TARDIS Index File

The War Games (TV story)

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The War Games
Kill the doctor
Novelised as: Doctor Who and the War Games
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companion(s): Jamie, Zoe
Featuring: Carstairs
Main enemy: War Lords, The War Chief
Main setting: Unnamed planet, Gallifrey
Key crew
Writer: Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke
Director: David Maloney
Producer: Derrick Sherwin
Release details
Story number: 50
Number of episodes: 10
Season/series: Season 6
Premiere broadcast: 19 April - 21 June 1969
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 10x25-minute episodes
Production code: ZZ
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Official trailer
Doctor Who Season 6 The War Games01:28

Doctor Who Season 6 The War Games

Memorable moment
The Doctor Summons the Time Lords - The War Games - Doctor Who - BBC02:34

The Doctor Summons the Time Lords - The War Games - Doctor Who - BBC

Another memorable moment
Second Doctor regenerates - Patrick Troughton to Jon Pertwee03:12

Second Doctor regenerates - Patrick Troughton to Jon Pertwee

The War Games was the seventh and concluding story of the sixth season of Doctor Who. It was the final story of the 1960s and the last produced in monochrome. It was notable for introducing the Time Lords and for being the first time that the Doctor's home planet was seen. It was also the first story in which Derrick Sherwin was credited as producer. Discounting The Trial of a Time Lord as four narratively linked stories, it was the longest Doctor Who story to survive the purging of the BBC's videotape archive, and currently marks the earliest point in the series where first-time viewers may begin watching Doctor Who in chronological order without encountering any missing episodes. It was also the first story to have a large gap of time between it and the next one.

The final episode saw the departure of Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor and Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury as companions Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot. It was the first time in the history of Doctor Who that either a companion or an incarnation of the Doctor made their last regular appearance in the concluding episode of a season. It was also the first time that an incarnation of the Doctor and all his companions were written out of the program in the same story.

The story also featured a father and son playing roles on screen. David Troughton, the son of Patrick Troughton, appeared in his final serial, which in turn, was David's first appearance in the series.

Synopsis Edit

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrive on an unnamed planet. At first believing themselves in the midst of World War I, they realise it to be one of many War Zones overseen by the War Lords, who have kidnapped large numbers of human soldiers in order to create an army to conquer the galaxy. Infiltrating the control base, the Doctor discovers that the War Chief is also a member of his own race. The creeping realisation sets in that the Doctor cannot solve this problem alone, and that his days of wandering may be at an end...

Plot Edit

Episode one Edit

Doctor & zoe & jamie

The Doctor, Zoe and Jamie realise where they are

The TARDIS lands in a desolate wasteland on Earth. The crew laugh as Jamie leaves the TARDIS and treads directly into a puddle. As they explore they see barbed wire and the discovery of a pith helmet allows the Doctor to place them in history. Bombs start to fall and the crew duck for cover. They are surprised when they are confronted by a woman. She says that they need to get to safety. She is heading to Ypres. They encounter soldiers who lead them away.

The woman is driving the soldiers, the Doctor and Jamie across No Man's Land in an ambulance when they are met by a lieutenant. He asks to be taken back to base.

In a trench, a major is told that an ambulance is coming in. He orders protective fire. The passengers clamber into the trench. The lieutenant, by the name of Carstairs, tells the Major about the civilians found in No Man's Land.

Outside, the Doctor is explaining trench warfare to Jamie. They decide to escape but are stopped by Carstairs. They are summoned to see the major.

Major Barrington gets word from General Smythe that they are to go over the top tomorrow. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe enter alongside the ambulance driver who introduces herself to Barrington as Lady Jennifer Buckingham. The Major casts his eye over the civilians. He suspects Jamie to be from the Highlander regiment and says that war is no place for a young woman like Zoe. He starts to suspect they may be spies and contacts General Smythe.

Smythe asks for the civilians to be sent to him. He moves into an adjoining room and begins to pull back a picture. He is interrupted by a soldier who he shouts out. When alone he pulls back the picture to reveal a communications device. He states that the "reinforcements are acting quiet" and that there are "at least 5000 specimens."

Barrington orders the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe to go. Jamie loses his temper and shouts at him and guns are drawn. The Doctor states they had better go. Barrington says they will fix Jennifer's ambulance. Carstairs says he does not hold much hope for the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe as Smythe has the nickname of 'The Butcher.'

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are marched into Smythe's room. Jamie is still complaining. Captain Ransom goes to get Smythe but finds him not in his room. Ransom, flustered, orders them to be taken to the cells.

Jennifer and Carstairs talk. They both are experiencing memory issues. They put this down to the ravages of war. Barrington tells them that they are all wanted at headquarters.

Jamie and Zoe inspect the cell. There is no way out. Smythe emerges from his room. Confused, Ransom tells him that the civilians are here and that he came to tell him but he wasn't there. Smythe puts on his glasses and says that he was sleeping and that Ransom didn't want to disturb him. Blindly Ransom agrees. Barrington, Jennifer and Carstairs enter. Smythe insists that Carstairs and Ransom know each other. They seem unsure. Smythe puts the glasses on and says they went to school together. They both instantly agree.

Later that day the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are brought into Smythe's room. He reads the crimes alleged against them. He states they waylaid the ambulance to get into the trenches and that they were attempting to escape back to the Germans with information. Jamie is charged with desertion while Zoe and the Doctor are charged with espionage. All punishments that carry the punishment of death. The Doctor asks if he can cross examine Carstairs and Jennifer. Smythe agrees but closes down all lines of questioning. They are marched away. Barrington and Ransom both seem to think there is not enough evidence to convict them. Smythe puts on his glasses and says they are obviously guilty. They concur. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are marched back in and told they are guilty. Jamie is to be taken to a military prison to await court martial, Zoe is sentenced to ten years penal servitude and the Doctor is to be executed at dawn. The Doctor rails against the unfairness of the system. Jamie protests and is manhandled away. Jennifer pleades with Ransom to allow some clemency for Zoe. It is agreed she will stay with Jennifer tonight. The Doctor heads off to the cells.

Once in the cells the Doctor questions the soldier as to how long he has been at the front. He cannot remember and gets angry at the Doctor. Ransom comes to Smythe's quarters with the key to the Doctor's cell. He puts it under his pillow and goes to sleep. In the middle of the night Zoe sneaks into Smythe's quarters. He is not there. She looks for the key and in the process of doing so finds the screen behind the picture. She eventually finds the key and sneaks away. Hearing someone approaching the Doctor hides behind the prison door. He is overjoyed to find it is Zoe. They decide to find Jamie. As they leave they are met by Ransom and the firing squad. Outside the Doctor is put up against the wall. Zoe struggles to break free. Orders are given. A gunshot ring out and the Doctor grimaces.

Episode two Edit

The shot that rang out was from a window. A soldier has been wounded. The soldiers return fire. In the chaos, Zoe unties the Doctor and they escape.

Smythe reports to his video screen that he is leaving for the conference. A unit materialises behind him. As the door enters, Ransom enters. Smythe puts on his glasses and says he is leaving for an important meeting. He climbs into the machine and it dematerialises. Ransom does not bat an eyelash.

A Redcoat is thrust into prison with Jamie. He is scared and doesn't know how he got there. He thinks it is 1745.

The Doctor is spying on the military prison through a telescope. He commandeers a military vehicle and acts like it was sent for him. A bemused solider drives him into the prison.

Jamie questions the Redcoat. The Redcoat remembers stumbling into some mist and then, when it cleared, finding himself flanked by big guns and horseless carts. He was then brought to the prison. He is distrustful of Jamie.

Commandant Norton is disturbed from his tea by the Doctor. He pretends he is from the War Office and has been sent to inspect the prison. Zoe is his secretary. When Norton asks for ID, the Doctor pretends to be outraged at his impertinence.

Ransom is concerned that they have lost the Doctor and Zoe. He and Carstairs go to look for him whilst Jennifer stays at headquarters.

The Redcoat and Jamie are fighting. When the soldiers come in to break them up, they turn on them and escape.

Carstairs returns having found nothing. Jennifer says she has started to remember getting lost in some mist before finding herself here. Carstairs wonders if it is a new gas.

Norton is showing the Doctor the plans of the prison. He asks to talk to a prisoner. Norton receives a phone call to say that a Scotsman and a Redcoat have escaped.

Jamie and the Redcoat run into some soldiers. A shot is fired.

Norton is informed that the prisoners have been caught and that the Redcoat has been shot in the leg. The Doctor demands an interview with the other prisoner.

Jamie is manhandled to the main building.

Before Jamie can give the game away, the Doctor continues the farce. Norton has had enough of the Doctor and goes to ring Smythe. Zoe smashes a vase over his head. As they make to leave they are caught by Ransom.

Jennifer and Carstairs recall the court martial and think that Smythe is corrupt. Ransom returns and explains the recapture of the civilians. Carstairs questions Ransom about the court martial and he shrugs it off. Carstairs decides to go and speak to the prisoners.

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are questioning the anachronisms of their surroundings. They are seemingly in 1917 but with a Redcoat and a video communication system from the distant future. Carstairs enters.

Jennifer questions Ransom as to whether Smythe often disappears at the drop of a hat. Ransom shrugs it off and is about to go and inspect the prisoners, before Jennifer engages him in conversation to stall him.

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe have explained the existence of the video screen to Carstairs. He says he will accompany them to Smythe's quarters and they can show him.

Ransom is still talking when the phone rings. Carstairs tells Jennifer to decoy Ransom. Jennifer says that the phone call was from Smythe and that he wants Ransom to meet him in the furthest sector. Ransom leaves just as Carstairs' party arrives. They go into Smythe's room and Zoe swings back the picture to show the, the screen. Carstairs and Jennifer can't see it. The Doctor implores them to concentrate and it emerges.

In an unknown location Smythe is watching them uncover his secret.

The Doctor realises that the control is receiving and they all need to run. Carstairs and Jennifer relent eventually. Jennifer goes to get the ambulance. Jamie wants to go back to the TARDIS but the Doctor and Zoe overrule him. They are about to leave when Ransom emerges. Carstairs says that Smythe has asked the prisoners to be moved. Ransom queries the order due to the fact he was sent on a wild goose chase but he eventually relents, fearful of the wrath of Smythe.

They all clamber into the back of the ambulance and move off.

In Smythe's quarters, the unit materialises and Smythe emerges. Smythe questions Ransom as to the location of the prisoners and is furious when Ransom says he has let them go. Ransom sees that the ambulance has gone and Smythe issues a general order for it to be located.

Later the ambulance has been spotted and Smythe orders for artillery to be used on it. Ransom questions if they should be killing two women and a member of their own army. Smythe puts his glasses on and orders it. Ransom agrees.

Carstairs takes cover in the ambulance as shells land around them. The Doctor joins Jennifer in the front of the ambulance and they drive off into some mist. The ambulance disappears. Jennifer begins to become scared as the mist encroaches. The ambulance emerges. The Doctor thinks the mist is some kind of force field as they are no longer surrounded by war or guns. The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe climb atop a hill. They see a Roman chariot approaching them. They run back to the ambulance. Carstairs desperately tries to restart the ambulance as the chariot approaches.

Episode three Edit

A quick getaway

A quick getaway

As the Romans approach, Carstairs manages to get the ambulance going and they reverse back into the mist and disappear, leaving the Romans dumbfounded.

The ambulance re-emerges back in 1917. The Doctor theorises that the mists act as barriers between different time zones and further theorises that their must be a map setting these out. They head back to Smythe's headquarters to uncover the map.

Carstairs returns as if he has the rest of the group prisoner. Ransom doesn't fall for it and Carstairs pulls his gun on him. Jamie removes Ransom's gun. He is trussed up with bandages. The Doctor sets about looking for the map. In Smythe's room he finds a safe. He attempts to pick the lock whilst Carstairs seeks explosives to blow it open. Carstairs returns with a Mills Bomb - a type of grenade. Seeing that the whole bomb would destroy the room but not the safe, the Doctor takes the explosive out of the bomb and places it in the lock, extending the fuse with a candle wick. Ransom frees his mouth from the gag and calls for help. Carstairs goes out to address this and once he has silenced him a soldier, drawn by the noise, comes with Zoe and Jennifer in tow, looking for Ransom.

In Smythe's room Jamie and the Doctor light the fuse and take cover.

Carstairs is trying to get rid of the soldier but he is happy to wait for Ransom. He questions Carstairs as to who he is and where he has come from.

The Doctor and Jamie hear the conversation outside and start to panic.

The soldier is convinced and starts to leave but takes his time.

The Doctor wants to put the fuse out but it's too late.

As the soldier closes the door the explosion rings out around the headquarters. He returns and rushes into Smythe's room. Carstairs pulls a gun on him and Jamie trusses him up. The Doctor has found the map. In the centre is a blank space. That is where they should go.

They head off in the ambulance but are soon surrounded by German soldiers. They board the ambulance and make the Doctor drive to their trenches.

Later, Zoe and Jamie wait patiently while the Doctor is interrogated.

A German soldier will not accept the Doctor's name. The Doctor relents and says he is Doctor John Smith. He says they are lost behind enemy lines. The soldier is very suspicious and thinks they're spies. He asks where they came from and pulls a gun, demanding the truth.

Outside, Zoe and Jamie are given helmets. They discuss how barbaric war is.

The Doctor has told the German soldier the whole truth about him and his friends being time travellers. He doesn't believe them. The Doctor implores him to ask Jamie and Zoe. He brings them in. He asks Zoe where she met the Doctor. The Doctor orders her to tell the truth. She says she met him at a space station. He asks Jamie when he met the Doctor and he responds by saying he met him in 1745. The soldier is still unconvinced. The Doctor shows him the sonic screwdriver. He removes a screw from the soldier's gun and returns it. The soldier is starting to be convinced. A superior by the name of von Weich enters. The soldier tells him what he has discovered. Von Weich and the soldier withdraw. Von Weich puts on a monocle and tells the soldier that they are not time travellers, they are spies and should be shot. The soldier returns and tells the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe that they are spies and should be shot.

Von Weich pulls back a picture in his quarters to reveal a communications screen. He reports the capture of the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe.

The Doctor protests with the German soldier. He reminds him of the sonic screwdriver and displays it again. The soldier starts to remember but as he does the Doctor steals his gun and holds him up. He orders that they be taken back to their ambulance.

In a central HQ an alarm sounds. Smythe is reporting to a mysterious man known only as the War Chief. He is pleased with how things are progressing. Smythe reports the prisoners and their story of time travel to the War Chief. He is contemplative and orders that they be brought here. Von Weich reports their escape to Smythe and the War Chief. Smythe is furious. The War Chief orders that Smythe organise a pursuit and put out a general alert. He is adamant that they must be captured alive. The War Chief wonders to himself if he knows these time travellers.

The Doctor and his colleagues have arrived in 1862 America - the Civil War. Their ambulance is beset by gun shots. Carstairs returns the fire and they move off. The Doctor is pleased. He believes that if they are in the American Civil War zone they are on the right track to the blank space. The ambulance is stopped by a felled tree. Carstairs gets out to investigate and calls for Jamie to help move it. As they start they are ambushed by soldiers. Carstairs starts firing at the soldiers as the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe move the tree. Carstairs engages in hand to hand battle with a soldier as Jamie comes to help him. The Doctor and Zoe have moved the tree but reinforcements are arriving on horseback. Carstairs remains and holds off the reinforcements as the ambulance moves off.

Shortly afterwards the ambulance stops. They are out of petrol. They have to go on by foot.

Smythe and von Weich plan their strategy of how to capture the escaped party. They receive a report of the capture of Carstairs. They marvel at the bravery of "these humans." Carstairs is to be brought to the central headquarters for reprocessing.

Jamie checks out a barn. When he realises it is safe he calls for the others. Soon enough they hear the noise of materialisation. They hide. A unit materialises. The door opens and a whole troop of soldiers emerge. When they are gone, Zoe says that the unit must be bigger on the inside like the TARDIS. The Doctor looks inside. Outside there are gunshots. Jennifer goes to look. Zoe calls for the Doctor and goes in after him. Jamie goes to help Jennifer. The unit dematerialises leaving the group separated.

Episode four Edit

The doctor and zoe

The Doctor and Zoe inside the SIDRAT

Jamie and Jennifer are soon surrounded by soldiers.

The Doctor and Zoe look around the ship. Zoe notes it looks exactly like the TARDIS. She asks the Doctor who else could possess a ship like that. The Doctor has one idea but hopes he is not right. Zoe finds some goggles on the side. They begin to explore. They find a room filled with stationary dormant German soldiers in some kind of trance. In another room there is a fleet of Romans in the same state. The ship starts to land. The door opens and the Romans leave. Zoe wants to escape but the Doctor says they will just end up in another war zone. They must wait until it returns to it's base.

The soldiers question Jamie and Jennifer. When they realise that they are English they assume they are spies from the South and tie them up. As soon as they are tied up there is an attack. In the battle, the soldiers retreat from the barn and Jamie and Jennifer are liberated by Northern forces. One of the soldiers reports to their general. It is Von Weich. He puts his monocle on and says that they are spies and should be tied up.

The War Chief berates a scientist on the 5% of their soldiers who are breaking their processing and causing pockets of resistance. He is fearful that they will form a rebellion. The scientist says they have already come up with a stronger form of processing. An alarm sounds. Von Weich reports via video screen that Jamie and Jennifer have been found but the Doctor and Zoe are still loose. The War Chief states they will be excellent specimens for re-processing.

The machine is landing. The ship is empty so the Doctor states that it must be back in it's base. He notes that the ship is powered by remote control but also has some kind of manual controls. As the doors open, they see the controller wearing the glasses Zoe found in the ship. They put the glasses on and set off to explore.

Jamie asks how long they are going to be kept here. The soldier states that as soon as they find their friends they will all be shot together. A soldier sneaks up behind the captives and liberates them. As they sneak out, the other soldiers spot them. A firefight ensues. The soldier tells Jamie and Jennifer to head North. Von Weich enters. The other soldiers tell him what happens. Von Weich puts his monocle on and tries to brainwash the soldier but it doesn't work on him. The soldier tries to turn his fellow soldiers, but to no avail.

Jamie has been separated from Jennifer. A soldier attacks Jamie on horseback with a sword. He dives out of the way at the last moment. When the soldier returns, Jamie dismounts him and steals his horse. The soldier tries to shoot him as he rides away.

The Doctor and Zoe are exploring. The building has a reception area, living quarters and lecture rooms. They reckon it is some kind of training school. They are ushered into a hall, being told they're late for the lecture. The scientist explains how for years soldiers have been removed from their real world and time, processed to forget their previous life and placed in false wars made to look like their home time. Of late, specimens have been breaking their processing and forming resistance groups but they have come up with a better form of processing and will prove it on a difficult specimen. Carstairs is brought out. He sees the Doctor but he tells him to keep quiet. The scientist prepares the equipment. Zoe wants to help but the Doctor says they will help later. Carstairs is brainwashed into thinking the lecture hall is the officer's mess in the trenches. He spots the Doctor and Zoe again and says they are German spies.

Jennifer is pursued by a soldier. She falls and he dismounts. As he looms over her Jamie rides up and fights the soldier. Before they can escape they are captured, yet again, by soldiers.

Carstairs is restrained as he rages about the German spies and the court martial. The Doctor feigns sympathy with the scientist for the failure of his machine. The scientist doesn't consider it a failure. The Doctor suggests that the issue was probably that Carstairs should have been fully deprocessed before attempting the reprocessing. The Doctor doubts that the scientist's machine could do that. The scientist puts him right and shows him how he would do that.

Jamie, Jennifer and the soldier that liberated them are returned to the barn and tied up. The soldier explains the resistance to Jamie and Jennifer. Von Weich questions them as to where their friends are. Jamie recognises him. Their is an attack. A fight ensues. The soldiers free Jamie, Jennifer and the resistance fighter. He goes to kill Von Weich but Jamie says they need him to find the Doctor. The soldier says he will kill Jamie to get to Von Weich.

The lecture is finished. An alarm goes of and some soldiers rush in with the War Chief. He demands to know if the experiment was successful. The scientist says it was partly successful and points the Doctor out as someone who has helped him refine the process. The Doctor turns and the two recognise each other. The Doctor orders Zoe to run while the War Chief bellows that they must be stopped. In the chaos, Carstairs escapes. The War Chief raises an emergency alert to close all section areas and detain the resistance members.

Zoe and the Doctor have been separated. Carstairs finds Zoe and grabs her. She is initially pleased to see him but he draws a gun on her. She is a German spy and it is his duty to kill her. He begins to pull the trigger.

Episode five Edit


Jamie gets shot

Carstairs is called off by the scientist. He refuses, insistent that Zoe is a German spy. He fires but his gun is not armed. Zoe is taken away by guards whilst the scientist takes Carstairs.

Von Weich is a prisoner to the Resistance. Jamie is informed that they are waiting for their leader, Russell. Harper, the soldier that has been helping Jamie and Jennifer, questions Von Weich as to where the tunnel is that new recruits emerge form. Jamke tells him that it is not a tunnel but instead a craft. Harper doesn't believe. Another soldier wants to leave and move on. He wants to shoot Von Weich. He and Harper get into a fight that is broken up by the arrival of Russell. As Russell brings order to the barn, Jamie sees Von Weich unveiling a monitor. Jamie grabs him and exposes the monitor, saying it backs up what he was saying.

Zoe is brought into a room where she is interrogated by the Security Chief. He puts a helmet on and aims an eyepiece at Zoe. This causes her to instantly tell the truth. When she cannot answer when she joined the Resistance and when she gives the answer that she is from the 21st century, the Security Chief is confused. He asks her how she got here and she explains all about the TARDIS and the Doctor. The Security Chief beams photos into her head looking for her to identify the Doctor.

The Doctor stumbles into the scientist who has Carstairs tied up. When the scientist begins to question why the Doctor is here when there is a security alert out for him, the Doctor convinces him that it was Zoe who the alert was out for and not him. The scientist is about to begin the deprocessing and the Doctor asks if he can stay and watch. He enquires if Carstairs will remember everything. The scientist confirms he will. The scientist asks the Doctor to strap Carstairs in. The Doctor only pretends to. Once the deprocessing has taken place, Carstairs remembers the Doctor. Seeing this the scientist tries to grab the Doctor. The Doctor forces the scientist into the deprocessing machine and turns it on. The Doctor explains to Carstairs what has been going on before they escape, turning the machine down before they go to allow the scientist to simmer.

Jamie and Jennifer explain the situation to Russell. As they do, Von Weich lurches forward and sets off an alarm.

In headquarters the alarm resonates and there is no response.

The Security Chief reports to the War Chief that Zoe cannot recognise any of the Resistance members. Zoe is unconscious. The Security Chief lies and says that Zoe is from 1917 and omits anything to do with the TARDIS. The War Chief is informed of the alarm. The War Chief and the Security Chief go to investigate, narrowly missing the Doctor and Carstairs in the corridor. The Doctor bursts in, taking the armed guard by surprise. As the Doctor distracts him, Carstairs knocks him out. Zoe wakes up and informs the Doctor of what has happened. The Doctor tries the helmet on and sees all the Resistance members. He speculates that if they could mobilise all of them at the same time they could form an army to rise up against their controllers. When Carstairs asks how they get back, the Doctor responds by saying they will leave by the same way they came.

There is still no response from the American Civil War Zone. The Security Chief decides to send guards.

An alarm goes off as the Doctor, Zoe and Carstairs move through the corridor. They hide and wait until the guards move off before following them to the landing bay. They see the machine land.

Back at the barn, everyone is speculating as to what the alarm portends. Jamie thinks they will send a machine. No sooner has he said this then the sound of dematerialisation rings out. They all hide. As the guards emerge, the soldiers spring an attack on them. They are captured but Harper is killed. Russell is dumbfounded by the futuristic guns used by the guards. They all study the machine.

Back at headquarters, the War Chief is cross at the Security Chief for his continual mistakes. The Security Chief questions as to how the War Chief recognised the Doctor. The War Chief reacts furiously to being questioned. He states that when he came to the Security Chief's people he was promised safety and organisation. He reminds the Security Chief that without his knowledge none of this would be possible. The Security Chief says that if the War Chief has any complaints he should go to the War Lord. The War Chief says he will and sends the Security Chief away to continue the interrogation of Zoe. The Security Chief returns to find the soldier prostrate in the floor and Zoe escaped.

Jamie is still trying to convince Russell as to the value of the machine. Russell asks Von Weich but he refuses to answer. Jamie gives up and decides to get into the machine without anyone's help. Jennifer initially says she will go with him but is convinced against this by Russell who says that he has many sick soldiers she can tend to. Russell and some of his men will go instead. The door is closing and they hurry in. As the machine dematerialises Von Weich seems very happy.

The Security Chief finds the scientist and liberates him from the deprocessing machine. The scientist explains what happened and says he must report it to the War Chief. The Security Chief stops him and confides with him what Zoe told him about the fact she and the Doctor being time travelers. The scientist states that only the War Chief and his people know of time travel. The Security Chief states that the War Chief is a traitor to his own people - how can they be sure he is not a traitor to them.

The War Chief is told that the transport is returning but hasn't radioed in as per protocol. The War Chief decides to deal with this himself and sends guards down to the landing bay.

The Doctor, Zoe and Carstairs are still in hiding in the landing bay waiting for the return of a machine. They hear the alarm go off. At the same time the light that signals the arrival of the machine flashes. Many guards pile into the landing bay. As the machine lands, Jamie and the soldiers emerge. They are all shot by the guards.

Episode six Edit

Bodies are removed

The bodies are taken to the Chief Scientist

Zoe is fearful for Jamie but the Doctor states that there is nothing that they can do. They run off, heading to the Processing room.

The Security Chief and the Scientist talk about how the Doctor and Zoe are different to the resistance fighters and that they were not brung from their own time but instead came of their own accord. The Security Chief is worried that the War Chief is either bringing his own people, the Timelords, there or they are coming of their own free will. The scientist says that the Security Chief should tell the War Lord but the Security Chief needs proof. He implores the Scientist to bring him any unusual specimens he finds amongst the resistance fighters.

The Doctor, Zoe and Carstairs find the way to the Processing Room heavily guarded. The Doctor tries to find another way. He discovers that the walls are embedded with metal and are held together using a force field. He sets about reversing it with tape.

On the other side of the wall the Scientist is examining the resistance fighters they ambushed in the landing bay.

The Doctor uses his Sonic Screwdriver for power to operate his force field reverser. Initially it seems as if it has had no effect but the Doctor approaches a lane, and just lifts it away. They see Jamie being lifted onto the reprocessing machine. The Scientist analyses Jamie's brain and finds the pattern different to the other resistance fighters. He sends him away to the Security Chief but is interrupted by the War Chief who questions him as to why he is being taken away. The Scientist tries to lie but the War Chief scares the truth out of him. He allows it to go ahead. This is all watched by the Doctor, Zoe and Carstairs. Once the War Chief has left, Carstairs enters the room and silently disables a guard. The Doctor surprises the Scientist as he tries to help him with the machine.

Back in the barn in 1917, Von Weich is being guarded by a young soldier called Moore. He asks for some water. As Moore fetches it, Von Weich tries to escape. Moore stops him just in time.

The Security Chief is questioning Jamie with the helmet on. He asks who sent the travellers here - Jamie says no one. He asks why they decided to come here - Jamie explains the TARDIS' malfunctioning controls. He asks if they were summoned - Jamie replies in the negative. The interruption is interrupted by the War Chief. They argue. The Security Chief makes it clear he mistrusts the War Chief. The War Chief says if he has a problem he should go to the War Lord but if he gets his facts wrong he will crush him.

The Doctor has resurrected the resistance fighters. A guard comes across the, and Carstairs kills him. They flee through the hole in the wall. The Doctor endeavours to take the reprocessing unit with him but is forced to abandon it when more guards arrive. The Doctor fills Russell in. The plan from here is to return to their time zones and bring the resistance fighters together to form one big army. They head off to the landing bay...but need a disguise first.

Von Weich asks Moore if he could put his monocle in. When he obliges Von Weich brainwashes him into thinking it is 1871 and that he is Moore's commanding officer. He orders to be untied.

The Security Chief brings the War Chief to the Processing Room and discovers his prisoners gone. He says this is proof positive that they have a space/time machine. The War Chief finds the hole in the wall and dismissively sends the guards to the landing bay.

Jamie wakes up and is shocked to see a gas mask in front of his face. It is the Doctor. He and the resistance fighters are all dressed as World War One soldiers. They dress Jamie up and march through the compound. They disable the guard controlling the computer in the landing bay. The Doctor begins to operate the controls. Some guards come and the Doctor puts up a force field around the landing bay. The guards that got through are disabled by the resistance fighters. The Doctor summons up a machine to return to 1917. The Doctor, Jamie and Carstairs stay to get the reprocessing unit. They release the guards and hide.

Von Weich has brainwashed Moore. He orders him to give him his gun. The machine lands and Russell gets out. Von Weich orders Moore to shoot. Russell tried to convince him but Moore goes to shoot. A fight breaks out and Moore is knocked out. Russell wheels around to see Von Weich armed. He tells Russell they are to go back in the machine and return to the headquarters. Russell refuses. Von Weich says he will kill him. Russell still refuses. A gun shot rings out. Von Weich falls to the ground. Russell turns to see Moore with the shot gun in his hand.

The Doctor, Jamie and Carstairs have made it back to the Processing Room.

The War Chief and the Security Chief are still at loggerheads. The Security Chief thinks that the Doctor's ability to operate the machinery seems to infer he is a Timelord.

The Doctor has removed the reprocessing unit. As they leave they find some gas-filled valves. As they make their way into the processing room, the guards attack them. The Doctor throws the valves on the floor releasing the noxious gas. They make it to the machine and begin to dematerialise. Their joy is short lived as the machine soon stops. The Doctor operates the emergency lock and sets about trying to override the master control. The Security Chief orders the Doctor's surrender. The machine is surrounded. The Doctor reassures his friends that the machine is impregnable. The Security Chief intends to wait but the War Chief has other ideas. He activates the dimensional controls of the machine. Inside the walls begin drawing in. The War Chief says they have thirty seconds to surrender or they will be crushed.

Episode seven Edit

Jamie & Carstairs

Jamie and Carstairs

The Doctor emerges under a flag of truce, but this is but another ruse to re-enable the dimensions of the craft, which is then used to spirit the three friends away. Even more impressively, he has seized the correct circuits to allow the vessel to be independently piloted between war zones. He pilots it to the Roman zone, planning to then travel on to the 1917 zone, where he has agreed to meet Zoe.

Back in Central Control the War Lord, leader of the aliens, has arrived to assume personal control of the situation. He is furious when he learns the extent of the Doctor's havoc from the other war planners. They are tracking the missing vessel, named a SIDRAT, and follow it remotely to the Roman Zone. The Security Chief then tries to denounce the War Chief to the War Lord, accusing him of conspiring with the Doctor, but he dismisses this concern as unfounded.

The Doctor, Jamie and Carstairs have now reached the 1917 zone on foot, but their progress is being tracked by General Smythe, who arranges a machine gun reception for them. Fortunately, Zoe and her team are able to overpower the machine gun nest but this does not prevent her three allies being taken prisoner by a patrol of British soldiers. The Doctor, Jamie and Carstairs are taken back to the chateau, where Smythe orders the Doctor's immediate execution while the other two are assigned for reprocessing. When he reports this to Central Control, he is reprimanded for not taking all three alive nor recovering the reprocessing machine. He heads off to stop the execution, but others have the same intention. A large army of resistance fighters under Russell attacks the chateau and Smythe is just able to communicate the dire situation to Central Control before he is shot. The Doctor and his friends are now in control of the chateau, but a short while later a large force of conditioned soldiers is sent against the building, British from one side and Germans from the other. The Doctor responds by reprogramming some of the machinery in Smythe's office, allowing a war zone with its mists to be drawn immediately around the chateau. This protects them all from attack. In Central Control, the War Lord responds to this blow by taking personal control of the entire operation.

The Doctor now uses the de-processing equipment on some captured humans and is relieved that it works. Moments later another SIDRAT arrives and a squad of alien soldiers stages a swift reprisal attack, seizing the Doctor and the processing equipment.

Episode eight Edit

Second doctor taken

The Doctor is taken to central control

The Doctor is taken to Central Control and is interrogated by the Security Chief using the truth device. He charges that the Doctor and War Chief are both of the same race, the Time Lords, and that somehow the War Chief is planning to betray the project to his own people. The Doctor refuses to co-operate and is tortured for information until the War Chief arrives and confirms he and the Doctor are indeed both Time Lords. The War Chief then has the Doctor transferred to his own custody so that the two of them can talk, while the Security Chief fumes. The War Chief and the Doctor now talk frankly of the Doctor stealing a TARDIS and absconding from his homeworld. The purpose of the war games is also revealed: the humans will be whittled down until only the strongest survive and these soldiers will then be used as an army to conquer the galaxy. The War Chief sees conquest as a means of achieving a greater peace and asks the Doctor to help him in this scheme. He of course refuses, condemning the War Chief for sharing Time Lord technology with the aliens and helping them to build the SIDRATs. The War Lord too offers the Doctor a partnership at the apex of their galactic conquest, but it is also clear the War Chief wants the Doctor to work with him alone in toppling the War Lord once the conquest is complete.

Back in the Chateau, the rebels focus on trying to assemble their resistance army using Zoe's skill at remembering the faces identified as unconditionable. Later that night, a squad of Mexican bandits invades the Chateau and its leader, Arturo Villar, is slowly persuaded to add his force to the collective army of resistance. A council of war is held at the Chateau, with a Russian soldier named Ivan Petrov acting as the broker who finally persuades Villar to throw his troops in to the combined force. They all now work out a plan to seize a SIDRAT and fill it with a rebel army that can then be used to attack Central Control. Meanwhile, small groups of resistance destroy the alien communication devices, sending the war masterminds into panic at Central Control. The rebels converge on the American Civil War zone and are waiting for a SIDRAT when the Doctor appears on the communicator, telling them he has taken control of the alien transportation system and sends a SIDRAT for them. Villar, Russell, Carstairs, Jamie, and Zoe climb aboard and the transport craft soon takes them to Central Control, where the Doctor is waiting for them. However, he is with the War Chief and the Security Chief and a squad of troops that takes them all prisoner. The Doctor has sold them out to the enemy.

Episode nine Edit


Zoe, Jamie and the other prisoners

The prisoners are taken for processing, leaving the War Chief and the Doctor alone. The SIDRATs that the War Chief has built have but a limited life-span and he wants the Doctor to help him by giving him his TARDIS. The Doctor offers to improve the mental processing machines, and will start by reprocessing the rebel leaders. He goes to the processing room and is there confronted by a furious Villar and Russell. The Security Chief withdraws the guards so the Doctor is left alone with the mob he has betrayed. The Doctor explains he only helped the aliens because the Security Chief threatened to wipe them all out using a neutron bomb, but Villar cannot be persuaded that he is an ally and attacks him. Indeed, only the timing of the War Chief's arrival saves the Doctor's life. The Doctor starts to "process" the prisoners – in fact doing nothing – and this ruse works well until Villar doesn't play along and attacks the Doctor again. The Doctor's friends overpower the guards in the room.

Meanwhile, the Security Chief reveals he has been taping the conversations between the two Time Lords, and knows the War Chief is plotting against them. He has the War Chief exposed to the War Lord and arrested. However, en route to the prison, the escort is ambushed by the rebels and the War Chief is freed. They all find arms and stage a major attack on the war planning room. The War Chief exacts his revenge, shooting dead the Security Chief during the general melee. He then reveals the SIDRATs are perishing at a rapid rate, making it impossible to get all the fighters home to Earth. The Doctor decides to stop the games nevertheless and the War Chief broadcasts to all zones telling them the war is over.

The Doctor knows the thousands of soldiers on the planet must be returned to Earth and that he cannot do it alone. He needs to summon the help of his own people. Despite the warnings of the War Chief, he decides to contact the Time Lords by sending a mental appeal to them to assist. he sits on the floor and mentally transfers the information to a cube. The War Chief slips away to the SIDRAT docking bay to flee, but encounters the War Lord there. He has his guards shoot the War Chief, killing his former ally. Moments later Villar and the rebels reach the docking bay, killing more guards and taking the War Lord prisoner. The Doctor tries to slip away, but Villar protests, but is held back by Russell and the others. The Doctor, Zoe, Jamie and Carstairs head back to the 1917 zone in order to retrieve the TARDIS. Carstairs suddenly just disappears, making it apparent that the Time Lords have arrived. They have begun to send the humans back to their own planet and time zones, and a strange sound can be heard. The Doctor, Zoe and Jamie try to run to the TARDIS but their movements are slowed down and the Doctor struggles to get the TARDIS key in the lock...

Episode ten Edit

The three manage to get inside the TARDIS, but the Time Lords soon start interfering with its operation and demanding that the Doctor return to their homeworld. The Doctor tries to evade them by materialising on an ocean and then in space. Eventually, the Time Lords successfully seize control of the TARDIS. They bring it back to their homeworld, where the Doctor must answer for his crimes: stealing his TARDIS, and fleeing his homeworld to travel the universe in contravention of Time Lord law. The trio emerges and is taken to a court chamber. Three imperious Time Lords sit in judgment over the War Lord, whose trial has begun. He is charged with crimes against the humans he captured and against the galaxy for his warmongering. The Doctor confirms the case against him, denying any suggestion he too was involved in planning the games. The trial is interrupted, however, when a group of the War Lord's personal guard breaks into the chamber. The criminal wishes to use the Doctor's TARDIS to escape to freedom. He takes the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe hostage. He takes them back to the craft, threatening them if they do not co-operate with his plans. However, the Doctor and his friends evade their captors, allowing the Time Lords to assert control again. The Time Lords exact the ultimate punishment: the War Lord and his guards are dematerialised from all history as if they never existed, while their home planet is trapped within a force-field and cut off from the rest of the Universe forever.

Zoe & jamie

"Goodbye Zoe... Goodbye Jamie"

The Time Lords now turn to the Doctor. He is formally charged with breaking the laws of time and interfering in the histories of other planets. He defends himself, saying that there is a need to interfere sometimes to fight evil. He cites the Daleks and Cybermen amongst the foes to be combated. While awaiting the verdict, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe try to escape, but are caught by the Time Lords. The Time Lords decide to send Zoe and Jamie back to their times. Zoe protests to the Doctor and says that there must be a way out, but the Doctor glumly states there is not. Trying to hide his emotions, the Doctor turns to Jamie and says goodbye. Jamie is reluctant, but agrees and promises not to forget him. In great sadness, Zoe asks if she and the Doctor will see each other again, to which the Doctor responds that "time is relative". The Doctor waves goodbye to his companions one last time before the Time Lords return them to their own original time zones. The Doctor asks if they will forget him. One Time Lord answers that they will remember their first adventure with him, but nothing more. He is taken back to the court room, where he is shown images of his friends being returned safely home: the Wheel for Zoe, and Culloden Moor for Jamie, each having no recollection of their adventures after leaving with the Doctor.

The War Games 15

The Doctor's exile begins...

The Time Lords then announce that the Doctor has convinced them that there is some validity to his arguments. There is evil to be fought. They also note his interest in planet Earth, itself a magnet for alien invasion. Hearing this, the Doctor asks if he is exonerated. The Time Lords respond that since his interest is Earth, he will be sent back to that planet's 20th century. The Doctor seems accepting of this, until the Time Lords say that he will be sent there in exile. In addition, the secret of the TARDIS will be taken from him, and his appearance will be changed as well. The Doctor protests. The Time Lords present options for him to choose from for his next appearance, but the Doctor rejects them all for different reasons as he is "very particular". The Time Lords decide that since he cannot choose, the decision will be made for him. As the Doctor begins to disagree, he vanishes from the courtroom and finds himself in a dark void. The Time Lords tell him that the time has come for him to change his appearance. The Doctor protests and screams in vain, "NO! Stop! You're making me giddy! No, you can't do this to me! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!", his face beginning to contort as he vanishes and spirals into the void...

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

Communications technology Edit

Locations Edit

Planets Edit

Species Edit

Time Lords Edit

Time machines Edit

  • When Jamie and Zoe leave to return to their own times, they depart in the dark-coloured SIDRAT the War Lord's guards arrived in, not one of the lighter coloured TARDISes.
  • The SIDRAT is provided with dimensional control, which can make change its relative dimensions.

Weapons Edit

Story notes Edit

  • Clips were used in episode ten from The Web of Fear (the TARDIS in space), Fury from the Deep (the TARDIS landing in the sea) and The Wheel in Space (a Wheel exterior).
  • The story title, episode number and writers' name credits for each episode are shown over a stock footage montage of explosions and gunfire.
  • The space/time machines that the War Chief provides for the games are only named SIDRAT once (in episode seven, when it's pronounced 'side rat'). The acronym is never explained on-screen, but Malcolm Hulke's novelisation of the story reveals it to stand for Space and Inter-time Directional Robot All-purpose Transporter.
  • Producer Derrick Sherwin's then wife Jane appears in the role of Lady Jennifer Buckingham.
  • Jane Sherwin (Lady Jennifer Buckingham) is credited as 'Lady Jennifer Buckingham' for episode one, "Lady Jennifer" for episodes two to four, and "Jennifer" for episode five.
  • David Savile (Lieutenant Carstairs) is credited as "Lieutenant Carstairs" for episode one, 'Lieut. Carstairs' for episodes two and three, and "Carstairs" for episodes four to nine. He is billed as Lieutenant Carstairs in Radio Times for episodes one to three.
  • Michael Napier-Brown is credited as "Arturo Villar" for episode eight and "Arture Villar" for episode nine.
  • Freddie Wilson (Quark), John Levene (Yeti), Tony Harwood (Ice Warrior), Roy Pearce (Cyberman) and Robert Jewell (Dalek) were uncredited on-screen for their appearances as the various monsters seen on the projection screen in the courtroom in episode ten, though they were credited in Radio Times.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode one was accompanied by a black and white head-and-shoulders shot of the Doctor, bearing the title Who on earth, with the accompanying caption "At 5.15 in the first episode of his new adventure, Dr. Who returns to the twentieth century and this planet". That for episode seven bore another different black and white head-and-shoulders shot of the Doctor, bearing the title Adventures in time, with the accompanying caption "At 5.15 Dr. Who and his friends face fresh opposition as they continue their journey through the centuries".
  • Philip Madoc (War Lord) is credited on-screen for episode ten, but not in Radio Times.
  • The actor playing the Doctor is credited as "Dr. Who" in the closing credits for the last time. This technically incorrect credit would be amended to the slightly-less-incorrect "Doctor Who" beginning with Spearhead from Space.
  • The final episode of this serial was the last to feature scrolling end credits until Part Four of the Fifth Doctor serial Earthshock. (This would later be seen in the revived series.)
  • According to the DVD Production Notes commentary, The War Games was allotted ten episodes when a planned storyline entitled Doctor Who and the Impersonators was cancelled as unworkable.
  • Ironically, episode eight, the least-watched Doctor Who episode of all time up until 1989, was also arguably the most important episode in the show's history, as it was the one in which the Doctor is first described as being a fugitive from his people, the Time Lords.
  • When aired in the US by PBS, all ten episodes were edited together into a single omnibus-format edition with a running time, commercial-free, of about four hours. However, at least one station (WHRM in Wausaw, WI) aired this story in two parts - the first part lacking closing credits, and the second part lacking opening titles.
  • Episode three features a rare moment of inner dialogue, when the War Chief can be heard thinking, "Time travellers. I wonder..."
  • In episode one, the Doctor kisses Zoe. This marks the first time the Doctor kisses a companion, albeit in a platonic manner.
  • Tanya Lernov, a character from Zoe's debut story, The Wheel in Space, appears in episode ten's sequence of Zoe's return to the Wheel.
  • This is one of the stories chosen to be shown as part of BSB's Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
  • The German dialogue between Captain von Weich and Lieutenant Lucke in the German dugout in episode three is translated as follows:
von Weich: "Who are these people? What's going on here?"
Lucke: "We have here three English civilians, Captain... They told me they come from another time in a spaceship called TARDIS."
von Weich: "They are English spies. We must detain them. I'll speak with the General about it."
  • A Kroton was originally going to be one of the foes the Doctor brings up on the projection screen in the courtroom, and a copyright payment made to Robert Holmes. However, neither of the two Kroton costumes was in usable condition, according to the DVD Production Information subtitles.
  • The Doctor's home planet appears for the first time — but it wouldn't be named until Barry Letts pre-empted its on-screen debut in The Time Warrior by revealing the name in the letters column of an issue of TV Comic.
  • A real First World War ambulance is used in the location scenes.
  • Michaeljohn Harris' name is spelt as Michaeljohn in episode one and Michael John in episode ten.

Ratings Edit

  • Episode one - 5.5 million viewers
  • Episode two - 6.3 million viewers
  • Episode three - 5.1 million viewers
  • Episode four - 5.7 million viewers
  • Episode five - 5.1 million viewers
  • Episode six - 4.2 million viewers
  • Episode seven - 4.9 million viewers
  • Episode eight - 3.5 million viewers
  • Episode nine - 4.1 million viewers
  • Episode ten - 5.0 million viewers

Episode eight has the dubious distinction of being the lowest-rated Doctor Who episode until part one of Battlefield more than 20 years later.

Myths Edit

  • Doctor Who was under serious threat of being cancelled at the end of this season. (Although this is Terrance Dicks's recollection, it has been denied by both Peter Bryant and Derrick Sherwin and is not borne out by contemporary evidence, although the viewership numbers were considerably lower than they would be at the time of the original series' cancellation in 1989. The series would, however, face the threat of cancellation at the end of the following season.)
  • At his trial, the Doctor is charged with having stolen the TARDIS. (This occurs in this story's novelisation, in the prologue to Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion and in an account in the 1972 book The Making of Doctor Who, but not in the televised version, although the Doctor and the War Chief do discuss the said theft in episode eight.)
  • In episode seven, the voice of the officer ordering the Doctor's second firing squad to fire was none other than Patrick Troughton himself. (This is claimed by the DVD-release's Production Subtitles, but even a casual listener can hear that this is Esmond Webb, as Sgt. Maj. Burns, giving the order.)
  • This was the lowest rated story in the show's history until after the 1986 hiatus. (Despite the exceptionally poor ratings for episode eight, the story was never the lowest rated overall. That distinction fell to The Smugglers, which had the lowest average rating of any story prior to The Mysterious Planet. It was, however, the lowest rated of Patrick Troughton's stories.)
  • The Doctor and the War Chief have not encountered each other since leaving Gallifrey. (No specific indication is made one way or the other.)
  • The alien race featured in the story are called the War Lords. (The Aliens are never referred to by this or any other name - apart from 'the Aliens' - on-screen. Although they are identified collectively as 'the War Lords' in the script for episode eight, this name was never used in the finished programme, perhaps to avoid confusion with the character played by Philip Madoc, who first appears in episode seven.)

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.
  • Some of the punches clearly fail to hit the intended person.
  • When the Chief Scientist unfolds his processing machine, a piece can be seen breaking off.
  • When he first appears, the Chief Scientist has a bald chin, but by episode six, he has inexplicably grown a short beard.
  • In episode five, when Zoe is in the interrogation room, her head becomes transparent. The same happened later on with the Security Chief when his stomach is transparent.
  • In the cliffhanger to episode five, Jamie and the rebel soldiers are 'ambushed' by completely unhidden guards.
  • When Smythe is shot dead by Russell in episode seven, the gun is visibly firing into the floor by accident.
  • In episode seven, the Doctor says that he is sending Zoe and Russell back to the 1917 zone, but they arrive instead in the American Civil War zone.
  • A guard in the War Room is caught with his visor off and gun resting on his thigh at the start of a scene in episode seven; he quickly returns to character.
  • In the American barn of episode eight, the alien communicator screen has been installed upside down.
  • In episode ten, when the Doctor points out to the Time Lords the monsters that he has fought and a Dalek is shown, one of the lights on its dome is missing.

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

VHS release

  • This was released on video in episodic format in 1990.

DVD release

Special features:

Audio release Edit

This story was also released on audio formats.

External links Edit

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