Previous Next





Serial Code


First Transmitted

18 January 1983

Final Ratings






previous arrow
next arrow


Regular Cast

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa)

Guest Cast

John Carson (Ambril), Collete O’Neil (Tanha), Preston Lockwood (Dojjen), Martin Clunes (Lon), Brian Miller (Dugdale), Hilary Sesta (Fortune Teller), George Ballantine (Hawker), Jonathon Morris (Chela), Barry Smith (Puppeteer), Brian Grellis (Megaphone Man).


Written by Christopher Bailey
Directed by Fiona Cumming
Produced by John Nathan Turner


Surely Tegan must have made a mistake when she set the TARDIS’ co-ordinates, because The Doctor certainly hadn’t intended landing on Manussa? But upon learning that Manussa was once home of the Sumaran Empire, The Doctor knows that their arrival has been no accident but has been orchestrated by a hostile force – a force which is rapidly gaining control of Tegan’s will. By first infiltrating Tegan’s subconscious mind, through strange and disturbing dreams dominated by the image of a huge snake’s skull, this force – the Mara – is planning on as a vehicle for its return to power on the planet Manussa.

So just as Manussa prepares festivities to commemorate the destruction of the Sumaran Empire by the ruling Federation, it seems that the Legend of the Mara could be about to come true.

According to this Legend, the Mara was never destroyed by the Federation but merely banished. Furthermore, the Legend claims that the Mara will return in a dream – a precursor to its gaining control of all their minds… It is clear to The Doctor that the first steps in the Mara’s return have already been taken..


  • Tegan and Nyssa keep their dresses from Black Orchid in their TARDIS room
  • In 1995 Steven Moffat was a participant in a wide-ranging, public discussion about Doctor Who with Andy Lane, David Bishop and Paul Cornell. He ranted about the “crap” nature of the majority of the 1963 version of the show, but called Snakedance “one I couldn’t really fault”.[1] He would build upon this opinion in a 1996 essay, in which he called Snakedance and Kinda “the two best Who stories ever”.
  • Features a guest appearance by Martin Clunes. See also Celebrity appearances in Doctor Who. Brian Miller is the husband of Elisabeth Sladen who portrayed long-time companion Sarah Jane Smith. He later played Harry Sowersby in The Mad Woman in the Attic, an episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.
  • Brian Grellis previously played Sheprah in Revenge of the Cybermen and Safran in The Invisible Enemy.
  • A Top Gear (2002-) episode breifly shows a photo of Martin Clunes portraying Lon during the “Star in a reasonably priced car” section, with Jeremy Clarkson using it to humiliate Clunes.

    Order the DVD
  • trailer

    error: Content is protected
    Skip to content