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Episode Guide
Carnival of Monsters
Production Code: PPP
Season 10, Story Number 66
Written by Robert Holmes
Directed by Barry Letts
No episode stills are currently available for this story.

Each episode is identified with date of transmission, duration, ratings in millions, and (for 1963-1974 only) archive status.

Episode 1
27 January 1973 | 24'46" | 9.5 | PAL 2" color videotape
Episode 2
03 February 1973 | 24'11" | 9.0 | PAL 2" color videotape
Episode 3
10 February 1973 | 24'49" | 9.0 | PAL 2" color videotape
Episode 4
17 February 1973 | 24'10" | 9.2 | PAL 2" color videotape
Archive Status: All four episodes exist in color on PAL 2" color videotape, as held by the Film & Videotape Library when audited in 1978. A "71 edit" of episode 2 exists, an earlier version than the final transmitted version; this version is five minutes longer than the final cut (including the full repeat of a previous sequence on InterMinor), and features an abandoned synthesizer rearrangement of the theme music created by Paddy Kingsland, and was inadvertently included in the package of episodes sent to Australia for broadcast. An additional version of episode 4 also exists as prepared for a BBC repeat transmission in 1981, omitting 44 seconds from the last scene. The Episode 2 release version is actually longer, and was always intended to be included on the video release; only the edited version of episode 4 was included by mistake on the video release.
Jon Pertwee (Doctor Who), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Leslie Dwyer (Vorg), Cheryl Hall (Shirna), Tenniel Evans (Major Daly), Ian Marter (John Andrews), Jenny McCraken (Claire Daly), Peter Halliday (Pletrac), Michael Wisher (Kalik), Terence Lodge (Orum), Andrew Staines (Captain)
A cargo shuttle arrives on the planet Inter Minor where a local tribunal, Kalik (Michael Wisher), Orum (Terence Lodge) and Pletrac (Peter Halliday), receive two Lurman visitors, the showman Vorg (Leslie Dwyer) and his assistant Shirna (Cheryl Hall). They have brought a Miniscope with them.

The TARDIS arrives in the hold of a ship. The Doctor is puzzled as he was heading for Metebelis 3, the blue planet of the Acteon galaxy. The Doctor and Jo explore the ship and hide when Major Daly (Tenniel Evans), his daughter Clare (Jenny McCraken) and Lieutenant John Andrews (Ian Marter), a seaman, enter the saloon. Clare and Andrews leave to walk around the deck and Daly falls asleep. Jo sees a copy of the Illustrated London News on the table. It is dated 3 April 1926. Suddenly a plesiosaur rises from the sea. In the confusion, the Doctor and Jo try to leave but are seen by Daly. Andrews says they are stowaways and locks them in a cabin. There, the Doctor discovers that the ship is the SS Bernice and the date is the 4 June 1926 - the day that, according to history, the ship vanished. Jo notices that when they entered the clock read 7:35 and now it reads 6:40 and it is also daylight outside when it should be night. Just outside the cabin door is a hexagonal metallic hatch in the floor that Andrews cannot see and, having used Jo's skeleton keys to escape from the cabin, Jo and the Doctor examine it.

On Inter Minor, the tribunal decide to reject the Lurmans' visa application. Vorg has a document micrographed by the Great Zarb and Pletrac takes it away for verification - Shirna realises that 'the Great Zarb' is a Wallarian wrestler and not the President of Inter Minor.

The Doctor determines that the hatch is secured by anti-magnetic cohesion and that he needs a magnetic core extractor to open it. He has one in the TARDIS and so he and Jo head for the saloon. There, they see Daly and the others going through exactly the same sequence of events as before. They return to the hold and the Doctor fetches the piece of equipment from the TARDIS before a giant hand suddenly emerges from the ceiling and takes the TARDIS away.

Vorg has found the TARDIS in Circuit Three. He replaces it inside the Scope's field as Kalik and Orum ask what the Scope does. Vorg explains that it contains miniaturised life forms from across the galaxy, including Tellurians, an Ogron (Rick Lester) and Drashigs. To demonstrate that the pictures shown on the glo-sphere are not recordings, Vorg turns up the aggrometer which makes the specimens behave more aggressively.

On the ship, the Doctor and Jo have again been spotted by Daly, but this time Andrews challenges the Doctor to fisticuffs. The Doctor wins the fight and he and Jo hurry to the hatch chased by armed sailors. Jo starts to unseal it but Andrews and the sailors arrive. Vorg turns the aggrometer off and Andrews and the rest of the crew return to their duties without a second glance at the Doctor and Jo. Opening the hatch, the Doctor and Jo descend into the workings of a giant machine.

Pletrac says that the machine must be destroyed as it contains livestock. He orders some functionaries to bring and operate an eradicator which fails significantly to affect the scope or its contents, which include a Cyberman (Terence Denville). Vorg sees the Doctor and Jo in the machine. Orum removes the TARDIS from the Scope and it grows to its normal size.

Trying to find a way out, the Doctor cuts through a restraining bar over another hatch and he and Jo find themselves in a cave. Outside the cave is a marsh inhabited by ravening caterpillar-like Drashigs which chase the Doctor and Jo. Shirna gets Vorg to distract the creatures allowing the Doctor and Jo to return to the machine. The Drashigs - which hunt by smell - follow. The Doctor realises that they are inside a Miniscope and tells Jo that he had been instrumental in getting the High Council of Time Lords to ban them.

Kalik has seen an opportunity to overthrow Zarb and to gain power for himself by using the Drashigs. He and Orum plot against Zarb.

As the Drashigs roam through the machine's innards, the Doctor and Jo return to the ship to get some rope with which to reach the base of the Scope. A Drashig smashes through into the ship and is killed by Daly with a machine gun. Andrews throws some dynamite into the machine to try and kill another creature. He succeeds, but causes a general power failure in the scope.

Jo is held on the ship, but the Doctor manages to escape from the Scope and grows to his full size.

Kalik has disabled the eradicator by removing its tryizon and so prevents Pletrac from using it on the Doctor. The Doctor takes control of the situation. He wants to rescue Jo and return the rest of the 'livestock' to where it originated. Kalik places the component from the eradicator in Vorg's luggage so that the Lurman will be implicated. A plate at the base of the Scope is moving as the Drashigs try to break out. The Doctor intends to link the machine to the TARDIS and then re-program it. He builds a device to achieve this and instructs Vorg on how to use it. He is then transported back into the Scope to find Jo.

While he is gone, Pletrac destroys the device, leaving Vorg to try and repair it. Vorg finds the eradicator component in his bags and wonders how it came to be there. In the scope, the power runs down and the life support systems fail.

Kalik releases the Drashigs from the machine and becomes their first victim. Vorg fits the tryizon to the eradicator and destroys the Drashigs before they can kill anyone else. He then operates the repaired machine which rescues the Doctor and Jo and returns the other life forms to their natural habitats. The scope then blows up.

Vorg is a hero and to earn some credit bars, he demonstrates the yarrow seed and megum pod trick to Pletrac. The Doctor and Jo leave in the TARDIS.

Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted.

Production Team
Karilyn Collier (Assistant Floor Manager), James Acheson (Costumes), Roger Liminton (Designer), Peter Hamilton (Film Cameraman), Peter Evans (Film Editor), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Angela Seyfang (Make-Up), Barry Letts (Producer), Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Assistant), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Brian Hodgson (Special Sounds), Clive Thomas (Studio Lighting), Gordon Mackie (Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music), John Horton (Visual Effects)
Story Notes
Carnival of Monsters marked the return of Doctor Who to its roots - regular travel in space and time, the Doctor's freedom returned to him by the Time Lords in the previous story. A popular story even today, the serial featured a guest appearance by Ian Marter, who had auditioned originally to play Mike Yates, and would later join the program as companion Harry Sullivan. It also featured a guest shot by Tenniel Evans as Major Daly; Evans, an old friend and co-star of Jon Pertwee, had earlier prompted Pertwee to put his name forward to the Doctor Who team as a successor to Patrick Troughton (though, unbeknownst to Pertwee, he was already on their short list.) The working title for the serial was "Peepshow". A Cyberman is one of the specimens seen in the Miniscope. The serial was edited for a later repeat showing as Letts did not care for some of the makeup quality in the final episode. Says David Howe: "The cliff-hanger for episode three was originally to have been completely different from that transmitted. As the Doctor secured the rope to descend the shaft, he hears a roar and sees a Drashig advancing on him. Catching his foot in the rope, he overbalances and falls down the shaft. The following episode saw the Drashig fall after him, revealing that the Doctor is hanging from the rope. After the Drashig has fallen, the Doctor climbs down after it. This sequence, along with several others over the course of the story were cut due to the episodes overrunning their allotted time." It was the final serial for which Brian Hodgson was to handle the special sound effects; they would later be supplied by Dick Mills. There are differences in some versions; see "Archives" above.
For more in-depth information about the contents of this story, a complete episode-by-episode detailed breakdown can be found at the Doctor Who Reference Guide.
Additional, more detailed information about the production of this story can be found at Shannon Patrick Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel).
DVD release
Released in the UK [July 2002] and Australia/New Zealand [September 2002] (BBC DVD catalog #1098), US/Canada [July 2003] (WHV catalog #E1758), episodic format, photomontage cover (UK version by Clayton Hickman.) Includes commentary by Katy Manning and Barry Letts; extended and deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes footage; model sequences from original 16mm visual effects tests; "Using CSO" with Barry Letts; alternate theme music; trailer for "The Five Faces of Doctor Who"; an alternate ending to episode four; production subtitles; photo gallery and TARDIS-Cam #2. US/Canada release also includes the "Who's Who" option.
Video release
Released as "Carnival of Monsters" in the UK [March 1995] and Australia/New Zealand [May 1995] (BBC catalog #5556), US/Canada [March 1996] (WHV catalog #E1311); episodic format, cover illustration by Colin Howard. Video release includes the version of episode 2 that was syndicated to Australia (with an alternate version of the theme and extra scenes) as well as a 1981 repeat version of episode 4 from which 45 seconds of the final scene were cut due to problems with the headpiece worn by Peter Halliday.
Audio release
The novelization was released on audio by the RNIB, narrated by Gabriel Woolf.
In Print
Novelised as "Doctor Who and the Carnival of Monsters" by Terrance Dicks (Target #8), first released in 1977 with cover art by Chris Achilleos, both hardcover and paperback. Reissued in 1993 with cover art by Alister Pearson.
For more details on the various novelizations of this story, with additional background material, artwork and details of both UK and foreign releases, visit On Target.