151) THE GREATEST SHOW IN THE GALAXY

14 December 1988 - 4 January 1989

Average Viewing Figure: 5.4M

Plot

On Segonax, The Psychic circus looks out for entertaining acts but when people enter the ring they are never seen again

Cast

Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), TP McKenna (The Captain), Jessica Martin (Mags), Ricco Ross (Ringmaster)

Peggy Mount (Stallslady), Ian Reddington (Chief Clown), Deborah Manship (Morgana), Christopher Guard (Bellboy), Gian Sammarco (Whizzkid)

Daniel Peacock (Nord), Dee Sadler (Flowerchild), Dean Hollingsworth (Bus Conductor), Chris Jury (Deadbeat)

David Ashford (Dad), Janet Hargreaves (Mum), Kathryn Ludlow (Little Girl)

Uncredited Cast

Alan Rudolph (Clown Driver), Paul Sadler, Philip Sadler, Patrick Ford, Alan Heap, Paul Miller, Nicky Dewhurst (Undertaker Clowns)

Alan Heap (Clown on Unicycle), Jim Lancaster (Robot Operator), Paul Miller, Dave Pumfrett, John Alexander, Karl Magee

Hugh Spright, Jeff Davies, Nicky Dewhurst (Clowns in Circus), Earth G, Raymond Dunstan (Bandstand Clowns)

Alan Heap, Paul MillerDave Pumfrett, Nicky Dewhurst (Workshop Clowns), David Ashford (Dad God), Janet Hargreaves (Mum God)

Lorna McCulloch (Little Girl God), Alan Wareing (Voice of Girl God), Paul Sadler, Philip Sadler, Patrick Ford, Alan Heap (Pursuing Clowns) 

Crew

Stephen Wyatt (Writer), Geoffrey Durham (Magic Consultant), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Mark Ayres (Incidental Music)

Dick Mills (Special Sound), Suzanna Shaw, Gary Downie, Ian Fraser (Production Managers), June Collins (Production Associate)

Alexandra Todd (Production Assistant), David Tilley, Ducan McAlpine (Assistant Floor Managers), Ian Dow (OB Lighting)

Dough Whittaker (OB Sound), Barry Ashton, Alan Jessop (OB Cameramen), Steve Bowman (Visual Effects Designer)

Dave Chapman (Video Effects), Barbara Gainsley, Dinah Long, Julie Mann, Fred Law (Vision Mixer)

Michael Langley-Evans, Richard Wilson (Technical Co-ordinators), Alec Wheal (Studio Camera Supervisor), Hugh Parson (Videotape Editor)

Bob Blanks (Properties Buyer), Don Babbage, Henry Barber (Studio Lighting), Scott Talbott (Studio Sound), Rosalind Ebbutt (Costume Designer)

Denise Baron (Make-Up Designer), Andrew Cartmel (Script Editor), Oliver Elmes (Graphic Designer), CAL Video (Computer Animation)

David Laskey (Designer), John Nathan-Turner (Producer), Alan Wareing (Director)

Uncredited Crew

Tony McKillop, Mike Tucker, Dave Wells, Dave Becker, Jim Lancaster, Biddy Palmer (Visual Effects Assistants), Julia Gresty (Design Assistant)

Helen Johnson, Mark Phillips, Sunetra Sastry, Lyn Somerville (Make-Up Assistants), Sarah Jane Ellis (Costume Assistant)

Debbie Roberts, Michael Johnson, Tim Bonstow, Patricia McAuley, Ann Richardson (Dressers), Vic Young (Production Ops Supervisor)

Neville Kuhn, Jeff Howe, Pat O'Connell (Production Operatives), Roger Neal (OB Sound Engineer), Steve Preston (OB VT Engineer)

Alex Starr, Southern Morris (Floor Assistants), Mike Weaver (Deputy Sound Supervisor), Brian Jones (Engineering Manager), Crew 6 (Camera Crew

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Skinner's Road, Warmwell Quarry-West Knighton Pit, Warmwell, Dorset

  • Golden Pond, Warmwell Quarry-West Knighton Pit, Warmwell, Dorest

  • The Blue Lagoon, Warmwell Quarry-West Knighton Pit, Warmwell, Dorset

  • BBC Elstree, Borehamwood, Herts

Deaths

  • Captain Cook [killed by Mags in her Werewolf form]

  • Ringmaster [possibly killed we he disappears forever]

  • Chief Clown [shot dead by a Robot]

  • Whizzkid [reduced to ashes by the Gods of Ragnarok]

  • Nord [reduced to ashes to by the Gods of Ragnarok]

  • Bellboy [killed by the Circus Clowns]

  • Morgana [possibly killed we she disappears forever]

  • Flowerchild [killed by the Bus Conductor]

  • Bus Conductor [blown up by Ace]

  • Circus Clowns [shot by the Robot/possibly killed we the Circus tent collapses]

  • Gods of Ragnarok [killed when The Doctor reflects their powers against them]

Production Days

  • 13 days between Saturday 14 May - Saturday 18 June 1988

Production Errors

  1. Ace picks up and pins Flowerchild's earring to her jacket despite the fact that she had it on her possession in Silver Nemesis. This is because The Greatest Show in the Galaxy was originally second in the broadcast order, however it was moved to the fourth and final spot, and the mistake wasn't corrected

Working Titles

  • [no known working titles]

Verdict

Another brilliant story by Stephen Wyatt which is both refined and strong in terms of story narrative and tone. The cast remains as one the best, the chilling Chief Clown (Ian Reddington), the broken mind Kingpin (Chris Jury), the often silent and soft spoken Mags (Jessica Martin) the list goes on while the Captain gets old very quickly but T. P. McKenna is great. Sylvester McCoy gives his finest performance using his Doctor’s childish, fun-loving personality and antics to the story’s advantage, whilst holding back his darker personality until a time comes when he must use it. The Gods of Ragnarok is one of the all-time best scenes pitting The Doctor against  a villain who can literally destroy him at any given moment. It becomes clear that McCoy’s Doctor frowns upon evil and all those who dwell there. As he strides out of the circus he dares not to look back as it explodes whether out of fear and guilt of just killing three extremely old Gods or out of anger we will never know. The windy circus tent and bleak surroundings depict a group of people barely surviving as the forces of evil suck all the light and happiness out of the place. Other brilliant production values – costumes which give each character his or her’s own personality, make-up and even the silly looking robots, there have been worse. A witty script filled with treasures and treats for the mind, eyes and ears. It does not get better than this. *****