OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 564
STORY NUMBER: 119
TRANSMITTED: Monday 18 January 1982
WRITER: Terence Dudley
DIRECTOR: John Black
SCRIPT EDITOR: Antony Root
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8.4 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Four to Doomsday
The Tardis arrives in a seemingly empty spaceship where they are observed by the sphere like Monoptican cameras. Exploring the ship, the Doctor and his friends meet Monarch, the frog like ruler of Urbanka, who is journeying to Earth, and his assistants Enlightenment & Persuasion. They take an interest in Tegan who draws for them the latest human fashion. They are taken to a room for rest & refreshment where they meet Bigon, an ancient Athenian, Kurkutji, an Australian Aborigine, the Chinese Lin Futu and the Mayan Villagra. Monarch attempts to gain access to the Tardis. The time travellers are met by two more figures who tell them that there is four days to go before they reach Earth and invite the Doctor & his friends to complete their journey with them. They introduce themselves as Enlightenment & Persuasion.....
What I remember most about seeing this episode on first transmission was the floating Monopticons. As a child my local department store, Bentalls in Kingston Upon Thames, had one of these big black spheres, with camera lenses sticking out of it, hanging in their toy department which I was ever so scared of. The Monopticons reminded me of this and thus the fear was transmitted to them.
The four days to Earth bit is important: that would appear to be the Four to Doomsday of the story's title!
Much fuss is made in publications elsewhere of how Tegan is suddenly able to speak an obscure Aboriginal dialect. What should be more worrying is why the others *can't*: doesn't the Tardis provide a translation gift for those who travel in it, as established in Masque of Mandragora? They all understand the Athenian Bigon & Chinese Lin Futu OK, not to mention the three alien Urbankans!
Four to Doomsday is the first story of this season, and thus the first story of the fifth Doctor to be filmed. A story called Project Zeta Sigma had been commissioned from the writers of Meglos, John Flanagan and Andrew McCulloch but had fallen through. Peter Davison's opening story was then shifted to be filmed later when a script had been written while stories that had been written were filmed first.
This, then, is the timeline for the making of the eighteenth season:
Four to Doomsday April 1981 (Script Editor Antony Root)
The Visitation May 1981 (Script Editor Antony Root)
Kinda July 1981 (Script Editor Eric Saward)
Castrovalva September 1981 (Script Editor Eric Saward)
Black Orchid October 1981 (Script Editor Eric Saward)
K-9 & Company November 1981 (Script Editors Eric Saward & Antony Root)
Earthshock November 1981 (Script Editor Eric Saward but credited as Antony Root due to Saward writing the story)
Time Flight January 1982 (Script Editor Eric Saward)
The broadcast order is however:
K-9 & Company
Four to Doomsday