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|Vortigern Studies > Vortigern > The Realm of Vortigern > 'Lake'|
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"I believe they call it Lake Vortigern"
Was there really a lake named after Vortigern in Cornwall? And was Arthur really buried in there? Actually, the reason that I mention this site at all, is because it is related to Vortigern (however remote), and that it's fun!
For one, the location of this lake is completely unknown, apart from that it should be somewhere in Cornwall. Lake Vortigern, which happens to be known as well as 'Vortigern's Lake', is a bit of a fictious place, which features in an adventure of Dr. Who, the famous timelord! In 'Battlefield', a.k.a. season 26, the good doctor defeats his enemies in 4 episodes:
The Doctor and his trusted side-kick Ace receive a mysterious distress signal and land in 1993 in the Earth village of Carbury, which is near to Lake Vortigern, the mythical resting place of King Arthur's sword. A convoy of U.N.I.T. (special forces against aliens) is disrupted when soldiers from another dimension cross to ours to renew their centuries-old conflict for control of the sword Excalibur. The Tardiss, carrying the Timelord (who distinctly resembles Rowan 'Mr Bean' Atkinson at times) and his curveous helper Ace ("Ooh, wicked!"), lands conveniantly next to a signpost that spells "Lake Vortigern, 4 km". I can assure anyone that no such sign exists in the UK, all of them showing distances in miles only!
Two factions of Knights also land on Earth, Ancelyn (Lancelot?) and his arch-enemy Mordred staging a fight in the middle of the convoy, which happens to be transporting a nuclear missile across the countryside. Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart comes out of retirement to work alongside the Doctor again, as they take on the sorceress Morgaine, who seeks the legendary Excalibur. This legendary sword is buried on the bottom of Lake Vortigern, together with the body of King Arthur, all tucked up inside a space craft!
How did he get there? Well, apparently the doctor put him there after the 'final' showdown in the eight century AD, when it turns out that the Doctor, in an incarnation after his 7th, actually is (was, or rather, will become) the wizard Merlin in an alternate universe where reality is closer to Arthurian myth. At the end of a series of conflicts, King Arthur's nemesis, Morgaine Le Fey is finally victorious; Arthur is killed. The Doctor puts Arthur's body and his sword Excalibur in a spaceship which he places at the bottom of Lake Vortigern in his home universe. Morgaine apparently seals the Doctor in the Ice Caves and becomes ruler of her solar system. However, a thousand years later she gets wind of Excalibur being on 'our' earth, and sets out to get it and Arthur.
If the Doctor does not comply and hand over the sword, she threatens to unleash a dimension wrecking demon called the Destroyer (actually a bit of a drag), and it's Lethbridge-Stewart who bravely faces the creature as it prepares to eradicate mankind. Boom. 1-0 for the pensioner vs. the Universe Wrecker. Finally, the Doctor prevents Morgaine and her son Mordred from winning the sword and starting a nuclear war.
from 'Battlefield' (The Doctor to Morgaine)
Morgaine, about to set off nuclear war, is convinced her enemy is dead. In fact, Arthur has turned to dust, and Morgaine, berieved, calls of the nuclear destruction. Ancelyn is saved as well and the Doctor wraps things up: "Brigadier, arrest Modred, and while you're at it, lock up his mother as well". They all retire happily to the Brigadier's cottage, the girls go off shopping and Ancelyn gets to mow the lawn. The end.
When I was a young child, Doctor Who gave me the chills. Yes, I was (a lot) younger, but that was not the main difference - this series did not quite have the class of the earlier ones. Though back then it was all plastic, the earlier shows had a lot more suspense. Apart from the death of the Brigadier's pilot, this is all a bit harmless, even silly at times. Maybe the screaming women have gone (which is good), but now they're giggling instead (mmh). But when Morgaine, who killed Arthur, who defeated Merlin, who rules the Universe and who can blast helicopters out of the sky (just by pointing her finger at it) manages to get arrested (!) at the end, that's just a weak plot.
Apart from that, the Arthurian angle is a nice change from the usual aliens running or rolling around ('Exterminate! .. Ex..'). I quite liked some of the details though, such as the hardware (Tungsten steel bullets are supplied to the U.N.I.T. troops for use against a knight's armour), or Lake Vortigern.
Seventh Doctor 1987-1989
||BBC First Broadcast Date
||06 Sep 1989
||13 Sep 1989
||20 Sep 1989
||27 Sep 1989
Novelised by: Marc Platt, First published in: 1991 by WH Allen/Target/Virgin. Library Number: 152
VHS tape available in: UK, US/Canada, Australia/NZ (Full stories, not the Years tapes)
Links to Dr.Who and this episode can be found at:
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