Sunday, November 2, 2008

Series 26: Survival

The Seventh Doctor brings Ace back to her home town of Perivale in the suburbs of North West London. The suburb is not as it should be: a mysterious black cat is wandering around, somehow creating a situation in which humans are hunted down and made to disappear to another dimension. Ace becomes worried when most of her old friends seem to have disappeared, but the Doctor is more preoccupied with the behaviour of the strange cat. It becomes apparent the black cat is being controlled by a strange being in the other dimension, viewing the scenes in Perivale through the cat’s eyes and choosing which humans to chase and transport. An unhappy young man called Stuart becomes his next victim. Ace follows soon afterwards, hunted down by a Cheetah Person on horseback, which seems to have a hunting affinity with the curious cat. Later the Doctor and a keep-fit instructor called Patterson are chosen and teleported to another world, bathed in a blood-red sky, where the Doctor finds his nemesis the Master who greets him.

The renegade is evidently unwell, his eyes and mouth displaying feline characteristics, and is using the black cat (or kitling) to create a dimensional bridge for the Cheetah People to hunt prey on Earth. Quite why he is doing this is unclear, other than he seems keen to keep the Cheetah People occupied somehow. He tells the Doctor that the planet is alive and has a bewitching influence; the indigenous population bred the kitlings and had a great civilisation, but they regressed into animals through the power of the planet. He too is beginning to show changes and needs the Doctor's help to escape from the planet.

Ace has meanwhile made contact with some of her friends, Shreela and Midge, who are hiding in some woods with a young man called Derek. The planet is evidently dangerous as both Stuart and a terrified milkman find out when a Cheetah Person hunts him to the death. Ace and her friends soon find the Doctor and Patterson, and the Time Lord has deduced they are on a very ancient planet which is dying. A Cheetah pack then attacks and during the fight back Midge kills one Cheetah while Ace injures another, called Karra. She begins to form an attachment to Karra and nurses her, tending her injuries, which worries the Doctor greatly. In time Ace’s eyes change and she begins to transform into a Cheetah herself. She abandons the Doctor to go hunting with Karra but he eventually wins her round.

Midge has meanwhile completely fallen to the power of the planet and is turning into an animal. The Master seizes on this and uses Midge to teleport them both back to Earth and away from the dying world. The Doctor persuades Ace to help him get back to Perivale and she does so, also enabling Patterson, Derek and Shreela to flee the strange planet. Patterson denies anything amiss has taken place, falling back on his “survival of the fittest” mantras and his self defence classes. The Doctor and Ace now head around Perivale in search for Midge and the Master. They eventually find them at the youth club, where they have killed Patterson for sport, and Midge too is killed in the Master’s machinations. Karra’s arrival brings comfort to Ace, whose transformation is continuing, but the Master kills Karra too.

The Master transports the Doctor with him back to the Cheetah Planet for a final conflict but the Doctor resists the pull of the planet, turning away from violence, and is transported away from the dying world. However, the Master looks doomed on the planet as it begins to break up. The Doctor has gone back to the TARDIS and Earth, where he finds Ace, whose metamorphosis has reversed, and tells her she will have grown through the experience: the element of the Cheetah Planet, however, will remain within her forever.

Doctor Sylvester McCoy (Seventh Doctor)
Companion Sophie Aldred (Ace)
Guest stars
Anthony Ainley — The Master
Lisa Bowerman — Karra
Julian Holloway — Paterson
David John — Derek
William Barton — Midge
Sean Oliver — Stuart
Sakuntala Ramanee — Shreela
Gareth Hale — Len
Norman Pace — Harvey
Kate Eaton — Ange
Kathleen Bidmead — Woman
Adele Silva — Squeak
Michelle Martin — Neighbour

Writer Rona Munro
Director Alan Wareing
Script editor Andrew Cartmel
Producer John Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s) None
Production code 7P
Series Season 26
Length 3 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast November 22–December 6, 1989

source: wikipedia

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