OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 543
STORY NUMBER: 112
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 15 November 1980
WRITER: Andrew Smith
DIRECTOR: Peter Grimwade
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.5 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The E-Space Trilogy (Full Circle / State of Decay / Warrior's Gate)
Marshmen attack the Starliner inhabitants. A chance remark by The Doctor makes Adric recall Draith's last words of "We've come full circle" and, coupled with Adric's accelerated healing, the Doctor comes to a startling conclusion. He retrieves K-9's head from a Marshman that was using it as a staff top and finds the infected Romana. Adric finds an image translator for the Doctor. Login proposes bringing the Starliner population into the Decider's chamber but the other Deciders hesitate, allowing the Marshmen to storm the chamber, scattering the files everywhere and injuring Nefred. The Doctor tells Adric he believes the Tardis is in E-Space. The Doctor synthesises an antidote for Romana as Nefred tells Gariff & Login to seek out the Doctor to teach them how to fly the ship and leave Alzarius and that they did not come from Terradon and then passes away in the arms of the other elders. The Marshmen storm the science lab but are contained using oxygen cylinders. Romana attacks them but is overpowered and given the serum which cures her. Varsh is slain by a marshman covering his brother Adric's escape. The Doctor finds the same cells in the spiders, Marshmen & the deceased Dexeter and theorises that all three are the same life form, subject to rapid evolution. The Marshmen are driven from the ship by flooding it with oxygen. The Doctor reveals to Login & Gariff that the Marshmen are their ancestors that entered the crash ship, evolved, learned to read and took the ship as their own. Adric hides in the Tardis, leaving the image translator for the Doctor. The Doctor teaches them how to launch & fly the ship before leaving. The Tardis dematerialises, and K-9 is repaired. The image translator is installed proving that the Tardis is in Exo-Space having passed through a Charged Vacuum Emboitment (CVE) into this other universe. Their only option to get home is to find another CVE.
The climax to the story on the planet we now know is called Alzarius isn't bad and is packed with big clever ideas like the humans are a evolved form of the Marshmen which are in turn evolved from the spiders. There's been hints at this in the previous episodes but here the full explanation comes out and in a bit of a rush. The problem is it's hard to identify with the Alzarians: the outlers are annoying wingers, the deciders are indecisive and if Adric & Login are the best characters in this bunch then you know you're in trouble!
Hands up who knows what an Emboitment is? Didn't think so. I'm guessing that since Bidmead is involved it's some piece of real science but can I find out what it means? Whatever an emboitment is, a CVE is meaningless gobbledegook, but we do know that passing through it has stranded the Tardis in another universe. Full Circle is the start of what's known as "The E-Space Trilogy" as the Tardis tries to escape from this extra dimensional realm. These three stories have another name, but I'll tell you that come the end of Warriors' Gate.
I've been sitting here trying to spot Cathy Munroe/Katy Jarret, the actress who played Zuckuss in Empire Strikes Back who says she's in this story as well as Horns of the Nimon. I've failed.
I fluctuate on Full Circle: sometimes I like it, other I don't. This viewing fell in the second category: the music was intrusive, everybody bar the Doctor was annoying and in our sequential viewing it marks the start of us being saddled with Adric and the end for Tom Baker. Thus far John Nathan-Turner's Eighties version of Doctor Who isn't working out for me.
Full Circle was repeated from 3rd to 6th August in 1981, the first of two stories from the season repeated that summer. It was novelised by Andrew Smith in 1982. The E-Space Trilogy, containing Full Circle, State of Decay & Warriors' Gate, was released on video in 1997 and on DVD on 26th January 2009.