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Doctor Who: Frontier In Space

"I prefer to put my faith in the mind probe."

Nothing dates more than yesterday's vision of the future. On second thoughts, scratch that. Nothing dates more than yesterday's vision of what everyone will be wearing in the future.

Practically all televised science fiction is reflective of the time it was made. Sometimes even more so. The 23rd century of Star Trek often looked more 60s than the actual 60s. The same is true of Doctor Who, especially the Pertwee years. 'Frontier in Space' gives us a future for mankind where outlandish (and garish) 70s fashion is having something of a revival. The massive collars are bad enough, but the bulkiness of soldiers' uniforms is absolutely ridiculous. How does anyone seriously expect them to win a war dressed like that? Take out all that extravagant futuristic clothing, and the future Earth that Malcolm Hulke conceives is actually believable. Well, apart from the bit about a New Glasgow. That's just too far-fetched to ever be credible.

‘Frontier in Space’ was clearly intended to be some epic space opera. Alas, this show didn't have the budget for epic space opera. So instead we get six episodes of the Doctor and Jo being shuffled from one jail cell to another. I don't recommend starting a drinking game based on how often the Doctor and Jo get captured and escape. You'll need a liver transplant by the end of the evening.

As usual, the Master is the best thing here, with Roger Delgado effortlessly swiping the whole thing from under Jon Pertwee’s nose yet again. Sadly, this tale would prove to be Delgado's final appearance as the Master. Less than three months after filming this story he was tragically killed in a car accident while filming in Turkey.

So, everyone, let's all raise our glasses to the late, great Roger Delgado! He was, and always will be, the Master.

Notes and Quotes

--The original plan was to have The Master return the following season in a story titled ‘The Final Game’ a tale that would’ve featured the character's final end. Due to Delgado’s death this story was scrapped.

--The reveal of the Master’s mysterious partners is no surprise, it's pretty much signposted when the Ogrons showed up. The story then slumps towards an anti-climax before ending on a cliff-hanger that leads into the next story, 'Planet of the Daleks'.

--The Doctor’s entire stint on the lunar prison is a massive waste of time. Characters are introduced, subplots set up and then just as quickly ditched and forgotten about completely once The Master shows up and springs him.

--The previous Earth/Draconian war was started when Williams attacked an unarmed Draconian ship because he feared it was going to attack. That sounds a lot like how the Earth/Minbari War started. Think J. Michael Straczynski is a fan of this story?

The Master: “I'd like to try and take the Doctor alive, if possible. If not, I'll blast him out of space! Pity, though.”
Ogron: “You do not wish to kill him?”
The Master: “Of course I do! Ah, you know: rocket fire at long range, it's… I don't know, it lacks that personal touch.”

General Williams: “Doctor, has it occurred to you what we're going to do when we discover the source of this signal?”
The Doctor: “I've no idea, old chap. We'll find out when we get there.”

The Master: “I seem to have failed again.”
Jo: “Yes you do, don't you? Never mind, you can't win 'em all.”

The Master: "In a reminiscent mood are you, Doctor? Poor Miss Grant, you have my deepest sympathies."

The Master: "No-one is more concerned about the cause of peace than I."

Earth Cruiser Captain: “Who are you?”
The Doctor: “Passengers.”
Earth Cruiser Captain: “I see. Going to a fancy dress party?”
--Err, have you seen what you're wearing, mate?

Jo: “Well, that's simple then. I mean, all we've got to do is find out what's going on, who's behind the Ogrons, where they've taken the TARDIS, go and get it back and then we can all go home. Right?”
The Doctor: “Right.”
Jo: “Oh. I don't know what I've been worrying about.”

Two and a half out of four mind probes.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.


  1. A Babylon 5 reference, yay. That reminds me that this site lacks review for one classic sci-fi show Babylon-5. (damn if B5 is classic then i'm old!) May I suggest reviewing it in the Future after some other project are done? :)

  2. Hey, Patryk: I actually did B5 reviews during the second couple of seasons, brief ones for my friends on a listserv which has since gone away so they're all lost. I just don't have the heart to go back and do them again. It's possible someone else might do them someday, though.

  3. One thing I loved about this episode was Jo successfully resisting the Master's mind control and fear device. A nice full circle for the character after being brainwashed in her first adventure.

  4. It was sad we lost the marvelous Roger Delgado. I know that Pertwee liked the Draconians as aliens, but this one is rather dull, and too much of the capture, escape routine we've been used to for years at this point, and as you say Mark, do not do a drinking game on that here!

    It's very much a mediocre story that would be a bit better if it were shorter, since it wouldn't go on so long. The Master is as usual, once of the best parts, and I love how he grumbles about the Daleks here.


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