OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 522
STORY NUMBER: 108
TRANSMITTED: Saturday 22 December 1979
WRITER: Anthony Read
DIRECTOR: Kenny McBain
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Myths & Legends: The Time Monster, Underworld & The Horns of the Nimon
"We are the bearers of Aneth's tribute to the Nimon!"
An ageing Skonnan battlecruiser travels from Aneth to Skonnos carrying the last payment of tribute. The crew overload the systems trying to make the journey quicker and are dragged off course, killing the pilot. The Doctor is modifying the Tardis' systems, with vital systems disconnected, when K-9 detects that the Tardis is moving and accelerating. They sight the Skonnan space ship where the surviving co-pilot attempts to contact Skonnan control. On Skonnos the Skonnan leader Soldeed returns from having spoken with the Nimon with promises of greatness. The Tardis collides with the Skonnan space ship with the Doctor extruding a forcefield from the doors enabling them to board the ship where they find the radioactive hymetusite, and then the Anethian children locked in a room. They tell the Doctor they are the bearers of the tribute from Aneth. The Doctor wonders if someone is artificially creating the black hole he believes they have encountered. The remaining pilot finds the Doctor & Romana taking them to the bridge. Skonnos detects that the ship has vanished and Soldeed goes to inform the Nimon. The Doctor uses the grativic anomaliser from the Tardis to help the ailing ship, but as the Doctor returns to the Tardis the pilot, eager to get back to Skonnos with his cargo of sacrifices, activates the ship's drive leaving the Tardis behind and taking Romana with them. On Skonnos Soldeed meets with the Nimon, a massive bull headed creature. An asteroid hurtles towards the Tardis threatening it's safety.....
Doctor and Romana help stricken spacecraft. Except this is just the hook to get them involved in the story. If you haven't figures it out by the end of the episode the appearance of the bull headed Nimon should give you a big clue: we're doing Theseus & The Minotaur!
SETH: Who are you?This is Anthony Read's first solo script for Doctor Who, having previously been one part of the first Doctor Who incarnation of "David Agnew".
DOCTOR: Well, I'm the Doctor. This is Romana. Who are you?
TEKA: He is Prince of Aneth.
DOCTOR: Aneth! That's a charming place.
SETH: You've been to Aneth?
DOCTOR: Yes, but not yet.
TEKA: Where are we now?
ROMANA: Where were you going?
SETH: We are the bearers of Aneth's tribute to the Nimon.
TEKA: We are the bearers of Aneth's tribute to the Nimon.
DOCTOR: No, that's all right. I heard what you said. I was just thinking what a curious thing to be.
SETH: We were on our way to Skonnos when something went wrong with the ship.
However in his former role as the show's Script Editor Read commissioned Underworld which plays with the myth of Jason & The Argonauts, so he's returning to similar territory here. And like Underworld, many of the names in this story have mythical origins:
However the name Teka, Seth's female companion, doesn't seem to have a mythical origin. The heroine of the Minotaur story is King Minos' daughter Ariadna so it's not taken from there. While Doctor Who magazine 429 draws our attention to the similar sounding Attica, which is the region of Greece where Athens is found, it's worth pointing out that Teka is an anagram of Kate and thus probably based on a relative of one of the production team.
Nimon - Minotaur Seth - Theseus Aneth - Athens Skonnos - Konossos Soldeed - Daedalus, architect of the Labyrinth
DOCTOR: Hello, who's that?The deceased pilot of the battlecruiser was played by Bob Hornery who goes on to appear in Sapphire & Steel Adventure 4, The Man Without a Face, as Shape.
COPILOT: The pilot.
COPILOT: He's dead.
COPILOT: He crashed the ship.
DOCTOR: But the ship hasn't crashed.
COPILOT: Well, it went out of control. At least the cargo is safe.
ROMANA: He means the hymetusite.
COPILOT: I mean the sacrifices.
COPILOT: The Anethians. I have to get them safely to Skonnos, whatever happens. They are our payment in the great contract.
DOCTOR: I don't like the sound of that.
COPILOT: It doesn't matter what you like the sound of.
The surviving Co-Pilot is played by Malcolm Terris who was Etnin in The Dominators.
I'd never noticed before but after the Pilot dies the Co-Pilot nicks his hat with the larger crest!
Oh look, there's the triangle/hexagon patterned walls again! They're all over the place in this story:
It's not 100% clear in the episode but the insinuation is that neither The Doctor or the Skonnans expected there to be a Black Hole here:
DOCTOR: Yes. Sargasso Sea in space. Romana?We will return to this point later....
DOCTOR: Suppose, just suppose, someone were beginning to create a black hole.
DOCTOR: Artificially, I mean.
ROMANA: Can it be done?
DOCTOR: Oh, yes. Fix gravity beam, attract matter to one point in space, and when there's enough it starts to collapse to a singularity. But who'd want to do that?