After millennia of secrecy, the Gallifreyan Academy has opened
its doors to off-worlders - but the experiment is failing.
As interracial violence erupts, somebody is using the students
as pawns in a political game. And, while Tutor Leela struggles
to unravel the motives of her ex-husband Andred, President
Romana may be falling under an ancient spell...
aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks upon London has
lent this chapter an added relevancy, as the off-world students
of Gallifrey's Academy are made to feel like outsiders and
begin to chafe at the limitations placed upon them by heightened
security. Writer Steve Lyons focuses upon a particular group
of scholars (one of whom, Neeloc, played by Stuart Piper,
sounds a bit like Romana's former fellow traveller Adric)
of various races as they face segregation and, for all bar
the Gallifreyan students, restricted access to information
systems. Racial profiling is taking place - but this only
inflames the tensions.
the production team continue to tease me with the possibility
that this series might or might not be reconciled with the
Doctor Who novel Lungbarrow. On the plus side,
despite Leela's (Louise Jameson) continued resistance, there
are strong hints that she and Andred (Andy Coleman) might
get back together again, and Leela speaks of her one-time
wish to bear Andred's child (as she did in Lungbarrow).
However, there's evidence to the contrary as... well, it would
be a major spoiler if I told you.
In this, the penultimate chapter of the current series, the
antipathy that exists between President Romana (Lalla Ward)
and Inquisitor Darkel (Lynda Bellingham) comes to a head.
The conclusion of the Doctor Who serial The Trial
of a Time Lord implied that the Inquisitor might become
the next president, getting a vote of confidence from the
Doctor himself. Though we do not learn the reason why she
was passed over for election on that occasion, it is evident
that Darkel has been craving power for some time and is probably
resentful of having lost out to Flavia and Romana.
is not one of the most exciting instalments to date, but it
keeps the saga ticking along very nicely indeed.
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