OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 511
STORY NUMBER: 105
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 06 October 1979
WRITER: "David Agnew" (pseudonym for Douglas Adams, Graham Williams, and David Fisher)
DIRECTOR: Michael Hayes
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 14.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - City of Death
"My dear, I don't think he's as stupid as he seems."
"My dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems!"
The Doctor, Romana & Duggan are taken to the Count's house where they are questioned. As they are taken to the cellar the Count remarks to his wife that they have a Mona Lisa to steal. The Doctor is interested by the laboratory but locked in an adjoining room which Romana notices is too small compared to the outside. They escape and examine the lab, but hide when Kerensky returns. The observe him experimenting on an egg which he ages into a chicken, before the Doctor introduces himself. The Count, Hermann & The Countess plan the robbery using a holographic replica of the Louvre generated from data taken by the countess. The Professor & Doctor discuss the experiment as the chicken collapses into bones then dust. The Doctor reverses the polarity bringing the chicken back to life, but in the time effect the see the face of Scaroth. Romana discovers another room bricked up at the end of the cell. Duggan demolishes the wall and behind it they find a room that has been sealed up for a long time containing six Mona Lisas. Duggan tells them he knows of seven people that would buy a Mona Lisa, but couldn't while the real one is in the Louvre. Count Scarlioni finds them and holds them at gun point, telling them by the end of the night he will have a seventh. Duggan knocks him out and they all escape. Duggan & Romana go to stop the robbery while the Doctor takes the Tardis to early 16th century Florence where he is captured by one of Captain Tancredi's soldiers. Tancredi has put Leonardo to work on something and when he enters he is revealed to be an exact duplicate of Count Scarlioni!
Ah fabulous again. This episode purrs along like a perfectly tuned car, all the more incredible when you think it was cobbled together over a weekend. The dialogue is incredibly good with some wonderful exchanges like when the Doctor meets the Count & Countess Scarlioni:
DOCTOR: I say, what a wonderful butler. He's so violent. Hello, I'm called the Doctor. That's Romana, that's Duggan. You must be the Countess Scarlioni and this is clearly a delightful Louis Quinze chair. May I sit in it? I say, haven't they worn well? Thank you, Hermann, that'll be all.Lovely stuff.
COUNTESS: Doctor, you're being very pleasant with me.
DOCTOR: Well, I'm a very pleasant fellow.
COUNTESS: But I didn't invite you here for social reasons.
DOCTOR: Yes, I could see that the moment you didn't invite me to have a drink. Well, I will have a drink now you come to mention it. Yes, do come in, everybody.
DOCTOR: Romana, sit down over there. Duggan. Now, Duggan, you sit there. Do sit down if you want to, Count. Oh, all right. Now, isn't this nice?
COUNTESS: The only reason you were brought here was to explain exactly why you stole my bracelet.
DOCTOR: Ah, well, it's my job, you see. I'm a thief. And this is Romana, she's my accomplice. And this is Duggan. He's the detective who's been kind enough to catch me. That's his job. You see, our two lines of work dovetail beautifully.
COUNTESS: Very interesting.
COUNTESS: I was rather under the impression that Mister Duggan was following me.
DOCTOR: Ah. Well, you're a beautiful woman, probably, and Duggan was trying to summon up the courage to ask you out to dinner, weren't you, Duggan?
COUNTESS: Who sent you?
DOCTOR: Who sent me what?
COUNTESS: Doctor, the more you try to convince me that you're a fool, the more I'm likely to think otherwise. Now, it would only be the work of a moment to have you killed.
COUNTESS: Put it down.
ROMANA: It's one of those isn't it?
COUNTESS: Yes, it's a very rare and precious Chinese puzzle box. You won't be able to open it so put it down.
ROMANA: Oh, look.
SCARLIONI: Yes. Very pretty, isn't it.
ROMANA: Very. Where's it from?
SCARLIONI: From? It's not from anywhere. It's mine.
COUNTESS: My dear, these are the people who stole it from me at the Louvre.
DOCTOR: Hello there.
SCARLIONI: How very curious. Two thieves enter the Louvre gallery and come out with a bracelet. Couldn't you think of anything more interesting to steal?
DOCTOR: Well, I just thought it was awfully pretty and a terribly unusual design. Of course, it would have been much nicer to have stolen one of the pictures, but I've tried that before and all sorts of alarms go off which disturbs the concentration.
SCARLIONI: Yes, it would. So you stole the bracelet simply because it's pretty?
DOCTOR: Yes. Well, I think it is. Don't you?
COUNTESS: My dear, I don't think he's as stupid as he seems.
SCARLIONI: My dear, nobody could be as stupid as he seems.
SCARLIONI: This interview is at an end.
DOCTOR: Good. Well, we'll be off. A quick stagger up the Champs Elysees, perhaps a bite at Maxims. What do you think, Romana?
SCARLIONI: I think a rather better idea would be if Hermann were to lock you into the cellar. I should hate to lose contact with such fascinating people.
(Hermann moves forward, and Duggan picks up the chair he was sitting in to hit him with it.)
DOCTOR: Ah. Duggan, what are you doing? For heavens sake, that's a Louis Quinze.
DUGGAN: But you're not going to let them lock us up
DOCTOR: Just behave like a civilised guest. I do beg your pardon, Count.
SCARLIONI: Thank you.
DOCTOR: Now, Hermann, if you'd just be kind enough to show us to our cellar, we'd be terribly grateful. Do come along, my good chap.
SCARLIONI: You really should be more careful with your trinkets, my dear. After all, we do have a Mona Lisa to steal.
Several of the cast have Doctor Who form, or will be back later. The most recognisable face in the cast is Julian Glover as Scaroth / Count Scarlioni / Captain Tancredi. He was previously Richard the Lionheart in the First Doctor Story in The Crusade. Julian Glover's acting CV is huge taking in various roles in the acclaimed An Age of Kings including the Earl of Westmoreland in Henry IV and King Edward IV in Henry VI. He was in Out of This World as Dave Sheridan in Botany Bay, the Quatermass and the Pit film as Colonel Breen, The Sweeney as Bernard Stone in Queen's Pawn, Space: 1999 as Jarak in Alpha Child, Blake's 7 as Professor Kayn in Breakdown and By the Sword Divided as Sir Martin Lacey. On the big screen he was General Veers in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Kristatos in James Bond: For Your Eyes Only and Walter Donovan in Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade.
Glover's real life wife in real life is Isla Blair, who we'll see later in the King's Demons, but here his fictional wife is the Countess Scarlioni played by Catherine Schell who's most famous as Maya in the second season of Space 1999, a series which both Glover & Blair have featured in. Before that she'd made a first season appearance as the Servant of the Guardian in Guardian of Piri. She was also in The Sweeney: Big Spender as Stella Goodman and appears in On Her Majesty's Secret Service as Nancy.
Then we have our mad scientist:
DOCTOR: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?Lovely sequence as the Chicken deages and reverts to being an egg!
KERENSKY: Who are you?
KERENSKY: Yes, who are you? What are you doing here?
DOCTOR: Me? I'm the Doctor. What you're doing is terribly interesting, but you've got it wrong.
KERENSKY: Wrong? What are you talking about?
DOCTOR: Well, you're tinkering with time. That's always a bad idea unless you know what you're doing.
KERENSKY: I know what I'm doing. I am the foremost authority on temporal theory in the whole world.
DOCTOR: The whole world?
DOCTOR: Well, that's a very small place when you consider the size of the universe.
KERENSKY: Ah, but who can?
DOCTOR: Oh, some can. And if you can't, you shouldn't tinker with time.
KERENSKY: But you saw it work. The greatest achievement of the human race. A cellular accelerator. You saw it! An egg developed into a chicken in thirty seconds. With a large one, I can turn a calf into a cow in even less time. It will be the end of famine in the world.
DOCTOR: It'll be the end of you, if you're not careful, never mind the cow. Look.
KERENSKY: Well, there are a few technical problems.
DOCTOR: A few technical problems! No, no, no. The whole principle you're working on is wrong. You can stretch time backwards or forwards within that bubble, but you can't break into it or out of it. It's true you have created a different time continuum, but it's totally incompatible with ours.
KERENSKY: Ah. I don't know what you mean.
DOCTOR: Have you tried this?
DOCTOR: That's a more interesting effect, don't you think? Did you know when you built that it could do something like that?
KERENSKY: No. What did you do?
DOCTOR: What do you mean, what did I do? I just reversed the polarity. This is very expensive equipment, isn't it?
KERENSKY: Oh, very expensive. The Count is very generous. A true philanthropist. I do not ask too many questions.
DOCTOR: Well, you'd.... What's your name?
KERENSKY: Theodore Nikolai Kerensky.
DOCTOR: Theodore Nikolai Kerensky, a scientist's job is to ask questions!
Making his final Doctor Who appearance, but only his second in front of the camera, is David Graham as Professor Kerensky. He was previously seen as Charlie the Barman in The Gunfighters, but he's best known as a Dalek voice artist in The Daleks, The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Chase (where he also voiced the Mechanoids), Mission to the Unknown and The Daleks' Master Plan on TV plus both of the Dalek films. Nowadays he's best known as the voice of Grandpa Pig in Peppa Pig and the Wise Old Elf in Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. He has a long association with the Gerry Anderson featuring in Four Feather Falls as Grandpa Ebenezer Twink, Fernando & Red Scalp the Renegade Indian, Supercar as Dr. Horatio Beaker, Bill Gibson & Mitch the Monkey, Fireball XL5 as Professor Matthew Matic, Lieutenant Ninety, Zoonie the Lazoon & Boris Space Spy, Stingray as various voices and Thunderbirds as Brains, Gordon Tracy, Kyrano & Aloysius Parker, the last of which he has reprised for the modern revival Thunderbirds Are Go. He was the voice of the Robot in the missing second season Out of the Unknown episode The Prophet, 2957 in Timeslip: The Year of the Burn Up, Puppet Voices in The Tomorrow PeopleThe Tomorrow People (TV Series): The Thargon Menace and Snork in the 1990 version of the Moomin TV series.
ROMANA: Why do you suppose the Count's got all this equipment, Doctor?This leads the Doctor to make a trip back to Renaissance Italy to see the Mona Lisa's artist Leonardo da Vinci. We last heard of him during the Masque of Mandragora where the Doctor was looking forward to meeting him in c1492. By about 10 years later for Leonardo, given the time period which he painted the Mona Lisa and that the visit is dated in the next episode, he has met the Doctor, probably more than once judging by the friendly comments the Doctor makes while poking round his rooms, and is working on his great painting The Mona Lisa.
DOCTOR: He seems to be financing some dangerous experiment with time. The professor, of course, thinks he's breeding chickens.
DUGGAN: Stealing the Mona Lisa to pay for chickens?
ROMANA: Yes, but who'd want to buy the Mona Lisa? You can hardly show it if it's known to be stolen.
DUGGAN: There are at least seven people in my address book who'd pay millions for that picture for their private collection.
ROMANA: But no one could even know they'd got it!
DUGGAN: It would be an expensive gloat, but they'd buy it.
ROMANA: How are we going to move this last bit?
DOCTOR: I think I'm going to need some machinery.
DUGGAN: I've got all the machinery I need.
DUGGAN: Stand back.
ROMANA: What are they, Doctor?
DOCTOR: I don't know.
DUGGAN: They've been here a long time. Get on with it.
DOCTOR: It's the Mona Lisa.
DUGGAN: Must be a fake.
DOCTOR: I don't know what's hanging in the Louvre, but this is the genuine article.
DUGGAN: They must be fakes.
DOCTOR: The brushwork's Leonardo's.
DUGGAN: How can you tell?
DOCTOR: It's as characteristic as a signature. The pigment, too.
DUGGAN: On all of them?
DOCTOR: Every one. What I don't understand is why a man who's got six Mona Lisas wants to go to all the trouble of stealing a seventh.
DUGGAN: Come on, Doctor, I've just told you. There are seven people who would buy the Mona Lisa in secret, but nobody's going to buy the Mona Lisa when it's hanging in the Louvre!
ROMANA: Of course. They'd each have to think they were buying the stolen one.
DOCTOR: I wouldn't make a very good criminal, would I?
SCARLIONI: No. Good criminals don't get caught. I see you've found some of my pictures. Rather good, aren't they? By the end of this evening, I shall have a seventh.
DOCTOR: Can I ask you where you got these?
DOCTOR: Right. Or how you knew they were here?
DOCTOR: They've been bricked up a long time.
DOCTOR: I like concise answers.
SCARLIONI: Good. I came down to find Kerensky.
SCARLIONI: But he doesn't seem to be able to speak to me.
SCARLIONI: Can you throw any light on that?
DUGGAN: I can.
DOCTOR: Duggan! Duggan, why is it that every time I start to talk to someone, you knock him unconscious?
DUGGAN: I didn't expect him to go down that easy.
DOCTOR: Well, if you don't understand heads, you shouldn't go about hitting them.
DUGGAN: Well, what else would you suggest?
DOCTOR: Duggan! Your job is to stop his men from stealing the Mona Lisa. The other Mona Lisa.
Leonardo isn't the only painter the Doctor has met: The Eleventh Doctor meets Vincent Van Gogh in Vincent and the Doctor. And, according to a scene cut from Silver Nemesis, at some point the Seventh Doctor's companion Ace gets herself painted by someone famous enough for the Queen to have the portrait hanging in Windsor Castle!
DOCTOR: Leonardo? Leonardo? Ah, that Renaissance sunshine. Leonardo? The paintings went down very well. Everybody loved them. Last Supper, Mona Lisa. You remember the Mona Lisa? That dreadful woman with no eyebrows who wouldn't sit still, eh? Your idea for the helicopter took a bit longer to catch on, but as I say, these things take time.That's a wonderful reveal again at the end there: last week we discovered Scarlioni was an alien, this time that there's someone who looks just like him in 16th century Italy!
SOLDIER: Who are you? What are you doing here?
DOCTOR: Ah, well, I just dropped by to see Leonardo, actually. Is he about?
SOLDIER: Nobody's allowed to see Leonardo.
SOLDIER: He's engaged on important work for Captain Tancredi.
DOCTOR: Captain Tancredi?
SOLDIER: Do you know him?
SOLDIER: He'll want to question you.
DOCTOR: Well, I'll want to question him, so we can both have a little chat, can't we.
SOLDIER: He'll be here instantly.
DOCTOR: You! What are you doing here?
TANCREDI: I think that is exactly the question I ought to be asking you, Doctor!
The week following the broadcast of this episode saw two notable publishing events connected with the show. On Thursday 11th October the first issue of Doctor Who Weekly (later Monthly, and now Magazine) was published. Yes I know it's dated 17th October but British periodical publishing custom has it that the date on the issue is the last day it's on sale rather than the first. Odd, yes, but there we go..... The next day, Friday 12th October, Script Editor Douglas Adams had his first novel publish, the printed adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy which, to say the least, did rather well for him.