Broadcast on January 12th 1983 @ 6.45pm (7.20m viewers)
The 20th Anniversary season begins in style. Location filming in the City of Amsterdam. A returning character not seen in the show for 10 years. Peter Davison beginning his second year in the lead role. ‘Arc of Infinity’ certainly kicks off the year with a bang and takes the Doctor back to Gallifrey in what is a type of sequel to the story which celebrated the tenth anniversary, ‘The Three Doctors’.
After three episodes Part 4 is the race across space and Amsterdam to prevent Omega from bringing his antimatter existence into the wrong universe. For an individual responsible for gifting the Time Lords the ability to travel in time and space, he is hardly the sharpest tool in the box. He simply cannot exist in our universe and so the Doctor, in order to save the universe, destroys him. It is very odd to have a story conclude with our hero shooting the supposed villain of the piece, for whatever reason. Equally unnerving is the way the Doctor calmly pieces together his weapon, like a sniper preparing to eliminate the target. The Ergon is also dispatched in a ruthless fashion but that was probably for it’s own good, a memorable creation but probably only because of the ‘space chicken’ comparison.
Producer John Nathan-Turner enjoyed the end of season cliffhangers and at the end of season 19 Tegan was left behind at Heathrow airport following the events of ‘Time Flight’. Unbeknownst to the audience actress Janet Fielding was already contracted for the next season and this story proved that sometimes the universe can be a very small place. Tegan’s presence proves particularly useful for Omega as she becomes a convenient hostage and bargaining chip. However once Omega is defeated it is revealed that Tegan was sacked from the airline, perfectly plausible given she must have been a few years later for her first shift, and the Doctor and Nyssa are therefore stuck with her. In a blink and you’ll miss it moment the final facial expression pulled by Peter Davison is simply priceless as he is of course thrilled by the news.
What better way to showcase a foreign location than with a chase sequence. Omega, the Doctor and his companions dash through the streets of Amsterdam, with lovely shots of tulips for sale in a market, plenty of bicycles and the canals, all familiar sights in the Netherlands’ capital. Omega is entertained by a musical organ in a scene lifted straight out of Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’, Omega filling the role of the monster as he explores a world that is new to him. Peter Davison’s youth assists him greatly as he effectively has to perform the chase twice. The whole sequence is a perfect example of how to maximise an expensive and beautiful location.
Watch as Omega tells the Doctor that if he must die, them all must perish.
Also first aired On This Day…
- Invasion (of the Dinosaurs) : Part 1
- The Horns of Nimon : Part 4
- Castrovalva : Part 4
- Warriors of the Deep : Part 3
- Attack of the Cybermen : Part 2