OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 459
STORY NUMBER: 093
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 08 October 1977
WRITER: Bob Baker & Dave Martin
DIRECTOR: Derrick Goodwin
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 7.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Company)
The Virus orders the Doctor to attack Leela but after wildly firing the gun he collapses, with a strange hairy growth on his hands. He puts himself into a trance to preserve his strength. Lowe, concealing the growth round his eyes with a visor, helps Leela take the Doctor to the Tardis and they journey to the Bi-Al foundation in the asteroid belt to seek help for the Doctor. He is taken to their isolation ward for treatment while Lowe is sent to the eye section. Professor Marius examines the Doctor assisted by his robot dog/computer K-9, who detects the Doctor's alien origins and the virus infection.
The Doctor awakes while being examined and deduces how he was infected in the Tardis. Lowe infects the staff treating him. Leela seeks the Doctor but is prevented from seeing him by K-9, until Marius arrives. He wishes to have Leela scanned to discover why she is immune. Lowe and his infected medics approach where the Doctor is being treated. A second shuttle is infected by the organism and crashed into the Bi-Al space station isolating the level the Doctor is on. Lowe's team find a way round through a service shaft. Leela attacks the approaching infected medics. The Doctor has Marius clone himself and Leela. K-9 takes over the defence of the ward. Lowe issues Marius with an ultimatum and gives him 2 minutes to surrender. The Doctor clone fetches some equipment from the Tardis which he uses to shrink both himself and the Leela clone which are injected into the real Doctor as Lowe tells Marius that his time is up.
Things move on quite a bit in this episode with the Doctor regaining some control of himself:
DOCTOR: Leela, I can't stop it. Got to fight it. Got to fight it.Excellent question from Leela there that will get returned to later.
LEELA: Doctor, what's wrong? Doctor, what was all that?
DOCTOR: I'm fighting for my mind. Whatever it was that attacked Safran and the others is also affecting me.
LEELA: Why not me?
DOCTOR: Perhaps because. Oh! I can feel it gathering strength to attack again.
LEELA: The evil one?
DOCTOR: Some kind of organism that attacks the mind, the intelligence. It's trying to take me over, Leela. It's trying to change me.
LEELA: No, Doctor, please.
DOCTOR: I need help. I must withdraw into myself, save strength.
LEELA: Why not me?
LEELA: Come with me. The Doctor's ill, very ill. He told me to get help.Want to tell me how, even armed with the co-ordinates, Leela managed to fly the Tardis to the Bi-Al foundation? No I don't know either, and that's the distinct impression I got from the episode watching it!
LOWE: But there are no facilities here.
LEELA: Well, where, then?
LOWE: The nearest place is the Centre for Alien Biomorphology. But that's in the asteroid belt.
LEELA: We'll take the Tardis. Doctor, we're taking you somewhere to get help, but we need the Tardis. Now, where are we going?
LOWE: The Bi-Al Foundation, asteroid K four zero six seven.
LEELA: What are the coordinates? Doctor, what are the coordinates?
DOCTOR: Vector one nine, quadrant three. Seven four three.
LEELA: Seven four three.
DOCTOR: Eight zero zero.
This episode is most famous for is the introduction of K-9, Professor Marius' mobile dog shaped computer. He's often presented as Doctor Who's answer to R2-D2 in Star Wars, but at the time of the story's writing Star Wars was still a few months in the future and at the point of broadcast (8th October 1977) had yet to be released in the UK (27th December 1977). The mechanical prop became the bane of the show's existence but it's voice artist, actor John Leeson (who also voices the Virus Nucleus) was a big hit crawling around on the floor in rehearsals in place of the prop. Up until Doctor Who his best known role was as Bungle in Rainbow but while in Doctor Who would also voice Jigg in Jigsaw, a children's series created by former Doctor Who vision mixer Clive Doig, alongside presenter Janet Ellis (Horns of the Nimon) and O-Man Sylvester McCoy (The Seventh Doctor).
K9: Negative, negative, negative. No entry. No entry.
LEELA: Look, whatever you are, I
K9: I am K9 and I am warning you.
LEELA: Look, I came to see the Doctor. I arrived with him.
(She points her gun at K9.)
K9: I too have offensive capability. You have been warned. Retreat. Retreat. Patient in total isolation. Contagion risk. Retreat. Retreat.
(Marius enters and pushes Leela's gun down.)
MARIUS: Who are you?
LEELA: I am Leela.
MARIUS: Ah, yes, of course. The Doctor's aide.
LEELA: I think so.
MARIUS: K9, memorise. Friend.
K9: Memorised. Friend.
LEELA: Is that tin thing something to do with you?
MARIUS: That tin thing is my best friend and constant companion. He's a computer. You see, on Earth, I always used to have a dog. But up here, the weight penalty, well, it's just not possible. So I had K9 made up. He's very useful. He's my own personal data bank. He knows everything that I do, don't you, K9?
K9: Affirmative, and more, master.
MARIUS: I'm afraid there's not much I can tell you about the Doctor, yet. You know, I should like to have you scanned and datalysed, just to see why you're immune. You see, if we can isolate that factor, we can inoculate against it. You get it?
We're still a year (in program time) away from the point where I started watching the show, but this episode represents the first piece of Doctor Who I saw from before I started watching it. In 1980ish a section from this episode, the piece where Leela meets K-9, was played on a Saturday morning TV program. It was almost certainly Noel Edmonds' Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and I suspect was in connection with the BBC announcing plans to write K-9 out of the series which was met with much protest in the media.
K-9 creator Professor Marius is played by Frederick Jaeger who was Jano in The Savages and Sorenson in Planet of Evil. Outside of Doctor Who he was in Out of the Unknown playing Leebig in the missing third season story The Naked Sun and in Doomwatch as Richard Massingham in Waiting for a Knighthood, one of the few existing third season stories that you can see as part of The Doomwatch DVD set. He's also been in The Sweeney as Goldman in Trojan Bus and The Professionals as Schuman in Fall Girl. His performance here is a somewhat stereotypical mad scientist and owes some debt to Professor Heinz Wolff who was making a name for himself on television when this program aired, later going on to present The Great Egg Race.
Marius's assistant Parsons is played by Roy Herrick who was Jean in The Reign of Terror and one of the voices of Xoanon in The Face of Evil. He has also appears in in Survivors as Lewis Fearn in By Bread Alone & Parasites.
One actor & character is only seen in this episode: Kenneth Waller who plays the medic Hedges. He later plays "Old" Mr. Grace in the famed sitcom Are You Being Served? and Grandad in Bread. You can also spot him in The Professionals as the caretaker in Killer with a Long Arm. Hedges is the taller, older of the two Doctors who Lowe & the Ophthalmologist meet and infect. His younger companion, Cruikshank, who does most of the talking is played by Roderick Smith.
Meanwhile the Ophthalmologist is played by Jim McManus. He'd previously been in the science fiction disaster movie The Day the Earth Caught Fire, which I really must watch, as the Man at Water Station. You can see him in The Sweeney as Ollie Parsons in Visiting Fireman & the Barman in the second Sweeney film and The Professionals as the Lorry Driver's Mate in Heroes. He's also got an appearance in future Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat's Press Gang as Station Master Dutton in Friends Like These.
There's some familiar names that IMDB has down against episode 1 who are actually Bi-Al staff: Cy Town is there somewhere: he's been a Technician in Doctor Who and the Silurians, a Medical Orderly in The Mind of Evil, an Extra in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a Vogan in Revenge of the Cybermen and a Brother in The Masque of Mandragora as well as being a Dalek Operator in Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks and Genesis of the Daleks. He'll repeat that role in Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks and Remembrance of the Daleks as well as appearing as a Guard in The Sun Makers, a Passerby in Attack of the Cybermen, Harold V.'s Brother in The Happiness Patrol and a Haemovore in The Curse of Fenric. He was in Doomwatch playing a man in Flood and a Technician in all six episodes of Moonbase 3.
One of the other crew members, and I'm not 100% sure which, is Ken Sedd who, like episode 1's Harry Fielder, previously appeared as a Crewmember in Wheel in Space. He spends a large part of his career working with and stunt doubling for Benny Hill. but he also appears in Doomwatch as as an uncredited man in You Killed Toby Wren, Flight Into Yesterday, The Inquest, The Logicians and The Killer Dolphins plus credited as the Barman in High Mountain. Some of these episodes survive and can be found on The Doomwatch DVD.
Somewhere out there is our Pat Gorman as a Medic: I think I found him in this episode but m'learned colleagues disagreed! His Doctor Who and other credits are far too long to list
Unfortunately I don't think I've seen Nell Curran, the Reception Nurse, in anything else. Neither has Elizabeth Norman popped up in anything else I've seen but I'm told she is the wife of Director Derrick Goodwin making his only Doctor Who appearance with this story.
Which brings us back to matters medical and the thorny issue of the cloning.
DOCTOR: K9. Cloning techniques. Give me a rundown, state of the art so far.There is a load of rubbish being spouted about clones in this episode and effectively the script does cop to it in Marius' line " Now, you must realise, Doctor, this is not in any real sense a clone, but a short-lived carbon-based imprint. A sort of three dimensional photograph." In which case why call it cloning? Star Trek's transporter accident duplicates are a far more believable way of getting what we see here. And what sort of biological technique produces a duplicate fully clothed? A piece of Tardis equipment is needed to shrink the clones, why not go the whole hog and have a piece of the Tardis produce the duplicate.
K9: Cloning. Cloning is replication, making a copy of an individual from a single cell of that individual. Clones. Clones retain characteristics of original organism.
DOCTOR: Go on, go on.
K9: Successful experiments first carried out in the year thirty nine twenty two.
DOCTOR: Thirty nine twenty two. Oh good.
DOCTOR: Hurry, K9, hurry.
K9: At present, cloning procedure is possible, but unreliable.
K9: Replicants do not maintain their existence for long because of possible unsolved psychic stress problems.
DOCTOR: How long? How long?
K9: Longest recorded clone life, ten mi
MARIUS: Ten minutes, fifty five seconds.
DOCTOR: Professor Marius, could you clone me?
MARIUS: Certainly. The Kilbracken technique is very simple. But it's a circus trick. It's of no medical value.
DOCTOR: Could you clone me now?
DOCTOR: Yes. Because if you don't clone me now and the virus gets to me, it'll take the whole centre with it.
DOCTOR: Hurry, Marius. Hurry.
MARIUS: Now, you must realise, Doctor, this is not in any real sense a clone, but a short-lived carbon-based imprint. A sort of three dimensional photograph.
DOCTOR: Leela. I shall need Leela.
MARIUS: Leela? Why? Why Leela?
LEELA: What does he mean, he needs me?
MARIUS: Ah, it must be because you are immune. I think he wants you cloned as well.
LEELA: But what will happen to me? The real me?
MARIUS: Nothing. Nothing at all.
LEELA: But you said it was just short-lived.
MARIUS: Oh, yes. A permanent clonal copy is theoretically possible, but it would take years to achieve because of the experiential gap. Now, you see, in this way, we manage to transfer both heredity and experience, but the transfer is unstable.
MARIUS: Well, it means that your photocopy twin will deteriorate and expire after a maximum life of ten or eleven minutes.
LEELA: Oh, well, in that case, if you do not mind, I will not stay to see.
LEELA: Doctor? Which one was that?That's because it's a stupid idea that's a bad way of producing what they want in the next episode.
K9: That was the Doctor two.
LEELA: Can you explain?
K9: Affirmative. The Kilbracken cloning technique replicates from the single cell as a short-lived carbon copy. Efficacy of individuation not completely guaranteed.
LEELA: Can you explain simply?