Production Code: PPP
1 - 27/01/1973 17:50
2 - 03/02/1973 17:50
3 - 10/02/1973 17:50
4 - 17/02/1973 17:50
The Doctor and Jo take the TARDIS on a test flight. They arrive on a cargo ship, the SS Bernice, that appears to be crossing the Indian Ocean in 1926 but is in fact trapped inside a Miniscope - a banned peepshow of miniaturised life-forms - on the planet Inter Minor. They enter another section of the scope but find themselves confronted by ferocious Drashigs.
The Doctor eventually breaks out of the scope and returns to full size. The device is owned by a pair of Lurman entertainers, Vorg and Shirna, who hope to make a quick profit from Inter Minor's hitherto reclusive natives. They have run into trouble, however, as the bureaucratic Minorians are dissatisfied with their credentials.
The Doctor's efforts to rescue Jo from the scope, which is on the point of breaking down, are hampered by the schemes of two Minorians, Kalik and Orum, who plan to dupe their superior, Pletrac, and overthrow the planet's president, Zarb, by allowing the Drashigs to escape.
Vorg destroys the Drashigs with an eradicator weapon and the Doctor, by linking the scope to the TARDIS, manages to return all the exhibits to their points of origin. Jo materialises beside the wrecked device, and she and the Doctor then depart in the TARDIS.
The Doctor and Jo manage to get back to the TARDIS but look on in horror as a huge hand descends from above to pick the police box up.
The Doctor and Jo, making their way through the internal workings of the scope, find a hatch. They go through it and emerge into a cave leading to what appears to be an area of swampland. Suddenly a Drashig rears up out of the swamp before them.
The Doctor emerges, still miniaturised, from the base of the scope and collapses to the ground.
The Doctor and Jo leave Inter Minor as Vorg, using a variation of the old 'three card trick' using three magum pods and a yarrow seed, sets about trying to earn enough credit bars for a trip off the planet.
J.B. Priestley, especially 'Time and the Conways'.
Round the Horne (palare).
A Passage to India.
Reference to The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Orum : [Speaking of the Minorian class known as Functionaries.] "They've no sense of responsibility. Give them a hygiene chamber and they store fossil fuel in it."
Pletrac : "The function of this tribunal is to keep this planet clean. This Tellurian creature comes from outside our solar system and is a possible carrier of contagion. Furthermore the creature may be hostile."
The Doctor : "Would you kindly stop referring to me as "the creature", sir. Or I may well become exceedingly hostile!"
We're introduced to three alien races, the bureaucratic Minorians from Inter Minor, the Lurmans (Vorg and Shirna), and the Drashigs, terrifying carnivores from a swampy satellite of Grundle. There is the first mention of Metebelis 3, 'the famous blue planet of the Acteon group' (see The Green Death, Planet of the Spiders: Acteon later becomes a galaxy).
Vorg's miniscope, which he won at the Great Wallarian Exhibition in a game of chance (involving three magum pods and a yarrow seed), is one of a few still in existence. The Doctor [whilst still on Gallifrey] ensured that the Time Lord High Council had the scopes banned.
The miniscope's shell is made of molecular bonded disillion, and it contains Ogrons (Vorg also mentions the Daleks), a Cyberman, Drashigs and Tellurians (the passengers aboard the SS Bernice.) [The name may be a galactic corruption of 'Terran', the normal alien name for humans. The term is also used by the Androgums (see The Two Doctors).]
The Bernice disappeared in a mystery as great as the Mary Celeste, in the Indian Ocean two days from Bombay on 4 June 1926. A freak tidal wave was the popular explanation. Which race took them from Earth and placed them in the miniscope is never revealed. Vorg states that the scope was built by Eternity Perpetual Company (the Doctor's dating the magnetic hatch as being 1000 years after Jo's birth would mean that the scope was built in the 1950s).
He worked many a Tellurian fairground and attempts carny palare with the Doctor whom he assumes to be a showman [it is possible, therefore, that the Lurmans themselves can time travel, and so have stocked the scope with specimens themselves]. The ship is locked in a cycle of time, in which a Plesiosaurus, extinct for 130 million years, is also trapped.
Vorg points out the similarity between Tellurians, Lurmans and Minorians which, he says refutes 'Voldek's theory that life in the universe is infinitely variable'. The Doctor orders a large scotch.
The Lurmans have National Service: Vorg says he served with the 14th Heavy Lasers where his Sergeant was a 'Crustacoid mercenary'. The sonic screwdriver is used to explode marsh gas. The story is said to take place '1000 years after the Great Space Plague' (see Death to the Daleks). This is the only Doctor Who story to mention Fred Astaire (despite being set seven years before Astaire became well known).
Inter Minor and the Miniscope.
The Doctor says he took boxing lessons from John Sullivan (American heavyweight champion, 1892).
A Cyberman makes a guest appearance as one of the specimens seen on the screen of Vorg's Miniscope.
Leslie Dwyer plays Vorg. Dwyer later appeared as the miserable child-hating Punch and Judy man Mr Partridge in the BBC comedy series Hi-de-Hi!.
Tenniel Evans plays Major Daly. Evans was one of Jon Pertwee's co-stars in The Navy Lark and, back in 1969, had prompted him to put his name forward to the Doctor Who office as a possible successor to Patrick Troughton; unknown to either of them, Pertwee's name had already been on the production team's short list.
Ian Marter plays John Andrews. Marter had earlier auditioned for the role of Captain Mike Yates and would later play the Doctor's companion Harry Sullivan.
The second episode as seen on the BBC video release of this story, which is about four minutes longer than the one originally transmitted and features the abandoned Delaware synthesiser arrangement of the theme music, is a specially extended version.
(It is a rough cut that was prepared during the original editing of the story and never intended for public consumption. It still exists only because BBC Enterprises inadvertently included it a package of episodes supplied to the Australian Broadcasting Company. The video release also erroneously includes a version of Episode Four prepared for a repeat transmission in 1981, which has a section missing from the closing scene.)
In episode one the sound of a pencil dropping and rolling across the studio floor can be heard.
Lots of wigs come unstuck.
The Doctor is told that Vorg is in charge of the scope in episode four, but later he asks whether Vorg is in charge.
The Drashigs are introduced twice in episode two.
Vorg claims he can't control the Drashigs (they're not intelligent) but he can control the plesiosaur.
The 1926 calendar is wrong (the date structure is that of 1925).
When questioned by Jo about the banning of the miniscopes, the Doctor suggests that this one was missed, completely forgetting that they could be in a time before the ban.
Jo's knee length denim shorts.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Jon Pertwee
Jo Grant - Katy Manning
Captain - Andrew Staines
Claire Daly - Jenny McCraken
John Andrews - Ian Marter
Kalik - Michael Wisher
Major Daly - Tenniel Evans
Orum - Terence Lodge
Pletrac - Peter Halliday
Shirna - Cheryl Hall
Vorg - Leslie Dwyer
Director - Barry Letts