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The Dominators (TV story)

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The Dominators
Quark and master
Novelised as: The Dominators
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie, Zoe
Main enemy: Rago, Toba
Main setting: Dulkis
Key crew
Writer: Norman Ashby
Director: Morris Barry
Producer: Peter Bryant
Release details
Story number: 44
Number of episodes: 5
Season/series: Season 6
Premiere broadcast: 10 August - 7 September 1968
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 5x25-minute episodes
Production code: TT
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The Dominators was the first story in season six of Doctor Who. Although the Dominators were the titular villains, it was the Quarks who later made appearances in Doctor Who in TV Comic.

Synopsis Edit

When two belligerent Dominators and their robotic servant Quarks land on the peaceful planet Dulkis, planning to drop a radioactive seed into the planet's core to refuel their spaceship, the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe must attempt to inspire the pacifist Dulcians to resist.

Plot Edit

Episode 1 Edit

A Dominator spacecraft lands on an island on the planet Dulkis, having just separated from its fleet on their way to Epsilon 4. It absorbs the radiation of the island into its power reserves. The two Dominators, Navigator Rago and Probationer Toba, step out of the craft. Rago is intent on establishing an energy source by drilling through the planetary crust, which is at its thinnest in this part of the planet. Toba is more concerned about the possible aggression of the natives, appearing willing to eliminate them should they resist. Rago wants to use the natives for slave labour instead. Rago sets something that he calls Quarks off to survey the land.


Meanwhile, a Dulcian seacraft arrives at the island for an unauthorised trip. It is piloted by Cully, the son of Director Senex, a high-ranked member of the Dulcian council. The passengers include three Dulcians who think Cully has conned them when they find out there is no radiation on the island - which they call the Island of Death since it has been uninhabited for 172 years. As the crew squabble Cully takes his eyes off the controls and they crash. They are stuck on the island. The three Dulcians want to go out and explore, Cully tries to stop them - still worried about radiation. They disembark and soon see Toba and Rago and "some new type of robots." They set off for help.


Rago is ordering the Quarks and sees the three Dulcians approach. He orders the Quarks to kill them. Toba hears this and admonishes Rago.


The TARDIS crew land and the Doctor assumes they're in for a nice holiday, having visited "peaceful" Dulkis before. While the Doctor relaxes in a deckchair, Jamie blows up a beach ball given to him by the Doctor.


Cully, the only surviving member of the party, returns to his craft. As he approaches Rago orders the Quarks to destroy it.


The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe follow the sound and find a burnt out shell, however this has been burnt out for many years. The Doctor doesn't understand. They begin to explore and discover it is a war museum with old laser guns. As they continue to explore, Zoe finds some bodies however on closer inspection they are just dummies. Zoe asks the Doctor if he checked the radiation levels before they left the TARDIS as this reminds her of atomic blast sites from Earth. Jamie is unnerved by this and says they should return to the TARDIS. They turn to be met by three suited figures.


In a large building Educator Balan and his two students, Kando and Teel, try and decontaminate the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe but, to their surprise find their radiation already at zero. The Doctor and his colleagues are allowed out of the decontamination chamber. Balan explains that he is from the university and that Kando and Teel are his students. When the Doctor expresses his confusion at the state of Dulkis, Ballan seems surprised. The Doctor candidly explains that they are travellers through space which Ballan accepts. Kando tells them that the only nuclear blast on the island was an experiment conducted 172 years ago, after which all weapons were banned on Dulkis and the island was kept as an observation area for researchers and students as well as a warning for future generations of the danger of atomic energy. However why there is no radiation is a mystery to them all.


Toba and Rago argue about Rago's bloodthirsty ways. Rago informs Toba that the Quarks have marked out their site for the drilling. They go to examine.


Cully has found the TARDIS which happens to be right next to where the Quarks have set out for the drilling. As Toba and Rago approach, Cully hides behind the TARDIS. He overhears that Rago wants to destroy the TARDIS before he slips away. Toba tells Rago to stop being so eager to destroy.


Teel is out examining the museum when he encounters Cully who he knows from the mainland. Cully orders to be taken to the survey team. As Teel and Cully leave, Rago and Toba examine the museum. Rago sees the weapons and assumes that the Dulcians must have much more sophisticated weapons now. He is eager to go on a war footing.


Ballan suspects that the TARDIS might have absorbed the radiation, something the Doctor pooh poohs. Teel returns with Cully. Cully explains what's going on outside with Rago, Toba and the robots. Ballan starts to think that Cully is playing a joke and that the Doctor and his colleagues are in on it too. It is revealed that Cully is the son of the Director, Senex and is also a bit of a hell raiser. Ballan refuses to believe Cully. The Doctor enquires about the people's ship. He says he's seen a round one and a square one (the TARDIS) that the men were examining and going to destroy. The Doctor and Jamie rush out.


Rago and Toba are ready to begin the drilling process.


Ballan is refusing to believe Cully and wants to report to Senex before he does anything however the robots outside are blocking communications. Cully speaks to Zoe. He is infuriated by the slow witted attitude of the Dulcian systems - including his father.


The Doctor and Jamie have made it to the TARDIS and are relieved to see that it is fine. The Doctor finds the marks on the floor that signal the site is to be used for drilling. He sees tracks in the dust and Jamie and he follow them. They discover the ship and set out exploring it. Jamie soon shouts for the Doctors attention. Up on top of a peak stand two robots with rectangular bodies and circular heads. As Rago joins the, they ask him "Shall we destroy?"

Episode 2 Edit

The Doctor and Jamie are taken prisoner on the Dominators' ship, where they are forced to take part in tests. They are taken as representatives of the Dulcians by Rago and found unsuitable for slave labour — their bone structure is apparently too brittle and they fail (intentionally) at every test of intelligence. Cully and Zoe set off for the capital of Dulkis in Balan's travel capsule. There they attempt to make the council and Director Senex understand the threat posed by the Dominators. This falls on deaf ears, as Cully is a known con artist. The council is more intent on debating the matter endlessly rather than actually doing something which might be misjudged.

At the war museum, the Dominators test the Doctor and Jamie with their reactions to the weapons there. The Doctor says there are two types of Dulcians, "the clever ones" who built the now-outlawed weapons and the likes of him and Jamie. This satisfies Rago and they are set free, with a warning to stay away from the Dominators' mining area and the Quarks. Cully and Zoe return back to the island in order to find proof of Cully's story, while the Doctor and Jamie head to the capital in another travel capsule. Teel and Kando have now had verification of Cully's story from the Doctor and Jamie, and leave with Balan to witness this themselves in a very non-Dulcian manner. They are captured by the Dominators, examined and found to be "clever ones", possibly suitable for slave labour. The Dominators set out to search for more slaves. Zoe and Cully arrive at the survey unit, just in time for the Quarks to start their destruction of the place as ordered by Toba.

Episode 3 Edit

Rago countermands Toba's order and blames his subordinate for wasting the Quarks' power resources. Zoe and Cully get out and are immediately captured by a Quark. The Doctor and Jamie have arrived at the capital. Despite their pleas, the pacifist Dulcians still doubt the aggressiveness of the Dominators. Senex states that the strangers are quite welcome to drill the planet's crust, even though there are no minerals or anything else of value inside the planet. Zoe, Cully, Teel, Kando and Balan are now being tested for their suitability to slave labour and ordered to clear rubble out of the area in front of the war museum, with Toba and the Quarks guarding them.

Jamie and the Doctor have seen the destroyed survey unit on a monitor screen at the capital and are now rushing back in a capsule to see if Zoe is all right. They realise that Quarks may be waiting for them, so the Doctor alters the capsule's flight path and lands them elsewhere on the island. They start searching for Zoe and the Dulcians. While continuing the exhausting task at the war museum, Zoe manages to distract the Quarks and Cully sneaks inside the war museum for a weapon. He aims at the Quarks from a small window, but is unable to shoot as his fellow Dulcians get in the way and then Jamie interrupts him. Meanwhile the Doctor is captured by Toba, who now finds out about Cully's disappearance. Cully is spotted inside the war museum and the place is surrounded. Jamie shoots down a Quark, which leads to the destruction of the remaining part of the museum as ordered by Toba.

Episode 4 Edit

Toba is now certain that the rebelling Dulcians are dead. Rago is dissatisfied with Toba's actions and a power feud ensues. Rago wins, and orders Toba to oversee the drilling. Cully and Jamie escape the collapse of the building to an underground atomic shelter, which has its only air vent blocked. They remove the rubble above the hatch and avoid suffocation. Rago finds out about the Dulcian council from the Doctor, who shows him how to get to the capital inside the travel capsule. The Doctor and Zoe stay behind at the Dominators' ship under Quark guard. The necessary diversion is provided when Jamie and Cully, having mapped out the drilling sites and the number of Quarks on the planet, destroy another Quark by dropping a huge rock on it. Toba and a Quark immediately leave to investigate.

The Doctor and Zoe, now alone on the ship, find out that it has no generator, only an atomic storage unit — which explains the disappearance of the radiation from the island. Toba has halted the drilling and insists that the Quarks seek out the ones that attacked them. Rago arrives at the capital, but his improper addressing of the Director is protested. Rago orders a Quark to kill Tensa, who has been protesting the loudest. Rago queries the council for the Dulcians' suitability for slave labour. The slaves are to be taken to the Dominators' home planet where they will replace Quarks, which are needed for the front line in the war effort. The Dulcians who will not become slaves will die on their own planet. Rago orders Senex to start selecting suitable slaves and leaves. Meanwhile, Toba is interrogating the Doctor, Zoe, and the Dulcians on who destroyed the Quark. Balan is killed when no answer is forthcoming and the Doctor is next to be threatened.

Episode 5 Edit

However, Rago arrives and orders Toba to focus on drilling the final hole which hasn't even been started yet. Rockets are to be prepared for the outer bore holes. They also need a "seed device" which is now near critical mass. Teel, Kando, the Doctor, and Zoe are taken to a drill site. Jamie and Cully attack a Quark who is guarding the prisoners and take their friends to the atomic shelter. Toba is once again intent on finding the troublemakers, but Rago commands him to use the Quarks only for drilling as their power levels are too low. The Dulcians are now unfit for slavery according to Rago. They will all die with their planet.

The Doctor, now aware of the drill pattern, explains the Dominators' plan to others. The entire planet is to be converted into radioactive mass for the Dominator fleet's energy reserves. When they launch rockets through the four bore holes into the planet's crust, which is at its thinnest on the island, the crust will fracture and create a volcanic explosion. Once the atomic seed device is detonated inside this volcano, the entire planet will turn into radioactive magma. Jamie figures out that the centre bore hole is very near the atomic shelter they're in — they only need to dig a tunnel and grab the seed device once it's dropped in. The Doctor prepares bombs from the chemicals inside the medical kit in the shelter. Jamie and Cully go outside and try to distract the drilling by destroying Quarks with these bombs. Instead of being distracted, Toba focuses on the centre hole since it's near completion. Rago chases the troublemakers with Quarks and they paralyze Cully's arm. He and Jamie get inside the atomic shelter, where their tunnel is near completion. The tunnel is completed just in time and the Dominators drop the seed device into the Doctor's hands — they immediately retreat for take-off to join their own fleet in the orbit.

The seed device turns out to be completely sealed and impossible to defuse. The Doctor needs to get it off the planet quickly before it will do untold damage. He orders Jamie and Zoe to return to the TARDIS and the Dulcians to retreat into the capital by travel capsule as the rockets will cause a volcanic eruption anyway, but only on the island. The Doctor runs to the Dominators' craft and places the seed device inside, then rushes to the TARDIS. The rockets launch inside the planet's surface and cause an earthquake and eruptions. The seed device explodes after the Dominators' ship is airborne, destroying it completely and killing both Dominators. Outside the TARDIS, the Doctor looks rather pleased with his achievements, but retreats into the ship quickly as Jamie reminds him that molten lava is coming straight towards them...

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

  • The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver as a cutting device.
  • Zoe mentions both the Daleks and the Cybermen, hoping that neither will be present on Dulkis.
  • The Doctor has been to Dulkis before.
  • There is a periscope in the bunker among the ruins.

Story notes Edit

  • Originally a six-part story, The Dominators was edited at the script stage down to five episodes by script editor Derrick Sherwin.
  • A rumoured working title for this story is The Beautiful People, but this does not appear on any contemporary BBC paperwork.
  • The end of this story leads into TV: The Mind Robber.
  • The writer is credited as Norman Ashby, a pseudonym for Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln. Script editor Derrick Sherwin also had a significant input to the writing of episode five. Haisman and Lincoln's decision to use a pseudonym appears to have been made at a late stage, as the existing camera scripts for the story bear their own names.
  • Episode three was recorded on 35mm black & white film, as opposed to the usual 625 line PAL black & white videotape, to make editing easier. The episode was not identified by any on-screen caption, as this was inadvertently omitted on the recording day, Friday 31 May 1968.
  • Radio Times credits Sheila Grant as 'Quark Voices' for all five episodes. On-screen credits read 'Quark Voices by' for episodes one and two, and 'Quark Voices' for episodes three to five.
  • The start of Season 6 was heralded with a preview of episode one on the This Week page in Radio Times (cover dated: 10-16 August 1968), which read as follows: “The start of a new adventure — Dr. Who and the Dominators — in which the Doctor hopes for a peaceful holiday on the planet of Dulkis, but meets some very disagreeable creatures / Saturday, BBC-1”. This was accompanied by a small black and white profile shot of Rago looming over the Doctor on the Island of Death, with the accompanying caption “Dr. Who comes face to face with a new and particularly deadly foe in his latest adventure — Dr. Who and the Dominators — which begins on Saturday”.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode one was accompanied by a black and white photograph of two Quarks at the drilling site near the war museum, along with a synopsis, bearing the title Look Out! It's the Quarks, which read as follows: “They're Dr. Who's latest enemies in the new adventure beginning today at 5.15 / The Tardis excels itself and picks a very pleasant spot on which to land — the planet Dulkis. The Doctor has been there before and knows its inhabitants, the pacifist Dulcians, well. So he promises Jamie and Zoë that they can look forward to a peaceful holiday. / But things are never what they seem and the Doctor discovers how he has been deceived. For the planet has been taken over by the cruel Dominators and their deadly robots, the Quarks, perhaps the most frightening enemy the Doctor has ever encountered.”
  • Chris Jeffries doubles for Patrick Troughton in all location-shot scenes featuring the Doctor.
  • This was one of the stories chosen to be shown as part of BSB's Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
  • Patrick Troughton requested a showing of The Dominators at his birthday party shortly before his death in March 1987.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode three in certain regions was accompanied by a black and white photograph of Jamie and Cully on the Island of Death, bearing the title Two in Peril, with the accompanying caption “Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Cully the Dulcian (Arthur Cox) are menaced by the terrifying Quarks in Dr. Who / Today at 5.15”.
  • The Quarks frequently appeared in the run of the Second Doctor in TV Comic, starting on the very day that episode four of this serial initially aired.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode four was accompanied by a black and white head-and-shoulders photograph of Wendy Padbury, along with a brief biography of the actress, bearing the title How Wendy caught the acting bug.
  • Jelly babies, more usually associated with the Fourth Doctor, make their Doctor Who debut — the Doctor eats some from a bag while waiting in the transport capsule.

Ratings Edit

  • Episode 1 - 6.1 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 5.9 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 5.4 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 7.5 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 5.9 million viewers

Myths Edit

  • The location scenes of this story were shot on colour film as a test exercise. (They weren't. Despite persistent rumours to the contrary, the BBC did no colour filming or recording on any of the 1960s Doctor Who stories.)
  • This was Patrick Troughton's personal favourite of all the stories that he appeared in. (While he seems to have held this story in high regard and specially requested that it be shown at the convention where his untimely death occurred, various sources indicate that The Evil of the Daleks was actually Troughton's favourite of his own stories.)

Filming locations Edit

Production errors Edit

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • The rubble over a hatch in episode four vanishes.
  • A boom mike shadow drops into shot in the first War Museum scene in episode one.
  • When Teel shows the radiation graph spanning 172 years in episode two, the decline at the end is far too gradual for such a sudden disappearance of radiation.
  • The zip at the back of Zoe's skirt causes her problems on numerous occasions, being open in episodes two, three and five.
  • In certain scenes, especially those when the Quarks are recharging, the operators' hands are visible using the Quark arms.
  • When Rago is testing the supposedly self-charging laser gun, a power lead can be seen attached to it.
  • When the Doctor is running with the seed device to the Dominators' ship in episode five, the camera gets a little too close to the stunt double and we clearly see that it is Chris Jeffries and not Patrick Troughton.
  • In the exterior shots of the island recorded in the studio, the lighting on the backcloth is so hard that its wrinkles are clearly visible.

Continuity Edit

  • When exiting the TARDIS, the Doctor mentions "mental projection" isn't easy. (TV: The Wheel in Space)

Home video and audio releases Edit

DVD releases Edit

  • This story was first released on DVD in the UK on 12 July 2010. The one disc set includes a restored version of the story, as well as the following special features:
  • Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
  • Censor clips from episodes four and five have been restored for the DVD as part of the episodes themselves. These were first found in 1996 and therefore did not make it to the VHS release in 1990.

The Dominators was released on DVD in the United States in January, 2011, along with the Tom Baker serial Meglos.

VHS releases Edit

The Dominators was issued to VHS in 1990 in episodic format, with episodes four and five in the incomplete form in which they existed at the time (see DVD Releases above).

Audio releases Edit

more information to be added

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit

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