Production Code: 5Q
1 - 27/09/1980 18:15
2 - 04/10/1980 18:15
3 - 11/10/1980 17:40
4 - 18/10/1980 17:45
The Doctor is invited to visit the planet Tigella by its leader, Zastor, who has become concerned about disputes between his people's two opposing factions, the religious Deons and the scientist Savants.
The TARDIS is intercepted by the megalomaniacal xerophyte Meglos, last survivor of the planet Zolfa-Thura, and trapped in a chronic hysteresis - a time loop - but the Doctor and Romana manage to free it.
Meglos, using the body of a kidnapped Earthling, transforms himself into a duplicate of the Doctor and steals the Tigellans' power source - a mysterious dodecahedron. He plans to use this to power an apocalyptic device with which he intends to destroy Tigella.
The Doctor, although hindered by the activities of a group of Gaztak mercenaries hired by Meglos, ultimately brings about the xerophyte's destruction by tampering with the dodecahedron's controlling computers.
Meglos traps the TARDIS in a chronic hysteresis and, with the aid of the Earthling's body, transforms himself into a perfect duplicate of the Doctor.
Romana is captured in the Tigellan forest by the Gaztaks' second in command, Brotadac, who states that she has seen too much. He orders his men to kill her.
The Deons' High Priest Lexa intends to sacrifice the Doctor to the god Ti in order to bring back the missing dodecahedron. The Time Lord is tied to the altar and flames placed under ropes holding up a huge stone that will fall and crush him. The ropes are burned through one by one, and the Doctor looks on in horror as a Deon holds a flame under the final rope.
With Meglos and Zolfa-Thura destroyed, the Tigellans can get on with the task of rebuilding their lives - without the help of the dodecahedron. The Doctor tells the Earthling that he can get him home before he leaves. The Earthling is understandably puzzled.
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the appearance of the Earthling).
Asimov (test questions for K9).
Neo-Platonism and Pythagoras (mystical properties of the dodecahedron).
Star Trek's Turnabout Intruder (unstable body exchange).
Zastor : "Some fifty years ago I knew a man who solved the insoluble by the strangest means. He sees the threads that join the universe together and mends them when they break."
Meglos : "I need you Earthling."
Earthling : "Let go of me! You've no right."
Meglos : "Quite right. But academic."
Brotadac : "Do you think he'd let me have that?"
Grugger : "What, the coat? Not cold, are you?"
Brotadac : "It's rather a nice coat... Now that he's finished playing the Doctor."
The Doctor : "Let's hope many hands will make the lights work."
Caris : "That's impossible!" [Oddly looking below Meglos' waist.]
Meglos : "Yes," [Meglos grins] "The ultimate impossibility!"
Romana knows martial arts, and has heard of the screens of Zolpha Thura.
K9 isn't sea-proofed (see The Leisure Hive). He now needs a battery recharge every two hours. Wagging his tail might unjam his probe circuit. The Doctor is an expert in power sources. The Tigellans know of the Time Lords.
Meglos occupies a xerophyte (cactus) initially, but can exist using any lifeform as a host, as a blob, or as a wavelength of light. [This is all rather confused]. He can duplicate someone after observing them, but needs a similar host to do it (He asks the Gaztaks for a two metre tall Earthling.) He has the technology to cause a time loop (a chronic hysteresis) in a TARDIS in flight.
The Gaztaks are humanoid [but not descended from Earth people, unless they can time travel: it seems unlikely that they'd go to all the trouble just to steal a human from the 1980s]. The humanoid seems to be a standard evolutionary pattern.
The Prion system, containing Zolpha Thura and Tigella [probably in the 1980s].
The Doctor, in his fourth incarnation, visited Tigella 50 years ago, meeting Zastor.
With the obvious exceptions of season one's Inside the Spaceship and single episode stories (season three's Mission to the Unknown, the twentieth anniversary special The Five Doctors and the 1996 television movie), this is the only story in the series' history in which all the credited cast members appear in all the episodes.
Jacqueline Hill plays the leading Deon, Lexa. Hill had played the first Doctor's companion Barbara Wright in seasons one and two.
The sound effect created for the approach of the Fendahl in season fifteen's Image of the Fendahl is re-used as background atmosphere for the Tigellan jungle.
The scenes set on the surface of Zolfa-Thura were realised by way of a new effects technique referred to as scene-sync - a development of the established CSO process. This involved two cameras being electronically synchronised to follow identical movements so that they could be made to track in unison and maintain the composite image (created in the usual way), whereas previously CSO shots had almost invariably been static.
'Having lived in the future, I can hardly die in the present.' [Meglos is talking rubbish, as Deedrix realises.]
In episode one the wires holding the planet up over Zolpha Thura are horribly obvious.
And, if he wanted to possess a humanoid, why did Meglos ask for an Earthling rather than a (much closer) Tigellan?
Grugger says that he lost 50 per cent of his six man crew on Tigella, but there's more than three of them when they arrive on Zolpha Thura.
In episode one the Doctor says that he wasn't allowed to see the dodecahedron on his previous visit, but in episode three he remembers seeing it.
The cactus gloves show Tom Baker's wrists quite often.
When he's handling the dodecahedron in the Gaztak spacecraft in episode three, somebody off-screen audibly coughs.
The Savants' blond wigs.
Cast & Crew
The Doctor - Tom Baker
Romana - Lalla Ward
Voice of K9 - John Leeson
Caris - Colette Gleeson
Deedrix - Crawford Logan
Earthling - Christopher Owen
General Grugger - Bill Fraser
Lexa - Jacqueline Hill
Lieutenant Brotadac - Frederick Treves
Tigellan Guard - Simon Shaw
Zastor - Edward Underdown
Director - Terence Dudley