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Episode Guide
The Horns of Nimon
Production Code: 5L
Season 17, Story Number 108
Written by Anthony Read
Directed by Kenny McBain
No episode stills are currently available for this story.
Archives

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

Part One
22 December 1979 | 25'41" | 6
Part Two
29 December 1979 | 25'00" | 8.8
Part Three
05 January 1980 | 23'26" | 9.8
Part Four
12 January 1980 | 26'45" | 10.4
Archive Status: All four episodes exist as PAL 2” colour videotape, always held by the BBC’s Film and Videotape Library.
Cast
Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Lalla Ward (Romana), David Brierley (K9), Graham Crowden (Soldeed), Simon Gipps-Kent (Seth), Michael Osborne (Sorak), Janet Ellis (Teka), Malcolm Terris (Co-Pilot), Bob Hornery (Pilot), Robin Sherringham (Nimon), Bob Appleby (Nimon), Trevor St. John Hacker (Nimon), Clifford Norgate (Voice of the Nimons), John Bailey (Sezom)
Synopsis
The planet Skonnos is dying, and its inhabitants have been promised by an alien Nimon that he can return their empire to greatness. However, this requires sacrifices and Hymetusite crystals, both of which the Skonnons obtain from the nearby planet Aneth. The Anethans have been supplying their young and their minerals for many years and the Nimon on Skonnos has become a part of their legends.

When the Doctor and his companions arrive - Romana first on the ship with the tribute and the Doctor and K-9 later by TARDIS - they are sent into the Nimon's labyrinthine Power Complex on Skonnos to meet the creature. It turns out to be a bull-headed alien. The Nimon are like a race of intergalactic locusts. They send a representative to an unsuspecting planet, offering help and assistance, and when they have gained the trust of the inhabitants, they arrive in force and drain the planet of all its resources before moving on to another world in the same manner.

Romana travels back along the Nimon's space-tunnel to their last world, the dying planet Crinoth, which they have all but exhausted. She obtains from Sezom, the last surviving inhabitant, a staff which can be used against the Nimon.

The Doctor manages to trap the Nimon on Crinoth by destroying the Complex on Skonnos.

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
Rosemary Chapman (Assistant Floor Manager), June Hudson (Costumes), Graeme Story (Designer), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Christine Walmesley-Cotham (Make-Up), Graham Williams (Producer), Henry Foster (Production Assistant), John Nathan-Turner (Production Unit Manager), Douglas Adams (Script Editor), Dick Mills (Special Sounds), Nigel Wright (Studio Lighting), John Hartshorn (Studio Sound), Delia Derbyshire (Theme Arrangement), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Peter Pegrum (Visual Effects)
Story Notes
The Horns of Nimon is lauded as one of the show's worst stories, possibly undeservedly, probably for the overacting of Graham Crowden as Soldeed. The story was inspired by the tale of the Minotaur and Theseus. Former script editor Anthony Read wrote this story, which like "Nightmare of Eden" was subjected to budget crunching. The Nimon were originally intended to be aliens wearing bull-masks to frighten the inhabitants of the planets they invaded, but budgetary restrictions meant that the masks ended up being the real creatures. The Nimon Power Complex was based around the idea of a giant printed circuit, the paths through which changed to trap any visitors and draw them to the Nimon at the centre. The Nimon returned in the Big Finish audio "Seasons of Fear".
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 Horns of Nimon" in the UK [June 2003] and Australia/New Zealand [September 2003] (BBC catalog #7334), US/Canada [October 2003] (WHV catalog #E1861); episodic format, photomontage cover. US/Canada version sold individually as well as part of the "End of the Universe Collection" 13-tape set [October 2003] (WHV catalog #E1840).
In Print
Novelised as “Doctor Who and the Horns of Nimon” by Terrance Dicks (Target #37), first released in 1980 with cover art by Steve Kyte. Released in hardcover in 1980.
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.