Production Code: 7J
1 - 14/12/1988 19:35
2 - 21/12/1988 19:35
3 - 28/12/1988 19:40
4 - 04/01/1989 19:35
The Doctor and Ace head for the Psychic Circus on the planet Segonax, where they meet a disparate group of fellow visitors including a pompous explorer named Captain Cook and his companion Mags and a biker known as Nord.
The Circus itself is dominated by the sinister Chief Clown and his deadly troupe of robot clowns, who organise a talent contest in which all visitors take part. The audience consists of just a single strange family - mother, father and daughter - seated at the ringside. Although hindered by the treacherous Cook, the Doctor eventually discovers that the Circus hides a terrible secret: the family are in reality the Gods of Ragnarok, powerful creatures with an insatiable craving for entertainment who invariably destroy those who fail to please them.
With Ace's help, the Doctor ends the Gods' influence here and returns the Circus to the control of its original hippie owners.
Mags screams at what she sees in the Psychic Circus ring, but the sound is blotted out by a device held by the Ringmaster. Outside, the Doctor asks Ace to decide whether they are going in or not.
The Doctor and Mags find a tunnel leading to a deep pit at the bottom of which can be seen an eye like those depicted on some kites at the entrance to the Circus. They are disturbed by the Captain who comes up behind them with an escort of robot clowns. He has come to inform the Doctor that he is wanted: he is the next act due on in the ring.
In the ring, the Captain asks for the light of a 'devil moon' to be thrown on Mags. Under the light, Mags starts to change: she is a werewolf.
The Doctor and Ace leave the Circus in the control of Kingpin and Mags. Kingpin asks if the Doctor might stay, but he comments that he finds circuses a little sinister.
Werewolf films (Mags).
The Doctor quotes Neil Armstrong ('One small step for man') and Al Jolson, via Bachman Turner Overdrive ('You ain't seen nothin' yet').
The Greatest Show on Earth.
The Circus of Dr Lao by Charles Finney.
Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Terry Pratchett (Nord).
Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Nord : [To Ace] "I told you, girl, to get lost. Or I'll do something 'orrible to your ears."
Mum : "I don't think much of this, Father."
Dad : "Nothing's happening, is it."
Mum : "Not that I can see."
Little Girl : "Mum, Mum!"
Mum : "What is it?"
Little Girl : "I'm bored."
Dad : "There's no point in going on, dear. We're all bored. Something has to happen soon."
Captain : "So you've always been interested in the psychic circus, have you?"
Whizzkid : "Well yes, of course. I've never been able to visit it before now, but I've got all sorts of souvenirs. Copies of all the advertising satellites that have ever been sent out. All the posters. I had a long correspondence with one of the founder members too, soon after it started. Although I never got to see the early days, I know it's not as good as it used to be but I'm still terribly interested."
Ace : "You're just an ageing hippy, Professor."
Bellboy : [About to be killed by his creations] "You were a wonderful clown once Funny, inventive... I'm not helping you any more."
Ace went to a circus as a child. She found it boring, except for the clowns The Doctor knows the Gods of Ragnarok, and says he has fought them 'all through time' [metaphorically, perhaps].
Captain Cook, the galactic explorer, spends much time remembering planets he has visited, including Lelex (the natives are Monopods), Dioscuros, Inphitus (where the Galvanic Catastrophods are 'not what they were'), Leophantos, the baleful plains of Grolon, Fagiros (where the Architrave of Batgeld showed Cook his collection of early Ganglion pottery), the Bay of Paranoia on Golobus, the gold mines of Katakiki and Periboea.
He also visited Vulpana, meeting Mags, recommends the frozen pits of Overod, says that Boromeo has 'bouncing Upas trees' and Anagonia 'singing squids', and shares the Doctor's love of tea from the Groz valley on Melogophon.
Various posters state that the Psychic circus has visited Othrys, the Boriatic wastes, Marpesia and the grand pagoda on Cinethon.
The Psychic Circus, Segonax
Each of the masks for the robot clowns was different and each was designed by a different make-up assistant, overseen by designer Denise Baron.
The voice of the third God in Part Four was provided by director Alan Wareing.
An impressive cast is assembled for this story, including Chris Jury, better known for his appearances in Lovejoy; Ian Reddington before his regular starring role as market owner 'Tricky Dicky' in EastEnders; Gian Sammarco fresh from starring as Adrian Mole in The Secret Diaries of Adrian Mole; impressionist Jessica Martin; and popular actors Daniel Peacock, T P McKenna and Peggy Mount.
The Doctor performs conjuring tricks in Part Four. Sylvester McCoy was coached in magic by Geoffrey Durham, otherwise known as the Great Soprendo, for these scenes.
Ace pins Flowerchild's ear ring to her jacket, although she was wearing it in Silver Nemesis.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Sylvester McCoy
Ace - Sophie Aldred
Bellboy - Christopher Guard
Bus Conductor - Dean Hollingsworth Dean Hollingsworth as Bus Conductor is credited on Part Three but does not appear
Chief Clown - Ian Reddington
Dad - David Ashford
Deadbeat - Chris Jury
Flowerchild - Dee Sadler
Little Girl - Kathryn Ludlow
Mags - Jessica Martin
Morgana - Deborah Manship
Mum - Janet Hargreaves
Nord - Daniel Peacock
Ringmaster - Ricco Ross
Stallslady - Peggy Mount
The Captain - T P McKenna
Whizzkid - Gian Sammarco
Director - Alan Wareing