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Episode Guide
The Masque of Mandragora
Production Code: 4M
Season 14, Story Number 86
Written by Louis Marks
Directed by Rodney Bennett
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.

Part One
04 September 1976 | 24'31" | 8.3
Part Two
11 September 1976 | 24'44" | 9.8
Part Three
18 September 1976 | 24'34" | 9.2
Part Four
25 September 1976 | 24'45" | 10.6
Archive Status: All four episodes exist in color as PAL 2" videotape, as held by the Film & Videotape Library when audited in 1978.
Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), John Laurimore (Count Federico), Norman Jones (Hieronymous), Antony Carrick (Captain Rossini), Gareth Armstrong (Giuliano), Tim Piggott-Smith (Marco), Robert James (High Priest), Brian Ellis (Brother), Pat Gorman (Soldier), James Appleby (Guard), John Clamp (Guard), Peter Walshe (Pikeman), Jay Neill (Pikeman), Peter Tuddenham (Titan Voice), Peggy Dixon (Dancer), Jack Edwards (Dancer), Alistair Fullarton (Dancer), Michael Reid (Dancer), Kathy Wolff (Dancer), Stuart Fell (Entertainer)
The Doctor and Sarah are investigating some unfamiliar areas of the TARDIS and come across the secondary control room, wood panelled and with a smaller central control console. Switching on the scanner, the Doctor realises that they are coming close to the Mandragora Helix, a spiral of energy radiating outwards with a controlling influence at the centre.

The TARDIS is captured by the Helix and drawn to a still point at its centre. After a brief look outside, the Doctor dematerialises the ship, but a sparkling piece of Mandragora energy has entered the TARDIS and emerges at the next point of call, Earth towards the end of the 15th Century.

The Doctor and Sarah find that they are in Italy in the Dukedom of San Martino and realise that the Mandragora energy is loose and up to no good.

The energy enters an underground temple where the outlawed star worshipping Brotherhood of Demnos gathers. It reveals itself to them during one of their ceremonies. The worshippers, led by the court astrologer Hieronymous, are awed and Hieronymous receives instructions to make ready for Mandragora's full appearance.

Hieronymous is one of the pawns in the evil Count Federico's plans to take control of the Dukedom for himself. He has already arranged for the old Duke to die under 'mysterious circumstances' as predicted by the stars, and is planning for the same to happen to the new Duke, Giuliano. Hieronymous, increasingly under the influence of Mandragora, realises that the Doctor is a threat and hypnotises Sarah with instructions to kill him.

The Doctor becomes aware of the trap when Sarah innocently asks how she can speak and understand the local language - something that had not previously bothered her in all the times and places she had visited. He de-hypnotises her and makes arrangements to remove Mandragora's influence from Earth. At the height of a masked ball, the Brethren of Demnos attack the court, and Hieronymous, who has now been completely taken over by Mandragora, confronts the Doctor in the underground temple. The Doctor has earthed himself and the altar so that as the Helix energy blasts him it is carried safely away. In this way he drains all the Mandragora energy on Earth, leaving the planet safe, at least until the constellations are again in the correct configuration for the Helix to reestablish contact.

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

Production Team
Linda Graeme (Assistant Floor Manager), James Acheson (Costumes), Barry Newbury (Designer), John Baker (Film Cameraman), Clare Douglas (Film Editor), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Jan Harrison (Make-Up), Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer), Thea Murray (Production Assistant), Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager), Robert Holmes (Script Editor), Dick Mills (Special Sounds), Dennis Channon (Studio Lighting), Colin Dixon (Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Ian Scoones (Visual Effects)
Story Notes
The Masque of Mandragora features the debut of the new TARDIS console room with wood panelling, used only during this season, as well as a brand new TARDIS exterior. Originally planend to be filmed overseas, it was instead shot in Portmeirion which uses Italian inspiration in some of its architecture. The working titles for the story were "The Catacombs of Death," "Secret of the Labyrinth" and "The Curse of Mandragora." It is revealed that the reason Sarah can understand Italian (and other alien tongues) is that this is a Time Lord gift which the Doctor allows her to share. This story saw the first use of a new style of lettering, serif font, for the series' on-screen titles. During the production of this story, Elisabeth Sladen announced her intention to leave the programme. A graphic novel sequel, "The Mark of Mandragora," was originally printed in Doctor Who Magazine.
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 Masque of Mandragora” in the UK [August 1991] and Australia/New Zealand [October 1992] (BBC catalog #4642), US/Canada [February 1994] (WHV catalog #E1203); episodic format, cover illustration by Alister Pearson.
In Print
Novelised as “Doctor Who and the Masque of Mandragora” by Terrance Dicks (Target #7), first released in 1977 with cover art by Mike Little. Re-released as “Doctor Who – The Masque of Mandragora” in 1991 with cover art by Alister Pearson. Released in hardcover in 1978. Released via Pinnacle Books in 1979 in US (#8). Also published in France in 1987.
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.