The Keeper of Traken: Part 4
The Keeper of Traken: Part 4

The Keeper of Traken: Part 4

Broadcast on February 21st 1981 @ 5.40pm (6.1 million viewers)

Doctor Who - The Keeper of Traken: Part 4
Doctor Who – The Keeper of Traken: Part 4

‘The Keeper of Traken’ marks the beginning of the end, setting in place the chess pieces which will result in the regeneration of the Doctor’s fourth incarnation. The individual responsible for triggering that transformation would be his old nemesis, the Master. Part 3 of this story revealed the presence of the decaying Master, observing events from inside the mysterious statue Melkur, and in this concluding episode, he would take a new form.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

A new body at last!

The Master acquiring a new body completes a story arc which began way back in ‘The Deadly Assassin’ nearly five years earlier in 1976. That story created the rule of the Time Lord’s 12 regeneration limit and saw the Master at the end of his life cycle with no regenerations left. Beneath the makeup and ping-pong ball eyes in that story was actor Peter Pratt but for ‘The Keeper of Traken’ the character was recast and as the character would be largely unseen talented voice actor Geoffrey Beevers took up the role. However, to take the iconic villain into the rest of the 1980’s Anthony Ainley would become the Master having played Tremas, the first of several anagrams, throughout this story. This is not a regeneration, as the two characters merge and a new incarnation of the Master is born, complete with black outfit and goatee beard, mirroring the look of the original Roger Delgado version seen during the 1970’s. Thus concludes the first installment in a trilogy of stories to feature the Master that will also see the departure of Tom Baker and introduction of Peter Davison as the Doctor.

Traken is a wonderfully sumptuous story, with glorious costumes and sets. As well as the introduction of Anthony Ainley, another actor would impress so much that they too would become a regular of the programme’s new direction. Sarah Sutton’s character Nyssa was originally intended to only appear in this story, left behind on Traken by the Doctor and Adric, but she would reappear and prove popular with new Doctor Peter Davison in particular. The Melkur statue would provide the central focus during ‘The Keeper of Traken’ and the prop would go on to appear at a number of Doctor Who exhibitions over the years and is still going strong today.


Doctor Who  – Tom Baker
Adric – Matthew Waterhouse
Tremas – Anthony Ainley
The Master – Geoffrey Beevers
Foster – Philip Bloomfield
Neman – Roland Oliver
Kassia – Sheila Ruskin
Luvic – Robin Soans
Nyssa – Sarah Sutton
Katura – Margot Van Der Burgh


Director – John Black
Executive Producer – Barry Letts
Producer – John Nathan-Turner
Writer – Johnny Byrne

Also first aired On This Day…

  • Doctor Who and the Silurians: Episode 4
  • The Seeds of Doom: Part 4


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