EPISODE: The Ribos Operation Part Three
OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 482
STORY NUMBER: 098
TRANSMITTED: 16 September 1978
WRITER: Robert Holmes
DIRECTOR: George Spenton-Foster
SCRIPT EDITOR: Anthony Read
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Key to Time Box Set (Ribos Operation/Pirate Planet/Stones of Blood/Androids of Tara/Power of Kroll/The Armageddon Factor)
They are taken to the Graff's quarters as the guards survey the strong room and notice the absence of the gold, but when the Graffe notices the Jethrik is gone the guard captain denies all knowledge of it. Unstoffe attempts to contact Garron. The Doctor summons K-9 using his silent dog whistle. The guards search for Unstoffe but he is sheltered by Binro the heretic. The guards summon the seeker, a local mystic, to find the missing gold and the Graff summons his own guards. Garron tells the Doctor & Romana about his past & his methods then the history of the Graff. One of the guards is left behind with orders to the kill the prisoners at dawn. Binro tells Unstoffe of his belief that the lights in the sky are not Ice Crystals, as the people of Ribos believe, but Stars and how he was persecuted for his beliefs. Unstoffe tells him that what he believes is true delighting the old man. The Doctor repairs Garron's damaged communicator using the listening device enabling them to warn Unstoffe that the guards are coming for him, just as K-9 arrives and frees them. Unstoffe goes to hide in the catacombs with Binro. The Doctor & Romana take a tracer reading and realise that the Jethrik is the first segment. The Shrieve guards refuse to go to the catacombs for the Graff's gold, believing the Ice Gods live there. Garron, The Doctor, Romana & K-9 pursue Unstoffe into the catacombs but are cornered by the Graff and his men.
There's some lovely stuff here: the obviously bonkers Seeker and the considered bonkers, but right, Binro the heretic standing out. But I'm afraid one moment from this episode stands out for me beyond all others: The Doctor blows his silent dog whistle and out of the Tardis, into the snow, comes K-9. You see on the 16th September 1978 I was there watching and that scene is just etched into my mind. I'd got over my fear of the program, caused by the summer's repeat of the Dalek Invasion of Earth and had finally watched this program that friends and relatives were fans of. And something I saw hooked me and I kept coming back. Bar an odd gap in Power of Kroll I can remember the rest of this season really well.
So knowing this episode was coming up I rang my Mum and asked her when we got a television. She's not sure. I can remember not having one, but she can remember us having one in the run up to my second brother being born in October 1977 so I guess we'd have had it for a year and a bit by this point. The television I watched was mainly BBC: Play School, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine and You & Me stand out. I know I would have watched Scooby Doo and other Hanna Barbera cartoons. I can remember Peter Purves presenting Blue Peter which suggests I was watching that by then. On ITV the only things I can remember watching Pipkins, featuring Hartley Hare, and Rainbow. So it was really just Children's programs - I was after all 5 at the time. But from these I can remember very little particular incident. However the sequence from this episode, described above, is clear as day to me. And some things from Pirate Planet, thanks to a repeat, are even clearer.
So from this point on my view of everything - nearly everything - will be shaped by having seen it as I was growing up. In a couple of stories this will shape my thinking somewhat and may lead to opinions that aren't what you might expect approaching something from new now or as an adult.
Binro the heretic is played by Timothy Bateson, another well known actor making his only Doctor Who appearance with a CV as long as his arm. The Seeker is played by Anne Tirard who was Locusta, the palace poisoner, in The Romans.