OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 616
STORY NUMBER: 134
TRANSMITTED: Friday 27 January 1984
WRITER: Christopher H. Bidmead
DIRECTOR: Ron Jones
SCRIPT EDITOR: Eric Saward
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Frontios
The Doctor gains Plantagenet's trust by saving his life and has him taken to the hospital. The Doctor asks to have the rock samples analysed and gets the research room reopened where Turlough & Norna discover an underground tunnel which Captain Revere had been using to gain rock samples. They explore the tunnel, and are followed by the Doctor & Range when they find them missing. Tegan finds evidence of "deaths unaccountable" but unobserved Plantagenet falls from his bed and is swallowed up by the ground. The Doctor & Range find Turlough in the tunnels raving about Tractators. The Doctor searches for Norna who he finds captured by the giant woodlice like Tractators but is apprehended trying to prevent Tegan from being captured.
That's a bit more like it, less arguing dislikeable colonists and more mysterious happenings as we get bodies being sucked into the ground. Special mention for Mark Strickson's acting here as he becomes increasingly disturbed in the tunnels by something that's bringing back old memories. But yet another slow moving shuffling monster.....
Lots of the guest cast are known from elsewhere: Peter Gilmore, Brazen, was the title character James Onedin in the Onedin Line while William Lucas, Range, had a leading role in The Adventures of Black Beauty as Doctor James Gordon. At the time Jeff Rawle, Plantagenet, was best known as the title character in Billy Liar but a few years later found fame as Globelink News editor George Dent in Drop The Dead Donkey. Now a regular face on UK Television he returned to the Doctor Who universe playing Lionel Harding in The Sarah Jane Adventures: Mona Lisa's Revenge. Playing Norna Lesley Dunlop plays Range's daughter Norna. Her then partner Christopher Guard was in the previous year's Terminus. She'll be back as Susan Q in The Happiness Patrol before finding recognition as the second Zoe Callender in May to December.
During the evening that this episode was broadcast veteran Doctor Who director Douglas Camfield retired to bed early, complaining of feeling tired. He died in his sleep of a heart attack aged just 52.