Last updated 07 June 2015

Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis

Silver Nemesis

Story Number: 150 (7K)
No of Episodes: 3

Writer: Kevin Clarke
Director: Chris Clough
Producer: John Nathan-Turner

Starring: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Anton Diffring, Fiona Walker, Dolores Gray

BBC One (United Kingdom):
First Broadcast: Wednesday 23rd November 1988 - Wednesday 7th December 1988
Running Time: 1 hour, 13 minutes, 19 seconds

Average Audience: 5.50 Million   Average AI: 70

In South America, 1988, a man named De Flores (Anton Diffring) receives confirmation that ‘the landing’ is to take place the next day, 23 November, in Windsor. He calls together a group of paramilitary men (Steve Ausden, Jon Baker, Sean Barry-Weske, Jamie Durdy, Keith Harvie, David Howarth, Sean McGrory, Julian Radmond, Andrew Searle, Jack Talbot) and they toast their destiny: the fourth Reich. They leave for England, taking with them a silver bow. 

In Windsor, 1638, Lady Peinforte (Fiona Walker) is anxious for a mathematician (Leslie French) to complete his calculations. He eventually tells her that the object of her interest will land in the meadow outside in the year 1988. Peinforte and her squire, Richard (Gerard Murphy), kill the mathematician to obtain blood for a potion. They then use this to travel forward in time to 1988, taking with them a supply of poisoned gold-tipped arrows and a single silver arrow. They materialise in the middle of a crowded restaurant. 

The Doctor and Ace are meanwhile listening to an outdoor jazz recital given by Courtney Pine and his musicians (Ernest Mothle (double bass), Adrian Reid (piano), Frank Tontoh (drums)). The Doctor’s pocket watch bleeps but he is unable to remember what this alarm signifies. The two friends head back to the TARDIS. On the way they are attacked by two men (Dave Ould, John Ould) wearing strange headphone-like devices. They manage to escape and get back to the ship, where the Doctor uses a scanner device incorporated into a new ghettoblaster that he has built for Ace to display an image of Earth. The Doctor admits that he has known since November 23 1638 that the planet will be destroyed at this time. He takes Ace to a storage area in Windsor castle to find a silver bow, but it is not there. They then travel in the TARDIS to Lady Peinforte’s house in 1638, where the Doctor finds the dead mathematician. 

The Doctor tells Ace that he has been here before and that a quantity of a silver-coloured living metal called validium, the purpose of which is destruction, fell to Earth and was used by Lady Peinforte to make a statue of herself. He also knows that Lady Peinforte has travelled forward in time to 1988. 

Meanwhile a ‘meteor’ has landed in Windsor, 1988. It is cordoned off by the police (Daryl Brook, Christian Fletcher, Mike Mungarvan), who are then all knocked out by a gas that is emitted from alien-looking pipes that emerge from the earth around the object. 

The Doctor and Ace arrive in the grounds of Windsor Castle and follow the Queen (Mary Reynolds) inside. The Doctor wants to summon help, but they are apprehended by two guards (Martyn Read, Derek Van Weenan). 

Lady Peinforte and Richard watch from hiding as De Flores and his men arrive to take charge of the meteor. De Flores’s second in command, Karl (Martin Yenal), places the bow on the meteor and it starts to glow in time with the statue buried inside. The TARDIS arrives and de Flores threatens to kill Ace unless the Doctor tells him where the arrow is. The Doctor explains that validium needs to have a critical mass to operate and that both the bow and the arrow are required to make up this mass. 

Suddenly a massive spaceship arrives. From it emerge Cybermen (Cyber Leader: David Banks; Cyber Lieutenant: Mark Hardy; Cybermen: Paul Barrass, Danny Boyd, Tony Carlton, Bill Malin, Scott Mitchell, Brian Orrell), who attack de Flores’s men. Lady Peinforte and Richard despatch several Cybermen with their gold-tipped arrows. In the confusion, the Doctor takes the bow and leaves with Ace in the TARDIS. 

The Cybermen defeat de Flores’s men and take the meteor into a nearby hangar in order to cut the statue out of it. They then take the statue to Lady Peinforte’s crypt elsewhere in the grounds of Windsor Castle and hide it in her tomb, where they wait in the expectation that the Doctor will bring the bow to them. 

The TARDIS arrives elsewhere in the grounds and the Doctor uses the bow to home in on the statue. He explains to Ace that validium was created by Omega and Rassilon as the ultimate defence for Gallifrey in the olden times. 

The Cybermen try to communicate with their fleet, but the Doctor jams their transmissions by playing a jazz tape on Ace’s ghettoblaster. 

Lady Peinforte and Richard arrive at the crypt. The Cybermen believe that Lady Peinforte will be driven mad by the realisation of her own death, but this does not happen. Richard instead destroys several more Cybermen with gold-tipped arrows. 

Ace blows up the Cybermen’s ship with some nitro-9 as the Doctor distracts its human guards (the same men who attacked them after the jazz recital). The Cybermen kill the men for failing in their task. 

De Flores speaks with the Cyber Leader and explains that he wants to form an alliance with them. The Cyber Leader agrees: if de Flores can destroy Lady Peinforte, the planet will be split between them. Once de Flores has gone, however, the Cyber Leader orders that he be killed as soon as the arrow is retrieved. 

The Doctor is at first unable to locate the Cybermen’s fleet on the holographic ‘screen’ above Ace’s ghettoblaster. He then realises that it is invisible, however, and overcomes this, thereby revealing thousands of Cyber warships waiting in space. 

Lady Peinforte finds the statue in her tomb, but escapes with Richard through a secret exit as de Flores arrives. 

The Cyber Leader returns to the tomb with the silver arrow, which is grasped by the statue. The statue is starting to come to life. The two travellers arrive and the Doctor allows the statue to touch the bow for a moment before snatching it away again. They then run for the TARDIS as the statue awakes. The Doctor explains that it will now follow the bow. 

De Flores escapes from the Cybermen by throwing a handful of gold dust at the Cyber Leader’s chest unit. 

The Doctor takes the TARDIS first to Lady Peinforte’s house in 1638, where Ace obtains some gold coins, and then back to the meteor in the hangar. 

Lady Peinforte and Richard hitch a lift into Windsor from Mrs Remington (Dolores Gray), a descendent of Lady Peinforte’s neighbours in 1638. 

The statue arrives and comes to rest in the meteor, where the Doctor gives it the bow. The statue talks to Ace and explains that it is whatever it is made to be – and at the moment it is Nemesis. 

The Cybermen arrive and attack the hangar. They chase after Ace, who picks them off one by one by firing gold coins at them with a catapult. 

The Doctor meanwhile sets up the meteor so that, when launched, it will be on course for the Cyber fleet in space. He intends Nemesis to destroy the fleet, but declines to release it once it has completed this task as he may have further use for it. He puts paid to the remaining Cybermen in the hangar by causing the meteor’s in-built rockets to fire automatically. De Flores arrives and takes charge, only to be killed by the Cyber Leader after it recovers from being hit by Ace’s final coin. Lady Peinforte also arrives, accompanied by Richard, and argues with the Cyber Leader over who should have the bow. Lady Peinforte gloats that she alone knows the Doctor’s true identity, as this was revealed to her by the statue. The Doctor appears to concede defeat; however he gives the bow not to Lady Peinforte but to the Cyber Leader. Lady Peinforte threatens to reveal the Doctor’s secrets – of the old time on Gallifrey, the time of chaos – but the Cyber Leader has no interest in this. The Doctor returns the bow to Nemesis and the Cyber Leader orders the statue to launch. At the last moment, Lady Peinforte jumps into the meteor with the statue and merges with it. The meteor launches and destroys the Cyber fleet. The Cyber Leader goes to kill the Doctor, but Richard grabs a gold-tipped arrow that was lodged in the TARDIS door and uses it to destroy the creature. 

The Doctor and Ace give Richard a lift back to 1638. Having beaten the Doctor at chess, Ace asks him who he is. In response, he simply puts his finger to his lips.

Synopsis from Doctor Who: The Seventh 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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