OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 565
STORY NUMBER: 118
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 19 January 1982
WRITER: Terence Dudley
DIRECTOR: John Black
SCRIPT EDITOR: Antony Root
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 8.8 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - Four to Doomsday
"The only organic life aboard is in the Flora chamber. This compound is not me. This is me!"
Tegan is amazed that Persuasion & Enlightenment now wear bodies & clothes that are exact copies of the sketches she made. Monarch, worried that Bigon may be revealing too many of their secrets orders a recreational to entertain his guests but en route separates Nyssa & Adric from the Doctor. The Doctor & Tegan witness Aztec, Aboriginal & Chinese Dragon dancing, but while they watch Bigon asks to speak with them in private. Nyssa and Adric wander the ship witnessing many things they find strange. Tegan is appalled when one of the competitors in a Greek gladiatorial bout is killed and flees the recreational pursued by the Doctor. Adric & Nyssa see the gladiator walk into the chamber they are in and been instantly restored to full health by a machine at which point he & his opponent take Nyssa & Adric captive. Bigon tells the Doctor that Monarch has been journeying back & forth between Earth & Urbanka, first visiting over 35,000 years ago when Kurkutji was taken. The Doctor wonders how organic life can have survived that long but Bigon reveals that the only organic life aboard is in the floral chamber: all the humans on the ship and android replicas!
The whole episode is built to lead up to that final revelation with little clues scattered throughout:
DOCTOR: May one ask the purpose of your journey to planet Earth?Our first problem: how are there three billion people on that ship, which we've seen, and which we've seen so few people on?
ENLIGHTENMENT: Our planet, Urbanka, no longer exists. Inokshi, our sun, was an irregular variable. It collapsed a thousand years ago.
PERSUASION: We left before the end.
ENLIGHTENMENT: In time to escape the black hole.
DOCTOR: Many of you?
ENLIGHTENMENT: Three billion.
ADRIC: Three billion? How many ships?
ENLIGHTENMENT: This one.
ENLIGHTENMENT: Now that you are refreshed, you must see your quarters. Bigon will show you. He was the last to use them.Why has nobody used them since?
ADRIC: Where are the others?And why does Bigon no longer use them?
BIGON: My boy?
ADRIC: The rest of the three billion.
BIGON: I'm sure that Monarch or one of his ministers will wish to satisfy your curiosity.
DOCTOR: I hope we're not putting you out.
BIGON: No, I have no need of this accommodation now.
DOCTOR: You're with your family?
BIGON: I have no family. Not since I was rescued from Earth a hundred generations ago.
MONARCH: This Doctor interests me more and more. On no account is he to leave. And now he's blocked out the sound. Here we have a lively intelligence. He could make a valuable ally.The first mention of the concept of "The Flesh Time" which will become more significant and important as we progress.
PERSUASION: Or a dangerous enemy, your Majesty.
ENLIGHTENMENT: He is too jocular, irresponsible. Such a being prefers mental anarchy. They call it freedom.
MONARCH: What nonsense, the pair of you. I have eliminated the concept of opposition.
PERSUASION: I was thinking of Bigon, your Majesty.
MONARCH: Bigon cannot oppose.
PERSUASION: But he does not conform.
MONARCH: Well, of course. He's a philosopher, a doubter. We need doubt. It's the greatest intellectual galvaniser.
ENLIGHTENMENT: With respect, your Majesty, there is a sensitivity in his persona which suggests what in the flesh time was called soul.
MONARCH: It's the first time, Enlightenment, I've heard you blaspheme.
ENLIGHTENMENT: I beg your Majesty's pardon.
MONARCH: I should think so. Flesh time indeed. You approach lese majeste when you put the soul into the past tense.
TEGAN: Must you make that awful noise?Has the Doctor has got there way ahead of everyone else?
DOCTOR: If our conversation is to remain private, yes.
ADRIC: They must be lying or mad. Three billion people on one ship? It'll never get off the ground.
TEGAN: Of course they're mad. A hundred generations on this thing, they've got to be mad.
DOCTOR: She didn't talk of people, she talked of population.
ADRIC: Comes to the same thing.
DOCTOR: Sloppy thinking, Adric. Do you know there are at least three billion bacteria in this chamber alone? And if a frog with a funny head can turn itself into a semblance of a human being in a matter of minutes, there isn't much of a limit to what it can't do. To say nothing of the dress-making.
NYSSA: All that's not so difficult.
ADRIC: Not difficult?
NYSSA: These Urbankans are terribly advanced.
TEGAN: Terribly is too right.
NYSSA: I understand bioengineering, but I'm also an expert in cybernetics.
TEGAN: What's cybernetics?
NYSSA: A science concerned with the control mechanisms of machines.
TEGAN: What machines? I've seen three large frogs and four very peculiar human beings.
NYSSA: No, you've seen more than that. You saw two sketches you made come to life.
TEGAN: Don't remind me.
NYSSA: I'm sure machines did that.
TEGAN: But we're talking of flesh and blood.
DOCTOR: I am beginning to wonder.
DOCTOR: I mean, here we are, four days from Earth on a spaceship with three billion and three frogs. And four Earthlings. Why? Wait a minute, wait a minute. How long is one hundred generations?Meanwhile Monarch reprimand Bigon and lets something slip to us the audience:
ADRIC: What's generation in years?
DOCTOR: Call it twenty five.
ADRIC: Two thousand five hundred years.
DOCTOR: Right. Right. So it's at least two thousand five hundred years since our hosts last visited Earth when they rescued Bigon. Now, if the return journey to Urbanka takes the same time as the journey to Earth. How's your ancient history, Tegan?
TEGAN: Like I feel, awful.
DOCTOR: Well, not to worry, mine's pretty good. Now, the Futu dynasty in China I would put at four thousand years ago, the Mayans in South American flourished eight thousand years ago, and Kurkutji the aborigine says it's so long since he was taken he can't remember. How about twelve thousand years?
TEGAN: But that's mad.
DOCTOR: Yes, so you keep saying, Tegan. Is anyone saying you're wrong?
ADRIC: I am. I think it's brilliant.
NYSSA: So do I. Pure logic.
DOCTOR: Or maybe Tegan's right. Why do it?
TEGAN: Are you saying that this aborigine was taken twelve thousand years ago?
DOCTOR: No, but his ancestor was. Wouldn't be the first time that whole generations have known of no other life than a spaceship.
TEGAN: Then what are you saying?
DOCTOR: I'm saying that the Urbankans have visited Earth four times and taken at least one cultural representative, and this time they're coming for good. Well, I say good. Three billion Earthlings plus three billion Urbankans, I really don't think so. I really don't think so at all.
ADRIC: Then what are we going to do?
MONARCH: You must resist the temptation to tell this Doctor about my mission.Bigon is immortal?
BIGON: I have been telling the truth for over two and a half thousand years.
MONARCH: Then keep silent. You weren't made immortal to engage in endless gossip. I want to know more about this Doctor before I tell him of the ultimate.
BIGON: When you do this, his hand will be against you.
MONARCH: Then I will cut it off.
BIGON: We cannot find the ultimate. There is no ultimate to find.
MONARCH: I have heard enough blasphemy for one day. If it weren't for me, you'd still believe your Earth is flat. Now hold your tongue! This Doctor will know about us when I know more about him. Now leave us!
The Adric discovered a group of Greeks in a room without an Atmosphere:
ADRIC: Not enough oxygen.They don't need oxygen. Excuse me. Excuse me? He's ice cold.If you recall the room th Tardis landed in had no atmosphere and neither did Monarch's Throne Room till he ordered it for his guests.
In the end it's Bigon, as Monarch suspected, that spills the beans to the Doctor:
TEGAN: So you were right.None of the guest cast have previous Doctor Who form but several are quite well known.
DOCTOR: Four visits, every four thousand years or so.
BIGON: No, the first visit was over thirty five thousand years ago, when Kurkutji was taken. It took twenty thousand years for the Urbankans to reach Earth. Monarch has doubled the speed of the ship on every subsequent visit.
TEGAN: So you last left Urbanka twelve hundred and fifty years ago?
DOCTOR: How can organic life endure that long?
BIGON: The only organic life aboard is in the Flora chamber. This compound is not me. This is me.
Philip Locke playing Bigon, as well as voicing the control computer, was the assassin Vargas in the James Bond film Thunderball. He has quite a busy decade or so after this: he appears with Second Doctor Patrick Troughton in The Box of Delights: Beware of Yesterday as Arnold of Todi, The Comic Strip Presents...Agatha Christie's Poirot: Four and Twenty Blackbirds as Cutter, Inspector Morse Who Killed Harry Field? as Freddie Mortimer and Jeeves and Wooster: Honoria Glossop Turns Up (or, Bridegroom Wanted!) as Glossop.
Burt Kwouk, playing Lin Futu, should need no introduction at all. On the big screen he's most famous as Cato in the Pink Panther He also appeared in James Bond films, in his case the original Casino Royale as the Chinese General, Goldfinger as Mr Ling and You Only Live Twice as Spectre 3. Contemporary BBC viewers would have seen him in Tenko with former Doctor Who companion Louise Jameson. In the original The Tomorrow People he is Matsu Tan in "The Lost Gods", he's the narrator of both The Water Margin & Monkey and appears in Space Precinct as Slik Ostrasky in Protect and Survive. In recent years he was the narrator of the spoof Japanese betting show Banzai and regularly appeared in Last of the Summer Wine as Entwistle.
Australian Aborigine Kurkutji is played by Ilario Bisi-Pedro.
Princess Villagra in played by Nadia Hamman.
The recreationals and work tasks show a group of people associated with each of these characters. They're all similarly dressed but it's not clear if they're meant to be individuals in their own right.
The Grecian Men we see working in an airless environment.
Peter Whitaker had been Inspector Gascoigne in The Faceless Ones, a Weather Station Worker in The Seeds of Death, a Solonian in The Mutants, a Thal Politician in Genesis of the Daleks, a Mentiad Pirate Planet, a Noble in Androids of Tara and a Logopolitan in Logopolis. He returns as an Onlooker in Remembrance of the Daleks. In Doomwatch he was a Ministry Inspector in Train and De-Train and a man in Flood while in Blake's 7 he is a Scientist in Project Avalon. John Doyle had been a Cowboy in the Gunfighters & a UNIT Soldier in The Silurians. Victor Reynolds had been a Time Lord in Invasion of Time. He returns in Snakedance as a member of the Marketplace crowd. The group is completed by Les Fuller
While the working Greeks are older, the recreational Greeks are younger and divided into two groups. The Grecian Swordsmen are made up of Steve Durante, who can't find any form for, and Simón Ramírez, who'd been a Citizen in Full Circle and Security Guard in Logopolis.
Of the Grecian Wrestlers John Sarbutt had been one of Lugo's Warriors in The Face of Evil. He appears as an HMS Ranger Crewman in the Roger Moore James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me and in The Professionals as a Thug in Look After Annie. His opposite number Terry Paris was also in The Professionals as Lucho in The Untouchables.
Aboriginal Men seem to be serving as Botanists on the ship. Bruce Callender had previously been a Movellan/Slave in Destiny of the Daleks, a Louvre Guard in City of Death and a Gaztak in Meglos. He'd been in Blake's 7 as an Adapted Helot in Traitor. He's joined by Abi Gouhard, Carlton Morris and Leonard Hay, who was an Ardentian Man in Flash Gordon
Purportedly the crew of the story had difficulty finding a Chinese Dragon Dancing team and ended up locating the dragon dancers at a local Chinese restaurant! However when you look at the actors listed as Chinese Surgeons (Chinese Dragon Dancers) in the DWAS Production file, most of them have had decent careers so I'd question how accurate the claim is .... unless the Dragon Dancers aren't the same personnel as the surgeons.
Chief among the Chinese actors is Eiji Kusuhara who will appear in Star Wars Return of the Jedi as Lieutenant Telsij of Grey Squadron. He's in Tenko as Lt., later Captain, Sato and appears in A Very Peculiar Practice as a Japanese in Contact Tracer and The Hit List. He's also in Drop the Dead Donkey as Takuguru and the remake of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) as Goto in O Happy Isle.
Kay Tong Lim was in Tenko as a Soldier, then a Chinese Policeman and finally as the Bandit Leader in the reunion movie.
Philip Tan appears in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as the Chief Henchman, Batman as a Goon, and SeaQuest 2032 as a Commando in Nothing But the Truth leaving Yat Wong as the only one of the Chinamen I've not seen in anything else.