Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Jan 20, 2012

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
007 – The Sensorites
Doctor Who serial
The Doctor meets the Sensorites
Writer Peter R. Newman
Director Mervyn Pinfield (episodes 1-4)
Frank Cox (episodes 5,6)
Script editor David Whitaker
Producer Verity Lambert
Mervyn Pinfield (associate producer)
Executive producer(s) None
Production code G
Series Season 1
Length 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Date started 20 June 1964
Date ended 1 August 1964
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Aztecs The Reign of Terror

The Sensorites is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in six weekly parts from June 20 to August 1, 1964. The story is notable for its demonstration of Susan's telepathy and references to the Doctor and her home planet.



[edit] Plot

The TARDIS travellers land on a moving spaceship and find the crew apparently dead. However, one of the crew members, Captain Maitland, regains consciousness and Ian Chesterton fully revives him and another woman, Carol Richmond. These two tell the travellers that they are on an exploration mission from Earth and are orbiting Sense-Sphere. However, its inhabitants, the Sensorites, refuse to let them leave the orbit. The Sensorites visit and stop the travellers from leaving, while sending them on a collision course, which the Doctor diverts. The travellers then meet John (whose mind has been broken by the Sensorites) and find out that he is Carol's fiancé.

Returning to plague the crew, the Sensorites freeze Carol and Maitland once more. The Doctor breaks Maitland's mental conditioning, but cannot help John. Susan's telepathic mind is flooded with the many voices of the Sensorites who remain scared of the humans and are trying to communicate with her. Meanwhile, The Doctor works out that the Sensorites attacked the human craft because John, a mineralogist, had discovered a vast supply of molybdenum on Sense-Sphere. Susan reports that the Sensorites want to make contact with travellers, asking the crew to go aboard Sense-sphere and reveal that a previous Earth expedition caused them great misery. The Doctor refuses but Susan, under duress, agrees and begins to leave the ship.

The Doctor deduces that the Sensorites need plenty of light, so Ian reduces the lighting on the ship, rendering the Sensorites helpless and rescuing Susan. The Doctor then asks the Sensorites to return his lock and is invited to go to Sense-Sphere to speak with the leader. Susan, Ian, Carol and John join him while Barbara and Maitland stay behind. John is promised that his condition will be reversed. On their journey to Sense-Sphere, the party learn that the previous visitors from Earth exploited Sense-Sphere for its wealth, then argued. Half of them stole the spacecraft, which exploded on take-off.

The Sensorite Council is divided over the issue of inviting the party to Sense-Sphere: some of the councillors plot to kill them on arrival, but some believe that the humans can help with the disease that is currently killing many Sensorites. Their first plot is foiled by the other Sensorites, but they continue to plot in secret. The humans are not told of the first plot, and John and Carol are cured. In the main conference room, Ian starts coughing violently and collapses. Suffering from the disease that has blighted the Sensorites, he is told that he will soon die.

It turns out that he was actually poisoned by drinking water from the general aqueduct. The Doctor finds the problematic aqueduct and starts work with the Sensorite scientists. The plotting Sensorites capture and then impersonate a Sensorite leader, the Second Elder and steal the new cure, before it is given to Ian, but a new one is made easily and Ian is cured.

Meanwhile, investigating the aqueduct, the Doctor finds strange noises and darkness. He finds and removes deadly nightshade (the cause of the poisoning), but on going back, meets an unseen monster. Susan and Ian find him unconscious with a ripped coat, but otherwise unharmed. On being recovered, he tells of his suspicion that some Sensorites are plotting to kill them. The plotting Sensorites kill the Second Elder and one of them replaces him in his position.

John tells the others that he knows the lead plotter, but he is now too powerful, so The Doctor and Ian go down to the aqueduct to find the poisoners. Their weapons and map were tampered with and are useless.

Elsewhere, a mysterious assailant abducts Carol and forces her to write saying she has left for the ship. Neither Susan, John or Barbara believe this so they go to investigate and find her imprisoned. Susan, John and Barbara overpower the guard and release Carol. On finding out about the tampered tools, they go into the aqueduct to rescue the Doctor and Ian. The leader discovers the plotters a little while later.

Ian and the Doctor discover that the monsters were actually the survivors of the previous Earth mission, and they had been poisoning the Sensorites. Their deranged Commander leads them to the surface, where they are arrested by the Sensorites. The Doctor and his party return to the city, pleading clemency for the poisoners. The leader of the Sensorites agrees and sends them back with Maitland, John and Carol to Earth, for treatment for madness.

[edit] Continuity

  • Susan's description of her home planet as having a burnt orange sky and silver leaved trees is echoed by a similar description of the planet by the Tenth Doctor to Martha Jones in "Gridlock". It also bears similarities to the description given to Grace in the 1996 telemovie.
  • In the Doctor Who Confidential episode, You've Got the Look (released to accompany "The Impossible Planet"), Russell T Davies said that he wanted the Ood to resemble the Sensorites, and that he likes to think they come from a planet near the Sense Sphere. This was later confirmed in the Tenth Doctor episode "Planet of the Ood", in which the Doctor visits the Ood's homeworld (the Ood-Sphere) and mentions that he once visited the Sense-Sphere in the same system.
  • Susan's experiences here carry over into the Big Finish Productions audio story Transit of Venus. It takes place directly after this story, despite the fact that the ending of The Sensorites seems to lead directly into The Reign of Terror. However, this inconsistency is explained in the audio play.
  • One of the creatures in the episode Kidnap attacks the Doctor, and he states later that it attacked him under his heart - suggesting that he has only one heart. The Doctor's having two hearts did not appear in the series until much later.

[edit] Susan's telepathy

  • This episode is known for Susan's use of telepathy. The earlier conception of Susan's character spun her as a less ordinary girl who had unusual abilities, of which Susan's ability in this story may been seen as one of the few remnants. At the end of the story, Susan loses her telepathy because according to the Sensorites, the Sense Sphere "has an extraordinary number of ultra-high frequencies, so I won't be able to go on using thought transference." However, the Doctor says that she has a gift and "when we get home to our own place, I think we should try to perfect it."
  • The spin-off media have more explicitly clarified that Time Lords have limited telepathic abilities.

[edit] Production

Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Strangers in Space" 20 June 1964 24:46 7.9 16mm t/r
"The Unwilling Warriors" 27 June 1964 24:44 6.9 16mm t/r
"Hidden Danger" 11 July 1964 24:53 7.4 16mm t/r
"A Race Against Death" 18 July 1964 24:49 5.5 16mm t/r
"Kidnap" 25 July 1964 25:47 6.9 16mm t/r
"A Desperate Venture" 1 August 1964 24:29 6.9 16mm t/r
  • Jacqueline Hill does not appear in episodes 4 and 5, though she was still credited on-screen.
  • Designer Raymond Cusick used almost all curves in his sets for the Sense Sphere, feeling that this would give a more alien look.

[edit] Cast notes

  • Arthur Newall also appeared as a Sensorite in this story, not a Dalek as is commonly believed.
  • Stephen Dartnell appears as John. He had previously appeared as Yartek in The Keys of Marinus.
  • John Bailey, who plays the Commander, returned to the series to play Edward Waterfield in The Evil of the Daleks and Sezom in The Horns of Nimon.

[edit] Broadcast and reception

The third episode was postponed by one week following the overrun of sports programme Grandstand.

[edit] In print

The serial was novelised for Target Books by Nigel Robinson in February 1987 as Doctor Who: The Sensorites.

Doctor Who book
Book cover
The Sensorites
Series Target novelisations
Release number 118
Writer Nigel Robinson
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Nick Spender
ISBN 0-491-03455-5
Release date

February 1987 (Hardback)

16 July 1987 (Paperback)
Preceded by '
Followed by '

[edit] VHS, CD and DVD releases

  • A restored and VidFIREd version of this story was released on VHS in November 2002.
  • In July 2008, the original soundtrack was released on CD in the UK, with linking narration provided by William Russell.
  • The story is scheduled to be released on DVD in the UK on 23 January 2012 [4]

[edit] References

  1. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "The Sensorites". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  2. ^ "The Sensorites". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  3. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2008-06-23). "The Sensorites". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  4. ^

[edit] External links

[edit] Reviews

[edit] Target novelisation