Production Code: 4A
1 - 28/12/1974 17:35
2 - 04/01/1975 17:30
3 - 11/01/1975 17:30
4 - 18/01/1975 17:30
A newly regenerated Doctor joins UNIT in an investigation into the theft of top secret plans and equipment from supposedly secure premises. Sarah discovers that the raids have been carried out by a robot invented by scientist Professor Kettlewell while he was working for Think Tank, a body involved in developing emerging technologies.
The robot has been reprogrammed on the orders of Miss Winters, the director of Think Tank, and used to obtain the means for constructing a disintegrator gun with which the Scientific Reform Society - of which she is a leading member - can steal the computer codes controlling the nuclear weapons of the world's leading powers. In this way, the SRS hopes to hold the world to ransom unless its demands for a purer way of life are met.
Kettlewell is killed by the robot after he balks at Miss Winters' ruthlessness. The robot then suffers an electronic mental breakdown and tries to activate the nuclear weapons.
The Brigadier attempts to destroy it with the disintegrator gun, but this merely causes it to grow to gigantic proportions, following which it goes on the rampage.
The Doctor, assisted by UNIT medical officer Harry Sullivan, destroys it with a metal virus described in Kettlewell's notes.
Sarah, suspicious of a patch of oil she found on the floor of Kettlewell's deserted lab at the Think Tank, sneaks back there to investigate further. Suddenly, with a loud grating noise, a hidden door opens and a huge silver robot strides forward demanding to know who she is and why she is there. Sarah backs away in panic as the robot advances.
The Doctor is contacted by Professor Kettlewell, who asks the Time Lord to meet him at his lab. When he gets there, he is confronted by the robot who has instructions to kill him. The robot knocks the Doctor to the ground and advances.
The Doctor manages to open the doors to the SRS's underground bunker, but the robot emerges armed with the disintegrator gun. It vaporises a soldier and a tank before giving its ultimatum: the Doctor and UNIT are to go now or it will destroy them all.
Sarah is upset at the destruction of the robot and the Doctor suggests a trip to cheer her up. Harry arrives and believes that the idea of the Doctor travelling around in a police box is absurd. The Doctor invites him to take a look inside, just to prove how absurd it is, and Harry agrees. The Doctor and Sarah follow him inside and the TARDIS departs. The Brigadier arrives to ask the Doctor about 'dinner at the Palace'. Seeing the TARDIS dematerialising, he muses to himself that he will have to explain that the Doctor will be a little late.
King Kong Meets Godzilla.
Alice in Wonderland.
Asimov's I, Robot.
The Day the Earth Stood Still.
The Mutations and Toulouse Lautrec (Tom Baker's costume design).
The Avengers The Mauritius Penny.
Harryhausen's Jason and the Argonauts.
The Doctor quotes from a traditional skipping chant ('Mother, mother I feel sick, send for the doctor quick, quick, quick').
There is a reference to James Bond.
The Doctor : "Never cared much for the word "impregnable". Sounds a bit too much like "unsinkable"."
Harry Sullivan : "What's wrong with "unsinkable"?"
The Doctor : "Nothing. As the iceberg said to the Titanic."
Harry Sullivan : "What?"
The Doctor : "Gloop, gloop, gloop, gloop, gloop, gloop, gloop."
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart : "You know, just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets."
The Doctor : "There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart : [On neutral monitoring of superpower missile bases] "Naturally enough, the only country that could be trusted with such a role was Great Britain."
The Doctor : "Naturally, I mean, the rest were all foreigners."
Sarah : "Brigadier, you're a swinger"
The Doctor keeps the TARDIS key in his boots (see Spearhead from Space) and thinks his nose is 'a definite improvement!' His costume is his fourth choice after a Viking, a playing card royal and a clown. His phenomenal typing speed is seen. His pockets contain jelly babies [from the second Doctor?], a scroll said to be the 'freedom of the city of Skaro' [given to him by the Thals in Planet of the Daleks?], a pilot's licence on the Mars-Venus rocket run (see The Time Monster), a galactic passport and honorary membership of the Alpha Centauri table tennis club. 'Tricky opponents. Six arms, and of course six bats.' (See The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon [Alphan table tennis clearly works on different principles from the Terran equivalent - two arms, one bat.]) The sonic screwdriver explodes land mines (see The Sea Devils), and can convert into a sonic lance to cut through locks.
Benton is promoted to Warrant Officer (the Brigadier should have a Major and a Captain serving under him but, because of financial constraints, Benton is to fill the gap).
London, [April 1973: Sarah's pass].
In post regenerative confusion, the Doctor refers to The Time Warrior ('Sontarans perverting the course of human history'), Invasion of the Dinosaurs ('I tell you, Brigadier, the Brontosaurus is large and placid. And stupid!'), and a piece of gibberish ('If the sum of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the square on the other two sides, why is a mouse when it spins?').
Robot features the debut of another new opening and closing title sequence, again designed by Bernard Lodge and realised using the 'slit scan' process, but in this instance featuring Tom Baker rather than Jon Pertwee and, for the first time, the TARDIS's police box exterior.
This is the first Doctor Who story to have all its location scenes recorded on outside broadcast (OB) video rather than shot on film (although its interior scenes were still recorded in studio in the normal way).
Benton reveals in Part Two that he has been promoted to Warrant Officer, but this is not reflected in the closing credits, which continue to give his rank as Sergeant.
K1 with doll Sarah and Action Man tank. His legs keep vanishing as well.
The SRS goes to great lengths to get the disintegrator gun, and then all they use it for is to blow open a safe door. (Couldn't they have found an easier way into the safe?)
Miss Winters' feminist views (her comments to Sarah in episode one) don't accord with SRS views on women.
Ketterwell changes from a good boffin to the villain of the piece in a most unconvincing way (just as Jellicoe can't decide if he's a squeamish villain or a Nazi maniac).
The robot's motives change from scene to scene (and show contradictory programming regarding obeying orders and striving for self preservation).
The Doctor chops a brick in half, but it's clearly a block of balsa wood (listen for the noise when it hits the ground).
Sarah's headscarf and blouse combo.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney
Harry Sullivan - Ian Marter
Sarah Jane Smith - Elisabeth Sladen
Sergeant Benton - John Levene
Jellicoe - Alec Linstead
Miss Winters - Patricia Maynard
Professor Kettlewell - Edward Burnham
Robot - Michael Kilgarriff
Short - Timothy Craven
Director - Christopher Barry
Assistant Floor Manager - David Tilley
Costumes - James Acheson
Designer - Ian Rawnsley
Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
Make-Up - Judy Clay
OB Cameraman - unknown
Producer - Barry Letts
Production Assistant - Peter Grimwade
Production Unit Manager - George Gallacio
Script Editor - Robert Holmes
Special Sounds - Dick Mills
Studio Lighting - Nigel Wright
Studio Sound - John Holmes
Studio Sound - Trevor Webster
Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Delia Derbyshire
Visual Effects - Clifford Culley
Writer - Terrance Dicks