Production Code: 4S
1 - 26/02/1977 18:30
2 - 05/03/1977 18:35
3 - 12/03/1977 18:30
4 - 19/03/1977 18:30
5 - 26/03/1977 18:30
6 - 02/04/1977 18:30
Arriving in London at the end of the 19th Century, the Doctor and Leela make friends with a police pathologist, Professor Litefoot, and learn that hairs taken from the clothing of a dead body found floating in the Thames seem to have originated from a very large rat.
The Doctor's investigations take him first to the sewers, where there are indeed giant rats on the loose, and then to the Palace Theatre, where a stage magician, Li H'sen Chang, is procuring young girls for his master, the ancient Chinese god Weng-Chiang. Weng-Chiang is in fact Magnus Greel, a war criminal from the 51st Century. The journey back through time has disrupted his molecular structure and he now needs to feed on the life force of others - hence his use for the young girls. He has come to London to retrieve his lost time cabinet, which is in the possession of Litefoot. Infiltrating Litefoot's home with Chang's ventriloquist doll Mr Sin - a computerised homonculus with the brain of a pig - he retrieves the cabinet and prepares to travel back to his own time.
The Doctor, aided by Leela, Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, the proprietor of the Theatre, tracks him down to his lair and traps him before he can escape. Greel falls into his life force extraction machine and disintegrates. The Doctor is then attacked by Mr Sin but manages to disconnect its circuitry, rendering it inanimate.
The Doctor and Leela descend into the sewers, where they are confronted by a giant rat. The Doctor ushers Leela in the opposite direction as the rat scurries towards them.
Leela has been dining with Litefoot at his house. The Professor goes outside to investigate after spotting a prowler in the grounds, and on his return is struck down by an unseen assailant. Leela is suddenly confronted by the squat figure of Mr Sin advancing on her with a knife.
Leela flees from Weng-Chiang's lair through the sewers, chased by a giant rat. The Doctor, who is also in the sewers with a gun borrowed from Litefoot, hears her coming and prepares to fire. She turns the corner and falls, and the rat bears down on her.
Professor Litefoot is left unconscious in his house as Weng-Chiang, laughing maniacally, speeds away in a horse-drawn carriage with the time cabinet strapped to the back.
Weng-Chiang returns to Litefoot's house to fetch a missing bag containing the key to the time cabinet. He ambushes Leela and presses a chemical-soaked pad over her mouth. She struggles with him and pulls the mask from his face, revealing a bent and twisted visage beneath.
Leela and the Doctor enter the TARDIS and it dematerialises. Litefoot is amazed, but Jago takes it all in his stride: it is a good trick, and one that Li H'sen Chang himself would have appreciated.
Pygmalion ('I'm trying to teach you').
Dracula ('Some slavering gangrenous vampire comes out of the sewers and stalks the city at night').
The Phantom of the Opera (especially the Hammer version).
The Face of Fu Manchu.
Jack the Ripper.
The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town.
The Good Old Days.
Das Kabinett des Dr Caligari.
The Projected Man.
The Lost World.
Dead of Night.
The Man with the Golden Gun (conclusion involving midget and giant laser gun).
It Ain't Half Hot Mum (the first mention of the Tong of the Black Scorpion!).
The Importance of Being Ernest (a hat box?).
Amongst the many aspects of Conan Doyle lore present we have the Doctor's deerstalker, a housekeeper called Mrs. Hudson, 'Elementary my dear Litefoot', opium and so on. Even Greel's 'sewer guards' may be a subtle reference to the (untold) Holmes story The Giant Rat of Sumatra.
Other Holmes links include A Study in Scarlet, The Man with the Twisted Lip and The Abbey Grange.
Litefoot quotes from Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress ('He that is down, need fear no fall'), whilst the Doctor quotes J. Milton Hayes ('There's a one eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu'), attributing it to music hall comedian Harry Champion.
There's a possible oblique reference to Engels' The Condition of the Working Class in England.
Leela : "Doctor, you make me wear strange clothes, you tell me nothing: you are trying to annoy me."
The Doctor : ""Eureka" is Greek for "this bath is too hot"."
Jago : "That's my trouble, Litefoot."
Professor Litefoot : "'What"
Jago : "Well I'm not awfully... Well, I'm not so bally brave when it comes to it. I try to be but I'm not."
Professor Litefoot : "Well when it comes to it, I don't suppose anybody is."
The Doctor : "Sleep is for tortoises!"
Jago : "I'm a tiger when my dander's up!"
Leela kills one of the Tong agents with a janis thorn and blowpipe, much to the Doctor's discomfort. The Doctor tells Jago he performs 'dramatic recitations, singing, tap dancing... I can play the 'Trumpet Voluntary' in a bowl of live goldfish.'
London, between 1889 (after Jack the Ripper) and 1901 (the death of Queen Victoria).
There are several references to the events of the 51st century where Magnus Greel was 'the infamous Minister of Justice. The butcher of Brisbane.' The Peking Homunculus was made for the Commissioner of the Icelandic Alliance's children in 'the Ice Age around the year 5000'.
It is not stated who created the homunculus, which contained 'a series of magnetic fields operating on a printed circuit... It had one organic component, the cerebral cortex of a pig.' The Doctor further states that 'the pig part took over' and that this almost caused World War Six.
The Doctor was 'with the Filipino army at the final advance on Reykjavik' in the 51st Century. The Doctor says he once fished the river Fleet and caught a salmon which he shared with the Venerable Bede, who adored fish [unlikely since the Fleet was septic by 1260 and Bede never came that far south].
There is a cameo appearance by the series' incidental music composer Dudley Simpson as the conductor of the orchestra at the Palace Theatre.
A pile of straw seen in the road as Weng-Chiang searches for the time cabinet was placed there to hide a modern car which had, despite requests to the contrary, been parked in the road prior to filming.
Greel's time experiments were based on zygma energy, 'the twisted lunacy of a scientific dark age' according to the Doctor. The parallax synchrone and a trionic lattice are aspects of the Time Cabinet itself (cf. the trimonic TARDIS barrier mentioned in The Deadly Assassin [which hints at some sort of Time Lord involvement]).
There are modern power points, covered with masking tape, on the walls of Litefoot's lab
A 1970s newspaper (the headline concerns Denis Healey) can be seen in Litefoot's laundry basket in episode three.
A boom mike shadow is visible on the curtains near the stage in the final fight.
There is more than one giant rat in the sewers, so what happens to the rest of them?
Why does Greel need girls rather than young people in general?
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Leela - Louise Jameson
Buller - Alan Butler
Casey - Chris Gannon
Chinese Workman - John Wu
Cleaner - Vaune Craig-Raymond
Ghoul - Patsy Smart
Ho - Vincent Wong
Jago - Christopher Benjamin
Lee - Tony Then
Li H'sen Chang - John Bennett
Mr. Sin - Deep Roy
P.C. Quick - Conrad Asquith
Professor Litefoot - Trevor Baxter
Sergeant Kyle - David McKail
Singer - Penny Lister
Teresa - Judith Lloyd
Weng-Chiang - Michael Spice
Director - David Maloney