View Poll Results: How would you rate Castrovalva?

Voters
15. You may not vote on this poll
  • 10: Absolutely Splendid!

    1 6.67%
  • 9: You created us man of evil, but we are free!

    2 13.33%
  • 8: The solution? Oh my little friend, if only you were...

    3 20.00%
  • 7: Up here, round here, down here, round here...

    5 33.33%
  • 6: No it isn't me, it isn't me, it's an illusion!

    1 6.67%
  • 5: Get the Doctor, quick!

    0 0%
  • 4: If can work, but I didn't know it'd be this chancey!

    0 0%
  • 3: Zap!

    2 13.33%
  • 2: Farewell my friends, farewell forever!

    1 6.67%
  • 1: Back to the first event.

    0 0%
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  1. #1
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    Default Rate and Discuss: Castrovalva


    30 years ago, the 19th season of Doctor Who began, and the show had taken a trip from Saturdays to the strange new world of weekday evenings...

    A new Doctor faces his old enemy the Master who's set a series of traps to finally be rid of him once and for all. Will Event One be the one to do the job or will the trap behind that trap be a joy to spring?

    What do you think of Castrovalva?

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  2. #2
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    Still, after all these years, my favourite ever story. It's not the best, it's not the scariest, it's not the most thrilling, but it is still my favourite!

  3. #3
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    The only thing I remember about this story is a fireplace. Is that right or is that a false memory? I've still got so much Who to re-acquaint myself with!

  4. #4
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    At the risk of spoilers, the fireplace turns out to be the Master's TARDIS. How utterly evil!

  5. #5
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    As Andrew says, this isn't the most thrilling or exciting of adventures, but it's got something that I really love. A kind of magical quality that's hard to pin down. When I first saw it, it was the exploring the TARDIS that gave it that. I was always intrigued by the world beyond the console room, and this gives us our biggest ever glimpse of that world- from the pavilion to the Zero Room and the way the hum changes as they walk deeper and deeper into the TARDIS. That they evoke that with a few roundelled flats and some very minimal set dressing is rather wonderful!

    Throughout the story there's the sense of a journey- both a literal one from the Pharos Project to Event One to Castrovalva itself, but alos the characters are on a personal journey too. Lets not forget Tegan and Nyssa only met very recently, and they're discovering things about each other and becoming friends in the most trying of time. Tegan's frustration throughout this story seems very real- she's coping with a situation she never imagined she'd be in, thrown in with people she barely knows and somehow she gets through. The odd moment of frustration and hysteria seems fine from that point of view.
    CHB spells out his vision of this crew- each with unique things to bring to the whole in the scene in the Zero Room. It's a shame none of the other writers were paying too much attention to this really, as that could have make the huge TARDIS crew of this time work a bit better than it did.

    But this is also the Doctor's journey. The new Doctor after 7 years of Tom. It seems right that he takes some time to find himself after that. I love the way he slowly gathers himself together and is ready at the end to confront the Master and escape the trap just in time. In its way, it's as triumphant as the scenes in The Christmas Invasion, only less fanfared. It's a long journey but he gets there and the Doctor himself sums it up at the end- absolutely splendid. The new Doctor is going to be OK.
    Davison is superb throughout this story- from the impressions of his previous selves through the confusion, somehow coming out with an innocent childlike quality at times when he's in Castrovalva before he's ready and steely for the confrontation at the end. Wonderful!

    Then there's philosophical stuff and puzzles in Castrovalva itself, Anthony Ainley phoning up the TARDIS to wave goodbye to Nyssa and Tegan, Adric in the web, beautiful location filming in the sunshine, Paddy Kingsland's wonderful music...

    I this story more and more as I get older. It's absolutely splendid!

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  6. #6
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    I'm also a huge fan. This story was my first introduction to the idea that there could be a new Doctor in the TARDIS and as such always has a special place in my affections. Was going to right a huge long post about everything I love about it but Si has pretty much said everything for me!
    And Anthony Ainley is superb as the Portreve.

  7. #7
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    I like the sense in Episode 1 that things are just quiet, and calm. Look at "The Edge of Destruction" for how NOT to do it - the writer things everyone must be crazed or sinister ot hold the attention. There is enough going on in "Castrovalva" with the new Doctor and two scared companions. So it's almost like we are just watching an episode of aftermath, in a way. The constant hum of the TARDIS is the backdrop to almost a rainy day in, and we can see the Doctor recovering and Nyssa and Tegan getting to know one another. It also makes the TARDIS a very interesting place to be, with its odd Zero Room and abandoned rooms and cupboards.

    Si.

  8. #8
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    I like the way that the TARDIS suddenyl feels like home after it being a vast, scary and unkowable place for Tegan in Logopolis. Just as it should be, a place of safety, that then becomes violated by the Master's plans.

    I may have thought about this too hard.

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  9. #9
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    An "absolutely splendid" post there from Si and says a lot for a story which I've always under rated. We'd got used to Tom Baker and after seven years it seemed hard to accept someone else in the role. But Castrovalva proved an exellent transitional story and sets something of a template for what was to come over the next couple of stories.
    Peter Davison was a breath of fresh air and gave us a totally different Doctor to what we were used to, why, he even influenced Tennant's portrayal of the part, it's now hard to believe so much time has gone by since the days of the fifth Doctor.

  10. #10

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    After the novelisation, the TV version is a bit of a disappointment as it simply can't convey the weird geography of Castrovalva or when it starts to break up. The scenes when only Adric can navigate around and everyone else can only see confusion is a bit hard to swallow when we can all clearly see the set around them looking completely normal. It's a bit like watching children playing. Also the animated tapestry is complete balls compared to how its described in the book.

    I like the first two episodes and the general idea though, but I think the book is much more atmospheric in the actual Castrovalva section.

  11. #11
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    Si's post sums it up beautifully! Even after all these years, it still feels (which I love in Who) fresh and new. I love it.

  12. #12
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    yes it's a shame they couldn't convey the city's geography as successfully as they could
    in the book, but there are some good shots in among the CSO pasting- I like the one of the bridge that's on both sides of the screen that they rush across.

    They'd be able to do it so well now, so easily, but i doubt we'd get anything so imaginative.

    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  13. #13
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    Dull. I tend to judge on plot rather tham characterisation, you may have noticed; on that logic it doesn't get going till halfway in, by which time I've largely sick of all the running up and down the same old corridors to the point where I'm not really caring what's happening once the story gets going in the city.

    Things do at least pick up a bit as the Doctor starts getting involved and we see Anthony Ailey give his Portreeve performance, second only to Trwemas in terms of his performances. Despite what I said about characterisation, Derek Waring and Michael Sheard's acting and the Shakespearian dialogue they're given offer their charaters some weight.

    Unfortunately, by this time it's too little too late as dashing around becomes the order of the day again, and Ant enters histrionics.

    One... two...

    "Three."

    Sorry?

    "Three, sir!"

    Yes, thank you Souska, 3/10.

  14. #14
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    Possibly the most amazing thing about Castrovalva - and something you don't get re-watching it - is how succesful the Master's disguise is this time out. Ainley's whole performance changes and is really rather effective at concealing the Master's true identity. It's a wonderful moment when the character straightens up and suddenly drops the disguise and an absolute thrill the first time I saw it.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  15. #15
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    I agree entirely with Steve. It really is fantastic. I'd like to see them hide the identity of the main villain actor behind a disguise for half a story nowdays.

    Si.

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    I'm afraid I agree with Ebeneezer - I find it dreadfully dull.

    3/10

  17. #17
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    Despite the continuity error when the new Doctor removes a brown show in the Tardis instead of a brown boot and the fact that he spends a considerable amount of time asleep, I do rather like this story. I agree with the comments about the excellent disguise that the Master takes. There's something about Castrovalva that I can't quite put my finger on but it's just such an enjoyable story.
    Iím being extremely clever up here and thereís no one to stand around looking impressed! Whatís the point in having you all?

  18. #18
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    Liking the location filming, liking the direction altogether, not sure about Bidmead's script though. Nice ideas, rather strangely put together. And the first episode and a half are awful.

  19. #19
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    That's another way that Tennant's Doctor emulated Davison's - they both had a really long nap after regenerating.

    I adore the Zero Cabinet. From the moment of it's creation at the hands of Nyssa's Ion Bonder, to it's final destruction on Castrovalva, it's really rather neat. There's something about seeing parts of the TARDIS taken out on location that's slightly wonderful. Of course I'd really like to have one at work so that I could have a snooze in it at lunchtimes but, as Fern Cotton recently pointed out, Doctor Who isn't real.
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  20. #20
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    Fern Who?

  21. #21
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    Fearn Cotton is the pretty one; Fern Britton is the unreal one!

    Glad to have cleared that up!

  22. #22
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    Sorry! I meant to some 'Fern Some Bigmouthed Gobby Unimportant Celeb Who's Opinions Are Important For Some Reason'. Now do you know who I mean?
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  23. #23
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    Oh.....that Fern!

  24. #24
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    I've just got my handcuffs and my truncheon and that's enough.

  25. #25
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    Brilliant. I'm looking forward to reading future ones.

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