Production Code: G
Strangers in Space - 20/06/1964 17:15
The Unwilling Warriors - 27/06/1964 17:15
Hidden Danger - 11/07/1964 17:15
A Race Against Death - 18/07/1964 17:15
Kidnap - 25/07/1964 17:15
A Desperate Venture - 01/08/1964 17:15
The TARDIS arrives on board a spaceship in orbit around a planet called the Sense-Sphere. The alien Sensorites have trapped the ship's human crew, Captain Maitland, Carol and John, in a state of semi-permanent paralysis. When the Doctor investigates, the aliens steal the lock mechanism from the TARDIS, thus trapping him and his companions.
The Sensorites allow all but Maitland and Barbara down to the planet, where Ian falls ill from a sickness that has been wiping out the Sensorites. The Doctor finds a cure. His investigations into the cause of the sickness are hampered by the subversive activities of the City Administrator, but eventually he uncovers three deranged human survivors from a past expedition who have been adding deadly nightshade to the water supply.
The whistling sound of the approaching Sensorite ships stops and Carol can sense the creatures all around. As the travellers wait apprehensively, it is Ian who first sees the shape of a Sensorite pressed against the ship's viewing port.
The Sensorites telepathically contact Susan and she accedes to their request. Telling the Doctor and the others to stay where they are, she opens the control room hatch and reveals two of the alien creatures waiting for her beyond. She explains that she has agreed to go with them down to their planet. She leaves with them and they close the hatch behind them.
Having drunk some of the aqueduct water provided by the Sensorite leader, Ian quickly falls sick and starts choking. He collapses to the floor and the First Elder sadly confirms that there is no hope; Ian is dying.
The Doctor goes to the aqueduct in the hope of finding the cause of the poisoning and finds some deadly nightshade. He looks up as a low animal growl sounds in the darkness.
Carol is on her way to see what is keeping the Doctor and Ian. Suddenly a hand is clamped over her mouth and she is dragged away.
Watching the image of Maitland's ship heading back to Earth on The Web of Fear Ian comments that at least he and his crew know where they are going. The Doctor takes offence at this comment and determines to eject Ian from the TARDIS at their very next port of call.
Fireball XL5 (xenophobic dome-heads).
The Doctor : "It all started out as a mild curiosity in the junkyard and now it's turned out to be quite a great spirit of adventure."
City Administrator : "Weakling! Betrayer of our people! Coward! I should imprison you in some room wherein no light can shine and fill that room with noise!"
Maitland : "Did you know, his hair was almost white?"
The Doctor : "Nothing wrong with that!"
City Administrator : [Turns to camera, having been informed that the Sensorites all look the same without their sashes] "I have never thought of that!"
"It is useless to resist."
John : "I know there was a plot."
Ian : [Fondles Susan's knee while she's treating him] "Yes, Matron"
The Sensorites can control spaceships and human brains and are able to suspend humans' heartbeats, leaving them in a death-like trance. Their hand-rays burn, cut (even the TARDIS exterior), activate photoelectric cells, stun, and paralyse for an hour at a range of 30 yards. They depend on a filament inside the handle. The Sensorites can cause static on scanning equipment, and can survive in a vacuum [or perhaps the one outside the ship is a mental projection].
The First and Second Elders live in a palace inside the city controlled by the City Administrator. Around the city are the Yellow Mountains (where the crystal water is taken from a pure spring) and the outer wastes of the desert (where animals live). The Sensorite caste system includes Warriors (led by the Chief of Warriors), Scientists (led by the Senior Scientist), the Elders, and the Lower Caste. In between are possibly the general body of Sensorites who 'work and play'. Their planet, the Sense-sphere, has a slightly larger landmass than usual.
They use a forehead disc to send telepathic messages, but can receive them without it. They dislike loud noise (it stuns their brains and paralyses their nerves) and darkness (their eyes dilate in the light, and contract in the dark, making them near-blind. They have no eyelids.) Their hearts are in the centre of their body. They think of humans as ugly. Their ships can achieve orbit, but seem not to be able to travel the distances the TARDIS can. They have disintegrators that can be beamed anywhere. They eat fruit and are susceptible to Deadly Nightshade poisoning [a very similar plant must grow on Sensesphere, possibly brought accidentally by the humans]. They have family groups, have invented torches, and manufacture cloaks. They have prisons, although the death penalty also exists. They measure distance in yards [a translation convention].
The Doctor knows the signs of poisoning, carries a magnifying glass, and has his coat ripped up. He can be hurt by being hit under the heart [he has only one heart at this point]. He can fly a spaceship. He tells Ian that he can read his mind [but it's an obvious joke]. He's familiar with the INEER organisation (but see Myths). He and Susan have travelled together for years, and have never argued.
Susan is only a few years younger than [the twentysomething] Carol, according to the Doctor. She doesn't come from Earth, but from the same planet as the Doctor. [Susan is the age she appears, a very young Gallifreyan indeed.] She's familiar with photoelectric cells and spectrographs. On Sense-sphere, she's a better telepath than the natives, sending and receiving messages without equipment, since she has a finely-tuned mind. This is a gift that can be perfected if she gets home. The Doctor cannot hear or send telepathic messages, and is surprised that Susan can. [This all fits in with the passive telepathic skills of Time Lords seen elsewhere, and the fact that the Doctor's getting old. He's amazed at how fast Susan's developing.]
[Gallifrey] is quite like Earth, but the night sky is a burnt orange colour and the tree leaves are bright silver.
Ian can read spectrographs.
An Earth spacecraft and the planet Sense-sphere, 28th Century.
The astronauts are from 28th-century Earth. There's too much air traffic there, and the lower half of England is known as Central City. Big Ben [meaning the clock tower not, as would be strictly accurate, the bell] has been destroyed, and London hasn't existed for 400 years. The concept of marriage persists. They use miles and Mach numbers [not a translation convention if they're already speaking in English]. They take snaps [we don't see if they 're photos]. One Earth space-faring military organisation is INEER (see Myths), but we don't learn what that stands for. Mining rights on planets are sought after.
The Doctor once deliberately quarrelled with Henry VIII, had a parson's nose thrown at him, and got sent to the Tower of London, where the TARDIS was. Beau Brummel said he looked better in a cloak. On the planet Esto, he and Susan encountered telepathic plants that screeched when anyone stood between them, interrupting their communication (cf The Keys of Marinus).
When the Doctor and his friends leave the TARDIS in the first episode, the camera follows them, and then, in the same take, pans back to see Susan locking the doors. This simple sequence is effective in helping to establish the reality of the TARDIS's impossible interior dimensions.
Barbara does not appear in A Race Against Death or Kidnap as Jacqueline Hill was on holiday in the weeks when they were recorded.
Comic actor Peter Glaze (best known for his appearances on the BBC children's variety show Crackerjack) plays the scheming City Administrator.
The bearded and dishevelled human astronauts responsible for poisoning the Sensorites' water supply are members of an organisation known as INEER. (The initials 'INEER' seen by the Doctor and Ian on a piece of material torn from one of the astronauts' uniforms are intended to be the end of the word 'ENGINEER' - although undue confusion is caused by the fact that Hartnell fluffs his line and reads them as 'INNER'.)
In episode one, as the Doctor ponders 'or to kill us?' the camera hits the desk in front of him.
Maitland's drill marks are visible before he cuts them.
In episode two, the Sensorites stand on each other's feet.
It's also remarkable that they only recognise each other by the sashes they wear [the Chief Warrior just doesn't know the Second Elder by sight].
Sound carries in space [the Sensorites send it deliberately].
Rather charmingly, the Earth astronauts have rockets on their uniforms.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - William Hartnell
Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill
Ian Chesterton - William Russell
Susan Foreman - Carole Ann Ford
1st Sensorite - Ken Tyllsen
2nd Sensorite - Joe Greig
3rd Sensorite - Peter Glaze
4th Sensorite - Arthur Newall
Carol - Ilona Rogers
Commander - John Bailey
First Elder - Eric Francis
First Human - Martyn Huntley
First Scientist - Ken Tyllsen
John - Stephen Dartnell
Maitland - Lorne Cossette
Second Elder - Bartlett Mullins
Second Human - Giles Phibbs
Second Scientist - Joe Greig
Warrior - Joe Greig
Director - Mervyn Pinfield 1-4
Director - Frank Cox 5-6