The Keeper of Traken
Episode / February 16, 2017

Aired 31 January – 21 February 1981 Death and decay have been constant narrative streams through Tom Baker’s final series of adventures, and ‘The Keeper of Traken’ runs with those themes and utilizes the impending departure of the leading man to add a tremendous deal of weight to a satisfying tale upon the peaceful world of Traken that might otherwise have seemed a bit too excessive. Considering that the script had to undergo several late changes to accommodate a shift in the production staff’s desires, prime examples being the surprising revival of the Master and the impetus put on the character of Nyssa as Sarah Sutton was eventually asked to become a companion, due credit must be given to writer Johnny Byrne and script editor Christopher H Bidmead for managing to still craft such a coherent and enjoyable story. The titular Keeper of Traken is quite an intriguing notion, and the fact that he is not immortal and all-powerful only makes him more so. Sensing that a powerful evil is invading his idyllic planet of purified goodness that makes evil shrivel away, he calls upon the Doctor who is still hurting from the departure of Romana and K9 for help.…

The Doctor’s Daughter
Episode / May 24, 2016

Aired 10 May 2008 After a very strong start to the fourth series, ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ ultimately proves to be a weaker episode, one filled with some clever ideas that are haphazardly thrown together and ultimately fail to reach their full potential. With the addition of the Martha subplot that sees her off on her own with an ill-defined alien Hath for the majority of the story, relegating Martha to stereotypical companion role with little development, nothing ever seems to completely gel coherently and the result is very much a story in pieces. Still, having Martha wander around a desolate landscape only to happen onto the climax and having a genuinely clever plot twist that wasn’t built up enough beforehand aren’t the downfall of this episode. Rather, the premise of the episode ends up feeling like a cheat. The brazen title brings with it a heap of expectations even knowing that Gallifrey and the Time Lords are destroyed, bringing with it images of grandly expanding the Doctor’s personal family line to show the generation between he and Susan. Instead, the titular daughter Jenny is created from a DNA extraction and cloning machine. Either way, Jenny is built up to be…

Primeval
Audio / March 11, 2016

Released November 2001 Following a couple of somewhat experimental releases featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa in ‘Winter for the Adept’ and ‘The Mutant Phase,’ writer Lance Parkin pens a more traditional Doctor Who tale featuring the duo. The core concept itself of a powerful entity taking control of a powerful artefact is nothing new, but Parkin handles it extremely well and heightens proceedings by writing of events that serve as a prequel to ‘The Keeper of Traken’ and feature The Source of Traken. ‘The Keeper of Traken’ is a beloved story for many reasons, but one of the lingering themes under the surface was always that Traken may not have been the idyllic paradise it proclaimed itself to be. This comes much more the forefront in ‘Primeval’ as the Doctor boldly questions the Consuls about their flippant use of the death penalty; Hyrca and Janneus’s response that the death sentence serves the greater good screams of hypocrisy and moral greyness, and their eventual decision to have Nyssa disintegrated because she serves as a potential source of evil further exemplifies this. As events progress and the stakes raise, the cowering and fawning response of Traken’s Consuls to the invading Kwundaar…