Doctor Who (1982): Earthshock

Doctor Who the Doctors Revisited cover

Doctors Revisited Vol II part i
A review by Nalini Haynes

★★★★☆ four out of five stars

Peter Davison is the Doctor with Tegan (Janet Fielding), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) as companions in a crowded TARDIS in ‘Earthshock’. Adric is fighting with the Doctor, behaving like a spoilt child jealous of attention given by the father-figure (the Doctor) to his ‘siblings’ (Tegan and Nyssa). Adric threatens to leave, nagging the Doctor to return him to his home in E-space.

On future Earth spelunkers mount a rescue of a geological survey team who intended to explore caves filled with dinosaur fossils.

The TARDIS lands deep in the cave system. Taking time out from arguing, Adric stays inside working out a route to return home while the others explore the caves, discussing the dinosaurs and their sudden extinction.

Androids more humanoid than the cybermen they serve appear, killing people to protect a hatch. The Doctor opens the hatch to discover a bomb that automatically arms itself. (No-one explains why the bomb is there when the cybermen are in transit nor why the cybermen need to travel at all when they’ve already planted a powerful bomb.)

Following the signal sent to the bomb, the Doctor discovers a ship in transit to Earth posing a threat to the future of the planet…

Past impressions

When I was growing up I loved and adored both Adric and Nyssa. ‘All the boys’ in my advanced maths and advanced science classes had crushes on Nyssa while the few girls had obligatory crushes on Adric (of course).

Any story featuring character development of Adric and Nyssa was extremely important, even this one showing Adric in a less-than-flattering light.

Now I watch ‘Earthshock’ with neither surprise nor anticipation but with acute awareness of heavy foreshadowing and with memory of devastation at the close of the story.

I have a vivid memory of silence during the closing credits, a tradition I felt should have been retained for this re-release.

Image

The same image issue for the previous Doctors Revisited stories applies to this story: the centre is in ratio but the sides stretched to transform 4:3 ratio to widescreen. As people tended to be more centred in shots and there was less panning, this was less distracting for this story than for previous episodes.

Extras

Appropriately for this story, the extras focused on the Doctor’s companions, particularly Peter Davison’s companions including the ‘current’ trio and Turlough. Interviews with the actors added squee, including an interview with the allegedly-elusive Matthew Waterhouse.