It’s 1666, and England is in the grip of the plague. As the Grim Reaper stalks the countryside, the Doctor uncovers an alien menace intent on wiping out humanity and claiming our planet for themselves. The Terileptils have arrived – and only the Doctor can stop them…
The deeper dive:
- Unusually for Doctor Who at this time, there is a ‘prologue’ scene, where four characters are established and quickly killed in cold blood, some years before the bulk of the adventure takes place.
- Previous adventure Kinda is referred to in the two opening TARDIS scenes.
- The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver is destroyed by the Terileptils. It had been the Time Lord’s tool of choice since Fury from the Deep (1968) and would not return until the TV Movie (1996).
The Doctor is attacked by the android, as Tegan and Adric come face to face with a Terileptil:
The Television Centre of the Universe (part 1) is a fantastic wander around the iconic BBC Television Centre with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson, accompanied by former Blue Peter host Yvette Fielding. Many bonkers anecdotes surface including Davison’s chainsaw-based plan to make money, Janet’s recollection of Tegan’s “rat nailed to my head” hairstyle and their shock at the luxury of current TVC dressing rooms. Grim Tales - the “making of” docco - is in a similar vein, with many great memories of the location filming on The Visitation from the regulars. And there’s another instalment of Dr Forever!, this time covering the story of Doctor Who on audio – through Big Finish and AudioGo.
The Visitation is a great Fifth Doctor adventure, with excellent design, a strong guest cast and an interesting new threat. The improvements in technology in the near decade since its initial DVD release really show when cutting between the summery location film footage and studio video tape. It also has yet another hilarious commentary track from the TARDIS crew.
The bottom line:
An old-school Doctor Who plot, executed with great style and humour.