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Episode Guide
The War Machines
Production Code: BB
Season 3, Story Number 27
Directed by Michael Ferguson

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

Episode 1
25 June 1966 | 24'01" | 5.4 | 16mm t/r
Episode 2
02 July 1966 | 24'00" | 4.7 | 16mm t/r
Episode 3
09 July 1966 | 23'58" | 5.3 | 16mm t/r
Episode 4
16 July 1966 | 23'11" | 5.5 | 16mm t/r
Archive Status: All four episodes exist as 16mm telerecordings. Originally purged in the 1970's, a copy of episode 2 was recovered from a private collector in 1978, and prints of all four episodes, though incomplete, were found in Nigeria in 1985. In late 1996, a variety of clips cut by Australian censors were located at the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC); these clips were reinserted when preparing the video release of the story, which, while still not 100% complete, is as close to the condition of its original broadcast as ever before. Telesnaps (off-air camera photographs) from this story exist in the BBC Archives.
William Hartnell (Dr. Who), Jackie Lane (Dodo Chaplet), Michael Craze (Ben Jackson), Anneke Wills (Polly Wright), Alan Curtis (Major Green), John Harvey (Professor Brett), Sandra Bryant (Kitty), Ewan Proctor (Flash), William Mervyn (Sir Charles Summer), John Cater (Professor Krimpton), Ric Felgate (American Journalist), John Doye (Interviewer), Desmond Cullum-Jones (Worker), Roy Godfrey (Tramp), Michael Rathbone (Taxi-driver), Gerald Taylor (Machine Operator), Eddie Davis (Worker), John Rolfe (Captain), John Boyd-Brent (Sergeant), Frank Jarvis (Corporal), Robin Dawson (Soldier), Kenneth Kendall (Television Newsreader), George Cross (The Minister), Edward Colliver (Garage Mechanic), John Slavid (Man in telephone box), Dwight Whylie (Radio Announcer), Carl Conway (US Correspondent), Gerald Taylor (WOTAN)
When the TARDIS arrives in London, 1966, the Doctor visits the Post Office Tower, having sensed evil emanations from the building. There, he meets Professor Brett (John Harvey), who demonstrates his revolutionary new computer, WOTAN (voiced by Gerald Taylor), standing for Will Operating Thought Analogue. Designed as a universal problem-solver, this machine can actually think for itself. Moreover, it is shortly to be linked up to other major computers around the world - a project overseen by civil servant Sir Charles Summer (William Mervyn).

All is not as it seems, however, as WOTAN has decided that humans are inferior to machines and should therefore be ruled by them. Exerting a powerful hypnotic influence, it initiates the construction of War Machines - heavily-armed, self-contained mobile computers - with which to effect its plan of world domination. The War Machines (Gerald Taylor) prove more than a match for troops, but by establishing a magnetic force field the Doctor is able to capture one of them. He then reprograms it to destroy WOTAN.

Now back in her own time, Dodo decides to leave the Doctor at this point. However, the Doctor soon finds himself with two new companions - Brett's secretary Polly (Anneke Wills) and her merchant seaman friend Ben Jackson (Michael Craze) - whom he inadvertently whisks off in the TARDIS when they come aboard just as it is about to dematerialise.

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

Production Team
Lovett Bickford (Assistant Floor Manager), Margot Hayhoe (Assistant Floor Manager), Daphne Dare (Costumes), Barbara Lane (Costumes), Raymond London (Designer), Alan Jonas (Film Cameraman), Eric Mival (Film Editor), Sonia Markham (Make-Up), Innes Lloyd (Producer), Snowy White (Production Assistant), Gerry Davis (Script Editor), Brian Hodgson (Special Sounds), George Summers (Studio Lighting), David Hughes (Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music)
Story Notes
Doctor Who returns to contemporary London and sets the stage for the oncoming transition. Two new actors join the cast: Michael Craze as seaman Ben Jackson and Anneke Wills as secretary Polly Wright; meanwhile Jackie Lane (Dodo) is written out rather unceremoniously in episode two. The working title for this serial is "The Computers". This is the only time that the Doctor is ever referred to in dialogue as "Doctor Who". The story as recovered in the 1980's remained incomplete with several cuts but was restored by the BBC's unofficial Restoration Team after clips were discovered in Australia in 1996.
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).
Video release
Released as "The War Machines" in the UK [June 1997] and Australia/New Zealand [January 1998] (BBC catalog #6183), US/Canada [March 1998] (WHV catalog #E1079); photomontage cover; episodic format. UK and Australia/New Zealand releases issued with a gatefold cover with notes about the restoration of the story. Reedited from telerecordings with recovered material (see Archives).
In Print
Novelised as "Doctor Who - The War Machines" by Ian Stuart Black (Target #136), first released in 1989 with cover art by Alister Pearson and Graeme Wey.
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.
Screencap Descriptions
Descriptions of each story screen capture above right, top to bottom:
  • Its the Post Office Tower, and its alien
  • Dodo (Jackie Lane) meets merchant seaman Ben Jackson (Michael Craze) and secretary Polly Wright (Anneke Wills)
  • a War Machine
  • the Doctor (William Hartnell) investigates
  • Dodo says goodbye
  • and the Doctor welcomes Ben and Polly aboard the TARDIS