Episode 2 of the not-quite Season 23, finding itself shunted out in favour of Mindwarp ,was The Ultimate Evil- to have been penned by one Wally K Daly - a name you might not have heard of, but he was no wet behind the ears young pup! Having lent his talents to the likes of Byker Grove, Casualty & Juliet Bravo and created the radio series Anything Legal. As well as proving his future Doctor Who credentials with the science fiction trilogy of Before The Screaming Begins, The Silent Scream & With A Whimper To The Grave for BBC Radio circa 1979. You just might recognise one of its stars from a role he'd left ten years beforehand...
But it was Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor as opposed to Patrick Troughton's Second (they had of course appeared together in The Two Doctors) who was to face the evils Daly had in mind! Evils that were adapted into a novel by the author in 1989...
Following his trip to Blackpool with Peri, our multi-coloured friend was to have remained in something of a holiday spirit as they arrived on Tranquela. But as with the Third Doctor's attempt to take Sarah-Jane Smith off for a spot of well-earned relaxation on Florana, some great evil has got there before he can so much as put out a deckchair. This was no second attempt by the Daleks to ruin a Time Lord's vacation, though- three selves on from a considerably more fashionable first choice clothing ensemble, he would face the Dwarf Mordant.
But how do you combat the effects of a weapon that turns normal holidaymakers into raging killers when you yourself are feeling its effects thanks to an alien arms dealer? And what does he hope to gain by engineering a war between Tranquela & its nearest neighbour? Fortunately a synopsis is available to shed a bit of light on the matter.
"The continent of Tranquela is being swept by waves of madness at regular intervals, causing its inhabitants to turn upon each other in fits of uncontrollable rage. Escoval, head of the Second Family, seems certain that the enemy continent Ameliora has developed a secret weapon, and is urging Abatan, head of the First Family and thus ruler of Tranquela, to open the Armoury which has remained sealed since the truce was declared. Abatan refuses to do so, as the opening of the Armoury would be an act of war.Just as well someone will turn up to sort that right out! It would have been implied that he had visited in a past incarnation fifty years ago, though which one of the past five isn't clear.
After one fit of madness, Abatan's son Locas turns himself in for the murder of his lover Mariana; they had believed that their love was strong enough to carry them through, but when the madness came Locas threw Mariana over the edge of a cliff. He faces trial before his peers, but before sentence is passed the scientists Ravlos and Kareelya arrive and announce that they have found the cause of the madness -- a strange energy wave which somehow taps into the hidden depths of the human mind.
Locas is guilty only of assuming that their people had expunged all trace of evil in their minds; in fact, they have only buried it. The Families vote to forgive Locas, but he knows that he and his father will bear the burden of shame forever. Meanwhile, in a spaceship in orbit around the planet, a cackling alien named the Dwarf Mordant waits to unleash another wave of artificially-generated hatred upon Tranquela."
Anger quickly grips him upon his return!
"For fifty years, Tranquela and Ameliora have been completely isolated from each other; it was once possible for the Tranquelans to instantaneously transport themselves anywhere on their planet through thought projection, but this was outlawed after the truce, in case anyone should inadvertently transport themselves to Ameliora. The TARDIS materializes on a beach where Locas has gone to mourn his loss, and when she emerges, he momentarily mistakes her for Mariana. Mordant then blasts the beach with his hate ray, and the natives suddenly attack the Doctor and Peri for no apparent reason.Mordant is of course eventually defeated, his designs on war exposed. But the how of that particular matter may surprise you- under threat of Time Lord intervention which may well result in his erasure from history, he undoes his own ill-effects on both worlds & is allowed to escape!
The Doctor, unaware that Peri has been felled by a fallen stone, gets back to the TARDIS, only to be swamped with hatred once he comes within range of the Holiday Ball. Seeking a target for his rage, he sets the TARDIS to seek out the closest targets -- his old friends Ravlos and Kareelya.
Ravlos and Kareelya have isolated the wavelength that is causing their continent such distress, and are near finding a way to shield people from its effects. Upon learning this, Escoval transports himself to Mordant's ship to warn him; thanks to this distraction, Mordant loses control of the beachgoers before they can kill Peri.
Mordant gives Escoval a hypno-gun which will cause its victims to obey any orders he gives them, and Escoval returns to the castle and destroys Ravlos and Kareelya's laboratory. The TARDIS materializes amidst the wreckage of the laboratory, and when Ravlos and Kareelya arrive the Doctor attacks them. Kareelya, however, manages to snap a prototype protective helmet over his head, and the Doctor returns to normal."
"The Doctor orders Mordant to bathe both continents with emotions of peace and tranquility; if he refuses, the Doctor will inform the Time Lords that Mordant has been using the Holiday Balls to spy on them, and they will erase him from history.Isn't that nice? Big Finish clearly thought so, and hoped to adapt The Ultimate Evil to include amongst their Lost Stories range. They approached Daly in 2009, asking him to write the audio play, however, they were unable to come to a suitable agreement, probably because Daly had already recorded an audiobook for a fund-raising exercise between the RNIB and Rotary International. So it's off to that second-hand book shop for the Target novelisation then...
Mordant hastily does as the Doctor requests, destroys the Holiday Balls, and sets off to seek his fortune elsewhere. Locas takes word of the changed situation to Ameliora and negotiates a new truce, and the Armouries of both continents are closed again. Now that Locas has proven his maturity by taking the dangerous journey to Ameliora, Abatan reveals to him that Mariana survived her fall by teleporting herself to safety, and the lovers are reunited."
Tomorrow, in our journey through the scrapped stories from what-would've-been Season 23 of Doctor Who, we head off on a Mission To Magnus.....................