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Serial Code


First Transmitted

9 March 1985

Final Ratings







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Regular Cast

Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri)

Guest Cast

Paul Darrow (Tekker), Eric Deacon (Mykros), Jeananne Crowley (Vena), Neil Hallett (Maylin Renis) [1], Robert Ashby (Borad), David Ashton (Kendron), David Chandler (Herbert), Peter Robert Scott (Brunner), Dicken Ashworth (Sezon), Tracy Louise Ward (Katz), Martin Gower (Tyheer) [1], Christine Kavanagh (Aram) [1], Steven Mackintosh (Gazak) [1], Denis Carey (Old Man), Dean Hollingsworth (Android), James Richardson (Guardolier), Martin Gower (Bandril Ambassador) [2]*.


Written by Glen McCoy
Directed by Pennant Roberts
Produced by John Nathan Turner


The planet Karfel is an oppressed world ruled over by a cruel tyrant – the Borad. Anyone opposing his will is cast out through a time tunnel known as the Timelash. When The Doctor arrives he is asked to rescue a woman, Vena, who has been sent through the Timelash to Earth with a precious amulet the Borad needs returned. If The Doctor refuses, the life of his companion, Peri, is forfeit.

What is the truth behind the terrible power of the Borad? Why is he desperate for all-out war with the neighbouring planet of Bandril? The Doctor falls in with the rebels, but to defeat The Borad means a one-to-one confrontation in the mad scientist’s inner sanctum – and unless he acts quickly, Peri may undergo a terrifying change…


  • This serial makes several references to Wells’s novels The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau.
  • The music for this story was provided by Elizabeth Parker, who had formerly contributed special sound for Blake’s 7. A selection of this music is on track 64 of the CD 30 Years at the Radiophonic Workshop. The DVD release from 2007 features 8-minutes of her music in stereo (wheres the DVD audio track is mono).
  • This story was broadcast in four twenty-five-minute episodes in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, united Arab Emirates and Germany.
  • This story was originally submitted as a Dalek adventure, it was rejected, but Eric Saward asked author Glen McCoy to resubmit it without them.
  • In the original script, it was the First Doctor, along with Ian, Barbara and Susan, who visited Karfel. Some vestige of this remains in the final version, as Tekker inquires about The Doctor having only one companion with him.
  • In viewer polls, this story has not garnered much interest as a fan favourite: the serial was voted into the 199th position by readers of Doctor Who Magazine in its 2009 poll, the Mighty 200. It landed in the second lowest spot of the final results, just above The Twin Dilemma.
  • No date is given for the scenes set on Karfel. A History of the Universe and A History arbitrarily place it in the year 802701, the same year in which H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine is set.
  • When playing the role of Tekker, Paul Darrow purposely exaggerated his performance as a way of retaliating against Colin Baker’s similar portrayal of Bayban the Butcher in Blake’s Seven, on which Darrow starred as Kerr Avon (Darrow stated that he felt undermined by Baker’s bombastic acting on Blake’s Seven).
  • The Borad is implied to be the Loch Ness monster, conflicting with the Skarasen in Terror of the Zygons, the contradiction is explained when the Borad is killed by agents of the Celestis in The Taking of Planet 5, and the Twelfth Doctor later acknowledges that he is aware of the different monsters he is responsible for in Loch Ness. (The Shining Man)
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