Doctor Who: Battlefield (Story #155)

6.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Brigadier is back, fun blend of magic and science

So-so story


Go cut the head off the Doctor…see if he can regenerate that!

The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred) find the TARDIS has materialized in England and they are caught in a battle between the ancient forces of Mordred (Christopher Bowen) and his mother Morgaine (Jean Marsh) and UNIT agents over nuclear weapons.  The Doctor finds he is believed to be Merlin and must stop Modred and Morgaine before the war escalates…which means a team up with his old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney).

Doctor Who:  Battlefield aired in the twenty-sixth season of the long-running popular BBC series.  The serial aired in four parts from September 6, 1989 to September 27, 1989.  The series featured the last meeting of the Doctor and the Brigadier played by Nicholas Courtney.  Following Doctor Who:  The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Doctor Who:  Battlefield was collected as part of The Sylvester McCoy Years as Story #156 (or Story #155 depending on how you count the unaired Doctor Who:  Shada or the multi-part Doctor Who:  The Trial of a Time Lord).  Doctor Who:  Battlefield is currently out-of-print on DVD.


Grrrr….I’m a monster!

Doctor Who was in a bit of a miserable place at this time.  The ratings were down and despite being a slight improvement over Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy wasn’t changing the course as the Seventh Doctor.  McCoy does feel like a bit of a throwback to earlier Doctors but the series had gotten rather goofy by this point…and that is saying something about a series that was almost always goofy.

I do like the stories that blend the idea of magic and explain the magic with science.  The whole Camelot aspect ties into the Doctor’s time travelling and it is fun to see knights and “magic” in modern day.  Doctor Who has always shown science over the unknown and there the idea continues.


Hey, my Doctor was cooler than you!

The joy of Doctor Who is that it stretches over such a long period of time and characters can pop in and out.  This story has the return of the Brigadier who was a frequent semi-companion (more of an acquaintance) of the Third and Fourth Doctor (Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker).  His last regular appearance was in Doctor Who:  Terror of the Zygons (Story #80), but he also returned in Doctor Who:  Mawdryn Undead (Story #125) and Doctor Who:  The Five Doctors (Story #129).  It is revealed that he is married and retired and he also brings along the Doctor’s beloved car Bessie for the adventure.


Ace…hand Excalibur to me and be a good girl!

I do kind of like Ace and it was fun that she got a friend who has her love of explosives in this episode.  After a lot of non-descript and irritating companions, I do think Ace was a good decision.  It still is a bit weird that the Doctor is running around with a rather young girl, but she’s still better than the Adric/Nyssa/Tegan combo or Peri.  I would love to see Ace return in the modern Doctor Who and see how she’s grown up.

Doctor Who:  Battlefield is a fun throwback episode.  Doctor Who has such a rich history that it is nice to get to see old friends (like the Brigadier and Bessie) and have reunions like this reunion in Battlefield.  This is the last time that the Doctor and Brigadier meet up on screen, and Nicholas Courtney dropped out of Doctor Who until a reunion with Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) in The Sarah Jane Adventures—Season 2 “Enemy of the Bane”.  Doctor Who:  Battlefield was followed by Doctor Who:  Ghost Light.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (Story #154)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Ghost Light (Story #156)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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