Last updated 19 August 2023

Doctor Who: Frontier In Space

Frontier In Space

Story Number: 67 (QQQ)
No of Episodes: 6

Writer: Malcolm Hulke
Director: Paul Bernard

Starring: Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Roger Delgado, Vera Fusek, Michael Hawkins

BBC One (United Kingdom):
First Broadcast: Saturday 24th February 1973 - Saturday 31st March 1973
Running Time: 2 hours, 23 minutes, 53 seconds

Average Audience: 8.02 Million   

Earth cargo ship C982 has a near-collision with the TARDIS as it enters hyperspace. The Doctor manages to materialise his ship inside the cargo ship. The Doctor thinks they might be in the twenty sixth century and he and Jo go to try and find the crew. The cargo ship is attacked by what appears to be a Draconian battle cruiser, galaxy class, equipped with neutronic missiles. When the Doctor and Jo find one of the pilots, Hardy (John Rees), Jo sees him as a Drashig while he sees them as Draconians. He takes them to Stewart (James Culliford) to use as hostages. The attacking ship docks with the cargo ship and a group of Ogrons (Maurice Bush, Steve Kelly, Maurice Purvis, Geoffrey Todd, Bruce Wells, Stephen Thorne, Michael Kilgarriff, Rick Lester, Chris Stevens) enter. The Doctor is shot with a stun gun and Jo is locked up while the Ogrons leave with the cargo of bulk flour and the TARDIS. An Earth battle cruiser docks and the pilots of the cargo ship accuse the Doctor and Jo of being stowaways and traitors. 

The two time travellers are taken to Earth where the Doctor tries to convince the President (Vera Fusek) that they are innocent. General Williams (Michael Hawkins) is not convinced and intends to get the truth from them. There have been many attacks on Earth vessels by the Draconians yet the Draconians claim that their ships are being attacked by humans. The Draconian Prince (Peter Birrel) and First Secretary (Lawrence Davidson) decide to free the Doctor and Jo so that they can interrogate them themselves. The Doctor is captured by the Draconians but cannot convince them that he is telling the truth. He escapes but is recaptured by Earth soldiers. 

As the Doctor will not co-operate, the President has him sent to a lunar penal colony for life imprisonment. Jo is to stay on Earth. 

The Master (Roger Delgado) arrives on Earth claiming to be a commissioner from the dominion government of Sirius 4 who have a claim on the Doctor and Jo as escaped criminals. The President agrees to release them into his custody. Jo realises that the Master is behind the attacks on Earth and Draconia but agrees to go with him as she has little choice. 

On the moon, the Doctor meets Patel (Madhav Sharma) and Professor Dale (Harold Goldblatt), two supporters of the peace movement, and tries to win their confidence. Cross (Richard Shaw), a trustee, helps Dale to escape by leaving space suits in an airlock. Dale asks the Doctor to come with him, but they find that the air tanks are empty. Cross de-pressurises the airlock while they are in it, but the Master arrives and rescues them. The Governor (Dennis Bowen) of the penal colony refuses to allow the Master to take the Doctor, but the Master, who has realised that the Governor is behind the attempt on Dale's life, talks him round. 

The Master takes the Doctor and Jo on his prison ship. The Doctor escapes from the cell and space-walks round the hull. He manages to take the Master by surprise, but their fight is interrupted by a Draconian ship which docks with them. They are taken prisoner by the Draconian Captain (Bill Wilde) and head for Draconia. The Master covertly sends a signal to the Ogrons. 

Arriving on Draconia, the Doctor greets the Draconian Emperor (John Woodnutt), claiming to be a noble of the planet, an honour bestowed on him by the 15th Emperor 500 years ago. He tries to warn of the Master's intentions but the palace is attacked by Ogrons - although the Draconians see them as humans - and the Master is rescued. The Emperor believes the Doctor when he sees a captured Ogron transform back into its real form. The Draconian Prince travels back to Earth with the Doctor and Jo to try and warn the President. 

Their ship is followed by the Master who opens fire on them. He docks with them and the Ogrons attack, rescue their fellow and capture Jo. They head for the Ogrons' own planet while the Doctor's party are picked up by an Earth battle cruiser and returned to Earth. 

The Doctor intends to go to the Ogron planet and the Draconian Prince and General Williams agree to accompany him - the General wanting to make amends as he realises that a war he caused twenty years earlier was based on incorrect information and assumptions. 

On the Ogron planet, the Master tries to hypnotise Jo, but she resists by chanting nursery rhymes. He then tries to use the fear-generating device and, although she sees a Drashig, a Solonian Mutant (David Bradburn) and a Sea Devil (Pat Gorman), the attempt fails. The Master therefore locks her up. She manages to escape using a spoon to dig her way out of the cell, and sends a radio message. This was what the Master intended as he wants the Doctor to find them. 

General Williams tries to use hyperdrive to escape when his ship is attacked by the Draconians but one of the drive outlets is found to be defective. The Doctor space-walks round the hull and fixes it and they head for the Ogron planet. When they arrive the Doctor uses a hand held tracking device to locate the Master's base. They are attacked by Ogrons, who are scared off by the appearance of a monster (David Bradburn) that they hold sacred. 

Another ship lands and the Master introduces the Doctor's party to a squad of Daleks (Murphy Grumbar, John Scott Martin, Cy Town; voices: Michael Wisher). The Doctor's party are all taken prisoner and the Daleks return to their base. Jo has taken the fear-generating device from the Master and the Doctor adjusts it to make an Ogron guard think that there is a Dalek in the cell. The creature releases them in terror. The Doctor and Jo head for the TARDIS but encounter the Master and his Ogron servants. The Doctor operates the fear-generating device and the Ogrons panic. The Master's arm is jostled and his gun goes off, hitting the Doctor. Jo helps the Doctor into the TARDIS where he sends a message to the Time Lords using the telepathic circuits.

Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Handbook by David J. Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker, reprinted with permission; further reproduction is not permitted. Available from Telos

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