15 February 1982
Michael Robbins (Richard Mace), Peter Van Dissel (Android), John Savident (The Squire) , Anthony Calf (Charles) , John Baker (Ralph) , Valerie Fyfer (Elizabeth) , Richard Hampton (Villager) [1-3], James Charlton (Miller), Michael Melia (Terileptil), Neil West (Poacher) [2-3], Eric Dodson (Headman)
|Written by||Eric Seward|
|Directed by||Peter Moffatt|
|Produced by||John Nathan Turner|
Something is very wrong in 17th Century England. The shadowy figure of Death stalks the forests, terrifying the local people. Behind the chaos fugitive alien life forms called Terileptils lurk. Stranded on Earth, they have seized one of the local houses, murdering its inhabitants.
But just what do they want? The Doctor must discover the answer – and fast. For as events unfold, he finds he too is looking death in the face, not to mention the threat of mass genocide.
- The working titles for this story were The Invasion of the Plague Men and Plague Rats. The opening sequence in the TARDIS follows on directly from Kinda.
- Tegan assumes the Terileptil’s interest in the TARDIS means that, like Monarch, he wants to “ride in it”.
- When Nyssa says, “We should go and get Andrid and Tegan“, she says “Andrid” instead of Adric.
- Since The Visitation was filmed before Kinda, the cast had to act out their characters’ responses to the events of Kinda based solely on the script. In use since the 1968 Second Doctor serial, Fury from the Deep, The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver was destroyed by the Terileptil leader.
- This was on the direction of producer John Nathan-Turner, who felt that the tool was too easy a way of solving The Doctor’s problems, vetoing a scene at the end of the story where The Doctor would simply get a replacement from a room full of the devices in the TARDIS.
- This was the last time the sonic screwdriver was seen in the series before its next appearance in the TV Movie, after which it became ubiquitous beginning with the 2005 revival (and ironically its abundant use in the series thereafter would attract much the same criticism as Nathan-Turner levelled against it in 1982).
- The Terileptil mask marks the first use of animatronics in the series. Features a guest appearance by John Savident, some years prior to his achieving fame as one of the cast of Coronation Street. Eric Saward attributes the name ‘Terileptil’ to the words “territorial reptiles”. (Doctor Who: The Making of a Television Series) Writer Eric Saward originally created the character of Richard Mace for several radio plays broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the 1970s.
- The initial idea for this story was suggested to Saward by a former girlfriend who had recently read about the plague and the fire. One part of the Terileptil’s laboratory re-uses a Hymetusite crystal from The Horns of Nimon.
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