OVERALL EPISODE NUMBER: 573
STORY NUMBER: 121
TRANSMITTED: Tuesday 16 February 1982
WRITER: Eric Saward
DIRECTOR: Peter Moffatt
SCRIPT EDITOR: Antony Root
PRODUCER: John Nathan-Turner
RATINGS: 9.3 million viewers
FORMAT: DVD: Doctor Who - The Visitation
The Doctor reveals himself, having found a way through the illusionary but seemingly solid wall. He, his friends & Richard Mace explore the house's cellars, finding caged rats and an alien machine producing the flammable Soliton gas. They are in turn found by an Android, dressed as Death but while escaping from it Tegan & Adric are captured. Doctor, Nyssa & Mace find a half buried escape pod, but are trapped in it by villagers controlled by the alien visitors. Adric & Tegan are interrogated by an the Terileptil leader then flung in cell. They manage to get out of the cell but Tegan is recaptured as Adric escapes through the house's window. Nyssa is sent to the Tardis to build a sonic device to destroy the android while Doctor & Mace go to speak to the Miller who they had seen leaving the house. They are trapped in the Miller's barn by villagers and sentenced to death as plague carriers.
Good stuff again, not really a word wrong I can say about it! The "Oh no, not again" line at the end of the episode is a nod to the end of the third episode of Four to Doomsday where once again The Doctor is pushed to the floor and is about to be beheaded! The line dropped into the story that the Soliton gas, which the the Terileptils breath, is highly flammable will become significant later. As Terrance Dicks has been known to say "if you show a gun hanging on the wall you have to use it later"
Chronologically this is is Eric Saward's first involvement with Doctor Who. The script was developed under previous script editor Christopher H. Bidmead, who encouraged Saward to apply for the script editor's job when he left. He discovered that the post had already been filled by Antony Root who'd been given a 3 month attachment to the show but when Root left to work on Juliet Bravo Saward won the post and indeed ended up giving the final polish to his own script.
The Mace character is taken & adapted from some of Saward's previous scripting work for Radio 4. In these Mace is a Victorian actor/manager who becomes involved in strange mysteries but is otherwise similar to his Doctor Who version. He was played on the radio by Geoffery Matthews but on the TV by well known actor Michael Robbins, probably most famous for his appearances as Arthur Rudge, Stan Butler's brother in law in On The Buses.