‘I’m Perpugilliam Brown and I can shout just as loud as you can.’ Nicola Bryant does more running about on location. It’s a chance to show off the filming, which is very good – but it would have been better if she’d had more chance to develop a character. So far, Nicola Bryant is doing the best with what she’s being given: a damsel in distress who’s defiant in the face of danger. At least Mark Strickson is getting some surprising material in his last story: he’s never mentioned a father before, or Trion, or pretty much anything about his shady background. You can tell this is his last story because suddenly it’s all coming out.
The best thing about this is Anthony Ainley, who looks great in a business suit and out of that velvet costume. Every choice he makes in this is fab, from the way he mimics the deactivated Kamelion, arms crossed awkwardly in front of him, the slight tilt of his head as he assesses Peri’s worthiness as an opponent, the little smile he gives when he recognises Timanov as an easy mark, and his grandstanding at the end of the episode as he encourages the heretics into the fire. The script continually reminds us, though, that this isn’t actually the Master – it’s Kamelion, like when Peri kicks him in the shin and there’s a clang of metal. The real Master appears to be inside his TARDIS, watching events in a crystal ball just like in Time-Flight.
In comparison, the fifth Doctor looks like he’s already checking out of his own series: this might be a Planet of Fire, but his own seems to have gone out a bit. He sounds underwhelmed when the Master turns up and stands about protesting fairly uselessly as stuff happens around him. Timanov continues to insist on human sacrifices quietly and forcefully. Malkon looks conflicted. Roskal is awful. This is all very basic: The Aztecs in Lanzarote.
Next episode: Planet of Fire – Part Three