TARDIS Index File

The Space Pirates (TV story)

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The Space Pirates
Spacepirates title
Novelised as: The Space Pirates
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie, Zoe
Main enemy: Caven
Main setting:
Key crew
Writer: Robert Holmes
Director: Michael Hart
Producer: Peter Bryant
Release details
Story number: 49
Number of episodes: 6
Season/series: Season 6
Premiere broadcast: 8 March - 12 April 1969
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 6x25-minute episodes
Production code: YY
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Doctor Who television stories
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You may wish to consult Space pirate (disambiguation) for other, similarly-named pages.

The Space Pirates was the sixth story in the sixth season of Doctor Who. It is the last serial to contain missing episodes which only exist in stills, fragments, or reconstructions.

Narratively notable for featuring the Doctor and his companions in a comparatively minor capacity for the times, Robert Holmes' second script for the programme was an attempt at creating a "science fiction western". Clear allusions were evident to western character types as were being seen at the time in Britain on American imports like Gunsmoke. Holmes provided archetypes like "the lawman", "the deputy", "the pioneer", "the miner" and "the female businesswoman", amongst others. Indeed, the character of Milo Clancey wasn't even an allusion to a western stereotype; he was a wildcat prospector who dressed as if he'd just walked off the set of Bonanza.

Behind the scenes, the show was more than just the penultimate Patrick Troughton story. It was notable for a number of different reasons.

Episode 6 was effectively the series' first double banked episode. It was the first not to use any of the regular cast in studio recording since "Mission to the Unknown". While the story was being recorded, the regulars were actually on location with The War Games. Their portion of episode 6 was in fact pre-recorded and played back into the studio as required. (DWM 242)

Moreover, episode 1 was the final episode filmed at Lime Grove Studios, a particularly difficult studio that had been the bane of the production team since An Unearthly Child. While a number of stories had been recorded at BBC Television Centre before Pirates, episode 2 was the beginning of the period where Doctor Who was more or less permanently assigned to Television Centre. More specifically, it was the first episode recorded at TC4, one of the premiere studios at Television Centre. Also, episode 2 was, unusually, a studio show recorded on 35mm film — which is why it's the only episode of the serial which survives. The BBC deemed it "historically significant" and retained it. (DWM 242)

The visual effects were somewhat unique for Doctor Who. They realistically depicted space as starless at short range, perhaps informed by the then-daily glimpses of starless space in press coverage of the Apollo 11 launch.

Famously, the story was the first one on which John Nathan-Turner was employed by the Doctor Who production office, albeit in the minor and uncredited role of floor assistant. even though he was just called John Turner.

Synopsis Edit

The TARDIS materialises in Earth's future on a space beacon just before it is attacked by pirates. The travellers find themselves trapped in a sealed section of the beacon. It is blown apart and flown to where the pirates will plunder it of the precious mineral argonite. They witness a conflict between the pirates and the Interstellar Space Corps, led by General Hermack and Major Warne.

The ISC are convinced that the pirates' mastermind is an innocent yet eccentric space mining pioneer named Milo Clancey, while their true leader is a man named Caven. Caven has a secret base on the planet Ta. He is assisted by Madeleine Issigri, daughter of Clancey's ex-partner Dom, who - unknown to her - is now his captive.

When Madeleine discovers Caven's full treachery she helps to bring him to justice. The time travellers are given a lift back to the TARDIS by Clancey in his rickety old ship, the LIZ 79.

Plot Edit

Episode one Edit

In deep space, a spacecraft links up with a beacon. Three men emerge from the airlock, two dressed in spacesuits, who are carrying equipment. The man without the spacesuit presses a button on the wall, and the other two men climb out into space. They climb onto the hull of the beacon, and fit a device onto the hull. One of them turns a dial on the device...

Inside the beacon, another man enters. He calls for the other man, whose name appears to be Dervish. Dervish tells the other man that the men setting the device are nearly ready, and they're detonate buy radio beam. The other man tells Dervish to hurry. The space suited men come back in through the hatchway, and once they are inside, they all go back to their spacecraft.

The ship departs from the beacon. A strange bleeping noise begins and the beacon blows up into separate pieces.

In another part of space, a larger spaceship, labeled V-41, is flying through space. On board the control deck, a young officer asks a technician named Penn if everything is alright, and Penn responds that everything is. The officer walks up to a raised part of the control deck. He talks to an older officer. The older officer calls the younger one Ian Warne, and asks him if there is any informantion on the beacon signal, to which the response is no. The older officer tells Ian that there shouldn't be. The older officer asks what Ian thinks happened to the beacon. Ian says it could be a mechanical fault, but it is dismissed by the older officer. The older officer says the beacons are full prof, and Ian says if he has any ideas, to which the response is yes, and says he must be right. The older officer says the beacons are made of argonite, a precious mineral. The officer then sits down a flicks a switch on the console, and speaks into the loudspeaker system. His name appears to be Hermack. He tells the crew that their V-Ship is now fifty days and many billion miles from earth. He then says that in the sector they are in, earth government has been aware of a highly organized gang of criminals, has been roaming the space ways, and preying upon helpless cargo freighters, and their main target is argonite, the most valuable mineral known to man. He says they have lost contact with a government beacon, and he thinks the pirates are destroying the beacons for salvage. He then says that they are going to abandon their present mission, and are going to investigate the pirates. He then switches the loudspeaker off. Ian says that there are eighteen goverment beacons in the area, and there're chances of catching the pirates are seventeen-to-one. However, Hermack says with their speed, it should cut down the odds. Hermack says there are four beacons in the Pliny system, and that's where they will start.

In a different part of space, the pirate spacecraft locks onto another space beacon. The leader, Maurice Caven, enters first, followed by Dervish and two space suited pirates. Caven tells the two suited pirates to speed it up. Dervish tells Caven he doesn't like it, which the response is "nobody asked you to". Caven tells Dervish to get the charges set. However, Dervish says if they destroy any more beacons, they will have the whole Space Corps after them. Caven tells him the Corps have got their hands full with fire wars in three different sectors, and that's it's the perfect time to get rich. The two suited pirates exit through the hatchway. Caven tells Dervish that he's a good engineer and to leave the Space Corps to him. However, Dervish is still nervous and says that attacking government beacons is bad, but Caven says he thinks of the beacons as "floating banks".

The two space suited men set the four charges on the beacon, plus booster charges.

Back on the V-Ship, Warne is talking to Penn, and tells him to keep a sharp lookout on the scanner. Hermack is talking to someone of a headset, telling the other person to fuel the minnows. Warne reports to Hermack that they are entering the Pliny system, and tells him that they've made scanner contact with the beacons. Hermack moves to a chart. He points to a planet he calls Ta, and says its the main planet of the system. He tells Warne that they'll orbit Ta for a few weeks. Warne recognizes Ta, and says its the head of the Issigri Mining Corporation, and says Ta's the most productive planet in the whole galaxy. Hermack says that Madeleine Issigri "has built quite a place their", which is one reason for basing themselves in the Pliny system. Warne ask why. Hermack says that the men will need a place for a rest. Penn reports that he's got a contact at Beacon Alpha 7. Penn says its to far for identification, but Hermack says it definitely a spaceship. The V-Ship changes course for Alpha 7. Warne reports that there's supposed to be no ships in the system for the next 17 days...

At the beacon, the pirates ship departs.

On the control deck, Penn picks up the strange bleeping noise.

Alpha 7 explodes into several separate pieces.

Penn yells that's Alpha 7's blown apart. Hermack is angry, as they have blown it up right unde their nose's. They still have three hours until they get to where Alpha 7 was. They pick up the pirates ship on their scanners. The scanner turns to static. Penn says the pirates are getting away — the beacon sections with them. Penn loose's contact. Hermack groans at their defeat, and says the pirates are well organized. He then decides that the only ways to catch the pirates is to put guards on the beacons. Warne sets course for the nearest beacon — Alpha 4.

The V-Ship docks with Alpha 4. They drop Lt. Joe Sorba and four guards off at the beacon. Warne gives him a transmitter, and shows him a button that, if in the event of trouble, to press it.

Back on the control deck of V-41, Penn sets course for Alpha 9.

In the computer bay, a strange shape appears — that of a battered TARDIS, disguised as a London police box.

Sorba is telling one of his men to settle in when another guard comes and reports that he heard a sound in the computer bay. Sorba takes his men and goes to check it out.

In the computer bay, the Second Doctor exits from his craft, followed by the young scientist Zoe Heriot and Highlander Jamie McCrimmon. The Doctor is puzzled, and admits he's not where he expected. He goes to a computer that he says is interesting, although Jamie disagrees. Jamie says they should leave in the TARDIS before they are caught. The Doctor says there's obviously no one on board, as the computer is set to operate on its own. The Doctor goes to investigate further, but suddenly Sorba and his guards enter. Sorba and the guards fire at the travelers, and the TARDIS crew flee, and the hatchway closes behind them. The Doctor decides there's only one thing they can do: run.

Sorba tells the guards to hunt the strangers down, and to shoot to kill.

The pirate craft docks with Alpha 4.

Caven enters first into Alpha 4, which he calls "another present from the home planets tax payers", followed by Dervish. Both of them, suddenly hear firing. Dervish panics, and Caven tells him to get the rest of the crew into the beacon. The engineer rushes back into the ship.

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe enter another corridor. The Doctor put a bar across the door. However, Sorba begins to cut through the door. The Doctor says they need somewhere else to hide. They move deeper into the beacon, leaving the TARDIS further behind...

The travelers come to a dead end. The Doctor admits they are trapped.

Sorba and his men are ambushed by the pirates. The Space Corps guards are all gunned down, but Sorba activates the transmitter.

On the V-Ship, they receive the distress call. They reset course for Alpha 4.

Sorba is lying on the ground, unconscious. Caven nudges Sorba with his foot and tells Dervish this one's still alive. Dervish is still panicking, and says they should leave, but Caven disagrees. Caven picks up the transmitter and destroys it with his blaster. Caven tells Dervish to get the bombs set.

On the V-Ship, the distress call seizes abruptly. They still have two hours and twenty minutes until they arrive at Alpha 4.

Caven is talking to the now conscious Sorba. Sorba asks Caven how he got the "decoys" on board. Caven doesn't know what Sorba's talking about, but Caven is convinced that someone else is on board. Dervish comes down the corridor and says the charges are being set. He tells Dervish to take Sorba to the ship. Caven then turns back and fires at the control of the door. Dervish asks Caven what he's doing, to which the response is "just sealing a coffin".

Zoe thought the men were trying to burn through the door, and the Doctor thinks they've left. Zoe doesn't know why the men aren't coming in after them. The Doctor touches the door and pulls his hand away, saying its red hot. They still don' know why the guards didn't come in after them. They then stand still and hear a noise outside in space.

Unkown to the TARDIS crew, there are two pirates on the hull of the beacon setting the charges.

The travelers decide to head back to the TARDIS. Zoe touchs the door control, but the door doesn't open. Jamie throws all his weight on the door but it still does not open. They soon realize they are prisoners.

The pirates craft departs from the beacon.

On the V-Ship, Penn reports that the pirates are leaving the beacon. They still have ninety minutes to the beacon. Hermack says they are going to be to late again. The strange bleeping starts.

The beacon blows apart, throwing the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe to the ground...

Episode two Edit


The Doctor considers the dangerous position he, Jamie and Zoe are in onboard a segment of Beacon Alpha Four

The beacon explodes into discrete, sealed pieces.

The V-Ship still has ninety minutes to Alpha 4. Hermack gives Warne some coffee and watch the scanner as the beacon segments disappear...

In one of the segments of Alpha 4, the TARDIS crew lie unconscious on the floor

Penn detects a spaceship on his scanner. The two officers discover the name — LIZ 79. They discover it is owned by the old space pioneer Milo Clancey. Warne does not know who Clancey is, but Hermack says Clancey was on of the first men to go out into deep space.

On board the LIZ 79, Clancey is preparing his breakfast. Hermack contacts Clancey and tells him he is going to be boarded and brought aboard the V-Ship. Clancey agrees.

On the beacon segment, the Doctor recovers. His two friends are still unconscious. The Doctor grabs a oxygen canister and drags it to his friends.

Clancey is now aboard the V-Ship. Hermack introduces himself and Major Warne. Hermack asks Clancey what he's doing in this part of space. Clancey tells Hermack that he is the head of the Milo Clancey Space Mining Corporation, and says that his argonite shipments have been being robbed by argonite pirates, and they are using the new, super fast Beta Darts, and his shipments are being brought into this sector. Hermack shows him a map and asks Clancey to identify Alpha 4. Clancey doesn't see it. Hermack says this is because it was destroyed by pirates an hour ago.

On the beacon segment, the Doctor and his newly recovered friends find out they are now floating in space, and that there are rockets attached to the hull of the beacon. They then realize they can't get to the TARDIS...

Back on V-41, Hermack lets Clancey go back to LIZ 79. Warne disagrees and says they should have put him through the mind probe, but Hermack says he thinks Clancey is the pirate leader, and that's exactly why he let Clancey go.

Back on the beacon segment, Zoe is hopeless that they will ever get back to the TARDIS.

Warne sets out in a minnow to follow Clancey. Hermack goes down to Ta to meet with Madeleine Issigri.

When the Doctor tries to use electro magnetism to get to the other beacon segment fails, they shoot off farther into space. They are running out of oxygen...

Hermack is on Ta, and is meeting with Madeleine Issigri, the head of the Issigri Mining Corporation. She discovers that LIZ 79 is Milo Clancey's spaceship, as Milo was her father, Dom's business partner until Dom disappeared, and Milo is suspected of Dom's murder. She asks why Clancey is being followed by Warne. Hermack tells her of his suspicions. Madeleine disagrees, and says that Clancey has his own mines on Lobos, but Hermack says they are almost completely dried out, but Madeleine says that's no reason to take up piracy.

The TARDIS crew use up the last of the oxygen.

Warne reports that Clancey is linking up with a segment of Alpha 4. Hermack tells Warne to arrest Clancey, and afterwards, to bring him to the V-Ship.

On the segment of Alpha 4, the TARDIS crew are lying on the floor, wen suddenly, the bolts of the door start shooting off. The door falls down and Clancey comes through. Jamie tries to attack him, but Clancey guns Jamie down with his blaster, and Zoe screams that Clancey's a murderer...

Episode three Edit

Clancey tells the Doctor and Zoe to stand still.

Penn arrives on Ta. Hermack tells Penn to take the V-Ship out of Ta's orbit of about twenty miles. Madeleine asks Hermack why he's not going with his ship. Hermack says he's going to be in charge on the ground. Penn leaves. Madeleine tells Hermack he's not taking any chances. They both cross to the video board. Warne is contacting Hermack. Warne reports Clancey is still linked with the segment of Alpha 4. Hermack tells Warne if Clancey does not answer you in two minutes, to fire warning rockets.

Warne's call is being broadcast to the LIZ.

On the beacon segment, Clancey tells the Doctor to hurry up. The Doctor realizes Clancey thinks he's a pirate, but Clancey soon realizes he's wrong. Meanwhile, Jamie has only been stunned, and is beginning to recover. Clancey begins asking them questions, but the minnow's warning rocket explodes, shaking the segment. The all board the LIZ. The LIZ departs the beacon segment. Clancey gets Warne's message, and Clancey puts the LIZ one full speed, denying the Doctor's statment that maby they should give in. Warne prepares to destroy the LIZ, but Clancey deploys coper needles, which immobilize the minnow. They are now safe. Clancey is surprised to find the strangers don't know about argonite. Zoe asks the Doctor if they'll ever see the TARDIS again. The Doctor learns the pirates took the segments to their base to salvage — so they'll have to find the pirates to find the TARDIS. However, Clancey has other things on his mind. He decides to hide in the one place Hermack will never find them...

Warne reports his controls are jammed. It further anger's Hermack when Warne says he's lost contact with Clancey. Madeleine and her secretary enter. Madeleine gives her secretary production figures. The secretary leaves. Hermack informs her that Clancey's escaped. Hermack contacts Penn to order the launch of the rest of the minnow's — LIZ 79 is to be found and destroyed.

The minnow's launch.

The LIZ is running at top speed. The Doctor tells Milo the pressure's a little high, but it's dismissed by Milo. Clancey tells them they are heading for Ta, and are going to hide right under Madeleine Issigri's nose.

Hermack tells Penn to land the V-Ship on a landing pad on Ta. Hermack sees a model of a Beta Dart on Issigri's desk. Madeleine says they've just bought them. Hermack says he'd hate to blow up one of her Beta Darts instead of the pirates. Madeleine then slips a stripped nose cone on the model, meaning it's an Issigri Beta Dart. Hermack still thinks Milo is the pirate leader, but Madeleine is still skeptical. Hermack leaves to go to pick up Warne. As soon as he's left, Madeleine picks up her video phone...

The LIZ comes down on a landing pad on Ta with a thud. Milo says they are now a mile underground. Milo tells them to stay in the ship, and he's going to repair the generator. Jamie checks to make sure Clancey's gone. Zoe grabs a pen and paper and starts to write down calculations. Jamie is suspicious of Clancey. However, the Doctor says they have to trust Clancey — for the moment. Meanwhile, Zoe has finished and says the beacon segments — and the TARDIS — are on Ta. Jamie and Zoe think Clancey's a pirate, and the Doctor says its entirely possible. The TARDIS crew decide to leave the LIZ and take their chances in the tunnels.

In the pirate base on Ta, Caven is talking with Dervish. Caven tells Dervish to stop melting the Alpha 2 segments as Suledin can handle it, and he's got another assignment for him. Caven tells Dervish he's redirected the Alpha 4 segments to Lobos to throw suspicion on Clancey. Caven tells Dervish to get in the Beta Dart and direct the segments to Lobos. Dervish says it crazy to do that, as there's a V-Ship in the sector, but Caven pulls his blaster on Dervish. Dervish agrees. An alarm suddenly goes off. They are intruders in the tunnels...

The alarm is for the TARDIS crew, who are investigating the tunnels. Zoe warns the Doctor and Jamie they are going deeper into the tunnels...

Milo discovers the strangers missing. He goes into the tunnels after them.

Zoe sees through a crack and sees several pirates melting down segments of the beacon. However, Caven and two pirates discover them and start to fire upon the intruders. They start to run, but fall into the darkness of a chasm at the end of the tunnel...

Episode four Edit

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe make a hard landing on the barren floor of an underground cave. The Docfor has landed on some drawing pins in his pocket, but otherwise there are no serious injuries.

Caven stares down the mineshaft. He says they won't give them any more trouble.

Jamie rubs his ankle. They start to look around. Suddenly, they hear a moan from a dark conner of the cave. The Doctor motions for them to stay behind and he goes to investigate. Jamie picks up a rock and begins to follow the Doctor. They find an injured man — Lt. Sorba, seized from Alpha 4. Zoe notices a wound on Sorba's shoulder. The Doctor finds an earthware bowl filled with water on the ground and dips his handkerchief in it. He begins to rub it against Sorba's face.

In his HQ, Caven contacts Dervish on the Beta Buccaneer. Dervish says he's coming back to Ta, as there's a V-Ship three hours away, and it will take twelve hours to divert the segments. Caven tells Dervish he'll find some way to speed it up. However, Dervish is still going to come back. Caven then holds up a cylinder for Dervish to see. It has wires running from it to the control panel. He tells Dervish that he should recognise it. Dervish does — its a bomb detonator. Caven tells Dervish that there's a bomb on the Buccaneer. Dervish thinks he's bluffing, but finally agrees.

On board the V-Ship, Penn reports that Major Warne is coming aboard. Penn sets course for Lobos. Warne enters the bridge. Warne hands Hermack a large coper needle. Hermack berates Warne for being outwitted by Clancey. He tells Warne they are heading towards Lobos. Hermack says that's where they will find Clancey — and the beacon segments.

Down in the cave, Sorba has recovered, and begins to recognize them from the beacon. Sorba says there's no way out of the cell, but the Doctor is optimistic. He says there must be a door somewhere, but the trouble is finding it. He begins to look, but Sorba says he's wasting his time. His companions don't think there's a door either. The Doctor points to the bowl with the water in it and says that couldn't have been thrown down.

In his HQ, Caven is talking to Dervish over the video screen. Dervish says the crew are diverting the segments to Lobos, but one of the segments is missing. Caven says that's impossible. Dervish says someone must have engineered it out of its flight path. Caven remembers Sorba saying there were other people on the beacon. Caven tells Dervish that he's going to question Sorba. Caven turns the link off.

Sorba and Zoe watch the Doctor and Jamie bang and scratch the wall. Jamie tells the Doctor their wasting their the time, but the Doctor tells the Highlander to be patient. The Doctor notices cracks in the wall. He takes a stethoscope from his pocket, and listens to the wall. He listens intently and then repeatly taps the same spot on the wall. The Doctor says there must be a audio lock under that spot. He then takes a tuning fork from his pocket. Listening through the stethoscope, the Doctor begins to twang the fork against the wall...

Back on the V-Ship, Penn gets several contacts on the scanner. He says they are the Alpha 4 segments. He says they are heading towards a planet — Lobos. Penn then sees a larger contact — too big to be a segments, but large enough to be a spaceship. Hermack sends Warne to the launching bay, and to stand ready. Warne hurries away. Hermack tells Penn to keep the scanner on the spaceship.

Warne takes off in a minnow.

Penn says it's certainly a Beta Dart. The Dart begins to speed up. Hermack tells Warne to fire away.

On Ta, Caven tells on of his guards to go and fetch Sorba. Caven hands him a short tube, and says its the audio key. As the guard leaves, the video screen activates. Dervish appears and says there's a minnow on his tail. He says it thirty miles behind him and closing...

Penn is giving Warne directions.

The Buccaneer flies into an Issigri striped nose cone.

However, Hermack sees the nose cone amd calls off the attack. Hermack tells Warne to return.

In the cave, the Doctor is still banging the wall with the tuning fork and listening through the stethoscope. Jamie, annoyed by the noise, plucks the fork from the Doctor's hands and hurls it at the wall. It hits the wall, and the rock face slides up, revealing the hidden doorway. The Doctor says Jamie found the right note. Suddenly, Clancey comes through. The TARDIS crew still think he's s pirate, but Clancey's assures them he's not one. Clancey tells them to come with them. However, they hear someone coming. They all hide. Two pirates come in. Clancey shoots one down, but the other flees. The alarm sounds. They all leave the cell.

Caven is in his HQ. He is speaking to someone over a radio. Caven asks the other pirate where the prisoners are. The man tells Caven they are all on level eight. The pirate says they know the tunnels better then the pirates. Caven realizes Clancey must be with them. Caven tells the other pirate he's coming down to level eight — and he wants the prisoners caught or killed. Caven leaves.

The group slowly make their way along a tunnel. Sorba is being helped along by Jamie. Milo says they are heading towards Madeleine's office — they must warn her of Caven's threat. Milo recognizes the pirates leader — Maurice Caven. Clancey has seen his picture before on home planet. However, their talk is cut short when they hear footsteps approaching. They move along to another tunnel. Sorba, still helped by Jamie, is struggling to keep up. Clancey says they are almost there. Jamie takes Milo's gun and runs back down the tunnel. The Doctor notices a panel on the rock wall. He reaches into the panel, but pulls his hand away when he gets an electric shock. Jamie has taken cover, and is trying to hold the pirates off. Caven fires a shot that narrowly misses Jamie. Jamie guns down another guard, but when he tries to fire again, he finds all the power's gone. He throws the gun down in disgust. The Doctor has stopped fiddling with the panel and tells Sorba, Zoe and Clancey to move on. The trio move down the tunnel. Jamie rounds a corner. The Doctor flicks a switch, and he and Jamie follow the others.

Caven and his guards round the corner, but one of his guards is electrocuted by the Doctor's trap.

The Doctor and Jamie meet up with the others. They are being shown into Madeleines's office. They meet with her. Milo tells her of Caven and his men's presence in the mines, but she laughs.

Caven destroys the control panel with his blaster. He waves his men forwards.

Madeleine still doesn't believe their story. Clancey wants to call in Hermack, but Madeleine says that's no reason to call in the Space Corps. Clancey reaches for the communications panel, but Madeleine pulls a gun on Clancey. They then realize she's in league with Caven. At that moment, Caven enters with two of his guards. Sorba grabs a gun and lunges at Caven, but Caven shoots Sorba dead. Caven asks if anyone else wants to die like a hero....

Episode five Edit

Madeleine is distressed at Sorba's murder. She tells Caven she dosen't want anymore killing, but Caven says its to bad. She says she didn't agree to murder. Caven wants to kill the "snoops", but Madeleine disagrees. The Doctor sees Jamie preparing to pounce, but nudges Clancey, who grabs Jamie. Caven whispers to a guard who ushers the group out of the office. Caven assures Madeleine they won't be shot, but she doesn't trust him. Caven says the V-Ship is becoming a nuisance, and he's thought of a way of dealing with it...

On board the V-Ship, Warne is communicating to Hermack by video screen. Warne says the beacon segments are orbiting Lobos. He then says that he looked for the atomic radiation used by Beta Darts, but found none. The Darts couldn't have gone to Lobos. Hermack tells Warne to come back to the V-Ship. He turns the video screen off. Hermack tells Penn to set up a homing beacon for Warne. Penn does, and then tells Hermack that the original course of the segments was to Ta, not Lobos. Hermack thanks Penn.

The Doctor, Clancey, Jamie and Zoe are being ushered down a corridor by a guard. Zoe ask the guard where he's taking them, but the guard tells her to shut up. Another guard is unlocking a heavy steel door. He flings it open, and the other guard gestures for them to enter. The guards force them into the darkness of the room, locking the door behind them. Milo soon realizes they're in Dom Issigri's private study. The Doctor wants to know where the light switch is, but Milo says Dom used candlelight. The Doctor finds a cupboard filled with candles. He produces a box of matches and lights the wicks of two candles, placing them down. Clancey wonders why Madeleine let Caven throw them in Dom's study, as when Dom disappeared, Madeleine ordered it closed off, and no one be allowed to enter. Jamie says no-one has. However, the Doctor says someone has. The Doctor points to the clock — why would someone come down just to wind a clock? Zoe then suddenly points to a bare foot sticking out from under the table. The Doctor whips the cover off the table, revealing an unkempt face. The man scuttles out, mouthing incoherent threats.

Dervish is reporting to Caven over video screen and says he's in landing orbit. Caven tells Dervish to bring the Buccaneer down on pad three. He turns the screen off. He turns to Madeleine. She's worried that the Space Corps will find them, but Caven says there's an alternative, and if it works, they can start up all over again on another planet. Madeleine asks him what his plan is. Caven says Hermack thinks Clancey is the pirate leader. He's going to have Clancey's ship, LIZ 79, fitted with a remote control device. He then says he'll put Clancey and his friends aboard, and send them into orbit, and when the V-Ship spots the ship, they'll blast the LIZ to pieces. Madeleine is distressed and wants to stop Caven. However, Caven says she barely has any guards, and he has more — and his are all armed. Before she can answer, Dervish enters. Caven tells Dervish to go to the LIZ and fit it with a remote control device. Dervish protests at first but finally agrees. Before the engineer leaves, Caven tells him to plant a device on the oxygen pump that will deactivate it in space.

Back in the study, Milo is trying to talk to the man who they now realize is Dom Issigri. Jamie and the Doctor have Dom pinned in a chair. Zoe asks Milo if he's sure it's Dom, but Milo is sure it's Dom. The Doctor tells Jamie to let Dom go. As soon as they do, Dom scurries of into a corner. Clancey wants to know what's happened to his partner. The Doctor says he can't expect Dom to behave normally after being cooped up in the study for several years. He then tells Milo that he should have a quiet talk with Dom. Milo goes over to talk to Dom. He begins to talk about the LIZ and their adventures, and eventually, Dom stops shivering and mumbling, but is still rooted in the corner. Dom then produces a crumpled picture from his pocket to show Milo — it is a picture of Madeleine when she was six.

Madeleine is walking towards the study door. She asks the guard where the prisoners are. The guard points go the study. Madeleine is horrified that the prisoners are locked on her father's study. As she runs off, the guard tells his fellow to get Caven and tell him Ms. Issigri has been trying to see the prisoners.

Dom is calmed down and begins to recognize his partner. Milo sits Dom down in a chair. Dom says they are all going to die in the study. The Doctor says they'll get out. Dom tells them that Caven captured him and locked him in his study. Dom says there's no way out of the study besides the door. However, the Doctor says its aLao the only way in...

Dervish is talking to another pirate over video phone. He tells the other pirate to get the equitment down to the LIZ. Madeleine walks in just as Dervish puts down the phone. Madeleine says if there's any way to stop Caven, but the engineer says he knows Caven, and he'll kill them if he heard them talking like this. Madeleine begs Dervish for help, but he push's his way past Madeleine and leaves. As soon as he's gone, Madeleine goes to the video phone and contacts the V-Ship...

On board the V-Ship, Penn informs Warne there's a video call from Issigri HQ. Penn puts Madeleine through. Madeleine tells the "they must get" before the screen goes black. Penn says someone has pulled the plug on the other side.

Caven has pulled the plug. Caven realizes he can't trust Madeleine anymore. She says he better put her with the other prisoners, but Caven says she hasn't outlived her usefulness. She tells him she'll never help him, but Caven says he'll kill her father. Caven tells her Dom's alive, and to back up his statement, he shows her a recent photo of her father. She grabs the photo. Caven tells her he's in the study. She lashes out at Caven, thumping his chest in a fit of anger. She stops and starts to cry. Caven tells her how she's going to help him.

Penn says its no use, and that there's not a peep from Madeleine. The officers are suspicious. Hermack tells Penn go set course for Ta.

The Doctor is standing by the steel door. The Doctor asks Milo if they escaped, could he find his way back to the LIZ. Milo says yes. The Doctor gets out a box of candles and his bag of marbles...

Madeleine is talking to Hermack over the video screen. She tells him they had an mechanical falt. Hermack tells Madeleine that the V-Ship is going to land on Ta. The screen turns black. Caven comes over to the communications console and flicks a few ships. Dervish appears on the screen. He says their almost finished their modifications.

The group in the study have finished smearing wax all over the carpet. The Doctor has also empted his marble bag. He tells Jamie to hand him the green one — his favourite. Dom passes a coat, a book and some rags to the Doctor. The Doctor says it'll make a good fire. He moves a chair next to the door. The others prepare their makeshift weapons. The Doctor climbs onto it and lights the rags on fire. The smoke starts to go through the vent...

The guards in the corridor see the smoke coming from the vent. They rush into the study, slipping on the wax and marbles. Zoe smashes a vase onto one of the guards head. The group then rush into the corridor.

Caven berates a guard for allowing the prisoners to escape. He tells the guard to get after them. Madeleine says they won't catch them before the Space Corps arrive. Suddenly, a communications comes through. A guard says that the prisoners have been spotted on level three and says they are heading towards the LIZ. Caven tells the guard to not make any attempt to stop the prisoners, and to let them get to the ship. Caven says as soon as they're in space, the control device will activate, and he'll turn off the oxygen and kill them. Madeleine is becoming distressed. Clancey, Dom and the Doctor have made it to the LIZ ahead of Jamie and Zoe. The Doctor wants to go back out after them, but Clancey says they can't be that far back.

Dervish tells Caven the V-Ship is approaching Ta. He tells the engineer to activate the control device.

The Doctor goes back out after his friends. Suddenly, switches and levers start to move by themselves. Clancey tries to stop them when he realizes the Doctor will be killed.

The Doctor backs away from the blast of the rocket. Eventually, the fumes overwhelm him and falls into a lifeless heap on the ground....

Episode six Edit

Jamie and Zoe escape their guards and find the Doctor. Milo Clancey and Dom Issigri are trapped on Clancey's ship, which is out of control with a diminishing oxygen supply. Caven has Dervish booby trap the Issigri base by setting demolition charges in the atomic fuel store before they leave. The Doctor reactivates the oxygen supply on Clancey's ship. He instructs Clancey in how to disconnect the remote control. At a safe distance, the pirates send the signal to detonate the explosives, but the Doctor has removed the detonator, preventing an explosion. Major Warne in a Minnow tracks the pirates' Beta Dart and destroys it. Madeleine is taken to Earth to stand trial for her part in the proceedings, while Milo Clancey offers to take the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe to Lobos to retrieve the orbiting space station fragment containing the TARDIS.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

Uncredited, Mary Thomas provided the vocals that accompanied Dudley Simpson's music in this serial.

References Edit

The Doctor Edit

Metals Edit

  • Argonite, a metal, is the most valuable mineral known to man. It is practically indestructible.

Planets Edit

Story notes Edit

  • A rumoured working title for this story is The Pirates, but this does not appear on any contemporary BBC paperwork.
  • Only episode two of this six-part story exists in the BBC Archives as a 35mm black & white film telerecording.
  • This is the most recent story from which episodes are still missing in their entirety. A number of later Pertwee episodes are missing in that their original 2" quad tapes were wiped, but copies exist. Episode six is the last episode of Doctor Who to be completely missing.
  • The story title, episode number and writer's caption credits for each episode are shown in black against a white background following (except in episode one's case) the reprise from the previous episode.
  • The serial features a brief, diegetic rendition of "Over the Rainbow" in episode two when Milo Clancey prepares a boiled egg for his breakfast aboard the LIZ 79. This was an unscripted ad-lib by Gordon Gostelow.

Ratings Edit

  • Episode one - 5.8 million viewers
  • Episode two - 6.8 million viewers
  • Episode three - 6.4 million viewers
  • Episode four - 5.8 million viewers
  • Episode five - 5.5 million viewers
  • Episode six - 5.3 million viewers

Myths Edit

This "latter day" myth was wholly created by poor copy editing by Loose Cannon Productions. Unfortunately, the popularity of their reconstruction means that many fans will have encountered it. 12 May 1969 was a Monday, so Doctor Who couldn't possibly have been broadcast on that date. Moreover, the 12 May was some ten weeks after the 8 March start date of the six-part story. The truth is that the story was broadcast from 8 March to 12th April.

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.
  • In the cliffhanger to episode three, the screams of the Doctor and the others can be heard for ages, whereas in the next episode they are shown to have only fallen a few feet.
  • In episode one the wire holding one of the pirates is clearly visible.

Continuity Edit

to be added

Home video and audio releases Edit

  • The surviving episode (episode two) was released on the Troughton Years video.
  • Episode two was reissued in digitally re-mastered form on the Lost in Time DVD, together with surviving film footage from episode one.
  • This story's soundtrack has been released on audio CD.

External links Edit

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