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Doctor Who The Deadly Assassin: Part One (1963–1989) HD online

Doctor Who The Deadly Assassin: Part One (1963–1989) HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Episode / Adventure / Drama / Family / Sci-Fi
Original Title: The Deadly Assassin: Part One
Director: David Maloney
Writers: Robert Holmes
Released: 1963–1989
Duration: 21min
Video type: TV Episode
The President of the High Council of the Time Lords is assassinated, and the Doctor, newly returned to Gallifrey, is the prime suspect. But the Doctor knows someone is framing him, and must rely on the help of the reluctant Castellan Kelner to unveil a traitor in the High Council. Ultimately, the trail leads to the dying, vengeful Master, who wishes to harness the powers of Rassilon's greatest discovery, the mythical Eye of Harmony. But to do so would mean the destruction of Gallifrey, and to prevent this, the Doctor must risk his life in the surreal landscape of the Matrix
Episode complete credited cast:
Tom Baker Tom Baker - Doctor Who
Llewellyn Rees Llewellyn Rees - The President
Bernard Horsfall Bernard Horsfall - Chancellor Goth
George Pravda George Pravda - Castellan Spandrell
Angus MacKay Angus MacKay - Cardinal Borusa
Peter Pratt Peter Pratt - The Master
Hugh Walters Hugh Walters - Commentator Runcible
Erik Chitty Erik Chitty - Co-Ordinator Engin
Derek Seaton Derek Seaton - Commander Hilred
Maurice Quick Maurice Quick - Gold Usher
John Dawson John Dawson - Time Lord
Michael Bilton Michael Bilton - Time Lord

This marked the only time the Doctor worked alone, with no companion or assistant (for the main action Daktaras Kas: Midnight (2008), he was also without a companion, however Donna did cameo at the start and end). On the other hand, a 1965 story (subsequently wiped by the BBC) called Daktaras Kas: Mission to the Unknown (1965) didn't feature the Doctor or his assistants at all.

Following the complaints about violence in this serial and several other serials produced by Philip Hinchcliffe over the previous two seasons, the BBC's management decided to move Hinchcliffe to the new adult police series, Target (1977), at the end of this season and install a new producer for the next season of Daktaras Kas (1963), Graham Williams, who was ordered to take out anything graphic in the depiction of violence.

The only Daktaras Kas (1963) story where all the characters are from the same planet (Gallifrey).

With the departure of Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith, Tom Baker told producer Philip Hinchcliffe that he could hold the show on his own and didn't need a companion. With this story already in place, Baker was given a story without a companion as one-off. However, Hinchcliffe deemed that a companion was a necessary feature of the series and Louise Jameson was introduced as Leela in the next serial.

Voted by fans as the seventh greatest Daktaras Kas (1963) serial in Outpost Gallifrey's poll in 2003 to celebrate 40 years of the series.

Other than the voice of the computer (Helen Blatch) this 4 part story uses an entirely male cast.

This serial prompted Mary Whitehouse's strongest letter of complaint about Daktaras Kas (1963), in which she called it "shocking", "vicious", "sadistic" and "permeated with violence of a quite unacceptable kind". She accused the programme makers of ignoring the BBC's Guidance Notes on the portrayal of violence on television and being engrossed in their own expertise.

This story was inspired by The Manchurian Candidate (1962), as well as conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy.

Writer Robert Holmes was very pleased with David Maloney's work on this serial, claiming he "directed the show brilliantly".

This is the first story set entirely on Gallifrey.

This story featured the first use of narration, performed by Tom Baker at the beginning: "Through the millennia, the Time Lords of Gallifrey led a life of peace and ordered calm, protected against all threats from lesser civilisations by their great power. But this was to change. Suddenly, and terribly, the Time Lords faced the most dangerous crisis in their long history..." This text was also shown as a roller caption, superimposed over the Cloisters set.

This episode was watched by 11.8 million viewers on its original transmission.

The Doctor's line about "vaporisation without representation" mocked a similar American slogan about taxation that was popular during the War of Independence.

Working titles for this story included The Dangerous Assassin (which Robert Holmes changed to "deadly" because he thought it "didn't sound right"). The final title is a tautology: a successful assassin must, by definition, be deadly. However, since Time Lords can in general survive death, and the assassin's victims do not, he is perhaps "deadly" in that sense. According to the text commentary on the DVD, Holmes argued that the title was not a tautology, stating that there were plenty of incompetent assassins.

This story establishes that Time Lords do sometimes use proper names on their homeworld (previous uses have either been aliases, or of ambiguous origin such as Morbius; rank-and-file Time Lords seen in stories like "The War Games" and "The Three Doctors" had gone unnamed).

This is the first appearance of the Master since Daktaras Kas: Frontier in Space: Episode Six (1973).

Bernard Horsfall guest stars as Chancellor Goth. He had previously appeared as an unnamed Time Lord (credited as 'Time Lord 1') in Daktaras Kas: The War Games: Episode Ten (1969) prompting some speculation that they were the same character. Other parts played by Horsfall in Daktaras Kas (1963) were Gulliver in The Mind Robber and Taron in Planet of the Daleks, all of which were directed by David Maloney.

Artistic elements introduced in this story, particularly the Time Lord collars and the Seal of Rassilon, appear on multiple later occasions in stories featuring Time Lords.

This serial was released by the BBC on video cassette in the UK in October 1991.



Reviews: [7]

  • avatar

    Nidor

    Review Of All Four Episode Alone in the Tardis the Doctor has a strange dream involving the president of Gallifrey being murdered . Rushing back to his long lamented home world he finds himself trying to stop a plot involving an old enemy to assassinate the Time Lord president

    Yet another story that is constantly praised as an all time classic from the original show The Deadly Assassin should be dissected via a neutral critical eye . It' certainly a very radical story in that reintroduces an old foe in the shape of The Master , but no longer played by icy charm by the late Roger Delgado who died in 1973 but by Geoffry Beevers unrecognisable in heavy make up as a mutilated charred skeletal figure . It's the only story of the 1963-89 era in which the entire story has no companion for the Doctor . It's also the story that set the rather dubious rule that a Time Lord only has 13 incarnations and with hindsight one wonders if Robert Holmes might have painted future writers in to too much of tight corner with this folklore . Let's hope Moffat doesn't spend too much time trying to resolve the problem with Peter Capaldi's doctor

    It's interesting how ill received the fledgling DOCTOR WHO fandom took to this story on its initial broadcast and it's only revisionary opinion over the years that turned it in to the classic it has become . One can easily see the differences wrought on the portrayal of Gallifrey and its inhabitants from the tale they appeared in at their debut in 1969 . Instead of being near ethereal God like beings as seen in The War Games of 1969 they're now envisaged as being clergy like with their hierarchy of elderly Cardinals and the like . You have to look upon it from a production point of view and that is if the story is any good then damn continuity because you're only upsetting a small handful of fans who don't really matter in the grand scheme of things

    " So Theo is the story any good ? "

    Yes it's good . Not really radical storytelling that pushes the boundaries of television but a fairly good story which owes a lot - perhaps too much - to THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE with echoes of the JFK shooting and Watergate . That said most of the story's reputation comes from the style it's told in rather than the substance of the story itself . David Maloney was a class director and he extends himself here and makes the most of a legendary third episode that sees the Doctor battling a Time Lord traitor in a virtual reality landscape . Maloney was always good at developing cliffhanger endings and he got in to serious trouble with the episode three cliffhanger where the Doctor is seen to drown . Indeed the entire story has a dark brooding feel to it that had Mary Whitehouse and her cohorts complaining that it was terrifying small children . You can always tell if a story is good due to how loudly Mary Whitehouse was trying to shout it down . 13 million TV viewers who tuned in to his story might contradict her views

    In summary this is a good story .Personal tastes are entirely subjective of course and despite it forever appearing in top ten fan polls I do consider it to be a case of style over substance and not a story I constantly rewatch , possibly down to the fact that a major subplot involves a Time Lord traitor who isn't revealed till the end of episode three . Once you know who the traitor is much of the story then becomes redundant
  • avatar

    Orll

    Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin: Part One starts as the Doctor (Tom Baker) suffers from premonitions about the assassination of the Time Lord President, the TARDIS materialises on his & the Timelords home planet Gallifrey. There he evades the capture of the Chancellory guards led by Commander Hilred (Derek Seaton) aided by a mysterious person dressed in a black cape, the Doctor sneaks back inside the TARDIS just before it is transducted into the Gallifrey Capitol to a museum as an example of an antiquated Type 40. The Doctor then steals a ceremonial robe & gains entry to the Panopticon where the Time Lord President is due to resign & name his successor but he is shot dead on the Panopticon stage before he has the chance & the Doctor is the prime suspect...

    Episode 9 from season 14 this Doctor Who adventure originally aired here in the UK during October 1976 & was the third story from Tom Baker's third season playing the Doctor. Directed by David Maloney this was a significant story in the history of the Doctor, his origins & his race of people. The script by Robert Holmes was originally called The Dangerous Assassin & there are various notable aspects to it. Firstly it's the first & only Doctor Who story not to feature a companion after Sarah Jane Smith left during the previous story The Hand of Fear (1976), the Doctor's next companion would be Leela who would be introduced during the following story The Face of Evil (1976). Secondly The Deadly Assassin really tries to give the Doctor some background, who he is, where he came from & what his people are like. Set on his home planet of Gallifrey which had only been seen in glimpses before in stories such as The War Games (1969) staring Patrick Troughton from season six & The Three Doctors (1972) staring Jon Pertwee, before the Timelords had been portrayed as almost god like beings which is totally undermined & undone in The Deadly Assassin. Generally speaking most fans of the classic series seem to like The Deadly Assassin which is fine & I have no problem in saying that it's very enjoyable but it's not a story that I personally consider a classic & can name many, many Doctor Who stories which I much prefer. I actually quite like the Doctor as a mysterious figure, as a renegade alien fighting for good & stopping evil so I am in two minds about The Deadly Assassin. On the one hand it's good but on the other it devalues everything that came before & after a little bit. Just my opinion but I'm sticking with it, so sue me.

    Entirely studio bound The Deadly Assassin has good production values, the sets are good & the Timelord robes & headdress attire is pretty impressive although the Prydonian Timelord seal emblem seen in The Deadly Assassin is the same design as the Vogan's emblem in Revenge of the Cybermen (1975) from season twelve due to cost cutting. Strangely this opening episode of The Deadly Assassin lasts for little over twenty minutes including opening & closing titles rather than the standard twenty five like the rest of this story & the Tom Baker era in general.

    The Deadly Assassin: Part One is a good opening episode with a fair amount going on & a story based around the politics of another planet, it's good entertaining & intriguing fun & well worth a watch.
  • avatar

    Antuiserum

    Review of all 4 episodes:

    Many fans rate this as one of the best and they are correct to recognise the huge quality of this story as well as its importance in building (and changing) the folklore of the Time Lords and The Doctor. It has everything, Tom Baker on top form, a classic villain, sparkling dialogue, humour, action, material which is important in the history of the series as well as some fresh and unnerving ideas. All this is done with brilliance in direction, acting and writing.

    The Doctor has been called back home to Gallifrey. On his way there he has a pre-cognitive dream in which he appears to assassinate the Time Lord President. When he arrives he has to go on the run as he is presumed to be a criminal. He then tries to prevent the President's assassination but instead is made to look like the assassin himself. Behind all this, it turns out, is his old arch- enemy The Master. Now at an end to his cycle of regenerations (we are told Time Lords have a maximum of 12) his body is extremely emaciated but his evil and cunning are as strong as ever.

    The Master, played now by Peter Pratt, looks and sounds great and his dialogue and Pratt's acting are excellent. There is also a host of superb and perfectly acted guest characters. The wonderful Borusa, Spandrell, Goth, Runcible and Engin are all fabulous. This adventure is also somewhat unique in that there is no companion for The Doctor.

    The section of the story where The Doctor enters 'the matrix', a technically created world which seems real and has real dangers (sound like a forerunner of the film The Matrix to anyone?) is surreal and extremely innovative and clever in its different and interesting creativity.

    A real all time classic story. 10/10
  • avatar

    Jonide

    THE DEADLY ASSASSIN is a unique adventure from Tom Baker's time as the Doctor. This one-off storyline sees the Doctor on his own (for the only time in the whole of the classic Who era) and back on Gallifrey, where he's accused of the assassination of a leading figure. The Doctor must strive to prove his innocence while locking horns with the real culprit, an old enemy...

    THE DEADLY ASSASSIN isn't like Doctor who at all. It's far more adult in tone than most adventures, and it has a bleak, nihilistic feel to it which works really well. Mary Whitehouse complained about it, which is a symbol of quality for me. The storyline isn't perfect and is a little stodgy in places, and the depiction of the Time Lords as a group of old clergymen is an odd one. But there's also plenty here to be enjoyed.

    Baker seems to be really enjoying the chance to show off his acting chops and I'd mark this as a contender for the best-ever performance by an actor playing the Doctor. The Master's here too, played by neither Delgado or Ainley, but instead looking horrendous as almost a zombie. The highlight of the serial is the astounding third episode, in which the Doctor ventures into a mental landscape to battle a villain and is subjected to various threats a la THE PERILS OF PAULINE. It's magnificent stuff and a pity the other episodes don't match its level of creativity.
  • avatar

    GoodLike

    Having made the awful decision to leave Sarah Jane on Earth, The Doctor travels back to his home planet, Galifrey, and in turn giving us a classic serial.

    Already the parallels to The Manchurian candidate are vast, it very much has a feeling of espionage, behind the scenes manipulation and mass corruption. You wonder as to what reception the Doctor would get back home, and within minutes we find out.

    Such a rich content here, we witness the pomp of Galifrey, we see those that work behinds the scene, and greater, we see the hideous, deformed serpent that lurks in the shadows, who is he, and what does he want?

    Tom at his very best, playing it with absolutely sincerity. I love the production values of this first episode, the sets and costumes are wonderful.

    What a start! 9/10
  • avatar

    Auridora

    (Note: A Review Of The Four Episode Serial)

    The Deadly Assassin.

    It's the story that changed Doctor Who forever. Coming nearly half-way through its original run, it was the story that forever altered the show and its mythology. Writer Robert Holmes (along with producer Philip Hinchcliffe and the production team) crafted four episodes that remain among the most watched and talked about it in the history of the show. Looking at the story, it's not surprising.

    Deadly Assassin is the story that gave us the Time Lords as we know them, after all. For six years, they'd been non-existent. At the end of the Troughton era, they had arrived on the scene very lordy and powerful. They had maintained that presence throughout the Pertwee era and into earlier seasons with Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor. They had been like a mountain range, magnificent and looming but distant. In the summer of 1976, that all changed in a heartbeat.

    To say this story changed everything would be an understatement. If it involves the Time Lord, chances are it came from Holmes' scripts. Be it Rassilon as the founder of their society, the Eye of Harmony, the Doctor's TARDIS designated a Type 40, even the twelve regeneration limit (which caused fandom so much consternation a few years ago) all come from here. That's also true of design and costumes as Roger Murray-Leach's Seal of Rassilon and James Acheson's high collars became the definitive presentation of the Time Lords. The sense of them as an isolated, even dull people watching over the rest of the universe presented for the rest of the series which informs New Who decades on can all be found here.

    Not that it was apparent back in the summer of seventy-six. It is only in retrospect that it's visible for at the time the burgeoning fandom hated it. Jan Vincent Rudzki's now (in)famous review of the story crying out "What has happened to the magic of Doctor Who?" sums up reactions to it at the time rather nicely. Time has shown how important the story was to be as generations of writers across different media have used it as the basis of how the Doctor's people should be. Concerns over its portrayal would give way to it being the norm, perhaps demonstrating how what is once radical becomes commonplace?

    The funny thing is that much of that is window dressing. The references that become all important aren't plot points but throwaway lines. The various artifacts of Rassilon and the presentation of the Time Lords, yes, but as part of the larger plot and story. All these things serve a purpose in context: telling the story set out in Holmes' script.

    That story is a thriller. Forget all the lore: The Deadly Assassin is a thriller first and foremost, albeit a sci-fi one. The 1970s was the era of the political and conspiracy thriller from The Three Days Of The Condor to The Parallax View and All The President's Men. It was the era that spawned theories about the JFK assassination in the wake of Watergate and the revelations of nefarious government activities in the United States. Britain was no exception to that and the decade was to spawn questions about efforts to remove Harold Wilson from Downing Street or how much remained hidden about former Soviet spies in high places. It was the birth of the age of conspiracy and here's Doctor Who in the middle of it all.

    When the conspiracy thriller angle comes up, it's customary to mention The Manchurian Candidate. Richard Condon's 1959 novel and its 1962 film adaptation are classics of the genre, of that there is no doubt. The film's influence is apparent in the opening episode especially as the Doctor races to stop the President's assassination. The portrayal of Runcible and the media coverage also owes more than a debt to Manchurian Candidate. Of course, the Master's presence as a villain with mind control powers would further seem to prove the point.

    It isn't the most powerful or only influence on the story, however. The aforementioned JFK assassination hangs over the story with many echoes throughout from a second gunman, a framed assassin with a misaligned weapon, murdered witnesses, and missing evidence. While Manchurian Candidate informs the opening of the story, the basic plot owes it debt to a much older thriller. The plotline of a man returning to his native land and soon framed for murder while trying to foil a plot to destroy it comes not from Richard Condon. It's the plot of John Buchan's The Thirty-Nine Steps which was published in 1915 and famously filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in the 1930s. The Hitchcock influence is especially apparent in the Matrix sequences with its nightmare-scape including a biplane chase. That sequence also draws on the short story The Most Dangerous Game, further demonstrating the influences on the story are far more than a single source. What Holmes does is bring them together as perhaps only Doctor Who can.

    Even with the passage of four decades, The Deadly Assassin remains a unique story in the annals of Doctor Who. It is a story that singlehandedly reshaped the show's mythology and the origins of its lead character. On a pure story level, it drew on various genre elements and recent events to present a science-fiction political thriller. It stands then as a prime example of what Doctor Who can do and why it's lasted more than fifty years.
  • avatar

    Perongafa

    For the first time in the history of the programme, the Doctor finds himself without a companion. (Sarah Jane had made her final appearance in the previous story and Leela would not appear until the next). The serial, in fact, has an all-male cast without a single female presence. It would appear that the Time Lords have a patriarchal system of government with Time Ladies excluded from the higher echelons of power.

    "The Deadly Assassin" is set on Gallifrey, the Doctor's home planet, to which he has returned following a mysterious summons from the Time Lords. The plot, which owes something to the film "The Manchurian Candidate", involves a plan by the Doctor's old enemy, the Master, to assassinate the President of the Time Lords. The Master may also have at least one ally among the planet's ruling elite. (This was the first time the Master had appeared since the Third Doctor adventure, "Frontier in Space", and would be the last until the penultimate Fourth Doctor story "The Keeper of Traken" from five years later.) As in some of his other scripts for the programme, such as "The Sun Makers", scriptwriter Robert Holmes takes the opportunity to use "Doctor Who" to comment on real- world politics. This is particularly clear at the end where (much to the Doctor's disgust) high-ranking Time Lord politicians concoct an untrue "official version" of the events surrounding the assassination in order to prevent some unwelcome facts from coming to light. This may have been Holmes' comment on the assassination of President Kennedy, which has also given rise to many conspiracy theories.

    This was also the story in which it was first established that a Time Lords are mortal and can only regenerate 12 times; previously it had been assumed by most viewers that they could go on regenerating indefinitely. It is notable, however, that although several Time Lords are killed in this serial, none are actually seen to regenerate. Are we to assume that they had all already used up their twelve lives? Or did Holmes simply ignore this point for the sake of the story? A plot involving assassination would make no sense if the dead President could simply rise from the floor in a new body and continue as before. (As I was saying before I was so rudely murdered……)

    This is one serial where the series' famously parsimonious budget becomes all too apparent. The Time Lords, it would appear are a powerful race of beings, and also a conservative one, with a system of government which is not only patriarchal but also hierarchical, with several ranks within their leadership. (Besides a President we are also introduced to officials with the titles "Castellan", "Commander", "Coordinator", "Chancellor" and "Cardinal"). A ceremonial occasion such as the resignation of one President and the nomination of his successor should be a splendid piece of pageantry, but of course the BBC did not have the wherewithal to create such an occasion, and the ceremony we actually see is a very low-key affair, set indoors in a bare room. Even the formal robes of office look tatty. As a result we do not get any sense of a society with its own distinct culture and institutions. At the end of the story we learn that although the Doctor has managed to foil the Master's dastardly plan to destroy Gallifrey, half of the planet's capital city is in ruins and many lives have been lost. All we see of this disastrous event, however, is a few bricks falling off a wall without hitting anyone.

    The serial, however, also has its good points; the plot is an ingenious one and the programme-makers manage to generate a good deal of suspense, with some particularly effective end-of-episode cliff-hangers. The story has been described as "politically literate and cynical", and it certainly shattered my previous vision of the Time Lords as being (with the exception of a few bad apples like the Master) a wise, benign, almost god-like race. Clearly, technically advanced races can be just as self-seeking and back-stabbing as any humans.