OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 549
STORY NUMBER: 114
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 10 January 1981
WRITER: Stephen Gallagher
DIRECTOR: Paul Joyce
SCRIPT EDITOR: Christopher H. Bidmead
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 6.7 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: The E-Space Trilogy (Full Circle / State of Decay / Warrior's Gate)
Romana goes outside to speak to Rovrik, hoping to obtain memory wafers to repair K-9. She volunteers to go with them to their ship. The Doctor evades the robot, which is soon joined by another reactivated compatriot, and he manoeuvres them into destroying one another. Adric & K-9 attempt to follow Romana but while triangulating a mass reading they become separated. Rovrik, convinced she is a time sensitive, attempts to force Romana into being his new navigator but all she is able to visualise is a stone gateway in the vicinity. Rovrik takes the majority of his crew to find the gateway, leaving Aldo & Royce behind to unpack another Tharil, and Romana bound to the navigator's chair. Instead the two attempt to revive it, but the Tharil screams in agony seemingly electrocuted. The Doctor, aided by K-9, reactivates the memory circuits of a robot which tells him of the slaves that built the Gundam robots to travel through the gateway to overcome their cruel masters. Rovrik and his crew arrive and want to hear more but the playback is interrupted by the second Gundam reactivating, going on a rampage and walking through the mirror Biroc escaped through. The Doctor uses the confusion to escape, passing through the mirror to the bewilderment of K-9, Rovrik and his crew. Meanwhile on the ship something is moving through the corridors and approaches the bound Romana on the bridge.
I definitely saw this on first airing (and probably the previous episode as well) as the ending of the episode left a big impression on me with the Doctor vanishing into the mirror and Romana at the mercy of an unseen thing. I think it's one of the best cliffhangers that the series produced by a long way. I've no memory of this season till this point (we were probably watching Buck Rogers on the other side) but from here on in I have solid memories of watching. And for the last three stories there's a solid increase in viewing figures indicating I wasn't the only one!
Not a lot of the cast for this story have form in Doctor Who but several are well known for other work. Clifford Rose, playing Rorvik, played the character Kessel in Secret Army while Kenneth Cope, Packard, is famed for playing Marty Hopkirk in the cult hit Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased). He's the father of Martha Cope who played the Controller in Bad Wolf. Incidentally Mike Pratt, who played Jeff Randall in the same series, was frequently doubled by our old friend Harry Fielder, as he recalls here. Jeremy Gittins, here playing Lazlo (though we've not really seen him yet) was a semi regular as the vicar in Keeping Up Appearances. Finally the actor playing Biroc, David Weston, has appeared in Doctor Who before: he was Nicholas Muss in The Massacre.