86) THE MASQUE OF MANDRAGORA

4 - 25 September 1976

Average Viewing Figure: 9.5M

Plot

In San Marino, 1492, The Mandragora Helix plans to keep the planet Earth in the Dark Ages

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Jon Laurimore (Count Federico), Antony Carrick (Captain Rossini)

Gareth Armstrong (Giluliano), Tim Pigott-Smith (Marco), Norman Jones (Hieronymous), Robert James (High Priest), Brian Ellis (Brother)

Pat Gorman (Soldier), James Appleby, John Clamp (Guards), Peter Walshe, Jay Neill (Pikemen), Peter Tuddenham (Titan Voice)

Peggy Dixon, Jack Edwards, Alistair Fullarton, Michael Reid, Kathy Wolff (Dancers), Stuart Fell (Entertainer)

Uncredited Cast

Peter Pocock, Paddy Ryan, Tex Fuller (Bodyguards), Dennis Plenty, Ken Tracey, Keith Norrish, Martin Clarke, Derek Chafer, Kevin Moran

Jeff Willard, Martin Grant, Christopher Holmes, Billy Horrigan, Roy Street, Stuart Fell, Tex Fuller, Bruno McLoughlin

Paddy Ryan (Soldiers), Walter Henry, Christopher Holmes, Clinton Morris, Mary Rennie, Penny Lambirth, Leslie Weekes

Keith Ashley (Peasants), David Rolfe, Lincoln Wright, Lionel Taylor, David Wilde, Paul Barton, Cavin Ianson, Andy Dempsey (Courtiers)

Michael Mulcaster (Old Duke), Maurice Quick (Priest), Leslie Weekes, Roy Pearce, Cy Town, Roy Street, Paddy Ryan (Pikemen)

George Ballantine (Federico's Servant), David Glynn Rogers (Giuliano's Servant), Peter Pocock, Paddy Ryan, Roy Street, Bruno McLoughlin

Tex Fuller, Roy Pearce, Keith Norrish, Keith Ashley, Clinton Morris, Terry Sartain, Pat Gorman, James Muir, Dennis Plenty

Clive Rogers, Christopher Holmes, Ken Tracey (Brethern), Stuart Fell (Peasant [at Lake]), Keith Ashley, Penny Lambirth, Clinton Morris

Christopher Holmes, Walter Henry, Mary Rennie, Cy Town, Leslie Weekes (Travellers), Terry Walsh (Executioner)

Leslie Weekes, Cy Town (Drummers), Keith Ashley, Walter Henry, Christopher Holmes, Clinton Morris (Workman Peasants)

Billy Horrigan (Guard), Derek Chafer (Armourer), Dennis Plenty (Entertainer), Dennis Plenty (Guest), Neville Ware, Eddie Somer (Ball Servants)

Derek Chafer, Kevin Moran (Brethern - type Guests), Penny Lambirth, Sheila Vivian, Jean Channon

Barbara Bernell, Jill Goldson (Female Guests), Cy Town (Servant), Roy Street (Stunt Double for Doctor Who)

Crew

Louis Marks (Writer), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Bernard Lodge (Title Sequence)

Christopher D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager), Thea Murray (Production Assistant), Dick Mills (Special Sound)

Ian Scoones (Visual Effects Designer), Dennis Channon (Lighting), Colin Dixon (Sound), John Baker (Film Cameraman)

Hugh Cleverley (Film Recordist), Clare Douglas (Film Editor), James Acheson (Costume Designer), Jan Harrison (Make-Up Artist)

Barry Newbery (Designer), Robert Holmes (Script Editor), Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer), Rodney Bennett (Director)

Uncredited Crew

John Hickman (Back Projection), Ann Rickard (Production Secretary), Ian Brindle (Film Ops Manager), Ken Bomphrey (Effects Assistant)

Dave Chapman (Inlay Operator), Henry Barber (Technical Manager), Graham Giles (Vision Mixer), Terry Elms (Film Sound Assistant)

Carolyn Buisuinne, Hadsera Coovadia, Suzanne Jansen, Vivian Riley, Christine Wheeler (Make-Up Assistants)

Les McCallum, John Neild (Design Assistants), Jennie Betts (Facilities Bookings), Don Slater (Grams Operator), Jim Burge (Floor Assistant)

Alf Trustram, Jack Wells (Armourers), Grace Byran-Brown, Shelagh Lawson (Design Draughtswomen), Nansi Davies (Artists' Booking)

Hazel Marriott (Director's Assistant), Linda Graeme (Assistant Floor Manager), Gordon Phillipson (Post-Production Grams)

Peter Grainer, Dave White (Senior Cameramen), Mervin Bezar, Michael Purcell, Tessa Spendlove (Dressers))

Roger Wood, Val Woodford (Props Buyers)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Television Centre: Studio 4A

  • Field, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Woodland Pond, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Central Piazza, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Bridge House, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Pantheon, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Wood, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Woodland Paths, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Prior's Lodge, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Hercules Statue, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Anchor Cottage, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Fountain Cottage, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Watch House, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Battery Square, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Bristol Colonnade, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Cascade, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Walkway, Portmeirion, Gwynedd

  • Television Centre: Studio 3

Deaths

  • Count Federico [killed by Hieronymous]

  • Hieronymous [killed by Helix Energy]

  • Brother [consumed by the Mandragora Helix]

  • Soldier [killed by the Mandragora Helix]

  • Brethern [consumed by the Mandragora Helix]

  • Peasants [killed in an ambush]

  • Peasant [by lake] [killed by the Mandragora Helix]

  • Mandragora Helix [destroyed by The Doctor]

  • Party Guests [killed by members of the Brethern]

Production Days

  • 10 Days between Wednesday 28 April - Tuesday 8 June 1976

Production Errors

  1. At one point Hieronymous informs The Doctor that he's been told another follower of Mandragora, however, whomever this follower is, never shows up

  2. The Doctor's scarf somehow manages to get into a knot when The Doctor trips over the Executioner.

  3. Nobody seems to notice The Doctor and Sarah Jane's out of date clothing ​​

Working Titles

  • Catacombs of Death

  • Doom of Destiny

  • The Curse of Mandragora

Verdict

The Masque of Mandragora mixes superstition, religion, astrology, and fifteenth-century Renaissance Italy to create a wonderous four-part historical period piece. The Portmeirion locations make for compelling imagery and setting and the sets (designed by veteran Barry Newbery) elevate the series to a new level. The serial is joined by a colourful cast although Giuliano and Marco are bland and almost pointless. The plot is kept on its feet by introducing various other side-lines plots – the Cult of Damos, the forthcoming masque to celebrate Giuliano as the new Duke and Count Federico’s various villainy deeds and actions. There something enjoyable in watching villains announce their dastardly plans aloud just to inform the audience of their intent. High production values keep everything together and not even the rushed, and poorly explained resolution can make one turn against this one. ****​