EPISODE: The Robots of Death Part Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 446
STORY NUMBER: 090
TRANSMITTED: 12 February 1977
WRITER: Chris Boucher
DIRECTOR: Michael Briant
SCRIPT EDITOR: Robert Holmes
PRODUCER: Philip Hinchcliffe
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who Revisitations 3 (The Tomb of the Cybermen and the Robots of Death)
Dask cuts the power from the motor units averting an explosion but without power the Sandminer starts sinking. He leaves to fix the motor units. Leela tends to injury sustained by Toos while Poul explains about Zilda's past history with Uvanov: her brother was killed on a previous trip that Uvanov commanded. The restored motor units raise the Sandminer to the surface. Poul discovers one of the robots damaged in the incident has blood stained hands and collapses on the floor. SV7 is reprogrammed by the human killer. The Doctor catches the supposed dum D84 examining Zilda's body and asks him to explain itself. In a hidden lab another robot is reprogrammed. D84 admits he was put on board by the company suspecting that Taren Capel, a human supporting robot revolutionaries is aboard. They leave to seek his hidden workshop. SV7 reports to Toos that Uvanov has escaped his quarters. SV7 dispatches robots to kill Toos, The Doctor & Leela while he kills the others. V5 comes for Leela but enables her to escape the crew room that Poul locked her in. The Doctor & D84 find the workshop and warn the others, asking Toos to get everyone to the command deck, but a robot comes for her trapping her in her room. Leela finds the scared Poul sheltering from the robots, incapacitated by his fear. Uvanov finds the Doctor in the workshop just as a robot arrives to kill the Doctor.
Fab stuff again. Incredibly nobody dies during this episode, which is a shock after the rate they'd been bumped off in the first few episodes. There again there's only the Doctor, Leela and four of the Sandminer crew left so we're running out of both potential bodies and potential suspects!
You can't not mention the knife noise: As Leela throws her hunting knife at the robot there's a load comedy boing noise as it hits the robot. Deary me.
The inspiration behind the story in general is, as we said yesterday, an Agatha Christie style murder mystery. Elements of it are taken from elsewhere: the sandminer would appear to be a lift from Dune while the frequently mentioned Laws of Robotics, an in particular "A robot may not injure a human being", are the work of Isaac Asimov. The name of the commander of the Sandminer, Uvanov is a corruption of “Asimov”, while the use of the name Poul was a reference to author Poul Anderson, and Taren Capel a homage to Karel Capek, the man who first coined the term “robot” in his play RUR (Rossum's Universal Robots). I don't know if the rest of the characters names mean anything but I do see an awful lot of four letter names here; Paul, Dask, Chub & Toos which looks a little odd seeing them written like that.
You know if you view the Robots as servants then effectively the Butler did it!