The Talons of Weng Chiang


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The Talons of Weng Chiang

Serial Code


First Transmitted

26 February 1977

Final Ratings






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Regular Cast

Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Louise Jameson (Leela)

Guest Cast

John Bennett (Li H’sen Chang) [1-5], Christopher Benjamin (Jago), Chris Gannon (Casey) [1-4], Trevor Baxter (Professor Litefoot), Deep Roy (Mr. Sin), David McKail (Sergeant Kyle) [1-2], Conrad Asquith (P.C. Quick) [1-2], Alan Butler (Buller) [1], Patsy Smart (Ghoul) [1], Tony Then (Lee) [1], John Wu (Coolie) [1], Michael Spice (Weng-Chiang) [2-6], Judith Lloyd (Teresa) [3], Vaune Craig-Raymond (Cleaning Woman) [3], Penny Lister (Singer) [4], Vincent Wong (Ho) [5-6]*.


Written by Robert Holmes
Directed by David Maloney
Produced by Philip Hinchcliffe


1 “Part One” 24:44 26 February 1977 11.3m
2 “Part Two” 24:26 5 March 1977 9.8m
3 “Part Three” 21:56 12 March 1977 10.2m
4 “Part Four” 24:30 19 March 1977 11.4m
5 “Part Five” 24:49 26 March 1977 10.1m
6 “Part Six” 23:26 2 April 1977 9.3m


In this feature-length adventure set deep in the darkest heart of Victorian London, The Doctor and Leela are confronted by a series of bizarre and horrific events. An innocent cabbie is viciously slain by the agents of a secret Chinese cult, young women disappear quietly and suddenly, in the depths below, the rankest sewers are infested by giant, deadly abominations.

The Doctor, helped only by the local pathologist Professor Litefoot and the cowardly Henry Jago, finds himself battling for his life against the hideously deformed Magnus Greel, who pretends to be the ancient Chinese God, Weng-Chiang. But Greel is not the only menace, The Doctor must also deal with the illusionist Li H’sen Chang and the murderous dwarf Mr Sin before Leela falls prey to the Talons of Weng-Chiang.


  • The Doctor battles the after-effects of this conflict in The Shadow of Weng-Chiang.
  • Professor Litefoot meets up with The Doctor again in The Bodysnatchers.
  • The 51st century Time Agents mentioned here are most likely the same 51st century Time Agents mentioned in The Empty Child.
  • Working titles for this story included The Talons of Greel.
  • This was the final Doctor Who story produced by Philip Hinchcliffe. Hinchcliffe was succeeded by Graham Williams as the series producer, who sat in on this story’s production.
  • This story featured the first Doctor Who work by John Nathan-Turner as series production unit manager. Nathan-Turner would succeed Williams as the show’s producer from 1980 to 1989.
  • Filming for the serial took place in Wapping, London. The interior shots of the theatre were recorded using outside broadcasting cameras during four days spent at the Royal Theatre, Northampton.
  • A large pile of straw seen in one scene was placed there to cover a modern car that had not been moved off the street.
  • The production team briefly considered giving Jago and Litefoot their own spin-off series.
  • The production of this serial featured in a BBC Two documentary, Whose Doctor Who, presented by Melvyn Bragg, which was part of the arts series The Lively Arts. Including interviews with Tom Baker, Philip Hinchcliffe and fans of the series, it was the td style= text-align: left,first in-depth documentary made by the BBC on the series and was transmitted on the day following the final episode.
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