traken, The Doctor and Adric visit the Keeper but strangely their presence appears to cause the Keeper to warn the assembled group of a great evil, and though Tremas vouches for them, others, including the Fosters, guardians of the spiritual welfare of the capital, remain cautious about The Doctor and Adric’s presence.

The Doctor Meets Kassia and Tremas
The Doctor Meets Kassia and Tremas

Soon, bodies in the grove are found and The Doctor deduces they have been killed by some type of plasma weapon. While The Doctor assists Tremas in diffusing the conflict over their presence, Adric works with Nyssa and they manage to identify the energy signature of the plasma weapon as being from a TARDIS.

Unbeknown to anyone Kassia, on learning that her husband has been chosen as the next Keeper Nominate which means that she must leave him, secretly visits the Melkur, who whispers to her that he can prevent this. In desperation Kassia agrees and the Melkur gives her a headband to wear – but this gives the creature mind-control over her.

Controlled by the Melkur, Kassia convinces the Fosters to arrest Tremas, The Doctor, Adric and Nyssa. She then uses the situation to convince the other Consuls to install her as the next Keeper. And so when the Keeper dies Kassia takes the throne. But at the pivotal moment of the ceremony, she disappears, leaving the statue of Melkur in her place, now connected to the Source.

Nyssa Tends to the Melkur
Nyssa Tends to the Melkur

It is then that The Doctor discovers that the Melkur is actually the TARDIS belonging to The Master. Inside its operator is still blackened and emaciated as he was in his last meeting with The Doctor (see "The Deadly Assassin").

The Master is on his last regeneration, and seeks to use the Source to give him a new set of regenerations. But The Doctor, with help from Adric and Nyssa, manages to expel him using the Source’s servo shutoff and sanctioning programs causing The Master’s TARDIS to malfunction. When the Melkur disappears Consul Luvic takes the throne, so becoming the new Keeper, and stabilise the Source before it completely dies.

After assuming all is well, and that The Master is no longer on Traken, The Doctor and Adric depart in the TARDIS. But they are unaware that in a last minute ploy The Master traps Consul Tremas, when he discovers The Master’s TARDIS which is disguised as an antique looking longcase clock. The Master then merges with Consul Tremas’ body before fleeing Traken in his TARDIS.

With the death of her mother, and unaware that The Master has taken over Tremas’ body, Nyssa is left wondering as to her father’s whereabouts.

 
Kassia
Kassia
Tremas
Tremas
The Doctor and the Melkur
The Doctor and the Melkur
Nyssa and Adric
Nyssa and Adric
 
The Keeper of Traken
The Keeper of Traken
Nyssa and Adric
Nyssa and Adric
The Melkur on the Throne
The Melkur on the Throne
The Master Gets a New Body
The Master Gets a New Body




Quote of the Story


 'Traken Union, famous for its harmony. A whole empire held together by people being terribly nice to each other.'

The Doctor



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Audio
LP
Science-Fiction Sound Effects No. 261981REC 420Sound Effects
Audio
Tape
Science-Fiction Sound Effects No. 261981ZCM 420Sound Effects
Audio
LP
Doctor Who: The Music1983REC 462Music score
Audio
Tape
Doctor Who: The Music1983Music score
Video
VHS
The Tom Baker YearsSeptember 1992BBCV 4839PhotoClip only Introduced and commented on by Tom Baker Double cassette release
Audio
CD
Doctor Who - Earthshock - Classic Music From The BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume 11992FLMCD 709Alister PearsonMusic score
Video
VHS
The Keeper of TrakenJune 1993BBCV 4973Andrew Skilleter
Video
DVD
The Keeper of TrakenJanuary 2007BBCDVD 1331Photo-montagePart of the "New Beginnings" box set along with "Logopolis" and "Castrovalva"
Audio
CD
sci-fi Sound EffectsApril 2013CD release of the Science-Fiction Sound Effects No 26 LP
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 18 (Limited Edition)Mar 2019BBCBD 0462Photo-montageBlu-Ray Limited Edition boxed set containing 7 specially restored stories


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken1982Target No. 37Terrance DicksBook: Andrew Skilleter
Box: Bill Donohoe
Re-released as part of The Second Dr Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-19289-3
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Keeper of TrakenMay 1982Target No. 37Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterISBN: 0-426-20148-5
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken1986Target No. 37Terrance DicksBook: Andrew Skilleter
Box: Photo
Re-released as part of The Doctor Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-32410-8
Novel
Novel
The Keeper of TrakenJune 1993Target No. 37Terrance DicksAlister PearsonVirgin new cover reprint.
ISBN: 0-426-20148-5
CD
CD
The Keeper of TrakenOctober 2020Target No. 37Terrance DicksAndrew SkilleterAudio version of the Target Novel read by Geoffrey Beevers (The Master).
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 51 (Released: July 1994)
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/FeatureIssue 50 (Released: March 1981)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 107 (Released: December 1985)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 236 (Released: March 1996)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 372 (Released: August 2006)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 514 (Released: August 2017)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 69 (Released: August 2011)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Tom Baker
The Fourth Doctor

   

Matthew Waterhouse
Adric
 
Sarah Sutton
Nyssa
   




On Release

Audio LP - Sound Effects No. 26
Audio LP - Sound Effects No. 26

BBC
AUDIO
Audio Tape - Sound Effects No. 26
Audio Tape - Sound Effects No. 26

BBC
AUDIO
Audio LP - Doctor Who: The Music
Audio LP - Doctor Who: The Music

BBC
AUDIO
Audio Tape - Doctor Who: The Music
Audio Tape - Doctor Who: The Music

BBC
AUDIO
   
Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover
Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Doctor Who - Earthshock CD Cover
Doctor Who - Earthshock CD Cover

Silva Screen
AUDIO
VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   
sci-fi Sound Effects
sci-fi Sound Effects

BBC
AUDIO
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
The Collection Season 18 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 18 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO



In Print

The First Dr Who Gift Set
The First Dr Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
The Doctor Who Gift Set
The Doctor Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
Reprinted Virgin Book Cover
Reprinted Virgin Book Cover

Virgin
NOVEL
   
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD



Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 51
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 51

CMS
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 50
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 50

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 107
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 107

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 236
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 236

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 372
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 372

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 514
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 514

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 69
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 69

GE Fabbri


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