OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 565
STORY NUMBER: 119
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 19 January 1982
WRITER: Terence Dudley
DIRECTOR: John Black
SCRIPT EDITOR: Antony Root
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Four to Doomsday
Tegan is amazed that Persuasion & Enlightenment now wear bodies & clothes that are exact copies of the sketches she made. Monarch, worried that Bygon may be revealing too many of their secrets orders a recreational to entertain his guests but en route separates Nyssa & Adric from the Doctor. The Doctor & Tegan witness Aztec, Aboriginal & Chinese Dragon dancing, but while they watch Bygon asks to speak with them in private. Nyssa and Adric wander the ship witnessing many things they find strange. Tegan is appalled when one of the competitors in a Greek gladiatorial bout is killed and flees the recreational pursued by the Doctor. Adric & Nyssa see the gladiator walk into the chamber they are in and been instantly restored to full health by a machine at which point he & his opponent take Nyssa & Adric captive. Byron tells the Doctor that Monarch has been journeying back & forth between Earth & Urbanka, first visiting over 35,000 years ago when Kurkutji was taken. The Doctor wonders how organic life can have survived that long but Bygon reveals that the only organic life aboard is in the floral chamber: all the humans on the ship and android replicas!
I'm starting to wonder if the writer of this script had seen Disney's The Black Hole (released 1980 in the UK) as certain bits are looking eerily familiar: exploring a seemingly deserted ship, then watching the slightly odd crew at work, seeing a garden that seemingly feeds the crew before finding out what's wrong with the crew. In the Black Hole they were cybernetically reanimated dead crew members, here they are android copies. More similarities will follow.... Purportedly the crew of the story had difficulty finding a Chinese Dragon Dancing team and ended up locating the dragon dancers at a local Chinese restaurant!
Four to Doomsday was the first script for the series by Terence Dudley, a former BBC producer on both Doomwatch, created by Gerry Davis & Kit Pedler of Cybermen fame and Survivors, created by Terry Nation's (and I think we know by now what he came up with!) He directed Meglos the previous season and shortly after this story was finished would write K-9 & Company, which was screened 3 weeks prior to the first episode of this story being aired.
Four to Doomsday is the first story script edited by Antony Root. He'd previously worked as an Assistant Floor Manager on Destiny of the Daleks. Officially the program credits him as script editing 3 stories, plus a part share in K-9 and Company. Unofficially it would appear as if his credit on the third story is a dodge to get round it being written by his successor as script editor Eric Saward .... who gets credited as script editor on screen before Root does due to the odd order this season is made in. Root has since gone on to be a highly successful television producer.