132) FRONTIOS

26 January - 3 February 1984

Average Viewing Figure: 6.8M

Plot

During midflight, The Tardis is drawn to the planet Frontios where something sinister lurks below the surface

Cast

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Peter Gilmore (Brazen), William Lucas (Range)

Maurice O'Connell (Cockerill), Lesley Dunlop (Nora), Jeff Rawle (Plantagenet), Richard Ashely (Orderly), John Gillett (Gravis)

Raymond Murtagh (Retrograde), Alison Skilbeck (Deputy), George Campbell, Michael Malcolm, Stephen Speed

William Bowen, Hedi Khursandi (Tractators)

Uncredited Cast

John Beardmore (Captain Revere) 

Crew

Christopher H Bidmead (Writer), Paddy Kingsland (Incidental Music), Dick Mills (Special Sound), Alex Gohar (Production Manager)

June Collins (Production Associate), Valerie Letley (Production Assistant), Joanna Guritz (Assistant Floor Manager)

Dave Havard (Visual Effects Designer), Dave Chapman (Video Effects), Alan Arbuthnott (Technical Manager)

Alec Wheal (Camera Supervisor), Paul Wheeler (Vision Mixer), Hugh Parson (Videotape Editor), John Summers (Lighting)

Martin Ridout (Sound), Anushia Nieradzik (Costume Designer), Jill Hagger (Make-Up Artist), Eric Saward (Script Editor)

Sid Sutton (Title Sequence), David Buckingham (Designer), John Nathan-Turner (Producer), Ron Jones (Director)

Uncredited Crew

Ed Stevenson (Assistant Floor Manager), Gordon Phillipson (Grams Operator), John Billett, Ron Frith, John Mersh (Senior Studio Engineers)

Perry Brahan (Visual Effects Assistant), Robert Fleming (Properties Buyer), Maggie Carroll, Matthew Lorrimer (Design Assistants)

Terry Smith (Lighting Chargehand), Frances Miles, Sue Clayton, Derek Sumner, Philip Winter (Dressers)

Damelza Rogers, Susan Kirham, Helen Johnson (Make-Up Assistants), Sarah Lee (Production Secretary), Brenda Thomas (Floor Assistant)

Ray Davis (Show Working Supervisor)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Television Centre: Studio 6

Deaths

  • Brazen [killed by the Tractators excavating machine]

  • Captain Revere [dies after being removed from the Tractators excavating machine]

Production Days

  • 6 Days between Wednesday 24 August - Friday 8 September 1983

Production Errors

  1. During episode one, when Captain Revere notices the earth move beneath him, the fingers of a technical crew member can be seen giving the earth a helping hand 

  2. When Tegan traps Brazen in the medical unit, she puts a bar across the middle of a door handle. However by the next scene, somebody has moved it to the top of the handle

  3. In the same scene the door handle is clearly not made of metal. The door handle is made out of cardboard because it bends and flops about the place​​

Working Titles

  • The Wanderers

  • The Hungry Earth

Verdict

An upper-middle-class space adventure filled with monsters, a new alien world and a human colonisation group fleeing the dying Earth. The show finally dives into Turlough’s past and Mark Strickson gives his best performance as Turlough whilst the rest of the supporting cast are unbelievably strong. The Tractors way seem like any other silly Doctor Who monster, but they have a lot of originality and are fully realised, but the Gravis never reaches its full potential, but John Gillett’s voice is a fitting match for the character. The Tractor’s downfall is they do not really do anything menacing or threatening and therefore are easily forgotten. Special effects and stunt work create realistic dangerous scenes and there are some impressively crafted cliffhangers that will fool the most diehard of Doctor Who fans. ****