|The Space Pirates|
|Novelised as:||The Space Pirates|
|Number of episodes:||6|
|Premiere broadcast:||8 March - 12 April 1969|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Seeds of Death||The War Games|
- You may wish to consult
Space pirate (disambiguation)for other, similarly-named pages.
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.
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.
Episode One Edit
A ship docks with the Alpha One Government beacon. A man enters the airlock between the ship and the beacon. He is followed by two space suited engineers who are carrying equipment. The man operates a control and a hatch opens. The engineers go through the hatchway and out onto the beacon. Once in space they begin fixing something onto the hull of the ship.
The man, Dervish, reports to his superior, Caven, that the engineers are operating. The two engineers come back inside the beacon and the group return to their ship.
The ship undocks from the beacon. After a moment the beacon explodes.
On the government ship, V41-LO, Major Ian Warne reports to his superior, General Hermack that they still cannot locate the beacon. Hermack says it is not a mechanical failure but due to the metal with which the ship is made, Argorite, the most expensive mineral in the world. Hermack relays this information over the ship. Throughout the spaceship, the personnel are all listening intently. They are to abandon their mission, guard the beacons and catch the criminals who are braking them up for wealth. Hermack flicks a switch on the control panel to end his transmission. Hermack and Warne plan their strategy. There are 17 beacons overall but four are in the Pliny System. It is there they will try.
The pirate ship docks with Alpha 7.
Dervish is worried about the Space Corps but Caven states they are too busy with three wars to deal Dervish operates the hatch control. He signals for the engineers to go through the hatchway. Dervish says he used to work for the Earth government and knows how strongly they take issues such as this. Caven slaps the bulkhead and says that the risk is worth it.
On the government ship they are scanning the radar. Hermack is using a communicator to marshal the strategy. Hermack stands up and moves across to the chart table. They have based themselves near the planet Ta, headquarters of a mining company. They hope they will catch the Pirates docking their for rest and recreation. They are notified of an unexpected ship by Alpha 7. They head off to catch it. As they approach the ship undocks. They pursue it. As they do they realise they pick up the signal of some UHF, demolition equipment. The Alpha 7 explodes. Hermack orders that they track the ship. It will take three hours to catch up and the ship is accelerating at twice their capabilities. Their scanner is blocked by the Pirates. They stop the pursuit. Hermack says that they are blowing the beacon into small chunks and shooting it across space to a predetermined drop off point. The only solution is to man the beacons.
Lieutenant Sorba enters beacon Alpha 4. He is followed by Major Warne and four Space Corps guards. Warne sets up his radio and leaves him saying that they will see him in six weeks. Warne comes the airlock and onto the bridge. They head off to their next beacon. Warne tells Hermack that he gave Sorba orders to shoot any unknown person on Alpha 4 on sight.
The TARDIS materialises on Alpha 4.
A guard reports to Sorba that he heard something in the computing bay. Sorba and the guards rush off to investigate.
The Doctor emerges from the TARDIS saying he is not where they thought they would be. A piece of machinery catches his eye and he goes to investigate. Zoe wants to explore but Jamie wants to leave. The Doctor says he has nothing to worry about as the machine is designed to be operated remotely so there is no one here. The Doctor wants to explore. He opens the door and suddenly Sorba and the guards appear at the hatchway. As the travellers flee, Jamie slams the hatch shut behind them. Sorba and the guards fire at the door. The Doctor and his colleagues run. Sorba pursues reiterating the order that they are to shoot to kill.
The Pirate ship docks on Alpha 4. They hear the gun fire as soon as they board the beacon. Caven orders for the crew and Dervish rushes back onto the Pirate ship.
The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe enter the corridor. The Doctor puts a locking bar across the hatch. Zoe wonders why they would shoot at them. The pursuants begin cutting through the door. The travellers move deeper into the beacon leaving the TARDIS further behind. They reach a dead end.
Sorba and the guards are ambushed by Caven. They are all shot down but Sorba manages to activate the transmitter.
The government ship registers the transmitter and heads off.
Sorba is lying on the floor. Caven nudges him with his foot. He is still alive. Dervish states he knew they shouldn't have carried on and wants to run. Caven bends down and picks up the communicator lying by Sorba. He orders the destruction of the beacon just the same. He destroys the communicator.
The emergency signal continues for a moment then stops abruptly. The government ship is still two hours and twenty minutes from Alpha 4.
Caven mocks, a now conscious, Sorba. Sorba asks about the decoys sent ahead, meaning the Doctor and his colleagues. Caven says he has no idea what he means. Dervish comes down the corridor. The charges have been fixed. Caven gestures to Sorba. If he can walk they are to save him, if not he dies. Caven fires his gun at the control of the door that leads to the corridor where the Doctor and his colleagues are before they head off.
The Doctor and his colleagues listen for noise. There is nothing. They are confused as just minutes before they were being chased. The Doctor touches the door but it burns his fingers. They begin to hear noises on the hull of the ship. The travellers stop and listen.
Outside the engineers are placing the charges on the ship.
The Doctor and his colleagues decide to head back to the TARDIS. Zoe operates the door control, but the door does not open. Jamie tried the door, then throws all his weight into it. The Doctor joins him but they cannot move it. They are prisoners.
The pirate ship undocks from Alpha 4.
The ship's movement is registered on the government ship. They are still 90 minutes away. Alpha 4 begins to break up.
The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are thrown around the disintegrating beacon.
Episode Two Edit
The government ship attempts to track the pirate ship but they block their signal. Hermack gets cross and storms off. Warne says that if they found where the pirates are based they could lure them in. He believes everyone on the beacon must be dead.
On the beacon, the Doctor and his colleagues are unconscious.
On the government ship the radar picks up a ship that is barely moving. It is an old trading ship.
On the trading ship a lone man sets about making his breakfast on his failing ship. The solar toaster doesn't work and when the lights flicker he has to bang the unit with a spanner. Hermack radios in. The man tells him to go away. Hermack asks for his registration details and the man says he lost them thirty years ago.
The government ship identify the man as Milo Clancey. Clancey tries to shake Hermack off but Hermack sends a boarding party and tells Clancey not to resist.
The Doctor wakes up. He tries to rouse Jamie and Zoe but cannot. He drags an oxygen canister over to them.
A guard has been sent for Clancey. Hermack tells Warne he is a mining prospector, who historically do not like Space Corps as they were operating before the Space Corps were set up. When Clancey arrives Hermack asks him why he is here and why he's not reported in. Clancey says that he hasn't reported to anyone for the last ten years. When it comes to why he is here he states that the Space Corps should have read his last two reports. He has lost his last two hauls of Argorite to the Pirates and has taken to tracking them down himself. When Hermack says that is their aim too, Clancey is scathing. The technology possessed by the Pirates is far superior to what the government have.
Jamie and Zoe are now conscious and are helping the Doctor find other what has happened. They are on just a shard of the beacon and separated from the TARDIS. They realise that the men they saw must have been defending the beacon. When Zoe says they are floating aimlessly in space, the Doctor disagrees. They have a rocket attached to them and are floating in perfect tandem with the rest of the beacon. He is distracted by a sound.
Hermack dismisses Clancey. Warne feels this is premature and that he is in some way affiliated with the Pirates. Hermack agrees and says that is why he let him go.
The Doctor has unscrewed a panel and is investigating the technology beneath. Zoe is despondent. She tells Jamie it will be mere hours before they have run out of oxygen.
Hermack arms a smaller ship, called a minnow, with missiles and Warne sets off in pursuit of Clancey's ship. Hermack goes to land on Ta.
The Doctor and his colleagues are having to conserve oxygen. The Doctor says that the machinery is a solar powered magnet that creates a force field that used to hold the beacon together. The Doctor says if he reactivates that he could pull this part of the beacon together with the next piece until they reach the TARDIS. Zoe raises the possibility that the next piece might be a polar opposite to the piece they are in which will push them deeper into space. The Doctor tells her to not be so pessimistic.
On Ta, Hermack is socialising with Madeline Issigiri, the head of the Ta Mining Company. He tells her of his involvements with Clancey. Clancey was involved with Issigiri's father in a business capacity and when the partnership broke up was linked with the murder of Issigiri. Hermack speculates it is this that led him to piracy.
The Doctor and his colleagues are struggling sigh the lack of oxygen. They try the magnet but Zoe's fears are met. The force is so strong that the Doctor can't turn off the machine for some time. When he finally does they have shot further into space and are too far away from the rest of the beacon to start again. They are floating hopelessly in space.
Hermack receives a report. Warne reports that Clancey is zoning in on a section of the Alpha 4 beacon. Hermack claims this as proof he was right about Clancey. He gives orders to arrest Clamcey and, if he tries to escape, to use the missiles.
The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are slumped on the floor, devoid of oxygen when there is a knock on the hull of the beacon. Soon someone is cutting through the side of the ship. Clancey appears. Jamie darts towards him. Clancey, startled, shoots him. Zoe looks at the scene in front of her and screams "Murderer" at the prospector.
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. Clancey is to be tried and imprisoned. Madeline feels sorry for Clancey as she once tried to buy him out. They cross to the video board. Warne is contacting Hermack. Warne reports Clancey is stationary and linked with the segment of Alpha 4. Hermack tells Warne if Clancey does not answer in two minutes, to fire warning rockets. If that is ignored, fire the missiles
Warne's call is being broadcast to the LIZ but no one is there to listen.
On the beacon segment, Clancey tells the Doctor to hurry up and answer his questions. 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. They tell the truth but Clancey doesn't beliebe them. He wasn't answers in ten seconds but as he court a down the beacon shakes as the Minnow fires warning rockets into the LIZ. They all run into the LIZ.
Clancey's ship uncouples from the shard of Alpha 4 and moves off.
Clancey gets Warne's message, and Clancey puts the LIZ on full speed, denying the Doctor's statment that maybe they should give in. The ship lurches off. An old tea pot rocks in a cupboard and falls out. The Doctor attempts to catch it but misses and it smashes on the floor. Clancey takes off his helmet and throws all his weight on a huge lever, which swings over with a crack. Clancey has deployed coper needles, which immobilize the minnow's tracking devices. 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 whilst avoiding the Space Corps. Clancey moves Zoe out of the way so he can settle himself at the controls. He asks Zoe to make them some tea. Jamie looks wistfully at the pieces of broken teapot on the floor. Clancey 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.
Clancey adjusts a valve as the LIZ is pounding along at top speed. Jamie is feeling travel sick. Clancey wipes his hands on an old rag. The Doctor tells Milo the pressure's a little high on the thermo-nuclear gauge 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. He explains he and Madeline are enemies despirthe he and her father mining Ta for a decade years ago. There is no surface level life on Ta due to the ultraviolet light so Clancey looks for his old entrance.
Hermack tells Penn to land the V-Ship on a landing pad on Ta. He intends to head to Lobos, Clancey's base, assuming that is where the Argorite is heading. Hermack sees a model of a sleek black spaceship on a table. It is a Beta Dart. 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 slips a stripped nose cone over the the prow of the model, indicating 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 crosses to her desk and picks up the audio phone thoughtfully.
The LIZ slams down with a grinding lurch and the travellers end up in a tangeled heap, except Clancey who has strapped himself in. Milo says they are now a mile underground. Clancey packs a bag of tools. Milo tells them to stay in the ship, and he's going to repair the generator. Jamie checks that Clancey's gone as Zoe is totally absorbed with paper and pen. Jamie is suspicious of Clancey. However, the Doctor says they have to trust Clancey — for the moment. Meanwhile, Zoe has finished and says she knows where the beacon segments — and the TARDIS — are. The Doctor is sceptica. Zoe gives the Doctor a dirty look and smiles. She reels through a set of equations before revealing that they were all headed for Ta. Jamie seems unsure but the Doctor hands the sheet of paper to him saying it is all perfectly simple. 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. The Doctor crosses to the hatch door and opens it slightly. He opens it wide. The Doctor warns that they need to be quie. Jamie trips over a piece of equipment. He rises and follows them.
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. Caven stands and points his gun at Dervish. Dervish agrees. An alarm suddenly goes off. They are intruders in the tunnels.
The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe aee lost. Zoe warns the Doctor and Jamie they are going deeper into the tunnels. They hear a noise ahead. They move on slowly.
Clancey returns and discovers the strangers missing. He grabs his gun and hurrys out.
The Doctor, Jamie and see a crack of light. Zoe climbs on Jamie's back and peers through the fissure. Through the fissure, Zoe sees two men with thermal lances cutting chunks off a metal structure. Zoe climbs down. Thess must be the pirates. As they decide what to do a burst of light hits the group. They spin round. It is a floodlight coming towards them pushed by the pirate guards. Caven fires at them. The blast from the gun chips the rock around them. Zoe spots an opening in the rock wall and goes through it. As Jamie and the Doctor follow her, they all fall down a dark mkneshaft.
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.
- Dr. Who - Patrick Troughton
- Jamie McCrimmon - Frazer Hines
- Zoe Heriot - Wendy Padbury
- Dervish - Brian Peck
- Caven - Dudley Foster
- General Hermack - Jack May
- Major Ian Warne - Donald Gee
- Technician Penn - George Layton
- Lt. Sorba - Nik Zaran
- Space Guard - Anthony Donovan
- Milo Clancey - Gordon Gostelow
- Madeleine Issigri - Lisa Daniely
- Pirate Guard - Steve Peters
- Dom Issigri - Esmond Knight
- Assistant Floor Manager - Liam Foster, John Turner (both uncredited)
- Costumes - Nicholas Bullen
- Designer - Ian Watson
- Film Cameraman - Peter Hall
- Film Editor - Martyn Day
- Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
- Make-Up - Sylvia James, Sallie Evans
- Producer - Peter Bryant
- Production Assistant - Snowy Lidiard-White
- Script Editor - Derrick Sherwin
- Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson
- Studio Lighting - Peter Winn
- Studio Sound - David Hughes
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - John Wood
Uncredited, Mary Thomas provided the vocals that accompanied Dudley Simpson's music in this serial.
The Doctor Edit
- Argonite, a metal, is the most valuable mineral known to man. It is practically indestructible.
- Argonite is found only on a few planets of the fourth sector of Earth's galaxy, including Ta in the Pliny system.
- A black market exists for Argonite on Ruta Magnum.
- Clancey's Space Mining Company was based on Lobos.
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.
- 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
- 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
- Lime Grove Studios, Studio D, Shepherd's Bush, Hammersmith and Fulham
- BBC Television Centre, Studio 4, Shepherd's Bush, Hammersmith and Fulham
- Ealing Studios, Stage 2, Ealing Green, Ealing
Production errors Edit
- 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.
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.
- Editing of the surviving episode's DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
- This story's soundtrack has been released on audio CD.
- The Space Pirates at the BBC's official site
- The Space Pirates at BroaDWcast
- The Space Pirates at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Space Pirates at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- Loose Canon Productions reconstruction page for The Space Pirates
- Transcript of The Space Pirates