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Serial 5V:
Logopolis

Plot

After her aunt is murdered by the Master, an airline stewardess named Tegan Jovanka becomes an unwitting stowaway aboard the TARDIS as it travels to the planet Logopolis. There, the Doctor discovers that the Master's interference with the Logopolitans' advanced mathematics has unleashed a wave of entropy which threatens to consume the entire universe. The two Time Lords enter into an uneasy alliance, together with Adric, Tegan and Nyssa, who has travelled to Logopolis to confront the Master. Their only hope lies on Earth... but then, in the moment of greatest crisis, the Master plays his ultimate trump card.

Production

On November 2nd, 1979, shortly after John Nathan-Turner had become the producer of Doctor Who, he and executive producer Barry Letts were approached by Head of Drama Graeme McDonald about a new funding initiative for the series. Doctor Who had been a popular element of the Australian Broadcasting Commission's line-up for many years, and McDonald suggested the possibility of entering into a coproduction arrangement with the ABC. Always mindful of finding ways to boost his show's meagre budget, Nathan-Turner agreed and entered into negotiations with the ABC that lasted well into 1980; their discussions centred on filming one or two serials in Australia during the making of Season Nineteen. By the end of July, however, no deal had been reached and it became apparent that this proposal would have to be shelved for the time being.

Nathan-Turner was not inclined to give up on the initiative yet, however, and began casting about for ways to make Doctor Who more attractive to the ABC. At this point, he and script editor Christopher H Bidmead were developing a new female character to replace Romana, who would be written out of the show late in Season Eighteen. (An earlier plan to bring back a popular former companion had had to be abandoned when both Elisabeth Sladen, who had played Sarah Jane Smith, and Leela actress Louise Jameson had declined Nathan-Turner's invitation to return to Doctor Who.) Nathan-Turner now suggested that the new companion should be Australian, with the hope that the inclusion of an Antipodean regular would make the ABC's potential investment in Doctor Who more palatable.

Nathan-Turner and Bidmead envisioned the new companion as a bolshy air hostess who would be willing to stand up to the Doctor, but whose forthrightness would privately mask her lack of self-confidence. Nathan-Turner suggested two names for the character: Tegan (actually a Celtic name which Nathan-Turner selected as an homage to the niece of an Australian friend) and Jovanka (inspired by Jovanka Broz, the wife of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito). Bidmead inadvertently interpreted “Tegan Jovanka” as the new companion's full name, and the error stuck. A character outline for Tegan Jovanka was issued on August 1st. Unfortunately, by the end of August the ABC had confirmed that they still were not interested in a Doctor Who coproduction deal.

It was planned that Tegan would be introduced in the final story of Season Eighteen -- which would also be Tom Baker's last Doctor Who adventure after seven years. Nathan-Turner and Bidmead had decided to bridge the transition from Baker to his successor with a trilogy of stories resurrecting the Doctor's Time Lord archnemesis, the Master. This would begin with The Keeper Of Traken, the year's penultimate adventure, and conclude at the start of Season Nineteen. Bidmead had had enormous problems bringing suitable new writers onto Doctor Who, however, and had found the job of script very trying. By August, he had decided to leave the programme, but reluctantly agreed to provide the season finale himself; staff clearance was secured on August 29th.

In addition to introducing Tegan, regenerating the Doctor, and spotlighting the Master, Bidmead decided to use Serial 5V to tie up loose threads from earlier in the year. The three middle stories of Season Eighteen had all dealt with the Doctor's adventures in the pocket universe of E-Space, accessed after the TARDIS is drawn into a Charged Vacuum Emboitment (CVE). Bidmead decided to further explore the notion of the CVEs in what came to be called Logopolis (taken from the Greek for “city of words”).

Bidmead was also a keen computer enthusiast, and used many ideas from computer science in developing his scripts, with elements such as the Monitor, block transfers, and registers all being derived from terminology in computer architecture. Eager to inject Doctor Who with real scientific notions, Bidmead also drew upon the physics discipline of thermodynamics, making heavy use of the concept of entropy: the measure of unavailable energy in a system, which effectively increases as a system becomes homogeneous. Another starting point was Nathan-Turner's observation that a real police box still stood on the Barnet bypass in London. Bidmead was fascinated with the TARDIS, and wanted to explore its properties more fully.

As Bidmead worked on Logopolis, Nathan-Turner informed him that he was considering retaining the character of Nyssa, whom writer Johnny Byrne had introduced in The Keeper Of Traken, as a third companion alongside Tegan and Adric. Bidmead duly inserted Nyssa into his plans for Logopolis. The mystery surrounding the Watcher was felt to be a crucial element to hold the viewers' interest, and so it was decided to hold off the Master's first onscreen appearance until episode three, in order to make the audience wonder if the Watcher might actually be the evil Time Lord.

Meanwhile, Nathan-Turner had begun to consider actors for the role of the Fifth Doctor. He was uncertain about what direction to take, but was well aware that Baker would cast a long shadow after appearing in Doctor Who for so many years, and hence the new Doctor would have to be as different from Baker's incarnation as possible. Nathan-Turner approached character actor Richard Griffiths (perhaps best known at that time for his humorous Shakespearean roles and the 1975 film It Shouldn't Happen To A Vet), but Griffiths was unavailable. He also considered Scots actor Iain Cuthbertson, who had memorably appeared in programmes such as Budgie, The Stone Tape and Sutherland's Law, and who had played Garron in the 1978 Doctor Who story The Ribos Operation.

Nathan-Turner's office wall was covered with photographs from the various productions on which he had worked. One of his most significant assignments prior to becoming Doctor Who's producer had been as production unit manager on the veterinary drama All Creatures Great And Small, which had already influenced a number of his choices for Doctor Who writers and directors. Now one of these photos -- of a charity cricket match which included All Creatures Great And Small star Peter Davison -- caught Nathan-Turner's eye. The producer realised that the younger and fair-haired Davison was a striking visual contrast to Baker, and also knew that All Creatures Great And Small had earned Davison a fan following which might pursue him to Doctor Who. During October, Nathan-Turner contacted Davison and offered him the role of the Fifth Doctor.

Davison's initial reaction was to turn down the part. He was wary of getting involved in a show like Doctor Who which had virtually become a British institution, and also feared that, at 29 years old, he was simply too young to play the Doctor. Nathan-Turner was not so easily deterred, however, and gave Davison more time to consider the offer. After a couple of weeks, Davison came to the realisation that he simply could not bear to see someone else win the role, and informed the producer of his change of heart. On November 11th, Davison was formally contracted to play the Doctor in twenty-eight episodes during Season Nineteen.

This marked the latest plateau for Davison in a remarkable rise through the ranks of Britain's entertainment industry. After enduring a variety of jobs -- including mortuary attendant -- Davison had begun working at the Nottingham Playhouse. He had then moved into television, quickly securing a recurring role in the science-fiction series The Tomorrow People (where he met his future wife, Sandra Dickinson). Davison was then a regular on Love For Lydia before winning the role of Tristan Farnon on All Creatures Great And Small. More recently, Davison had earned starring roles in the sitcoms Holding The Fort and Sink Or Swim, and was due to record a cameo appearance in the TV version of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Davison's real surname was Moffett; he had adopted his stage name to avoid confusion with director Peter Moffatt (who had directed State Of Decay for Doctor Who's eighteenth season).

At the same time, Nathan-Turner had to find an actress to play Tegan. He was eager to cast an Australian, and more than one hundred thespians were interviewed during the autumn. One of the last performers who auditioned was Janet Fielding; she had been recommended to Nathan-Turner by a friend at the Actors' Alliance who reckoned that Fielding was a perfect fit to play “a bossy Australian”. Born Janet Mahoney in Brisbane, Australia, Fielding had originally planned to be a journalist, but decided instead to become an actress. Travelling to England in the late Seventies, she had worked in theatre with people like Ken Campbell before securing a small role in Hammer House Of Horror.

At her audition, there was some concern that Fielding was too short to play an air hostess like Tegan, but Fielding convinced Nathan-Turner that the minimum height requirement for stewardesses in Australia was less than in Britain due to the smaller stature of people from that part of the world. This was Fielding's second fib -- she had also claimed to be three years younger than her true age -- but it paid off: on October 23rd, she was was contracted for three serials beginning with Logopolis, with an option for twelve further episodes. A photocall to introduce the new companion was held the same day.

On October 24th, even more press attention was called to Doctor Who when word leaked out of Baker's imminent departure. Nathan-Turner hastily arranged a press conference, and he and Baker colluded to incite further publicity with Baker hinting that the Fifth Doctor might be played by a woman. The truth was revealed on November 5th, when Davison appeared on Nationwide to confirm that he would be replacing Baker. On the 11th, he was contracted for twenty-eight episodes: at this stage, Season Nineteen was still intended to be the same length as Season Eighteen.

Fielding's first Doctor Who work also marked the beginning of location recording for Logopolis. The director was Peter Grimwade, who had recently completed Full Circle. On December 16th, filming began with the material at Aunt Vanessa's residence. When the crew was unable to locate the owner of the house that Grimwade had originally intended to use, they instead moved further up the same street to the home of Andrew McCulloch, who had cowritten Meglos earlier that year. Next, all of the scenes beside the River Thames were completed, with recording taking place on the Albert Bridge and the Cadogan Pier at the Chelsea Embankment. Tom Baker rejoined the Doctor Who team just three days after his wedding to former costar Lalla Ward, who had played Romana.

Filming was originally planned to continue on the 17th, but an industrial dispute delayed one day of studio work on The Keeper Of Traken to this date. Instead, production on Logopolis resumed on the 18th, when the BBC Overseas Monitoring and Receiving Station at Crowsley Park in Sonning Common, Berkshire, posed as the grounds of Pharos Project. This left only the material involving the genuine police box to be filmed. Unfortunately, the police box located near the Barnet bypass had fallen into disrepair and had recently been dismantled. As luck would have it, however, the TARDIS prop used until the end of Season Seventeen had been placed in storage. This was now summoned back for use in these sequences, which were recorded on December 19th and 22nd at a lay-by between Denham and Amersham in Buckinghamshire.

Production then paused for the Christmas holidays. At this point, Bidmead concluded his appointment as Doctor Who's script editor, leaving interim script editor Antony Root to carry on solo. Bidmead retained his ties to the programme, however, contributing scripts for Castrovalva and Frontios during the next three years. Two further submissions -- “In The Hollows Of Time” and “Pinocotheca” -- were abandoned during the mid-Eighties. Bidmead novelised all three of his televised Doctor Who stories for Target Books. He also wrote a script entitled Renaissance Of The Daleks for Big Finish Production's range of Doctor Who audio adventures, although disagreements with Big Finish led to Bidmead leaving the project before its 2007 release. Bidmead otherwise concentrated on his career as a computer journalist, writing for various computer-related publications. Around the start of 1994, Bidmead became one of the first Doctor Who professionals to interact with fandom via the still-nascent Internet.

As 1981 dawned, fan consultant Ian Levine assisted the production team to realise an idea conceived by Nathan-Turner. The producer wanted Logopolis to feature montages of the Fourth Doctor's friends and enemies, each saying the Doctor's name, during the build-up to his final moments. Nathan-Turner was keen to pay tribute to Doctor Who's fanbase, and felt that these sorts of flashbacks -- never before attempted during the series' long run -- were exactly the kind of thing that the programme's aficionados would enjoy. The villains montage included the skeletal Master (from The Deadly Assassin), a Dalek (Destiny Of The Daleks), the Captain (The Pirate Planet), the Cyberleader (Revenge Of The Cybermen), Sontaran Commander Stor (The Invasion Of Time), the Zygon Broton (Terror Of The Zygons), and the Black Guardian (The Armageddon Factor). The companions montage featured Sarah Jane Smith (from Terror Of The Zygons), Harry Sullivan (The Sontaran Experiment), Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart (Invasion Of The Dinosaurs), Leela (The Robots Of Death), K-9 (The Armageddon Factor), the original incarnation of Romana (The Stones Of Blood), and the second Romana (Full Circle).

Logopolis resumed production with a two-day studio block in BBC Television Centre Studio 3. January 8th dealt with all of the scenes inside the TARDIS, while the 9th was concerned with the action in the antenna control room and atop the gantry itself. Baker had an angry disagreement with Nathan-Turner and Grimwade, who wanted him to yell as the Doctor falls from the scaffolding. Baker felt that this would be unheroic, and refused. The regeneration was also taped on this day, and represented Davison's first work on Doctor Who. Baker was again unhappy, and took issue with the fact that the final image that viewers would see of his Doctor would be of him lying prone, being photographed from above.

The season's last studio session was a three-day affair spanning January 22nd to 24th, and took place in TC6. The first day dealt with the scenes in and around the Pharos Project computer room, as well as those in the streets of Logopolis and at the landing area. January 23rd concentrated on sequences in the External Register and the Control Register. Finally, on the 24th, all the material depicting the ruined Logopolis was completed.

Logopolis was the last Doctor Who story to credit Barry Letts as the programme's executive producer (although he also did some work on Four To Doomsday, the first serial of the show's nineteenth recording block). It was now felt that Nathan-Turner had enough experience to guide Doctor Who without Letts' supervision, and so the position of executive producer was abandoned. As Letts' name faded from view at the end of Logopolis part four on March 21st, Doctor Who's tumultuous eighteenth season drew to a close.

Tom Baker's career experienced something of a lull immediately following his departure from Doctor Who, and his marriage to Ward ended in divorce in April 1982. Letts provided Baker with his first post-Doctor Who role, as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound Of The Baskervilles. Baker soon found himself once again in demand, racking up appearances on stage, on the silver screen and on television, including Blackadder, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Silver Chair, Medics, the revival of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), and Monarch Of The Glen. His considerable voice work included a regular role as the narrator for Little Britain. Baker returned to play the Fourth Doctor in the thirtieth-anniversary Doctor Who charity special Dimensions In Time in 1993. He also provided linking narration for the VHS release of the incomplete Shada, and recorded a retrospective of his time on Doctor Who, released by BBC Video as Doctor Who: The Tom Baker Years. More recently, Baker has returned to play the Fourth Doctor on audio for both AudioGO and Big Finish Productions.

Sources
  • Doctor Who: The Handbook: The Fourth Doctor by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker (1992), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 0 426 20369 8.
  • Doctor Who: The Eighties by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker (1996), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 1 85227 680 0.
  • Doctor Who Magazine #257, 22nd October 1997, “Archive: Logopolis” by Andrew Pixley, Marvel Comics UK Ltd.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #9, 22nd December 2004, “Another One Bites The Dust” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.
  • In-Vision #52, August 1994, “Production” edited by Justin Richards and Peter Anghelides, Cybermark Services.

Original Transmission
Episode 1
Date 28th Feb 1981
Time 5.09pm
Duration 24'32"
Viewers (more) 7.1m (84th)
· BBC1 7.1m
Episode 2
Date 7th Mar 1981
Time 5.09pm
Duration 24'03"
Viewers (more) 7.7m (57th)
· BBC1 7.7m
Appreciation 61%
Episode 3
Date 14th Mar 1981
Time 5.11pm
Duration 24'32"
Viewers (more) 5.8m (102nd)
· BBC1 5.8m
Episode 4
Date 21st Mar 1981
Time 5.09pm
Duration 25'10"
Viewers (more) 6.1m (97th)
· BBC1 6.1m
Appreciation 65%


Cast
Doctor Who
Tom Baker
Peter Davison
Adric
Matthew Waterhouse
Nyssa
Sarah Sutton
(more)
Tegan
Janet Fielding
Aunt Vanessa
Dolore Whiteman
Detective Inspector
Tom Georgeson
The Master
Anthony Ainley
The Monitor
John Fraser
Security Guard
Christopher Hurst


Crew
Written by
Christopher H Bidmead
Directed by
Peter Grimwade
Produced by
John Nathan-Turner
(more)

Incidental Music
Paddy Kingsland
Special Sound
Dick Mills
Production Manager
Margot Hayhoe
Production Associate
Angela Smith
Production Assistant
Patricia Greenland
Assistant Floor Manager
Val McCrimmon
Film Cameraman
Peter Hall
Film Sound
Jim McAlister
Film Editor
Paul Humfress
Visual Effects Designer
John Horton
Video Effects
Dave Chapman
Vision Mixer
Carol Johnson
Technical Manager
Terry Brett
Senior Cameraman
Reg Poulter
Videotape Editor
Rod Waldron
Studio Lighting
Henry Barber
Studio Sound
John Holmes
Costume Designer
June Hudson
Make-up Artist
Dorka Nieradzik
Script Editor
Christopher H Bidmead
Title Sequence
Sid Sutton
Designer
Malcolm Thornton
Executive Producer
Barry Letts


Media
DVD Release
Doctor Who: Logopolis (2007)
Buy: Canada · USA
Doctor Who: New Beginnings (2007; boxed set)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Audio Release
Doctor Who: Logopolis narrated by Christopher H Bidmead (2010)
Buy: Canada · UK · USA
Novelisation
Doctor Who: Logopolis by Terrance Dicks (1982)

Updated 21st May 2011