Doctor Who: Mawdryn Undead (Story #125)

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Like the spaghetti brains and the return of Brigadier

Would have liked to see Ian back


Introducing Turlough…he’s kind of a turd

A student of Brendon Public School named Vislor Turlough (Mark Strickson) finds himself with the offer of a lifetime from a being called the Black Guardian (Valentine Dyall) if Turlough kills the Doctor (Peter Davison).  When the Doctor, Tegan (Janet Fielding), and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) find the TARDIS stranded aboard a spaceship, the Doctor heads to Earth to discover Turlough and his old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney)…only to find that the Brigadier has no memory of who he is.  When Nyssa and Tegan travel to Earth in 1977, they find a younger Brigadier, the mystery deeps to include an alien race who needs the Doctor…as Turlough questions when to make his move.


Can we offer you a glass of water?

Doctor Who:  Mawdryn Undead aired during the twentieth season of the popular BBC series.  The serial aired in four parts from February 1, 1983 to February 9, 1983.  Following Doctor Who:  Snakedance, Doctor Who:  Mawdryn Undead is collected with Doctor Who:  Terminus and Doctor Who:  Enlightenment as Doctor Who:  The Black Guardian Trilogy.  The story has been collected as part of The Peter Davison Years as Story #126 (or Story #125 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Bake story Doctor Who:  Shada).

Doctor Who:  Mawdryn Undead starts the loose trilogy known as the Black Guardian Trilogy which brings back characters from Doctor Who:  The Key to Time serial from Tom Baker’s story.  This volume not only brings back this storyline but also reintroduces (in a very odd way) Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.


How do I know you’re the Brigadier without a mustache? How do I know you’re the Doctor without a scarf?

The Brigadier’s return is rather odd.  The story originally was meant for the return of Ian Chesterton (William Russell) and that is why the Brigadier is suddenly working in a school with his ties to U.N.I.T. severed.  The story does explain it a bit, but it seems odd and disjointed.  I am glad to have Nicholas Courtney back but I also would have loved to see William Russell back since he was one of the original companions.

The effects for this serial are rather effective.  Mawdryn and his followers that have been maimed for seeking immortality look rather goofy with their spaghetti brains, but they are fun.  I like their storyline and that the Doctor finds himself having to choose between forfeiting his future or saving lives.


Can I get a Tylenol?

The episode also introduces the Doctor’s new companion Turlough played by Mark Strickson.  I am not a huge fan of Turlough but I like the idea of a companion that cannot be trusted.  I do have a problem with the Doctor not seeing Turlough as sketchy.  It seems to me that the character is too devious to not be noticed by even the Doctor who sometimes can be oblivious to the obvious.

Doctor Who:  Mawdryn Undead wasn’t a bad entry in a less than stellar period of Doctor WhoThe Black Guardian Trilogy in general is a rather good storyline and does provide some rather important moments in the progression of the series.  Doctor Who:  Mawdryn Undead was followed by the second entry in the Black Guardian TrilogyDoctor Who:  Terminus.

[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B002IW62FK” locale=”us”]

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Terminus (Story #126)

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.

Leave A Response