OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 517
STORY NUMBER: 106
TRANSMITTED: 17 November 1979
WRITER: David Fisher
DIRECTOR: Christopher Barry
SCRIPT EDITOR: Douglas Adams
PRODUCER: Graham Williams
RATINGS: 9.6 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Creature from the Pit
The creature uses the shield to communicate using the Doctor's larynx introducing itself as Erato, a high ambassador from Tythonus. Erato came to Chloris to propose a trading agreement for the metal, abundant on Tythonus, for Chlorophyll, which is found on Chloris. Adrasta, holder of the monopoly on metal on Chloris, imprisoned it in the pit. Angry at the deception Adrasta has perpetrated the guards sets the wolf weeds on her killing her. Erato is freed from the pit. The Doctor reveals the shell they found was Erato's spaceship. Romana works out the noise the shell was making was distress signal. The bandits plan to steal Erato's photon drive, which the Doctor has entrusted to Organon. The Tythonians have set a Neutron star on a course for Chloris' sun in retaliation for the treatment of their ambassador. The Doctor plans to get Erato to weave a layer of aluminium round the star to divert it's course, but it is discovered the photon drive is missing. Kerala retrieves the drive, killing the bandit's leader, and the Doctor convinces her to turn it over to him. Erato's repaired ship lifts off and successfully wraps the star in aluminium, diverting it's course and saving Chloris. The Doctor brings the people of Chloris a trading agreement from Erato.
Hmmm. I dislike this episode an awful lot. Get the explanations for what going on out the way and it all seems like something added onto the end to extend the story for 2/3 of an episode.
Creature from the Pit's execution isn't the best but the concepts are good: Evil beautiful woman with trapped good but hideous alien is reminiscent of Galaxy Four while the idea of a plant rich but metal poor civilisation coming into contact with one with the opposite problem is clever as is the idea that the first person the ambassador from the metal planet coming into contact with is someone with the monopoly on metal and thus an interest in preserving the status quo. After this it all falls apart with especial blame being laid at the feet of the monster. Not my favourite story.
This is the last Doctor Who story directed by Christopher Barry. His complete Doctor Who CV reads The Daleks (episodes 1,2,4,5 only), The Rescue, The Romans, The Savages, The Power of the Dalek, The Dæmons, The Mutants, Robot, The Brain of Morbius & The Creature from the Pit. He's also directed for Moonbase 3 and The Tripods, plus a range of other BBC productions over the years.
Creature from the Pit was adapted by it's original author David Fisher in 1981. It was was released on VHS in July 2002 and on DVD in May 2010. It also brings us to the end of a massive 74 episode run on DVD, stretching back to Robots of Death 1. Thanks to The Face Of Evil and the Android Invasion now being out on DVD that run stretches back to Planet of Evil 1, covering 112 episodes.