The Doctor (Peter Davison) has gone through a regeneration, but the danger isn’t over. With the transformation incomplete, and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) secretly under control of the Master (Anthony Ainley), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and Tegan (Janet Fielding) find themselves trying to keep the Doctor safe while piloting the TARDIS. Tegan learns of a place called Castrovalva where the Doctor can properly restore himself…but the Master has other ideas.
Doctor Who: Castrovalva aired during the nineteenth season of the long running BBC series. The serial aired in four episodes from January 4, 1982 to January 12, 1982. Following Doctor Who: Logopolis, Doctor Who: Castrovalva was collected as part of The Peter Davison Years as Story #117 (or Story #116 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Backer serial Doctor Who: Shada). The serial is also sometimes collected as Doctor Who: New Beginnings with Doctor Who: The Keeper of Traken and Doctor Who: Logopolis.
Tom Baker was my favorite Doctor (like for many people). He was the first Doctor I can remember seeing when the show aired on PBS in the ’80s. I always compared everyone to Baker…and Davison while in reality isn’t that bad of a Doctor, he never was Baker for me.
A regeneration is always exciting n that you never know what type of Doctor you are going to get. Here the process is slowed down and interrupted (kind of like with Davison’s replacement Colin Baker). It gets a bit long winded at points and you wait for the plot shift for the second half of the serial.
This is a good showcase for Tegan and Nyssa. I never was the biggest fan of their period either, but this is a better serial for both of them because the Doctor is out of the loop for a majority of the serial. Lucky for both character, they really aren’t saddled with babysitting the annoying Adric who is a prisoner for most of the story.
The whole Castrovalva portion of the story is a bit overplayed unfortunately. The faux reality seems like it should almost be an entirely different story and that it was shoehorned into the plot. Master stories are always nice, but this isn’t the best Master story.
It is always rough when a new Doctor takes over. You have to understand and “learn” the Doctor as the Doctor develops. The learning curve is steep and if a Doctor doesn’t catch on quick, it can be disastrous. I’ve gotten used to Davison, but I found him pretty rough compared to his predecessor. Doctor Who: Castrovalva is followed by Doctor Who: Four to Doomsday.