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Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Deadly Assassin originally aired in 1976.

I deny this reality.

– the Doctor

The Deadly Assassin is a rather boldly experimental episode of Doctor Who. It’s the first story told without a companion character, and it also ventures quite forcefully into the realm of surrealism. It offers a rather bold deconstruction of the Time Lords, a rather cynical depiction of the aliens who had seemed all-powerful in stories like The War Games or The Three Doctors. More than that, though, The Deadly Assassin feels – appropriately enough – like a treatise on the inevitable death of Doctor Who.

Located in the middle of the fourteenth of twenty-six seasons, and broadcast thirteen years from both the start and the end of the show’s initial run, The Deadly Assassin seems to be positioned at the very heart of Doctor Who.

A rough outline of what's going on...

A rough outline of what’s going on…

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