First broadcast 28/2-21/3/81 starring Tom Baker
Like a few stories in the Top 50, this one left a huge impression on my seven year old mind. There are so many truly memorable moments and images in Tommy B’s last hurrah that really make Logopolis stand out (despite some shortcomings in other areas).
Right from the off, we get a TARDIS inside a TARDIS! If Twitter had existed at the time, I’m sure #mind #blown would have been employed tenfold. Coupled with the noise of the Cloister Bell, it made for an utterly terrifying experience. Not only that, the flippin’ Master was back!
This was my first encounter with the bearded one (well, actually, second – he did appear in The Keeper of Traken) and whilst he didn’t scare me as such, the effects of his Tissue Compression Eliminator certainly gave me the willies. The miniaturised versions of the poor policeman and Aunt Vanessa (and, later, the Logopolitan) were truly horrific (though one has to wonder, as many others have no doubt, how a Tissue Compression Eliminator shrinks clothes).
But the thing that put the fear into me the most in Logopolis was The Watcher – one of Who‘s creepiest creations. It’s a cracking image, seeing it at the side of the most mundane road and then on the bridge, beckoning The Fourth Doctor. Of course, the twist that he was “the Doctor all the time” is sublime.
In fact, that last scene, where the moment had been prepared for, is an absolute cracker. Some fans bemoan the fact that he simply falls to his “death” in an unusually brave and action-y move for that particular regeneration and they may have a point. It’s quite low-key. Tommy B’s final seconds are punctuated by some familiar (and some odd) faces (a tool they would resurrect again for Petey D) but it’s the framing of his “passing” that it make such a treat.
There’s a beautiful move from the camera as it tilts down onto Baker, through the steel legs of the satellite dish – accompanied by a fantastic score. And then he’s joined by all his new, young buddies. The show was changing in a huge, huge way. Davison’s appearance, via The Watcher, still impresses today (or, rather, yesterday when I watched it again) and his wordless seconds are all the better for it.
Elsewhere in Logopolis there’s much to enjoy; such as the titular planet, the “science”, the audacity of The Master (“peoples of the universe etc…”) and the introduction of one of my favourite companions ever, Tegan. What strikes me now is the relationship between Adric and the Time Lord, they’re almost equals, working as a team. The affection between them wouldn’t last (with much bickering between the Fifth Doctor and the Alzarian), however, but it’s odd to think of Baker and Waterhouse engaging with one another so well.
It’s not a perfect story, by no means, but sits here because of its impact on me. Logopolis is packed full of memories and is one I come back to time again. It also bade farewell to the man who scared me just as much as any monster on the show did, Mr Tom Baker.