So, apparently, the Doctor got some new companions for this season of Doctor Who….sort of. Both Mary Tamm and John Leeson declined to return for this one. Now, Romana was a Time Lord, so she could just regenerate into a new body, and she ultimately does into the form of Lalla Ward’s Princess Astra. Since Ward was married to Tom Baker for much of her time on the show, she probably wasn’t too hard to pin down. As for Leeson, he was just the voice of K9, and he’d come back to the role later and still holds it today when K9 appears somewhere.
So, anyway, new actors but the same characters.
But man, we start off on the TARDIS, going through time and space randomly. K9 somehow came down with laryngitis, so the Doctor took him apart. Romana is trying on new bodies for some decent comedy. They come out as Astra, too tall, too short, and one that looked kinda like a drag queen. I could be wrong on that one.
Should I mention Doctor Who fanboys weren’t happy with all that because regeneration doesn’t work that way? I just did? OK, moving on.
Anyway, the TARDIS finds a location, and by then, Romana has her new looks, and in terms of wardrobe, she’s dressed a lot like the Doctor: long coat, longer scarf, a pair of boots and some pants. Granted, her scarf is a monochrome white and much of the rest of it is pink, suggesting a more feminine version of the Doctor’s usual attire.
But the Doctor never gives up a chance to look around, so he and Romana take some anti-radiation pills and head off. They see some weird stuff. There’s a funeral procession, some metal bits sticking out of the ground, and for the most part, that’s it.
You know, until the spaceship plops down, drills partially underground, and stuff starts exploding. The two Time Lords hide in a bunker where some heavy rubble pins the Doctor down. Romana goes off to fetch K9, followed by one of the dusty-looking folks from the funeral. I think he’s covered in dust. He’s that or some kind of zombie. He doesn’t say much regardless. The Doctor pulls out a book on the history of the universe for a good chuckle and waits.
He doesn’t wait long. Some other folks come rescue him before Romana gets back. It’s just as well. The TARDIS was partially buried in a landslide.
But then the guy following her spooks her a bit and she falls down what looks like a mineshaft.
So, fortunately for the Doctor, the Movellans are friendly, more or less. They’re the folks from the spaceship. They even tell the Doctor he’s on the planet Skaro.
Wait, we’ve seen Skaro before, haven’t we?
We sure have! That’s where the Daleks came from!
Oh, and a couple of them just burst through the wall and captured Romana.
I guess the title of this serial is pretty accurate.
The Wheel Of Time “A Place Of Safety”
The X-Files “Blood”
Hunters “The Trial Of Adolph Hitler”