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Peter Davison
Mawdryn Undead
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Synopsis


Mawdryn
Mawdryn
 Earth 1983. The mysterious Black Guardian hovers over the shoulder of English public schoolboy, Turlough, determined to enlist his aid in his deadly scheme - the assassination of The Doctor. Meanwhile the TARDIS is trapped inside a huge space ship in perpetual orbit, a permanent resting place for the miserable Mawdryn and his 8 fellow scientists, all condemned to a state of perpetual regeneration. Only The Doctor's life force can free them, but at a deadly cost - the price of his powers of regeneration.

 With Nyssa and Tegan stranded in the time zone of 1977, and The Black Guardian closing in, The Doctor must face a terrible dilemma…

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Twenty
Production Code: 6F
Story Number: 125
Episode Numbers:588 - 591
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Production Dates: August - September 1982
Broadcast Started: 01 February 1983
Broadcast Finished: 09 February 1983
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC6)
Location: Trent Park campus of Middlesex Polytechnic (Cockfosters, Hertfordshire)
Writer:Peter Grimwade
Director:Peter Moffatt
Producer:John Nathan-Turner
Script Editor:Eric Saward
Editor:Chris Woolley
Production Assistant:Valerie Letley
Production Associate:June Collins
Assistant Floor Manager:Ian Tootle
Designer:Stephen Scott
Costume Designers:Amy Roberts and Richard Croft
Make-Up Designers:Carolyn Perry and Sheelagh Wells
Cameraman:Godfrey Johnson
Incidental Music:Paddy Kingsland
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:Martin Ridout
Lighting:Don Babbage
Visual Effects:Stuart Brisdon
Title Sequence:Sid Sutton
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Peter Howell
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 4The Companions: Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier) (Rejoins and Departs), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka) and Mark Strickson (Turlough) (Joins) Guest Cast: Valentine Dyall (The Black Guardian) Additional Cast: Angus Mackay (Headmaster), David Collings (Mawdryn), Stephen Garlick (Ibbotson), Roger Hammond (Doctor Runciman), Sheila Gill (Matron), Peter Walmsley (1st Mutant), Brian Darnley (2nd Mutant)Setting: Brendon Public School (1977 and 1983) and Mawdryn’s ship (1983) Villains:Mawdryn and The Black Guardian

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
588Part 101 February 198324'03"6.5PAL 2" colour videotape
589Part 202 February 198324'33"7.5PAL 2" colour videotape
590Part 308 February 198324'32"7.4PAL 2" colour videotape
591Part 409 February 198324'33"7.7PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 38 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 7.3
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)68.77%  (Position = 76 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)69.77% Higher (Position = 102 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)71.38% Higher (Position = 117 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 2" colour videotapes.



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Notes


This story was the first of three loosely connected stories known as "The Black Guardian Trilogy", and introduced Mark Strickson as new companion, Vislor Turlough, as well as reintroducing Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (aka The Brigadier) and The Black Guardian.

"The Black Guardian Trilogy" is the third "trilogy" during John Nathan-Turner’s time as producer - the first two being the E-Space adventures in Season Eighteen and the Season Eighteen to Season Nineteen bridge of The Master stories.

This trilogy also sees the introduction of a concept favoured by Script Editor Eric Saward, of an ‘evil’ companion whose presence would heighten the level of suspense in Doctor Who. It was intended that Turlough would join The Doctor in the first part of the trilogy ("Mawdryn Undead"), while secretly acting as an agent of The Black Guardian. He would try to destroy the Time Lord in the second story ("Terminus"), and this would build up to a climactic confrontation with The Black Guardian in the final story ("Enlightenment") when a decision would then be made as to whether the character would continue in the show.

The role of the new companion went to Mark Strickson, whose television work to date had included Strangers and Juliet Bravo. Mark Strickson even turned down a regular role in the hospital drama Angels so that he could join Doctor Who.

Because Mark Strickson was visually very similar to Peter Davison - especially his blond, longish hair - Make-up Designer Sheelagh Wells came up with an efficient way of dying Mark Strickson’s hair ginger. His hair was also cropped shorter than Peter Davison’s.

In this story Valentine Dyall reprises his role as The Black Guardian - who had last appeared in the 1979 Fourth Doctor story "The Armageddon Factor" at the end of Season Sixteen. In "Mawdryn Undead" The Black Guardian enlists the help of stranded alien Turlough to wage vengeance on The Doctor for his earlier crime of sabotaging his plans to obtain The Key to Time.

Originally the third story for Season Twenty would have been given to the long-delayed "Song of the Space Whale" (or "Space Whale"), in which Turlough would have been one of a group of colonists.

In 1978, comic book writer Pat Mills (whose credits included "Judge Dredd" for 2000AD) and his writing partner John Wagner had approached then-Script Editor Anthony Read about writing for Doctor Who. The writing duo developed a storyline which was finally submitted to the Doctor Who production office in 1980. Pat Mills and John Wagner, and Eric Saward when he came on board the show in 1981, continued working on this story. However, after a number of changes, including amending it from a Fourth Doctor story to one featuring the Fifth Doctor, John Wagner becoming increasingly unhappy with the project, and he was released from his involvement. Despite work continuing on this storyline, including the introduction of Turlough and The Black Guardian, a, disagreement arose between Pat Mills and Eric Saward as to the portrayal of several characters and ideas. Finally, it became clear that "The Song of the Space Whale" would not be ready to serve as Turlough’s introductory story and so it was abandoned.

The late cancellation of "The Song of the Space Whale" meant that a replacement story was needed at short notice. Peter Grimwade, who had previously contributed "Time-Flight" at the end of Season Nineteen, had been working on an idea inspired by the legend of the Flying Dutchman and the gimmick of action occurring in the same place at vastly different times. Entitled "Mawdryn Undead" this story was under consideration for later in the season or perhaps the next. Peter Grimwade agreed to hurriedly prepared "Mawdryn Undead" as a replacement.

Several changes to Peter Grimwade’s original concept were necessary in order for "Mawdryn Undead" to work as the first part of the new trilogy. Not only would Turlough and The Black Guardian need to be included, but Peter Grimwade’s initial plan for his two ‘time zones’ to be centuries apart would have to be changed to a matter of just a few years. This was to enable the inclusion of a character who would be present in both ‘time zones’.

The original idea was that William Russell might reprise his role as Ian Chesterton, one of the original regulars from the programmes’ first two seasons (from 1963 – 1965) - hence the school setting as Ian Chesterton was a science teacher. Unfortunately, the shooting schedule for this story was in direct conflict with William Russell’s theatre work. Ian Marter (who played Harry Sullivan) was then approached but he too was busy.

The production team then contacted Nicholas Courtney, who had played the popular Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. John Nathan-Turner had met Nicholas Courtney at Tom Baker’s farewell party in early 1981 where Nicholas Courtney had indicated his desire to return to Doctor Who. Having last appeared in the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "Terror of the Zygons" Nicholas Courtney confirmed he was interested and consequently The Brigadier was inserted into Peter Grimwade’s scripts - now retired and teaching maths.

Nicholas Courtney was made up slightly differently to play the two versions of The Brigadier. The 1977 version retained the character’s familiar moustache, while The Brigadier in 1983 was clean-shaven and also had greyer hair, including a bald spot.

The inclusion of The Brigadier in this story’s two ‘time zones’ (1977 and 1983) however, contradict established Doctor Who history as in the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "Pyramids of Mars", companion Sarah Jane Smith indicated that she comes from 1980 - and so (according to this story) after The Brigadier had retired! This anomaly was pointed out by fan consultant Ian Levine but the production team ignored his advice, preferring to retain the hook of setting part of "Mawdryn Undead" during Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee so resulting in perhaps the shows’ most notorious continuity error.

Strangely the Radio Times credits Nicholas Courtney as ‘Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’ in the combined cast for episodes one and two, and as ‘Brigadier’ in the combined cast for episodes three and four. All on-screen credits read ‘The Brigadier’.

As had been done during the recording of the previous season, there was an eleven-week break prior to the start of production of this story to allow Peter Davison to make the third (and, as it transpired, final) season of the sitcom Sink or Swim.

The Director allocated to this story was Peter Moffatt, who had last worked on last season’s "The Visitation".

David Collings, who played Mawdryn, also appeared in the Fourth Doctor stories "Revenge of the Cybermen", as Vorus, and "The Robots of Death", as Poul. He would himself play an alternate Doctor in the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who Unbound audio story "Full Fathom Five".

Angus MacKay, who played the Headmaster, previously played the part of Borusa in "The Deadly Assassin".

The cast for this story also includes Sian Pattenden (young Tegan Jovanka), Lucy Baker (young Nyssa) and stunt doubles Nick Gillard, Mark McRide, Richard Sheekey and Paul Heasman - all are uncredited.

This story follows directly on from "Snakedance" with Tegan, during the opening sequence, still unsure if she is finally free of the Mara. This was the scene that was postponed from "Snakedance" due to the final episode of that story overrunning.

For the third year running, John Nathan-Turner arranged for a story to feature a montage of old clips. This occurred in this story with a flashback sequence of clips from earlier stories when the 1983 version of The Brigadier, who has been suffering the effects of a nervous breakdown, regains his memory of The Doctor. They were used so as to highlight The Doctor’s past relationship with The Brigadier.

During The Brigadier’s flashback he sees: Yeti ("The Web of Fear"), Cybermen ("The Invasion"), the Axons ("The Claws of Axos"), Daleks ("Day of the Daleks"), the First Doctor ("The Three Doctors"), the Second Doctor ("The Three Doctors"), the Third Doctor ("Spearhead From Space"), the K1 Robot ("Robot"), a Zygon and the Fourth Doctor ("Terror of the Zygons"). All of the clips were shown in sepia tinted black and white. As well as featuring The Brigadier in his previous rank, as Colonel, former companions Liz Shaw, Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith are also seen.

Meanwhile, other continuity was revealed including The Brigadier talking of thirty years of soldiering. The Brigadier also has a photograph of himself from his UNIT days. He also reveals that Sergeant Benton left the army in 1979, to sell second hand cars, and that Harry Sullivan had been seconded to NATO and was last heard of doing something ‘hush hush’ at Porton Down.

It is revealed that The Brigadier left UNIT in 1976 and started teaching at a public school. Shortly after, he appeared to suffer from a nervous breakdown, actually caused by meeting his future self, and many of his memories of UNIT were temporarily lost. Later stories "The Five Doctors" and "Battlefield" would reveal that he later re-established his relationship with UNIT.

It soon becomes apparent that Turlough is clearly not of Earth. The headmaster states that his parents are dead. Turlough seems to wish to return home (see "The King's Demons" and "Planet of Fire"). Turlough’s origins though are not finally explained until "Planet of Fire".

The transmat capsule shares certain properties with the TARDIS, most notably dimensional transcendence, and the transmat beam interferes with the TARDIS workings. Although not explicitly stated, the action on Mawdryn’s ship towards the end of the story must take place in 1983, or else there would be no spacecraft for The Doctor to avoid at the beginning, and no capsule for Turlough to discover. Strangely Tegan seems to know a lot about transmits. This though could be due to her experiences in Virgin Books’ The Missing Adventures novel "Cold Fusion" by Lance Parkin.

It is revealed that when people from two different time zones touch there is a large explosion of energy as the time differential is ‘shorted’, known as the Blinovitch Limitation Effect (see also "Day of the Daleks", where it is described in different terms). Presumably Time Lords are immune to this (see "The Three Doctors", "The Five Doctors" and "The Two Doctors").

The Doctor is heard to state once more that he can only regenerate twelve times, and has done so four times already (see the 1976 Fourth Doctor story "The Deadly Assassin"). This confirms that there were no earlier incarnations before the ‘first’ incarnation played by William Hartnell.

In the fourth episode, The Doctor is heard to say that he might try to ‘reverse the polarity of the neutron flow’. This phrase is often associated with the Third Doctor.

At one point Mawdryn finds in the TARDIS and wears the red coat worn by the Fourth Doctor.

Interestingly ‘Mawdryn’ is a Welsh word meaning ‘undead’ - making the title of this story read "Undead Undead".

Peter Grimwade’s previous story, "Time-Flight", also takes place in two different times.

Another example of Time Lord technology being used to create perpetual regeneration was seen in the 1978 Fourth Doctor story "Underworld".



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first story of the "The Black Guardian Trilogy" mini-series

 The introduction of companion Vislor Turlough played by Mark Strickson.

 The first re-appearance of The Brigadier (played by Nicholas Courtney) since the 1975 Fourth Doctor story "Terror of the Zygons".

 The first appearance of the Black Guardian for 4 years - since the 1979 Fourth Doctor story "The Armageddon Factor".


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Inside the TARDIS
Inside the TARDIS

At Brendon School, a boys’ private boarding school in England, two boys, Vislor Turlough and ‘Hippo’ Ibbotson, make off with The Brigadier’s vintage motor car. Turlough takes the wheel and, to avoid a collision with a white van, manages to crash the vehicle. As teachers and police converge on the scene, Turlough finds himself floating in a void, watching the events on the ground. A black robed figure appears and offers to get Turlough away from the school if he agrees to carry out a task - to murder The Doctor. Desperate to leave the school, and not knowing who this Doctor is, Turlough agrees and fades from the void, awakening in his own body. Later, back at the school, Turlough finds that he has a small glass crystal which glows and allows him to speak with the man in black, otherwise known as The Black Guardian.

The TARDIS, meanwhile, collides with the warp ellipse field of a giant spaceship in a fixed orbit in time and space. The Doctor is forced to make an emergency materialisation on board. He and his companions explore the spaceship, which is lushly decorated and appears to have been in orbit for 3,000 years. They find an empty transmat bay and The Doctor notes that the capsule left for Earth six years earlier.

The travellers return to the TARDIS but discover that it is unable to leave the spaceship as the beam from the transmat is interfering with its operation. The capsule has now returned to it bay, and The Doctor uses it to travel to Earth so as to disconnect the beam. In doing so he meets Turlough, who was responsible for sending the capsule back to the spaceship.

Tegan and Nyssa
Tegan and Nyssa

Although outwardly an ordinary pupil Turlough is in fact an alien. But The Doctor is unaware of this. The Doctor is also unaware that Turlough is working for The Black Guardian…

The TARDIS, now free of the beam’s interference, brings Nyssa and Tegan Jovanka to Earth – but unknown to them it has travelled six years back in time to 1977, so they are now separated from The Doctor and Turlough. However, Tegan and Nyssa are not aware of this and so when they see the capsule arrive and, on venturing inside, find a bloody and injured humanoid they automatically assume it to be The Doctor. They help him into the TARDIS and Tegan goes to find Turlough. Instead she finds a younger Brigadier. At the mention of the TARDIS, The Brigadier realises that The Doctor is in trouble. Tegan meanwhile realises that she is in the wrong time zone.

The Doctor and Turlough
The Doctor and Turlough

In 1983, The Brigadier arrives and takes Turlough back to the school. Strangely, though, he professes no knowledge of The Doctor. The Doctor though manages to jog the memory of The Brigadier, who explains that he had a nervous breakdown some time ago. He left UNIT in 1976 and joined the staff of Brendon as a maths teacher. The Doctor mentions Tegan, and The Brigadier recalls meeting her in 1977 - the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

Back in 1977 Tegan soon realises that the person in the TARDIS is not The Doctor. She and the younger Brigadier hurry back there, guided by a TARDIS homing device. The Brigadier subsequently appropriates this device from Tegan. The creature in the TARDIS has changed his appearance, and it is now clear that he is an alien. The alien identifies himself as Mawdryn and implores Nyssa and Tegan to return him to the craft. They agree, and The Brigadier insists on going with them.

The Doctor on learning more from the 1983 version of The Brigadier realises that he can use the capsule to return to the orbiting spacecraft. When he tries to do so, however, the homing beacon explodes. The Brigadier mentions that he has a homing device for the TARDIS, so The Doctor uses that as a substitute. When questioned by The Doctor as to if in 1977 he travelled to the spaceship, with Nyssa and Tegan, The Brigadier is certain that he didn’t. The Doctor has asked this question as he is concerned that if he is not careful the two Brigadiers could end up meeting each other with disastrous consequences. Of course when they arrive on the spaceship The Doctor is unaware that The Brigadier’s memories are flawed and that The Brigadier from 1977 and The Brigadier from 1983, while wandering around, have been narrowly missing each other.

Tegan Meets The Brigadier
Tegan Meets The Brigadier

It transpires that Mawdryn and seven similar beings have been condemned to endless mutation by the elders of their planet. They exist on this spaceship, which every 70 years comes close to a planet where they can attempt to find help. They want The Doctor to help them die by giving up the power of his remaining regenerations, but insist that he must do so of his own free will. The Doctor at first declines. He later changes his mind, however, when he realises that Nyssa and Tegan have been contaminated by the mutation and will die if they leave in the TARDIS.

The Doctor links up himself, Nyssa and Tegan to a metamorphic symbiosis regenerator (a machine used by Time Lords to help them through difficult regenerations) which Mawdryn has on board the spaceship. When the machine is operated, the power will kill the eight Mutants and ‘cure’ Nyssa and Tegan - but The Doctor will forfeit his remaining regenerations and cease to be a Time Lord. The elder Brigadier activates the equipment, but Turlough - under orders from The Black Guardian - disregards The Doctor’s instructions to prevent the younger Brigadier from entering the same room. At the moment of power transfer, the two Brigadiers touch and there is a massive discharge of energy.

The Brigadiers however, are unharmed. Nyssa takes the elder of the two to the centre of the TARDIS. The Doctor explains that, at the moment of transfer, the energy came not from him but from the discharge caused by The Brigadiers meeting.

With Mawdryn and the Mutants dead, Nyssa and Tegan no longer infected, The Doctor still a Time Lord and Mawdryn’s spaceship self-destructing, The Doctor hurriedly returns The Brigadiers to their respective time zones. Turlough then asks if he can join The Doctor on his travels and The Doctor agrees - unaware that he is taking onboard an assassin who is still, albeit reluctantly, working for The Black Guardian…

 
Turlough
Turlough
The Black Guardian
The Black Guardian
The Black Guardian Instructs Turlough
The Black Guardian Instructs Turlough
Kill The Doctor!
Kill The Doctor!
 
Mawdryn
Mawdryn
Tegan and Nyssa Young Again
Tegan and Nyssa Young Again
The Brigadier Meets Himself
The Brigadier Meets Himself
Welcome Aboard
Welcome Aboard




Quote of the Story


 'After all, if I was suffering from amnesia I'd be the first to know about it, shouldn't I?'

The Brigadier



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Audio
Tape
The Corridor of EternityOctober 1990Paddy Kingsland's incidental music by Julian Knott
Video
VHS
Mawdryn UndeadNovember 1992BBCV 4547Andrew Skilleter
Video
DVD
Mawdryn UndeadAugust 2009BBCDVD 2596Photo-montagePart of "The Black Guardian Trilogy" Box Set Released along with "Terminus" and "Enlightenment"
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Mawdryn UndeadJanuary 1984Target No. 82Peter GrimwadePhotoISBN: 0-426-19393-8
Novel
Novel
Mawdryn Undead1984Target No. 82Peter GrimwadeBook: Photo
Box: Photo
Re-released as part of The Sixth Doctor Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-19609-0
Novel
Novel
Mawdryn UndeadMarch 1992Target No. 82Peter GrimwadeAlister PearsonVirgin new cover reprint.
ISBN: 0-426-19393-8
CD
CD
Mawdryn UndeadJuly 2018Target No. 82Peter GrimwadeAudio version of the Target Novel read by David Collings.
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 65 (Released: June 1996)
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/FeatureIssue 74 (Released: March 1983)
Doctor Who Monthly - ReviewIssue 77 (Released: June 1983)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 110 (Released: March 1986)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArticleIssue 166 (Released: October1990)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 234 (Released: January 1996)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 380 (Released: March 2007)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 427 (Released: November 2010)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 50 (Released: December 2010)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Peter Davison
The Fifth Doctor

   

Nicholas Courtney
The Brigadier
Sarah Sutton
Nyssa
Janet Fielding
Tegan Jovanka
   
Mark Strickson
Turlough





On Release

The Corridor of Eternity Cover
The Corridor of Eternity Cover

BBC
AUDIO
VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
   



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
The Sixth Doctor Who Gift Set
The Sixth 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 65
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 65

CMS
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 74
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 74

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Monthly - Review: Issue 77
Doctor Who Monthly - Review: Issue 77

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 110
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 110

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 166
Doctor Who Magazine - Article: Issue 166

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 234
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 234

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 380
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 380

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 427
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 427

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 50
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 50

GE Fabbri
   

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