OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 685
STORY NUMBER: 156
TRANSMITTED: Wednesday 21 December 1988
WRITER: Stephen Wyatt
DIRECTOR: Alan Wareing
SCRIPT EDITOR: Andrew Cartmel
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 5.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
In the Psychic Circus box office Morganna shows the Doctor posters of the circus' history, the planets that they visited before they settled on Segonax. Ace & the Doctor go into the big top and find themselves sat near a family of three as the show starts and The Ringmaster enters, inviting the Doctor to take part. The clowns are interested in where Ace found Flowerchild's earing and chase her out of big top. The Doctor finds Captain Cook, Mags & Nord having tea but is sealed in a cage with them. Ace escapes by cutting her way through the circus tent. The Doctor and his fellow captives meet Deadbeat the circus cleaner. The Captain cons Nord into auditioning for circus next and he is taken away by the clowns. Morgana asks the Ringmaster if his troubled by what they've done. The Chief Clown explains that Bellboy made the androids at the circus and puts him back to work repairing those that have been damaged. Wizz kid arrives at the circus, wanting to enter talent contest and proclaiming himself their greatest fan. Ace finds the tied up Bellboy but is unable to free him before the Chief Clown arrives to get him to repair the robot bus conductor. Nord enters ring and, as the Doctor watches from the wings, a clap of thunder and a bright light fills the ring and Nord is gone. The Doctor & Mags stage an argument getting the clowns to open the cage. The Doctor & Mags immobilise them and escape. Wizz Kid is called into the ring. Ace is found in the passageways by Deadbeat and the Chief Clown. The Ringmaster finds the damaged clowns androids and the Doctor & Mags gone. The Doctor finds some ancient stones within circus tent which intrigue him, but Morgana is fearful of the symbols on them. Ace is locked in a room with clown androids which come to life round her. The Doctor & Mags venture deeper into tunnels finding a deep pit with an eye looking up at them. The Doctor recognises the eye from the kites in the circus. They are cornered by Captain Cook & the clowns.
Good stuff again. Something very sinister is obviously going on at the circus.
One of the reason the Circus scenes look so good is that they actually were filmed in a tent! Following the location sequences filmed in mid May 1987 studio production was meant to begin on the last day of that month. However on May 27th Asbestos was found in TV Centre resulting in the studio facilities being out of commission for several weeks including when Greatest Show in the Galaxy should have been recording. The solution was to relocate to the car park of the BBC's studios in Elstree, where Eastenders was filmed, and record the studio scenes in a tent in the car park! The billowing corridors do look rather fab!