Doctor Who: The Awakening (Story #131)

6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Short entry

Not developed enough, Malus needed more explaining


The Malus…a thing in the wall

The Doctor (Peter Davison), Turlough (Mark Strickson), and Tegan (Janet Fielding) travel to Little Hodcombe in 1984 to see Tegan’s grandfather Andrew (Frederick Hall) and discover that the inhabitants are engaged in a recreation of the English Civil War from 1643…with potentially deadly consequences.  There is something below Little Hodcombe that is causing this evil and the Doctor  must discover what it is!

Doctor Who:  The Awakening aired in the twenty-first season of the popular BBC series.  The serial aired in two parts from January 19, 1984 to January 20, 1984.  Following Doctor Who:  Warriors of the Deep, Doctor Who:  The Awakening was collected as part of The Peter Davison Years as Story #132 (or Story #131 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Baker story Doctor Who:  Shada).  Currently Doctor Who:  The Awakening is out-of-print on DVD.


I will dispatch you and then finish posing for my Rembrandt!

I like the short Doctor Who entries.  Doctor Who often suffers from drawn out plots that are almost soap opera in style but contain far more information and twists than in a standard soap opera…leaving you sometimes bored and missing plot points.  Even when Doctor Who is toned down to two or three episodes, it still feels long and Doctor Who:  The Awakening is no different.

I had a lot of hope for this entry with the fun throwback play acting, but it didn’t really do much with this.  The creature called the Malus (which is a fun giant critter living in the wall of the church basement) feeds off psychic energy and created the war recreations to feed off the energy produced by the humans?  It is quite gimmicky and feels underused and rushed.


So…what is the Malus?

I was just confused by the Malus.  He looked like a giant animatronic robot and I wasn’t even sure if he was supposed to be alive.  I have to admit that his appearance on the cover did make me want to see this entry…but the series needed more of him or to explain him better.  The origin seemed rather convoluted along with the plot.

Davison does grow on you a bit as a Doctor.  He had a tough follow to fill the shows of what many consider the best Doctor in Tom Baker and he does a fair job doing it.  He suffers from weak companions (over & over again) and even weaker stories.  Fans note that along with other episodes, sometime companion Kamelion doesn’t appear in this entry (along with other series episodes).

Doctor Who:  The Awakening fortunately isn’t much of a commitment since it is only two episodes.  I like that the makers would mix this up on occasion and do a quick hit, but I wish that the show used today’s format and provided a tight-concise story with these breaks from the norm.  Doctor Who:  The Awakening is followed by Doctor Who:  Frontios.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Warriors of the Deep (Story #130)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Frontios (Story #132)

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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