OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 513
STORY NUMBER: 105
TRANSMITTED: 20 October 1979
WRITER: "David Agnew" (pseudonym for Douglas Adams, Graham Williams, and David Fisher)
DIRECTOR: Michael Hayes
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 16.1 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - City of Death
The Count threatens to do to the whole of Paris what he has just done to Professor Kerensky to force Romana to stabilise the time field in his machine. He wants Romana to make the machine send him back in time to prevent himself from launching the ship which splintered him through time and killed the rest of the Jagaroth. The Doctor arrives at the Chateau and talks to the Countess, planting seeds of doubt about her husband. The Doctor is taken to the cellar. The Countess searches the counts rare books and documents, finding an Egyptian scroll showing a Scaroth headed human as the Doctor described him. The Doctor tries to stop the Count, but the Count once again threatens to destroy Paris and has them locked up. The Count goes to see the Countess who pulls a gun on him demanding the truth about his identity. He pulls his mask off and kills her using circuitry within the scanning bracelet. Duggan forces the cell door allowing him, the Doctor & Romana to escape witnessing Scaroth vanish back in time and his machine explode. They return to the art gallery where the Doctor left the Tardis, astounding some watching art lovers who think the Tardis is a piece of art when it dematerialises. The Tardis travels back in time to when the Jagaroth ship was due to launch, the Doctor finding the fluid which will give birth to life, waiting for the radiation from the Jagaroth ship to start the process of life. Scaroth arrives to warn his earlier self but is stopped by Duggan who knocks him out. The unconscious Scaroth vanishes back to 1979 due to a limit Romana placed on the time machine. The Doctor, Romana & Duggan flee the scene in the Tardis escaping just before the Jagaroth ship explodes. The unmasked Scaroth materialises in 1979, startling Herman who throws something at him breaching the time field which kills Scaroth & destroys the time machine starting a fire which just one of the "fake" Mona Lisas survives, to be returned to and hung in the Louvre. The Doctor & Romana bid farewell to Duggan.
Another great episode, well done. Really loved it. To cap it all it establishes the all time viewing record for an episode of Doctor Who 16.1 Million Viewers!
Here's how many people have watched the last 8 episodes:
|01/09/1979||Destiny of the Daleks||Part 1||13.0|
|29/09/1979||City of Death||Part One||12.4|
Huge numbers. Unfortunately the ITV technicians finally went back to work in the week following this episode on 24th October and Doctor Who would never achieve such high viewing figures again. For the record then, this is how the Doctor Who highest viewing figure record changes hands:
|Episode #||Date||Story & Episode||Rating
|1||23/11/1963||An Unearthly Child: An Unearthly Child||4.4|
|2||30/11/1963||An Unearthly Child: The Cave of Skulls||5.9|
|3||07/12/1963||An Unearthly Child: The Forest of Fear||6.9|
|7||04/01/1964||The Daleks: The Escape||8.9|
|8||11/01/1964||The Daleks: The Ambush||9.9|
|10||25/01/1964||The Daleks: The Ordeal||10.4|
|46||21/11/1964||The Dalek Invasion of Earth: World's End||11.4|
|47||28/11/1964||The Dalek Invasion of Earth: The Daleks||12.4|
|53||09/01/1965||The Rescue: Desperate Measures||13|
|58||13/02/1965||The Web Planet: The Web Planet||13.5|
|387||01/02/1975||The Ark in Space: Part Two||13.6|
|508||15/09/1979||Destiny of the Daleks: Part Three||13.8|
|509||22/09/1979||Destiny of the Daleks: Part Four||14.4|
|512||13/10/1979||City of Death: Part Three||15.4|
|513||20/10/1979||City of Death: Part Four||16.1|
There's 2 prominent cameos in this episode as the art lovers who observe the Tardis leaving the gallery it's in. The female art lover is actress & satirist Eleanor Bron who'll return as Kara in Revelation of the Daleks while her male companion is John Cleese. You don't need me to tell you who he is. Reputedly he was in TV Centre that day recording the final episode of Fawlty Towers!
City of Death was repeated on 12th, 13th, 19th & 20th August 1980. It was never adapted as a Target Book: Douglas Adams was keen to novelise his three stories himself and wouldn't let anyone else do them. But then he became busy, and then became famous and the fees Target books would need to pay for his services shot up waaaay beyond the budgets for the range. However one of the central conceits of the story, an alien who's spaceship blows up at the dawn of time starting life on Earth and then influences events to try to avert the explosion utilising a time machine, was recycled by Douglas Adams for his novel Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, probably one of the best things Adams wrote. As we will see this isn't the only Doctor Who story to have an influence on Dirk Gently. City of Death was released on video twice: The first time was in July of 1991 (I can remember buying it on the day of release from Volume 1 in Kingston) and then again in May 2001. A DVD edition was made available in the UK on 7th November 2005.