Production Code: 6N
1 - 26/01/1984 18:40
2 - 27/01/1984 18:40
3 - 02/02/1984 18:40
4 - 03/02/1984 18:40
The TARDIS is dragged down to the surface of the planet Frontios and apparently destroyed during a meteorite bombardment. The Doctor is forced to help the planet's human colonists - refugees from a doomed future Earth - and eventually discovers that their problems stem from an infestation of Tractators, burrowing insect-like creatures led by the intelligent Gravis.
The Tractators have been using gravitational force to cause regular meteorite bombardments in order to keep the colonists weak so that they can prey on their bodies and use them as components in their mining machines.
Turlough knows of the creatures through a deep seated racial memory from his own planet. He recalls that they can be rendered harmless by separating the Gravis from the rest of the colony. The Doctor achieves this by tricking the Gravis into reassembling the TARDIS around itself.
The latest meteorite bombardment ends and the Doctor, Tegan and Turlough emerge from cover to find that where they left the TARDIS there is now only the ship's hat stand. The Doctor concludes that the TARDIS has been destroyed.
The Doctor watches from hiding as a group of Tractators gather round a young woman prisoner, Norna. He then sees Tegan approaching and warns her to keep away, but in doing so reveals his own presence. He is caught in a gravity force beam and drawn to stand next to Norna in the midst of the group of Tractators.
The Doctor and Tegan are surrounded by Tractators. A mining machine trundles into view and they see that the body of one of the colonists is trapped within it. Tegan thinks that she recognises the man's face and the Doctor realises that it is the colonists' original leader, Captain Revere.
The TARDIS has not long dematerialised from Frontios when an outside influence starts to affect it. The Doctor tells Tegan and Turlough that something is pulling them toward the centre of the universe. He does not know what it is, but anticipates that they are going to find out.
Forbidden Planet and its spiritual forbear The Tempest.
Star Trek's 'The Devil in the Dark'.
Alien (the spilt acid).
Invaders From Mars.
Turlough : [Reading gleefully from the TARDIS log] "Fleeing from the imminence of a catastrophic collision with the Sun, refugees from the doomed planet Earth..."
The Doctor : [Speaking of the TARDIS] "As an invasion weapon, you'd have to agree that it's about as offensive as a chicken vol-au-vent."
The Doctor : [Convinces the Gravis that Tegan is an android] "I got this one cheap because the walk's not quite right... And then there's the accent..."
Turlough states that the Arar Jecks of Heiradi hollowed a huge subterranean city beneath their planet during the Twenty Aeon War. He recognises signs of the Tractators from his home planet. Turlough carries two corpera pieces (coins with holes in the middle). [ Trion currency?]
For the first time in many years, the Doctor refers to TARDIS as standing for 'Time and Relative Dimension in Space'.
The Gravis knows the Doctor by reputation. The Doctor leaves the Gravis on the uninhabited planet Kolkokron: without his influence the Tractators are little more than harmless burrowing creatures.
The Doctor wears half-rimmed spectacles in this story, and the TARDIS hat stand makes a reappearance (Turlough brandishes it as if it's a weapon at one point). He gives the hat stand to Plantagenet as a gift.
Frontios [probably around the same time as The Ark, the Doctor noting the TARDIS has drifted 'too far into the future']
In the Veruna system one of the last surviving groups of humans have settled. Turlough gleefully reads from the TARDIS data banks: 'Fleeing from the imminence of a catastrophic collision with the Sun, refugees from the doomed planet Earth...' The colonists have been on Frontios for 40 years.
Peter Gilmore, well known for his starring role as sea captain James Onedin in the BBC's period drama serial The Onedin Line, plays Brazen.
Jeff Rawle, one of the stars of the Channel 4 comedy series Drop the Dead Donkey, is seen here in the very different role of the colony's deputy leader, Plantagenet.
This story was originally intended to feature Richard Hurndall in a black and white retrospective story remembered by Peter Davison's Doctor after hitting his head on the TARDIS control console. (It wasn't.)
The Doctor asks Turlough to get a portable mu-field activator and some argon discharge globes.
In the opening scene, as Captain Revere sees the earth moving beneath him, the fingers of one of the technical crew are visible giving it a helping hand.
When the TARDIS explodes, what happens to Kamelion? [Is he the hat stand?]
When Tegan traps Brazen in the medical unit, she puts a bar across the middle of a door handle. By the next scene it has moved to the top of the handle.
Why did the designer decide to give the Gravis a nose?
Tegan in a leather mini skirt. Cute, yes, but hardly practical when running away from killer earthworms.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Peter Davison
Tegan - Janet Fielding
Turlough - Mark Strickson
Brazen - Peter Gilmore
Cockerill - Maurice O'Connell
Deputy - Alison Skilbeck
Gravis - John Gillett
Norna - Lesley Dunlop
Orderly - Richard Ashley
Plantagenet - Jeff Rawle
Range - William Lucas
Retrograde - Raymond Murtagh
Tractator - George Campbell
Tractator - Michael Malcolm
Tractator - Stephen Speed
Tractator - William Bowen
Tractator - Hedi Khursandi
Director - Ron Jones