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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