The Claws of Axos


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The Claws of Axos

Serial Code


First Transmitted

13 March 1971

Final Ratings







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Regular Cast

Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who) Katy Manning (Jo Grant)

Guest Cast

Roger Delgado (The Master), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Richard Franklin (Captain Mike Yates), John Levene (Sergeant Benton), Peter Bathurst (Chinn), Paul Grist (Filer), Donald Hewlett (Hardiman), David Savile (Winser) [1-2], Derek Ware (Pigbin Josh) [1], Bernard Holley (Axon Man), Michael Walker (1st Radar Operator) [1-2], David G. March (2nd Radar Operator) [1-2], Fernanda Marlowe (Corporal Bell) [1], Patricia Gordino (Axon Woman) [1-2], John Hicks (Axon Boy) [1], Debbie Lee London (Axon Girl) [1], Tim Piggot-Smith (Captain Harker) [2-3], Kenneth Benda (The Minister) [3]*, Royston Farrell (Technician) [4].


Written by Bob Baker/Dave Martin
Directed by Michael Furguson
Produced by Barry Letts


A mysterious UFO lands on Earth. The Axons have arrived, desperate for help and eager to offer in return an exciting gift – axonite, potentially the most powerful substance man has ever seen. With its powers of duplication, the possibilities for mankind are endless.

The Ministry of Defence is delighted but The Doctor has his suspicions. Are the Axons as genuine as they seem? Just what is The Doctor’s arch enemy, The Master, doing aboard this ship?


  • Although The Doctor escapes this one, in Meglos the <Fourth Doctor, Romana and K9 are trapped briefly in a chronic hysteresis, a time loop where they get a brief reprise before the events start again.
  • The Fourth Doctor and Romana also trigger another time loop to save a planet from being destroyed by nuclear missiles in The Armageddon Factor.
  • Working titles for this story included Doctor Who and the Gift, The Friendly Invasion, The Axons, and The Vampire from Space. The last title was used through the production of the first two episodes, and was only changed by the time filming began on the third. The DVD release contains unused footage and cuts from the story that are packaged with the original title sequence &ndash, naming the story as The Vampire from Space. The Vampire from Space was envisaged to be a seven-parter, but the concept of the storylines changed as production progressed.
  • The line”freak weather conditions” is in the script to explain the shifts in weather between filming (which goes from snowy to sunny from take to take).
  • For reasons unexplained, the opening titles for this serial use the >Second Doctor’s version of the DoctorWho theme music as opposed to the Third Doctor’s, as do The Mind of Evil and Terror of the Autons. After this serial however, the theme reverts to the Jon Pertwee standard.
  • It is never stated exactly who Bill Filer works for (only that he is American). He claims he’s”of the New York Mounted Police” but it seems unlikely that’s who sent him to England to retrieve The Master.
  • The ‘blue CSO cloth’ behind Benton when he is driving the jeep (with the Axon behind him), is the sky and not CSO as it was on film and there was no CSO film work performed in the 1970s.
    UNIT mobile HQ is a BBC Outside Broadcast van.
  • With The Master’s help, the TARDIS can and does leave Earth, having been previously disabled by the Time Lords. However, it is programmed to always return to Earth.
  • The original script called for the Axons to land in Hyde Park, with their ship shaped like a human skull. The script was spectacular in other respects also. The production team loved the story, but had it scaled down on account of impracticality and budget.
  • One of the Axon costumes would be later adapted for the Krynoid in The Seeds of Doom.
  • Nicholas Briggs jokefully said on thevideo diaries, that if they didn’t finish the ending of Rise of the Cybermen and the beginning of Age of Steel, they would have to do a Claws of Axos rewrite.
  • Both The Doctor and The Master refer to their encounter with the Axons in Last of the Time Lords.
  • The Axons do not appear again (in any form of in-universe media) until DWM: The Golden Ones, nearly forty years later.
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