Production Code: UUU
1 - 15/12/1973 17:10
2 - 22/12/1973 17:45
3 - 29/12/1973 17:10
4 - 05/01/1974 17:30
Journalist Sarah Jane Smith is impersonating her aunt, virologist Lavinia Smith, in order to gain access to a research centre where top scientists are being held in protective custody while UNIT investigates the disappearance of a number of their colleagues. The missing scientists have been kidnapped by a Sontaran, Linx, and taken back to medieval England, where they are working under hypnosis to repair his crashed spaceship.
The Doctor follows in the TARDIS, and Sarah stows away. In return for shelter, Linx has provided a robber baron called Irongron with anachronistically advanced weapons to use in attacks on neighbouring castles.
The Doctor helps Sir Edward of Wessex to repel one such attack, then he and Sarah conspire to drug the food in Irongron's kitchens so that the weapons can be removed while the men are unconscious. Aided by one of the kidnapped scientists, Rubeish, he then sends the others back to the 20th Century using Linx's primitive time travel equipment.
Linx shoots Irongron down and gets ready to leave in his repaired ship. Hal, one of Sir Edward's archers, fires an arrow into the vulnerable probic vent at the back of his neck, killing him. The Doctor, Sarah and Hal escape just before the ship explodes, destroying the castle.
As the Doctor watches from hiding, Linx removes his helmet and reveals the monstrous features beneath.
The Doctor fights off Irongron and his men in the castle courtyard. He falls to the ground and Irongron, declaring 'He who strikes Irongron dies!', raises an axe to kill him.
The Doctor attempts to bargain with Linx, offering to help repair his spaceship in return for being allowed to dehypnotise the scientists and send them back to the 20th Century. Linx gives his answer: he raises his weapon and fires it at the Doctor.
The TARDIS dematerialises before the astonished gaze of Hal.
A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court.
Star Trek (A Piece of the Action).
This Island Earth.
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart : "Speaking of the assembled scientists." [Most of their work's so secret, they don't know what they're doing themselves.]
The Doctor : "A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting."
Sarah Jane Smith : "You're talking as if you weren't human."
The Doctor : "Yes, well, the definition of the word "humanity" is always a rather complex question, isn't it?"
Sarah Jane Smith : "You're serious, aren't you?"
The Doctor : "About what I do, yes. Not necessarily about the way I do it."
Irongron : "I'll chop him up so fine not even a sparrow will fill its beak."
Bloodaxe : "Yours is indeed a towering intelligence."
Irongron : [The Doctor is described as] A longshanked rascal with a mighty nose!
Irongron : "She'll not get far before one of my guards grabs her taille!"
Linx is a Commander of the Fifth Army Space Fleet of the Sontaran Army Space Corps, whose flag is white with a tiny 'S'. His muscles are designed for load bearing rather than leverage, so he can be easily tied up. He 'weighs several tons on his own planet', which has a surface gravity many times that of Earth. He has three fingers.
Sontarans can be harmed by attacks on their probic vent on the back of the neck. At their military academy a million cadets are hatched at each muster parade. Linx carries a weapon that can strike, burn, stun, control humans and make captives speak.
The Time Lords are keen to stamp out unlicensed time travel. Sarah has heard of UNIT. The Doctor would like to study under Rembrandt, since he's not that much of an artist. [Despite his memory loss,] the Doctor has met the Sontarans before [in The Two Doctors].
Wessex, during the reign of King Richard I (1189-1199).
England in the present day [September 1972].
This story features the debut of a new opening and closing title sequence designed by Bernard Lodge and realised using a process known as 'slit scan'. The opening title sequence features for the first time the distinctive diamond-shaped logo for the series.
June Brown, now better known as Dot Cotton in EastEnders, appears as Sir Edward's wife Eleanor.
The Doctor's home planet is named as Gallifrey for the first time.
There was another actress cast before Elisabeth Sladen. (There was another companion, played by a different actress, originally intended to appear in this story. Sarah was a completely fresh character, and Sladen the first choice to play her, after the production team had second thoughts.)
Bloodaxe has lots of horse trouble in episode one.
Irongron's gun goes off before he fires it, and surely he would notice that his Robot has a fleshy neck?
Nobody tells the serving wenches to leave the exploding castle.
'Wessex' after the Norman conquest is an anachronism.
Potatoes were unknown in England until Sir Francis Drake brought them back from the Americas in the 16th Century.
Sarah's brown cord flares.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Jon Pertwee
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney
Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
Bloodaxe - John J Carney
Edward of Wessex - Alan Rowe
Eleanor - June Brown
Eric - Gordon Pitt
Hal - Jeremy Bulloch
Irongron - David Daker
Linx - Kevin Lindsay
Meg - Sheila Fay
Professor Rubeish - Donald Pelmear
Sentry - Steve Brunswick
Director - Alan Bromly