THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVEL "THE KING OF
TERROR" AND THE TV
OF THE DALEKS."
'THE AWAKENING &
FRONTIOS' DOUBLE VHS
FAR IN THE FUTURE, A
strange force draws
the TARDIS to the
of Frontios, home of
the last remnants of
the human race...
26th january 1984 - 3rd february 1984
I have not watched this serial for years… and with bloody good reason. In my mind the word “Frontios” is inexorably linked with words like ‘dire’ and ‘unbearable.’ Bulky, lumbering monsters played by ballet dancers; the break-up of the TARDIS… again (twice in two years!); that man off The Onedin Line… it is all irredeemably awful. Why on Earth Mark Gatiss cited this story as being one of his favourites I will never know.
“Frontios buries its own dead.”
Perhaps it was because “Frontios” has the same sort of dour, almost funerary atmosphere that resonated throughout “Logopolis”, another of Christopher H Bidmead’s scripts for the show. Perhaps it was because the stakes are once again so unimaginably high – humanity could be completely destroyed in this story, and as this serial is set so far into the future, you can truly believe it. In fact, if I had to make one affirmative statement about this serial it would be that “Frontios” does have a unique feel to it in that you do legitimately believe that almost anything could happen. It is the first story to suggest that the Time Lords have a “sphere of influence” and the TARDIS has its limits – Frontios is just about as far as it can go. All this helps create an inimitable tension that you will struggle to find elsewhere.
“The walk is not quite right… as for the accent… I got it cheap!”
In fairness though, “Frontios” does contain some exceptionally amusing moments. The scene in Part Three where the Doctor is trying to convince Gravis that Tegan is an android
is absolutely priceless, as is Turlough’s attempt to pass off the hat stand as a weapon!
Unfortunately though, “Frontios” just does not work. Not on any level. Bidmead’s script is not even in the same league as his previous two, and the production of the story is even shoddier than the writing. Many of the performances – outside the regular cast, I should stress – are either too dreary or overdramatic and, if for nothing else, “Frontios” should be forever maligned for giving us the Tractators – they make the Zarbi and the Menoptra look convincing!
A complete, unmitigated disaster.
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.
Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.
‘Doctor Who’ is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.