The Awakening CAST & CREW
Peter Davison (Fifth Doctor)
Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka)
Mark Strickson (Vislor Turlough)
Polly James — Jane Hampden
Denis Lill — Sir George Hutchinson
Glyn Houston — Colonel Ben Wolsey
Jack Galloway — Joseph Willow
Keith Jayne — Will Chandler
Frederick Hall — Andrew Verney
Christopher Saul — Trooper
Production Staff for Serial 6M:
Writer - Eric Pringle
Director - Michael Owen Morris
Script editor - Eric Saward
Producer - John Nathan-Turner
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The Awakening REVIEWS
The Awakening...takes us from the rolling deep blue /green sea of heady Earth 2084 to the rolling fields of an English country village 100 years earlier.
The Awakening is a really good two parter, in fact probably the best two parter made for the classic series, pity they dropped them as a regular feature of each season after this one, especially after finally getting them right. The Awakening is a good template for showing how the modern Who should follow their one episode plotting and not make them so frenetic and jam in so much you can't follow anything. Although think that problem has finally been overcome with the current series.
You gotta feel sorry for poor old Eric Pringle the writer, this guy spent ten years submitting scripts to the Dr Who production office and finally one gets picked up! Persistence pays off, then they cut it from 4 episodes down to 2. But it's still great and you wonder why he never wrote for the series again. The script and the regulars crackle with the energy and banter they didn't in the previous episodes and there's a lot of mystery going on. Davison is probably more thrilled that he's finally got a new version of his costume, beige instead of karkee...ah well. He's really good at being earnest and is aging into the role well, sounding more authoritarian than he did before.
The theme of imprisonment seems to raise it's head in the Awakening. The Malus is imprisoned in a church, the boy Will was imprisoned in a priest hole in the past, the villagers have been imprisoned by Sir George Hutchison into the village boundaries physically and also socially imprisoned to participate in his English civil war games. The one who doesn't conform to this imprisonment is Jane Hampden and Turlough is just imprisoned because the writer didn't know what else to do with with him and Sir George himself has his will imprisoned by the Malus and even the tinclavic the Doctor finds is another reference to the Terileptil prison planet.
Yes the Awakening may be the same type of story as the Daemons but it's still really different. The Awakening is atmospheric and engaging visually with the clash of people wearing civil war garb against the back drop of a quaint English village in '84, horse riding past cars, street lights and phone boxes. The mystery also in why people from the past keep suddenly appearing and disappearing and the concept of the Malus itself, an alien that feeds on emotions to make itself stronger and even uses these as a fuel stockpile to launch itself across the universe is good.
The mix of characters is good too, they're all normal everyday people role playing the English civil war and come across as that. Hampden trying to be the voice of reason, Wolsey as the confused, wavering "are the villagers going too far?" character, Joseph Willow who's really getting so into his role as the sadistic civil war sergeant he sort of realises at the end he was going over the top and Sir George, Denis Lil gives a good performance of someone who's unstable enough to get affected by the Malus in the first place and allow the violence to escalate. He's not evil, just unbalanced and easily taken over. Tegan's grandfather Andrew is good also (she must be the first companion that was shown with actual family members, 3 of them now!!) and the boy Will is excellently played.
The lighting is moody and the scenes in the crypt and the church with the Malus breaking through the wall are good, also good is the mini Malus that starts to manifest in the Tardis which dies a green gooey death much like the sea devils a story before... all up the Awakening is entertaining, well written and directed, the regulars seem to have less to do but that will balance out with the next episode, hard to mark but as it's very well produced - stuff it! I'll give it a 9/10.
The Awakening works very well as two episodes, so well that it could almost work in the New Series. There is enough plot and characters to fill the 45min format and its a nice little contained story. Hey; THE AWAKENING could have replaced FEAR HER and boosted that season's ratings in our poll. Its a story that has its origins in the Pertwee story THE DAEMONS with an evil entity manifesting itself in a local church (and we don't mean Jesus!), the village cut off from the outside world and the Doctor's companion going to be burnt at the stake. Pity that never happened!
There is a lot to like here. The opening shots are very good and attention grabbing; the galloping of the horses cut amongst Jane Hampden wandering around her farm. Cos its all filmed as opposed to being videoed there is a nice "real quality" about proceedings. There is some great location filming around the tiny village of Little Hodcombe and the outside filming makes the most of the picturesque scenery. Its the perfect setting for the villagers to recreate the Civil War with its little stone houses, laneways and village greens. There is one shot that includes a red phone box and it always looks out of place!
The interior scenes look very good as well, particularly the interior of the church which is very well lit. The climax at the end where the Malus sends its soldiers to behead the trooper is very well done and quite disturbing. The Malus itself is well realised and looks like the evil being its supposed to be, although I feel it worked better as the model than as the head in the wall. That scene towards the end where it appears climbing to the wall of the Tardis is very creepy too and it even throws up on the floor.
Some very good characters in the Awakening as well, particularly Glyn Housten as Colonel Wolsey and we get two people who would have been great companions on board the Tardis but sadly never were; Will Chandler and Jane Hampden. Both these characters were brilliantly portrayed by Keithe Jayne and Polly James - if anything they would have worked better than Tegan and Turlough. Will could have been the "new" Jamie and Jane would have been the present-day companion. Only Denis Lill as Sir George went over the top but in light of how good everyone else is and the production of the story it hardly mattered.
The star of the show, Peter Davison, although is as good as ever, isn't really given much to work with here and you can in hindsight appreciate why he wanted to leave. The Doctor (like his companions) is just a cypher for what is going on. As with previous stories he gets involved and then departs and that is it. Occasionally he gets a good line or good scene and he runs with it. Therefore his scenes with Jane are a real delight as they both spark off each other very well.
Two things that happened in the Awakening but never reached transmission include that little scene where the Doctor runs ahead of the horse and coach and goes through the garden arch - and the horse follows him and causes the arch to collapse! That one always turns up on the British version of "Foul Ups Bleeps and Blunders". Then there is the scene where Kamelion was supposed to appear at the door of the Tardis.
And speaking of the Tardis, is this the first time we have had so many people in the console room; the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough, Jane, Ben Wolsley, Will, Tegan's grandfather and Joseph Willow - 7 people!!!
Anyway, for a two parter the Awakening really works. Looks great, the characters all work and the production values are very high - and its filmed as opposed to videoed! Give it a 9.5/10
This is tough one to review.
I didn't remember much of the Awakening as a kid - but when I watched it again last night I knew that the young kid was called Will before he said it... so something must have been stored away there!
Of the three Davison two parters (not counting Resurrection - although I noticed last night that on the UKTV runs it was broadcast as the original 2 parters... don't know why I bothered dubbing it cos that's one of the DVDs I've got - but I still want to have the complete set I guess.. Nerrrrd!) The Awakening is probably the plotiest. And it's an interesting plot too - not unlike The Deamons in a lot of ways (not just cos there's a maypole!), but in others it could be a little more creative than the Daemons. Their recreations are creating the psychic energy to be able to call on the Malus - that's a pretty cool concept - but there's still a bloke with a goatee who's blinded by the power that the Malus can offer him.
One thing that takes away from the Awakening's effectiveness for me is the length - I think it needs another part just to bring home the power of the Malus... we're just starting to see the threat it holds when it brings through the soldiers (or round heads) from the 17th century, and we are just seeing the full effect on Sir George too, when it's taken away from us. I want to know more about the Malus, and I want to see more of what this face in the wall can do. Perhaps this would have worked better as a 3 parter in series 26? Maybe the "mystique" of it would have been better suited to McCoy's Doctor too?
That's not to say that Davison's bad in this - I like him a lot (as always!). The way he relates to Will and Jane is perfect - paying them the right amount of attention to answer their questions, while at the same time still analysing what's going on and thinking of a solution is perfect Davison. I really like Turlough in this one too - as maligned as his character post Guardian trilogy can be, he still has that "I'm a coward, no I'm not" thing going on - and the progression he shows when he's locked up with Tegan's Grandfather is great. As for Tegan, well she's her normal whining self - but that's OK, that's her... at least she's consistent!
The Awakening is obviously realised a lot better than Warriors. The Malus is nice and simple (and hidden behind a wall), the war games get up is all done well, and the best thing, and for me one of the scariest things I've seen in Who for ages, is that image on the TARDIS wall - the way it's kind of camouflaged and looking back at them - it just freaks me!
So all up, the Awakening could have been a great one, but just suffers a little for being too short - more of what the Malus can do could have made it a classic as all the ingredients are there.
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