To call “The War Games” less than epic is a bit of an under statement. The ten part finale to Patrick Troughton’s time as the Doctor flips between time periods and reveals things we never knew about the main character. It was also the last Doctor Who story to be filmed in black and white and the last to feature companions Jamie Mcrimmon and Zoe Herriot.
The serial begins with the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe (Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury) finding themselves in the First World War. Picked up by friendly ambulance driver Lady Jennifer and they are captured, escape, and then get captured again, all the while being accused of spying for the enemy. The first episode ends with the Doctor under execution by firing squad, a scene echoed in 1984’s “The Caves of Androzani”.
It soon becomes apparent that they are not in World War One after all – that time zone is just an area in a much larger war game, featuring Roman legions and soldiers from the American Civil War. The majority of the remaining story is spent travelling through these different zones in search for a control centre and you guessed it, getting captured and escaping only to be captured again several times.
The Doctor is forced to call on his own people, the Time Lords in order to sort everything out at the end of the serial. Despite attempts to escape into various bits of archive footage from “Fury from the Deep” and “The Web of Fear”, the Tardis is eventually forced to return to its original planet, Gallifrey, where the Doctor stands trial for interference in the course of history. Even though the Doctor claims he has helped the universe (with the assistance of more archive footage) the Time Lords decree that he should be exiled to Earth and given a new appearance. Jamie and Zoe are forced to return to their original points in history, their memories wiped. It’s a sad ending for all of the Tardis crew, and breaks new ground in Doctor Who.
Join us to watch “The War Games” over two days. We will be watching episodes one to five (the first DVD disk) on Saturday. For that session the Bar will open at 8.45pm and we will press play at 9pm. The second disk of the DVD (episodes six to ten) will be watched as part of the Sunday Matinee session, opening at 3pm. We will press play for the second disk at 3.30pm. Hope to see you there.