|The Talons of Weng-Chiang|
|Novelised as:||Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng-Chiang|
|Script release:||The Talons of Weng-Chiang|
|Main enemy:||Magnus Greel, Li H'sen Chang, Mr Sin|
|Main setting:||London, 1889|
|Number of episodes:||6|
|Premiere broadcast:||26 February - 2 April 1977|
|Doctor Who television stories|
|The Robots of Death||Horror of Fang Rock|
|The Robots of Death||The Invisible Enemy|
|Another memorable moment|
|One more memorable moment|
The Talons of Weng-Chiang was the sixth and final story in the fourteenth season of Doctor Who. It is often considered one of the most popular serials. Fan-favourite characters Henry Gordon Jago and George Litefoot made their first and only televised appearance, but would later be given their own audio series, Jago & Litefoot.
The Fourth Doctor brings Leela to Victorian London to see how her ancestors lived, but is rapidly drawn into a fiendish plot involving Chinese Tongs, disappearing women, an Oriental stage magician with uncanny powers, a murderous ventriloquist's dummy, and giant rats in the sewers.
A dozen women are missing, believed dead. The murder of a cab driver married to one of the missing women causes the Doctor and Leela to encounter a police pathologist, Professor Litefoot, and a member of the Chinese tong which carried out the murder. The latter leads the Doctor to become suspicious of Li H'sen Chang, a police interpreter, who is also a stage magician appearing twice-nightly at the Palace Theatre.
Chang is secretly the henchman of Magnus Greel, a 51st century war criminal masquerading as the Chinese god Weng Chiang. Greel fled through time to escape his enemies and is searching for his lost Time Cabinet, which by chance has fallen into the possession of Litefoot. Theatre owner Henry Gordon Jago assists the Doctor in his investigation of Chang's vanishing lady illusion, by which the women are being kidnapped - and ultimately murdered to feed Weng Chiang.
The plot casts Weng Chiang in the role of the phantom of the opera, haunting the cellers of the Palace Theatre, his bodily decay fended off by extracting the life energy of the victims Chang brings him. The Doctor must track him down, and find the Time Cabinet first, because any further use of it will cause a catastrophe. It uses zygma energy, and the zygma experiments lead only to disaster.
Part 1 Edit
Chinese magician Li H'sen Chang entertains a Victorian music-hall audience with his dummy Mr Sin. After the show, as Chang talks with theatre manager Jago, Joseph Buller arrives and accuses Chang of being involved in his wife's disappearance. Buller threatens to call the police, and as he leaves, Chang and Mr Sin exchange significant glances - across the room from each other...
The Fourth Doctor and Leela arrive in period costume, in which Leela is feeling very uncomfortable. They head for the theatre, as the Doctor plans to show her how her ancestors enjoyed themselves. Meanwhile, as Buller walks home, he is confronted by Mr Sin, holding a knife. The Doctor and Leela hear a scream and investigate. They find several Chinese men carrying the body of Buller. After a scuffle, most of the men run off at the sound of police whistles, leaving one behind. The police take the Doctor, Leela, and the Chinese man to the station on suspicion of causing an affray.
At the theatre, while Chang performs, Jago notices blood running down the dummy's arm. At the police station, the police sergeant, Kyle, questions the Doctor and Leela. The police find a body, this time in the river, which has been badly mauled. Chang arrives at the police station to help question the Chinese man as an interpreter. He surreptitiously gives the man a poison pill, and the man takes it and dies. The Doctor notices the man was marked as a member of the Tong of the Black Scorpion, a Chinese criminal organisation that follows the god Weng-Chiang. The Doctor takes charge of the situation, giving Kyle orders to have the body removed to the mortuary for examination; he suspects scorpion venom as the cause of death.
At the theatre, Jago goes into Chang's dressing room to investigate the dummy. He is joined by his doorman, Casey, and they head for the cellar.
The Doctor and Leela go to the mortuary and meet Professor Litefoot. The Doctor and Litefoot deduce that Buller (whose body had been dumped in the river) was attacked by an apparently giant rodent, but was already dead from a knife wound to the heart. The Professor is startled by Leela's knowledge of knife fighting, and the Doctor hastily invents a cover story of her being raised by savages in the Amazon. The Doctor recalls that the Tong's patron Weng-Chiang is the god of abundance and growth - he could make things grow larger. The Doctor leaves, and is attacked by a Chinese Tong thug, but the man falls dead when Leela attacks him with a janis thorn (angering the Doctor). The two climb down into the sewers to investigate and find a giant rat coming at them...
Part 2 Edit
The Doctor and Leela climb back up the ladder, escaping the giant rat after throwing their oil lantern at it.
In the theatre's cellar, Jago and Casey find a lady's glove, monogrammed EB. Chang arrives and hypnotises Jago into forgetting what he saw. When Jago leaves, Chang descends into a hidden sub-basement and kneels to a figure dressed in black - Weng-Chiang. Weng-Chiang needs to find the Time Cabinet to keep him alive, but meanwhile requires the life essence of humans to survive. Chang tells him about the Doctor, whose mind he cannot read with the powers Weng-Chiang gave him.
The Doctor and Leela rejoin Litefoot at the mortuary, where PC Quick gives them information about Buller's last known movements; he was last seen heading to the Palace Theatre, making "'orrible threats". Litefoot invites Leela and the Doctor to dinner, but on the way the Doctor heads for the Palace Theatre to investigate, planning to join them later. He meets Jago (who initially thinks him a performer trying to audition for a spot early), hypnotising him to remember what Chang made him forget; Jago realises that the "EB" on the glove he founds stands for Emma Buller - the missing wife of the dead cabbie who had confronted Chang earlier. They head for the cellar, encounter a giant spider, and go down a trap door that leads towards the river Fleet. They see a "ghost skull", and Jago faints; the Doctor recognises the apparition as a hologram.
Litefoot and Leela are having dinner - a strange event for him with Leela's lack of table manners. Nearby, Chang and Weng-Chiang (in a carriage) discover that the Time Cabinet is at Litefoot's house; Chang and Mr Sin prepare to take it, sending Weng-Chiang back to the Palace Theatre. Litefoot notices someone lurking outside his house and, leaving Leela inside, gets a gun and investigates.
Jago recovers from his faint, and he and the Doctor chase Weng-Chiang through the theatre. Weng-Chiang hits Jago from behind and nearly kills the Doctor, before getting away.
Litefoot, finding nothing outside, returns to the house. Leela, waiting for him, hears the sound of a groan and of a body falling. She opens the door to find Mr Sin, holding a knife...
Part 3 Edit
Leela throws a knife at Mr Sin (which it brushes aside) and jumps through a window. The Doctor ducks at the sound of breaking glass, just as Chang shoots at him. Chang and Sin escape in a carriage, and Leela hops a ride on the back. The Doctor tends to Litefoot and they discuss Litefoot's Chinese cabinet.
In the morning, the Doctor and Litefoot map out the sewers and the course of the river Fleet and prepare to explore the Thames in a boat. The Doctor brings an elephant rifle which he has stuffed full of all kinds of ammunition; he points out to a worried Litefoot that he'll be fine, since it was made in Birmingham.
Meanwhile Chang hypnotises a young woman and brings her to his dressing room at the Palace Theatre, watched by Leela, who is still following him. While Chang leaves to find another young woman for Weng-Chiang, Leela switches places with the hypnotised girl. Chang brings Leela and a theatre cleaning woman to Weng-Chiang, who grumbles about how wiry they are.
The Doctor enters the sewers alone, with Litefoot waiting in the boat. In the theatre cellar, Weng-Chiang puts the cleaning woman in a distillation chamber and turns it on. Leela chokes him and turns off the machine, but the woman is dead and aged. Leela escapes into the sewers and Weng-Chiang closes the bar gate and calls the giant rats by banging a gong; when they don't find food there as usual, they will comb the sewers for it...
Two Chinese laundry men arrive at Litefoot's house and exchange one basket for another. At the theatre, the hypnotised young girl Leela replaced awakens, remembering nothing but blaming Chang for her predicament. Jago tells Casey he is working with someone high up in Scotland Yard (the Doctor).
In the cellar, Weng-Chiang accuses Chang of failing to kill the Doctor and dismisses him for his failure.
In the sewer, Leela runs away from a giant rat. Elsewhere in the sewer, the Doctor hears noises and prepares to shoot. He sees Leela ahead being attacked by a giant rat, screaming in agony...
Part 4 Edit
The Doctor kills the rat attacking Leela, who is ashamed by not having killed Weng-Chiang. They hear another rat coming and leave the sewers, as the gun will take at least half an hour to reload. They return to Litefoot's house, where Leela describes what happened to the cleaning woman. Litefoot brings in a set of clothing for Leela and sends her off to change with the help of his housekeeper Mrs Hudson, while the Doctor and Litefoot discuss a key for the cabinet. A well-dressed Leela returns and is delighted to hear they are going to the theatre.
At the Palace Theatre, Chang hears Jago and Casey discussing the Scotland Yard investigator, who he deduces is the Doctor. He readies a gun and informs Weng-Chiang he will kill the Doctor as a sacrifice to him.
The Doctor and Leela attend a performance at the Palace Theatre, where they are met by Jago. Chang performs a card trick with the Doctor's help, which involves shooting a "magic bullet" through a selected card without hitting the others in the pack. Chang successfully does this, then calls the Doctor down to the stage to help with his Cabinet of Death trick. Meanwhile, Weng-Chiang, moving through the theatre, encounters Casey and kills him.
Two Chinese men arrive at Litefoot's house, killing the policeman on guard. Mr Sin is already in the house, having arrived earlier in the laundry basket.
The Doctor escapes the Cabinet of Death by simply walking out and off the stage when Chang turns the box around, much to the amusement of the audience. Chang makes a joking comment in an attempt to recover the situation: "The bird has flown. One of us is yellow!" Lee steps inside the cabinet instead, and Chang continues the trick, which involves sticking a number of swords through the box. Climbing down a ladder to the area beneath the stage, Lee comes face-to-face with Weng-Chiang and promptly faints with shock. "So... the great magician!" Weng-Chiang muses to himself, looking upwards. On-stage, Chang is handed the last sword by the Doctor and concludes the trick, but when he and the Doctor open the cabinet doors, Casey's body is revealed inside, which then falls out onto the stage. Jago orders the curtain to be brought down quickly, while Chang, who is as surprised as everyone else, realises that Weng-Chiang is not a god, and flees as Jago frantically cancels the night's performance and offers refunds. The Doctor and Leela find Chang in Weng-Chiang's hideout, which has been abandoned and his equipment removed. Chang explains how his "god" appeared years earlier and that he has been looking for the Time Cabinet — taken by the Emperor's soldiers — ever since. When Jago arrives, distracting the Doctor and Leela, Chang flees into the sewers.
Leela finds the clothing of the missing women, and as Jago realises that his top act was responsible for the spate of disappearances a scream is heard; the Doctor darkly explains: "You'll need to find a new top of the bill..." The Doctor blames the Time Cabinet for Weng-Chiang's deformed condition, which he explains is worsening every time he absorbs life-energy. He agrees with how Leela tries to see this explanation - as a water bag with a hole in it; every time he puts more water in the bag the hole just gets bigger. As the others leave, Jago starts planning how to make money out of the hideout: "See the lair of the phantom — bob a nob!"
Soon afterwards, the Doctor and Leela return to Litefoot's house only to find the body of the murdered policeman outside, and the unconscious Litefoot inside. Meanwhile, Weng-Chiang and Mr Sin drive away from Litefoot's house, taking the Time Cabinet with them as Mr Sin laughs wildly...
Part 5 Edit
Treating a bruised Litefoot, the Doctor deduces that Mr Sin must have been hiding in the laundry basket and that he is something called the Peking Homunculus. It is partly organic (containing the cerebral cortex of a pig), mostly computer, and comes from the future (about the year 5,000 A.D.), and loves carnage; it was probably responsible for the murder of the Commissioner of the Icelandic Alliance and his family, sparking a bloody war. At the same time, someone named Findicus tried and failed at several time experiments — tests which the Time Cabinet is based on. The Doctor, realising that Weng-Chiang's Time Cabinet could destroy London, takes Leela with him to the address found on the laundry basket.
Weng-Chiang is still missing the key to the Time Cabinet, which is in a carpetbag at the Palace Theatre, and forces one of his followers, Lee, to commit suicide in punishment for not recovering it.
Jago has found the carpet bag, and learning that the Doctor and Litefoot have spent time together, goes to Litefoot's house. They leave both the bag and a note for the Doctor and go back to the theatre to watch for anything suspicious.
The Doctor and Leela arrive at the Chinese laundry and find Chang, dying from his injuries. He is heavily drugged by opium to dull the pain, and wants to revenge himself on Weng-Chiang. However, he dies after giving the Doctor two strange clues: a touch on his shoe and a message to "beware the eyes of the dragon"; the Doctor grumbles that he's left them a Chinese puzzle.
Jago and Litefoot follow some Chinese men to the Tong headquarters, where they are spotted from a window by Weng-Chiang. They are captured, and Weng-Chiang threatens to kill Jago if Litefoot does not tell him where the key is. After Litefoot reveals it is at his house, he and Jago are put into a locked room along with two young girls who have been hypnotised — Weng-Chiang's next meal.
The Doctor and Leela go to Litefoot's house and find the note and the carpetbag containing the key — a crystalline roundel the Doctor describes as a trionic lattice. Leela wants to help Jago and Litefoot, but the Doctor thinks it is better to wait for Weng-Chiang's men to come to the house, since they need the key. They search for weapons to set up an ambush.
Jago and Litefoot find a dumb waiter in the room where they have been imprisoned and escape into the throne room, where they are recaptured.
As Leela stands near a window practising with one of her weapons — a golf club — Weng-Chiang sneaks up behind her and chloroforms her. As she struggles, she pulls off his mask, revealing a hideously deformed face...
Part 6 Edit
As the Doctor returns with a pile of possible weapons, Weng-Chiang confronts him with the unconscious Leela. Weng-Chiang threatens to let Mr Sin kill Leela if he will not hand over the Cabinet's key, but the Doctor makes a deal with him. They will all go to the House of the Dragon. Weng-Chiang will release Jago and Litefoot, and then the Doctor will give him the key. They all go, leaving Leela behind at the Doctor's insistence, but she recovers, and follows them.
At the Tong headquarters, the Doctor realises that Chang's shoe clue referred to the tongue of his shoe — the "Tong". Mr Sin secretly climbs into the head of a large dragon statue, where there is are laser controls inside. The Doctor and Weng-Chiang talk, with Weng-Chiang revealing his real name - Magnus Greel. The Doctor knows of him: he is from the 51st century and is a war criminal responsible for over one hundred thousand deaths - the "Butcher of Brisbane". Jago and Litefoot are brought out to the Doctor, who now also wants the two young girls freed. Greel, angered, orders Mr Sin to fire on them; laser beams come from the dragon's eyes to hit the Doctor, who realises the second clue from Chang - "beware the eyes of the dragon" - before passing out. The three men are put back into the locked room. When the Doctor has recovered, he sets a trap. After bringing the girls out of their hypnotic trance, he makes a gas bomb that blasts some of the Tong men. They all escape, with the girls running out of the building to safety.
Leela has made it to the House of the Dragon, but is captured and put into Greel's distillation machine. He turns it on, but the Doctor has grabbed a hatchet and flings it at the machine, disabling it. Incensed, Greel orders Mr Sin to kill them, and they take cover behind a bench as Mr Sin fires the laser at everyone - including the Tong. The Doctor tries to convince Greel to not use the Time Cabinet, knowing it cause a massive implosion will kill them all. Leela finds a gun near a dead Tong, and disables the dragon's laser eyes after a few bad shots ("I've never fired one of these before!" she protests when Litefoot complains). Greel pulls a gun on Leela, but the Doctor throws him into his own distillation machine; he undergoes a cellular collapse and crumples into dust. Mr Sin exits the dragon and jumps onto Leela, but the Doctor stops him by yanking his computer core out of him. He then smashes the lattice, bringing the Zygma Experiment to a end.
Jago and Litefoot accompany Leela and the Doctor to the TARDIS. Litefoot attempts to explain tea to Leela, but it only baffles her more. The Doctor and Leela say farewell to Jago and Litefoot as they enter the TARDIS. Astonished by its dematerialisation, Litefoot thinks its impossible, and Jago says that maybe even the great Li H'sen Chang would have appreciated the stunt...
- Doctor Who - Tom Baker
- Leela - Louise Jameson
- Weng-Chiang - Michael Spice
- Li H'sen Chang - John Bennett
- Mr Sin - Deep Roy
- Jago - Christopher Benjamin
- Professor Litefoot - Trevor Baxter
- Sergeant Kyle - David McKail
- Buller - Alan Butler
- Casey - Chris Gannon
- PC Quick - Conrad Asquith
- Ghoul - Patsy Smart
- Lee - Tony Then
- Coolie - John Wu
- Teresa - Judith Lloyd
- Cleaning Woman - Vaune Craig-Raymond
- Singer - Penny Lister
- Ho - Vincent Wong
- Assistant Floor Manager - Linda Graeme
- Costumes - John Bloomfield
- Designer - Roger Murray-Leach
- Fight Arranger - Stuart Fell
- Film Cameraman - Fred Hamilton
- Film Editor - David Lee
- Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
- Make-Up - Heather Stewart
- Producer - Philip Hinchcliffe
- Production Assistant - Ros Anderson
- Production Unit Manager - Chris D'Oyly-John, John Nathan-Turner
- Script Editor - Robert Holmes
- Special Sounds - Dick Mills
- Studio Lighting - Mike Jefferies
- Studio Sound - Clive Gifford
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
- Visual Effects - Michealjohn Harris
- Leela uses a janis thorn against a Tong agent.
- Greel brews a Broth of Oblivion.
- Li H'sen Chang smokes opium to dull the pain of the wounds from the giant rat.
The Doctor Edit
- The Doctor says he was last in China 400 years ago.
- The Doctor was "with the Filipino Army at the final advance on Reykjavik in the 51st century.
- The Doctor mentions that he shared a salmon caught in the River Fleet with the Venerable Bede, who loved fish.
- Among the items in the Doctor's pockets are a yo-yo, a toy Batmobile, and a stuffed mouse.
- The Doctor jokes that Leela was found floating down the Amazon in a hat box.
- The Doctor and Leela play Draughts while waiting for Litefoot before visiting the theatre.
- The Doctor and Greel briefly play Chess.
- Magnus Greel is from the 51st century, a former Minister of Justice known as the "Butcher of Brisbane" who fled in the time cabinet without realising the damage to his cellular structure it would cause.
- If he weren't dead, Chang would have performed before the Queen Empress at Buckingham Palace.
- Litefoot reads Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.
- Chang uses a Chinese saying about a bear trap.
- Time agents are mentioned.
- The Peking Homunculus was made for the Commissioner of the Icelandic Alliance's children in "the Ice Age around the year 5000".
Time technology Edit
- The parallax synchrone and a trionic lattice are aspects of the Time Cabinet.
- Greel's time experiments were powered by zygma energy which created a zygma beam that the Doctor describes to Greel as being now at "full stretch"
Songs from the real world Edit
- The song "Daisy Bell" is performed in the Palace Theatre.
- The Doctor whistles the "Colonel Bogey March" as he returns from the theatre to Litefoot's house. (He also whistles this tune in TV: The Face of Evil and The Invasion of Time.)
Literature from the real world Edit
- The Doctor says that he enjoys "messing about in boats", quoting a line from the novel The Wind in the Willows.
- Litefoot quotes from The Pilgrim's Progress, "He that is down need fear no fall" and attributes it to John Bunyan.
- The Doctor quotes from the monologue The Green Eye of the Yellow God, incorrectly attributing it to Henry Champion.
- The Doctor's explanation to Litefoot of Leela's origin (found floating down the Amazon in a hatbox) is both a reference to the biblical story of Moses (found floating down the Nile River in a basket), and to Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (in which the titular Ernest/John character was found in a handbag).
History from the real world Edit
- In Part 5, the Doctor says that "Eureka" means "this bath is too hot," a reference to the ancient story of Archimedes discovering the principle of fluid displacement whilst taking a bath, thus jumping out and running naked down the street shouting "Eureka!"
Story notes Edit
- This story had working titles of The Foe from the Future and The Talons of Greel.
- "Weng-Chiang" was originally going to be the Master, following on from The Deadly Assassin, but producer Philip Hinchcliffe had this changed as he didn't want to have the Master revealed as the secret villain again. Alan Barnes has pointed out several clues in the story that still point to the original plan: the time cabinet ("read 'TARDIS'") and Greel refering to Leela as "the first morsel to feed my regeneration". (DWM 475)
- Some associations and influences have been noted for The Talons of Weng-Chiang; among these are:
- Magnus Greel's lair beneath the Palace Theatre, his deformed face, the mask he uses to hide it, and the climactic scene in which the mask is torn off to reveal his true face are all strongly reminiscent of Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera and its film, television and stage adaptations.
- The Doctor wears a deerstalker hat, which was the characteristic headgear of film and television versions of Arthur Conan Doyle's detective Sherlock Holmes. Litefoot also mentions his housekeeper, Mrs Hudson, a character from Sherlock Holmes. The giant rat echoes a famous untold Sherlock Holmes story; in the Conan Doyle story The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, Holmes mentions "the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared." Finally, the Doctor says, "Elementary, my dear Litefoot", paraphrasing "Elementary, my dear Watson", a line widely associated with Holmes (though never actually spoken by him in the Conan Doyle canon).
- This is the only story of the Fourth Doctor's era in which the Doctor does not wear his famous long scarf at any point.
- This is one of two stories in which Leela does not wear her "savage" costume. As the character was inspired by Eliza Doolittle, it was decided to try to move her away from her Sevateem trappings, such as this episode in which she wears period garb. (The other story was Horror of Fang Rock.)
- The conductor of the Palace Theatre orchestra is played by incidental music composer Dudley Simpson. Because Simpson was not a member of the actors' union Equity, he had to be paid a special fee.
- By the time Holmes had begun work on The Talons of Greel, it had become apparent that Hinchcliffe, and possibly Holmes, would be leaving the show at the end of the current season. Hinchcliffe therefore decided to throw caution to the wind and spend record amounts on the production, utilising many different locations as well as agreeing to expensive night-shoots.
- During production of The Talons of Greel, Hinchcliffe's successor Graham Williams gradually took over the reins, his first concern being the character of Leela. Williams approached Louise Jameson with an offer of the actress staying on for Season Fifteen. This was a decision at odds with a promise Hinchcliffe had made to Tom Baker that Leela would be written out of the show at the conclusion of Season Fourteen. Baker was of the opinion that the character was too violent for the show and would have preferred to carry on without a companion at all. Jameson was initially reluctant to continue, mainly because of her frosty relationship with Baker and the brown contact lenses she was compelled to wear. When Williams offered to relinquish the need for contact lenses, Jameson agreed to sign a contract for the whole of Season Fifteen.
- The later comic book story COMIC: The Time Machination would reveal that the Doctor and Leela's arrival in London occurred immediately after the departure of the Tenth Doctor, who had just shared an adventure with H. G. Wells against the Torchwood Institute; according to the comic, Wells witnesses their arrival.
- This story has garnered controversy in recent years for its offensively stereotypical portrayals of the Chinese. Aside from John Bennett, a Caucasian actor, playing the role of Chang in yellowface (a practice where yellow makeup & prosthetics are applied to make an individual appear Asian), the story has been criticised for portraying its Chinese characters as either "coolies" (locally sourced laborers, often Chinese) or tong members. Most of this controversy is in the US and Canada, where racial stereotyping and yellowface fell into bad taste many years earlier than it did in the UK. Indeed, TV Ontario refused to air it after consulting with local Chinese-Canadian groups, and multiple stations in the US and Canada also declined to air it.
- AUDIO: The Butcher of Brisbane serves as both a prequel and a sequel to this story.
- Part one - 11.3 million viewers
- Part two - 9.8 million viewers
- Part three - 10.2 million viewers
- Part four - 11.4 million viewers
- Part five - 10.1 million viewers
- Part six - 9.3 million viewers
Filming locations Edit
- Clink Street, Southwark, London
- St. Mary's Overy Wharf, Southwark, London
- Bridewell Place, Wapping, London
- Wapping Old Stairs, Wapping High Street, London
- Fish Street Rates Offices, Fish Street, Northampton
- St Crispin's Hospital, Duston, Northampton
- Cardinal Cap Alley, Bankside, London
- Cambridge Park (No 24), Twickenham, Middlesex
- Wapping Pier Head, Wapping High Street, London
- St. Katharine's Dock, London
- Royal Theatre, Guildhall Road, Northampton
- BBC Television Centre (TC1 and TC8), Shepherd's Bush, London
Production errors Edit
- When the Doctor and Leela first encounter the members of the Tong dragging the body of Buller away in part one, there are four of them. But after their fight, and when they disappear, there are now five of them.
- There are modern power points, covered with masking tape, on the walls of Litefoot's lab.
- A 1970s newspaper (the headline concerns Denis Healey) can be seen in Litefoot's laundry basket in part three.
- When the Doctor enters the opium den in part five, the lip-sync on his line "Weng-Chiang will show his hand again" is several seconds out.
- A boom mike shadow is visible on the curtains near the stage in the final fight.
- When the Doctor smashes the crystal key on the ground, the deactivated Mr. Sin flinches.
- When the Doctor and Leela leave the TARDIS, they leave the door partly open. They walk away to the poster of Chang, then hear the attack on Buller and run past the TARDIS again. The TARDIS door has closed.
- When the laser beam from the dragon hits a vase in front of Leela, a crewmember's hand from behind the curtains can be seen giving it a helping push over.
- Whe Leela grabs the revolver from a dead coolie, one of the supposedly "dead" extras can be seen moving his leg a couple of times.
- The axe in between the eyes of the dragon is missing in the shot in which the Doctor tells Jago and Litefoot he'll buy them muffins
- The Doctor confronts the aftermath of this story's events in PROSE: The Shadow of Weng-Chiang.
- The Doctor revisits Litefoot in PROSE: The Bodysnatchers.
- The events surrounding Magnus Greel and his time experiments are shown in some detail in PROSE: Emotional Chemistry.
- The Doctor says that he was in China 400 years ago. He was there in in 1289, some 600 years earlier, in his first incarnation. (TV: Marco Polo) The 400 years could also reference roughly 400 years experienced by the Doctor in his personal timeline, or another unrecorded visit in the 15th century.
- The adventures of Henry Gordon Jago and George Litefoot continue in PROSE: A Victorian Interlude, AUDIO: The Mahogany Murderers and the subsequent Jago & Litefoot audio series.
- The events of this story take place immediately after those of COMIC: The Time Machination featuring the Tenth Doctor. The Fourth Doctor and Leela's arrival in the opening scene is reproduced in the comic book.
- During his fifth incarnation, the Doctor and his companions Nyssa, Tegan Jovanka and Turlough would later encounter a younger version of Magnus Greel in Peking, China and Reykjavik, Iceland in the early 51st century. As they were unaware of Greel's ultimate fate, Nyssa and Turlough plotted to overthrow him. Although it was not part of their initial plan, Nyssa became engaged to him while Turlough posed as their secretary. (AUDIO: The Butcher of Brisbane)
- The Doctor mentions to Greel that he was with the Filipino Army when it marched on Reykjavik in the 51st century. On that occasion, he was provided with information by his fifth incarnation, which enabled him to avert World War VI. (AUDIO: The Butcher of Brisbane)
- Greel tells the Doctor that he encountered a Time Agent in the 51st century. Unbeknownst to the Doctor, Greel is referring to his future self. (AUDIO: The Butcher of Brisbane)
- Greel's mind was later reconstituted by Guinevere Godiva in 1968 by using a Venusian crystal. He took possession of Detective Inspector Dave Sacker to continue living. Jago and Litefoot discovered Greel's plan to return. Greel died when Ellie Higson stood in the distillation chamber and overloaded the power of his time cabinet. (AUDIO: The Final Act)
- Jago would later describe the day that he met the Doctor and Leela as the last day that his life was normal. (AUDIO: The Night of 1000 Stars)
- Patsy would later assist Jago and Litefoot in several of their investigations. (AUDIO: Jago & Litefoot & Patsy, Higson & Quick)
- Sherlock Holmes would later investigate Mr Sin, terming it The Affair of the Walking Ventriloquist's Dummy. However, he was unable to solve the mystery. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire)
- The Doctor is showing Leela the culture of her ancestors. (TV: The Face of Evil)
- The Doctor tells Leela that she would have loved the Battle of Agincourt. During his first incarnation, the Doctor, Susan Foreman, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright encountered Henry V shortly before the battle. (PROSE: The Reign Makers) Ashildr fought at Agincourt on the English side. (TV: The Woman Who Lived)
Home video and audio releases Edit
DVD releases Edit
This story was released as Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang in a two-disc set.
- PAL - BBC DVD
- NTSC - Warner Video
- Whose Doctor Who Documentary - BBC Two documentary from 1977, presented by Melvyn Bragg.
- Blue Peter Theatre - Clips from various 1970s editions of the magazine show.
- Behind the scenes - Footage from the studio recording of the story.
- Philip Hinchcliffe Interview - From a 1977 edition of Pebble Mill at One.
- Photo Gallery
- Production Subtitles
- Easter Eggs (?/Voice over announcement) One Easter Egg can be found by pressing left at 'Tardis Cam No. 6' on the Special Features disc.
- Commentary: Louise Jameson, Philip Hinchcliffe, David Maloney, John Bennett, and Christopher Benjamin.
Notes:issue 41 of Doctor Who DVD Files.
Special Edition release Edit
This story was released as Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang: Special Edition.
- The Last Hurrah - the making of The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
- Moving On - Philip Hinchcliffe's future plans for Doctor Who, had he produced the series for a longer period.
- The Foe from the Future - the original storyline that was replaced by The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
- Now and Then
- Look East (with Tom Baker)
- Victoriana & Chinoiserie
- Music Hall
- Radio Times Listing
- New Photo Gallery
- All previous special features
Video releases Edit
This story was released as Doctor Who: The Talons of Weng-Chiang.
- UK November 1988 (compilation form)
- PAL - BBC Video
- US February 1988 (compilation form)
- US March 1998 (Repackaged as part of The Gateway Collection and still in compilation form)
- Australia April 1987 (compilation form)
- The video had some slight edits to remove the use of nunchaku during the fight scene between the Doctor and the Tong of the Black Scorpion in part one, as these were at the time classed as illegal weapons in the UK and couldn't be shown on-screen. This ruling has since been relaxed, and the sequence appears intact on the DVD release.
- Although it has been popularly believed that the scene in part five of the Doctor gaining access to the opium den by poking the key out of the lock and pulling it under the door on a piece of paper was edited out of the video release, this is not the case; the sequence was retained intact. (The British Board of Film Classification had originally wanted this scene removed to avoid showing a children's hero breaking and entering. However, BBC Video decided to retain the whole sequence — explaining to the BBFC that the trick hardly ever worked in real life.)
- The BBC Video release was at one point only available in Australia.
Digital releases Edit
- The story is available for streaming in the US through Hulu Plus.
- It is available on the Best of Tom Baker bundle on iTunes, alongside Genesis of the Daleks, The Hand of Fear and The Deadly Assassin.
Script book Edit
- In November 1989, Titan Books published the scripts for the serial as part of its Doctor Who: The Scripts line of books.
Novelisation and its audiobook Edit
- Main article: Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng-Chiang
- This story was novelised by Terrance Dicks in 1977.
- It was released as an audiobook, read by Christopher Benjamin.
- The Talons of Weng-Chiang at the BBC's official site
- The Talons of Weng-Chiang at BroaDWcast
- The Talons of Weng-Chiang at the Doctor Who Reference Guide
- The Talons of Weng-Chiang at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
- The Talons of Weng-Chiang at The Locations Guide
- The Tardis Library - Video release information for The Talons of Weng-Chiang