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Doctor Who 3.09 The Savages

First Doctor with Steven and Dodo
Follows on from Season One, Season Two, Galaxy Four, Mission to the Unknown, The Myth Makers, The Daleks' Master Plan, The Massacre, The Ark, The Celestial Toymaker and The Gunfighters


DOCTOR: The sacrifice of even one soul is far too great!


Alas and alack, we're back to the reconstructions for this serial, as all four episodes are missing from the archive, bar a few tiny fragments recorded off-air by fans pointing cameras at the TV for a few seconds. It's the last recon of the season, though, so that's something.

After two comedy serials in a row, everyone is back on form here. This is a story about exploitation and oppression, the title a clever subversion, as the unfolding adventure makes explicit that the titular savages are not, in fact, the spear- and club-wielding folk living in rags and skins in the wilderness, but the opulent, educated city-dwellers who subjugate them, literally sucking the life force from their victims. This is a story of how the rich behave toward the poor, of how the powerful behave toward the weak, of the lies a civilisation will tell itself to justify its treatment of those coded as 'outsiders', and the horrors that otherwise perfectly decent people are capable of perpetrating without thought or question simply because that's the way things are. It's just a shame the story doesn't exist anymore. The Loose Cannon reconstruction I watched was excellent, but no recon can ever make up for actually being able to see the actors' performances.

This story sees the departure of space pilot Steven Taylor, who has been a stalwart figure at the Doctor's side throughout the season, Peter Purves an absolute rock through some turbulent times for the show. When I first started watching this era of the show, I knew Steven only as 'the companion played by that Blue Peter presenter', so Purves has been something of a revelation for me and I'm really sorry to see him go, although glad to see Steven leaving on a high note, having found a new purpose. This is also a comparatively strong outing for Dodo, who is at last permitted to show us who she is when freed from the constraints of comedy – albeit too little too late, alas – while the Doctor has some truly powerful scenes which demonstrate just how far the character has come through the three years of the show so far.

The plot, in a nutshell, is this: when the Doctor and his companions land on an unnamed planet in the distant future, they soon find that the beauty and luxury of the advanced civilisation living there is bought at a terrible cost. As they fight to end the injustice they have uncovered, Steven finds himself at a crossroads and leaves the TARDIS behind to take on a new challenge.

This was the first Doctor Who serial ever to have an umbrella title with numbered episodes within it, instead of individual episode titles that were only later grouped together under an umbrella name. I miss the individual episode titles already!

Writer – Ian Stuart Black
Director – Christopher Barry
Script editor – Gerry Davis
Producer – Innes Lloyd
Aired – 28 May-18 June 1966


Random thoughts while watching:

Episode one

Previously on Doctor Who: The Gunfighters ended with the TARDIS reaching a new destination, which the Doctor proclaimed to be in the far future, an age of peace and prosperity – but the appearance on the scanner screen, when no one was looking, of a man carrying a spear, appeared to belie that hypothesis.

The story picks up with the Doctor wandering off alone to explore this new planet, hands full of scientific equipment, while his companions wait for him back at the TARDIS. I love it when the show remembers his love of exploration and discovery for its own sake. Back at the TARDIS, Steven and Dodo bicker among themselves and in the process demonstrate their respective personalities perfectly: Steven fretting about the Doctor being off on his own, while Dodo laughs his concerns off, sure there is nothing to worry about. Serious-minded Steven is a born worrier and his experiences with the Doctor have only reinforced that tendency, while it isn't in the bubbly, light-hearted Dodo's nature to worry about anything if she can help it. And we're less than two minutes into the episode and I'm already lamenting the loss of this episode – audio and stills just aren't enough, I want to see the nuance of the acting in a scene like this, the way the actors play off each other as Dodo teases and Steven frets, because this is the kind of scene character relationships are built on, and characters and their dynamics are always my primary interest. Such a shame.


Impatient Steven decides to go looking for the Doctor, leaving Dodo alone, which…they should know by now that it's never a good idea to split up! Steven has no sooner gone than Dodo spots someone up on a nearby ridge carrying a spear, watching her. She lets out a lusty yell which brings Steven racing back – see, screaming has a purpose. Since the man Dodo saw looked like he belongs in the Stone Age, they decide that the Doctor must have been wrong about where they are. Well, it's a logical conclusion to draw.

The Doctor, though, is satisfied with his instruments, which confirm that he was right, and he gloats to himself at the thought of being able to prove Steven wrong in his doubts. Then he realises he is being watched by two scruffy-looking dudes dressed in animal skins and carrying wooden clubs. He overhears them whispering in the bushes, wondering what to do with him, and calls for them to come out – but they run off and he turns to see two more men stood behind him…these two wearing futuristic uniforms and helmets, thus presenting the primary dichotomy of the story: the divide between those who have everything and those who have nothing. Rather to his surprise, they are expecting him, saying that they have been anticipating 'a traveller from beyond time', having plotted the passage of his ship for some time. And this is the scene where the Doctor describes his scientific instrument as a 'reacting vibrator', which…'nuff said! The line fluffs of this era are legend! The strangers are surprised to hear that he is not alone – they have no instructions for dealing with others, and clearly aren't capable of acting on their own initiative, as they promptly decide to take the Doctor with them to the Elders to ask what to do. He manages to persuade them to split up so that one of them can collect Steven and Dodo along the way, rather than leave them to worry. The guard called Edal leads the Doctor to the city while the other, Exorse, goes looking for Steven and Dodo.

I kind of love the way the Doctor describes Steven and Dodo as 'my young people' and tells the guards they are 'very pleasant, apart from their juvenile exuberances'!


Steven and Dodo have just decided to go looking for the Doctor themselves when someone throws a spear at them, only narrowly missing. They rush back to the TARDIS, more spears clattering into the sand around them, and shelter behind it for whatever protection it affords. Exorse finds them there, his uniform and manners a stark contrast to the primitives up on the ridge, and takes them to the city to join the Doctor.

I'm not sure just how these people have been tracking the movements of the TARDIS through space and time, but they certainly seem familiar with it! It's an intriguing concept: that perhaps a single journey which for the Doctor and his companions took no more than a few hours has been showing up in the records of these people for generations. That's the enigma of space-time travel, I suppose!

The Doctor meets the Chief Councillor of the city, a man named Jano, who shows him how they have plotted his journeys across the galaxy and offers him an honorary position as an Elder of the city, a role which comes complete with a fancy robe to wear. So far so friendly, it's like a mutual admiration society, and the Doctor is all proud and grateful – he does so like having his ego stroked. Steven and Dodo arrive, and the Doctor is quick to gloat to Steven that he was right – there's that competitive edge we used to sometimes see in his interactions with Ian, almost a male dominance thing: he doesn't like being doubted, especially by another man, and takes great glee in being able to prove himself right at the doubting Thomas's expense. It is a slightly childish, petulant side to his personality that can also be found in many of his later incarnations. The Doctor is a proud man. He likes to be right, about everything, and he likes to be admired. He also makes a point of asking Dodo how he looks in his new robes – he's thoroughly enjoying himself so far.

Steven and Dodo are given gifts – a jewelled mirror for Dodo and a dagger for Steven. There's something rather gendered about that, although Dodo's gift does come into its own later. Still, it's all very civilised and friendly, lulling the audience (and characters) into a false sense of security as set-up for the twist that's to come.


While Steven and Dodo are taken off for a tour of the city, outside the guards Edal and Exorse are grumbling their mistrust of the visitors. Nearby, a group of savages watch them, the two men Tor and Chal now joined by a girl named Nanina. Realising that the guards are 'hunting' they slip away to warn the rest of their people – our first hint that all is not well.

Steven and Dodo's tour guides, Avon and Flower (seriously), loudly extol the virtues of the city and its Elders, convinced that they live in paradise…despite not being allowed out onto the surface of the planet. Steven marvels at it all – but shrewdly wonders what the secret is, observing that many other civilisations have tried and failed for such a utopia…and Flower becomes defensive. There is a secret, a nasty little secret that lies right at the core of this society. Avon carefully explains that the scientists of this world have made a single very special discovery, which is used to give all citizens greater energy, intellect and talents, but he won't explain this discovery any further.

Elsewhere, while the Doctor questions the Elders on the very same subject, wanting to know how they have achieved such great advancements, out on the planet's surface Exorse spots Nanina – and captures her using his light-gun, which traps her, allowing him to manipulate her like a puppet. The scenes are quite cleverly inter-cut, ensuring not only that the contrast between life in the city and the treatment of the 'savages' outside is made plain, but that a clear connection is drawn between the two. The care and concern that the 'savages' have for one another is also made clear – Chal even tries to sacrifice himself in Nanina's place – while in the city Jano is talking about animals, about wild beasts living on other animals: the subtext there is very clear. This is a very well-structured episode. Jano is very careful in what he says to the Doctor as he explains that his people have discovered a means of transferring the energy of life itself, tapped at source. The Doctor shrewdly surmises that a very high form of life would be needed to make this effective, and he isn't passing judgement, not yet, waiting to learn more and taking care to remain friendly so as not to alienate his hosts just yet. Jano states that his people only absorb a very special form of 'animal vitality' – just as a fresh source of such vitality is brought into the city in the form of Nanina.

Meanwhile, Flower is perhaps overselling the virtues of the city now, claiming that her people can do anything they want and go anywhere – except down the passage Dodo is about to explore. As the others move off, Dodo looks out through a window and sees Exorse bringing Nanina inside. Steven is still playing his big brother role for all he's worth, chiding her for not sticking with the group, but for once, instead of being ditzy and clueless, Dodo is being observant and perceptive, expressing rebellion as she grumbles that she hates guided tours and fretting about what she just saw, wondering what it meant. She also stands up for herself when Steven expresses disbelief, and has noticed that Avon and Flower are being very careful about what they are shown. This is much stronger characterisation for her than we've seen in the last two adventures; Steven, in contrast, is being a little too trusting for a habitual cynic, but I suppose he's seen nothing to concern him so far, and we've seen in past adventures that he feels bound to be polite to anyone playing host.


Nanina is taken into a laboratory, where another savage has already been processed – over-processed, in fact, according to chief scientist Senta, who isn't the slightest bit concerned about the man in question as a person who has been damaged by the procedure, he's just annoyed that his underlings can't do their job properly. Here we reach the heart of it all – the evil canker at the core of this society, which is built on the exploitation of people, farming them like animals. It isn't a very efficient operation, though, if the prisoners can only be drained one at a time. Anyway, the man is taken away to be released back into the wild despite his weakened condition and Nanina is brought in for processing, pleading all the while to be released. She knows what is coming; this has happened to her before, probably many times.

Jano continues to extol the virtues of his city to the Doctor – and I must note that since he never comes out and admits what its advancements are actually built on, he must know that it is wrong. If he didn't, he'd tell the truth and be proud of it – so would Avon and Flower with Steven and Dodo. The only reason these people have for concealing the truth is the knowledge that outsiders would not approve, so there is no excuse for their actions; they know it is wrong.

Off on tour still, Steven is very impressed by the city – it's a pity we've only everyone's word for its magnificence, darn missing episodes, although I'm sure the set wouldn't live up to the hype anyway – but he does wonder why such idyllic conditions only exist within the city itself and are not shared with those who live beyond its boundaries. As Avon and Flower dance around this question, Dodo takes the opportunity to slip away and explore. She finds her way into a tunnel leading to the outside, where she runs into the shambling form of the processed savage as he stumbles toward freedom.

Episode Two

Episode one ended with Dodo being frightened by the sight of a savage heading toward her. Episode two opens with her helping him up when he falls. Such is the classic method of cliffhanger resolution on Doctor Who! Having helped the man leave the city, Dodo stays inside and continues to explore.

In the laboratory, Nanina sounds genuinely terrified, utterly distraught, as she pleads with the scientists to stop – nice work by actress Clare Jenkins. The scientists are completely detached, utterly clinical – to them, Nanina is not a person. She is just another animal, to be drained of her life force for their own benefit. It is really rather chilling, a reminder that perfectly ordinary people can be part of terrible evil just by doing their jobs, going along with the flow, accepting the unacceptable as normal and never questioning that status quo. In such a situation, it often takes a catalytic force to bring about change, and that's what this story is all about. Dodo finds her way into the laboratory.

Realising that Dodo is missing, Avon and Flower wonder if perhaps she is playing a game of hide-and-seek, and it amuses me immensely when Steven protests that 'not even Dodo would be that stupid'. At least the show is aware of what an idiot Dodo has been written to be at times! I appreciate that self-awareness, although would prefer to have had stronger characterisation instead! Steven is predictably frantic about her disappearance, automatically anticipating the worst, because that's who he is. He goes rushing off to tell the Doctor, only to be frustrated by his apparent unconcern, while Dodo herself watches as Nanina is processed, unsure what she is seeing. She gets herself captured almost at once and is furious, spitting fire at the lab techs – this is much, much better characterisation than the Dodo of earlier stories who barely even recognised danger when she saw it. The reaction of the techs is quite telling. They assume she must be another savage and treat her as such, talking about her to her face as if she weren't even there, just another animal, although they can't find a record of her and are puzzled by her clothing. Curiously, the techs can only find one female on their list – is Nanina really the only woman in the tribe of savages? We certainly see other women in set photographs of the tribe!


Heh, I rather like the contrasting personalities of Avon and Flower – Flower comes across as flighty and uncertain, slightly nervous, as if not entirely convinced by her own sales patter and expecting to be caught out in the lie at any moment, while Avon remains fiercely devoted to the company line. And I also like the contrast between the two guides and the guards Edal and Exorse when they are asked for assistance in finding Dodo – there's such conflict between the need both to keep up appearances while also finding the missing girl, and also such conflict between what the indolent guides and seasoned guards consider possible. Flower and Avon wouldn't even think of looking in the passages leading out of the city, it would never occur to them that anyone might go there because it isn't allowed and disobedience is unthinkable, but the guards use those passages daily so it's the first thing they think of. We all have our own measure of what is possible, and they don't always agree.

Dodo, meanwhile, is fighting back in a manner the technicians are utterly unprepared for – threatening to smash their equipment if they don't leave her alone and raging at them in fury. This is definitely her strongest episode yet. Only now do they start to listen to what she has to say, allowing her to explain that she is a visitor and a guest, not one of the savages. I'm glad she gets to do her own fighting and talking here, rather than having to be rescued by someone else. Edal arrives to collect her just when she's already talked her way out of trouble, and in all the upheaval Nanina's processing has been taken far too far, drained far below acceptable levels. Senta has enough sense to note that they won't be able to use her for a long time now, while she recovers.

Once Dodo is back with the group, the city-dwellers (I really wish they had a proper collective name – we don't even know what the planet is called!) are quick to try to a) find out if she saw anything damning, and b) sweep the whole thing under the carpet, while Steven is too busy being embarrassed by her behaviour to listen to what she has to say. For once in a way, however, Dodo is completely on the ball and not about to be dismissed by anyone. She knows that something isn't right here. When Steven and Dodo are taken away to re-join the Doctor, another crack appears in the utopian society of the city as Avon and Flower fret about what will happen to them, expecting terrible punishment for allowing Dodo to wander off and find the laboratory – for all that they attempt to comfort one another with reassurances that this is a free state and processing only for the savages, their fear gives the lie. It is only a free state so long as no one steps out of line! The fear is justified. They are frozen with the light gun and taken away, never to be seen again, and I have to say, that light gun seems remarkably useful, a marvellous tool for controlling recalcitrant prisoners…but the sort of thing that is terribly easy to misuse. Fitting, then, that it is the primary weapon of the city, which is a totalitarian state dressed up as utopia.

Steven and Dodo return to the Doctor, who is still in the Elders' Council Chamber. He is marvellous in this scene – while they are anxious to tell the whole story, heedless of who is listening, he just coolly shuts them up and devises an excuse for them to return to the TARDIS, recognising the possible dangers. This is much more like the Doctor than the ineffectual, bumbling old gent we saw in The Gunfighters, amusing though that story was. Here, the blustery old man act really is an act – he never lets on for a moment that he suspects things are not all they seem here. He simply plays along hoping to learn more, and continues to play along until he and his friends are safely outside the city – very cunning and very sensible! Jano is concerned, however, given that Dodo has seen the laboratory, and sends Edal after them as a spy.


Outside the city, Dodo reverts to form, complaining about the Doctor not letting her tell him what she saw – he has to point out to her that it might not have been wise in front of Jano and the elders, admitting that he doesn't entirely trust them. At least her inability to read between the lines is consistent – bless her, she never can see beneath the surface of anything. As they make their way back to the TARDIS, they spot the man Dodo saw earlier, the one who was over-processed. We aren't told his name for a while, but it is Wylda, and he has collapsed completely now – confirmation to the Doctor of what he only previously suspected: that human beings are the source of the 'high level animal vitality' used by the city dwellers.

The occupants of this planet are referred to as human beings throughout this story, but this is clearly not Earth. So does the term 'human being' refer here to the native occupants of the planet, who merely resemble Earth people? Or are they future descendants of human colonists from Earth, sometime in the far future? We aren't told.

The Doctor sends Steven and Dodo back to the TARDIS to fetch medication he believes will help Wylda. He has clearly stocked up his medicine cabinet since Steven almost died of an infected wound just a few adventures ago! While the Doctor tends to Wylda, Edal pops up offering to help – and is disgusted to see the visitors fussing over a savage, snarling what amounts to racist abuse and attempting to haul the man to his feet, pushing and shoving him. The Doctor is furious at such treatment and rages at Edal. It is a really powerful exchange – Hartnell does brilliantly when given strong material like this to get his teeth into, debating morality with a close-minded individual who has never questioned his beliefs. To Edal, the savages are sub-human, no better than animals, believes that with all his heart because it is how he justifies his own action; to the Doctor, however, it is the supposedly civilised city-dwellers who are the real sub-humans, damned by their own treatment of the less fortunate, and he says so. How far he has come! How proud Barbara and Ian would be if they could see it. Edal has the upper hand, however, in the form of a gun, which he uses to force the Doctor to return to the city.

Steven and Dodo return and tend to Wylda, giving him the Doctor's medication, which sees some improvement in his condition. The savages called Tor and Chal approach, wielding spears – Tor is all for killing the two intruders, revenge for everything his people have suffered, but Chal argues against killing and we can already see that this so-called savage is a man of wisdom and logic. It is Wylda who settles the debate, telling his comrades that the travellers are friends who have helped him – a bizarre concept to these downtrodden people, who've known nothing but hostility from the city-dwellers. Steven and Dodo try to persuade the savages to help them rescue the Doctor, but they are too weak and afraid – it is a scene reminiscent of the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan trying to persuade the Thals to help them attack the Dalek city in The Daleks.


In the city, the Doctor now opposes Jano openly, arguing vehemently and eloquently against the city's morally bankrupt way of life – another really strong scene for Hartnell. It is all to no avail, but it warms the cockles of my heart to see him taking such a strong stance, heedless of his own status as a helpless prisoner. Jano, however, orders Senta to prepare the Doctor for transference – an experiment, he calls it, as they have never attempted to process such a high form of life or intelligence. Senta is shocked and the Doctor furious, but all to no avail. The Doctor is subdued and the transference begins – it is a rocky process, but appears to work, the helpless Doctor's vitality drained remorselessly by the triumphant Senta.


We aren't told – this adventure is not referred to again – but one has to wonder if being processed here is one of the factors that contributes toward the Doctor's regeneration in just a few short adventures' time. He is already an old man, after all, and since being exposed to the Time Destructor in The Daleks' Master Plan has been noticeably frailer than before, so having life force drained from him here certainly can't help!

Episode Three

Jano rejoices in the successful processing of the Doctor, gloating that this means they will be able to use the other time travellers as well, when re-captured. What vile, greedy people these are – deliberately so, that's the point of the story. Here, they can't even attempt to justify their actions by claiming the travellers as inferior, which is the cosy little lie they've hidden behind where the 'savages' are concerned, and so the naked greed and cruelty of the system is laid bare. Jano decides to take the in-transference of the Doctor's stolen vitality himself, arguing that it is a dangerous experiment so he won't risk anyone else, but there is an element of self-indulgence in his argument, taking this extra-special vitality for himself.

Steven and Dodo have been taken to the caves where the savages live and hide. Steven is all for taking on the city-dwellers, in hopes of rescuing the Doctor, and tries to fire the savages up, arguing that they are living like animals and that if they don't fight back they will always suffer – again, this is reminiscent of the moral debates in The Daleks. Steven is an outsider, so on the one hand he has a fresh perspective and is full of the fire and energy that has long since been drained out of the downtrodden savages, but on the other hand they have the bitter experience of knowing what they are up against and how futile that struggle has always been, how hard it already is to protect themselves, so there is right on both sides of this debate. The argument turns when guards are spotted searching for Steven and Dodo – it is no longer a question of fighting back, but of whether or not to help the strangers escape and hide. Chal is the leader and overrules the fiery, resentful Tor – Steven and Dodo will be taken into the innermost passages in hopes they won't be found there.


We can't see the set for the inner caves, which is a shame, as Steven and Dodo both exclaim in wonder at the beauty of it, decorated with murals like a temple, again underlining the point that while the so-called savages might not have the advantages of the city-dwellers, they are just as intelligent and creative – or were, before that intelligence and creativity was stolen from them. The only difference between the two groups of people is where they live, which side of that boundary their ancestors were on when the segregation began. It is a clear analogy for all forms of discrimination.

Exorse finds Tor, who is on guard, and threatens him with the light gun, whereupon all Tor's fire and resentment melts away into fear and submission. He gives the strangers' hiding place away. As Exorse heads into the outer caves, Steven and Dodo are not far ahead, following Chal into the maze of inner tunnels. They are concerned about those left behind to protect their hiding place, not wanting to bring more suffering down on their heads, but Chal is determined that having taken these two strangers under his protection, he will not turn aside from that responsibility now. In the outer cave, one of the savages cracks when confronted by the brutal, unrepentant Exorse and tells him where they have gone, much to the dismay of Nanina, who is also in the cave recovering from her transference. It's an interesting moral dilemma – protect strangers or save oneself. Like Chal, Nanina is proud and principled and wouldn't dream of betraying even strangers to suffer as she has done, but some of the others fear further suffering too much to hold to such ideals. It's all very tense.

Trapped in a dead end, Steven decides to take action. He questions Chal as to how the light-gun works, then borrows the mirror Dodo was given and starts taunting Exorse, hoping to provoke him into something rash – when Exorse tries firing the gun at him, Steven uses the mirror to deflect the light-beam back at him and Exorse is trapped by his own weapon. Well done, Steven – very resourceful. So now Steven has the gun and Exorse is a prisoner. The savages are amazed – such a thing has never happened before. Hot-headed Tor is so astounded that he proclaims the strangers must be gods! Now, Barbara could tell them that being mistaken for a god is never a good thing!

Tor has taken Exorse's helmet as a trophy and is eager to kill the guard, but cooler heads prevail, Steven insisting that the man is more use alive while Nanina also defends him, despite the fact that he was the guard who captured her so recently. She has so much more compassion than Exorse has ever shown. Steven persuades Chal to show him and Dodo how to get into the city, hoping to retrieve the Doctor, and the 'savages' are left to guard their prisoner. Tor immediately tries to kill Exorse, successfully wounding him, but Nanina steps in to defend the man and tends to his wounds. For probably the first time in his life, Exorse is squarely confronted by the humanity and dignity of the people he has persecuted so rigorously, in the form of this young woman as she so steadfastly treats him with all the care and compassion he has always denied to her and her people, refusing to be vindictive or vengeful. He asks her name and promises to remember.


Chal takes Steven and Dodo to the tunnel his people are always released through after processing. Steven can see that the guard on duty is careless, not expecting any trouble, and makes use of that advantage to take the man by surprise, capturing him with the light gun and knocking him out, and here is as good a place as any to make note of how easily Steven has assumed the lead. His development since joining the Doctor hasn't been planned, but has happened naturally regardless – everything he's been through has brought him to this point, has developed the skills he draws on throughout this adventure: the diplomacy and good manners he employed as a guest in the city, the resourcefulness he used to capture Exorse and this guard, the authority he has employed to enlist the support of the browbeaten savages, and the strategic thinking that led him to put together this rescue mission. He is still hot-tempered with a tendency to pessimism, but he's come a long way since the Doctor first met him as a wilful, cynical, stranded space pilot on Mechanus. Leaving Chal to wait outside, Steven and Dodo enter the city.

As the fragile Doctor is taken to recover in a guest apartment following his processing, Jano undergoes in-transference, taking all the vitality stolen from the Doctor for himself. Afterward, he is disoriented and not quite himself – in fact, he seems to have developed a few mannerisms and voice patterns strangely reminiscent of the Doctor! Left alone, he picks up an iron bar and comes close to smashing the processing equipment, before stopping himself, wondering what has happened to him. Viewers at home are, of course, much quicker on the uptake!

I quite like that when channelling the Doctor, Jano refers to Dodo as 'the child with the ridiculous name', since I like that the show is at least acknowledging what a stupid name it saddled her with. But then again, if they can see what a silly name it is, it's just a shame no one thought to change it before she started!

Venturing through the tunnels, Dodo is nervous and wants to go back, the spirit she showed earlier giving way to fear, but Steven is resolute. He knows this is their only chance to find the Doctor – but Dodo is right to be wary. Edal has spotted them on the security screens and orders the Doctor brought to the tunnels as bait to lure them further in. They are alarmed when they see the state he is in, unable even to speak, and hurry to get him outside – only for Edal to close the outer door, trapping them. The guards close in, using a special smoke as insulation against the light guns. The travellers are trapped.

Episode Four

Although Steven is determined to resist, Dodo can't stand the suffocating gas any longer and throws down her gun, begging Steven to do likewise. Then suddenly the door opens and the travellers are able to make a break for freedom, Dodo helping the ailing Doctor while Steven covers their retreat. But who opened the doors? It was Jano, and he now closes them again, preventing the guards from pursuing. Confronted by Edal, he denies all knowledge and orders a patrol to search for them – but decides to lead it himself.

The travellers' escape is hampered by the Doctor's condition and all the fight seems to have gone right out of Dodo, who wails that the Doctor isn't helping at all – it's a pity the contrast between the spunk she showed when cornered and alone and this feeble fatalism now isn't explored more, as there's a spark of potential there for character development and growth, but alas it is not to be. Steven can clearly see that the Doctor is in no condition to even know what's going on, never mind help. Chal joins them and easily diagnoses the Doctor's condition – he's seen it only too many times before. He and Dodo set off for the caves with the Doctor, while Steven prepares to again cover the retreat, hoping to at least throw the guards off the scent for a little while.


Struggling along, Dodo remains intensely frustrated by the Doctor's condition and Chal chides her, pointing out that it is not his fault, this is something that was done to him and she must be patient and help him while he recovers. That compassion is something the 'savages' have learnt the hard way, through their shared suffering – their survival has long depended on such care and concern for one another. Dodo is rightly chastened. In another age, this lesson she is learning would be a bigger focus of the story, rather than a throwaway character moment; each approach has its virtues and pitfalls.

Steven, meanwhile, is holding his own against a whole patrol of guards, moving from one point of cover to another, never staying still long enough to be caught. Decent guerrilla tactics for a space pilot, but then his backstory is that he fought in a war before crash landing and becoming stranded; it's a shame that's never been expanded on. At one point Jano has a clear shot at him – but doesn't take it. Jano is still not himself, and Edal is becoming suspicious.

In the caves, Nanina continues to tend the wounded Exorse, while Tor continues to rant that they can only be free if they destroy all the city-dwellers. Nanina, though, is certain that they cannot save themselves that way and determinedly stands up to him, even taking up arms in defence of the prisoner, much to Tor's amazement.

Steven joins the others at the caves, warning that the guards are not far behind him, and reminds Dodo that she still has the capsules they gave Wylda earlier, which should aid the Doctor's recovery. Dodo had completely forgotten – after a bright start, she has unfortunately reverted to form now: scatty and slow on the uptake. At least we're getting to see a few sides of her in this story, strengths and weaknesses. Steven now has a clear shot at Jano – but to everyone's amazement, the Doctor suddenly revives and catches his arm, firmly ordering him not to harm Jano. Even in this condition, the Doctor knows what's what.

Dodo is anxious to get back to the TARDIS, but the Doctor, now recovering, is having none of it, telling her that they have a lot of work to do first, as he has no intention of leaving these people in this oppressed state. He realises, however, that there is no chance of talking the city-dwellers into giving up their power, so he proposes a much more direct form of action: destruction of the processing machine. A crude, but effective plan! And the Doctor is sure that only one thing is needed to achieve it, something he believes they have already…he is able to accurately predict that a man has been left behind when the guards withdraw for the night, and also knows who that man will be and what he will do.


Jano goes to the caves to speak to the Doctor, who is expecting him, all smug and proud of himself for a gambit that has paid off exactly as he'd hoped. How I would love to be able to see Hartnell's performance. Jano doesn't understand what has happened to him, so the Doctor explains: "You wanted my intellect. You got it, and along with it, you received a little conscience," and adds that Jano is now saddled with the sense of right and wrong, which makes him an explosive element in a civilisation such as this.

It's a nifty little science fiction concept, the notion that by taking the Doctor's vitality into himself, Jano has also absorbed something of his principles and personality, and is kind of sort of explained within the text by the explicit statement that the Doctor was a very different subject for processing than the 'savages', but it's a shaky premise that wouldn't stand up to close scrutiny, especially given our earlier observations that Jano clearly already knew that what he was doing was wrong. Still, it's a conceit that serves the moral of the story well.

As Jano explains his newfound determination to help the savages – his plan basically the same as the Doctor's, natch – Exorse escapes from his bonds and flees the cave, to everyone's dismay. Nanina is the only one to try going after him, though, rushing off while everyone else is groaning that Exorse could ruin everything. She finds him still outside and asks him not to reveal what he has heard, reminding him of what he has learnt, that she and her kin are people no different than himself, and that he owes her his life. But will he listen? This has been a strangely affecting little sub-plot between these two characters, representing a macrocosm of the larger issues.

Back in the city, a very disgruntled Edal tells Senta and the city elders that Jano has changed, and warns that he believes they are about to be betrayed. Well, he's not wrong. He's misguided in his devotion to an oppressive system, but his instincts are sound! Senta tells the others about Jano's in-transference, worrying that he has absorbed 'dangerous ideas' from the Doctor. Edal promptly takes command – you'd think the other Elders would have something to say about this imposition of martial law! Then again, theirs is a stagnant society, so perhaps it isn't so surprising.

Exorse arrives back in the city – and lies to the others, pretending not to have seen Jano at the caves, even when Edal threatens to send him to interrogation. It seems Nanina's words and compassion made an impression after all, the first glimmer of hope for eventual peace, understanding and reconciliation between the two peoples. It has to start somewhere.

And then Jano arrives, having brought the Doctor and his companions and a whole bunch of savages back to the city under the guise of captivity – the first phase of the plan. Heh, the wind is taken completely out of Edal's sails! Jano has him arrested by his own guards – he is, after all, the biggest threat to the plan. Jano then has the doors sealed and orders the destruction of the processing machinery. Senta vehemently protests, spewing racist abuse about the savages, about their primitive nature and incapacity for development, all so very familiar from our own history, all the lies one society will tell itself to justify ill-treatment of another. In return, Jano passionately insists that the so-called savages are the equals of anyone in the city and what has been done to them is wrong. He picks up an iron bar, which is apparently just lying around in the laboratory for no good reason, and starts smashing the machinery – just as Dodo threatened to earlier. It's a shame she wasn't pushed to carry out that threat! Senta hits the alarm, which brings Edal and the other guards scurrying back, but the door is sealed. Jano, the 'savages' and the travellers all join in the smashing of the machinery – even Exorse is moved to take part, switching sides completely now. I'm sure it all must have been wonderfully therapeutic for the actors! Oh, and there's a fuzzy but lovely little live action clip, recorded off-air by a fan, of the Doctor giving Dodo a hug and proclaiming how satisfying it is to destroy something evil. That's sweet.

As the destruction continues, Jano and Chal find a moment to discuss the future, agreeing that their two peoples must learn to trust one another and find a way to build a world that both can live in. They agree that they need a new leader, someone who can unite the two sides. Edal then bursts in with the guards, screaming in fury. He faces off against Steven, who stands firm in defence of the others, shooting Edal down when he moves to attack Jano.

Jano observes that the fear and hatred of the past will be slow to die, and makes a strong claim for an impartial leader, a mediator between the two sides. The Doctor quickly pre-empts any request that may be made of him and says in his case that would be impossible, but Jano shows no sign that he actually had any intention of asking the Doctor, continuing to list off all the qualifications the new leader must have, such as the ability to inspire trust and make judgements that come from the heart. Chal points to Steven – that's the leader he wishes to follow. Steven is staggered. The Doctor points out what an honour it is to be asked – he's changed his tune now he isn't the one being asked to settle here! Steven doesn't feel he can walk out on the Doctor and Dodo, but the Doctor points out what a challenge it would be for him here, rebuilding two warring peoples into one. He is certain Steven is ready for that challenge. Bless, he's a bit eager to tell Steven to go, but it's quite an endorsement. Steven carefully checks that all the community leaders are in agreement: Jano, Chal and even the hot-headed Tor. And there's another tiny snippet of live action so we can see the look on his face as he agrees to stay: excited and awed and slightly daunted by the responsibility being placed on his shoulders. Chal tells him he has justified their faith, which is rather sweet – faith has been all his people have had to hold on to for so long, he already told Steven that earlier.


You might think it would be a bigger deal for Steven to choose to remain on this planet, giving up any chance he ever had of returning home, but he has never once talked of going home as a possibility. The last he saw of his home there was a war going on, so the home he knew may no longer even exist, he spent two years stranded in isolation on Mechanus after a crash landing, and has known ever since he joined the Doctor that the TARDIS could not be directed. He has always known he can never go home, therefore, so it is a straight choice between remaining with the TARDIS indefinitely or finding a new home and purpose elsewhere, and he will never have another opportunity like this. Steven has already seen Vicki choose to remain in a time and place not her own, and has also seen Katarina, Bret Vyon and Sara Kingdom lose their lives along the way. He fought in a war. He knows better than most how short life can be, and that opportunities must be grasped while they last. He has the chance now to build a new life and achieve something truly worthwhile in the process – for a caretaker personality like Steven, that's important.

Oh, but Dodo is in tears, upset to be leaving Steven behind, and he hugs her and tells her he'll miss her, and that's another teeny snippet of live action I'm so happy to be able to see – my sincere gratitude to the fore-sighted person who thought to point their camera at the TV screen that night in 1966! As patchy as her characterisation has been since she joined the show, I absolutely believe that she is sufficiently attached to Steven to be this upset at losing him – he, far more than the Doctor, has been the constant, stalwart guiding light at her side since she stepped into the TARDIS and fell down the rabbit hole.


The travellers are left alone to say their goodbyes. Steven is feeling daunted by the task that lies ahead, but the Doctor tells him he's proud of him, and that's not a tear in my eye, except that it absolutely is. Dodo is still crying as she heads back for the TARDIS with the Doctor, wondering if they will ever see Steven again. The Doctor is philosophical, observing that in the strange complex of time and space all things are possible, and he tells her not to look back. That's been his philosophy through so many incarnations: to love his companions while they are with him, to be proud of them when they move on, and to not look back.

No cliffhanger ending this time.

Quotable Quotes

STEVEN: He said five minutes.
DODO: The Doctor has no idea of time. For someone who's travelled about in time as much as he has, that's rather funny.
STEVEN: This is nothing to laugh at, Dodo.
DODO: Oh, don't take it so seriously. If you're so worried about him, you shouldn't have let him go.
STEVEN: All right. You try telling the Doctor what to do.
DODO: Then you should have gone with him.
STEVEN: You heard what he said.
DODO: You don't have to do everything he tells you. You're a grown man. Or are you?

EDAL: We have no information about your companions.
DOCTOR: Oh, they're very pleasant. Yes, they're both very pleasant apart from their juvenile exuberances. I'm sure you'll like them.

JANO: We are honoured by your visit. The whole city looks upon you with admiration. Let me introduce myself. I am Jano, leader of the council of Elders. These are my councillors. We have all known about you for a long time. Look, we have charted your voyages from galaxy to galaxy and from age to age, but we never thought that we would meet you face to face. This is a great moment in our history. To mark our admiration, we would be pleased if you would accept the office of one of our high Elders.
DOCTOR: Well, my dear sir, that's very good of you. Yes, yes, very good of you indeed. Yes, I don't remember being so highly honoured before like this anywhere I've been.
JANO: We recognise in you the greatest specialist in time-space exploration. You have taken this branch of learning far beyond our elementary calculations.
DOCTOR: Oh, come, come, my dear sir. I know that you've been very responsible for vast scientific research. And at the same time, I always knew a race existed of great intelligence in this segment of the universe.

DOCTOR: What do I look like, my dear?
DODO: You're really with it now, Doctor.
DOCTOR: Yes. With what, my dear?

DOCTOR: Well, gentlemen, I can't just sit here in all these grand clothes without asking a few questions. After all, there's my reputation to think about.

JANO: Life preys on other forms of life, as you know, Doctor. Wild beasts live on other animals. Mankind must have food, water, and oxygen.
DOCTOR: Oh, yes, it's quite obvious to the meanest intellect that, well, how can I say, that you've found a much more effective source of energy.
JANO: That is true, Doctor. We have learned how to transfer the energy of life directly to ourselves. We can tap it at its source. It is as though we were able to recharge ourselves with life's vital force.

FLOWER: Don't think we're always serious. We play games, we dance, we go hunting. Our life's very happy. We do everything we want, go everywhere we want.
AVON: Do not go that way.
DODO: I thought you said we could go anywhere.

STEVEN: Dodo, you're a guest here. Try to behave like one.
DODO: I hate conducted tours.

STEVEN: Why is it only within the confines of the City itself that you have such ideal conditions? What about beyond?

FLOWER: She may be hiding. Just a game.
STEVEN: Not even Dodo'd be as stupid as that.

STEVEN: If it isn't allowed, Dodo would be the first in the queue.

EDAL: What about the Doctor?
JANO: He is a very sophisticated man, Captain. It is impossible to know what he thinks.
EDAL: It might be wise to keep an eye on him.

STEVEN: What have you discovered?
DOCTOR: Nothing really, but I sense that things aren't all together right here.

DOCTOR: It's just as I feared.
DODO: Feared?
DOCTOR: Yes, their wonderful civilisation is based on this. They've discovered a way of extracting life's force from human beings, and absorbing it into themselves, leaving the victim, as you see, almost dead.

EDAL: I don't think you understand, Doctor.
DOCTOR: I think I understand only too well.
EDAL: You do? And you still waste time on this creature?
DOCTOR: This human being!
EDAL: Why the concern, Doctor? They are only savages.
DOCTOR: They are men. Human beings, like you and me. Although it appears at the moment that you're behaving in a rather sub-human fashion.

DODO: What about the Doctor?
STEVEN: Oh, you know what he's like. He'll be back. He's just roamed off somewhere.

JANO: We do not understand you, Doctor. You who have accepted our honours gladly, how can you condemn this great artistic and scientific civilisation because of a few wretched barbarians?
DOCTOR: So your rewards are only for the people that agree with you?
JANO: No. No, of course not. But if you are going to oppose us.
DOCTOR: Oppose you? Indeed I am going to oppose you, just in the same way that I oppose the Daleks or any other menace to common humanity.
JANO: I am sorry you take this attitude, Doctor. It is most unscientific. You are standing in the way of human progress.
DOCTOR: Human progress, sir? How dare you call your treatment of these people progress!
JANO: They are hardly people, Doctor. They are not like us.
DOCTOR: I fail to see the difference.
JANO: Do you not realise that all progress is based on exploitation?
DOCTOR: Exploitation indeed! This, sir, is protracted murder!
JANO: We have achieved a very great deal merely by the sacrifice of a few savages.
DOCTOR: The sacrifice of even one soul is far too great!

SENTA: You are interested in our work?
DOCTOR: Oh, yes, yes, interested, yes. Although I disapprove of your activities.

EDAL: It's quite all right, Doctor. You will not be asked to witness this experiment.
DOCTOR: I should hope not, my boy.
EDAL: Instead you will have the pleasure of participating in it.

STEVEN: If you don't fight them, you'll always suffer.

DODO: It's beautiful. Like a little temple.
CHAL: This is where we live. It is the one spot on this island which we can call our own.
STEVEN: But who's made all this?
CHAL: Our people have done it.
STEVEN: It's superb!
CHAL: Our ancestors were great artists. As time passes, we are less able to do such things. Most of our talents have been taken from us. Only our faith remains, and that they will never take.

EXORSE: Why did you stop him?
NANINA: It would do no good to kill you.

TOR: It's a pity I didn't kill him when I had the chance. People of his kind must be destroyed if there is to be any hope for the rest of us.
NANINA: We will not save ourselves that way, Tor.

DOCTOR: I don't intend to leave these people in this oppressed state.
STEVEN: Well, you're never going to convince the elders that Chal and his people should be treated like human beings.
DOCTOR: Yes, you're probably right, my boy. I shan't even try.
CHAL: Well what are you going to do?
DOCTOR: I am going to destroy the power that they hold over you.

JANO: What has happened to me?
DOCTOR: It's all very simple. You wanted my intellect. You got it, and along with it, you received a little conscience.
STEVEN: Conscience?
DOCTOR: Yes, yes. You see, Jano is now saddled with the sense of right and wrong, which makes him an explosive element in a civilisation such as his.

NANINA: What have you learnt, Exorse? That we are people like yourselves. What chance will we ever have if you speak?
EXORSE: You think I can keep silent about what I've heard?
NANINA: You owe me your life, Exorse. I have a right to ask you. If you are against us now, you condemn us forever.

JANO: These people whom you call savages are our equals. What we have done to them is wrong.

DOCTOR: Jano, since you have destroyed the power you held over Chal and his people, you realise now of course, you've got to learn to live together.
JANO: Yes, but the fear and hatred of the past will only die slowly. We need someone like yourself as a mediator until we have become one people.
DOCTOR: I see. But in my case I'm afraid that is utterly impossible.
JANO: The man we need must inspire trust. His judgements must come from his heart, even more than his head.
CHAL: Here is the leader we want, Jano.
JANO: This is what I thought.
STEVEN: Just a minute. I couldn't.
DOCTOR: A great honour, dear boy.
STEVEN: But I can't walk out on you and Dodo!
DOCTOR: Just think of the challenge to be able to set up the people of this planet for a new life. You're quite ready for this task.
STEVEN: You think I can do it?
DOCTOR: Yes, I do. And you're the only man who can, my boy.
STEVEN: Has the offer come from both sides?
CHAL: You would give us new hope. Our people will become great again. We will learn to live as equals without bitterness.
STEVEN: What about Tor?
TOR: I should accept your decisions.
STEVEN: Very well. I will stay.

JANO: Doctor, for many light years we looked forward to your arrival on this planet. We always knew of your wisdom, but we never dreamed of the miracle that it would bring us.
DOCTOR: Thank you, Jano. And if ever you need the benefit of my wisdom again, I trust and hope you will allow me to express myself with my own free will, rather than place me in an oven, and try and cook it out of me.

DOCTOR: Well, I must say, young man, I'm very proud of you.

DODO: Doctor, do you think we'll ever see him again?
DOCTOR: Well, who knows, my dear? In this strange complex of time and space, anything can happen.

The Verdict

Overall and taken as a whole…yeah. This is rather a lovely little story and I thoroughly enjoyed it – one that's definitely undervalued by fandom at large. A bit dry, perhaps, and not the most exciting adventure ever, so it might not seem all that engaging to someone looking for monsters and explosions, and the concept may not be original, but it's intelligently written, tightly structured and atmospheric, drawing on real world issues to deliver a strong ethical message that may be delivered '60s-style but resonates nonetheless, and allows all three regulars to shine in their different ways.

This is also one of the best companion exits in the show's history, in my opinion, as the story really showcases just how much Steven has matured during his time with the Doctor, building up to his ultimate decision to stay and full of emotional resonance when the time comes to say goodbye.