a real world point of view
|Four to Doomsday|
|Novelised as:||Four to Doomsday|
|Companion(s):||Adric, Nyssa, Tegan|
|Main enemy:||Monarch, Minister of Persuasion, Minister of Enlightenment|
|Main setting:||Monarch's ship, 28 February 1981|
|Number of episodes:||4|
|Premiere broadcast:||18 January - 26 January 1982|
|Doctor Who television stories|
The TARDIS lands on board a huge spaceship, where the Doctor and his companions encounter the frog-like Urbankans and human androids. The androids are drawn from four different ethnic groups: Greek, led by Bigon; Chinese, led by Lin Futu; Mayan, led by Villagra; and Aboriginal Australian, led by Kurkutji. They perform regular displays of dance and other rituals termed 'recreationals'.
The Urbankans' leader, Monarch, aided by his ministers Persuasion and Enlightenment, is engaged in a complex scheme to plunder Earth of the raw materials he needs to travel back in time and confirm his belief in his own status as the universe's divine creator.
Monarch has a poison he intends to use to conquer humanity so Earth can be repopulated with his androids. The Doctor, however, throws a canister of the poison at Monarch, causing him to shrink to virtually nothing.
Part one Edit
The Doctor tries to return Tegan to Heathrow Airport, but the TARDIS lands on a technologically advanced ship. The Doctor goes out to investigate and sees a monoptican surveying them. He returns to the TARDIS and emerges with Adric, Nyssa and Tegan. All four must wear helmets to breathe. The Doctor addresses the monoptican, hoping whoever is using it for surveillance will see they are friendly. He queries it on their location. A door opens. Seeing this as a friendly gesture, the Doctor goes through it, followed by Tegan.
Nyssa and Adric stay in the room to operate some machinery there. Tegan and the Doctor eventually find themselves on the ship's bridge and meet the Monarch and his two associates, Enlightenment and Persuasion. The Monarch is interested in the Doctor and Tegan's knowledge of current and past Earth culture. He reveals the ship is bound for Earth. Tegan draws a picture of male and female uniforms at Heathrow for Enlightenment. Tegan and the Doctor leave the bridge and meet up with Nyssa and Adric.
Nyssa claims she saw a humanoid man. The Doctor doubts this until one emerges, dressed in a Greek toga, to ask them to follow him. They are led to a dining chamber and seated at a table, to be joined by an Aborigine (Kurkutji), a Mayan (Villagra) and a Chinese mandarin (Lin Futu). They are representatives of their respective cultures; the Greek (Bigon) represents ancient Greece. The last guests to join them are Enlightenment and Persuasion, who have transformed into the humans Tegan sketched.
Part two Edit
The TARDIS crew are reunited as guests aboard the ship. It soon becomes apparent there are four distinct human cultures represented by a small group of humans: Ancient Greeks, the leader of whom is the philosopher Bigon; Chinese Mandarins and their leader Lin Futu; Princess Villagra and representatives of the Mayan people; and Kurkutji and his tribesmen, of the Australian Aboriginal culture. The Urbankans have visited Earth, each time getting speedier in their journeys.
This time they have left their homeworld after erratic solar activity, storing three billion of their species on slides aboard their craft. It seems the current journey is their last and they wish to settle on Earth, which they are due to reach in four days. Bigon demonstrates to an astonished Doctor that within his chest and beneath his face there is just a mass of electronics. Holding up a printed circuit connected to his chest, he states: "This is me..."
Part three Edit
The Doctor becomes suspicious of the Monarch. He learns the Urbankans don't plan on a peaceful co-existence with humans. Instead, they have developed a toxin to wipe out humanity. It will be unleashed before the Urbankans disembark.
The Doctor discovers the humans aboard are not descendants of the original abductees. The original people were taken from Earth and converted into androids, just like the three Urbankans.
The four leaders have been given additional circuits to help them reason, but this faculty can be taken away, as Bigon learns when he crosses Monarch once too often.
He explained to the Doctor that Monarch strip-mined and destroyed Urbanka in a quest for minerals to improve the ship, and now plans to do the same to Earth. Monarch believes that if he can move the ship faster than the speed of light, he can pilot it back to the beginning of time and discover himself as God. Adric is restrained as, on Persuasion's orders, the Doctor is forced to his knees and one of the Greek androids raises a sword to decapitate him...
Part four Edit
Nyssa uses the Doctor's sonic screwdriver and a pencil to short out the androids and save his life. Adric stops Persuasion from shooting the Doctor by standing in the way and the Monarch announces the Doctor is not to be harmed. Despite these events, Adric is taken with Monarch, and relations between the Doctor and him become very strained. It takes the truth to break the alien’s hold over the boy.
The Doctor sets about overthrowing Monarch and, with the help of the human androids led by a restored Bigon, a revolution begins. Enlightenment and Persuasion are de-circuited. Monarch is exposed to the deadly toxin and killed. It seems he was a product of the weak “flesh time” after all, having never, as the Doctor suspected, been fully converted into an android. The humanoid androids decide to pilot the vessel to a new home on a new world, while the TARDIS crew departs. Back in the console room, Nyssa collapses to the floor in a dead faint...
- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- Adric - Matthew Waterhouse
- Tegan - Janet Fielding
- Nyssa - Sarah Sutton
- Bigon - Philip Locke
- Enlightenment - Annie Lambert
- Kurkutji - Illarrio Bisi-Pedro
- Lin Futu - Burt Kwouk
- Monarch - Stratford Johns
- Persuasion - Paul Shelley
- Villagra - Nadia Hammam
- Assistant Floor Manager - Val McCrimmon
- Choreographer - Sue Lefton
- Costumes - Colin Lavers
- Designer - Tony Burrough
- Fight Arranger - B H Barry
- Incidental Music - Roger Limb
- Make-Up - Dorka Nieradzik
- Producer - John Nathan-Turner
- Production Assistant - Jean Davis
- Production Associate - Angela Smith
- Script Editor - Antony Root
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Studio Lighting - Don Babbage
- Studio Sound - Alan Machin
- Theme Arrangement - Peter Howell
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Mickey Edwards
Astronomical objects Edit
The Doctor Edit
- The Doctor gives Tegan a TARDIS key.
- The Doctor was a friend of Francis Drake.
- The Doctor demonstrates that he can survive for a short time in the vacuum of space.
- The Doctor states that only his Professor at the Academy really understood artron energy, which powers the TARDIS.
- The Doctor first demonstrates his skill with a cricket ball.
Musical instruments Edit
Story notes Edit
- This was the first Fifth Doctor story to be filmed. Though Peter Davison has often said that his first stories were recorded out of sequence so that Castrovalva might include a more confident performance on his part, (DCOM: Four to Doomsday, Castrovalva and others) there was a more practical reason. A little over a month before it was due to go in front of the cameras, Project Zeta-Sigma, which was to be the first story of the Davison era, was shelved by John Nathan-Turner. Since there wasn't time to get a whole new first story for Davison's Doctor, the production order had to be significantly revised. The out-of-order recording had nothing to do with any lack of confidence in Davison; Castrovalva simply wasn't written by the time the Fifth Doctor needed to make his debut in front of the cameras. (REF: The Fifth Doctor Handbook)
- The working title for this story was Days of Wrath.
- Nyssa's sudden fainting spell at the end of the story was a throwback to the style of serial transition often employed during the First Doctor era (for example, when the Doctor suddenly cries out in pain at the end of The Celestial Toymaker leading into The Gunfighters, in which a toothache is revealed as the culprit). In this case, the reason for Nyssa's sudden collapse is revealed at the start of Kinda.
- Part 1 - 8.4 million viewers
- Part 2 - 8.8 million viewers
- Part 3 - 8.9 million viewers
- Part 4 - 9.4 million viewers
Filming locations Edit
Production errors Edit
- In part two, one of the Greeks watching the Mayan dance from the balcony is wearing white lace-up trainers on his feet.
- The Fourth Doctor previously displayed an ability to survive exposure to a vacuum in space in TV: Nightmare of Eden. The Eleventh Doctor would again demonstrate this ability in TV: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.
- This story takes place before COMIC: On the Planet Isopterus.
Home video and audio releases Edit
DVD releases Edit
- Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
- Audio Commentary by actors Peter Davison (the Doctor), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) with director John Black
- Studio Recording - Peter Davison's first day as the Doctor
- Saturday Night at the Mill - Bob Langley interviews Peter Davison
- Photo Gallery
- DVD-ROM features: Radio Times listings
Video releases Edit
- Four to Doomsday at the BBC's official site
- Four to Doomsday at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of Four to Doomsday at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- Four to Doomsday at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)