Production Code: 5D
1 - 25/11/1978 18:20
2 - 02/12/1978 18:20
3 - 09/12/1978 18:20
4 - 16/12/1978 18:20
The tracer brings the TARDIS to the planet Tara. Romana finds the fourth segment disguised as part of a statue but is then taken prisoner by Count Grendel of Gracht.
Grendel is plotting to seize the Taran throne from the rightful heir, Prince Reynart, and has mistaken Romana for an android duplicate of the Prince's betrothed, Princess Strella, to whom she bears a remarkable resemblance. The Doctor is meanwhile captured by Prince Reynart's men Zadek and Farrah and taken to his hunting lodge, where he is forced to repair an android double of the Prince to act as a decoy for potential assassins.
Grendel then kidnaps the Prince, and the Doctor has to modify the android so that it can be crowned in his place. Grendel commissions an android duplicate of Romana equipped with a lethal ray and contrives for the Doctor to meet her. K9, recognising this as a trap, saves his master.
Romana has meanwhile escaped from Castle Gracht, and she rescues the Doctor from Grendel's men. Grendel destroys the Reynart android and recaptures Romana.
The Doctor gains access to the Castle by rowing across the moat and, having first found and pocketed the fourth segment, manages to thwart Grendel's plans to seize power. The Prince's men then attack the Castle in force.
Romana saves Strella from being killed and the Doctor engages Grendel in a swordfight. Grendel, realising that he has been defeated, dives into the moat and escapes to fight another day.
The Doctor, Reynart, Zadek and Farrah drink a toast to the King, but the wine has been drugged and they all start to fall unconscious. The Doctor manages to make his way to the door before collapsing. The door opens to reveal Grendel standing outside.
The presiding Archimandrite invests the android Reynart as the new King of Tara. The assembled courtiers rise and the android begins a speech of accession, slurring its words a little. Suddenly Princess Strella arrives, kneels before the android and offers her loyalty to the King. With a shout of 'No!', the Doctor crosses to Strella and strikes at her head with the King's staff. The courtiers gasp in horror.
Grendel throws a spear into the android Prince and escapes from Reynart's hunting lodge on horseback, recapturing Romana on the way.
K9 has been left stranded in a boat in the middle of the Castle moat, calling out plaintively to the Doctor. The Doctor looks down on him from the battlements and laughs.
The Prisoner of Zenda.
Star Wars (hi-tech swords and crossbows).
Julius Caesar and Richard III (Grendel's ambition).
The Doctor : "Would you mind not standing on my chest, my hat's on fire?"
The Doctor : "I shall have to go alone of course. It's funny. They always want you to go alone when you're walking into a trap. Have you noticed that?"
The Doctor : [To K9, cutting a door] "A hamster with a blunt penknife could do it quicker!"
Grendel : [His parting riposte as he leaps from the castle battlements] "Next time, I shall not be so lenient!"
Grendel : "You can keep your head, my dear."
Grendel : "Well, Doctor, are you coming out?"
K9 is programmed with all world chess championships since 1866. The TARDIS has a junk cupboard in the console room that contains a gas mask and conjuror's flowers. Romana doesn't know what a horse is (and looks for the starter). The TARDIS has an alphabetical wardrobe, including the latest Taran fashions (although the frock that Romana choses is different from everything else on the planet!).
[Tara is obviously an ex-colony of Earth, since, even though they've given their zodiac 16 houses, a lot of the signs are the same.] Tara is also the name of the capital where coronations are held. The natives are used to the concept of other inhabited worlds, and have horses and dogs. They developed androids to replace the nine tenths of the population who were wiped out in a plague 200 years previously.
A monarchy exists, justified by the Archimandrite. Numerous small powers support the throne feudally. Peasants are looked down on, but are the only android creators. Hunting, particularly of native mammalian beasts, is a sport. Swords are electrified, and crossbows fire energy bolts. Some horses may be androids
This segment of the Key To Time is disguised as a stone dragon, part of a Gracht family statue. It insinuates itself into local legend (cf. The Power of Kroll). The fortunes of Grendel's family are tied up with the statue.
Location: Tara, [2370s?: Romana says that the TARDIS has travelled 400 years in time].
Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor saw Capablanca play Alekhine at chess in 1927 [in Buenos Aires]. He also met Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler.
Mary Tamm plays both Romana and Strella, as well as android doubles of each.
For this story only, the opening title credits are in the order: title, part, writer (rather than the standard: title, writer, part).
There is some excellent location footage shot at Leeds Castle in Kent - although the glass-painted additions to the Castle, intended to give it a more fairytale quality, never look anything other than false.
The Taran Beast.
Romana's restraints look pretty easy to escape from.
Reynart's throne is Tim's chair from The Goodies.
And why does he have such a tiny number of troops at his disposal?
In episode three when the Doctor enters the Pavillion of the Summer Winds and shuts the door, it slowly swings open again. A hand then appears from behind the set wall and pulls the door closed.
The Archimandrite's hat has to be seen to be believed.
There's a British general at the coronation, and Lamia's boots are very 70s.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Romana - Mary Tamm
Voice of K9 - John Leeson
Archimandrite - Cyril Shaps
Count Grendel - Peter Jeffrey
Farrah - Paul Lavers
Kurster - Martin Matthews
Lamia - Lois Baxter
Prince Reynart - Neville Jason
Till - Declan Mulholland
Zadek - Simon Lack
Director - Michael Hayes