143c) TERROR OF THE  VERVOIDS

1 - 22 November 1986

Average Viewing Figure: 4.9M

Plot

Onboard a star liner in the year 2986 strange pods are kept in the loading bay as a murderer is on the loose

Cast

Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Michael Jayston (The Valeyard), Lynda Bellingham (The Inquisitor)

Honor Blackman (Professor Lasky), Michael Craig (Commodore), Denys Hawthorne (Rudge), Yolande Palfrey (Janet)

Malcolm Tierney (Doland), David Allister (Bruchner), Tony Scoggo (Hallett), Arthur Hewlett (Kimber), Simon Slater (Edwardes)

Sam Howard (Atza), Leon Davis (Ortezo), Mike Mungarvan (Duty Officer), Hugh Beverton (First Guard)

Martin Weedon (Second Guard), Peppi Borza (First Vervoid), Bob Appleby (Second Vervoid), Barbara Ward (Ruth Baxter/Mutant)

Uncredited Cast

Kenneth Thomas, David Bache, Leslie Fry, James Delaney, Roy Seeley, Derek Hunt, David Fieldsend, Lew Hooper, David Enyon

Llewellyn Williams, John Buckmaster, Jack Horton, Martin Clark, Bob Hargreave, Barry Butler (Time Lords)

Ian Marshall-Fisher (Clerk of the Court), John Capper, Kevin O'Brien, Gary Forecast, Oscar Peck (Court Ladies)

Len Derrick, John Small (Stewards), Martin Hyder (Waste Disposal Operator), Barry Holland (Waste Disposal Attendant)

Maurice Iley, Johnnie Lee Harris (Medics), Quint Boa, Richard Bonehill, Paul Holmes, John Constable, Lea Derrick, Martin Hyder

Barry Holland, Robert Goodman, Maurice Iley, Kevin Vaughn, Johnnie Lee Harris (Loaders), Michael Summerfield (Duty Officer)

Gess Whitefield, Paul Hillier, Bill Perrie, Jerry Manley (Vervoids), Robert Goodman, Kevin Vaughan (Officers)

Martin Clark, Geoff Whitestone (Hyperion III Crew)

Crew

Pip and Jane Baker (Writers), Malcolm Clarke (Incidental Music), Dick Mills (Special Sound), Ian Fraser (Production Manager)

June Collins, Jenny Doe (Production Associates), Jane Wellesley (Production Assistant), Karen Little (Assistant Floor Manager)

Kevin Molloy (Visual Effects Designer), Danny Popkin (Video Effects), Alan Arbuthnott (Technical Co-ordinator)

Alec Wheal (Camera Supervisor), Shirley Coward (Vision Mixer), Hugh Parson (Videotape Editor), Don Babbage (Lighting Director)

Brian Clark (Sound), Andrew Rose (Costume Designer), Shaunna Harrison (Make-Up Designer), Dinah Walker (Designer)

John Nathan-Turner (Producer), Chris Clough (Director)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Television Centre: Studio 1

  • Television Centre: Studio 3

Deaths

  • Professor Lasky [killed by a Vervoid poisonous dart]

  • Rudge [killed by the Vervoids]

  • Doland [killed by the Vervoids]

  • Bruchner [killed by the Vervoids poisonous gas]

  • Hallett [poisoned by Doland]

  • Kimber [killed by a Vervoid]

  • Edwardes [electrocuted]

  • Atza [exposed to oxygen]

  • Ortezo [exposed to oxygen]

  • First Guard [killed by a Vervoid]

  • Second Guard [killed by a Vervoid]

  • Ruth Baxter [killed by a Vervoid]

  • First Vervoid [killed with Vionesium]

  • Second Vervoid [killed with Vionesium]

  • Vervoid [one is pushed into the waste disposal unit]​

  • Vervoids [killed by vionesium]

  • Hyperion III Crew/Passengers [possibly killed by Vervoids]​

Production Days

  • 7 days between Wednesday 16 July - Thursday 14 August 1986

Production Errors

  1. At the beginning of episode one, Professor Lasky claims that she went to room 6 to find her luggage is not in the room. This is because the key is for room 9. So how did Lasky get into room 6 in the first place?

  2. If the Vervoids have been genetically engineered, whose bright idea was it to give them lethal stings?

  3. Surely Atza and Ortezo would notice the strange behaviour of the third 'Mogarian' 

  4. Why does Commodore claim that Hyperion III is hijack proof, even though the ship has been successfully hijacked by Bruncher?

  5. Some of the Vervoids have West Country accents 

  6. When Doland comes out of the isolation room with a tray full of discarded food, he walks away. Later on, Janet appears to come out of the room with another tray of discarded food. It is implied that only Lasky, Bruchner, and Doland are allowed in the isolation room. So, who took the food into the room in the first place. Doland and Bruchner are in the Vervoid Pod area, and Lasky is surely still in the gym.

  7. The yellow guns used  by Hyperion III staff are clearly label makers healed upside down.

Working Titles

  • 7 days between Wednesday 16 July - Thursday 14 August 1986

  • The Ultimate Foe

  • The Vervoids

Verdict

The story gets so many elements right but makes so many basic errors. The aesthetic feel of the thirtieth-century space liner is a little unrealistic – the gymnasium with a handful of primitive equipment, a sitting area devoid of detail (a few extras (Passengers) would have been nice) and bedrooms with a lack of any art direction. The cargo bay and pod containment area are the best. The Vervoids and Mogarians are highlights portrayed with very agile expressive actors but contrast heavily with the boring human characters, they got a lot of big-name stars in the roles and never used them properly. The delightful Mel has little moments of brilliance and Bonnie Langford does slide into the role with the right attitude, but she runs out of steam pretty quickly. The courtroom scenes are again, annoying and damage another story which could have worked as a stand-alone adventure. The story almost works despite some strange scenes transitions and plot threads that go nowhere. Some good directions keep this story from being surprisingly entertaining, other times it can be boring. The murder mystery plot is again a let-down you get to a point where it becomes glaringly obvious. ***