The Masque Of Mandragora: Doctor Who: Season 14
The Masque Of Mandragora SYNOPSIS:
The Mandragora Helix, a form of intelligent energy draws in the Tardis and diverts it to 15th century Italy on Earth at the dawn of the renaissance.
The Doctor is captured and delivered to Count Fedrico, the ruler of San Martino who believes the Time Lord is a sorcerer and orders him executed. Sarah has also been captured taken to catacombs under the city to be a sacrifice at the hands of an ancient brotherhood cult of Demnos. Having escaped and eluded the guards the Doctor manages to rescue her.
However part of the Mandragora helix has stowed away on the Tardis and falls into the Brotherhood's ruined temple and restores it. Mandragora also speaks to and possesses the brotherhood leader who is actually the San Martino Court astrologer Hieronymous. Count Guiliano and his friend Marco aid the time travellers and warn of Count Fedrico.
The Count attempts to rid himself of Guiliano the states true heir to the throne and his former ally Hieronymous. The latter is slowly harnessing the powers offered by Mandragora. The Brotherhood prepare to strike during a lunar eclipse when a Masque will be held. The Mandragora helix wants to drain and control human intelligence so man will never threaten it's domain and the Doctor must devise a counter plan to drain off the Mandragora energy before it is too late.
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The Masque Of Mandragora SERIAL DETAILS:
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The Masque Of Mandragora CAST & CREW
Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)
Jon Laurimore — Count Federico
Gareth Armstrong — Giuliano
Tim Pigott-Smith — Marco
Norman Jones — Hieronymous
Robert James — High Priest
Brian Ellis — Brother
Antony Carrick — Rossini
Pat Gorman — Soldier
Peter Tuddenham — Voice
Stuart Fell — Entertainer
Jay Neill, Peter Walshe — Pikemen
James Appleby, John Clamp — Guards
Peggy Dixon, Jack Edwards, Alistair Fullarton, Michael Reid, Kathy Wolff — Dancers
Production Staff for Serial 4M:
Writer - Louis Marks
Director - Rodney Bennett
Script editor - Robert Holmes
Producer - Philip Hinchcliffe
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The Masque Of Mandragora REVIEWS
The Masque Of Mandragora - boring old Italy? After the perfection of Seeds Of Doom, as a kid I generally felt let down by Masque Of Mandragora as well. No monsters, more talk etc. But really this is a top notch story. An Alien force invading Earth by astrology! Actually now think it's really well written, acted and directed. The Prisoner locations (McGoohan, not the Freak) of Portmerion work perfectly in making the viewing think we're in Italy, it has the feel and look of the Renaissance.
Plus the first scenes introducing the new Gothic Tardis control room and being sucked into the Mandragora helix were excellent. Though why oh why did the Dr & Sarah dive BEHIND the Tardis when they saw a ball of energy hurtling toward them? Why not just jump back in and close the door? The plot is heavily layered which is good, like the power plays between the Count and Hieronymous. Even the Count's villainy moustache twirling as it is, is played completely straight. Nice to see when he thinks he's on top he suddenly gets blasted to dust by the head of the brotherhood. There's plenty of action set pieces, with Tom still throwing punches, diving on horses and now indulging in swordsmanship as well.
Like it, it's a nice contrast to the other stories of this era, and shows there's still lots of fresh stuff to offer in Who. Imagine all this intelligence was really trying to do was dumb down man so he wouldn't invade it's domain. Give it a 9/10
The Masque Of Mandragora!We're off to Rosebud in Summer! Sorry, Italy. I really liked the way this one started when I was a kid, with the new control room with its wooden panels and central console that looked like a writing desk. I liked the episode even more when we went to the centre of the Mandragora Helix with its crystal mountains and blackness everywhere. Once we moved to Renaissance Italy I got bored out of my tiny brain with its men in tights and far too much yakking and not enough monsters.
So what about now? Well, I still like the old control panel and I still reckon the Helix scene is cool, I actually like the Italy scenes more. It is beautifully filmed at the Welsh village of Portmeiron and director Rodney Bennett makes the absolute most of the scenery. I still feel it is at times a little wordy to the point of "Shakespeare" (and I must be the only person who did amateur theatre that positively HATED Shakespeare!) complete with young men in tights, a dastardly moustache-twirling mad uncle (who freaked me out as a kid!) and superstitious religious devil worshipper astrologer Hieronymous who with his big fluffy beard, wild eyes and backward beliefs looks like he should be on a training video for anyone interested in joining Islam.
However, its great when the big pink sparkler that is the Mandragora Helix pops out of the Tardis and goes skimming across the lake to fry ye olde peasant. I remember being quite shocked at seeing a burnt body in Dr Who! Things then go a little into cliche territory with a trip to the catacombs complete with worshippers in long flowing robes and (pretty cool) face masks. As is standard practice, the head worshipper is dressed in a lovely purple. We even get a companion sacrifice thrown in as well.
So, in all, it looks really nice and there are some good performances and whatnot - and the Dr and sarah are still good - but it doesn't hold my attention. I think its the script. Or the fact no one will shut up. 6.5/10
PS: Sarah bites into an orange. Try doing that rind and all.
Masque Of Mandragora well it's um...it's um...It's a bit different this one. Whilst there's no obvious big bad Monster, the threat of the Mandragora Helix is a very real and very frightening one... when we see the lightening bolts coming out of Hieronymus, and the effect it has on him and others, it is very real. It's plot to consume the moon is also something that is easy to relate to. It's just a bit confusing at times, and that could be because of it's wordiness. But I'm not convinced that this is a bad thing.
I much prefer the traditional "historical" stories when the history is being altered by an alien force - and this is what happens here. BBC are obviously very good with historical recreations, and you know, I always thought this one was filmed in Italy, such is the believability! It was only when I read up on this the other night when I found out that it was filmed in Wales, where they filmed The Prisoner. Man, is there anything Wales can't do! I mean I always thought Prisoner was filmed in Nunawading... but nope, old Vinegar tits was really Welsh! :)
There's a hell of a lot going on here, and it is nicely welded in with some "easier to understand" moments for the kids - like Sarah being possessed and wanting to stab the Doctor, and the realization of the helix energy coming out of the TARDIS to name two. And how cool is the word "Mandragora"?! It's awesome to say, and it's awesome to hear Tom say it!! Masque Of Mandragora is a nice season opener, if not a little complex. 8/10
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