Doctor Who: The Keeper of Traken (Story #114)

doctor who the keeper of traken dvd
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

The Melkur/Master thing is fun, introduces Nyssa

Tom Baker's run is winding down and a weaker story


Oh yeah Melkur…you’re hot!!!

The Doctor (Tom Baker) and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) have returned from E-Space but find themselves pulled to the Traken Union.  Encountering a being called the Keeper (Denis Carey), the Doctor and Adric learn that the mantel of the Keeper of the Source is about to be passed down to another, but the Keeper fears there is danger in the future Keeper Consul Tremas (Anthony Ainley).  The Keeper feels there is a threat from a stone being called Melkur and that Tremas’ wife Kassia (Sheila Ruskin) and daughter Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) could be the threat since they watch over it.  When Kassia falls under the spell of Melkur, the Doctor and Adric must stop Melkur and uncover that Melkur might be one of the Doctor’s greatest foes.

Doctor Who:  The Keeper of Traken falls in in the eighteenth season of the popular British sci-fi series Doctor Who.  It was a four part serial airing from January 31, 1981 to February 21, 1981.  It followed the Doctor Who:  The E-Space Trilogy which ended with Doctor Who:  Warriors’ Gate, and Doctor Who:  The Keeper of Traken has been collected in The Tom Baker Years as Story #115 (or Story #114 depending on how you count Doctor Who:  Shada).


Welcome to the TARDIS Nyssa…

This series get the Doctor back to just exploring the universe and firmly establishes Adric as his companion.  It also introduces a future companion in Nyssa who officially joins the adventure in Logopolis.  It also feels like Tom Baker’s role of the Doctor is slowing down since it is his penultimate adventure.

The tone of Doctor Who at this point feels to really be changing.  With both Adric and Nyssa, the Doctor feels like he is taking on a more “kid friendly” approach by being a mentoring Doctor with a younger “hipper” crew.  I’m not a huge fan of either Nyssa or Adric and it kind of weirds me out that the Doctor is travelling around with these young characters (neither of which have much personality at this point).


I hate playing freeze tag with the Master

I love Tom Baker as the Doctor but the episode feels pretty weak.  I do like that Master has returned and the fact that Melkur is actually a sort of TARDIS is kind of a fun cover.  In the episode Geoffrey Beevers plays “Melkur” in the credits since they didn’t want people to know he was the Master but by the end of the story the Master takes over Tremas (played by Anthony Ainley) to become the new Master (and Tremas is just an anagram of Master).

It is always sad to say goodbye to a Doctor and this story feels like it is starting to wind down Baker’s game changing run as the Doctor.  I do know that there were creative differences starting to brew on the set and I suppose that the change was inevitable.  Doctor Who:  The Keeper of Traken is followed by Tom Baker’s last regular episode Doctor Who:  Logopolis.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Warriors’ Gate (Story #113)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Logopolis (Story #115)

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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