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"Hello, I'm the Doctor, or I will be if this regeneration pans out..."
―The Doctor
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 19
Story Number: 117
Enemy: The Master
Writer: Christopher H. Bidmead
Director: Fiona Cumming
Producer: John Nathan-Turner
Broadcast: 4th January - 12th January 1982
Format: 4 25-minute episodes
Prod. Code: 5Z
Previous Story: Logopolis
Following Story: Four to Doomsday

Castrovalva was the first story of Season 19 of Doctor Who, and the first full television serial to feature Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor. Beginning with this story, Doctor Who was moved from its traditional Saturday evening slot on BBC 1 to air twice weekly.



The Doctor's latest regeneration has proven more unstable then his previous ones. Adric has been captured by the Master, who is taking advantage of the Doctor's weakened state to ensnare him in an elaborate trap whose recursive nature threatens to destroy his mind.



Part 1

The new Doctor with Adric

Following his regeneration, the Doctor and his companions return to the TARDIS avoiding the radio telescope's security guards. Just before they can depart, Adric is seemingly attacked by the Master's TARDIS, currently disguised as a Corinthian column. Adric is brought into the TARDIS which then dematerialises. The Doctor acts oddly due to the after effects of his regeneration and asks to be taken to the Zero Room, Time Lord healing technology. In his delirium, the Doctor makes various comments about previous companions such as the recently departed Romana.

Meanwhile, without the Doctor to pilot the ship, Tegan investigates the TARDIS's controls and finds a computer system which gives her instructions on how to fly it. She notices that their preset destination is listed as hydrogen inrush — Event One.

Having found a new costume - a cricketer's outfit, the Doctor enters the Zero Room. After giving instructions to Nyssa and Tegan, they see an image of Adric who has been trapped in some sort of web by the Master. As the TARDIS travellers find themselves being drawn into the event marking the creation of the galaxy, the Master appears to them on the TARDIS scanner to gloat at their imminent demise...

Part 2

Castrovalva, a dwelling of simplicity in Andromeda

The Doctor emerges from the Zero Room and by jettisoning 25% of the TARDIS's rooms manages to save them from destruction, however one of the ejected rooms was the Zero Room. Meanwhile, the Master reveals to the trapped Adric that he has a further trap set for the Doctor. Tegan searches the TARDIS computer systems and finds a place named the Dwellings of Simplicity on Castrovalva which will be a suitable place for the Doctor to recover from his regeneration.

The companions make a cabinet from the remains of the Zero Room. Upon arriving at Castrovalva carry the coffin-like cabinet containing the Doctor out of the TARDIS and start to search for the Dwellings. Soon they spy a figure wearing brightly coloured armour, so they hide the box. On returning to the box however, they find the Doctor has vanished…

Part 3

The Doctor in the mysterious city of Castrovalva

Nyssa and Tegan follow a trail of blood and find a citadel. They see the Doctor ahead but he is surrounded by warriors who take him into the city, leaving the girls to ascend the high rocky walls.

In the city, the Doctor is questioned by Shardovan the librarian. Unable to answer their questions he is given a room, where he is then visited by the elderly Portreeve. Nyssa and Tegan arrive in the city and meet Shardovan. During the night, Adric is seen lurking in the Doctor's room. The next day, an image of Adric appears in a mirror to Nyssa, who warns her about the Master being in Castrovalva. He is actually still trapped in the Master's TARDIS.

The Doctor wakes up and is shown a magnificent tapestry by the Portreeve. The tapestry depicts scenes as they happen in the outside world. The Doctor soon realises that Adric is missing and sets out off to find him, but as they search the city of Castrovalva they keep finding themselves in the same courtyard.

Nyssa says it is as if space was folded in on itself, and the Doctor agrees. The Doctor looks out of the window he says that they are caught in a recursive occlusion. Someone is manipulating Castrovalva — they are caught in a space-time trap…

Part 4

Something doesn't add up...

The Doctor questions two of Castrovalva's inhabitants, Mergrave and Ruther, whether they are able to see the folding. When asked to show the position of his shop on a map, Mergrave indicates its position in four different places. Ruther does the same when asked to show where the Portreeve's house is. But, because they are part of Castrovalva, they cannot see that there is something wrong. The Doctor also realises that the history books of Castrovalva are all fakes — they appear to be 500 years old but chronicle events up to the present day.

The Doctor creates a ruse by filling the Zero Room cabinet with the history books and has the cabinet taken to the Portreeve. As the Doctor breaks into the Portreeve's house, the Portreeve reveals himself to be the Master, and that it is he who has created the town of Castrovalva. Even its presence in the TARDIS computers was a trap created by the Master. Ruther and Mergrave confront the Master and the tapestry reveals its true power, that of Adric trapped in the web. The power to create comes from block-transfer computations, using Adric's mathematical genius.

Realising the true nature of Castrovalva's reality, Shardovan swings from a chandelier into the web, destroying it. The Master, seeing all is lost, flees to his TARDIS which was disguised as a fireplace. The Doctor and his companions flee from the city, but the Master appears to be trapped, unable to escape as the city collapses in on itself.

The Doctor and his companions return to the TARDIS. There, Nyssa asks the Doctor whether he feels up to flying the TARDIS. He thinks he is and actually thinks that he is beginning to feel his old self again. "Well whoever I feel's absolutely splendid!"


Production Crew


  • While he is still disoriented, the Doctor grasps his lapels, adopting the persona of his first incarnation, and addresses Adric as "Brigadier" and "Jamie", and Tegan as "Vicki" and "Jo". He mentions the Ice Warriors and K-9 as if they were present. He also urges Tegan and Nyssa not to "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" — a catchphrase traditionally associated with the Third Doctor — and toys with a recorder, a trademark of the Second Doctor, whose persona he also briefly adopts.


Theories and Concepts

Power Sources

Races and species

TARDIS Components

Story Notes

  • The working title for this story was The Visitor.
  • This is the first story to have the Doctor credited as "The Doctor" (rather than previously as "Doctor Who" or simply "Dr. Who").
  • For this story, the series was shifted from its traditional Saturday early evening transmission to a twice-weekly (Monday and Tuesday) slot. However, the format change was not well promoted, with the result that many regular viewers missed the second part. According to production notes on the DVD release, some parts of the UK saw the first part at a different time than the scheduled BBC broadcast, in some cases as early as mid-afternoon.
  • The Portreeve is listed in the credits as being played by "Neil Toynay", an anagram of "Tony Ainley". This was a play on the Master's habit of using either anagrams or synonyms for "Master" as aliases, used here to make the reveal of the Porteeve's identity a surprise.
  • The shot used in this story of the town of Castrovalva sitting on a cliffside was inspired by a print by M.C. Escher.
  • For the final scene, the script called for Adric to look "pallid" as he was still recovering from the effects of imprisonment by The Master. According to the commentary on the DVD, this was accidentally achieved by Matthew Waterhouse, who had a hangover from the night before from drinking too much Campari. Whilst the cameras were filming The Doctor and Tegan in conversation about who landed the TARDIS, Matthew was being sick behind a tree.
  • Part 1 was the first-ever Doctor Who episode to include a pre-credits sequence.
  • During part 2, Nyssa's costume gradually transforms into the standard outfit she would wear for the rest of the 1982 season: first, she exchanges her "fairy skirt" for a pair of trousers before she and Tegan begin carrying the portable Zero Room to Castrovalva; along the way, she abandons her velvet jacket, and finally she loses her ornamental hair-comb when it gets caught by a tree branch. By the time she and Tegan reach the base of the cliff, she is more-or-less outfitted as she would be for the remainder of the season.
  • The decision to have Peter Davison impersonate past Doctors was made during rehearsal when Davison presented impersonations as part of his preparation for taking on the role; his interpretation was intended to combine elements of the past Doctors.


  • Part 1 - 10.1 million viewers
  • Part 2 - 8.7 million viewers
  • Part 3 - 10.4 million viewers
  • Part 4 - 10.5 million viewers

Filming Locations

  • Crowborough Wireless Telegraph Station (now known as Sussex Police Training Centre (Crowborough)), Duddleswell, East Sussex
  • Harrison's Rocks, Groombridge, East Sussex
  • Estate of Lord De La Warr, Buckhurst Park at Withyam, East Sussex
  • BBC Television Centre (TC1 & TC6), Shepherd's Bush, London

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • "Event One" appears to be a reference to the Big Bang — the creation of the universe. However, it is repeatedly described in this story as "the creation of the galaxy", which is believed to be a quiet, tranquil coalescing of hydrogen predating the first stars rather than a dramatic cosmic event. The term "galaxy" is used off an on throughout the series to refer to the Universe. It's an expression in such instances, rather than a specific astronomical phenomenon.
  • How does hydrogen enter the sealed TARDIS? And the hydrogen is visible (gaseous hydrogen has no colour). (The gas in question is never stated to be hydrogen. The superheating within the TARDIS at this time would undoubtedly cause some measure of condensation and rapid evaporation, causing water vapor - similar to the condensation process which occurred in the TARDIS in DW:Marco Polo (TV story).)
  • How can the temperature within the TARDIS, which presumably has its own air-conditioning system, rise? (Extreme heat can cause even an air-conditioned interior to become hotter. The heat generated during Event One would be phenomenally high
  • The TARDIS is parked in a different field from that seen in DW: Logopolis.
  • The security guards up on the radio telescope never come down.
  • The security guards chasing the companions change between episodes. (The facility has a lot of guards.)
  • Nyssa and Tegan's handbags appear on the console, not having been there in DW: Logopolis.
  • When the Doctor levitates in the Zero Room his coat tails levitate too, and his collar question marks are reversed. (In an anti-gravity field or something similar, his coat tails would be expected to levitate.)
  • While still on Earth in Episode 1, Nyssa and Tegan clearly see that Adric's physical position relative to the Master's TARDIS has changed. Where once he was standing several yards to the right of the ionic column, suddenly he's kneeling directly behind it. Oddly, they seem not to find this at all suspicious, despite the fact that they witnessed every other person affected by the energy emanating from the Master's TARDIS simply fall prone to the ground where they once stood. (Their attention was focused on more pressing matters at that moment.)
  • The camera wobbles when Mergrave and Ruther go to see what caused the noise.
  • In the very last scene a fence is visible on the deserted planet. Deserted means there was someone there, but no longer, so an old fence wouldn't be out of place.
  • Moments after the Doctor has regenerated, Adric is using the term and apparently showing some knowledge of the subject, yet there's no indication he should know about regeneration at this point. (Adric is an inquisitive person, and had ample opportunity to learn about the process from the Doctor, Romana, or K-9 during his travels with them. He also had an unheard conversation with the Watcher, who was specifically there at that point in time to aid in the regeneration.)
  • Romana's room is used in this episode despite being jettisoned in DW: Logopolis.


  • This is the first Fifth Doctor story aired, although it was not the first to be filmed - Four to Doomsday, the following story, was first. Castrovalva was in fact filmed fourth.
  • Tom Baker appears in the opening sequence, a replay of the regeneration scene which ended Logopolis, but he is not listed in the credits.
  • New opening and closing title sequences are used, similar to the previous season's and again designed by Sid Sutton but this time incorporating Peter Davison's face in place of Tom Baker's.
  • The Fifth Doctor first dons his cricket uniform and his habit of pinning a stalk of celery to his lapel in this story, although he doesn't explain why until The Caves of Androzani, his final story.
  • Near the beginning of this story, the Doctor literally unravels the Fourth Doctor's famous scarf (and rips the waistcoat the Fourth Doctor wore in half). The Doctor is seen to take off a shoe and leave it as a landmark as he made his way through the TARDIS. These are not the same shoes worn by the Fourth Doctor in Logopolis, who wore knee-length buccaneer-style boots in that serial – the Doctor previously regenerated items of his clothes along with his body at the conclusion of The Tenth Planet, likewise has different shoes when he arrives newly regenerated in Spearhead from Space, the frills on his coat, when the Third Doctor regenerates into the Fourth in Planet of the Spiders, disappear as well and the Fourth Doctor, in Robot, wearing something like pyjamas with a different colour.
  • The story was the first of only four Doctor Who serials in the 1963-89 series to feature a pre-credits sequence (the others were The Five Doctors, Time and the Rani and Remembrance of the Daleks). In the 2005 series, pre-title sequences became a regular feature. The reprise from the final moments of the preceding story, Logopolis, had the incidental music changed from its original sombre melody to a more upbeat sound.


DVD and Video Releases

DVD Releases

Released on DVD together with The Keeper of Traken and Logopolis as part of the New Beginnings DVD box set. Released:


  • Commentary by Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Christopher H. Bidmead and Fiona Cumming
  • Being Doctor Who - Peter Davison discusses how he approached this iconic role.
  • Directing Castrovalva - Fiona Cumming talks about her work directing Peter Davison's debut story.
  • The Crowded TARDIS - A look at the increase in the TARDIS crew, with Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, director John Black and Christopher H. Bidmead.
  • Swap Shop & Blue Peter - Peter Davison is interviewed on thesr two long-running magazine programmes.
  • Deleted Scenes - Two deleted sequences from the location filming.
  • Theme Music Video - A brand new remix is Peter Howell's Doctor Who theme music in stereo or Dolby 5.1 surround.
  • Trailers & Continuity Announcements
  • Radio Times Billings - Articles and listings from Radio Times (PDF DVD-ROM)
  • Doctor Who Annual 1982 (PDF DVD-ROM)
  • BBC Enterprises literature (PDF DVD-ROM)
  • Photo Gallery
  • Production subtitles


Video Releases

Released on video in 1992.


Main article: Castrovalva (novelisation)

See also

to be added

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: Castrovalva
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Castrovalva
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Castrolvalva
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures: Story Locations - Castrolvalva
Season 19
Castrovalva  • Four to Doomsday  • Kinda  • The Visitation  • Black Orchid  • Earthshock  • Time-Flight
The Master - TV Stories
Terror of the Autons  • The Mind of Evil  • The Claws of Axos  • Colony in Space  • The Dæmons  • The Sea Devils  • The Time Monster  • Frontier in Space  • The Deadly Assassin  • The Keeper of Traken  • Logopolis  • Castrovalva  • Time-Flight  • The King's Demons  • The Five Doctors  • Planet of Fire  • The Mark of the Rani  • The Ultimate Foe  • Survival  • Doctor Who: The TV Movie  •
Utopia/ The Sound of Drums/ Last of the Time LordsThe End of Time

This article uses material from the "Castrovalva (TV story)" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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