Written by: Christopher H. Bidmead
Original airing: BBC One, 28 February – 21 March 1981
Rewatched: BBC Store
Synopsis: The Doctor goes to Logopolis to repair the TARDIS’ chameleon circuit, unaware that a shadowy watcher is spying on him. Meanwhile, the Master has a plan of his own for the planet; one that could mean the unravelling of the causal nexus and the end of the universe itself.
Logopolis is the first episode of Doctor Who that I vividly remember watching, and the reasons are threefold.
First, while episodes based in London are always recognisable, there’s something special about one where you know the scene intimately. The “Pharos Project” on Logopolis is a model of the Lowell Telescope at Jodrell Bank, which my parents had taken me to at some point before; me being completely obsessed with all things space. I’ve been several times since, and it remains wonderful in itself, with the added Whovian bonus.
Second is the arrival of the Master. For a seven year old, the wilfully naughtiness of the Master was an instant draw, and I quickly found myself rooting for him rather than the Doctor. That he brought about the third point was icing on the cake, which brings me to…
Third. The regeneration. This was the first I’d seen, though I knew it happened. (I honestly don’t get fans who moan every time the Doctor changes face. It’s the entire basis of the character for crying out loud!) News had broken on Tom Baker’s replacement, and it was an actor I already knew and loved, so was quite excited about it.
Rewatching Logopolis at 43, I was still very much Team Master, though his casual regard (or lack there of) for life impacted rather more than it had at 7. And his manipulation of Nyssa is nasty. Yet. His blithe attitude to everything is as intriguing as it ought to be off-putting. I wasn’t wondering what made him tick at this point, but the spark of curiosity was lit.