a real world point of view
|Novelised as:||The Savages|
|Main enemy:||Jano, the Elders|
|Main setting:||An unnamed planet, the future|
|Writer:||Ian Stuart Black|
|Number of episodes:||4|
|Premiere broadcast:||28 May - 18 June 1966|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Gunfighters||The War Machines|
The Savages — initially introduced as Dr. Who and the Savages by the end titles of the preceding episode — was the ninth story of season 3 of Doctor Who. It was the first to be wholly commissioned and produced by producer Innes Lloyd and script editor Gerry Davis; it followed several serials which bore the duo's names, but had actually been substantially pre-produced by John Wiles and Donald Tosh.
It heralded the new production era in a couple of small but significant ways. It was the first story to use an overall, onscreen title. No serial before this one had a title, but were instead comprised of episodes with individual titles. It was also the first story to have a production code of more than a single character.
More significantly, it was the new production team's first opportunity to impact the casting of the regulars. Peter Purves was written out by the end of the story. It was also Jackie Lane's last full serial and the final televised off-Earth story for the First Doctor. William Hartnell began showing a pre-regenerative weariness and would be eased out of the series in twelve episodes. It therefore had a certain commonality with Warriors' Gate and Resurrection of the Daleks as the point at which an incarnation of the Doctor began to lose long-term companions before an impending regeneration.
Narratively, therefore, the end of The Savages was an important point for writers in other media. It was the first time since "An Unearthly Child" that the First Doctor journeyed with just a single female companion. It was also a point at which later writers were able to retcon a certain pre-regenerative weariness in the First Doctor's character. Several books featured the Doctor/Dodo team in the wake of The Savages, such as PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask.
The TARDIS has arrived on a far-distant and seemingly idyllic world. Yet the Doctor, Steven and Dodo learn it hides a terrible secret: the apparently civilised Elders maintain their advanced society by draining and transferring to themselves the life-force of the defenceless Savages.
Outraged at this exploitation, the Doctor is seemingly helpless to prevent it when some of his own life-force is tapped by the Elders' leader, Jano. In the process, however, Jano also acquires some of the Doctor's attitudes and conscience. Turning against his own people, he enlists the Savages to destroy the Elders' transference laboratory - a task with which the time travellers gladly assist.
Steven agrees to remain behind on the planet to become leader of the newly united Elders and Savages.
Episode 1 Edit
The Doctor announces to Steven and Dodo that the TARDIS has arrived far in the future, in an age of peace and prosperity. He sets off through the bleak scrub land outside the ship. Steven is concerned at the length of the Doctor's absence, but Dodo dismisses his worries. The Doctor is being watched, as he tells himself his friends will be in for a surprise. He hears Steven calling for him, but ignores it tetchily.
Steven goes to look around, and Dodo remains at the TARDIS. She spots a man in animal skins with an axe, on a ridge above her. She screams, bringing Steven back. Steven surmises they must be well in the past, and the Doctor must be mistaken.
The Doctor is certain where he is. As he continues to walk, two hiding savages, Chal and Tor, discuss this new creature: he is not of their people, but he doesn't carry a light-gun. The Doctor calls out to whoever is hiding, saying he means no harm. He is met by two soldiers, Captain Edal and Exorse. They welcome the "Traveller From Beyond Time," as they call him. They are disturbed to find him carrying a weapon (the Doctor corrects them, showing them his Reacting Vibrator, a scientific instrument), and has companions with him. They insist he accompany Edal to the Elders of their city, while Exorse is instructed to find and bring the Doctor's friends.
A spear is thrown at Steven and Dodo. As more savages appear and attack, they make a dash back to the TARDIS. They are met by Exorse, who accompanies them to the city to be reunited with the Doctor.
The Doctor is met by the Elders' leader, Jano, and his councillors, who greet him like an old friend. Jano shows how they have charted the Doctor's voyages, and tells him they wish to bestow upon him the office of a High Elder. He is offered robes of office, and they exchange compliments. Steven and Dodo arrive, and are welcomed and presented with gifts: Steven, an ornate dagger, and Dodo, a jewel-studded mirror. As Steven and Dodo are led off on a tour, Jano has many questions for their honoured guest.
Edal, suspicious of these new arrivals, and Exorse begin patrol. Chal sends a young girl, Nanina, to the caves to warn their people the hunt has begun. Steven and Dodo are accompanied by Avon and Flower, who guide them through the city. They explain to the travellers that, though they never go outside and have no concept of "real" things, they are allowed to develop and become what is best for each person.
Nanina is being hunted by Exorse, who finally catches her. He fires his light-gun, which seems to imprison and control her. He directs her out and leads her away. Chal appears and offers himself in her place, but is ignored.
The Doctor questions the Elders on how they have become such an advanced society. Jano explains they have learned to tap life's vital force and transfer the energy directly into themselves. Dodo sees Nanina led into a diamond-shaped entrance and tells Steven. She wants to go off on her own, but Steven keeps her with the tour.
Senta, a scientist, is in charge of the energy transfer process, and is just finishing one when Exorse arrives. He releases a savage from the lab, and the half-conscious man is led down an exit corridor. Dodo slips away from the tour through a door that she sees Exorse using. She comes across a savage, wide-eyed and stumbling, and his arms reach out towards her.
Episode 2 Edit
As the savage drags himself past Dodo, a door at the end of the corridor opens, but he collapses. Dodo helps the savage outside, and the savage protects her from Chal as he threatens her with a spear; Dodo goes back inside as the door closes. Nanina is being connected by Senta and his assistants for energy transfer; they ignore her cries and pleas. Dodo listens from outside. Steven, Avon, and Flower continue to search for Dodo. Steven runs to find the Doctor, but the Doctor and Jano assure him that nothing could happen to her inside the city.
Dodo is detained by the scientists, who believe she must be there for transference. Edal is leading the search, and suggests that she could have used the guards' door. Edal prevents Steven from going down the corridor, going himself. Dodo fights back, surprising the scientists. They realise that she is one of the travellers, and Edal escorts her out of there. Meanwhile, the scientists have forgotten about Nanina, almost killing her.
Steven and Dodo are taken back to the Elders, whilst Avon and Flower are told to wait for the guards, as they will have to answer to the Elders for their negligence in allowing Dodo to wander off. Upon his arrival, the guard uses his light-gun on them to take them away. Nanina is released from the laboratory and led away.
The Doctor offers to show Jano files about his time travels, and all three travellers return to the TARDIS. Edal reports to Jano, and Jano orders him to follow the Doctor. The three of them come across the man Dodo met in the lab, and the Doctor realises that the savages are the source of the Elders' power. Steven and Dodo return to the TARDIS, the Doctor remaining to care for the weakened savage. Edal roughly orders the savage away, revealing his contempt for them, but the Doctor angrily insists that he leave the dazed man alone. Edal forces the Doctor at light-gunpoint to return to the city.
Steven returns with a small metal container the Doctor asked for, but he is nowhere to be found. The capsules contained within the container are given to the savage, and he begins to recover. A group of savages watches and approaches, spears ready. Tor wants to attack, but Chal warns against that. Wylda, the injured savage, stops the party from harming Steven and Dodo, and tells that the Doctor was taken.
The Doctor confronts the Elders and condemns them as a threat to common humanity. Jano says the Doctor is standing in the way of human progress, and all progress is based on exploitation; the Doctor calls it protracted murder. The Doctor is given over to Senta. Chal warns Steven and Dodo not to return to the city or they, like the Doctor, will become like the savages, once they are used as a source for the life-energy of the Elders.
Jano decides to try to drain the Doctor's life-energy, though Senta warns it has never been tried on a higher form of life. The Doctor is captured by Edal's light-gun, strapped to a gurney, and wheeled into a cubicle. The experiment begins and seems successful.
Episode 3 Edit
Jano is highly pleased at the success of the experiment, and realises that the other time-travellers will make excellent sources as well. Edal is ordered to find and bring back Steven and Dodo. Chal and the savages decide to protect the two strangers, as they have heard the guards are hunting them. They will take them to their caves, where even the guards hesitate to go.
Jano orders the intransference of the Doctor's energy into himself. Inside the caves, Nanina is recovering. Steven and Dodo marvel at the beauty of the carving and painting on the cave walls, and Chal laments that most of their talents have been taken from them. Exorse arrives at the caves and orders the strangers outside. Chal takes Steven and Dodo to hide inside the many passages of the cave; though there is no other way out, Exorse will have to find them.
Exorse forces one of the savages to tell him which way the strangers have gone. Steven provokes and draws Exorse on, trapping him by using Dodo's mirror to reflect the light-gun's beam back, imprisoning him. The strangers are hailed as gods.
The Doctor is led to the guest apartments to recover. In secret, Senta performs the intransference on Jano. Steven plans to use his light-gun to get into the city, and asks Chal to show them a way in. Tor and Nanina stay to guard Exorse; Tor wants to kill him but Nanina prevents it. Exorse is grateful.
Steven captures and disables the guard, and Chal shows him how to open the door. Steven and Dodo go inside. Jano emerges from the intransference a rather different man— he has taken on some of the personality of the Doctor. Jano alternates between sounding like himself and the Doctor; he has to stop himself from damaging the equipment. Edal and Senta have spotted Steven and Dodo, and they set a trap for them. They leave the Doctor in one of the corridors for them to find. As Steven and Dodo try to help the Doctor, a door slams shut on them. They are trapped, and a gas is released that chokes them.
Episode 4 Edit
Edal commands Steven and Dodo to give up their light-guns. Dodo does so but Steven resists. Jano witnesses the troubles of his friends, and opens the doors while Steven still has his light-gun. They escape with the Doctor. Jano denies having released the strangers, and orders that he will lead the patrol to find them.
Chal finds the strangers and helps Dodo carry the Doctor to the caves; Steven remains behind to hold off the patrol. Jano splits up the patrol, intending to go on alone to the Valley of Caves, but a suspicious Edal goes with him. Steven is outnumbered, so he retreats.
In the caves, Nanina fights to protect Exorse from Tor, realising that killing him is not the answer. Steven escapes into the caves, pursued by Jano and Edal. The Doctor is given the same capsules he gave to Wylda. Recovering, the Doctor orders that Jano is not to be harmed. He decides they must destroy the source of the Elders' power, the transfer laboratory, and hopes they already have a friend on the inside who will help them.
Jano orders Edal and his guards to return to the city; he will bring back the Doctor and his companions. Edal agrees, but under protest. As night falls, those in the caves wait for someone the Doctor believes is still outside. Edal reports to Senta and the Elders that he believes Jano has changed, and that they are betrayed.
Jano meets the Doctor in the caves and the savages are terrified at his presence. The Doctor knows it is safe, and Chal tells his people to trust the Doctor. The Doctor tells Jano that he knew Jano would take the intransference himself, and now he has been given a sense of right and wrong he never had.
Exorse frees himself and escapes. Nanina follows and tries to reason with him, saying he owes her his life, but he leaves her. Senta tells the Elders about the secret intransference, and Edal takes command. Exorse reports back that he did not see Jano.
The Doctor, Steven, and Dodo lead a party of savages, with Jano at the back covering them with a light-gun. He triumphantly enters the laboratory with his prisoners, and has Edal removed. Sealing the doors, he tells all present that he wants all this equipment, the source of their power on this planet, destroyed. Senta protests, arguing that the savages are not capable of the development that their people have achieved. Jano says the savages are their equals, and that he must right the wrong inflicted upon them. With Edal and the guards locked outside, Senta is powerless as Jano, the Doctor, Steven, Dodo, Chal, Tor, Nanina, and even Exorse, destroy the laboratory equipment with their bare hands. Edal finally breaks in, but Steven disables him with a light-gun.
Jano and Chal are ready to work together, and ask the Doctor to be a mediator, to help during the early days of this new community when mistrust will still be present. The Doctor refuses, but Chal knows the leader he wants: Steven. Jano agrees, but Steven is very reluctant to leave the Doctor and Dodo. With both sides asking for his guidance, and the Doctor beaming with pride, Steven accepts. Dodo runs over crying to hug him. They give each other their heartfelt good-byes.
- The Doctor - William Hartnell
- Steven Taylor - Peter Purves
- Dodo Chaplet - Jackie Lane
- Chal - Ewen Solon
- Tor - Patrick Godfrey
- Captain Edal - Peter Thomas
- Exorse - Geoffrey Frederick
- Jano - Frederick Jaeger
- Avon - Robert Sidaway
- Flower - Kay Patrick
- Nanina - Clare Jenkins
- Senta - Norman Henry
- Wylda - Edward Caddick
- First Assistant - Andrew Lodge
- Second Assistant - Christopher Denham
- Third Assistant - Tony Holland
- Savage - John Dillon
- Guard - Tim Goodman
- Assistant Floor Manager - Gareth Gwenlan
- Costumes - Daphne Dare
- Designer - Stuart Walker
- Incidental Music - Raymond Jones
- Make-Up - Sonia Markham
- Producer - Innes Lloyd
- Production Assistant - Norman Stewart
- Script Editor - Gerry Davis
- Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson
- Studio Lighting - Graham Sothcott
- Studio Sound - Norman Greaves
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- The Elders know of the Doctor, calling him "the Traveller from Beyond Time". They say they have watched his progress through time and space, and have awaited his arrival. However, they did not expect anyone to be travelling with the Doctor.
- The Doctor uses a portable Reacting Vibrator for calculations, mistaken for a weapon.
- The Elders developed the technology to drain life force from humanoid beings, with a process named in-transference.
- In the TARDIS's emergency cabinet, there are capsules marked D403 able to restore life force in the victims of the Elders.
- The Doctor refers to the Daleks when he says he will fight the evil of the Elders.
- The Doctor refers to himself and to Edal as human beings.
- Edal refers to the Doctor's friends as his companions.
- The Elders use a light-gun able to paralyze victims and then force them to move only as directed by the captor.
- The Doctor reaffirmes he never carries weapons.
Story notes Edit
- This story had a working title of The White Savages.
- Frederick Jaeger (Jano) gives an impersonation of William Hartnell, when Jano has absorbed some of the Doctor's life-force.
- Ewen Solon (Chal) and Frederick Jaeger (Jano) would later appear together in TV: Planet of Evil, in which they played Vishinsky and Sorenson respectively. Jaeger later played Professor Marius, the creator of K9 Mark I, in TV: The Invisible Enemy.
- Episode 1 - 4.8m viewers
- Episode 2 - 5.6m viewers
- Episode 3 - 5.0m viewers
- Episode 4 - 4.5m viewers
Broadcast Dates Edit
- Episode 1 - 28th May 1966, 5.35pm
- Episode 2 - 4th June 1966, 5.35pm
- Episode 3 - 11th June 1966, 5.35pm
- Episode 4 - 18th June 1966, 5.35pm
- Episode 1 - 23'41"
- Episode 2 - 23'57"
- Episode 3 - 24'59"
- Episode 4 - 24'41"
- The Elders' 'light guns' were realised on screen simply by means of a powerful light positioned at the end of the prop. (Although they did incorporate a light, the guns also emitted 'dry ice' smoke.)
Filming locations Edit
- Shire Lane Quarry, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire
- Callow Hill Sandpit, Virginia Water, Surrey
- Ealing Television Film Studios
- Riverside Studio 1, Hammersmith, London
Production errors Edit
to be added
- This is the last TV appearance for Steven Taylor.
- The energy drain the Doctor experiences here could partially contribute to his subsequent regeneration in The Tenth Planet. This ties in with his advanced ageing in The Daleks' Master Plan, his overexertion while fighting the Mandarin in The Celestial Toymaker, and his second life-force depletion in his aforementioned final story.
Home video and audio releases Edit
- 8mm off air clips from episode 4 (including Steven's departure) are on Disc 1 of Lost in Time.
- The soundtrack to this story was released with linking narration by Peter Purves on 2 April 2001. It was re-released in 2011 as part of the box set Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes - Collection Two.
- The Savages (including photonovel) at the BBC's official site
- The Savages at BroaDWcast
- Detailed synopsis of The Savages at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Savages at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Savages at The Locations Guide
- The Savages transcript