THIS EPISODE TAKES
PLACE DURING THE
SEQUENCE AT THE END
OF THE TV STORY "THE
CAVES OF ANDROZANI."
PAUL CORNELL &
BIG FINISH CD#91
RELEASED IN JANUARY
many years after
together have ended,
the DOCTOR AND NYSSA
meet again in the
Long ago in an English winter…
The final episode of “Circular Time” is the odd-one-out as it were. Not only is it set long after the Doctor and Nyssa have parted company, but it is also set outside the realms of time and space in the familiar (to Cornell, at least) stomping grounds of the Doctor’s head. Whilst each of the four episodes contains a good measure of what I would class as “shameless
fan service”, I am forced to conclude that this episode is the one that Cornell was describing when he used that phrase. Why? Almost the entire episode is set within the final few seconds of the fifth Doctor’s life. As he lies dying on the floor of the TARDIS, the shadow of Peri’s heaving bosom hanging over his face, the Master springs a trap on his oldest enemy. He tempts the Doctor with a wife, a home, children… And only Nyssa and her husband can save him. “Winter” explores the intricacies of regeneration, the role of the Watcher, and most interestingly of all, the fifth Doctor’s thoughts about his roaming life.
“He took my hands, and he kissed my forehead…
He turned back once and looked around.
And somehow he found where all of us were looking at him.
And then he started to run. With determination. Without a hint of reluctance.
Because he still had things to do. He had someone to save back in the real world.
He had a whole other self that he had to be to do that.
He ran right into the white figure of the Watcher, and he fell...”
I was absolutely enchanted by the episode. I have enjoyed all of Cornell’s Doctor Who novels, and I have always been particularly fascinated by his often surreal passages that provide so much insight into the Doctor’s character. To have Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton actually performing an episode written in the same style is mind-blowing. To some, presumably, “Winter” will be utter nonsense – but to fans, it is simply spellbinding.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2007
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Whilst this episode was released alongside its three seasonal siblings as part of the Circular Time release,
it actually takes place during the final moments of the fifth Doctor’s life as he prepares for his regeneration.
The episode’s dénouement merges with the fifth Doctor’s companions spurring him on (as depicted in The Caves of Androzani) as his body’s renewal begins.
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