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Vengeance on Varos (TV story)

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RealWorld
Vengeance on Varos
Varos
Novelised as: Vengeance on Varos
Doctor: Sixth Doctor
Companion(s): Peri
Main enemy: Sil
Quillam
The Chief Officer
Main setting: Varos, the late 23rd century
Key crew
Writer: Philip Martin
Director: Ron Jones
Producer: John Nathan-Turner
Release details
Story number: 138
Number of episodes: 2
Season/series: Season 22
Premiere broadcast: 19 January - 26 January 1985
Premiere network: BBC1
Format: 2x45-minute episodes
Production code: 6V
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Production order
Attack of the Cybermen The Two Doctors
Memorable moment
Video nasties - Sil and the Governor negotiate - Doctor Who - Vengence on Varos - BBC02:47

Video nasties - Sil and the Governor negotiate - Doctor Who - Vengence on Varos - BBC

Another memorable moment
The Doctor escapes an acid bath - Doctor Who - Vengeance on Varos - BBC02:55

The Doctor escapes an acid bath - Doctor Who - Vengeance on Varos - BBC

Behind the scenes video
Exclusive First Look Writing for Doctor Who - Doctor Who - Vengeance on Varos01:54

Exclusive First Look Writing for Doctor Who - Doctor Who - Vengeance on Varos

Vengeance on Varos was the second story of Season 22 of Doctor Who. It introduced the alien Sil.

Synopsis Edit

Seeking the rare mineral Zeiton-7 to repair his TARDIS, the Doctor arrives on Varos, a world where political prisoners and their guards are all subjected to sadistic tortures and executions which the colony's inhabitants view and vote on through interactive television. Accused of being alien infiltrators helping the colony's rebel factions, the Doctor and Peri find themselves the latest unwilling subjects in this most extreme form of reality TV.

Plot Edit

Part 1 Edit

Varos ep1

Sil abuses the system

On Varos, a planet in the constellation of Cetes, the public torture of the rebel Jondar is broadcast throughout the planet. Citizens Arak and Etta watch the event from their room. Arak complains that they never show anything new to watch. In addition to the lack of new programming, the two must also deal with food rationing. Also, that night will be a punch-in vote ordered by the Governor, and voting is mandatory.

Meanwhile, the Sixth Doctor is repairing the TARDIS console. Peri complains that the Doctor has caused three electrical fires and a power failure, nearly collided with a storm of asteroids, got lost in the TARDIS corridors twice, wiped the memory banks of the flight computer, jettisoned three quarters of the storage hold and burned her "cold dinner", all since the time-travellers left Telos. Minutes later, the TARDIS stops. It has stalled in the middle of deep space and the Doctor can do nothing to fix it.

Sil, the Mentor representative of the Galatron Mining Corporation, is negotiating with the Governor over the price of Varos' Zeiton-7 ore. Their discussion, like many others, ends in stalemate. For many years, the Galatron Mining Corporation has swindled Varos by paying far less for the ore than its market value. To make matters worse, the Chief Officer is in league with Sil. The Governor moves on to conduct the night's vote. He addresses the people, asking for their vote on if they should hold out longer for a fair price on the ore. The Governor loses and is forced to endure Human Cell Disintegration Bombardment. The process slowly kills the target and this is the third time his recommendations have failed to pass. The guard Rondel recommends that the Governor execute Jondar to please the citizens so he can recuperate before the next vote.

Peri locates the TARDIS manual and presents it to the Doctor. He quickly dismisses it. He knows perfectly well what has caused their dilemma. The transitional elements within the TARDIS have stopped producing orbital energy and they need Zeiton-7 ore to realign the power systems. The Doctor explains Zeiton-7 is exceptionally rare and only comes from one planet: Varos. The Doctor repairs the TARDIS enough to get to Varos. They arrive right before the execution of Jondar is to take place.

The guard on station to watch over the execution believes the TARDIS is a hallucination caused by the Punishment Dome. The Doctor and Peri exit the TARDIS and he thinks they are hallucinations as well. With some help from the chained Jondar, the guard is incapacitated. The two free Jondar and make their escape after being cut off from the TARDIS by more guards. They are rescued by Rondel. He has defected after speaking with Areta and decided to help them. But he is killed shortly thereafter by pursuing guards.

The Doctor, Peri, Jondar, and Areta continue through the Punishment Dome, attempting to make their way back to the TARDIS. During a run-in with another group of guards, the Doctor is separated from the others, who are arrested. He enters a corridor that appears a desert. With all of Varos watching, he succumbs to the heat and collapses with his end as a close-up.

Part 2 Edit

Varos ep2

Peri transforms into a bird

During the ordeal, Peri has been brought to the control centre in the company of Sil and the other officers. They question her as she watches them bring the Doctor's body to an acid bath for disposal. It turns out he is not dead; his mind was influenced to make him believe he was dying of thirst in a desert. The Doctor suddenly stands up and walks over to the attendants while their backs are turned. The surprise makes the first attendant jump, pushing the second into the bath. A struggle ensues. The first attendant is pulled into the acid bath by the second attendant. The Doctor strolls out, saying, "You'll forgive me if I don't join you."

After making his way from the acid baths, the Doctor is cornered by Quillam, Varos' chief scientist, and taken away. Back in the control centre, it is decided the Doctor and Jondar will be executed in a good "old-fashioned" way, while Peri and Areta will be reshaped with a cell mutator. The Doctor and Jondar are placed in the nooses while the Governor and Sil watch. At the last moment the Doctor asks the Governor about Sil and his extortion. Sil's bodyguards rush the platform and pull the lever. The two simply fall through the holes, the rope coming right off the support. As it turns out, there was to be no execution — it was all to get information out of the Doctor. The Doctor suspected this when he noticed that they were not being filmed.

The group tries to stop the cell mutator on Peri and Areta, but they are told it's at too advanced a stage. The Doctor and Jondar grab the weapons of nearby guards to intimidate Quillam to deactivate the mutator, but it fails. The Doctor resorts to shooting the entire control panel. The process has stopped in the nick of time and Peri and Areta return to their original form. The four escape back into the depths of the Punishment Dome towards a possible escape route. Peri, still in a stupor from the mutator, is recaptured and taken to the control centre.

The Chief and Sil make their final move on the Governor, hoping he will be killed in the next vote, securing their control of Varos and the Zeiton-7 ore. Meanwhile, the Doctor, Jondar and Areta make their way into the End Zone of the Dome, where the exit is supposed to be. The vote starts and the bombardment begins, but the guard Maldak has a change of heart and stops the device, saving the Governor and Peri. The three make their way through the ventilation ducts to meet with the Doctor.

End of programming

The end of Varosian "entertainment."

The Doctor's group is chased by two cannibals and loses them in some poisonous tendrils. The Chief and Quillam arrive on the scene but are entangled in the tendrils, killing them. They meet with Peri, the Governor and Meldak. They all make their way back to the control centre and put an end to Sil's plans of controlling Varos. The Galatron Mining Corporation also began to side with Varos; a second source of Zeiton-7 ore has been found and Sil is ordered to obtain the Varosian ore at any price. The Doctor and Peri bid the Governor farewell, taking the replacement ore with them.

The Governor issues a message to the citizens saying that there will be no more injustice, torture and executions. Arak and Etta watch in disbelief, wondering what they'll do with their new-found freedom.

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

References Edit

  • Varos is a former prison planet for the criminally insane, ostensibly ruled by the descendants of the officers. Despite the poverty of the populace, it has been politically stable for over two hundred years.
  • Zeiton-7 is bought at a ludicrously low price from Varos by the Galatron Mining Corporation.
  • Galatron negotiators, such as Sil from the planet Thoros Beta, exploit the ongoing political vacuum caused by the succession of Governors who are appointed and eventually killed.
  • Galatron's chief rivals are Amorb.
  • Varos property is owned or policed by a body known as Comtech.

TARDIS Edit

  • The Doctor has been conducting some TARDIS repairs, although this has led to three electrical fires, a total blackout and a near collision with a storm of asteroids.
  • The TARDIS' latest fault occurs when the transitional elements stop generating orbital energy, leaving the TARDIS midway between Cetes and Scalpor.
  • The Doctor says Zeiton-7 is needed to repair the transpower system.
  • Peri finds a huge Type 40 TARDIS manual in a workshop. She suggests that the fault might be the comparator.

Story notes Edit

  • This story had working titles of Domain and Planet of Fear.
  • This was one of the stories cited by critics who complained the series had become too dark and violent.
  • This story, like the rest of Season 22, was produced in forty-five minute episodes, but when sold to other countries such as Australia and America, the episodes were re-edited into four twenty-five-minute episodes. The cliffhangers for parts one and three were the Doctor and Peri arriving on Varos in the TARDIS and the Doctor and Jondar's rescue of Peri and Arreta from the rehabilitators, respectively.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for part two in some regions incorporated a small black and white full-length photograph of Sil, with the accompanying caption "Sil. Bad news for the Doctor? / BBC1, 5.20 p.m. Doctor Who".
  • Public torture and execution as entertainment go back as far the Romans. The idea of television and manipulation of the media to control the masses has been used in many works of dystopian science fiction.
  • Arak and Etta never interact with any other characters in the story, instead merely observing and commenting on the proceedings in a similar manner to a Greek chorus.
  • The story was chosen by BBC America to represent the Colin Baker era during their 50th anniversary programming. Edited into an omnibus format, it was aired by BBCA on 29 June 2013, after the debut of their homegrown special called, The Doctors Revisited - The Sixth Doctor. It also aired in the United Kingdom later in the year on 27 October, along with the Revisited special, on the Watch channel.

Ratings Edit

  • Part one - 7.2 million viewers
  • Part two - 7.0 million viewers

Myths and rumours Edit

  • The original title of this story was "The Song of the Space Whale." ("Song" was in fact a completely different story by Pat Mills which was rejected in favour of this one.)
  • A controversy persists regarding the scene where the two guards fall into the acid pit, as it looks as if the Doctor has pushed them in. A still on the Doctor Who Image Archive website seems to confirm that they do in fact fall in accidentally. The Doctor's quip after they die further exacerbates the controversy.

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.

to be added

Continuity Edit

Home video and audio releases Edit

DVD Release

Released as Doctor Who: Vengeance on Varos, this was the fifth and final release of 2001.

Released:

PAL - BBC DVD BBCDVD1044
NTSC- Warner Video E1718

Contents:

  • On the Studio Floor ... - Behind the scenes footage of the making of the story.
  • Trailers
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes/Out-takes
  • Unmixed Soundtrack Option
  • Continuities
  • Photo Gallery
  • Production Subtitles
  • Commentary: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Nabil Shaban

Rear Credits:

Notes:

Special Edition release Edit

  • Many of the stories released on DVD during the first few years were subsequently re-released with improved quality and extras, as special editions and "Revisitations" box sets. Vengeance on Varos was initially not included, but 2 entertain asked fans to campaign if they would like this to change. Subsequently, the story was announced for a special edition release. The serial was released on 10 September 2012.

Video Release

This story was released as Doctor Who: Vengeance on Varos.

Released:

  • UK May 1993
PAL - BBC Video BBCV4962
  • US Release: June 1995
NTSC - CBS/FOX Video 8252
NTSC - Warner Video E1274

Contents:

  • Commentary: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and Nabil Shaban
  • 5.1 Sound Mix - Brand-new optional sound mix.
  • Nice Or Nasty? - Cast and crew discuss the making of.
  • The Idiot's Lantern - Look at the medium of television within the Doctor Who narrative.
  • Tomorrow's Times: The Sixth Doctor
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Behind The Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Alternative Music Clip - Acid bath scene.
  • BBC News - Coverage of Colin Baker's casting.
  • Breakfast Time - Colin Baker.
  • Saturday Superstore - Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant.
  • French & Saunders - Doctor Who sketch from 25 January 1987.
  • Trailers
  • Continuities
  • Radio Times Listings
  • BBC Sales Sheet
  • Photo Gallery
  • Coming Soon Trailer - The Ambassadors of Death (TV story).
  • Isolated Music Score
  • Original Studio Production Audio
  • Production Information Subtitles

External links Edit


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