103) THE ARMAGEDDON FACTOR

20 January - 24 February 1979

Average Viewing Figure: 8.5M

Plot

The Doctor and Romana land on Atrios looking for the final segment to The Key to Time but dark forces are also at work

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Woodvine (Marshal), Lalla Ward (Princess Astra), Davyd Harries (Shapp)

Ian Saynor (Merak), William Squire (The Shadow), Valentine Dyall (The Black Guardian), John Leeson (Voice of K-9), Ian Liston (Hero)

Susan Skipper (Heroine), John Cannon (Guard), Harry Fielder (Guard), Iain Armstrong (Technician), Pat Gorman (Pilot)

Uncredited Cast

Val McKinnon, Judy Rodger (Nurses), Albert Welch, Terry Ward, Ian Sheriden, Frank Arbisman, Barbara Hampshire

Juliet St Davis (Patients), Peter Bithiel, Constance Carling, Garry Dean, Bill Hughes, David Wilde, Malcolm Ross (Technicians)

Peter Eaton, Tony O'Leary, Reg Turner, Richard Sheekey, Peter Roy, Barry Summerford (Guards), Stephen Calcutt, Ridgewell Hawkes

Mike Braben, Danny Rae, James Haswell, Eddie Whiting, Derek Suthern, Michael Gordon-Browne (Mutes), Ian Liston (Voice of Pilots) 

Crew

Bob Baker, Dave Martin (Writers), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Dick Mills (Special Sound), Ann Aronsohn (Production Assistant)

John Nathan-Turner (Production Unit Manager), Mike Jeffries (Lighting), Richard Chubb (Sound), John Horton (Visual Effects Designer)

Dave Chapman (Electronic Effects Designer), Rod Waldron (VT Editor), Michale Burdle (Costume Designer), Ann Briggs (Make-Up Artist)

Anthony Read (Script Editor), Richard McManan-Smith (Designer), Graham Williams (Producer), Michael Hayes (Director) 

Uncredited Crew

Jim Francis (Visual Effects Assistant)

Broadcast

76) THE ARK IN SPACE

Filming Locations

  • Ealing Film Studios

  • Television Centre: Studio 3

Deaths

  • Guard [shot and killed by The Marshall]

  • The Shadow [killed in a missile strike]

  • Mutos [killed in a missile strike]​

Production Days

  • 10 Days between Friday 27 October - Tuesday 5 December 1978

Number of Production Days: 5

Production Errors

  1. During part two, the Tardis demateralises, yet it can be seen behind Romana after K9 begins to blast a door

  2. During part two, K9 drives over The Doctor's scarf

  3. The Doctor at one point pats K9 so hard he knocks one of his ears out of position 

  4. During part three, Shapp's gun falls apart when it hits the floor 

  5. During part four, Merak says  that only The Doctor and Romana can get into the Tardis, how does he know this?

  6. During part four, the button in the Marshal's ship which fires the missiles is yellow, it changes to red later on

  7. During part four, K9 can be seen with his new left panel, which he later gains in part five 

  8. During part five, why does Drax think The Doctor wants to be shrunk down in size?

  9. During part six, one of the Mutes kicks up a piece of the studio carpet

  10. During part six, Merak seems to know a lot about the sixth segment, when he has never heard of it before 

  11. During part six, Shapp seems to know a lot about a time loop, again when he shouldn't 

  12. During part six, Princess Astra regains the circlet Merak used to distract a Mute  

  13. During part six, Romana is told, yet again, that it wasn't the Time Lord President who sent her to join The Doctor in the first place, and she is surprised by this big reveal, again. She wast told this during The Stones of Blood 

  14. The Doctor claims that he has never seen K9 spin around, even though this happened in The Pirate Planet

  15. Astra explains that she is the sixth princess of the sixth dynasty of the sixth royal house of Atrios. What she should have said was the sixth princess of the sixth royal house of the sixth dynasty 

Working Titles

  • Armaggedon - (storyline)

Verdict

The Armaggedon Factor is a truly disappointing finale to the Key to Time series. The plotting is poor with characters disappearing and reappearing at will and no obvious structure to the plot. The war between Atrios and Zeos does not make sense at all and why Drax shrinks himself and The Doctor for an episode is anyone’s guess. The episodes are too theatrical for their own good. The brilliant John Woodvine is too boastful at times and William Squire does nothing but laugh maniacally most of the time, like he is some pantomime villain. There are far too many computers with annoying bleeping sounds and the time loop scenes are overly long. The final scene after the completion of the Key to Time does not round up all loose ends and instead raises so many other questions. Did the Black Guardian really think The Doctor would fall for his disguise? Was it really necessary to find the segments just so The Doctor can scatter them across space and time again? Do the segment return to their disguise forms? Princess Astra is clearly restored to life but The Doctor does not elaborate. Will Garron gets his piece of Gethrik back? Will Calufrax reappear in its rightful place in space? Will the Great Seal of Diplos reappear around the Cessair of Diplos in her stone imprisonment? Will the Statue of the Taran best return? Will Kroll be restored to life to threaten the Swampies once more? Too many questions and no answers. And why does Romana need reminding again that it was the President of Gallifrey who sent her to join The Doctor and not the White Guardian? Dull, boring, tedious, and very repetitious make this one a big disappointing finale. And quite what Armaggedon has to do with anything is one puzzle that needs answering. *​