Production Code: 5G
1 - 27/10/1979 18:00
2 - 03/11/1979 18:05
3 - 10/11/1979 18:00
4 - 17/11/1979 18:00
The Doctor and Romana receive a distress signal and arrive on Chloris, a lush and verdant world that has only small quantities of metals, all of which are controlled by its ruler, Lady Adrasta. Adrasta keeps order with the aid of her Huntsman and his wolfweeds - mobile balls of vegetation - while a band of scruffy thieves, led by Torvin, organize raids on her palace to steal whatever metal they can.
The Doctor identifies the distress signal's source as a large eggshell-like structure in the forest. He is taken prisoner by Adrasta's guards and, in order to escape, leaps into the Pit - the entrance to a cave system into which all those who incur Adrasta's wrath are consigned to be devoured by an immense green globular creature living within. The Doctor, with the aid of the elderly soothsayer Organon, discovers that the creature is not an unthinking killer but an ambassador from the planet Tythonus, which has a lack of chlorophyll but an abundance of metal.
The Tythonians had hoped to trade with Chloris, but the first person their ambassador Erato encountered on arriving in his eggshell-like ship was Adrasta, who took his communicator device and trapped him in the Pit so as to preserve her monopoly on metal. Erato retrieves his communicator and kills Adrasta.
He then warns the Doctor that the Tythonians have set a neutron star on a collision course with Chloris in retaliation for his imprisonment. With the Doctor's help he is freed from the Pit and, out in space, spins an aluminium shell around the star, allowing for it to be pulled off course by the TARDIS's gravitational tractor beam and thus saving Chloris.
The Doctor, in order to escape from Adrasta and her guards, jumps into the Pit.
The huge alien creature presses up against an alarmed Doctor, threatening to crush him.
The hypnotised thieves, ignoring Adrasta's screams of protest, place against the creature's side the 'shield' earlier stolen from the wall of her throne room.
Organon tells the astonished Huntsman that the scroll he is holding is a draft contract for a trading agreement between Tythonus and Chloris. The Huntsman asks how he knows this and Organon, rather than admitting that he was told it by the Doctor, merely crosses his fingers and claims that it is 'written in the stars'.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Star Trek (The Devil in the Dark).
Organon : [Introducing himself] "Astrologer extraordinary. Seer to princes and emperors. The future foretold, the present explained, the past - apologised for."
The Doctor : "Why do you call it the Place of Death?"
Karela : "Because anyone found here is automatically condemned to death."
K9 and the Doctor are reading Peter Rabbit at the beginning: Romana is familiar with the Beatrix Potter oeuvre. The 'junk' she finds in the TARDIS consists of a ball of string (which the Doctor used to help Theseus and Ariadne out of the Minotaur's maze: see The Horns of Nimon), the jaw bone of an ass ('Don't be a philistine!'), and the console's Mark III Emergency Transceiver.
The TARDIS can generate an external gravity tractor beam, which hasn't been used for 12 years. The Doctor [facetiously] says that Time Lords have 90 lives (and that he must have been through about 130). The symbol of the Maternity Service on Gallifrey is crossed computers.
Chloris is a primitive planet rich in plant life, but with little metal. Lady Adrasta has a monopoly on metal, although she doesn't overtly rule the whole planet. (Organon mentions being at the court of other rulers on the planet.) Erato, the creature, is an ambassador from the planet Tythonus, a more advanced world rich in metal, but rapidly depleting its vegetation.
Tythonians consume chlorophyll and mineral salts, and Erato has been 'starved' for 15 years. Their life span is anything up to 40,000 years. Erato travelled to Chloris in a starship that was actually a woven 'egg' of living metal. They can only communicate via a pentagonal device which allows them to utilise another creature's larynx. A neutron star is propelled towards Chloris by the Tythonians after the treatment meted out to their ambassador.
Erato measures time in ninods: 26 of them equal one hour and seven minutes. The Doctor says that his lucky number is 74,384,338 (cf. The Power of Kroll).
The Doctor in the Minotaur's maze and the adventure where the tractor beam was used (see above).
Former Doctor Who director Morris Barry plays the small part of Adrasta's engineer Tollund in Part One.
Eileen Way, who had appeared as Old Mother in the very first Doctor Who story, 100,000 BC, appears here as Lady Adrasta's assistant Karela.
Geoffrey Bayldon, better known as Catweazle in the LWT series of the same name and as the Crowman in Southern's Worzel Gummidge, plays Organon.
All the stuff about Erato spinning aluminium shells around neutron stars (which would increase its gravity).
Torvin, stunned by K9, turns before falling, as if looking for somewhere comfortable to land.
The guard who goes to attack K9 and Romana doesn't fare much better, as he stops and curls up before K9's blast hits him.
The Doctor doesn't need a book on Tibetan as he already knows the language (Planet of the Spiders).
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Romana - Lalla Ward
Voice of K9 - David Brierley
Adrasta - Myra Frances
Ainu - Tim Munro
Doran - Terry Walsh Also in Part Two, but uncredited.
Edu - Edward Kelsey
Guard - Phillip Denyer
Guard - Dave Redgrave
Guardmaster - Tommy Wright
Huntsman - David Telfer
Karela - Eileen Way
Organon - Geoffrey Bayldon
Tollund - Morris Barry (2)
Torvin - John Bryans
Director - Christopher Barry