90) THE ROBOTS OF DEATH

29 January - 19 February 1977

Average Viewing Figure: 12.7M

Plot

Onboard a sandminer the crew begin to be picked off one by one and, The Doctor believes the culprit isn't human

76) THE ARK IN SPACE

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Russell Hunter (Uvanov), Pamela Salem (Toos), David Bailie (Dask), David Collings (Poul)

Brian Croucher (Borg), Tania Rogers (Zilda), Tariq Yunus (Cass), Rob Edwards (Chub), Gregory de Polnay (D84), Miles Fothergill (SV7)

Mark Blackwell Baker, John Bleasdale, Mark Cooper, Peter Langtry, Jeremy Ranchev, Richard Seager (Robots)

Uncredited Cast

Peter Sax (Kerril [Corpse])

Crew

Chris Boucher (Writer), Dudley Simpson (Incidental Music), Ron Grainer (Title Music), Bernard Lodge (Title Sequence)

Peter Grimwade (Production Assistant), Chris D'Oyly-John (Production Unit Manager), Duncan Brown (Lighting), Tony Millier (Sound)

Peter Chapman (Film Cameraman), Richard Conay (Visual Effects Designer), Dick Mills (Special Sound), Elizabeth Waller (Costume Designer)

Ann Briggs (Make-Up Artist), Robert Holmes (Script Editor), Kenneth Sharp (Designer), Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer)

Michael E Briant (Director)

Uncredited Crew

John Gatland (Film Sound)

Broadcast

Filming Locations

  • Ealing Film Studios: Stage 2

  • Television Centre: Studio 1

  • Television Centre: Studio 8

Number of Production Days: 5

Deaths

  • Dask [throttled to death by SV7]

  • Borg [killed by a robot]

  • Zilda [killed by V45]

  • Cass [killed by a robot]

  • Chub [killed by a robot]

  • D84 [destroyed by a transmitter]

  • SV7 [deactivated]

  • Kerril [killed by a robot]​

Production Days

  • 7 Days between Tuesday 2 November - Tuesday 7 December 1977

Production Errors

  1. The Doctor's scarf vanishes and reappears twice during the serial 

  2. Whilst Leela bandages Too's arm, someone (possibly a crewmember) can be seen on the edge of the set

  3. Uvanov accuses The Doctor of murdering three crewmembers. However, Uvanov only knows of two murdered crewmembers, since Poul comes into the room a few seconds later to inform him of the third

  4. Leela's knife throw couldn't have hit the Robot's arm, since Leela throw it in a downward trajectory 

  5. Uvanov delivers one line in episode four in an Irish accent 

  6. V35 and V40 supposedly search the ore hopper, but V35 spends the whole of the serial in the 'morgue'

Working Titles

  • Planet of the Robots

  • The Storm-Mine Murders

Verdict

The Robots of Death is perhaps the best achievement the renaissance era has to offer. The production values, direction, costumes, and acting are outstanding as are the Robots, one of creepiest monsters of all time. Boucher takes influences from the works of renowned author Isaac Asimov and mixes in a murder-mystery plot which, although spoiled right at the start, is drawn out right to very end The script has witticism, dark humour, and genuinely funny moments and of course an admirable degree of intelligence. The Sandminer makes for an excellent setting and the model’s shots only tighten the claustrophobic atmosphere. A fine production on a number of levels. *****​