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Episode Guide
The Krotons
Production Code: WW
Season 6, Story Number 47
Written by Robert Holmes
Directed by David Maloney
Archives

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

Episode 1
28 December 1968 | 23'00" | 9.0 | 16/35mm t/r
Episode 2
04 January 1969 | 23'03" | 8.4 | 16mm t/r
Episode 3
11 January 1969 | 21'47" | 7.5 | 16mm t/r
Episode 4
18 January 1969 | 22'39" | 7.1 | 16mm t/r
Archive Status: All four episodes exist as 16mm telerecordings, though a 35mm telerecording of episode one also exists. Episodes 1-3 were held by the Film & TV Library when audited in 1978; BFI returned prints of all four episodes in late 1978.
Cast
Patrick Troughton (Dr. Who), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon), Wendy Padbury (Zoe Heriot), James Copeland (Selris), Terence Brown (Abu), Madeleine Mills (Vana), Gilbert Wynne (Thara), Philip Madoc (Eelek), Richard Ireson (Axus), James Cairncross (Beta), Bronson Shaw (Student), Maurice Selwyn (Custodian), Roy Skelton (Kroton Voice), Patrick Tull (Kroton Voice), Robert LaBassiere (Kroton), Miles Northover (Kroton)
Synopsis
Abu Gond (Terence Brown) and Vana Gond (Madeleine Mills) have been selected as the brightest of their generation and like generations of Gonds before them they are made ready to enter the machine of the Krotons to serve the Gond's masters.

Thara (Gilbert Wynne) is upset by Vana's selection as once the companions of the Krotons enter the machine they never leave. He tries to stop her entering the machine but is held back and Vana voluntarily heads for the entrance.

The TARDIS has landed in a desolate part of the planet and the friends spot the Gond city below them in the distance. Jamie finds a metal door in the rock face which opens to reveal Abu. Nozzles on either side of the doorway spray a smoke at the man and he is vaporised.

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe rush to the Gond city and enter the hall just as Vana enters the machine. They are prevented from following by the guards but after Vana has gone the Gond council leader Selris (James Copeland) comes to see the newcomers. He disbelieves them when they tell him that they have seen a man vaporised and when he finds they have come from the area the Gonds call the wasteland he tells them that they will die from the poison there.

Thara is Selris' son and when he hears their story he travels with them to try to save Vana. They arrive back at the door and the Doctor jams the nozzles with rock. Vara emerges and the Doctor grabs her. They take the catatonic girl to Selris' home to recover.

Selris explains that thousand of years ago the Krotons descended on the planet from the sky. The Gonds tried to fight but the Krotons released a poison which created the Wasteland and killed many Gonds. Since that day the Gonds have lived by the Krotons' laws with each child taught by the Kroton's learning machines. The Gonds had seen the Krotons as friends up to now, but the Doctor points out they have created a self-perpetuating slavery.

Thara, along with a group of other Gonds, tries to get the Krotons to leave their machine by attacking the learning machines. The Doctor and Selris arrive to stop the Gonds, but a voice warns them to leave the hall. A snake-like tentacle emerges and attacks the Doctor.

Back at Selris' home Vana is resting. The Doctor decides that he and Zoe should investigate the gaps in the Gonds' knowledge and they return to the hall.

While the Doctor and Selris examine the underground posts that support the machine, Zoe uses one of the learning machines and passes a test. To her horror, Zoe is selected to join the Krotons. Selris tells the Doctor that Zoe must comply so the Doctor also takes the test. They go into the ship just as Jamie arrives too late to stop them.

Inside the Doctor and Zoe are drained of mental energy but quickly recover. They find a tank of liquid in which crystals are beginning to form. The crystals grow quickly and a bulky shape forms. The Doctor takes a sample of the liquid and then he and Zoe leave the ship by the exit into the Wasteland.

The reanimated Krotons (Miles Northover, Robert Grant) realise that the Doctor and Zoe are too clever to be Gonds. They need to recapture the 'high-brains' to help them power the Dynatrope - their ship. The Krotons monitor Jamie's attempts to break into the ship and allow him in. They force Jamie to tell them about the TARDIS and make plans to destroy it. They declare him to be a primitive and of no further use to them.

The Doctor takes the liquid sample back to the TARDIS where he finds that it is based on tellurium. He gathers some sulphur from the nearby rocks. A Kroton leaves the Dynatrope and is guided towards the TARDIS by its fellow Kroton aboard the ship.

The Gonds are preparing to attack the Krotons. Eelek (Philip Madoc) plots to seize control of the council from Selris by leading the uprising.

Jamie attacks the Kroton in the ship with one of its own guns allowing Zoe and the Doctor to avoid the Kroton outside. The Krotons try to destroy the TARDIS but the ship simply re-appears further up the mountain due to the fact that the Doctor remembered to set the HADS (Hostile Action Displacement System).

Selris persuades the Gonds to forgo a frontal assault on the Krotons and instead they try to remove one of the giant pillars which support the ship.

The Doctor learns of the plan from Thara and the now recovered Vana who have refused to leave the city with the other Gonds. They go to see Beta (James Cairncross), the Gonds' scientist, and the Doctor asks him to make some sulphuric acid. The Doctor and Zoe then head for the hall.

The Doctor is too late and the roof of the under hall collapses killing several Gonds and burying the Doctor. Thara rescues the Doctor but is injured himself. Zoe and the Doctor learn that Jamie is inside the Dynatrope and they head back to the Wasteland exit to find him. They discover the Scot trapped halfway under the door and help him out.

One of the Krotons orders the Gonds to bring the 'high brains' to them. It promises Eelek that they will leave the planet if they are given the two travellers. Eelek agrees.

The Doctor sends Jamie to Beta to help him make more acid while he and Zoe return to the hall. They are seized and forced back into the Dynatrope. Selris knows that he must get the acid to the Doctor and throws himself through the closing door. He is able to give the Doctor the container before he is killed by the Krotons.

The Krotons reveal that they need the Doctor and Zoe's mental abilities to replace their two crew members who 'ceased to exist' during the space battle that caused them to land on the Gond's planet. The Doctor keeps the aliens talking whilst Zoe pours the acid into the Krotons' liquid tank.

The creatures collapse and begin to dissolve. The Doctor notices that the ship is dissolving too and once outside they find that Jamie, Beta, Thara and Vana have been pouring acid onto the outside of the ship.

With the Krotons destroyed, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe slip away, leaving the Gonds to find their own answers for the future.

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

Production Team
David Tilley (Assistant Floor Manager), Bobi Bartlett (Costumes), Raymond London (Designer), Alan Jonas (Film Cameraman), Martyn Day (Film Editor), Sylvia James (Make-Up), Peter Bryant (Producer), Edwina Verner (Production Assistant), Terrance Dicks (Script Editor), Brian Hodgson (Special Sounds), Howard King (Studio Lighting), John Holmes (Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Bill King (Visual Effects)
Story Notes
The Krotons was a quick replacement for another story (Dick Sharples' "The Prison in Space") by author Robert Holmes, who would go on to become one of the most prolific and influential screenwriters and script editors in the history of the show. The story was submitted three years before to the Doctor Who offices as "The Space Trap" (it was also known by the working title "The Trap"). Frazer Hines was originally planning to leave the series at this point, and would have departed in "The Prison in Space" and been replaced by a new companion, Nik, though upon learning that Troughton was leaving at the end of the year he opted to stay on; this was one of the reasons why "The Prison in Space" was dropped. A Kroton warship and its crew later feature prominently in the BBC novel "Alien Bodies" which expands upon the hive mind of the crystalline creatures.
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 Krotons" in the UK [February 1991] and Australia/New Zealand [July 1991] (BBC catalog #4452), US/Canada [August 1994] (WHV catalog #E1266); episodic format, cover illustration by Alister Pearson.
Audio release
Some selections from this story (music and/or sound effects) have been released on "Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Volume One - The Early Years, 1963-1969" (BBC Music WMSF 6023-2).
In Print
 
Novelised as "Doctor Who - The Krotons" by Terrance Dicks (Target #99), first released in 1985, with cover by Andrew Skilleter; new printing in 1991 with cover 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.
Screencap Descriptions
Descriptions of each story screen capture above right, top to bottom:
  • Jamie (Frazer Hines) is assaulted by a Kroton
  • the Gond city
  • the Doctors image on a Kroton monitor
  • the Custodian (Maurice Selwyn) is threatened by Thara (Gilbert Wynne)
  • Jamie and Zoe (Wendy Padbury) fear the Kroton advance
  • another shot of a Kroton