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Feb 20, 2009


The TARDIS crew is still missing Susan Foreman when the ship lands on a planet the Doctor eventually recognises as Dido, a world he has visited before. The trio soon encounter two survivors of a space crash, Vicki and Bennett, who are awaiting a rescue ship, due to arrive in three days time. Vicki and Bennett live in fear of Koquillion, a bipedal inhabitant of Dido which is stalking the area. Koquillion encounters the time travellers and attacks, pushing Barbara over a cliff and temporarily trapping Ian and the Doctor. Vicki finds Barbara injured and rescues her from Koquillion, and they share reminiscences. Vicki’s father was amongst those who died when the survivors of the crash, save Bennett and Vicki, were lured to their deaths by the natives of Dido. She is evidently very lonely, having befriended an indigenous Sand Beast for company. However, when Ian and the Doctor reach the ship tempers are fraught because Barbara mistook the Sand Beast for a threat and killed it.

The Doctor enters Bennett's room, and finds things are not as they seem. The supposedly crippled Bennett is missing, and a tape recorder hides his absence. He finds a trap door in the floor of the cabin and follows it to a temple carved from rock where he unmasks Koquillion as Bennett. Bennett reveals he killed a crewmember on board the ship and was arrested, but the ship crashed before the crime could be radioed to Earth. It was he who killed the crash survivors and the natives of Dido to cover his crime. He has been using the Koquillion alias so that Vicki would back up his story. Just as Bennett is about to kill the Doctor, two surviving native Didonians arrive and force Bennett to his death over a ledge. With no living family and nothing left for her on Dido, Vicki is welcomed aboard the TARDIS.


Serial details by episode:
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"The Powerful Enemy" 2 January 1965 26:15 12.0 16mm t/r
"Desperate Measures" 9 January 1965 24:36 13.0 16mm t/r

The series would not feature another two-part serial until a decade later with The Sontaran Experiment, although the format would become a regular feature in the Fifth Doctor era of the 1980s.

Alternative titles

  • The story had the working title Doctor Who and Tanni, which was the original name for Vicki.
  • The 1973 Radio Times 10th anniversary special called the story The Powerful Enemy, as it titled all the early stories by the title of the first episode. Some subsequent listings repeated this error, as did the story's broadcast on some American PBS stations.

Cast notes

To preserve the mystery of its true identity, Koquillion was originally credited as being played by "Sydney Wilson" — a name made up by the production team in tribute to two of the creators of Doctor Who, Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson. This was the first instance of an alias being used, in the credits, for a cast member in order to conceal a plot twist in Doctor Who.

Doctor Who book
Book cover
The Rescue
Series Target novelisations
Release number 124
Writer Ian Marter
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Tony Clark
ISBN 0 426 20309 7
Release date August 1987 (Hardback)

21st January 1988 (Paperback)

Preceded by The Macra Terror
Followed by Terror of the Vervoids

Commercial releases

This story was released in 1994, on a double VHS With The Romans. It has also been anounced by the BBFC website that 'The Rescue' along with The Romans will be released on DVD on 23 February 2009. The DVD will have a commentary track featuring star William Russell, designer Ray Cusik & director Christopher Barry.

In print

A novelisation of this serial, written by Ian Marter (the actor who played companion Harry Sullivan during the Fourth Doctor era), was published by Target Books in August 1987, nearly a year after his death. Marter died soon after completing the manuscript, which was subsequently edited (with some new material added) by Nigel Robinson, editor of the Target Books line. According to Robinson, he did not have to do too many changes to Marter's manuscript, although he did have to remove an apparent reference to fellatio in an early chapter.


Performed by William Russell as Ian Chesterton with Ian Hallard as Joseph Banks

(Duration: 60' Approx)


William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Ian Hallard (Joseph Banks)

The year is 1770, and daring explorer Captain James Cook and his crew on the Endeavour are navigating the Pacific Ocean.

Into their midst come strangers: the Doctor and Ian Chesterton, who are believed to have come from Venus. But the TARDIS is lost to them - along with both Susan and Barbara - and Ian makes an enemy of the ship's chief scientist, Joseph Banks.

Why is Banks acting strangely? Could it be that the travellers are not the only visitors from the stars?
AUTHOR: Jacqueline Rayner
DIRECTOR: Nigel Fairs
SOUND DESIGN: David Darlington MUSIC: David Darlington
RECORDED DATE: 3 November 2008 RELEASE DATE: 31 January 2009
PRODUCTION CODE: BFPDWCC16 ISBN: 978-1-84435-356-9