Doctor Who: Tin Dog Podcast
The Top Rated Doctor Who Podcast. One fan, One mic and an opinion. What more does anyone need? Daleks, TARDIS, Cybermen, Sontarans, Ood, Classic Series. Home of Whostrology and the Big Finish Retrospective.
TDP 109: A short Story at Christmas. Raining Cats and Dogs enjoy this xmas gift from the TDP
Direct download: TDP_109_Raining_cats_and_dogs.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:09am UTC

TDP 108: RPG Adventures in Time and An Earthly Child RPG Update
Direct download: tdp_108_RPG_Earthly_child.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:35pm UTC

TDP 107: Dalek, Dreamland and SJSA 3.6 info to follow
Direct download: TDP107_Dalek_Dreamland_sjsa_3_6.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 4:37pm UTC

TDP 106: Waters of Mars & SJSA 3.5

The Waters of Mars is the second of the 2009 Specials leading up to the end of the David Tennant era. It aired on 15th November 2009 on BBC One.




Mars. 2059. Bowie Base One. Last recorded message: "Don't drink the water. Don't even touch it. Not one drop."


The TARDIS arrives on Mars and the Doctor steps out in his spacesuit, seemingly just to relax and enjoy the landscape. Stumbling across a base inhabited by a team from Earth, the Doctor is detained by a remote-controlled robot called "GADGET" and brought inside. The base commander, Adelaide Brooke, is at first suspicious of the Doctor, but after a tense interrogation, decides to trust him. The Doctor learns that the date is 21st November 2059, and that this is in fact Bowie Base One, the first human outpost on Mars. History has it that on this date the base was destroyed in a mysterious explosion and Brooke and her crew were all killed. Unwilling to break the laws of time and interfere with fixed points in history, the Doctor decides to leave. However, at the very same moment a crisis is developing: two crewmembers, Andy Stone and Maggie Cain, have been infected by a mysterious life form which takes over their bodies and causes them to gush copious amounts of water. Adelaide confiscates the Doctor's spacesuit, reasoning that he could be responsible for the infection in some way, and orders him to come with her and another crewmember, Tarak Ital, to investigate.

The infection spreads, with Andy passing on the condition to Tarak. The two men are contained in the base's "bio-sphere" section while Maggie is secured in the medical wing. In a conversation with colleague Yuri Kerenski, the organism occupying Maggie's body reveals its desire to reach Earth, a planet rich in water. The crew plan to evacuate in an escape shuttle, and the Doctor breaks the news to Adelaide that she must die today, on Mars, if events are to unfold as they should. However, he also tells her that her death will inspire her descendants to travel further into space and establish peaceful relations with numerous extraterrestrial species. Unwillingly, Adelaide lets him leave. As the Doctor is making his way back to the TARDIS, Maggie breaks out of confinement, infiltrates the shuttle and infects pilot Ed Gold, Adelaide's deputy. Before the condition takes a hold over him, Ed manages to trigger the shuttle's self-destruct mechanism, which traps the infection on Mars but also leaves the surviving crew with no means of escape. The destruction of the shuttle is witnessed by the Doctor who, overcome by defiance against time itself, returns to the base to save the others.

Realising that there is no way to change the course of history, Adelaide activates Bowie Base's self-destruct sequence. The infected personnel mount the roof of the control centre and exude more water, which pours into the room and claims GADGET's operator, Roman Groom, and Steffie Ehrlich. However, the Doctor uses GADGET to access the TARDIS, operate its controls remotely and transport the time and space machine into the base, rescuing Adelaide, Yuri and Mia Bennett from the resulting nuclear explosion.

The TARDIS materialises outside Adelaide's house on Earth. Mia and Yuri are shocked by their experiences on Mars and Doctor's power and depart, bewildered. In a conversation with Adelaide, the Doctor reflects on why he ultimately decided to save her and the others. He argues that the Time Lords' rules were only valid while their civilisation existed, and that since he is the last of his race he has total authority over time. He proudly declares himself the "Time Lord Victorious" and remarks that with this power he will now be able to save influential figures such as Adelaide as well as "little people" the likes of Yuri and Mia. Scolding the Doctor for his new found arrogance, Adelaide returns home and commits suicide, reverting the changes that the Doctor has made to the timeline.

Only now understanding the full impact of his actions, the Doctor is overcome with horror and realises that there will be a price to pay for his interference. Ood Sigma appears in the street, prompting the Doctor to ask him whether he has finally gone too far — whether the time has come for him to die. Unresponsive, Sigma vanishes, and the Doctor staggers back into the TARDIS to the ominous sound of the Cloister Bell. With a defiant "No!", he begins to work the machine's controls.




Earth history

  • Adelaide Brooke says that the last forty years on Earth have been chaos, with massive climate change, ozone degredation, and "the oil apocalypse"; humanity "almost reached extinction" during this period. Andy's obituary mentions "appalling storm conditions" in 2040, and climate change affecting agriculture in 2045.
  • Maggie believes the Doctor may be a Philippino or Spanish astronaut, as the Philippines are rumoured to be building a Mars rocket and Spain have a "space link" that they managed to keep secret. Andy Stone's sister worked for the Spanish space programme. Ed Gold believes the Doctor is from a non-state independent group, referring to the Branson Inheritance.
  • Various lunar missions have been carried out, including ten German missions and Project Pit Stop, establishing a refueling station on the moon. Mars was landed on in 2041, with Adelaide Brooke as part of the crew. Thirty years after 2059, Brooke's granddaughter Susan will pilot the first lightspeed ship.
  • At least one of the webpages -- the one showing Brooke's granddaughter -- dates from the 2080s or later, suggesting the Internet still exists in some form in the late 21st century.


  • "Bowie Base One" is a reference to the David Bowie song "Life on Mars", which is also the name of a BBC TV series set in 1972 starring John Simm, who currently plays The Master.

Races and Species


  • The Doctor said that he hates "funny robots" but notes that he'd be okay with a robot dog.
  • Gadget was built by Roman Groom using parts from the drones that constructed Bowie Base One.

Story Notes

  • This story was initially envisaged as a Christmas special, several festive references remain, such as the crew on Mars preparing for Christmas dinner, and it snowing when the Doctor arrives back on Earth as he exclaims how he likes snow.
  • This story was originally entitled; Red Christmas.
  • As Lindsay Duncan has been cast as a companion, she is the oldest actor to play a companion on television since the beginning of the series, although this title will be taken away from her in the next episode when Bernard Cribbins becomes the Doctor's companion.


  • 9.1m
  • 33.9% of TV share

Filming Locations

  • Victoria Place, Newport
  • National Botanic Gardens of Wales, Carmarthenshire
  • Taff's Well quarry, Cardiff, Wales

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • If no Human had ever heard of the Ice Warriors then how can the events of NA: The Dying Days not be known by the Humans? The novels may not be considered canon, by the current production team, also that event may have been in flux. It is never explicitly stated that Humans have never heard of the Ice Warriors. When the Doctor mentions them, Adelaide simply states, "I haven't got time for stories."
  • After the explosion of the shuttle, several fires are burning all around the site. Taking into account the initial explosion was fueled by the base's oxygen, and given that Mars has no appreciable atmosphere, how can these smaller fires burn in the vacuum? Because Mars does have an atmosphere, albeit one with a pressure roughly equivalent to one hundredth that of Earth's atmosphere.
  • Given that Mars's thin atmosphere consists primarily of carbon dioxide, with a very small concentration of oxygen (which is required for combustion), how can the smaller fires after the explosion burn? There is a lot we don't know about Bowie Base One. We don't know what sort of fuel they're using, we don't know how the self-destruct mechanism on the rocket works.
  • In Father's Day The Reapers turned up due to Rose saving her father when somebody who was dead is now alive - surely this should be the case now for Yuri and Mia as they should have died but are now alive. The Reapers only showed up in Fathers Day due to Rose saving her father's life, as then, that altered the timeline meaning that in the future Rose wouldn't have travelled to the past to save her father, causing a paradox, the Doctor only changed the future when he saved Adelaide's life. Had Adelaide's granddaughter travelled back in time to save her grandmother, for instance, that would more likely have caught the Reapers' attention. Also, as Adelaide almost immediately kills herself, thereby maintaining the timeline, there was no need for the Reapers to appear.
  • The news article on Adelaide claims that she was born in 1999 and yet was also 10 when her parents died in 2008. (There was clearly a typo in the article in regards to either the year or her age.)
  • The news article identifies The Stolen Earth as occuring in 2008, instead of 2009 (as the show's been a year ahead since Aliens of London). The production team have deliberately stated that Series Three occurs within a space of a few days to rectify the year-off discrepancy that Aliens of London introduced, so the Whoniverse timeline is in sync with ours again. (Two explanations: either the article we were "seeing" had some sort of typo, or the events of The Stolen Earth actually did happen in 2008.)
  • The news article on the mission refers to "Dr Tarak Ital MD." It would be correct to write either the "Dr" or the "MD," but both at once is redundant and grammatically incorrect. Ital's obituary also misspells "Havana". It is correct if the person has both an MD and a PhD.
  • The article on Susie Fontana Brooke's first "Faster then Light" flight lists Adelaide's team at the end as hers.
  • Why would the Doctor comment on Mia's age when Roman is two years younger than her?
  • When it is revealed that Maggie is one of the creatures, the outer shot shows her hair back while in the closer shot, it is around her face.


International broadcasts

Direct download: TDP_106_Waters_of_mars_sjsa35.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:42am UTC

TDP 105: SJS3.4 and Aliens of London/WWIII revisiting the past
Direct download: TDP_105.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:11am UTC

TDP 104: Dead Shoes and SJSA 3.2 & 3.3 info to follow
Direct download: TDP_104_SJS_3_2_and_3_second_edit.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:04am UTC

TDP 103: Planet of the Daleks & SJSA 3.1 INFO TO FOLLOW
Direct download: TDP_103_Planet_of_Daleks_and_SJSA_31.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:13am UTC

TDP 102: Fronteer in Space and New Logo Chat TDP info to follow
Direct download: TDP_102.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:48am UTC

TDP 101:The keys of Marinus and Hornets 1 info to follow
Direct download: 101.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:19am UTC

Sorry. no show this week
Direct download: TDP_EXTRA_SEPT_21_09.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:48am UTC

TDP 100: The 100th Show! my top 20 Whoness things
Direct download: TDP_100_FINAL1.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:48pm UTC

TDP 099: Twin Dilemma


After his regeneration from their previous adventure, the Doctor starts behaving erratically. He goes to the wardrobe and looking for a new outfit and finds a glaring, mismatched, brightly coloured coat to which he immediately takes a shine. Peri tells him that he could not go outside wearing such an awful garb, to which the Doctor takes offence.

Two twins, Romulus and Remus Sylveste, receive a visitation from a mysterious old man called Professor Edgeworth. They question how he managed to get inside their house; he tells them he will return when their father is there, then proceeds to abduct them and the trio disappear. They arrive on a spacecraft in deep space. Edgeworth then communicates with his superior, a slug-like creature called Mestor, who instructs Edgeworth to take the twins to Titan 3.

In the console room, the Doctor has a funny turn, quoting a poem about a Peri — a good and beautiful fairy in Persian mythology, but one which used to be evil. The Doctor accuses her of being evil, and of being an alien spy before rushing toward her and throttling her. He catches a sight of his own manic face in a mirror and collapses in a heap, releasing Peri. When she tells him that he tried to kill her, he initially denies he could be capable of such an act, but seeing how terrified of him she is, decides he must become a hermit on the desolate asteroid Titan 3.

The twins' father contacts the authorities; he found Zanium in their room — a sure sign of intergalactic kidnap. A Commander Lang begins the pursuit and soon finds a suspicious ship previously reported missing. He tries to contact it, but it enters warp drive — something that class of ship is not designed to do.

On Titan 3, as the Doctor contemplates a thousand years of solitude and Peri expresses her disapproval, they hear the crash landing of a craft. Examining its wreckage, they find the concussed body of Commander Lang. They take him back to the TARDIS where he reveals his whole squadron has been destroyed. Believing the Doctor to be responsible, he points his gun at the Doctor and threatens to kill him…

Peri pleads with Lang, telling him that the Doctor had in fact saved him, but he faints away. The Doctor is not keen to treat Lang, more concerned for his own life, but eventually agrees to Peri's persuasion.

Edgeworth argues with Romulus and Remus, making them do Mestor's work. He scolds them for setting up a distress signal, so they are not allowed to use electronic equipment to solve the equations they have been set. An image of Mestor appears and gives the twins a more blunt threat — work for him or have their minds destroyed.

On the TARDIS scanner, the Doctor and Peri see a building — something which has no place on an uninhabited asteroid. Leaving Lang behind, they find a tunnel which may lead to the building, but on exploring find two aliens wielding guns. The Doctor cowers in fear and pleads with them not to shoot him. They are led off and are brought before Edgeworth. The Doctor claims to be a pilgrim to Titan 3, but Noma, one of the aliens, says they are spies and should be shot. The Doctor suddenly recognises Edgeworth as an old friend - Azmael, master of Jaconda, whom he last saw two incarnations ago. When the Doctor sees Romulus and Remus and discovers it is Azmael who has abducted them, he is disgusted. Azmael teleports away with the twins and the aliens, leaving the Doctor and Peri locked in the building. The Doctor starts to break the lock's combination, but Peri discovers Noma has set the base to self-destruct. The Doctor improvises a solution to teleport them back to the TARDIS. Peri makes a successful return, but the Doctor has not appeared when she sees the base explode on the scanner…

A glimpse of the Doctor is seen appearing in the TARDIS; he was delayed returning because he was using Peri's watch to synchronise their arrival, but the watch had stopped. The Doctor is surprised at Peri's compassion when she thought he had died.

On Jaconda, Mestor is seen putting one of the bird-like Jacondans to death for a petty offence of stealing a few vegetables. Soon, the TARDIS arrives, but instead of the expected beautiful planet the Doctor is expecting, he, Peri and Lang find a desolate wasteland covered with giant Gastropod trails. The Doctor is reluctant to go to the palace, scared for his own life, but is persuaded to take Lang there in the TARDIS. In the palace corridors they see murals depicting Jaconda's history, depicting the slugs of myth - but it appears that they are now all too real. After avoiding Gastropods, Lang gets stuck in their slime trail.

Azmael takes the twins to his laboratory and shows them a store room full of Gastropod eggs. Mestor arrives and tries to persuade them that his aims are benevolent. Azmael begs him to stop reading his thoughts and stop Noma watching his every move. He agrees and leaves. Azmael explains to the Twins that Mestor usurped him as leader of Jaconda and outlines a plan to draw two outlying planets into the same orbit as Jaconda. The Twins' genius is required to stabilise those planets in their new orbit. The Doctor, leaving Peri and Lang behind, finds Azmael's lab. In a manic fit of pique, he attacks Azmael, but is restrained by a Jacondan and the Twins. The Doctor apologises to Azmael but demands to know what is going on.

Meanwhile, Peri is captured by Jacondan guards and brought before Mestor. When Lang escapes to Azmael's lab and informs them what has happened, the Doctor finally shows compassion for her when he thinks she might die…

Mestor refrains from killing Peri immediately, finding her appearance pleasing. Jacondan guards arrive in Azmael's lab and seize the Doctor. The Doctor tells Mestor that he ought to allow him to assist with the dangerous operation of moving the planets, as a single mistake could blow a hole in that corner of the universe. Back the laboratory, Azmael informs the Doctor the details of the plan to bring the planets into the same orbit — they will be placed in different time zones using time travel technology that Mestor stole from Azmael. The Doctor realises that, as the other planets are smaller than Jaconda, bringing them closer to Jaconda's sun will lead to catastrophe. The Doctor enters the egg storeroom, and is disturbed that they have no nutritional mucus. He tries to cut one open with a laser cutter; the shell is impenetrable, but the egg reacts slightly to the heat. The Doctor realises they have been designed to withstand the heat of an exploding sun — the explosion of the Jacondan sun will scatter the eggs throughout the universe. When they hatch, the Gastropods will conquer the universe.

The one remaining Jacondan in the lab collapses dead, his mind burnt out. Mestor had been using him as a monitor, and knows the full details of what has been discussed. Peri, Lang and the Twins return to the TARDIS, whilst the Doctor and Azmael go to confront Mestor. When Mestor refuses to abandon his plans, the Doctor hurls a vial of acid taken from the lab at him, but a force field protects Mestor from any harm. Mestor threatens to possess the Doctor's mind and body, and demonstrates by taking control of Azmael's body. Azmael tells him to destroy Mestor's body before he can return to it, which he does with a further vial. Then Azmael, in his last regeneration, forces himself to regenerate — killing himself — and in doing so destroys Mestor. Dying, Azmael says he has no regrets and that one of his fondest memories was a time spent with the Doctor by a fountain.

The Doctor and Peri return to the TARDIS; Lang decides to stay behind on Jaconda to assist with their rebuilding. When Peri tells the Doctor off for being rude, he reminds her that he is an alien, with alien sensibilities: "I am the Doctor… whether you like it or not!"

[edit] Cast notes

  • Maurice Denham makes a guest appearance as Azmael. See Celebrity appearances in Doctor Who
  • Colin Baker also provides, uncredited, the voice of a Jacondan at Freighter Control in part three.
  • Dennis Chinnery had previously appeared as Gharman in the Tom Baker story Genesis of the Daleks.

[edit] Continuity

  • The Doctor states that he has regenerated twice since his last encounter with Azmael. This means that this last time (including the incident at the fountain) occurred during the Doctor's fourth incarnation.
  • The Doctor is unusually violent at the start of this episode, even attempting to strangle Peri. The intention was to create a Doctor that was initially unlikeable, but would gradually reveal a kind-hearted soul (glimpsed in Revelation of the Daleks). This was also intended to be a contrast to the instantly likeable Tom Baker and Peter Davison Doctors. However, in later interviews, director Peter Moffatt said that the original idea was merely to have the Doctor in a much more energetic state than he was during the Fifth Doctor's début story Castrovalva. Colin Baker said during a 2003 documentary celebrating the series' 40th anniversary that "the idea was that over the many, many years I would be playing the part, the outer layers would gradually peel away, revealing the kind-hearted soul."
  • Eric Saward intended for Azmael to be the hermit to whom the Doctor had spoken in his youth, referenced in The Time Monster. Anthony Steven misinterpreted the request and instead made Azmael a former academy tutor of the Doctor.[2] The Hermit character had already been introduced as K'anpo Rinpoche in Planet of the Spiders ten years before.

[edit] Production

Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Part One"

March 22, 1984 (1984-03-22)

24:42 7.6
"Part Two"

March 23, 1984 (1984-03-23)

25:09 7.4
"Part Three"

March 29, 1984 (1984-03-29)

24:27 7.0
"Part Four"

March 30, 1984 (1984-03-30)

25:04 6.3
  • Anthony Steven worked very slowly on the scripts, offering many strange excuses (purportedly saying that his typewriter had literally exploded) and turning them in at a very late stage. Compounding things were the fact that the scripts were viewed as being of poor quality and too much for the show's budget by script editor Eric Saward, who was forced to rework them at great length in a very short amount of time.[citation needed]
  • At least one aspect of Steven's original script featured the Jaconda and Gastropods being dropped totally early in the fourth episode without resolution to the plot, with the final battle taking place in another dimension against a being called Azlan who was controlling Mestor all along.
  • The cat badge worn by the Sixth Doctor on his lapel for this story was hand-made and painted by Suzie Trevor, and purchased for the programme from a specialist badge shop in central London. For each subsequent story, the Doctor was to wear a different cat badge to symbolise that he was a "travelling cat of different walks."
  • Besides being adjusted for the new Doctor, the opening credits underwent additional modifications with this episode. A prism-colour effect is added and the series logo takes on a somewhat bluish hue (which also results in it appearing slightly curved in comparison to the version introduced during Tom Baker's era). The theme music remains the same version as that introduced in 1980. Prior to this, the opening sequences of the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Doctor eras had incorporated a still photograph of the lead actor. For the Sixth Doctor opening this was changed to using two photographs - one of the Doctor with a serious expression which changes to a second image showing the Doctor smiling. This limited animation would continue with the opening sequence for the Seventh Doctor.
  • Fandom often holds the serial in a very low light, being regarded as one of the very worst serials in the history of the series (indeed in SFX #150 new series producer Russell T. Davies cites this story as "the beginning of the end" of Doctor Who). A 1997 poll by Doctor Who Magazine ranked the serial the second worst of all time (the Children in Need special Dimensions in Time was ranked lowest), while a 2003 poll by fansite Outpost Gallifrey ranked it worst of all, below even Dimensions in Time.

[edit] Outside references

Shortly before the Doctor assaults Peri in a paranoid rage, he quotes the line "One morn a peri at the gate Of Eden stood disconsolate" and asks Peri to identify its author. The answer is Thomas Moore, in his poem Lalla Rookh.

The first two instalments of the BBV Stranger video series appear to borrow the premise of the Doctor's desire to become a hermit to atone for mistakes he has made. Since the Stranger is played by Colin Baker and his companion Miss Brown is played by Nicola Bryant, it is often viewed as a "What-If" scenario, despite the fact that the BBV production could not legally use the Doctor Who characters.

[edit] In print

Doctor Who book
Book cover
The Twin Dilemma
Series Target novelisations
Release number 103
Writer Eric Saward
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0-491-03124-6
Release date October 1985 (hardback)

13 March 1986 (paperback)

Preceded by The Time Monster
Followed by Galaxy 4

A novelisation of this serial, written by Saward, was published in hardback by Target Books in October 1985, and in paperback in March 1986. The cover illustration originally featured Colin Baker. However when Baker's agent enquired about a royalty, the decision was taken to not feature him on the cover and a replacement was commissioned. This adaptation is notable for Saward's convoluted attempt at explaining in detail how the regeneration process works.

[edit] Broadcast, VHS and DVD releases

  • This story was released on VHS in May 1992. The tape was available exclusively through branches of Woolworths as part of a special promotion. A general release followed in February 1993.
  • A Commentary with Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Kevin McNally was recorded in April 2008 for a planned DVD release on September 7 2009. This will also be the last of the Colin Baker years of Doctor Who to be released onto DVD.

[edit] References

Direct download: TDP_099_twin_dilemma.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:18am UTC

TDP 098: Enlightenment notes to follow
Direct download: TDP_098_Enlightenment.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:10am UTC

info to follow
Direct download: TDP_097_TERMINUS.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:12am UTC

TDP 096: Maudryn Undead and Children of Earth Round Up Not sure if anyone else is aware of the Twitter/James Moran things. Thought youd like to read the item from his blog. the direct link is at the bottom of the page

Sunday, July 12, 2009
Stepping back
Before I start, this post - and every post on here, and anything I say on Twitter, or anywhere else - is entirely MY opinion. Nothing to do with the people I've worked with, or the BBC, or anyone else. I don't speak for any other writers, I *only* speak for myself, and I will not pass on any messages to anyone.

Here's my position: I'm not going get into any more discussions or debates about what happened in Torchwood this week (being vague, in case people come across this and haven't seen it). Not now, not in the future.

Why? I started trying to discuss it, but swiftly realised that it was pointless. It simply turns into "No it isn't" / "Yes it is", and there's no way I can win the argument, because in certain people's opinion, I am wrong, and that's the end of it. And it's all just opinion anyway. It would also feel like I was trying to justify the show, and I'm not doing that. I have absolutely no need to. The show is the show. Whether you like it or dislike it, that's up to you.

I helped plot the whole storyline, and I stand by every single decision. Yes, including *that* one - I had my hand on the death lever along with everyone else, and was fully involved. I think it's a fantastic, brave, challenging drama, and contains some of the best moments on TV all year.

I've received over a thousand messages from viewers talking about the show. The vast majority have been extremely positive. Even though many of them are upset and shocked, they have managed to express that without making it personal. So to you, I'm extremely grateful. I'm glad you liked the show, and love that it made you respond so strongly. I can't reply to everyone, it'd take weeks, so please accept my thanks.

But the rest of the messages? Unacceptable. Some have been spewing insults and passive aggressive nonsense. Accusing me of deliberately trying to mislead, lie, and hurt people. Telling me I hate the fans, that I'm laughing at them, that I used them, that I'm slapping people in the face, that I've "killed" the show, that I'm a homophobe, that I want to turn the fanbase away and court new, "cooler" viewers, even that I'm hurting depressed people with dark storylines. Asking me to pass on vitriolic, hateful messages to people I love and respect.

Not cool.

These are all things that nobody would dare to say to me in person. But on the internet, it's easy for them to fire off these things. Forgetting that at the other end is me, a real person, someone who has been nothing but open and friendly. But I've been a bit too open, a bit too nice, a bit too willing to explain the thought process behind story decisions. And some people are taking advantage of that, or misinterpreting what it means.

So here's the deal: I'm a professional writer. That's my job. I write what I write, for whatever the project might be. I have the utmost respect for you, and honestly want you to like my work, but I can't let that affect my story decisions. Everybody wants different things from a story, but this is not a democracy, you do not get to vote. You are free to say what you think of my work, even if you hate it, I honestly don't mind. But the ONLY person I need to please is myself, and the ONLY thing I need to serve is the story. Not you. I will do my work to the very best of my ability, in an attempt to give you the best show, the best movie, the best story, the best entertainment I possibly can. Even if that means that sometimes, I'll do things you won't like. I won't debate it. Either you go along with it, or you don't. None of it is done to hurt you, or to force some agenda down your throat, or anything else. It's all in service of the story.

When I started this blog, I wanted to give some insight into the writing process. I've done that. I've answered all the questions, written about the process, done several huge posts trying to pass on what I've learned. The posts are all still there, and will remain there. I've had great fun with it, and given as much as I can, but it's never going to be enough. For a while now, I've let things get too cosy here, indulged myself too much, and if I let it carry on, it will affect my work. The last few days have just confirmed that for me. So I'm going to step back and take a break from it. Things are very busy for the next month or two, and I won't have the time anyway. I'm extremely grateful to everyone who has commented on here, and the blog will probably continue in some form, but limited to anything that isn't about the work - announcements, TV/movie recommendations, etc. I have to concentrate on my writing.

And I will not put up with any more abusive messages, or threats, or accusations, or attempted guilt trips. So while I completely understand your pain at some of the events in the series, that does not give you the right to insult me. Talk about the *work*, all you want. But lay off the person behind the work. Because I'm simply trying to tell you good stories. In the end, that is all I can do.

James Moran

Please feel free to pass this on, I encourage you to do so, to make my position clear to everyone - but you must include the link to the full post here:
Bookmark and Share
info to follow
Direct download: TDP_96_UNDEAD_and_COE_final_edit.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:15pm UTC

TDP 095e: Day 5 Torchwood Children of Earth The last of 5 podcasts about Children of earth
Direct download: TDP_095_e_TW_COE_Day5.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:13pm UTC

TDP 095d: Day 4 Torchwood Children of Earth Day 4
Direct download: TDP_095d_TW_D4_.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:00pm UTC

TDP 095c: Day 3 Torchwood Children of Earth Day 3 Podcast
Direct download: TDP_095_C_TW_COE_Day3.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:35am UTC

TDP 095b: Day 2 Torchwood Children of Earth day 2
Direct download: TDP_095b_TW_D2.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:47pm UTC

TDP 095a: Day 1 Torchwood Children of Earth 0Torchwood Children of Earth Day One Podcast.

Direct download: TDP_095a_TW_D1.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:25pm UTC

TDP 094: The War Games

The War Games

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050 – The War Games
Doctor Who serial

The Doctor and his friends are caught in the middle of World War I... or are they?
Doctor Patrick Troughton (Second Doctor)
Companions Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon)

Wendy Padbury (Zoe Heriot)
Guest stars
Writer Malcolm Hulke
Terrance Dicks
Director David Maloney
Script editor Terrance Dicks (uncredited)
Producer Derrick Sherwin
Executive producer(s) None
Production code ZZ
Series Season 6
Length 10 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast April 19June 21, 1969
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Space Pirates Spearhead from Space

The War Games is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which originally aired in ten weekly parts from April 19 to June 21, 1969. It was the last regular appearance of Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor, and of Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines as companions Zoe Heriot and Jamie McCrimmon. It is the 50th story of the series, and the last Doctor Who serial to be recorded in black and white.



[edit] Plot

[edit] Synopsis

On an alien planet the Doctor uncovers a diabolic plot to conquer the universe, with brainwashed soldiers abducted from Earth forced to fight in simulated environments, reflecting the periods in history from whence they were taken. The alien's aim is to produce a super army from the survivors, to this end they have been aided by a renegade from the Doctor's own race the 'Time Lords'.

Joining forces with rebel soldiers, who have broken their conditioning, the Doctor and his companions foil the plan and stop the fighting. But the Doctor admits he needs the help of the Time Lords to return the soldiers to their own times, but in asking risks capture for his own past crimes including the theft of the TARDIS. After sending the message he and his companions attempt to evade capture, but are caught.

Having returned the soldiers to Earth, the Time Lords erase Zoe and Jamie's memories of travelling with the Doctor, and return them to the point in time just before they entered the TARDIS. They then place the Doctor on trial for stealing the TARDIS and breaking the rule of non-interference. The Doctor presents a spirited defence citing his many battles against the evils of the universe. Accepting this defence the Time Lords announce his punishment is exile to Earth. In addition the operation of the TARDIS is wiped from his memory and his next regeneration is imposed.

[edit] Continuity

  • Patrick Troughton later reprised the role of the Second Doctor in The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors. In the second of these, he expresses knowledge of events of the final episode of this serial, on the face of it a chronological impossibility, and in the last he is on an assignment for the Time Lords, which is incompatible with the events seen here. These facts gave rise to the Season 6B theory, enabled by the aforementioned lack of on-screen depiction of the regeneration.
  • The Doctor again faces trial in The Trial of a Time Lord, the beginning of which refers to this previous trial.
  • The time machines designed by the War Chief and used by the War Lords are called SIDRATs, an inversion of the name TARDIS. Though this name is used only once, and then merely in passing, on-screen during the serial (and pronounced "side-rat")[1], the expanded acronym is revealed to stand for "Space and Inter-Dimensional Robot All-purpose Transporter" in the 1979 novelisation by Malcolm Hulke. It is repeated in the Virgin New Adventures novel Timewyrm: Exodus by Terrance Dicks, which forms a sequel to The War Games.
  • The Second Doctor's appearance in Terrance Dicks' BBC Books Eighth Doctor Adventures novel, The Eight Doctors, occurs during this story.

[edit] Firsts

  • For the first time, this serial names the Doctor's race as the "Time Lords". Although his home planet (Gallifrey) is seen, it would not be referenced by name until The Time Warrior (1973). His reasons for leaving Gallifrey, and the fact that he stole the TARDIS, are also revealed.
  • Aside from the Doctor and Susan, the War Chief is the second person of the Doctor's race (after the Meddling Monk) to appear in the television series.
  • Again the concept of regeneration is presented but not named in this serial, following The Tenth Planet/The Power of the Daleks. The process was eventually named in Planet of the Spiders, then retrospectively attributed to the earlier two changes of actors — first by series fans, then later by the early-'80s production team in The Five Doctors. Until that point, there was some fan controversy over whether the Second Doctor had actually regenerated or merely had his appearance changed.
  • While Troughton's Doctor is sentenced to a forced regeneration at the end of this serial, we do not actually see him regenerate into the Third Doctor (who first appears — briefly wearing the Troughton costume — in the next serial, Spearhead from Space). The only other Doctor not to receive an on-screen regeneration is the Eighth Doctor, who has already regenerated into the Ninth Doctor at the start of the 2005 series.
  • In the first Episode, the Second Doctor kisses Zoe. [1] This display of platonic affection is the first time that the Doctor kisses one of his companions, though as the series went on it would be far from the last.

[edit] Lasts

  • In the final episode, the Time Lords wipe Zoe's mind and return her to the Wheel, where she encounters Tanya Lernov, a character from The Wheel in Space. A set from The Wheel in Space was rebuilt and actress Clare Jenkins (Tanya) rehired for this one scene.[2] The Big Finish Productions audio drama Fear of the Daleks shows an older Zoe having detailed dreams of her adventures with the Doctor, suspecting that something is blocking her memory, and seeing a psychiatric counsellor in an effort to understand the "dreams".
  • This marks the last appearance of the TARDIS Control Room until The Claws of Axos in 1971, though the removed TARDIS console would be seen in the Doctor's UNIT headquarters laboratory in The Ambassadors of Death, and in a hut on the grounds of the titular project in Inferno.
  • Episode 10 is the last episode of the original series to be produced in black and white.

[edit] Production

Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Episode 1" 19 April 1969 25:00 5.5 16mm t/r
"Episode 2" 26 April 1969 25:00 6.3 16mm t/r
"Episode 3" 3 May 1969 24:30 5.1 16mm t/r
"Episode 4" 10 May 1969 23:40 5.7 16mm t/r
"Episode 5" 17 May 1969 24:30 5.1 16mm t/r
"Episode 6" 24 May 1969 22:53 4.2 16mm t/r
"Episode 7" 31 May 1969 22:28 4.9 16mm t/r
"Episode 8" 7 June 1969 24:37 3.5 16mm t/r
"Episode 9" 14 June 1969 24:34 4.1 16mm t/r
"Episode 10" 21 June 1969 24:23 5.0 16mm t/r
Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and the War Games
Series Target novelisations
Release number 70
Writer Malcolm Hulke
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist John Geary
ISBN 0-426-20082-9
Release date 25 September 1979
Preceded by Doctor Who and the Image of the Fendahl
Followed by Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks

[edit] Commercial releases

This serial was released in the UK February 1990 in a two-tape set in episodic form. It was re-released in remastered format in September 2002. Since this VHS re-release, better quality film prints of the story have been located at the BFI, and were used for the DVD release.[6] The DVD will be released on July 6th 2009 and is a 3 disc set,[7] with a commentry provided by Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Philip Madoc, Graham Weston, Jane Sherwin, Terrance Dicks and Derrick Sherwin.

[edit] In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Malcolm Hulke, was published by Target Books in September 1979, entitled Doctor Who and The War Games. Despite the length of the serial, Hulke was allotted only 143 pages in which to adapt the 10-episode script, the third longest Doctor Who serial. By comparison, the later novelisation of the second longest serial, the 12-episode The Daleks' Master Plan, was published in two volumes, each of which were much longer than Hulke's book, while four books were used to novelise the longest serial, the 14-episode The Trial of a Time Lord.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Cornell, Paul, Martin Day, & Keith Topping, Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide, Virgin Books, 1995, p. 104
  2. ^ Wood, Tat; and Lawrence Miles (2006). About Time 2: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who: 1966–1969, Seasons 4 to 6. Des Moines, Iowa: Mad Norwegian Press. ISBN 0-9759446-1-4. 
  3. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "{{subst:PAGENAME}}". Outpost Gallifrey. Retrieved on 2008-08-31. 
  4. ^ "{{subst:PAGENAME}}". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved on 2008-08-31. 
  5. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2005-05-12). "{{subst:PAGENAME}}". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved on 2008-08-31. 
  6. ^
  7. ^

[edit] External links

[edit] Reviews

[edit] Target novelisation

Direct download: TDP_94_The_Wargames.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:08pm UTC

TDP 093: Big Finish Roundup Enemy of Daleks and Season 3 of 8th Doctor info to follow
Direct download: TDP93_EDIT.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 12:06am UTC

TDP 092: Delta and the Bannermen


On an alien planet the genocide of the Chimeron by the merciless Bannermen led by Gavrok is almost complete. The last survivor, Chimeron Queen Delta, escapes by the skin of her teeth clutching her egg, the future for her species. She makes it to a space tollport where the Navarinos, a race of shape changing tourist aliens, are planning a visit to the planet Earth in 1959 in a spaceship disguised as an old holiday bus. She stows aboard, as does Mel, while the Doctor follows them in the TARDIS. The Doctor and Mel have won the trip as a prize for arriving in the Navarino spaceport at the right time to be declared the ten billionth customers. No sooner has the tourist vehicle blasted away than the Bannermen turn up, ruthlessly hunting down the fugitive, and they kill the Tollmaster when he refuses to co-operate.

The holiday vehicle from Nostalgia Tours meets an unfortunate collision with an American space satellite and is diverted off track, landing at a holiday camp in South Wales rather than Disneyland. However, the basic but cheerful Shangri-La holiday camp is happy to accommodate the visitors led by the ebullient Burton, who assures the travellers of a warm welcome while they wait for the driver, Murray, to repair their innocuous seeming transport. Mel gets close to Delta and uncovers the truth of her situation, including the hatching of the egg into a bright green baby that starts to grow at a startling rate. The Chimeron Queen supports this development with the equivalent of royal jelly given to bees.

Delta tries to take her mind off the situation and goes to the Shangri-La dance, instantly capturing the heart of Billy, the camp’s mechanic – and making an enemy of the smitten Rachel (or Ray), who loves Billy herself. Ray confides her situation to the Doctor, and they both stumble across a bounty hunter making contact with the Bannermen to tell them of the Chimeron’s whereabouts. It is only a matter of time before Gavrok and his troops arrive. Delta and Billy head off on a romantic countryside ramble the following morning, but the Doctor wastes no time in persuading Burton to evacuate the camp, helping Murray repair the ship, and then heading off to find the young lovers while there is still time. Once they are found, everyone returns to the camp but the situation has become dire. The Bannermen have destroyed the Navarino bus with all its official passengers inside, taking Mel as a hostage, as Gavrok tries to work out how to capture the Chimeron. The Doctor’s early attempts to intercede are futile, but he does rescue Burton and Mel from the Bannermen.

Two Bannermen are holding prisoner two aging American agents, Hawk and Weismuller, who were tracking the missing satellite when they first arrived. The Bannermen were instructed by Gavrok to wait for the Doctor, Burton and Mel on the side of the road. Just before they left the Americans, they place a joined head lock device to prevent them from escaping. While the two Bannerman were placing a tracker on the Doctor, riding Billy's motorbike with Burton and Mel, in an attempt to disguise an ambush attempt, Ray manages to rescue Hawk and Weismuller head locks with an Allen key. They all make contact with the mysterious beekeeper Goronwy, who hides them for a while in his house.

As the two Bannerman find that the Americans have been set free, they track the Doctor’s party to Goronwy House. As they were closing in to the house, the Chimeron child Princess made a high pitched scream of warning which traumatised the ears of the two Bannermen, allowing Delta was able to shoot one of them, while the other escaped to inform Gavrok of the location of Delta and the Princess. At Shangri-La, before leaving to attack Goronwy House, Gavrok booby-trapped the outside of the TARDIS in an attempt to kill the Doctor. As Gavrok and his Bannermen approached Goronwy House shooting, and crashing into the rock-and-roll-music-filled house, only to have honey broken over them in the process. This then set Goronwy's bees on the honey-covered Bannermen. In the meanwhile, the Doctor and his party made it to Shangri-La to set up a defence. Billy rigged up the Shangri-La sound system to amplify the perfectly pitched scream of the Chimeron child Princess – a sound which is excruciatingly painful to Bannermen.

Goronwy explains to Billy the purpose of royal jelly in the lifecycle of the honeybee, provoking the mechanic to consume Delta's equivalent that she has been feeding her daughter, in the hope of metamorphosing into a Chimeron.

As Gavrok and his band of Bannermen attack Shangri-La, the amplified scream of the Chimeron princess traumatised the attackers, including Gavrok, who becomes so stunned that he falls into the beam of the booby-trap he placed on the TARDIS and is incinerated. Other Bannermen are so traumatised that they are easily rounded up. Delta and Billy leave together with the child and the prisoners, heading for an intergalactic war crimes tribunal. To their delight, The Doctor shows Hawk and Weismuller the missing satellite nearby. All is well and the next bus of holidaymakers, this time human, arrive at Shangri-La as the Doctor and Mel slip away.

[edit] Continuity


Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Part One" 2 November 1987 24:47 5.3
"Part Two" 9 November 1987 24:23 5.1
"Part Three" 16 November 1987 24:22 5.4


  • This was the first three-part story since Planet of Giants (1964), not counting the 3 x 45 minute episodes of The Two Doctors, which had been broadcast 2 years previously, and the first intended to be this length (Giants had been recorded as a four-parter and cut).
  • Working titles for this story included The Flight of the Chimeron[5]. The eventual title is a reference to the British band Echo and the Bunnymen. The story title makes a single substitution using the phonetic alphabet and a slight change in the final word of the title.
  • The character of Ray was originally created as a new companion for the Doctor as Bonnie Langford had announced she would be leaving the series at the end of the season. The serial, with the working title, The Flight Of The Chimeron, was originally scheduled to end the season. However, as the serial neared production, Langford had not yet decided whether she would leave at the end of Season 24 or during Season 25; that, plus the rescheduling of Delta and the Bannermen to earlier in the season and the decision by script editor Andrew Cartmel to create another replacement companion named Alf (later renamed 'Ace'), led to the idea of Ray as a new companion being abandoned[5].


  • Features guest appearance by Ken Dodd, Don Henderson, Hugh Lloyd, Richard Davies, and American stage and screen actor Stubby Kaye. See also Celebrity appearances in Doctor Who.


Commercial releases

The story was released on VHS in March 2001 in the UK and June 2002 in North America, but music clearance issues prevented the release of the serial in Australia. A commentary by Sylvester McCoy, Sara Griffiths, Chris Clough and Andrew Cartmel has been recorded for the DVD release. The DVD will be released on June 22 2009.

In print

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Delta and the Bannermen
Series Target novelisations
Release number 131
Writer Malcolm Kohll
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Alister Pearson
ISBN 0-426-20333-X
Release date 19 January 1989
Preceded by Paradise Towers
Followed by The War Machines

A novelisation of this serial, written by Malcolm Kohll, was published by Target Books in January 1989.

Direct download: TDP_92_Delta_upload.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:42pm UTC

TDP  091: Planet of the Dead and Fab Whostrology

"Planet of the Dead" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who that was simultaneously broadcast on BBC One and BBC HD on 11 April 2009. It is the first of four special episodes to be broadcast throughout 2009 and early 2010, which serve as lead actor David Tennant's denouement as the Tenth Doctor. He is joined in the episode by actress Michelle Ryan, who plays one-off companion to the Doctor Lady Christina de Souza. The episode was co-written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts: the first writing partnership since the show's revival in 2005.

The episode depicts Christina fleeing the police from a museum robbery by boarding a bus that accidentally travels from London to the desert planet of San Helios, trapping her, the Doctor, and several passengers on board a damaged bus. After the bus driver dies trying to return to Earth, the Unified Intelligence Taskforce, headed by Captain Erisa Magambo (Noma Dumezweni) and scientific advisor Malcolm Taylor (Lee Evans), attempt to return the bus to Earth while preventing a race of metallic stingray aliens from posing a threat to Earth. At the end of the episode, one of the passengers delivers a warning to the Doctor which foreshadows the remaining three specials.

"Planet of the Dead" is the first Doctor Who episode to be filmed in high definition, after a positive reaction to the visual quality of spin-off series Torchwood and the financial viability of HDTV convinced the production team to switch formats. To ensure that the desert scenes looked as realistic as possible, the production team filmed in Dubai for three days, sending several props—most notably, a 1980 double-decker Bristol VR bus—to the United Arab Emirates for filming. After the bus was unintentionally damaged in Dubai by a shipping container, Davies rewrote the script to explain the damage in the narrative.

Reaction to the episode was mixed: the audience gave the episode an Appreciation Index of 88[3]—considered excellent—but critics gave average reviews to the episode. The consensus among critics was that it was enjoyable as a whole but that it was only an average script. The main point of praise was Evans' performance alongside Dumezweni in scenes set on Earth, which countered their criticism of the events on San Helios as being relatively boring.


The episode begins with a young thrill-seeking burglar, Lady Christina de Souza (Ryan), stealing a gold chalice once belonging to King Athelstan from a museum. She then narrowly evades the police by riding on a London bus on which the Doctor (Tennant) is also travelling, shortly before the bus suddenly passes through a wormhole and arrives on the desert planet of San Helios. The Doctor and the other passengers find that the wormhole is still present, but deduce that the bus had protected them like a Faraday cage after the bus driver is killed trying to cross back on foot, evaporating to a skeleton instantly. Seeing the driver's skeleton coming out on the other side of the portal, the police call in UNIT, commanded by Captain Erisa Magambo (Dumezweni) and aided by scientific advisor Malcolm Taylor (Evans), to close the wormhole. Trapped on a heavily damaged bus, the other passengers introduce themselves: Angela (Victoria Alcock) is a middle-aged mother travelling home to her family; Lou (Reginald Tsiboe) and Carmen (Ellen Thomas) are an elderly couple who win £10 each time they play the National Lottery due to Carmen's low-level psychic abilities; Barclay (Daniel Kaluuya) was travelling to a friend's house to ask her on a date; and Nathan (David Ames) was travelling home to watch television. The Doctor and Christina decide to scout the planet, spotting an approaching storm, while Nathan and Barclay try to fix the bus.

As they travel, the Doctor learns of Christina's troubled history, and appreciates her callousness and aptitude to the alien situation. The Doctor and Christina encounter the Tritovore, an anthropomorphic fly species, who take them to their wrecked spaceship. The Tritovore explain that they were making a routine goods collection from the planet but crashed in an unfamiliar environment; a year previously, the planet housed a hundred billion inhabitants and a thriving ecosystem. The Tritovore send out a probe to investigate the cause, and discover a large swarm of metallic stingray-like aliens who routinely create wormholes and destroy ecospheres as their biological imperatives. To rescue the Tritovore and the bus passengers, Christina uses her burglary skills to retrieve a crystal which powers the spaceship (together with the pedestal it is located on), unintentionally awakening a stingray that kills the two Tritovore.

The Doctor attaches parts of the pedestal to the bus and uses the chalice of Athelstan as an interface to the technology. This allows the bus to fly through the wormhole, with the stingrays in hot pursuit. Taylor quickly closes the wormhole but not before three of the stingrays pass through it. After UNIT has shot down the stingrays and the passengers have been debriefed, Christina asks the Doctor to let her travel with him; he rejects her because he does not want to lose another companion. The characters part ways. The Doctor recommends that UNIT hire Barclay and Nathan, Christina is arrested by the police for the theft and Carmen has a premonition that visibly unnerves the Doctor:

You be careful, because your song is ending, sir. It is returning, it is returning through the dark. And then Doctor... oh, but then... he will knock four times.

Carmen, "Planet of the Dead"[4]

As a final act of kindness, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to release Christina from her handcuffs. The pair part on good terms as she flies away in the bus as the Doctor enters his TARDIS and dematerialises.


Writing and casting

Ryan and Tennant reviewing the script before filming in Butetown on 28 January 2009.

Russell T Davies co-wrote the episode with Gareth Roberts, the first writing partnership for the show since its 2005 revival.[5] "Planet of the Dead" was a departure from Roberts' usual stories—Roberts had previously only written pseudo-historical stories—and instead consisted of "wild" science fiction elements from his literary career and teenage imagination. The episode had no clear concept—such as Shakespeare and witches in "The Shakespeare Code" or Agatha Christie and a murder mystery in "The Unicorn and the Wasp"—and instead was a deliberate "clash [of concepts] with many disparate elements". Roberts explained he was cautious to ensure that each element had to "feel precise and defined ... like we meant that", citing the serial Arc of Infinity as an example where such control was not enforced.[6] The episode includes a common feature of Davies' writing in that there is no clear antagonist: the Tritovore are eventually sympathetic to the protagonists and the stingrays are only following their biological imperative.[7][8]

Unlike the Christmas specials, the theme of Easter was not emphasised in the story; the episode only contained a "fleeting mention" of the holiday instead of "robot bunnies carrying baskets full of deadly egg bombs". The episode's tone word—"joyous"—was influenced by Davies' realisation that "every story since "The Fires of Pompeii" [had] a bittersweet quality" and subsequent desire to avoid the recurring theme.[5] The starting point for the story was Roberts' first novel The Highest Science. Davies liked the image of a London Underground train on a desert planet and rewrote it to contain a bus. Davies nevertheless emphasised it was not an "adaptation as such" because tangential elements were constantly being conceived and added.[5]

Michelle Ryan portrays Lady Christina de Souza, the daughter of a recently impoverished aristocrat and adrenaline junkie. Christina is a "typical" Doctor Who companion, Davies electing to draw parallels from the Time Lady Romana rather than new series companion Rose Tyler. Roberts described her as an "adventuress" who is "upper class and glam, suited and booted, and extremely intelligent" which the Doctor could relate to because they both rejected their heritages. The episode's director James Strong described the character as reverting to a traditional romantic-based companionship—rather than the platonic companionship of Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) in the fourth series—while still being a unique companion:[9]

It's back to basics: she's probably more of a traditional, romantic kind of Thomas Crown Affair kind of heroine, if you like. [...] It echoes to me of Rose, in that there may be a good old fashioned romantic connection between them. She's young, she's beautiful, she's sexy, but whereas Rose was a very ordinary, normal girl, Lady Christina is a lady, she comes from a very privileged, very elite background. She's different to any of the companions we've ever had in that she doesn't particularly want to get caught up with the Doctor. She's got her own thing going on, so she's very much a match for the Doctor and very much an equal. Often in an adventure the Doctor will take control and everyone will do what he says. She's very much in control – the two of them are in a sparring way, battling against each other to get through this adventure.

James Strong, Digital Spy interview.[9]

Comedian Lee Evans plays Professor Malcolm Taylor, a UNIT scientist devoted to his predecessor, the Doctor. Davies created Evans' character to serve as a foil for Noma Dumezweni's pragmatic character Captain Erisa Magambo, who previously appeared in the episode "Turn Left".[5] Roberts noted after writing the episode that Evans' character had unintentionally become a "loving" caricature of Doctor Who fandom.[6][10]

The episode was influenced by several works: Davies described "Planet of the Dead" as "a great big adventure, a little bit Indiana Jones, a little bit Flight of the Phoenix, a little bit Pitch Black.";[11] the relationship between the Doctor and Christina was influenced by 1960s films such as Charade and Topkapi, which included Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn "being witty and sophisticated together, and then running for their lives";[5] and the Tritovore were influenced by 1950s and 1970s science fiction B-movies such as The Fly and Davies' habit of including aliens that were recognisable to the audience as animals from Earth, such as the Judoon.[7] Carmen's warning evoked memories of the Ood's warning to the Doctor and Donna in the fourth series episode "Planet of the Ood".[7] Tennant explained the prophecy meant that the Doctor's "card [had become] marked" and the three specials would thus be darker—characterising "Planet of the Dead" as the "last time the Doctor gets to have any fun"—and that the subject of the prophecy was not the obvious answer:

David Tennant
Really, from this moment on, the Doctor's card is marked. Because when we come back in "The Waters of Mars", it's all become a little bit darker.
Julie Gardner
And as we know, David, he really does knock four times.
Yeah, absolutely, and if you think you've figured out what that means, you're wrong!
But when you do figure it out, it's a sad day.
David Tennant and Julie Gardner, Doctor Who: The Commentaries, "Planet of the Dead"[8]


The two major filming locations of the episode: the desert of Dubai was used for scenes on the "planet of the dead"; and the Queen's Gate Tunnel in Butetown, Cardiff was used for the majority of Earth-bound scenes.
The two major filming locations of the episode: the desert of Dubai was used for scenes on the "planet of the dead"; and the Queen's Gate Tunnel in Butetown, Cardiff was used for the majority of Earth-bound scenes.
The two major filming locations of the episode: the desert of Dubai was used for scenes on the "planet of the dead"; and the Queen's Gate Tunnel in Butetown, Cardiff was used for the majority of Earth-bound scenes.

Pre-production on the four specials started on 20 November 2008—four days before scheduled—because the episode's overseas filming in Dubai required the extra planning time.[12] Two weeks later, the production team was on a recce for the special and the final draft of the script was completed.[13] The production team examined overseas locations to film the episode because they wanted the scenery to feel "real" and thought that they would be unable to film on a Welsh beach in winter. After examining countries such as Morocco and Tunisia, the production team decided to film in Dubai because the area was more amicable to the filming industry and viable filming locations were nearer to urban areas than other locations.[14]

Production began on 19 January in Wales.[2][10] The special was the first Doctor Who episode to be filmed in high-definition television resolution.[15] The move to HD had previously been resisted for two major reasons: when the show was revived in 2005, high-definition television was not adopted by an adequate portion of the audience to be financially viable; and special effects were considerably more expensive to create in high-definition than in standard-definition. "Planet of the Dead" was used to switch to HD because of the show's reduced schedule in 2009 and because the filming crew had become experienced with the equipment while they were filming Torchwood.[8]

Filming began at the National Museum Cardiff,[location 1] which doubled for the history museum depicted in the episode's first scene. To portray the tunnel the bus travelled into, the Queen's Gate Tunnel of the A4232 road in Butetown[location 2] was closed for four nights to accommodate filming. The last major piece of filming in Wales took place in the closed Mir (formerly Alphasteel) steelworks in Newport,[location 3] which doubled almost unaltered for the Tritovore spaceship. Filming took place at the peak of the February 2009 Great Britain snowfall, where the sub-zero temperatures slowed filming and had a visible effect on the cast. To accommodate for the adverse conditions, Davies included a line in the script that specified that the Tritovore spaceship cooled as external temperatures increase.[8]

The 200 bus—so named after the episode's landmark—in dock at Dubai City Port, after a container was accidentally dropped on it.

Filming in Dubai[location 4] took place in mid-February 2009. Two weeks previously, one of the two 1980 Bristol VR double-decker buses bought for filming had been substantially damaged when a crane accidentally dropped a container in Dubai City Port.[7][16]After an emergency discussion by the production team, they agreed that the damage was unintentionally artistic and decided to include the damaged bus in the episode;[7] instead of shipping the spare bus from Cardiff—which would have delayed the already hurried filming schedule—the production team decided to partially reconstruct the bus in Dubai, damage the spare bus in Cardiff to match the bus in Dubai, and rewrite part of the script to accommodate and mention the damage to the bus.[7][8][17][18] James Strong recalled the reaction of the production team to the damage to the bus in an issue of Doctor Who Magazine:

One morning in the first week of February, I was leaving my flat when Julie Gardner phoned. She said, "there's been a little accident with the bus [...] it's a disaster; the bus is fucked." When I got into the office, I was handed a photograph—and my initial reaction was absolute horror. We called an emergency meeting. Russell came in [...] and we discussed our options. We had bought an identical London bus to film on in Cardiff, so could we send that out to Dubai? We could have got it out in time if it'd left Cardiff, literally, the next day, but we'd have had to find a third bus, an exact replica, to film on in Cardiff a week later. It had taken us a month to find the one we had. It was even mooted that we'd have to forget Dubai and opt for a beach in the UK. But Russell's response was "Okay, let's embrace it. Let's say that the bus was damaged on its way to the alien planet. [...] He wove it into the narrative. We're not trying to hide the damage at all. In fact, we show it off, enhancing it with special effects, smoke and sparks. It works rather marvellously. That London bus, damaged and smoking, in the middle of the desert—yeah, it looks incredible, especially in gorgeous hi-def.

James Strong, Doctor Who Magazine issue 407.[14]
A notable use of lens flares being used in the episode for artistic effect. Strong sought to maximise—rather than minimise—effects such as these because it disguised the fact it was filmed in a studio and allowed the viewer to suspend their disbelief more easily; this specific shot was highlighted by Strong and Tennant as an example of how it was correctly utilised.[8]

The damaged bus was not the only problem to filming in Dubai: the first of the three days was afflicted by a sandstorm which left most of the footage shot unusable.[14] The production team then struggled to complete three days of filming in two days; the last day was compared to "filming Lawrence of Arabia".[7] To complete the episode's filming, interior scenes in the bus were filmed in a studio in Wales. To disguise the fact they were using a translite—a 360-degree background image—, Strong utilised often-avoided techniques such as muddied windows and lens flares; the latter also served to create a warmer environment for the viewer.[8] After filming ended, editing and post-processing took place until two days before transmission, leaving the BBC to resort to using an unfinished copy to market the episode.[7][8]

200th story

"Planet of the Dead" was advertised as Doctor Who's 200th story. Writer Russell T Davies admitted that the designation was arbitrary and debatable, based upon how fans counted the unfinished serial Shada, the season-long fourteen-part serial The Trial of a Time Lord, and the third series finale consisting of "Utopia", "The Sound of Drums" and "Last of the Time Lords".[19] Davies personally disagreed about counting The Trial of a Time Lord as one serial—arguing that it "felt like four stories" to him—and grouping "Utopia" with its following episodes, but agreed that it was only an opinion which did not override any others.[19] Gareth Roberts inserted a reference to the landmark—specifically, the bus number is 200[20]—and Davies emailed the show's publicity team to advertise the special as such.[19] Doctor Who Magazine's editor Tom Spilsbury aknowledged the controversy in the magazine's 407th issue, which ran a reader survey of all 200 stories.[21]

Broadcast and reception

Overnight figures estimated that the special was watched by 8.41 million people, a 39.6% share of the audience. An additional 184,000 watched the programme on BBC HD, the channel's highest rating so far. The initial showing had an Appreciation Index of 88: considered excellent.[22][23] A BBC One repeat, two days later, gained an overnight figure of 1.8 million viewers.[22] The special was therefore the second most watched programme of the day, being beaten by the premiere of the new series of Britain's Got Talent.[23] The final viewing figure for the initial broadcast was 9.54 million viewers on BBC One and 200,000 viewers on BBC HD, making it the fifth most watched programme of the week and the most watched programme ever aired on BBC HD.[24] Including repeats in the following week and viewings on the BBC iPlayer, 13.89 million viewers watched the episode in total.[25]

The episode received average critical reviews. Simon Brew of science fiction blog Den of Geek said the episode was "by turns ambitious and predictable" but "still quite entertaining". The first part of the review mentioned an objection from his wife that the bus trapped in the sand "[looked] really fake", despite the episode being actually filmed in Dubai, and then mentioned Brew's appreciation of the concept of people stranded in the desert and concluded that "made a fair fist of it". Brew positively reviewed Michelle Ryan's performance—comparing her performance to be on par to her role in Bionic Woman rather than her role as Zoe Slater in Eastenders—and Lee Evans' performance as Malcolm Taylor, calling him the highlight of the episode because of his dialogue. He closed his review by saying that ""Planet of the Dead" was passable enough": he thought it "never really gelled" for him; but he thought it was overall entertaining and was excited for the remaining three specials as a result of Carmen's prophecy.[26]

Charlie Jane Anders of io9 "mostly loved "Planet Of The Dead"", commenting that it was a standard Russell T Davies script that had the "elements of a cracking good story":

POTD was pretty much everything you've come to expect from Russell T. Davies' Who: crazy adventures, slightly cartoony characters, clever dialogue, moments of sheer silly fun, a childlike solemnity, a miraculous save, bombastic music, and one woman who's held up as being the most special person ever.

It didn't hurt that POTD had all the elements of a cracking good story: The Doctor and friends trapped on an alien planet, on the other side of the universe, with no easy way to get home. Alien creatures who might be hostile. A deadly swarm coming to tear our heroes apart. And UNIT on the other side of the wormhole, trying to come to grips with this almost unimaginable threat.

She compared it to two previous episodes, "The Impossible Planet" and "Midnight", both of which she enjoyed. She criticised three aspects of the episode: Lady Christina, who was the "first RTD heroine who actually filled [her] with revulsion", leaving her hoping that the character would be killed off-screen, Malcolm's reluctance to close the wormhole and the implausibility of only three stingrays travelling through it. She thought that the episode was "a pretty solid adventure with a cool set of monsters".[27]

Ben Rawson-Jones of entertainment website Digital Spy gave the episode two stars out of five. He characterised the episode as being "as hollow as a big chocolate Easter egg" because it was "lacking in the enthralling drama and compelling characterisation that has been the lynchpin of the Russell T Davies era". His main criticism was towards Ryan's character, describing the romantic tension between Christina and the Doctor as "feeling forced" and arguing that Ryan was "utterly unconvincing" as Christina. Conversely, he was appreciative of Strong's direction and the UNIT subplot. Specifically, he approved of Evans' performance, noting that "the fact that Malcolm names a unit of measurement after himself is both inspired and hilarious". His review ended by describing the episode as "lifeless for much of the hour" and expressing his hope that the ambiguous entity from Carmen's premonition would "hurry up".[28]

Orlando Parfitt of IGN gave the episode a 7.1 (Good) rating out of ten. Parfitt called it a "straightforward story" that did not elevate to the level of excitement typically seen in Doctor Who until the episode's climax, instead describing the majority of the story as being "taken up with Tennant and Ryan standing in the desert, swapping flirtatious banter in between proclaiming how dire their situation in between", and criticised the writing of the part of the episode where the bus was on San Helios, claiming that plot devices such as the Tritovore or Taylor being held at gunpoint and ordered to close the wormhole as "feel[ing] forced and unnaturally shoe-horned into the script". His praise of the episode went to Ryan and Evans: although he thought of Christina as a "shameless Lara Croft ripoff", he said that the character "still proves a sexy and wise-cracking counterpart to the Doctor"; and Evans' acting alongside Dumezweni highlighted his "undeniably great comic acting" as opposed to his "love-it-or-hate-it" stand-up comedy. The last paragraph of his review focused on the climax, which he thought was "a cracker [that] just-about makes up for the previously plodding plot", and described the entire episode as having "enough enjoyable moments" to entertain fans before the transmission of "The Waters of Mars".[29]

DVD and Blu-Ray release

"Planet of the Dead" will be released on DVD on 15 June 2009,[30] and on Blu-Ray on 29 June 2009.[31]

Direct download: TDP_91_final.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 8:07am UTC

TDP 90: Big Finish Round Up  to follow
Direct download: TDP_90_Big_Finish_Round_Up_V2.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:52am UTC

TDP 89: The Deadly Assassin


The Doctor answers a summons and finally returns to his homeworld, Gallifrey, seat of the Time Lords. However, when the President of the High Council is assassinated, he becomes the prime suspect, while an old enemy lurks in the shadows, pulling the strings.

[edit] Plot

The Fourth Doctor has arrived on Gallifrey after receiving a mysterious summons from the Time Lords. Along the way, he has a precognitive vision about the President of the Time Lords being murdered.

As soon as the TARDIS materialises within the Gallifreyan Citadel, an alarm sounds and it is surrounded by soldiers. Their leader, Commander Hildred, reports to Castellan Spandrell. Both note that the TARDIS is a Type 40, which is no longer in service. Since the arrival is unauthorised, the soldiers are ordered to impound the TARDIS and arrest the occupant. The Doctor overhears this, and realises that the Time Lords did not summon him. Someone has gone to great lengths to set him up.

Spandrell goes to see Coordinator Engin in the Archives Section, leaving Hildred in charge. Hildred and his troops enter the TARDIS, but the Doctor manages to sneak out and make his way to a service lift that leads to the main tower. A soldier is present, and threatens to place the Doctor under arrest. However, the soldier is quickly killed by a phantom-like figure who disappears before the Doctor can get a good look at him. The Doctor sends the lift on its way, in an attempt to fool the soldiers into thinking he has fled deeper into the Citadel. All of this has been observed by the Doctor's old adversary, the Master, who is wearing a black hood that conceals his features. "Predictable as ever, Doctor," he snorts, before returning to the shadows.

Chancellor Goth arrives outside the TARDIS to see the situation for himself. Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor is watching a news broadcast by a reporter he recognises as Runcible (whom the Doctor nicknames "the Fatuous"), a classmate from his days at the Academy. It is revealed that the President is set to retire, and he is to name a successor before he does. Runcible is talking to Cardinal Borusa, one of the Doctor's former teachers. He asks Borusa who the Presidential successor will be, but Borusa brushes him off.

The TARDIS is transmatted to the museum, and the Doctor takes the opportunity to steal a set of traditional Gallifreyan robes to mingle with the crowds. Meanwhile, deep within the archive tower, the Master, revealed to be horribly emaciated, confers with an unseen accomplice. He says that the trap has been set, and they must make sure the Doctor dies quickly.

At the Panopticon, the disguised Doctor briefly converses with Runcible before the outgoing President makes his entrance. The Doctor scans the area and notes a camera stationed on an unguarded catwalk. He also spots a sniper rifle next to the camera. The Doctor fights his way to the catwalk, warning that the President is about to be killed. Unfortunately, for the Doctor, the assassin is actually among the delegates. He pulls out a pistol and shoots the President dead. The crowd sees the Doctor on the catwalk with the rifle and assume he is the assassin.

The captured Doctor insists that he is innocent. Eventually, Spandrell starts to believe him and orders Engin to assist him in an independent investigation. Meanwhile, Goth and Borusa debate over the Doctor's impending trial. Goth notes that the election for a new President will occur in forty-eight hours, and he is eager to see the Doctor executed before then. Borusa, however, wants to ensure that the Doctor receives a fair trial, according to law. The Doctor surprises everyone by invoking Article 17: he will run for President, which will mean he can only be tried if he loses the election. The Master and his assassin are not pleased with this turn of events.

The Doctor returns to the scene of the crime with Spandrell. They discover that the sight on the Doctor's rifle was fixed, making it impossible for this weapon to have killed the President. They conclude that the real assassin would have been caught on tape by a nearby video camera, but when they inspect the camera, they find the shrunken body of the technician inside. The Doctor then realises that the Master is behind this. Runcible attempts to take the tape from the camera to the archives for review, but he is killed by a spear to the back.

The Doctor realises that the Master sent the Doctor the premonition of the assassination through the Matrix, a vast computer which turns thought patterns into virtual reality. He decides to enter the Matrix as a means of tracking the Master. Engin warns him that if he dies in the virtual world, he will die in the real world as well.

The Doctor enters the Matrix and finds himself in a forbidding landscape of crumbling white cliffs and sparse vegetation. The disembodied laughter of some unknown presence echoes off the canyon walls. The Doctor is then engaged in a series of surrealistic sequences. First he nearly walks into the open jaws of a hungry crocodile, which simply disappears into thin air. He is then attacked by a masked samurai warrior and falls from a cliff into unconsciousness. He revives upon an outdoor operating table with a masked surgeon standing over him. The surgeon tries to inject him with a substance from an extremely large hypodermic needle. The Doctor pushes the surgeon away and runs off to find himself in the midst of a World War I battle. Shell and machine gun fire is heard and gas canisters explode all around. A soldier and his horse stumble out of the smoke wearing gas masks. The Doctor runs bewildered until he comes upon a train track, the rail of which closes upon one of his boots and traps him. A group of three masked men appear and one attempts to run him down with a mine train.

The train disappears before hitting the Doctor and he works his foot free. The Doctor realizes that his surroundings are but an illusion and tries to deny their existence, but passes out from the strain. Recovering consciousness he becomes aware of the two large black eyes of his unknown adversary in the side of a cliff, telling him that he is the creator of this world and that there is no escape. The Doctor, dehydrated and thirsty, hears the sound of running water, but when he attempts to dig into the ground to locate its source he is greeted by a red-nosed clown peering through a window, laughing at him. He is then strafed by machine gun fire by a masked pilot in a biplane, eventually receiving a bullet wound in the leg. The Doctor tries to deny the existence of the wound, and it disappears. However, the disembodied voice of the assassin reminds him that this is his reality, and his rules, and the wound reappears. The Doctor declares that he will then fight the assassin in his reality.

In the real world, Engin tells Spandrell that the Doctor’s adversary is using a lot of energy to maintain the virtual environment, so the Doctor can defeat him if he provides an adequate distraction.

Inside the Matrix, the dry barren virtual environment merges into a thick, sticky jungle, and the assassin soon appears dressed as a big game hunter, a mesh veil obscuring his face. The assassin concludes that the Doctor will need water, and, leaving his backpack behind him, goes off to contaminate the local supply with poison from a small bottle. The Doctor finds the assassin's backpack and takes a grenade and some twine, setting up a makeshift booby trap. The assassin returns and trips it, setting off an explosion which wounds him in the abdomen.

Fearing that his protégé might lose, the Master sends a hypnotised guard to kill the Doctor's physical form.

Back inside the Matrix, the Doctor continues to be hunted through the virtual jungle. Coming to the pool of water, he finds dead, floating fish and the empty bottle and realises that the water has been poisoned. He finds a small amount of uncontaminated water and drinks it through a reed, then uses the reed and some thorns off of a nearby tree to make a blowgun, dipping the ends of the darts into the remnants of the poison from the bottle. The Doctor climbs up into a tree and shoots the assassin in the leg with a dart. The assassin fires his rifle and hits the Doctor in the arm, causing him to fall out of the tree. Ripping his pants leg open to reveal a potentially fatal wound, the assassin injects himself with an antidote while the Doctor again escapes.

In the real world, the hypnotised guard makes his way to the Matrix chamber, but Spandrell manages to shoot him before he can sabotage the Matrix link.

Back in the Matrix, the Doctor has made it to a gas-filled marsh, where the assassin reveals his true identity: Chancellor Goth. Goth tries to shoot the Doctor but ignites the marsh gas, setting himself on fire. Goth falls into the water to extinguish the spreading flames. The Doctor comes out of hiding to confront him, but is caught by surprise by Goth and tackled. Intense hand-to-hand combat ensues, with Goth seeming to gain the upper hand. He attempts to drown the Doctor.

However, the strain of fighting and keeping up the virtual reality overcomes Goth. The Doctor breaks free and hits Goth over the head with a large stick. The Master, realising that Goth has been effectively defeated, decides to hedge his bets and tries to trap the Doctor in the Matrix by overloading the neuron fields, even though this will also kill Goth. Engin manages to get the Doctor out, but Goth is not so lucky. The Master then injects himself with a hypodermic needle.

The Doctor and Spandrell, accompanied by soldiers, manage to make their way to the chamber where the Master and Goth were accessing the Matrix. They find the Master slumped in a chair without a pulse and Goth dying. Goth reveals that he found the Master, near death, on Tersurus. The Master was nearing the end of his twelfth and final regeneration. Goth went along with his schemes mainly for power: he knew the President had no intention of naming him as a successor, but if a new election was held, he would be the front runner. Before he dies, Goth warns that the Master has a doomsday plan.

When Spandrell relates the story to Borusa, the Cardinal orders that a cover story be created to maintain confidence in the Time Lords and their leadership. The official story will be that the Master arrived in secret to assassinate the President, and Goth heroically tracked him down and killed him but perished in the attempt. The charge against the Doctor will be dropped on condition that he leave Gallifrey.

Attempting to piece together what the Master and Goth were planning, the Doctor inquires as to what becoming the President entails. He is told that the President has access to the symbols of office: the Sash and Great Key of Rassilon. As Engin plays the records of the Old Time, which describes how Rassilon found the Eye of Harmony within the "black void", the Doctor realises these objects are not ceremonial. The Doctor inspects the hypodermic needle, and realises that it contained a neural inhibitor. The Master is still alive.

The Doctor, Spandrell, and Engin arrive at the morgue, to find that the Master has revived and killed Hildred. Armed with Hildred’s staser pistol, the Master seizes the Sash from the President's corpse and traps the three in the morgue. The Doctor explains what he has deduced: that the Eye is actually the nucleus of a black hole, an inexhaustible energy source that Rassilon captured to power Gallifrey, and the Sash and Key are its control devices. The Doctor deduces that the Master was planning to steal this energy to gain a new cycle of regenerations. However, if the Eye is disrupted, Gallifrey will be destroyed and a hundred other worlds will be consumed in a chain reaction.

Inside the Panopticon, the Master makes his way to the obelisk containing the Eye. He unhooks the coils that connect it to Gallifrey, and is prepared to access the energy. The Doctor makes his way to the Panopticon via a service shaft. The Citadel begins to quake, and cracks appear in the floor. The Doctor and the Master fight, until the Master loses his footing and falls into a chasm. The Doctor reconnects the coils and saves Gallifrey, although half the city is in ruins and many lives have been lost.

The Doctor is now free to return to his TARDIS. He bids farewell to Borusa, Spandrell, and Engin, but also warns that the Master may not be dead. He had harvested some energy from the obelisk before he was stopped, and may have been able to channel it. As the Doctor’s TARDIS dematerialises, Spandrell and Engin witness the Master sneak into his own TARDIS – disguised as a grandfather clock – and make his escape. Spandrell concludes that it is only a matter of time before the two enemies cross paths again.

[edit] Cast notes

Bernard Horsfall guest stars as Chancellor Goth. He had previously appeared as an unnamed Time Lord (credited as 'Time Lord 1') in the serial The War Games prompting some speculation that they were the same character. Other parts played by Horsfall in Doctor Who were Gulliver in The Mind Robber and Taron in Planet of the Daleks.

[edit] Continuity

  • This is the only serial of the original Doctor Who series in which the Doctor does not have a companion. This was reportedly at Tom Baker's request as he wanted to try a solo adventure. In addition, some have suggested that the production team hoped to discourage Baker's interest in solo serials, but his enthusiastic reaction to the scripts seems to have belied this.
  • Although this story was well-received, the experiment of the Doctor without his companions was not repeated until the revived series episode "Midnight" in the 2008 series. Robert Holmes later stated how difficult it was to write a script without anyone for the Doctor to share his thoughts and plans with (the character is seen to talk to himself more than usual).
  • The planet Tersurus, where Goth says he found the Master, is seen in the 1999 charity spoof Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death. How the Master arrived there in an emaciated state is described in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Legacy of the Daleks by John Peel.
  • The character of Borusa reappears in The Invasion of Time, Arc of Infinity and The Five Doctors. In each subsequent story, the character is played by a different actor, Borusa having regenerated. He has also been promoted in each interim, a cardinal here, Chancellor, President, and Lord High President in the later serials, respectively.
  • Earth is referred to as Sol 3; this name is again used in "Last of the Time Lords".[1] The Factfile for that episode on the official BBC Doctor Who website, compiled by fan Rob Francis, refers to the term as Earth's Gallifreyan name.[2] It is used as such again in "Voyage of the Damned".
  • The Doctor's trial and subsequent exile to Earth by the Time Lords and the later lifting of that sentence are mentioned.

[edit] Notable additions

  • This is the first story to state that there is a limited number of times that a Time Lord can regenerate, and that this number is twelve. None of the Time Lords who are killed in this story are seen to regenerate, and the Doctor does qualify (in The War Games) that his people can live forever "barring accidents." In The Brain of Morbius, the fourth Doctor states that his people chose to not live forever because "death is the price of progress."
  • This episode is one of the very few where we see the written Galifreyan language by way of a note to the authorities the Doctor leaves in the Tardis. The handwriting, done with a quill pen, resembles random stylized penstrokes shaped like the upside down capital letter L.
  • The source of the Time Lords' power and that of the TARDIS is the Eye of Harmony, the nucleus of a black hole that lies beneath the citadel on Gallifrey. The Eye (or a link to it) is seen inside the TARDIS in the 1996 television movie. Whether the Eye survived the destruction of Gallifrey mentioned in the 2005 series is not clear, though the TARDIS is seen twice ("Boom Town", "Utopia") drawing its power from the time rift in Cardiff.
  • This story introduces Rassilon who, along with Omega (introduced in The Three Doctors) would become the central figure in Time Lord mythology. When Rassilon's name is first mentioned, the Doctor inquires who he is.
  • One of the artefacts that controls the Eye of Harmony is the Great Key of Rassilon, a large ebonite rod. Confusingly, there are two other Keys of Rassilon mentioned later in the series. One, also known as the Great Key, whose location is known only to the Chancellor, resembles an ordinary key and is a vital component of the demat gun (The Invasion of Time). The other, simply called the Key of Rassilon, gives access to the Matrix (The Ultimate Foe).

[edit] Production

Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Part One" 30 October 1976 21:13 11.8
"Part Two" 6 November 1976 24:44 12.1
"Part Three" 13 November 1976 24:20 13
"Part Four" 20 November 1976 24:30 11.8
  • Working titles for this story included The Dangerous Assassin (which Holmes changed to "deadly" because he thought it "didn't sound right"). The final title is a tautology: a successful assassin must, by definition, be deadly. However, since Time Lords can in general survive death, and the assassin's victims do not, he is perhaps "deadly" in that sense.
  • The story drew considerable hostile commentary from Mary Whitehouse, who particularly objected to the extended freeze frame of Goth drowning the Doctor at the end of episode 3.

[edit] Outside references

[edit] In print

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and the Deadly Assassin
Series Target novelisations
Release number 19
Writer Terrance Dicks
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Mike Little
ISBN 0-426-11965-7
Release date 20 October 1977
Preceded by Doctor Who and the Mutants
Followed by Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng-Chiang

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in October 1977, entitled Doctor Who and The Deadly Assassin.

[edit] Broadcast

This serial was repeated on BBC One in August 1977 (04/08/77) to (25/08/77) on Thursdays at 6.20pm.

The cliffhanger to Episode 3 — where Goth holds the Doctor's head underwater in an attempt to drown him — came in for heavy criticism, particularly from television decency campaigner Mary Whitehouse. She often cited it in interviews as one of the most frightening scenes in Doctor Who, her reasoning being that children would not know if the Doctor survived until the following week and that they would have this strong image in their minds during all that time. After the episode's initial broadcast, the master tape of the episode was edited to remove the original ending. However, off-air U-matic recordings of the original broadcast exist with the ending intact, and have been used to restore the ending on the VHS and subsequent DVD release.

[edit] VHS and DVD release

  • This story was released in March 1989 in edited omnibus format in the US only.
  • It was released in episodic format in the UK in October 1991. It was also re-released & remastered for the W H Smith exclusive Time Lord Collection in 2002 with a better quality freeze frame cliffhanger for Episode 3.
  • DWM 404 confirmed this story for 2009 DVD release. has it listed for 11th May and have this listed for a 4th May release.
Direct download: TDP_89_deadly_assassin.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:07am UTC

TDP 88: Red Dwarf and Season Six B

Season 6B

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Season 6B or Season 6 (b) is a popular fan theory related to the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. An example of fanon, it is a hypothetical series of adventures of the Doctor that takes place between the last serial of Season 6, The War Games (first broadcast in 1969), and the first serial of Season 7, Spearhead from Space (first broadcast in 1970). This unconfirmed piece of continuity was first used by fans, notably Paul Cornell, to explain away certain continuity problems in the programme.

Although the majority of stories in the series were constructed to leave short gaps (or no gaps at all) between episodes, the Season 6B hypothesis inserted a sizeable gap in which untold stories and previously unknown companions could be inserted into series continuity, in a number of novels and other productions. Other potential gaps in the eras of other Doctors have been identified, and utilised in the same way.

Season 6B is not to be confused with 6B, the production code for the Doctor Who serial Earthshock (1982).



[edit] Continuity problems

The conclusion of The War Games sees the capture of the Second Doctor by his people, the Time Lords, who put him on trial for interfering with the universe contrary to Time Lord policy. This was the first time the Time Lords had appeared in the programme, and also the first time the Doctor had revealed he was one of them (prior to this the other members of the Doctor's race to appear on television, the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan, and the Meddling Monk, were not explicitly identified as Time Lords). The Time Lords return his companions Jamie and Zoe to their own times and wipe their memories of their experiences with the Doctor bar their first adventure with him. They then sentence the Doctor to exile on Earth, as well as forcing him to regenerate. The first part of Spearhead from Space follows on from this, introducing the Third Doctor, who does not actually appear on screen at the end of The War Games, one of only two occasions (the other being the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor into the Ninth) that a regeneration has not been shown to completion on screen in one form or another.

Patrick Troughton reprised his role as the Second Doctor in the anniversary stories The Three Doctors (1973) and The Five Doctors (1983). In the latter story, illusions of Jamie and Zoe are dismissed because the Second Doctor knows that the Time Lords wiped their memories and therefore Jamie should not have recognised Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

However, it is not explained how the Second Doctor could know of Jamie and Zoe's memory wipe, since he was told of it only just before his forced regeneration and exile, and consequently there does not seem to be any time to fit in the events of The Five Doctors between his trial and Spearhead from Space. Conversely, if this Second Doctor came from a time before The War Games he would have had no knowledge of the memory wipe because, from his perspective it had yet to happen.[1]

Troughton once again returned to the series in the 1985 serial The Two Doctors, where the Second Doctor and Jamie are on a mission for the Time Lords. This caused confusion among fans, since Jamie did not find out about the Time Lords until just before he was sent back to his own time. Robert Holmes, who wrote The Two Doctors, stated on occasion that he believed the Doctor had long been a discreet agent of the Time Lords, undertaking missions for them despite his autonomous status. However, this was still at odds with what had been seen on-screen in The War Games. (Holmes felt that the Second Doctor had lost half a life due to the events of The War Games and came up with an idea to extend his life span).

Coupled with this were other, more minor problems - the visibly aged appearance of the now grey-haired Troughton and Frazer Hines (who played Jamie) and the second Doctor's confidence in his ability to control his TARDIS time machine, which would hardly have been justified given what was seen on-screen during his own era.

[edit] Season 6B

To account for these apparent discrepancies, the "Season 6B" theory was proposed. It was first published in the 1995 book The Discontinuity Guide, by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping.[2] The hypothetical "Season 6B" takes place off-camera between The War Games and Spearhead from Space, and has Troughton's Doctor working as an agent of the Time Lords, specifically their covert organization the Celestial Intervention Agency, who grant him increased control over his TARDIS at the cost of his freedom. The Second Doctor who shows up in The Five Doctors comes from this period, and is therefore aware of Jamie and Zoe's mindwipe.

The plausibility of the theory is aided by the fact that we never actually see Troughton regenerate into Pertwee. The end of The War Games merely sees Troughton vanish into darkness and the opening of Spearhead from Space sees the Pertwee Doctor stumbling out of the TARDIS already transformed. The Third Doctor also carried a ring, a bracelet, and a watch which homed in on the TARDIS, none of which he had at the close of The War Games.

During this time, the Second Doctor apparently regains Jamie and Victoria Waterfield (who is mentioned as being away studying graphology in The Two Doctors) as companions, acquires a Stattenheim remote control device to summon the TARDIS, and undertakes the mission which was related in The Two Doctors. Eventually, either the Time Lords tire of keeping the Doctor on a leash, or, as is more likely, the Doctor rebels and attempts to escape once more. This results in the exile which begins in Spearhead from Space. To explain why the Sixth Doctor does not remember his own past in The Two Doctors, it is also suggested that the Time Lords wiped the Second Doctor's memory of the events of Season 6B — the Third Doctor did claim significant memory loss in Spearhead. (The Discontinuity Guide acknowledged that alternatively, this could be due to the fact that the Doctor is injected during The Two Doctors with "siralanomode"; a fictitious drug that the Doctor states can affect one's memory.[2])

Although the specifics of Season 6B were first laid out in The Discontinuity Guide, the idea of a post-The War Games Second Doctor had already been introduced in the TV Comic comic strip in 1969. Action in Exile (TVC #916-#920) sees the Doctor arrive in London without his TARDIS, and he checks into the luxurious Carlton Grange Hotel. From this base, he proceeds to have five Earth-bound adventures, culminating in The Night Walkers (TVC #934-#936). In this story, the Doctor investigates tales of scarecrows walking. He discovers that the scarecrows have been animated by the Time Lords to capture him, and we learn that the Doctor escaped from the Time Lords before they could complete his sentence of a forced change of appearance. The scarecrows take him into the TARDIS and proceed to trigger his regeneration, leading directly into Spearhead from Space.

[edit] Adoption in tie-in fiction

Some parts of the Past Doctor Adventures novel Players are set in this period, as is the whole of World Game. Both books are written by former Doctor Who series writer and script editor Terrance Dicks. Dicks co-wrote The War Games and his adoption of the Season 6B hypothesis is seen by some as lending authorial legitimacy to the idea.

In World Game, it is revealed that at the conclusion of the Second Doctor's trial, he was actually sentenced to death. However, the Celestial Intervention Agency required an operative who could discreetly investigate temporal disturbances but could also be disavowed. The CIA approaches the Doctor and the Time Lord High Council, proposing that the Doctor's sentence be commuted if he becomes their agent.

To test this arrangement, the Doctor is first sent via time ring to 1915 France (Players) and subsequently given a Type 97 TARDIS and a supervisor/companion in the politically ambitious Time Lady Serena (World Game). Although the relationship between the two was more antagonistic, over the course of the mission they begin to appreciate each other's talents.

At the conclusion of World Game, Serena sacrifices herself for the Doctor's principles, while the Doctor uses what he learned of Gallifreyan politics from her to negotiate with the CIA, agreeing to their terms, but demanding the return of his TARDIS and Jamie. The CIA also agree, giving him a Stattenheim remote control and fitting the TARDIS with an override to give them ultimate control. They alter Jamie's memories so that he believes Victoria is away studying graphology, and the novel leads into the events of The Two Doctors.

[edit] BBC website

The BBC Doctor Who website uses excerpts both from The Discontinuity Guide and The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker. The mention of Season 6B on the site could be taken as the BBC lending legitimacy to the theory. However, the BBC has never made a clear statement on canonicity, and the site also contains material which is explicitly non-canonical. The exact position remains unclear.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ The actual explanation is because the scene was a hasty re-write. The phantom companions were originally supposed to be Zoe and Victoria, and the illusion of Victoria would have given the game away by addressing Lethbridge-Stewart as "Brigadier", because in the television series she encountered him on only one occasion, when he was but a Colonel. However, actress Deborah Watling was unable to schedule time for an appearance, and Frazer Hines as Jamie was written in when Hines became available. See The Five Doctors at Doctor Who: A Brief History Of Time (Travel).
  2. ^ a b Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Season 6 (b)" (reprinted on BBC Doctor Who website). The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. pp. 105–107. ISBN 0-426-20442-5. 

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Direct download: TDP_RED_AND_6B_final.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 6:19am UTC

TDP 86: Cyberman Histroy 101 P

The Cybermen are a fictional race of cyborgs who are amongst the most persistent enemies of the Doctor in the British science fiction television series, Doctor Who. Cybermen were originally a wholly organic species of humanoids originating on Earth's twin planet Mondas that began to implant more and more artificial parts into their bodies as a means of self-preservation. This led to the race becoming coldly logical and calculating, with emotions usually only shown when naked aggression was called for.

They were created by Dr. Kit Pedler (the unofficial scientific advisor to the programme) and Gerry Davis in 1966, first appearing in the serial, The Tenth Planet, the last to feature William Hartnell as the First Doctor. They have since been featured numerous times in their extreme attempts to survive through conquest.

A parallel universe version of the Cybermen appeared in the 2006 series' two-part story, "Rise of the Cybermen" and "The Age of Steel". These Cybermen also appeared in the two-part 2006 season finale, "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday". This then carried through to the spin-off Torchwood in the episode "Cyberwoman". They would later return to the revived series in the 2008 Christmas Special "The Next Doctor", introducing two new variants of the race; the Cyber-Shades and the Cyber-King.



[edit] Physical characteristics

An original Cyberman from The Tenth Planet

While the Doctor's other old enemies the Daleks were on the whole unchanged during the original series' twenty-six season run, the Cybermen were seen to change with almost every encounter. The Cybermen are humanoid, but have been cybernetically augmented to the point where they have few remaining organic parts. In their first appearance in the series, the only portions of their bodies that still seemed human were their hands, but by their next appearance in The Moonbase (1967), their bodies were entirely covered up in their metallic suits, with their hands replaced by two finger claws, but changed back to regular five-fingered hands in The Invasion (1968). As they are relatively few in number, the Cybermen tend towards covert activity, scheming from hiding and using human pawns or robots to act in their place until they need to appear. They also seek to increase their numbers by converting others into Cybermen (a process known as "cyber-conversion").

It is presumed (and often implied) that there are still organic components beneath their suits, meaning they are actually cyborgs, not robots: in The Tenth Planet, a Cyberman tells a group of humans that "our brains are just like yours", although by the time of Attack of the Cybermen, their brains seem to have been replaced with electronics. Also in this same story, two human slave-prisoners of the Cybermen on the planet Telos, named Bates and Stratton, reveal that their organic arms and legs have been removed by the Cybermen, and replaced by Cyber-substitutes. In Earthshock (1982), the actors' chins were vaguely visible through a clear perspex area on the helmet to suggest some kind of organic matter. In The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), veins and brains were visible through the domed head of the Cyberman Controller and similarly, in Attack of the Cybermen (1985) and "The Age of Steel" (2006), the Cyber-Controller's brain is visible through the dome. The first is a Mondas Cyber Controller, while the second involves alternative Earth's John Lumic. However, in Revenge of the Cybermen (1975), the Doctor says they are "total machine creatures".

The audio play Real Time implies that the converted victim's face remains beneath the Cyberman faceplate, although the audio plays, like all non-televised spin-off media, are of uncertain canonicity with regards to the television series. The Virgin New Adventures novel Iceberg by David Banks states that some Cybermen experience rare flashes of emotional memory from the time before they were converted, which are then usually suppressed. The parallel Earth Cybermen in the 2006 series are usually constructed from human brains bonded to a Cyberman exoskeletal shell with an artificially grown nervous system threaded throughout ("The Age of Steel"), although direct grafting of cyber-components is another method of conversion ("Cyberwoman").

Although the Cybermen often claim that they have done away with human emotion, they have exhibited emotions ranging from anger to smug satisfaction in their confrontations with the Doctor (although this is only clearly present during their appearances in the 1980s). Some Cybermen in the early stories were even given individual names such as "Krang". Some parallel Earth Cybermen did retain some memories of their pre-conversion lives, although their emotional response varied. In "Cyberwoman", the partial conversion led to a degree of insanity in Lisa Hallett, which was retained even after she transferred her brain into a cyberman body. In "Doomsday", Yvonne Hartman is able to retain at least some elements of her personality in order to prevent the advance of a group of other Cybermen, and is last seen weeping what appears to be either an oil-like substance or blood. In the same episode, the Cyber-Leader expresses clear frustration at the humans' refusing to surrender, although in a later scene he criticizes the Doctor for showing emotion. In "The Age of Steel", the Doctor is able to defeat the Cybermen by shutting down their emotional inhibitors, enabling them to "see" what had become of them. Their realization of what they had become led them to either simply shut down out of sheer horror, or partially explode. Lastly, when the first Cyber Leader is killed, his head explodes with some white liquid leaking down his body; there are references in that episode to a patented Cybus Industries mixture of chemicals used to preserve the brain.

The Virgin Missing Adventures novel Killing Ground by Steve Lyons suggests that some Cybermen imitate emotions to intimidate and unnerve their victims. The Big Finish Productions audio play Spare Parts (set on Mondas in the early days of cyber-conversion) suggests that the Cybermen deliberately remove their emotions as part of the conversion process to stifle the physical and emotional trauma of becoming a Cyberman. The conversion process in the parallel Earth is termed "upgrading".

This motive behind the removal of emotions is made more explicit in "The Age of Steel" where it is done by means of an emotional inhibitor. In that episode, the deactivation of their emotional inhibitors drives the converted Cybermen insane when they realise what they have become, killing them. This motive may also be applicable to Mondas Cybermen, given their forcible conversion of other lifeforms to Cybermen to maintain their numbers, despite the fact the Mondasians appear to have originally willingly converted themselves as a survival mechanism.[citation needed]

Cybermen have a number of weaknesses over the years. The most notable weakness is the element gold. Their aversion to gold was not mentioned until their attempt to destroy the planetoid Voga (the so-called "Planet of Gold") in Revenge of the Cybermen (1975). Initially, it was explained that, due to its non-corrodible nature, gold essentially chokes their respiratory systems. For example, the glittergun, a weapon used during the Cyber-Wars in the future, fired gold dust at its targets. However, in later serials, gold appeared to affect them rather like silver affects werewolves, with gold coins or gold-tipped bullets fired at them having the same effect. The revived series' Cybermen have no such weakness, though the tie-in website for the episode makes mention of it.[1] Cybermen are also rather efficiently killed when shot with their own guns. Other weaknesses from early stories include solvents, gravity based technology, and excessive levels of radiation. In "The Age of Steel" an EMP grenade is shown to disable a Cyberman and shut down its emotional inhibitor. Their armour is often depicted as flexible and resistant to bullets, but can be penetrated by gold arrows and projectiles made of gold. The Parallel Earth Cybermen are bullet-proof and are very resilient, but are not indestructible — they are vulnerable to heavy explosives, electromagnetic pulses and specialised weaponry, as well as Dalek weapons.

[edit] Costume details

The design of the Cybermen acted almost as a guide to prevailing fashion at the time of transmission. Nearly all were silver in colour and included items and material such as cloth, rubber diving suits, PVC, chest units, tubing, practice golf balls, cricketers' gloves, and silver-painted Doc Martens boots.[2] A BBC Cyberman costume from the black & white era of TV has recently been discovered.[3]

The 1980s design used converted flight suits painted silver. Unlike the Doctor's other foes, the Cybermen have changed substantially in appearance over the years, looking more and more modern, although retaining certain commonalities of design, the most iconic being the "handle bars" attached to Cybermen heads, that were supposed to aid with their hearing, their round eyeholes and their chest units. Completely black-coloured Cybermen were seen briefly in "Attack of the Cybermen".

A Cyberman head from the 1975 serial Revenge of the Cybermen, seen here in a display case in "Dalek" (2005).

Aside from these changes, variations in design between rank-and-file Cybermen and their leaders have been seen. In The Wheel in Space and The Invasion (both 1968), the Cyber Director was depicted as an immobile mechanism. In The Tomb of the Cybermen and Attack of the Cybermen, the Cyber Controller was a larger Cyberman with a high domed head instead of the "handle bar" helmet design. In Revenge of the Cybermen, the Cyber Leader had a completely black helmet except for his face. From Earthshock (1982) onwards he could be distinguished from his troops by the black handle bars on his helmet. The Cyber-Leader in "Army of Ghosts" also had black handles.

Because the Doctor is a time traveller, he meets the Cybermen at various points in their history out of sequence from the order the serials were made. This can be confusing since Cybermen from serials set in "earlier" periods of history can sometimes look more sophisticated than those from "later" periods. Lawrence Miles suggests in his reference work About Time 5 that the anachronistically designed Cybermen of Earthshock and Silver Nemesis are time travellers, like those in Attack of the Cybermen.

A Cyberman head was seen in the 2005 episode, "Dalek", kept in a display case. The text on the info card states that the head was found in a sewer, suggesting that the head was from The Invasion. However, the enlarged Cyber-Handles suggest that the head is from Revenge of the Cybermen. The info card states the head was found in 1975, the year in which The Invasion was set and the year in which Revenge of the Cybermen was broadcast.

The Cybermen returned in episodes 5 and 6 of the 2006 season of the new series, in a two-part story set on an alternate Earth. The new Cybermen were designed by production designer Edward Thomas's team and Neill Gorton at Millennium FX. The new Cyberman design is physically imposing, being about 6 feet 7 inches (2.0 m) tall. The general design is made to resemble modern consumer electronics, such as the iPod. To this extent, they are made from burnished steel instead of silver, feature the Cybus Corporation symbol on its chest, and have a general art deco design. The other distinct Cyberman design is that of the Cyber-Controller, which had glowing eyes, a transparent forehead revealing the brain, and sockets on its chest-plate providing connectors to other systems.

The Torchwood episode "Cyberwoman" features a partially cyber-converted woman who lacks the outer plating of a fully converted Cyberman. Her body is encased in metal structures but much of her flesh, including her face, is visible. She also has clearly visible metallic breasts, though it is not clear how much of her own flesh has been replaced and how much is merely covered. Another character speculates she could be 40-45% human, and 55-60% Cyberman.

[edit] Voice

Early Cybermen had an unsettling, sing-song voice, constructed by placing the inflections of words on the wrong syllables. In their first appearance, the effect of this was augmented by the special effect of having a Cyberman abruptly open his mouth wide and keep it open, without moving his tongue or lips, while the separately recorded voice would be playing, and then shut it quickly when the line was finished. Although the cloth-like masks of the first Cybermen were soon replaced by a full helmet, a similar physical effect involving the mouth "hatch" opening and then shutting when the line was finished was used until The Wheel in Space (1968).

Later, the production team used special effects from its Radiophonic Workshop by adding first a mechanical larynx, then a vocoder, to modify speech to make it sound more alien and computer-like. In later stories of the original series and in the audio plays, two copies of the voice track were sampled and pitch-shifted downwards by differing amounts and layered to produce the effect, sometimes with the addition of a small amount of flanging. From Revenge of the Cybermen to Silver Nemesis (1988) the actors provided the voices themselves, using microphones and transmitters in the chest units.

The voices for the 2006 return of the Cybermen are similar to the buzzing electronic monotone voices of the Cybermen used in The Invasion. They were provided by Nicholas Briggs (who performed the voices for the Cybermen in Big Finish audio stories as well as the Daleks in both the new series and the audio stories). As shown in the season 2 DVD special feature "Confidential Cut Downs," the timbre was created by processing Brigg's voice through a Moog moogerfooger ring modulator. Unusually, in "The Age of Steel", the Cyber-Controller (John Lumic, played by Roger Lloyd Pack) retains his voice after being upgraded, but it is still electronic. In "Doomsday", a Cyberman which contains the brain of Torchwood Institute director Yvonne Hartman retains a female-sounding though still electronic voice, as does the partially converted Lisa Hallett in "Cyberwoman" when her Cyberman personality is dominant. The reason for this is that their minds are taking control of the suit into which their brain has been placed, thus allowing the Cyber-suit's design to be exploited through sheer mental power. In an effect reminiscent of the earliest Cybermen's mouths snapping open while speaking, the new Cybermen have a blue light in their "mouths" which blinks in synchronisation with their speech.

[edit] Cybermen variants

Some Cybermen are given titles, being credited as "Cyber Leader" (or variants thereof), "Cyber Lieutenant", "Cyber Scout" or the "Cyber Controller". The Cyber Controller in particular has appeared in multiple forms, both humanoid and as an immobile computer, and has also been referred to as the "Cyber Planner" or "Cyber Director". The Controller seen (and destroyed) in various serials also may or may not be the same consciousness in different bodies; it appears to recognize and remember the Doctor from previous encounters. In Iceberg, the first Cyber Controller is created by implanting a Cyber Director into the skull of a recently converted Cyberman.

The Cyber-Controller in "The Age of Steel" used the brain of John Lumic, the creator of the Cybermen in that parallel reality. In "Doomsday", a Cyber-Leader appears, and when he is destroyed, mention is made of downloading his data files into another Cyberman unit, which is then upgraded to Cyber-Leader.

The 2008 Christmas special, "The Next Doctor", featured a new variant called a Cybershade.[4], The Doctor theorises that it is a more primitive version of a Cyberman, using the brain of a cat or a dog. In the same story a "Cyber-King" appears; according to the Doctor, it is a "Dreadnought-class" ship resembling a Cyberman hundreds of feet tall, and contains a Cyber-factory in its chest. It is controlled from within its mouth. Its right arm can be converted into a cannon, and its left into a laser.

[edit] Technology

Cybermen technology is almost completely oriented towards weaponry, apart from their own bodies. When originally seen in The Tenth Planet they had large energy weapons that attached to their chests. In The Moonbase, the Cybermen had two types of weaponry: an electrical discharge from their hands, which stunned the target, and a type of gun. They also made use of a large laser cannon with which they attempted to attack the base itself.

The hand discharge was also present in The Tomb of the Cybermen, which featured a smaller, hand-held cyber-weapon shaped like a pistol that was described as an X-ray laser. In The Wheel in Space the Cybermen could use the discharge to also operate machinery, and had death rays built into their chest units. They displayed the same units in The Invasion as well as carrying large rifles for medium distance combat. In Revenge of the Cybermen and Real Time their weapons were built into their helmets. Killing Ground indicates that this type of Cybermen also have more powerful hand weapons. Subsequent appearances have shown them armed almost exclusively with hand-held cyberguns.

The Cybermen have access to weapons of mass destruction known as cobalt bombs, which are also sometimes known as Cyber-bombs, which were banned by the galactic Armageddon Convention (Revenge of the Cybermen). A "Cyber-megatron bomb" was mentioned in The Invasion, supposedly powerful enough to destroy all life on Earth. In Earthshock, the Cybermen also used androids as part of their plans to invade Earth.

The parallel Earth Cybermen electrocute their victims by touching them and at first carried no other weaponry. In "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday", the Cybermen are equipped with retractable energy weapons housed within their forearms (these were actually first shown in "The Age of Steel", but only very briefly and were not used during that episode), but also use modified human weapons to battle the Daleks. The arm mounted guns prove effective against humans but are unable to penetrate Dalek shields. Two Cybermen sent to parley with Dalek Thay at the Battle of Canary Wharf shot the Dalek but were promptly exterminated. In the Torchwood episode "Cyberwoman" the partially converted Lisa Hallett used her electrical touch against the Torchwood team, as well as an energy beam fired from her arm which could only stun the part of the body at which it was aimed.

[edit] Cybermats

The Cybermen also use smaller, cybernetic creatures called "cybermats" as weapons of attack. In their first appearance in The Tomb of the Cybermen, they resembled oversized metallic silverfish and had segmented bodies with hair-like tactile sensor probes along the base of their heads, which were topped with crystalline eyes. The Second Doctor described them as a "form of metallic life," implying that they may be semi-organic like the Cybermen, and that they attacked by feeding off brain waves.

The second model of cybermat seen in The Wheel in Space was used for sabotage, able to tune in on human brainwaves. They were carried to the "Wheel" in small but high-density sacs that sank through the hull of the space station, causing drops in air pressure. These cybermats had solid photoreceptors for eyes instead of crystals. The Second Doctor used an audio frequency to jam them, causing them to spin, crash and disintegrate.

The third model, seen in Revenge of the Cybermen, was a much larger, snake-like cybermat that could be remotely controlled and could inject poison into its victims. It had no visible eyes or other features, and was as vulnerable to gold dust as the Cybermen were.

In Spare Parts, "mats" are cybernetically augmented creatures, sometimes kept as pets. Cybermats of a different design are used for surveillance by Mondas' Central Committee. The creatures occasionally go wild, chewing on power sources, and must be rounded up by a "mat-catcher." In the Past Doctor Adventures novel Illegal Alien by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry, set in the 1940s, the Cybermen create cybermats by cyber-converting local animals like cats or birds, possibly because of lack of technological resources.

In the Bernice Summerfield audio adventure The Crystal of Cantus, a Cyberman reveals that the organs of children who are too small to be fully cyber-converted are used in the creation of cybermats.

[edit] History

[edit] Conceptual history

The name "Cyberman" comes from cybernetics, a term coined in Norbert Wiener's book Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (MIT Press, 1948). Wiener used the term in reference to the control of complex systems in the animal world and in mechanical networks, in particular self-regulating control systems. By 1960, doctors were performing research into surgically or mechanically augmenting humans or animals to operate machinery in space, leading to the coining of the term "cyborg", for "cybernetic organism".

In the 1960s, "spare-part" surgery was starting out, with the first, gigantic heart-lung machines being developed. There were also serious suggestions of wiring the nerve endings of amputees directly into machines for quicker response.[5] In 1963, Kit Pedler had a conversation with his wife (who was also a doctor) about what would happen if a person had so many prostheses that they could no longer distinguish themselves between man and machine. He got the opportunity to develop this idea when, in 1966, after an appearance on the BBC science programmes Tomorrow's World and Horizon, the BBC hired him to help on the Doctor Who serial The War Machines. That eventually led to him writing, with Gerry Davis's help, The Tenth Planet for Doctor Who.

Pedler, influenced by the logic-driven Treens from the Dan Dare comic strip, originally envisaged the Cybermen as "space monks", but was persuaded by Davis to concentrate on his fears about the direction of spare-part surgery. The original Cybermen were imagined as human, but with plastic and metal prostheses. The Cybermen of The Tenth Planet still have human hands, and their facial structures are visible beneath the masks they wear. However, over time, they evolved into metallic, more robot-like designs.

The Cybermen attracted controversy when parents complained after a scene in The Tomb of the Cybermen in which a dying Cyberman spurted white foam from its innards. Another incident was initiated by Pedler himself, who took a man in a Cyberman costume into a busy shopping area of St. Pancras. The reaction of the public was predictable, and the crowd almost blocked the street and the police were called in. Pedler said that he "wanted to know how people would react to something quite unusual," but also admitted that he "wanted to be a nuisance."[6] Pedler wrote his last Cyberman story, The Invasion, in 1968, and left Doctor Who with Gerry Davis to develop the scientific thriller series Doomwatch.

[edit] History within the show

[edit] Origins

Millennia ago, during prehistoric times, Mondas was knocked out of solar orbit and drifted into deep space. The Mondasians, already far in advance of Earth's technology and fearful for their race's survival, sent out spacecraft to colonise other worlds, including Telos, where they pushed the native Cryons aside and used the planet to house vast tombs where they could take refuge in suspended animation when necessary.

On Mondas, the Mondasians were dying out, and therefore, in order to survive and continue the race, they replaced most of their bodies with Cybernetic parts. Having eventually removed all emotion from their brains, to maintain their sanity, the natives installed a drive propulsion system so they could pilot the planet itself through space. As the original race was limited in numbers and were continually being depleted, the Mondasians — now Cybermen — became a race of conquerors who reproduced by taking other organic beings and forcibly changing them into Cybermen. The origins of the Cybermen were further elaborated upon in Spare Parts.

The move to "cybernise" Mondasians must have commenced on Mondas before they conquered Telos. Otherwise, there must have been some ongoing contact between Mondas and Telos after it was conquered, or the move to develop into Cybermen must have been paralleled after that point.

[edit] The Earth invasions

The Cybermen's first attempt at invading Earth, around 1970, was chronicled in The Invasion. A group of Cybermen from "Planet 14" had allied themselves with industrialist Tobias Vaughn, who installed mind control circuits in electrical appliances manufactured by his International Electromatics company, paving the way for a ground invasion. This was uncovered by the newly formed United Nations Intelligence Taskforce, led by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, who repelled the invasion with the help of the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe.

In The Tenth Planet, the First Doctor and his companions Ben and Polly, met an advance force of Cybermen that landed near an Antarctic space tracking station in the year 1986. This advance force was to prepare for the return of Mondas to the solar system. As Mondas approached, it began to drain Earth's energy for the Cybermen's use, but in the process absorbed too much energy and disintegrated. The Cybermen on Earth also fell apart as their homeworld was destroyed.

In 1988 a fleet of Cyber warships was assembled to convert Earth into a New Mondas. A scouting party was sent to Earth in search of the legendary Nemesis statue, a Time Lord artifact of immense power, made of the "living metal" validium. Due to the machinations of the Seventh Doctor and his companion Ace, however, the Nemesis destroyed the entire Cyber-fleet instead. (Silver Nemesis).

In 2012, the inert head of a Cyberman was part of the Vault, a collection of alien artefacts belonging to American billionaire Henry van Statten ("Dalek", 2005). According to its label, it was recovered from the London sewers in 1975[7] and presumably came from the 1970 invasion attempt, although it is of a design only seen in Revenge of the Cybermen, which took place in the late 29th century (in a metafictional sense, the label is accurate, as Revenge was broadcast in 1975).

By the mid-21st century, mankind had reached beyond its planet and set up space stations in deep space. One of these, Space Station W3, known as "The Wheel," was the site of a takeover by Cybermen who wanted to use it as a staging point for yet another invasion of Earth. The Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe prevented this in The Wheel in Space.

The Cybermen returned in The Moonbase. By the year 2070, Earth's weather was being controlled by the Gravitron installation on the Moon. The Cybermen planned to use the Gravitron to disrupt the planet's weather patterns and destroy all life on it, eliminating a threat to their survival. This attempt was also stopped by the Second Doctor, Ben, Polly, Jamie and the surviving crew of the moonbase.

[edit] The Cyber-Wars

Five centuries after the destruction of Mondas, the Cybermen had all but passed into legend when an archaeological expedition to the planet Telos uncovered their resting place in The Tomb of the Cybermen. However, those Cybermen were not dead but merely in hibernation, and were briefly revived before the Second Doctor returned them to their eternal sleep, with help from some of the archaeologists, Jamie and Victoria.

This was short-lived, however. By the beginning of the 26th century, the Cybermen were back in force, and the galactic situation was grave enough that Earth hosted a conference in 2526 that would unite the forces of several planets in a war against the Cybermen. A force of Cybermen tried to disrupt this conference, first by trying to infiltrate Earth in a freighter and when that was discovered by the Fifth Doctor, to crash the freighter into Earth and cause an ecological disaster. Although the attempt failed, the freighter was catapulted back in time to become the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs (Earthshock). Unfortunately, the Doctor's Companion Adric was trapped aboard the freighter, and died in the crash; leaving the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa to mourn him.

The Cybermen faced complete defeat now that humanity was united against them in the Cyber-Wars. The glittergun had been developed as a weapon against them, with Voga, the legendary "Planet of Gold", being a major supplier of gold dust ammunition. Meanwhile, the native Cryons on the planet Telos rose up and sabotaged the Cybermens' hibernation tombs. Using a captured time travel machine, a group of Cybermen travelled back to Earth in 1985 to try to prevent the destruction of Mondas, but were stopped by the Sixth Doctor and his companion Peri (Attack of the Cybermen). The Cryons also finally succeeded in taking back Telos.

The Cybermen did survive, but by the late 29th century they had been reduced to small remnant groups wandering throughout space. The Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith and Harry Sullivan encountered one such group during this time; and the Doctor very sarcastically pointed out their diminished state, noting that they had "no home planet, no influence, nothing!", and were "just a bunch of pathetic tin soldiers, skulking about the galaxy in an ancient spaceship." These Cybermen had discovered that Voga had drifted through space and wandered into the solar system, being pulled into orbit around Jupiter as a new moon. They planned to restore their race's power with a plan of revenge against Voga by destroying it with Cyber-bombs. They hoped that this would disrupt their enemies' supply of gold, but their plot was stopped by the Doctor. This was their last chronological appearance to date, with the Cybermen seemingly vanishing from history after this point (Revenge of the Cybermen).

A Cyberman (of the type seen in The Invasion) also appeared in the Miniscope exhibit in Carnival of Monsters (1973). Three squads of Cybermen of the Earthshock variety, each led by a Cyber-Leader, appeared in The Five Doctors (1983) in a slightly larger role.

[edit] Parallel Earth and the Battle of Canary Wharf

In the "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel" two-part story, the Tenth Doctor, Rose Tyler, and Mickey Smith crash down into a parallel London in a parallel universe, where the Cybermen are being created on modern-day Earth. These alternate Cybermen were created as an "upgrade" to humanity and the ultimate move into cyberspace, allowing the brain to survive in an ageless steel body. These Cybermen also referred to themselves as "Human Point 2 (Human.2)" and "deleted" all those deemed incompatible with the upgrade. They could electrocute humans with a touch.

These Cybermen were created by John Lumic, a terminally ill and insane genius whose company, Cybus Industries, had advanced humanity considerably. To find a way to survive, he perfected a method to sustain the human brain indefinitely in a cradle of chemicals, bonding the synaptic impulses to a metal exoskeleton. The Cybermen "handle bars" were part of a high-tech communications device called an EarPod. Also created by Lumic, the EarPods were used extensively in the place of MP3 players and mobile phones, allowing information to be directly downloaded into people's heads.

Lumic began to trick and abduct homeless people and convert them into Cybermen, and assassinated the President of Great Britain after the President rejected his plans. Using the EarPods, Lumic took mental control of London, marching thousands to be cyber-converted. He was betrayed by an old friend who damaged his wheelchair's life-support systems. He had told the Cybermen that he would upgrade 'only with my last breath' and since that moment was at hand he was involuntarily upgraded into the Cyber-Controller, a superior model of Cyberman. However, the Doctor and his companions, having accidentally landed on the parallel Earth, managed to foil his plans. They freed London from mental control and disabled the Cybermen's emotional inhibitors, causing them to go insane and in some cases explode. Lumic himself fell to his apparent death into the burning remains of his factory. A human resistance group, the Preachers, then set about to clean up the remainder of Lumic's factories around the world.

These Cybermen reappeared in the 2006 season finale "Army of Ghosts" and "Doomsday". It is to be noted that these Cybermen also use energy weapons built into their right arms. However, in "The Age of Steel" after the conversion sequence, the newly created Cybermen can be seen to have the retractable weapons in place after exiting the conversion chambers. Having infiltrated that world's version of the Torchwood Institute and discovering a breach between universes caused by the passage of an interdimensional void ship, the Cybermen used it to invade the Doctor's universe. However, the void ship's users, the Daleks, also revealed themselves, leading to all-out war across London with mankind caught in the crossfire. Eventually, the Doctor re-opened the breach, causing the Cybermen and Daleks (who had been saturated with background radiation from the Void) to be sucked back into it. The breach then sealed itself, leaving the Cybermen and Daleks (except the Cult of Skaro, who used their emergency temporal shift function to escape) seemingly trapped in the Void forever.

[edit] Torchwood Three Incident

Lisa the "Cyberwoman"

In "Cyberwoman" it was revealed that at the height of the "Battle of Canary Wharf" the Cybermen had begun to directly convert whole bodies using regular Earth technology, rather than transplant their brains into parallel earth Cyberman shells. One of their victims, a woman called Lisa Hallett, was only partially converted when the power was shut off and she was rescued by her boyfriend, Ianto Jones.

Jones took her to Torchwood Three in Cardiff along with a cyber-conversion unit which he made into a life support system for her under her directions. He tried to find a cure for her condition, calling on cybernetics expert Dr Tanizaki. Unfortunately Hallett's Cyberman personality asserted itself, leading to her killing Tanizaki and trying to take over Torchwood Three as a staging area for a new Cyberman army. She eventually transplanted her own brain into the body of a pizza delivery girl whom she let into the base, and was shot to death by the other members of the Torchwood team.

[edit] The CyberKing

A small handful of the Cybermen t

Direct download: TDP_86_Cybermen_History_101.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 3:14pm UTC


The Sixth Doctor and Peri encounter the mercenary Lytton, stranded on planet Earth and in the employ of the Cybermen. A plot is being hatched that aims to change the history of Earth in favour of the Cyber-race, and the Doctor finds himself on an alien planet he has visited before as he tries to defeat his enemies and work out who he can trust to help him.

[edit] Plot

In the London sewer system, a worker vanishes and another is beaten to death.

The Doctor is repairing the chameleon circuitry in the TARDIS's roundels, using his new sonic lance. He ponders why he has not worked on this before. Peri questions his new energy levels; he reassures her he is stable and would never hurt her.

Lytton is organising what he claims is a £10 million diamond heist on the Bank of England. He explains the plan: his merry band of four shall go into the sewers, and use plastic explosives to blow a hole in the wall of the vault, escaping with the diamonds, and no one (in theory) should get hurt. Down they go into the sewers, with Payne agreeing to stand on lookout by the manhole. As the others move away, no one notices the tall, black figure silently advancing behind Payne...

The Doctor says he is taking Peri somewhere nice and peaceful, to treat her after the awful time they both had on Jaconda. After a very difficult trip through the Time Vortex, he shows Halley's Comet to her, inadvertently revealing that he plans to take her to Earth. It is soon clear that being so close to the comet upsets her (as does, undoubtedly, the fact that they nearly crash into it), so he steers away from it. The TARDIS then picks up a distress signal coming from London, in 1985; they both agree that they have to investigate this.

The TARDIS lands in 76 Totter's Lane, London, a scrapyard that the Doctor finds oddly familiar. As he and Peri begin to leave the scrapyard the chameleon circuit turns the time machine into a stove with an attractive (or cloying) floral pattern (much to Peri's mirth). The Doctor, slightly defensive, says that the TARDIS is slightly out of practice when it comes to choosing new forms. (They both fail to notice two policemen, who are walking past them.) As the pair move through the streets, the Doctor scanning for this signal, Peri reveals how worried she is for him: his memory is in pieces, and he keeps calling her the names of his previous companions. He assures her he is fine. After tracing the signal to an abandoned warehouse that does not contain anyone; he remarks how foolish he was for not realising what has happened. After dashing back to the scrapyard, they eventually find a door in the TARDIS's new form and take off.

Meanwhile, Lytton's group are not faring well in the sewer: Russell has cold feet, and Griffith is doing all of the wall-demolishing single-handedly (much to his annoyance). Lytton does not seem to be noticing these things, and seems almost to be waiting for someone.

Onboard the TARDIS, the Doctor explains that the alien has put relays around the city, making it hard for them to trace his signal (and thus help him). Peri points out a vital clue: such an extraterrestrial would surely leave a time trace; the Doctor starts tracking down that very thing.

The TARDIS then lands, disguised as a pipe organ, in the garage containing the manhole Lytton's crew have descended. There, the two policemen seen earlier accost them, but the Doctor (unseen) knocks one of them out in the sewer, and Peri handcuffs the other to a railing and takes his gun. They then descend the manhole.

In the sewer, Lytton's trio discover a tall, black figure advancing towards them. Although Lytton insists that all is fine, Griffith panics and shoots his (previously unseen) gun at the tall figure; prompting Lytton to take out his own firearm and threaten Griffith, in order to stop him firing at the figure. Suddenly, the wall behind them slides open and an entire army of silver giants is revealed. Then Lytton offers their Leader his weapon, saying that he offers his life to the Cybermen. The Cyber Leader effortlessly crushes Lytton's gun, eliciting a scream from Griffith...

Lytton's two policemen comrades - as well as the two sewer workers we saw at the beginning - are being converted into Cybermen. Lytton manages to talk his way out of the same procedure, explaining that he detected the Cybermen's transmissions and deliberately contacted them, bringing along humans for them to convert as a sign of goodwill. He identifies himself as a warrior mercenary from Riften V and points out that he could easily have alerted Earth authorities to the Cybermen's presence but chose not to. The Cyber Leader accepts the logic of his argument and decides to report to the Controller on Telos.

On Telos, a work party of slaves plants explosives in the ground. Three of them make a break for it, but one is killed and the decapitated Cyber-head, which they require for the next stage of the escape, is destroyed. The two survivors, Bates and Stratton, hide nearby, but without a third pilot and a Cyber-head, they're still as good as prisoners. The other slaves' spirits have been completely crushed; nobody else has tried to escape. In Cyber Control, the Controller receives a report of the escape attempt, and decides to analyse Bates and Stratton's behaviour as they attempt to survive and escape.

The Doctor and Peri are captured by Russell, who frisks the Doctor and finds Payne's gun. The Doctor manages to surprise and overpower Russell, who eventually admits that he's an undercover policeman who infiltrated Lytton's gang to find out who he was. After a raid on an electronics warehouse -- which the Doctor and Peri realise supplied Lytton with the parts he needed for his intergalactic transmitter -- the police heard Lytton's name whispered on the streets, but could find no records of his existence at all. It was as if he'd just arrived from another planet. The Doctor warns Russell that this is exactly what he did -- and he's a ruthless, professional killer...

Bates and Stratton use their mining tools to destroy and decapitate a Cyberman sent out to recapture them. Bates intends to clean out the head so Stratton can use it as a disguise; as prisoner and escort they stand a better chance of getting into Cyber Control. But the destruction of the scout is detected, and the Controller decides that Bates and Stratton are too resourceful and must be destroyed.

Back on Earth, the Cybermen detect temporal distortion nearby, and send scouts to investigate. The Doctor, Peri and Russell encounter one, and the Doctor destroys it by plunging his sonic lance into its chest unit. The Cybermen detect this, and the Leader decides to close down this base and send the partially converted humans to their mothership. The Leader himself takes a squad out to investigate the scout's destruction, and when they find an alien artefact was responsible Lytton soon guesses who the "alien" is. He's surprised to learn that the Cybermen already know of the Doctor. The Cyber Leader decides to alter his plans and capture the Doctor and his TARDIS.

The Doctor, Peri and Russell emerge from the sewers, closely followed by the Cybermen. But the Doctor has accidentally left the TARDIS doors open and Cybermen have already entered the ship. Russell destroys one by shooting it through the weak point in its mouth panel, and shoots another with the first Cyberman's gun. But before Peri can shut the doors the Cyber Leader and his patrol arrive, and while Russell is distracted a third Cyberman emerges from the corridors and strikes him upon his neck, killing him instantly. Peri approaches Russell and the Cybermen then close in on Peri...

The Doctor threatens to destroy the TARDIS unless the Cyber Leader agrees to spare Peri's life. He does so, giving the word of the Cyber Controller that she will not be harmed -- and the Doctor realises that, by implication, not only did the Controller survive their last meeting but these Cybermen have somehow travelled through Time. He sets the coordinates for Telos, and he, Peri, Griffiths and Lytton are locked up in a nearby storeroom. Lytton returns the Doctor's sonic lance so he can sabotage the navigational controls and shift the TARDIS slightly off course, and reveals that the Cybermen haven't developed their own theories of Time travel; they simply stole a ship which was forced down on Telos for repairs. The Doctor, attempting to explain the history of the Cybermen to Griffiths and Peri, is forced to admit that their home world Mondas was destroyed while attacking Earth -- in 1986, which in their terms is next year. The Doctor assures them that Earth survived with minimal damage; the surviving Cybermen evacuated to Telos, wiped out the indigenous Cryons and transformed their refrigerated cities into cryogenic tombs in which to hibernate and recover their strength. Bates and Stratton continue to approach Cyber Control despite Stratton's conviction that the plan will never work. The reactivation of dormant Cybermen is halted when too many are found damaged or dead; some are going rogue in the tombs and destroying everything they encounter.

The Doctor is forced to switch off the distress call he'd surreptitiously activated, but thanks to his earlier sabotage the TARDIS (in the form of a set of iron gates) materialises in the tombs rather than in Cyber Control. While the Cyber Leader reports for further instructions, the Doctor notices a stench of decay in the air -- and realises that Lytton knows more about it than he's saying. A rogue Cyberman suddenly bursts out of a tomb and attacks them, and in the confusion Peri, Lytton and Griffiths escape. Peri, separated from the others, is attacked by yet another rogue Cyberman -- and is rescued by two Cryons...

Griffiths and Lytton hide in the tunnels outside the tombs, where they are contacted by a Cryon named Threst -- who welcomes Lytton by name. Lytton admits that he's been working for the Cryons all along; it was they who picked up his distress call from Earth, and on their behalf he intends to steal the Cybermen's time machine. Since the Cryons can only survive in sub-zero temperatures they will be unable to help, and Lytton thus brought Griffiths along to act as his bodyguard, in return for which the Cryons will pay him the equivalent of two million British pounds in uncut diamonds. Griffiths is reluctant to risk his life, but Lytton points out that his only two alternatives if captured are death -- or conversion into a Cyberman.

The Doctor is locked up in a storeroom with a Cryon prisoner, Flast, and upon learning that some Cryons survived the Cybermen's attempt at genocide he also realises that they must be responsible for the damage to the Cybermen in the tombs. He's less pleased by Flast's revelation of the Cybermen's plans -- since they stole their time machine they don't fully understand the principles of Time, and intend to change history by preventing Mondas from being destroyed...

Lytton and Griffiths emerge onto the surface of Telos, where Bates and Stratton confront them. Griffiths is shocked to learn that Bates and Stratton are partially cybernetic; they were sent to the work parties when the conversion process failed. Lytton points out that the time vessel requires a crew of three and suggests that they join forces. Meanwhile, Peri is held in the Cryon base by Rost and Varne, who are unable to help her rescue the Doctor, as they would perish in the heat of Cyber Control. They admit that Lytton is working for them to prevent the Cybermen from leaving Telos -- upon abandoning the planet the Cybermen intend to destroy it to observe the effect on its atmosphere.

Flast explains to the Doctor that the Cybermen intend to divert the course of Halley's Comet, causing it to collide with Earth. The Doctor suddenly realises that the Time Lords have once again manipulated him into this situation so he can clean it up for them. Flast points out a potential weapon; the storeroom contains canisters of vastial, an unstable mineral which explodes upon reaching fifteen degrees above zero, and she's managed to open one. The Doctor uses his sonic lance to pick the lock of the storeroom door, and uses a small amount of vastial to destroy the guard outside. Flast takes the sonic lance, turns it on and buries it in the open canister of vastial, hoping to spark an explosion, which will destroy Cyber Control. She is unable to leave the sub-zero storeroom but urges the Doctor to escape without her.

Lytton and his companions enter Cyber Control, but as Lytton is guarding their backs he is attacked and overpowered by Cybermen and the others have no choice but to carry on without him. Lytton is taken back to the control room and tortured, and when he refuses to speak he is taken to be converted into a Cyberman. Rost and Varne learn of Lytton's capture while taking Peri back to the TARDIS.

The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, where he finds two Cybermen on guard and is reunited with Peri. Rost and Varne help him break into a tomb, which they have already sabotaged, and the Doctor activates the distress call in the dead Cyberman inside, luring the two guards away from the TARDIS and into a trap. In the ensuing battle, Varne is killed but both Cybermen are destroyed. As the Doctor prepares to leave, Peri insists that they rescue Lytton first, and the Doctor, who was fully prepared to leave Lytton to his fate, is startled to learn that he was working for the Cryons all along. He agrees to see what he can do.

Bates, Griffiths and Stratton finally reach the landing pad, but just as they're within sight of their goal Bates is killed by an electrified door -- which opens to reveal a Cyberman who guns down Griffiths and Stratton. Meanwhile, the Cybermen detect the Doctor's escape and question Flast; when she refuses to speak they fling her into the corridor, where her body boils away in the heat. As the Cybermen begin checking the vastial stores, the Cyber Controller learns that the TARDIS has been moved and returns to the control room. The sabotaged vastial container, hidden in the back of the storeroom, has begun to steam...

The TARDIS, once again in the form of a police box, materialises in the control room. The Doctor emerges to find Lytton partially converted, and as he tries to free him from the processing machine Lytton, drugged and partially converted, begs the Doctor to kill him. The Cyber Controller arrives, having guessed that the Doctor's emotional weaknesses would draw him back to rescue his friend. As the Controller approaches, however, Lytton attacks him, puncturing his hydraulic valves with the knife the Doctor was using to pry him free from the processing machines. The Controller strikes back, snapping Lytton's neck and killing him, while the Doctor grabs the Controller's gun and shoots the Cyber Leader, who staggers back into his Lieutenant, causing him to accidentally fire his gun at point-blank range, killing them both. The Doctor then shoots the Cyber Controller, destroying him once and for all. Peri emerges from the TARDIS and practically drags the Doctor away from Lytton's body.

As the TARDIS dematerialises, the sonic lance finally heats the vastial to ignition point, and the resulting chain reaction destroys all Cyber Control and the stolen time machine as well. The Earth is safe and the web of Time has been preserved... but at a great personal cost, as the Doctor blames himself for misjudging and failing to save Lytton


  • This story takes place immediately after The Twin Dilemma. Peri is still worried about the Doctor's problem regenerating, and the Doctor says they need a rest after Jocanda. This story has been criticised for relying heavily on elements from Doctor Who's past, confusing all but hardcore fans of the series.[1]
Direct download: TDP_85_attack_cybermen001.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 5:27pm UTC

TDP 84: Orbis and Chaos Pool Key 2 Time Part 2 ORBIS

Starring Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith with Andrew Sachs and Laura Solon

(Duration: 60' approx)


Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Andrew Sachs (Crassostrea), Laura Solon (Selta), Katarina Olsson (Headhunter), Beth Chalmers (Saccostrea), Barry McCarthy (Yanos)

The Doctor has fallen to his death. His companion, Lucie Miller, has returned to her life on Earth, grief-stricken. Then, one night, an alien visitor arrives at her front door and shoots her.

Could it be that Lucie’s days with the Doctor are not over? She will only find the answer on the planet Orbis. A planet where all forms of life are facing violent extinction.
AUTHOR: Alan Barnes and
Nicholas Briggs
Nicholas Briggs
Andy Hardwick MUSIC:
Andy Hardwick
1 CD
2nd October 2008
31st March 2009


(Duration: 120' Approx)


Peter Davison (The Doctor), Ciara Janson (Amy), Laura Doddington (Zara), Lalla Ward (Madam President), David Troughton (The Black Guardian), Ben Jones (Captain Pargrave), Toby Longworth (Commander Hectocot), Cate Hamer (The Voice)

The ageless leader of a dying race believes that salvation lies within The Chaos Pool, a place that even the Guardians of Time have been unable to locate. Meanwhile Commander Hectocot and his Teuthoidian followers move in for the kill - again and again and again...

Two different races from opposite ends of Time - so how can they co-exist?

In their search for the final segment of the Key to Time, the Doctor and Amy become caught in the crossfire. As the end of everything approaches, old friends and enemies reveal themselves and the final battle between the forces of Chaos and Order ignites…
AUTHOR: Peter AnghelidesDIRECTOR:Lisa Bowerman
SOUND DESIGN:Simon RobinsonMUSIC:Jamie Robertson
RECORDED DATE:22 & 23 April 2008RELEASE DATE:30 March 2009
PRODUCTION CODE:6R/C ISBN:978-1-84435-365-1


Between Planet of Fire and The Caves of Androzani and after Key 2 Time - Destroyer of Delights

Direct download: TDP_84_Big_finish_Chaos_pool_and_Orbis.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:18am UTC

TDP 83: The Destroyer of Delights Key 2 Time Part 2

118. Doctor Who: Key 2 Time - Destroyer of Delights


(Duration: 120' Approx)


Peter Davison (The Doctor), Ciara Janson (Amy), David Troughton (The Black Guardian), Jason Watkins (Legate of the Caliph), Jess Robinson (Nisrin), Bryan Pilkington (Prince Omar), Paul Chahidi (Hason), Will Barton (The Djinni), David Peart (The Vizier)

“You will be always looking in the wrong place. I have searched through all of Time and I cannot find it.”

The search for the Key to Time has stalled: the next segment does not appear to exist anywhere in the Universe. Forced into a temporary alliance with one of his greatest enemies, the Doctor suggests a course of action that is a validation of chaos itself.

Thrown at random across Space and Time, the Doctor and Amy arrive in 9th Century Sudan, where the greedy Lord Cassim is hoarding gold from the Legate of the Caliph. But why does Cassim look so familiar? What is the mysterious Djinni that lives out in the desert? And why does it need so much treasure?
AUTHOR: Jonathan Clements
Lisa Bowerman
Simon Robinson
Simon Robinson
Alex Mallinson
21 & 22 April 2008 RELEASE DATE:
28 February 2009
6R/B ISBN: 978-1-84435-364-4


Between Planet of Fire and The Caves of Androzani and after Key 2 Time - The Judgement of Isskar

Direct download: TDP_83_The_Destroyer_of_delights.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 10:04am UTC

TDP 82: The Romans - sorry about the sound quality


With the TARDIS stuck at the bottom of a cliff, the four time travellers have ingratiated themselves into an unoccupied Roman villa. The owner, Flavius Giscard is away campaigning in Gaul. As the Doctor and Ian recline, Barbara and Vicki walk to the nearby Roman village. At the market they are spotted by two slave traders, Didius and Sevcheria. When they return to the villa the Doctor announces that he is off to Rome, some miles away, and will travel there with Vicki. Later that evening Barbara and Ian, now alone, are relaxing when the two slavers burst in upon them. They are soon overpowered and taken prisoner. Ian is sold to one slave owner, while Barbara is to be traded with another and sent to Rome.

The Doctor and Vicki are en route for Rome when they find the murdered body of a lyre player named Maximus Pettulian. The Doctor is holding the man’s lyre when a Centurion arrives and mistakes him for the dead man who is late for an engagement in Rome. The Centurion thus accompanies them to Assysium. Once stationed at an inn there, the Centurion makes contact with the mute assassin Ascaris, who killed the real Pettulian, and instructs him to kill the Doctor. The assassin draws his sword and heads off to the Doctor’s chambers.

The Doctor overpowers the assassin and, along with Vicki, drives him away through an open window. It seems the Centurion has fled, and the Doctor concludes the soldier was in league with the assassin. He decides to maintain his alias as Pettulian and head onward to the city of Rome. Barbara is meanwhile already in the city and is soon sold in open auction for 10,000 sesterces to a man named Tavius, who is highly placed in the court of the Emperor Nero. She is to be a handmaiden to Nero's wife, Poppaea. Tavius is a kindly man but warns that if she tries to escape her slavery that she will be killed.

The Doctor and Vicki arrive at Nero’s court too and encounter Tavius, who seems to imply to the Doctor that Pettulian is part of a secret network in which he is also a player. Further discussion is interrupted by the arrival of Nero himself, a laughable excuse for a leader who seems arrogant, vain and selfish. The Doctor cleverly avoids an extended lyre concert and then have the freedom of the court. On one walk around they find the body of the Centurion who imperilled them earlier.

Ian has been confined to a galley in the Mediterranean but the craft soon runs into rough seas and is broken up. He is washed to the nearby shore and there is found by another survivor of the galley, Delos, who has saved his life and removes the last of his chains. They agree to head for Rome in search of Barbara. When they reach there, however, they are captured by some centurions. Taken to the arena they are set to be trained as gladiators – and their first opponents will be the lions.

It becomes apparent to the Doctor that Tavius had the Centurion murdered and that he too is expected to fulfil some sort of action. Nero decides the Doctor must fulfil an obligation too, and organises a banquet in his honour at which he must play the lyre. He also takes a shine to Barbara and starts to pursue her romantically – and literally – much to the anger of Empress Poppea, who decides to have her poisoned at the Pettulian banquet. Barbara has just left the banquet chamber when the Doctor arrives there, warning the Emperor that he has learnt his wine could be poisoned. It has been, as part of Poppea’s plan.

The Doctor is soon put to perform centre stage and picks up his lyre with the warning that only those with the most sensitive and perceptive hearing will be able to discern its subtle melody. He then creates absolutely no sound but has created a climate in which no-one wishes to make themselves out to be philistines by not appreciating the music. Nero is not convinced, however, and in private fumes against the deception. He decides to have Pettulian fed to the lions.

Meanwhile, at the arena itself Ian and Delos have been trained as gladiators and are set to fight each other. With Nero watching them they are told to battle to the death.

Delos and Ian decide to fight their way out of the arena instead, and Ian is able to shout to the watching Barbara that he will be back to rescue her before he and Delos flee. The Emperor calls off his soldiers when it becomes clear they cannot be caught, planning to have him killed when he returns to rescue Barbara. A crowd of soldiers are arranged at the palace.

The Doctor has meanwhile found the architectural plans for Nero’s new Rome, and deduces that since the year is 64 AD that the Emperor is planning to destroy the city. Tavius arrives and warns the Doctor that the Emperor is planning to kill him too, advising him to fulfil his mission and kill Nero soon. It seems that Pettulian was an assassin all along. The Doctor and Vicki decide to leave quickly but before departing accidentally set fire to Nero’s architectural plans. The Emperor notices this and decides to burn down the city, thanking the Doctor and deciding after all to spare his life. A rabble are bribed into starting the blaze and while anarchy rages Ian is helped into the palace by Tavius, who reunites him with Barbara. Under Tavius’ eye the two are allowed to escape and make their way from Rome and back to the villa. Delos helps them get clear of the palace, parting from his friend Ian. The Doctor and Vicki also escape the city, watching it burn from a nearby hill.

By the time the Doctor and Vicki return to the villa, Ian and Barbara have spruced themselves up, and the Doctor mistakenly assumes that they have not even left the villa. All four leave in the TARDIS but have barely begun to travel when a strange force starts dragging the ship to an unknown location.

Direct download: TDP_82_Romans.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:41am UTC

TDP 81: The Rescue and Transit of Venus


The TARDIS crew is still missing Susan Foreman when the ship lands on a planet the Doctor eventually recognises as Dido, a world he has visited before. The trio soon encounter two survivors of a space crash, Vicki and Bennett, who are awaiting a rescue ship, due to arrive in three days time. Vicki and Bennett live in fear of Koquillion, a bipedal inhabitant of Dido which is stalking the area. Koquillion encounters the time travellers and attacks, pushing Barbara over a cliff and temporarily trapping Ian and the Doctor. Vicki finds Barbara injured and rescues her from Koquillion, and they share reminiscences. Vicki’s father was amongst those who died when the survivors of the crash, save Bennett and Vicki, were lured to their deaths by the natives of Dido. She is evidently very lonely, having befriended an indigenous Sand Beast for company. However, when Ian and the Doctor reach the ship tempers are fraught because Barbara mistook the Sand Beast for a threat and killed it.

The Doctor enters Bennett's room, and finds things are not as they seem. The supposedly crippled Bennett is missing, and a tape recorder hides his absence. He finds a trap door in the floor of the cabin and follows it to a temple carved from rock where he unmasks Koquillion as Bennett. Bennett reveals he killed a crewmember on board the ship and was arrested, but the ship crashed before the crime could be radioed to Earth. It was he who killed the crash survivors and the natives of Dido to cover his crime. He has been using the Koquillion alias so that Vicki would back up his story. Just as Bennett is about to kill the Doctor, two surviving native Didonians arrive and force Bennett to his death over a ledge. With no living family and nothing left for her on Dido, Vicki is welcomed aboard the TARDIS.


Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"The Powerful Enemy" 2 January 1965 26:15 12.0 16mm t/r
"Desperate Measures" 9 January 1965 24:36 13.0 16mm t/r

The series would not feature another two-part serial until a decade later with The Sontaran Experiment, although the format would become a regular feature in the Fifth Doctor era of the 1980s.

Alternative titles

  • The story had the working title Doctor Who and Tanni, which was the original name for Vicki.
  • The 1973 Radio Times 10th anniversary special called the story The Powerful Enemy, as it titled all the early stories by the title of the first episode. Some subsequent listings repeated this error, as did the story's broadcast on some American PBS stations.

Cast notes

To preserve the mystery of its true identity, Koquillion was originally credited as being played by "Sydney Wilson" — a name made up by the production team in tribute to two of the creators of Doctor Who, Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson. This was the first instance of an alias being used, in the credits, for a cast member in order to conceal a plot twist in Doctor Who.

Doctor Who book
Book cover
The Rescue
Series Target novelisations
Release number 124
Writer Ian Marter
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Tony Clark
ISBN 0 426 20309 7
Release date August 1987 (Hardback)

21st January 1988 (Paperback)

Preceded by The Macra Terror
Followed by Terror of the Vervoids

Commercial releases

This story was released in 1994, on a double VHS With The Romans. It has also been anounced by the BBFC website that 'The Rescue' along with The Romans will be released on DVD on 23 February 2009. The DVD will have a commentary track featuring star William Russell, designer Ray Cusik & director Christopher Barry.

In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Ian Marter (the actor who played companion Harry Sullivan during the Fourth Doctor era), was published by Target Books in August 1987, nearly a year after his death. Marter died soon after completing the manuscript, which was subsequently edited (with some new material added) by Nigel Robinson, editor of the Target Books line. According to Robinson, he did not have to do too many changes to Marter's manuscript, although he did have to remove an apparent reference to fellatio in an early chapter.


Performed by William Russell as Ian Chesterton with Ian Hallard as Joseph Banks

(Duration: 60' Approx)


William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Ian Hallard (Joseph Banks)

The year is 1770, and daring explorer Captain James Cook and his crew on the Endeavour are navigating the Pacific Ocean.

Into their midst come strangers: the Doctor and Ian Chesterton, who are believed to have come from Venus. But the TARDIS is lost to them - along with both Susan and Barbara - and Ian makes an enemy of the ship's chief scientist, Joseph Banks.

Why is Banks acting strangely? Could it be that the travellers are not the only visitors from the stars?
AUTHOR: Jacqueline Rayner
DIRECTOR:Nigel Fairs
SOUND DESIGN:David DarlingtonMUSIC:David Darlington
RECORDED DATE:3 November 2008RELEASE DATE:31 January 2009
Direct download: TDP_81_RESCUE_AND_VENUS.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 11:44am UTC

TDP 80: Warriors Gate and The Key 2 Time Part 0 and 1

Warriors' Gate is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from January 3 to January 24, 1981. The serial is the last of three loosely connected serials known as the E-Space trilogy and the last to feature Romana and K-9 as companions.



[edit] Plot

[edit] Synopsis

At a null point in space and time on the interface between our universe (n-space) and E-space (exo-space), a slaver cargo vessel becomes trapped. It manoeuvres the timelines using members of the leonine Tharil race as navigators – and they too are the cargo of the grim vessel, held in cryogenic storage in its hold. A Tharil named Biroc flees the craft on the time winds, leaving it moored and trapped, and ventures to the TARDIS, which has also become trapped in a time rift in this strange dimension. The creature manifests itself in the TARDIS console room and imparts to the occupants the warning that he is a shadow of his own past -- and of their future; and that the others that are following him should not be trusted. The Tharil then disappears, with the Doctor in pursuit. Romana, and Adric are left worried about K-9, whose memory wafers have been shredded by the time winds.

The commander of the slave ship, Rorvik, is increasingly angry about their entrapment in the void and the general apathy of his crew toward their condition. When the ship picks up another object in the void, he and two of his crew members use a portable mass detector to track down the TARDIS. Romana steps outside to confront them and is persuaded to return to their ship with them to examine the damaged warp drive of their ship. Rorvik has, however, worked out she may be a time sensitive like the Tharils and is interested in her for potential profit. Adric and K9 both venture separately into the void in her pursuit.

The Doctor has meanwhile reached a vast stone archway in the void, containing an abandoned banqueting hall, decaying skeletons and partially functioning robot knights known as Gundans. They were built by slaves as part of a revolt against a previous tyranny that ended in a massacre at the feast in the same hall. The slavers used the time winds to descend on worlds and enslave the populations. K9 arrives at the Gateway too and begins to help the Doctor repair the Gundan, which has worn itself out. However, before they can obtain any more information Rorvik arrives with some of his crew and seizes control at the point of a gun. Romana has been taken back to the slaver ship for use as a navigator, while Rorvik has used the portable mass detector to isolate the Gateway. He becomes angry when a Gundan comes to life and walks out of the room straight through a solid mirror, and challenges the Doctor to explain the situation. His response is to walk through the mirror: a step the human slavers behind him cannot take.

Back on the slave ship, a Tharil called Lazlo, who had been left for dead by the slavers when his revivification process seemingly failed, frees Romana from certain death in the navigator’s chair. She hides in the hull of the ship and there finds Adric, and together they work out the slave ship is made of the incredibly dense dwarf star alloy, the remnants of a collapsed star. This heavy metal is the only thing that can hold the Tharils trapped in a single timeline. When they meet K9, the badly damaged robot informs them of dimensional instability and the imminent collapse of the void, which is contracting upon itself. The sheer weight of the slave ship is damaging the delicate balance holding the dimension together. Romana is shortly afterward separated from Adric and K9 and reunited with Lazlo, who takes her through the mirrors too.

Beyond the mirror the Doctor has found Biroc, who explains he was able to pass through because his hand was caught in the time winds. They enter an elegant mansion, seemingly frozen in time, where the Tharil explains that his people were the notorious slavers of the Gateway whose rule was overthrown by the use of the Gundans. As the sorry tale of the decay of their society is retold, the Doctor is reunited with Romana but in a bizarre twist they are returned to the reality of the decaying Gateway in the void once the Tharils’ story has been told – and once more find themselves prisoners of Rorvik.

Based on the reports of the shrinking of the Gateway, the Doctor deduces that the slave ship is indeed the cause of the problems and – more worryingly – there is not much time before the Gateway retracts into nothing. Adric has meanwhile hidden himself inside the MZ, a vast portable cannon which the slavers are going to use on the Gateway and the mirrors in an effort to escape the void. When the weapon reaches the Gateway he uses it to free the Doctor and Romana, and the time travellers flee into the void. When the slavers set out in pursuit they find their ship has moved much closer to the gateway – proof positive that the dimension is shrinking and therefore doomed. In frustration Rorvik fires the MZ at the mirrors, but succeeds only in destroying the weapon. The crazed and infuriated slaver now decides to use his ship’s engines to back-blast through the mirrors and escape the void. It is a foolish move: the backblast from the mirrors engulfs and destroys the ship and all its crew.

The Tharil slaves have, however, been freed by Lazlo and Romana, who has formed an empathy with the race. She elects to voyage through the Gateway with them and help the Tharils. The Doctor gives her K9, who will be restored beyond the Gateway, though he can never return. After they depart, the Doctor uses the knowledge he has gained from the Tharils to successfully pilot the TARDIS through the Gateway and back into N-Space.

[edit] Continuity

This serial comprises the third and final leg of an extended adventure generally known as the "The E-Space Trilogy"; the trilogy began in Full Circle, and continued in State of Decay.

The multi-coloured scarf can be seen on the hatstand.

[edit] Departures

This story was the last story to feature Lalla Ward as Romana. Two months after her departure, Ward went on to marry her co-star Tom Baker in 1981, but the marriage lasted less than two years. Ward is one of two former companions to ever be married to an actor who played the Doctor. The other was Jean Marsh, who played the First Doctor's companion, Sara Kingdom, was married to Jon Pertwee, although the marriage occurred prior to Pertwee landing the role of the Third Doctor.

Ward was seen again as Romana on television in The Five Doctors (1983) (via footage of her and Tom Baker from the unaired story of Shada (1980)) and reprised her role in the Children in Need charity special Dimensions in Time (1993). She continues to participate in the world of Doctor Who by attending conventions, recording audio commentary on DVD releases, performing in several Big Finish audio dramas and by appearing in the BBC's online drama webcasts.

This story was also the last television story of the classic series to feature the character of K-9 Mk. II, played by John Leeson. Leeson, who left the series at the end of Season 16, returned for Season 18 on the understanding that K-9 would be written out toward the end of the season.[citation needed]

The character of K-9 (Mk. III and Mk. IV), voiced again by John Leeson would return in the 1981 spin-off episode, K9 & Company, the 1983 anniversary special, The Five Doctors and the 2006 episode "School Reunion". He would later pop up twice in the first series of spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. He also appears in the Series Four Finale, Journey's End.

Romana and K-9's journey in E-space is continued in two BBV audio plays.

[edit] Production

Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Part One" 3 January 1981 22:54 7.1
"Part Two" 10 January 1981 23:47 6.7
"Part Three" 17 January 1981 22:15 8.3
"Part Four" 24 January 1981 24:53 7.8

Working titles for this story included Dream Time.

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and Warriors' Gate
Series Target novelisations
Release number 71
Writer Stephen Gallagher
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0 426 20146 9
Release date 15 April 1982
Preceded by Doctor Who and the State of Decay
Followed by Doctor Who and the Keeper of Traken

Commercial releases

  • This story was released on VHS in October 1997.
  • A DVD commentary has been recorded with actors Lalla Ward and John Leeson Script Editor Christopher H. Bidmead Visual Effects Designer Mat Irvine and Director Paul Joyce and was released on January 26th 2009 in a box set with Full Circle & State of Decay.

In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Stephen Gallagher under the pseudonym "John Lydecker", was published by Target Books in April 1982.

Direct download: TDP_80_WIP.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:03pm UTC

TDP 79: State of Decay and Master of War  

Continuing the Doctor's adventures in E-Space, the Doctor, Romana, K-9, and their newest companion/stowaway, Adric, arrive on a planet experiencing what appears to be a feudal period. The population scratches out a living as subsistence farmers under the thrall of three local lords, Zargo, Camilla, and Aukon, who dwell in a shadowy tower. Adding further fear to their lives, they experience a yearly ritual called "the Selection," in which a sample of young villagers are taken to the tower, never to be seen again. This selection process is enforced by a thuggish band of guards led by Habris.

The Doctor and Romana venture out into the village (not knowing that Adric is following them), and it doesn't take long for the Doctor to realize that something is very wrong when he discovers evidence of technology considerably more advanced than what this medieval society seems capable of producing. With such technology, the Doctor and Romana wonder what happened in the course of the planet's development to cause it to evolve "backward" from a presumably advanced culture to its current rustic condition -- to be in a "state of decay." The arrival and then departure of the Doctor and Romana from the village hall is reported by the headman, Ivo, via an electronic communications device to an unseen figure called Kalmar. As the two head out of the village they are seized by cloaked figures who convey them to a secret base filled with illegal computers and other technology. Kalmar is a scientist - a heretical role in their society - and is very grateful for the Doctor's help in repairing a computer which proceeds to reveal the names of the original chief officers of the spaceship Hydrax. The faces of three senior officers are revealed as those of the Lords of the Tower.

The Lords too have learnt of Romana and the Doctor, and Aukon sends a flock of his winged servants, bats, (aka "The Wasting") to menace them as they travel a clearing near the village.

The Doctor and Romana are now seized by Habris and his guards and taken to an audience in the Tower. Zargo and Camilla entertain them for a while, then are called away to deal with a situation called the Arising. The Doctor and Romana start to snoop around and discover that in fact, the great Tower in which the Lords dwell is itself a spaceship originally from Earth, which also somehow was pulled into E-Space long ago.

Adric has meanwhile wandered into the village and finds himself looked after by Ivo and his wife Marta, both of whom are grieving for their late son who was chosen for the Selection.

In the Hydrax the Doctor and Romana discover rows of corpses drained of blood, while the craft's fuel stores are full of blood. Talk turns to vampires. They head downwards and find an amphitheatre. It is there that the Lord Aukon greets them, welcoming them to his domain.

Aukon invites the Doctor and Romana to become the first of the new servants of the Chosen Ones then tells them that he has Adric much to their surprise. When they refuse they are imprisoned. The Doctor deduces by applying principles of consonant shifting that the current lords' names are a corruption of the original crew names (e.g. "Sharky" becomes "Zargo"). Thus the Doctor realizes that the three lords might not be descendants of the original crew, but members of the original crew themselves. He is reminded of ancient Time Lord stories of the Great Vampires, a giant race of rapacious, destructive, and powerful creatures that were ancient enemies of the Time Lords themselves. He deduces that the Great Vampire escaped destruction at the hands of the Time Lords by somehow retreating into E-Space, and it managed eventually to gather enough power to pull the old Earth ship into this universe and corrupt the crew. Over time, it licked its wounds and gathered power so that it could once again feast on worlds.

Meanwhile, Adric's attempts to mingle with the natives have led to him getting caught up in the Selection. He is put under a hypnotic trance by Aukon and accompanies him to the tower. Normally, the Chosen Ones are chosen for Guards or killed if they defy the Three Who Rule, but Aukon has other plans for Adric when he finds, to his surprise, something different about the third stranger. Aukon plots to change Adric into the new Chosen.

Another rebel named Tarak, makes a solo attack on the Tower in the hope of freeing the Doctor and Romana. The Doctor returns to the TARDIS, while Romana stays with Tarak to search for Adric, whom she knows now is in the Tower's Inner Sanctum. As they try to snap Adric out of his trance, they unknowingly awaken Zargo and Camilla. Tarak is literally throttled by Zargo and dies when his neck snaps on the edge of the "bed". Adric throws a knife at Zargo's heart and Camilla advances on Adric. Romana backs away but Zargo grabs her shoulder. With a toothy evil grin, he chuckles as he pulls the knife out of his heart and is about to give a fatal blow to Romana.

Romana closes her eyes as Zargo draws his arm back for a fatal blow but Aukon orders him to stop. "The boy," he says "is the first of the Chosen Ones, soon to be one of us. He is not for you!" Camilla then asks to have Romana. Aukon grabs Romana's chin and says gloatingly, "The girl is a Timelord, one of the enemies of the Great One. She is to be held for sacrifice at the time of Arising!" Romana and Adric argue about their fate. Adric says if it's a choice between death and joining the dine that means there's no sense in two of them getting the chop. Adric asks Aukon why he is being kept prisoner when Romana is the sacrifice and he is a Chosen One. "I'm sorry Timelady. One of my families died for your lot already. I reckon one's enough!" Romana asks Adric if he knows what happens to vampires when they die. Adric smugly replies "But they don't die, do they Aukon!". They are taken to the bottom of the Tower (as shown in the picture above), where Romana will be sacrificed at the time of Arising and Adric will indeed become a Chosen One.

In the TARDIS the Doctor and K-9 review the old stories about vampires. The lore that the Doctor and K-9 uncovers determines that the Great Vampires could only be defeated by metal bowships driven through their chests (rather like the wooden stakes that work on lesser vampires). He takes the craft to Kalmar's base and there uses scanning equipment to scan the Tower. Under the lake of blood he finds a restless, demonic presence, whom he determines to be the last Great Vampire. He warns it is about to be revived. Kalmar, Ivo and many other villagers agree to help him fight back. This rebel army and K9 make an assault on the Tower itself, killing collaborator guards. Ivo finds Habris and tells him "This is for my son!" and then kills him. The Doctor heads off to the peak of the Tower and, in a burst of characteristic ingenuity, the Doctor manages to rig one of the old scoutships still attached to the spaceship/tower to launch and achieve a trajectory that caused it to point back toward the ground and drive itself into the heart of the subterranean Great Vampire, thus duplicating the effect of the "metal bowships" of Time Lord history.

With the Great Vampire dispatched, the three vampire Lords crumble to dust without the power of their master to sustain them. The Doctor finds Romana and Adric. Together with K9 they leave the planet to its own fate, hoping that, now freed from the corruptive effect of the vampires, it will change direction and develop once again toward its former advanced state and even perhaps surpass it. He leaves the planet in Kalmar's hands, while hoping the next journeys in the TARDIS will take Adric home and lead the craft back out of E-Space.


This serial comprises the second leg of an extended adventure generally known as the "The E-Space Trilogy"; the trilogy began in the previous serial, Full Circle, and concludes in Warriors' Gate.

The Doctor mentions his childhood on Gallifrey and "an old hermit who lived up a mountain behind our house [and] used to tell me ghost stories" – tales of the Time Lord's war with the Vampires. This is the first mention of the Doctor's mentor from his youth since his last regeneration. This figure, K'Anpo (or Cho-Je) is first mentioned in The Time Monster and seen in Planet of the Spiders.

The Great Vampires are mentioned by the Tenth Doctor in "The Infinite Quest".

Tie-in media

The Virgin New Adventures spin-off novel Blood Harvest by Terrance Dicks and the Missing Adventure Goth Opera by Paul Cornell are sequels to this serial. Other Doctor Who novels featuring vampires include Vampire Science and Warmonger.

Many of the novels feature references to the war between the Time Lords and the Vampires. Another anti-Vampire weapon, the N-Forms, were introduced by Russell T Davies in his New Adventures novel Damaged Goods. Bowships are mentioned in the Doctor Who Annual 2006 as one of the weapons used in the Time War against the Daleks, along with N-Forms and Black Hole Carriers.

The Fourth Doctor segment of The Eight Doctors, in which the Fourth Doctor is captured by the last few surviving vampires and is rescued by Romana and the Eighth Doctor, takes place between the destruction of the Great Vampire and the end of this story.

The Big Finish Productions audio dramas Project: Twilight, Project Lazarus, and Zagreus refer to the vampires and to their history with the Time Lords. The BBC audio webcast Death Comes to Time features a vampire named Nessican.


Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Part One" 22 November 1980 22:24 5.8
"Part Two" 29 November 1980 23:16 5.3
"Part Three" 6 December 1980 24:13 4.4
"Part Four" 13 December 1980 24:54 5.4
  • Working titles for this story included The Wasting and The Vampire Mutations.
  • The serial was a re-written version of a story called The Witch Lords which Dicks had submitted to the series in 1977, but which had been pulled just before production and replaced with Horror of Fang Rock.
  • This was one of two serials to feature a highly improved K-9 prop. The other was Warriors' Gate.
Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and the State of Decay
Series Target novelisations
Release number 58
Writer Terrance Dicks
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Andrew Skilleter
ISBN 0 426 20133 7
Release date 14 January 1982
Preceded by An Unearthly Child
Followed by Doctor Who and Warriors' Gate

Commercial releases

  • This story was released on VHS in October 1997. On the video, one tiny scene is omitted that was previously on the TVOntario version. In Part 4, K-9 is perched on the thrones of Zargo & Camilla, determining the moment when the Doctor is activating the scout ship. When he tells the rebels to evacuate the Tower, a rebel lifts him down and they escape.
  • A DVD commentary with Terrance Dicks, Matthew Waterhouse and Peter Moffatt has been recorded and it was released on January 26th 2009 in a box set with Warriors Gate & Full Circle.

In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in September 1981. A condensed version of the book was read by Tom Baker and released on cassette.

Audio Book


A new adventure for a new Doctor in a new Dimension…

The Doctor and his travelling companion, retired army officer Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, take a random trip in the TARDIS - and land on the planet Skaro. The Doctor helped the Thals to defeat the Daleks years ago, so he is surprised to find the Thal city under Dalek occupation. He determines to help them again, but what is the Daleks' purpose in keeping the Thals alive? Does it have anything to do with the Daleks' mythical creator, named in their teachings as Davros?



External links

Direct download: TDP_79_State_of_Decay_and_Master_of_War.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 9:21pm UTC

TDP 78: The Next Doctor and The Proms

"The Next Doctor" is an episode of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who that was broadcast on 25 December 2008 and is the fourth Christmas special of the revived series.[3]

David Tennant stars as the Tenth Doctor, David Morrissey plays the titular "Next Doctor", and Velile Tshabalala plays the latter's companion Rosita.[4][5]

This special sees the return of the Cybermen, (of the design of the parallel universe's Cybus Industries Cybermen[6][7]), following their previous appearance in the two-part finale of Series Two in 2006, "Army of Ghosts"[8]/"Doomsday".[9]

During its original airing, the episode had a viewing audience of 13.1 million viewers. It was the second most watched programme of Christmas Day 2008.



[edit] Plot

The Doctor lands in London on Christmas Eve, 1851, where he encounters a woman called Rosita and another man who calls himself 'The Doctor'. After failing to capture a Cybershade, the two men talk, with the Tenth Doctor believing the other to be a future regeneration. Unfortunately, the other (dubbed 'the Next Doctor') is lacking many memories. Meanwhile, the Cybermen are planning an attack with a human ally, Miss Mercy Hartigan. The Tenth Doctor follows the Next Doctor to a house of a dead man, Reverend Aubrey Fairchild, where they search for clues to what the Cybermen are planning. The Next Doctor begins to regain some of his lost memories; when the Tenth Doctor finds a pair of 'infostamps' (the Cybermen's data storage devices) the Next Doctor remembers he was holding one the night he lost his memory. The Cybermen then attack the house, but before they can kill the 'Doctors', the Next Doctor kills them with an electrical charge in the infostamp.

At the Reverend's funeral, Miss Hartigan and the Cybermen attack the mourners, sparing four who are subsequently fitted with Ear-Pods and dispatched by Miss Hartigan to their workhouses to recruit the children. Returning to the Next Doctor's home base, the Tenth Doctor is shown the other's TARDIS "Tethered Aerial Release Developed In Style" - a gas balloon. Realising what has happened, the Doctor explains that the Cybermen have escaped from the Void (following the Battle of Canary Wharf) when the walls of the universe were weakened in "a greater battle". The Cybermen came upon a man named Jackson Lake, the first person to disappear, attacking him and his wife. In the confusion, Lake destroyed the Cybermen with an infostamp (one containing information on the Doctor gleaned from the Daleks), as earlier in the house, but it also backfired, overwhelming Lake's mind with information about the Doctor. In despair at losing his wife, Lake came to believe he was the Doctor. Meanwhile, the children are taken to a sluice gate to the Thames. The Doctor and Rosita investigate and are confronted by Miss Hartigan, who explains that the Cybermen offered her liberation. The Doctor returns the infostamp to the Cybermen, who download it, confirming him as their foe. Miss Hartigan orders the Cybermen to delete the pair, but Lake appears and destroys the Cybermen with another infostamp, allowing them to escape. A furious Miss Hartigan announces that "the CyberKing will rise tonight!"

Lake reveals that he and his family were attacked at their new house and the Doctor realises it may lead to the Cybermen base. There, they find a Dimension Vault, stolen Dalek technology that allowed the Cybermen to escape the Void. In the Cybermen base, the captive children are working to generate power to allow the CyberKing to ascend. Hartigan is betrayed by the CyberLeader and 'converted' to the CyberKing - thus receiving liberation from her anger and hatred. However, she proves too powerful to control, and uses her new powers to obliterate the CyberLeader. The Doctor, Rosita and Jackson evacuate the children, including Jackson's son who was abducted when he was attacked. However, the CyberKing - a giant Cyberman-shaped robot ship - emerges from the Thames and begins to lay waste to London. Using the gas balloon, the Doctor confronts Hartigan and offers her a chance to live in peace. When she refuses, the Doctor uses the infostamps to sever her connection from the CyberKing. Realising what she has become, Hartigan screams in horror destroying the Cybermen and herself. Before the CyberKing can collapse on the city, the Doctor uses the dimension vault to transport it into the Time vortex. In the aftermath, Jackson thanks the Doctor for what he has done and offers him a place at his Christmas celebration with Rosita and his son. They walk away, to a Christmas dinner in honour of those they have lost.

[edit] Continuity

  • When trying to trigger Jackson's memories, the Doctor refers to 'not blinking', 'weeping angels' and 'Sally Sparrow', all of which featured in "Blink". The Doctor also refers obliquely to past companions, noting to Lake that they either leave him, meet someone else or forget about him.
  • The Doctor mentions the events of "Doomsday". This is the first episode since "Doomsday" that the Cybermen have appeared in Doctor Who, although the Doctor Who spin-off series, Torchwood, furthered that story in the episode "Cyberwoman". These Cybermen have survived the apparent destruction of the Void, using Dalek technology developed in the Void to pass through dimensions. It is also implied by the Doctor that the events of the fourth series allowed the Cybermen to escape the Void, as it also allowed Rose Tyler to return to her own universe.

[edit] Production

[edit] Writing

Pre-broadcast publicity, based on excerpts from Davies' book Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale, revealed that the Doctor would meet a man played by David Morrissey who also claims to be the Doctor. In further excerpts, Davies commented, "The best title for this episode would be The Two Doctors... but maybe not. The New Doctor, perhaps? Or The Next Doctor? I quite like The Next Doctor."[10] The book also contained two pictures from a scene cut from the end of the previous episode, intended to segue into the special echoing the previous two series. This scene was included on the series boxset.

Following the success of last year's Christmas special, "Voyage of the Damned", which guest starred pop star Kylie Minogue as one-off companion Astrid Peth, Russell T Davies had initially felt tempted to copy this format with another high-profile guest star, but decided against it after jokingly offering up "Cheryl Cole on board the Hindenburg" as an example.[4]

Regarding the unanswered question of why a gigantic robot in London 1851 "isn't in the history books", Davies and Gardner jokingly offer several possibilities ranging from there being alternate history of Doctor Who England, pointing out "a spaceship didn't fly into the Big Ben in 2006 either" (in the episode "Aliens of London") or that perhaps "maybe everyone was retconned by the soon-to-be-born Torchwood, or something."[5]

Davies, from a writer's standpoint, was also unhappy with the final scene in the episode where the Doctor gets rid of the CyberKing with the convenient Dalek dimension vault but he couldn't during the writing process think of another way to stop London being crushed by a giant robot. However, after the episode was produced, a different idea came to him. In this alternate ending Davies imagines, Miss Hartigan "should have destroyed the Cybermen when she screamed... but she's still in the chair", as the CyberKing falls to the Earth, the Doctor calls out to her saying "Save them." This version would have Hartigan redeem herself as she is the one to cause the CyberKing to disappear, with no need for what Davies calls "a silly Dalek continuum dimension vault". Julie Gardner felt this would have been a superior, "marvellous" ending and Davies says he "can't bear that there could have been a better ending than we actually transmitted".[5]

Davies also feels he would like to write a BBC Books novel, set in the midst of that brief scene where Jackson Lake is in the Doctor's TARDIS in which the Doctor takes Jackson to another planet, ending with the "no no no scene" before Jackson invites the Doctor to spend Christmas dinner with him.[5]

[edit] Locations

Filming for this episode was conducted in April 2008 at Gloucester Cathedral [11][12] and St Woolos Cemetery in Newport, [13] and in the streets of Gloucester, where shooting was hampered by up to 1,000 onlookers. The main setting of Torchwood, their Torchwood Hub was also redesigned and used as the workshop for the children.[5]

[edit] Casting

David Morrissey is the main guest star, playing "a character called The Doctor – a man who believes himself to be a Time Lord".[14] He was influenced in his performance by previous Doctor actors William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker, as he believed there was "a truth" to their performances because they "never saw [Doctor Who] as a genre show or a children's show".[15] He is joined by Velile Tshabalala as Rosita, the companion to Morrissey's "Doctor", whom Russell T Davies describes as "probably cleverer than the two of them [the Doctors] put together". For Tshabalala, the character came naturally because her "feisty cockney girl" characterisation was very "close to home" for her.[16]

Dervla Kirwan plays Mercy Hartigan, who Russell T Davies describes in the episode's podcast commentary as "a dark a villain as you will ever have". A lot of her characterisation goes unstated, but Russell discussed it in long conversations with Dervla Kirwan and fellow executive producer Julie Gardner. Davies characterises Miss Hartigan as "a victim of abuse", for whom the subtext suggests a "terrible backstory" which is symptomatic of her being "part of [this] Victorian Age." Davies describes this as being "a powerless woman who's been in servitude or far worse all her life", but holds his tongue from saying her precise profession, relaying: "I'm talking quite discreetly around this because there are children listening and watching and there's only so far I should go." He does however explain that "She's had terrible things done to her" which is responsible for her "really twisted character where she sexualises everything." In terms of costume, "she wears red" because "everything's inflammatory with her". "And in the end, actually" Davies discusses how to escape her male oppression she "becomes a man, she becomes the CyberKing. She has to go through this extraordinary process because she's so damaged."[5]


Millennium FX's Neil Gorton's original design for the Cybershade took the existing Cyberman design and "refurbished" it by adding rivets and a copper finish. The design was cost-effective but Russell T Davies did not believe it was the right approach. He sketched a new design for the Cybershade that was "a crude version of a Cyberman, all angular and blocky, with its trademark handlebars set at a jaunty angle and shrouded in flowing black robes". Gorton used Davies' sketch to create a fibreglass mask that the Cybershade actors wore over their heads. Costume designer Louise Paige made the flowing robes, that were "light enough to not restrict movement" to complete the Cybershade costume.

Originally, Gardner relayed that there was a widespread dissatisfaction with Hartigan's CyberKing crown. The original helmet, he remarked "was like the Cyberwoman's head from Torchwood" (referring to the episode "Cyberwoman"), literally "a Cyberman's head on Dervla Kirwan" or "as if Dervla Kirwan decided to go to a [fancy dress] party as a Cyberman." Davies' response was "Oh my lord, no." The production team however worked hard, and in two days produced the final headpiece seen in the episode which Davies described as "beautiful", because it's "Victorian and it fits the design." In the scene after the headpiece is placed on her, Dervla wore black contact lenses and SFX company The Mill helped to get rid of "any traces of white" in post-production.


Preliminary figures show that the episode had a viewing audience of 11.71 million during its original airing, with a peak at 12.58 million viewers, and a 50.5% share of the 18:00 timeslot it was shown. It was the second most watched programme of Christmas Day 2008, behind Wallace and Gromit's A Matter of Loaf and Death. Final viewing figures show an audience of 13.1 million viewers.

The episode had an Appreciation Index figure of 86 (considered "Excellent"), making it the second most enjoyed programme on mainstream television on Christmas Day. The only programme to score higher was Wallace and Gromit's A Matter of Loaf and Death, which scored 88. Australia, the ABC will broadcast the episode much earlier than usual on Sunday 25 January at 19:30.


Direct download: TDP_78_Next_Doctor_and_Proms.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 1:31pm UTC

Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans to guest star in Planet Of The Dead

The BBC has confirmed that Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans will guest star in the forthcoming Doctor Who Easter Special which began filming this week in Wales.

Michelle, best known for her roles as Zoe Slater in EastEnders, and Jaime Sommers in the recent remake of Bionic Woman, will play the mysterious Lady Christina de Souza in the special episode entitled Planet of the Dead. Christina joins the Doctor on a bus-trip which takes a very unexpected detour into danger.

"I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who and very excited to be joining David Tennant and the Doctor Who team," said Michelle. "It is such a fantastic show and I can't wait to get started!"

One of Britain's best loved and biggest comedy stars, Lee Evans, will also be joining the cast playing a character called Malcolm, whose life becomes connected to the Doctor's under extraordinary circumstances.

Planet of the Dead is the first of four Doctor Who Specials which will air in 2009. Michelle joins David Tennant as he continues his role as The Doctor, and Noma Dumezweni who returns as Captain Erisa Magambo - last seen helping Rose and Donna save the world in Turn Left.

"Michelle is one of the most sought after young actors in the country and we are delighted to announce that she will be joining the team," said Executive Producer and writer Russell T Davies. "As always the script is being kept strictly under wraps - however we can reveal that Lady Christina is a woman with a mysterious past who's going to have a huge impact on the Doctor!"

Planet of the Dead, written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts, is currently in production and will be screened on BBC One in Spring 2009.

Category:Information -- posted at: 9:50am UTC

TDP 77: Full Circle

Full Circle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

112 – Full Circle
Doctor Who serial

A Marshman emerges from underwater.
Doctor Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor)
Companions John Leeson (K-9 Mk. II)

Lalla Ward (Romana II)
Guest stars
Writer Andrew Smith
Director Peter Grimwade
Script editor Christopher H. Bidmead
Producer John Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s) Barry Letts
Production code 5R
Series Season 18
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast October 25November 15, 1980
← Preceded by Followed by →
Meglos State of Decay

Full Circle is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from October 25 to November 15, 1980. The serial is the first of three loosely connected serials known as the E-Space trilogy and introduces Matthew Waterhouse as the Doctor's newest companion, Adric.


En route to Gallifrey to return Romana to the High Council of Time Lords, the TARDIS passes through a strange phenomenon and ends up in an alternative universe called E-Space. Neither the Doctor nor Romana herself (who is a little relieved to have avoided home) can calculate why the TARDIS scanner shows the Capitol of their planet when in fact they have arrived in a verdant forest. It later emerges they have journeyed to this pocket universe through a rare space/time phenomenon known as a Charged Vacuum Emboitment.

Nearby is a small but sustainable civilisation of humanoids who live between a river and a grounded but not irreparable spaceship called the Starliner. They came to the planet Alzarius from Terradon and much of the focus of society is on repairing their craft to make it navigable once more. It is an oligarchy ruled by three self-selecting senior colonists knows as Deciders, who ensure the smooth running and order of their adopted world and lay particular store on technical ability. One of the brightest of the younger generation of colonists is Adric, who bears a Badge of Mathematical Excellence in recognition of his computational skills.

However, his brother, Varsh, has rejected the regimented society of the Starliner and leads a band of rebels called Outlers, who steal harvested riverfruit and other foods to survive. However, all is not well in the colony. Strange eggs have started to appear in the riverfruit and this is interpreted by First Decider Draith using the precious System File of the Starliner as an omen of Mistfall, a strange periodic change to the planet during which the natural balance of society is threatened. Soon Mistfall begins, and the colonists move into the Starliner to protect themselves, apparently in a well prepared manner. Adric chooses the moment of confusion to try and steal some riverfruit to prove himself to his brother. Draith gives chase to his young protégé but falls and lands in the river – only to be dragged beneath the waves by a strange force. His last words are aimed at the chief scientists of the colony: “Tell Dexeter we've come full circle!" Adric muses on this as he heads into the forest in panic, finding the TARDIS. The Doctor and Romana take him in and tend to his leg wound, which recovers remarkably quickly. The Doctor heads off to investigate the planet, while Adric attracts Varsh and the other Outlers to the protection of the TARDIS.

The two other Deciders, Garif and Nefred, have meanwhile ordered the Starliner doors closed as per procedure, knowing that both Draith and Keara, an Outler and the daughter of a prominent citizen called Login, have not entered the ship safely. Despite his worries, Login soon accepts a position as Third Decider when it is determined that Draith has died. It is as well the doors have been closed – humanoid, aggressive Marshmen begin to appear from underwater, looking threatening (as shown in the picture above); and soon scuttling Marshspiders hatch from the eggs of the Riverfruit. The Marshmen beat on the walls of the Starliner to gain entry but the fearsome primitive creatures are not admitted. The Doctor, however, gains entry to the Starliner using his sonic screwdriver, followed by a young and inquisitive Marshchild. Both of them are soon found and taken before the Three Deciders. The Doctor is appalled when chief scientist Dexeter starts to perform vivisection experiments on the Marshchild.

A group of Marshmen have meanwhile carried the TARDIS to a settlement cave, intending to use it as a battering ram to force their way into the Starliner. Romana decides to venture outside. She is bitten by one of the Marshspiders and starts to change, seeming possessed. Adric panics and materialises the TARDIS inside the Starliner. When the Outlers emerge Login is reunited with his daughter, but the Doctor is not impressed not to be reunited with Romana. Thus he pilots the TARDIS back to the cave, and finds an alert but amnesiac Romana. The Doctor scoops up the remains of a Marshspider and then reverses his journey once more with Adric and an unconscious Romana in tow. By the time he is back in the Starliner, however, Dexeter has tried to examine the brain of the Marshchild, provoking it to attack and kill him and itself. The Doctor is so incensed he turns on the Deciders and denounces their society – revealing secret ship controls that show the Starliner has been ready to pilot from Alzarius for centuries but, for some reason, the farce of constant repair has been continued. The problem it seems is that though the Deciders understand the technical construction of the ship, no-one knows how to pilot it.

The Doctor persuades the Deciders to give him equipment to examine the cells of the marshspider and marshchild and also deduces that they are from identical DNA sources. This situation is complicated, however, when a transformed Romana releases the emergency exits and allows the Marshmen to invade the Starliner. The colonists retreat before the creatures, many of whom are more inquisitive than dangerous, but anarchy reigns. Nefred is mortally wounded while fleeing one room, but his last admission is that the colonists cannot return to Terradon, because they've never been there. It is realized that the present-day Alzarians are actually a subspecies of the Marshmen, who wiped out the Starliner's original Terradonian crew and then gradually evolved into human form to take their place.

The Doctor uses a protein serum to cure Romana, and they determine from research in the ship's science unit that the ship has been maintained for 40,000 generations by a species that has three aspects; spiders, marshmen, and the current humanoids. They are all from the same DNA and thus have come "full circle". This is the real secret of the System Files.

It is accidentally deduced that oxygen in pure form is problematic to the Marshmen, who have not the capability to cope with the gas in that concentration, and soon this non-lethal defence is used to force the Marshmen out of the Starliner. During their retreat Varsh is killed, leaving Adric in emotional turmoil. With the Marshmen returning to the swamps, the boy stows away on board the TARDIS. His fellow colonists meanwhile follow their dreams and pilot the craft away from Alzarius. The Doctor and Romana are unaware of Adric's presence as they pilot their own craft to another destination.


  • This serial comprises the first leg of an extended adventure generally known as the "The E-Space Trilogy"; the trilogy continues in the next serial, State of Decay, and concludes in Warriors' Gate.
  • The Doctor briefly mentions both Leela and the Key to Time early in this serial.
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Direct download: TDP_077_Full_Circle.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 2:18pm UTC

TDP SPECIAL: THE Eleventh Doctor Announced

The BBC today announced that Matt Smith has been cast in the role of the Doctor in the iconic BBC series Doctor Who. Smith will be the eleventh Time Lord and will take over from David Tennant who leaves the show at the end of 2009. He will be seen in the forthcoming fifth series that will be broadcast in 2010.

The fifth series will also have a new lead writer and Executive Producer in the form of the BAFTA award winning writer Steven Moffat who is taking over from Russell T Davies. Moffat will be joined by Piers Wenger who will be the new Executive Producer for BBC Wales making the show.

Following David Tennant's decision to step down at the end of 2009, the team behind the new series set about casting the new Doctor so that new adventures could be created and scripts written with Matt in mind.

The identity of the new Doctor was revealed on a special edition of Doctor Who Confidential that was broadcast on BBC One on January 3rd at 17.35hrs. In it Smith revealed his initial reaction at taking on such a legendary role and his thoughts on what direction the Doctor might now be going with him playing the part.

Matt Smith said of his new role "I'm just so excited about the journey that is in front of me. It's a wonderful privilege and challenge that I hope I will thrive on. I feel proud and honoured to have been given this opportunity to join a team of people that has worked so tirelessly to make the show so thrilling.

"David Tennant has made the role his own, brilliantly with grace, talent and persistent dedication. I hope to learn from the standards set by him. The challenge for me is to do justice to the show's illustrious past, my predecessors and most importantly to those who watch it. I really cannot wait."

Lead writer and Executive Producer Steven Moffat said "The Doctor is a very special part, and it takes a very special actor to play him. You need to be old and young at the same time, a boffin and an action hero, a cheeky schoolboy and the wise old man of the universe. As soon as Matt walked through the door and blew us away with a bold and brand new take on the Time Lord, we knew we had our man. 2010 is a long time away but rest assured the Eleventh Doctor is coming - and the universe has never been so safe."

Piers Wenger, Head Of Drama, BBC Wales added "With two hearts, a ferocious mind and over 900 years of experience behind him, it's not every 26 year old actor who can take on a role like the Doctor but within moments of meeting Matt he showed the skill and imagination needed to create a Doctor all of his own.

It's just the beginning of the journey for Matt but with Steven Moffat's scripts and the expertise of the production team in Cardiff behind him, there is no one more perfect than him to be taking the TARDIS to exciting new futures when the series returns in 2010."

Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama added "I am delighted to see Matt take on this iconic role. It will see him continuing his relationship with the BBC following his performances in Ruby In The Smoke and Party Animals, and his upcoming role in Moses Jones. The combination of Matt, Steven and Piers will, I know, take Doctor Who onto new and even dizzier heights."

Jay Hunt, Controller. BBC ONE said "Matt Smith will be a mesmerising eleventh Time Lord, true to the spirit of the show. He is a worthy successor to David Tennant who has been utterly remarkable in the role and promises to continue to be in next year's four special episodes."

 Matt Smith

Matt Smith, 26, grew up with his family including one sister in Northampton. He was head boy at Northampton School For Boys where he excelled at sports, music and drama.

Initially, Matt wanted to be a professional footballer and played for Northampton Town Under 11 and 12s, Nottingham Forest Under 12,13,14s and Leicester City Under 15 and 16s before a back injury forced him out of the game.

Following his injury, and with the encouragement of one of his teachers, Jerry Hardingham, Matt decided to join the National Youth Theatre. It was during this time that Matt first gained attention at the Royal Court Theatre when he was cast in the play Fresh Kills, directed by Wilson Milam, whilst still at the University Of East Anglia where he was studying Drama and Creative Writing.

Already a stalwart of the National Youth Theatre, his performance at the Court led to a variety of theatrical experiences at the National Theatre: in the award winning History Boys (directed by Nick Hytner), On The Shore Of The Wide World (directed by Sarah Frankcom) and also in the acclaimed trio of plays Burn / Citizenship / Chatroom (directed by Anna Mackmin).

These roles led to Matt's first outings on the small screen, alongside Billie Piper in Phillip Pullman's period detective stories, The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North, where he played Jim, right hand man to Billie's detective heroine Sally Lockhart. These pieces were followed by the lead role of Danny in the BBC Two series Party Animals, the brilliantly observed drama set in the world of young politicians.

In a dazzling return to the Royal Court in 2007, Matt played Henry in Polly Stenham's award winning first play That Face, opposite Lindsay Duncan. His performance gained Matt an Evening Standard Best Newcomer nomination and a year later the play had a second life in the West End at the Duke of York's Theatre. In between the two runs, Matt played Guy opposite Christian Slater's Buddy in Swimming With Sharks, Mike Leslie's searing West End adaptation of the 1994 Hollywood film. In this time he also played a lead role in the BAFTA winning BBC One series, The Street, opposite Gina McKee and Lorraine Ashbourne.

Matt has recently completed work on Moses Jones for BBC Two, directed by Michael Offer, in which he plays the lead role of Dan Twentyman, alongside Shaun Parkes in the title role.

Direct download: TDP_Eleventh_Doctor.mp3
Category:podcast -- posted at: 7:24pm UTC