Production Code: 5E
1 - 23/12/1978 18:15
2 - 30/12/1978 18:30
3 - 06/01/1979 18:25
4 - 13/01/1979 18:25
The TARDIS arrives in the marshes of the third moon of the planet Delta Magna. While trying to get an accurate reading on the tracer, the Doctor is shot at by Thawn and Fenner, two men from a nearby methane refinery.
Romana is meanwhile taken prisoner by the green-skinned natives, the Swampies, who decide to sacrifice her to their god Kroll as a prelude to an attack on the refinery.
A man named Rohm-Dutt is running guns to the Swampies ostensibly on behalf of an anti-colonial organisation sympathetic to their cause. This however is part of a plot by Thawn to have the Swampies wiped out. The Doctor arrives at the Swampies' temple just in time to rescue his companion.
The refinery crew notice that the lake bed is shifting, as if there is something moving beneath it. The Swampies, led by Ranquin, prepare their attack, but are stopped in their tracks when Kroll - an enormous squid-like creature - appears on the horizon. Kroll starts to assail them, while the Doctor, Romana and Rohm-Dutt are captured by the Swampies and sentenced to death. The Doctor and Romana manage to escape, but Rohm-Dutt is seized and killed by one of Kroll's tentacles.
The two Time Lords reach the refinery, where they learn that Thawn is planning to destroy Kroll by blasting it with a rocket. The Doctor disables the rocket and Thawn is slain by the Swampies as they launch their attack.
Kroll then returns but the Doctor, realising that it has ingested the fifth segment (disguised as a Swampie relic), uses the tracer to end its threat. The segment is converted, and in place of the giant Kroll there are countless smaller creatures left lying in the marshes.
As the assembled Swampies chant their god's name, Ranquin calls on Kroll to arise from the depths. Romana, tied up inside a sacrificial compound, shrieks in horror as a creature appears and attacks her.
One of Kroll's tentacles breaks through a large metal pipe inside the refinery. It seizes a worker named Harg and, as his horrified colleagues look on, drags him into the pipe.
The Doctor and Romana flee from the Swampies in a canoe, but the huge form of Kroll rises up before them in the swamp.
The Doctor and Romana return to the TARDIS and it dematerialises.
North American aboriginals.
Irish nationalism ('The sons of Erin').
The Doctor : "Well, you'd better introduce me."
Romana : "As what?"
The Doctor : "Oh, I don't know, a wise and wonderful person who wants to help. Don't exaggerate."
Thawn : "The authorities are far too soft. Once they start interfering, you can never get rid of them. We'll handle this one by ourselves, and in my way. Final. We get rid of the problem once and for all."
Ranquin : "Kroll is all wise, all seeing..."
The Doctor : "All baloney!"
Ranquin : [To the Doctor] "Your mind is bent."
Ranquin : [Threat to Romana about the quality of the latest script] "You will wish you had died on the Stone of Blood."
Dugeen : [The first line of episode three, perhaps referring to the plot] It hasn't moved for fifteen minutes.
The fifth segment of the Key to Time allows one to see the future (according to Swampie lore). As the Symbol of Power, it was brought by the Swampies to this moon, where it was swallowed by a giant squid, causing it to mutate and grow.
The Doctor can't hypnotise people with 'narrow eyes' [but that could be just vanity]. He can sing a note that shatters glass, carries a hammer, and can fall victim to oxygen starvation (cf. Marco Polo, Terror of the Zygons, The Caves of Androzani). He knows a lot about refinery technology Seven is said to be his lucky number (cf. The Creature from the Pit).
The atmosphere of the moon is thin, and the gravity tiny, but we see evidence of neither.
The third moon of Delta Magna, settled centuries ago by the natives of Delta Magna, who had been evicted there from the Earth colony.
Earth colonies are 'all so insular' according to the Doctor. The Sons of Earth are a non violent political movement who believe that all life originated on Earth, and want to return humanity there, though 'none of them can have seen Earth'. The Earth is in a bad state and unfit for settlement, underlined by Rohm Dutt's assertion that humanity would 'starve' there.
The Doctor implies that he has met opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931).
John Leeson appears in person as Dugeen rather than as the voice of K9. He replaced Martin Jarvis, who dropped out before recording commenced.
Kroll is Doctor Who's largest ever monster.
Production unit manager John Nathan-Turner deputised for producer Graham Williams during this story's single studio session as Williams was absent due to illness.
As reported by Doctor Who Magazine, this story was a replacement for one entitled The Lords of Misrule by distinguished screen writer Ted Willis. (Ted Willis never worked on Doctor Who. Thriller writer Ted Lewis, best known for the seminal Get Carter, did work on an ultimately unused Key to Time story, title unknown.)
Philip Madoc accepted the role of Fenner due to a misunderstanding; he had thought that he was being invited to play the more substantial part of Thawn. (He agreed to take the role of Fenner after actor Alan Browning, who was to have done so, fell ill shortly before filming commenced. He had previously been invited to play Thawn, but this invitation had been withdrawn by the production team as Neil McCarthy had already accepted the role.)
'Constellation' is once again used to mean 'solar system'.
The Doctor's reed flute playing doesn't match the music.
The Swampies, primitive in other ways, have perfected the art of bookbinding, since their history comes complete with an inlaid leather cover. (And why keep it in a hole in the ground?)
The wall of the rocket silo is flimsy enough to wobble at the tap of a hammer.
The rain pouring through the broken window doesn't make our heroes wet.
The Doctor whips his galoshes on and off all through the story.
When offered a cup of some drink, the Doctor casually drops it into his pocket!
The Swampies: actors painted green, with green dreadlocks, forced to wander about East Anglia in bare feet.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Romana - Mary Tamm
Dugeen - John Leeson
Fenner - Philip Madoc
Harg - Grahame Mallard
Mensch - Terry Walsh
Ranquin - John Abineri
Rohm-Dutt - Glyn Owen
Skart - Frank Jarvis
Thawn - Neil McCarthy
Varlik - Carl Rigg
Director - Norman Stewart