The newly regenerated Doctor escapes with his companions back to the TARDIS.
Suffering from post-regeneration trauma, he only narrowly manages to save the
ship from destruction as it plunges back to Event One, the hydrogen in-rush that
preceded the creation of the universe.
He then seeks sanctuary in the peaceful domain of Castrovalva, only to discover
that it is an illusory, dimensionally paradoxical trap set for him by the Master
with the unwilling aid of a kidnapped Adric.
- Commentary from actors Peter Davison and
Janet Fielding, plus director Fiona Cumming and writer Christopher H. Bidmead
- BEING DOCTOR WHO: (Dur. 13' 29") - Peter
Davison discusses his casting and time as the Fifth Doctor
- DIRECTING CASTROVALVA: (Dur. 11' 19")
- Fiona Cumming talks about directing Peter Davison's debut story
- THE CROWDED TARDIS: (Dur. 11' 25")
- by the end of Tom Baker's tenure, the TARDIS crew had grown from the usual
one companion to theee. This featurette examines the reasons behind this change
of direction. Featuring actors Tom Baker, Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton, director
John Black and script editor Christopher H. Bidmead. Narrated by George Williams
- BLUE PETER: (Dur. 9' 15") - Peter
Davison interviewed on the popular children's magazine show
- SWAP SHOP (Dur. 20' 40" ) - Noel
Edmonds interviews Peter Davison, with questions phoned in from young viewers
- Deleted Scenes (Dur. 1' 34") - two deleted scenes
from the story
- THEME MUSIC VIDEO: (Dur. 3' 34") -
a brand new remix of Peter Howell's version of the theme music for the series,
exclusively remixed from the original multitrack master. Option to listen to
the music in either stereo (default) or Dolby Digital 5.1 surround versions
COMMENT - SPOILERS AHEAD
CASTROVALVA is a prime example of how much BBC WALES' NEW SERIES owes to the vision and gut-instinct of Producer, John Nathan-Turner. His crafting of this story demonstrates that whilst others remonstrate over dubious content & aspiration, including a self-doubting "youngest ever Doctor, Peter Davison, a steadfast creative approach - played as long game - could be spell blinding.
Nathan-Turner's contribution to the CLASSIC SERIES is frequently vilified and rounded upon - including from eyeofhorus.org.uk contributors - as one founded in "Light Entertainment" or even "Pantomime". At times, it might be so but the commitment shown in developing the programme and ensuring that the audience is served a diet of drama as opposed to pure unadulterated sci-fi is truly commendable.
In this story, CASTROVALVA , the audience is treated to an almost non-WHO format - even to the extent of having a distinct "two-Act" (Act 1 - in the TARDIS, and Act 2 - In Castrovalva) format. The hero is not heroic, in fact, for the most time he is incapacitated, reliant upon the generous auspices of his younger associates. He just saves the day at the very end. Sounds familiar? Speed forward 23 years to THE CHRISTMAS INVASION. It proves there is nothing new in television.
The studio commentary (Actors, Peter Davison & Janet Fielding, Writer, Christopher H Bidmead, and Director, Fiona Cumming) aptly demonstrates that the story's content and values are as relevant today as they were in 1982. Added to the fact that the "team" genuinely gel and are fond of CASTROVALVA , chatting about old time over (late arriving theough a door that is desperate need of hinge oiling) café lattes.
Relishing an opportunity to relive her time on the programme, Janet Fielding offers an immediate caveat for listeners:
Fielding: We blame Fiona and Chris for everything!
(Then adds as an excuse for the outburst?)
Fielding: I am waiting for the coffee. I'm not a wake yet?
One of the discussions theoughout the story was the "unlayering". Not of the plotline but of the Doctor's companions clothing - itself a metaphor for the recent regeneration & pre-destination/escape from pre-destination, or due to the impracticality of certain clothes under hot studio lighting?
Fielding: This is big striptease episode!
Bidmead: This isn't the episode I wrote.
Davison: The continental version!
Listen for the biggest cheer ever in a DOCTOR WHO studio commentary recording session as Tegan Jovanka admits that;
Tegan Jovanka: I'm talking nonsense.
Making her DVD debut, Fiona Cumming reveals both the immense pleasure she had in directing this story and the errors that she had wished she had spotted during it. For example, the overly noisy "lift wagon" that raised the Master upwards. So noisy that all dialogue had to cut during its operation. And the reversed question marks as the Doctor floated (courtesy of CSO) in the Zero Room. And the reference to beguiled youthfulness of Peter Pan in the 'green healing drink' given to the Doctor by Mergrave.
An interesting fact, that surprised even Davison and Fielding, is that Cumming and Bidmead had never met prior to the recording of the commentary. The excuse being that Nathan-Turner did not like Writers and Directors meeting either on set or in rehearsals.
On of the most interesting, prophetic comments came from Peter Davison relates to the NEW SERIES.
Davison: I wonder if they will bring the Master in the NEW SERIES? Fielding: Oh yes!
The DVD commentary is rounded off with a hilarious poke in the ribs of Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) and his Campari overindulgence. Both Davison and Fielding will be able to dine-out on that story for years to come.
Davison: He goes behind that tree and vomits.
For a 90-minute story CASTROVALVA feels like a 45-minute NEW SERIES story. The dialogue is crisp & pertinent without being overly science fiction heavy, the characters are all engaging (even the Castrovalvans are 'fleshed-out' in double quick time), and the set design a 3 dimensional realised impossibility of Escher's lithographic print.
Like finding loose change down the back of the sofa, CASTROVALA is a surprisingly clever, precisely executed story that would not stand out of place in Russell T Davies' re-vision for DOCTOR WHO. And just think, if this story had not been made, the possibility of an Escher print coming to life in the hands of the NEW SERIES special effects designers, the Mill.
Or how about a Salvador Dali painting?