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The Celestial Toymaker

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024 – The Celestial Toymaker
Doctor Who serial
The Toymaker
Directed byBill Sellars
Written byBrian Hayles
Donald Tosh (uncredited)
Script editorGerry Davis
Produced byInnes Lloyd
Executive producer(s)None
Music byDudley Simpson
Production codeY
SeriesSeason 3
Running time4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing3 episodes (1–3)
First broadcast2 April 1966 (1966-04-02)
Last broadcast23 April 1966 (1966-04-23)
← Preceded by
The Ark
Followed by →
The Gunfighters
List of episodes (1963–1989)

The Celestial Toymaker is the mostly missing seventh serial of the third season in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 2 to 23 April 1966.

In this serial, the alien time traveller the First Doctor (William Hartnell) and his travelling companions Steven Taylor (Peter Purves) and Dodo Chaplet (Jackie Lane) are pitted against a powerful adversary called The Toymaker (Michael Gough). The Toymaker separates the Doctor from his companions to play the Trilogic Game, while Steven and Dodo are forced to win a series of seemingly childish but deadly games before they can be reunited with the Doctor and return to the TARDIS.

Only the last episode of this story, "The Final Test", is held in the BBC archives; the other three remain missing. "The Final Test" has been released on VHS and DVD, and the story has been novelised. A fully animated version was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2024.



An alien intelligence has invaded the TARDIS and rendered the First Doctor invisible, leaving Dodo and Steven incredulous. They step outside into a strange realm where the Doctor reappears. They have come to the realm of the Toymaker, an eternal being of infinite power who sets games and traps for the unwary so that they become his playthings. The Doctor and the Toymaker have faced each other before, and the Toymaker abducts his old adversary to another place. The Doctor appears in the Toymaker's study, where he is given the Trilogic game, a ten-piece puzzle (similar to the Tower of Hanoi) whose pieces must all be moved and remounted in a 1023-move sequence.

Steven and Dodo face different challenges. The first are two clowns, Joey and Clara, full of childish tricks and a dangerous game of blind man's bluff. The clowns are made to replay the game when it is clear they are cheating, and the second time round Joey loses his footing on an obstacle course and the challengers are transformed into twisted dolls on the floor. Steven and Dodo then venture down a corridor into another chamber with three chairs and a challenge from living playing cards, the King and Queen of Hearts, along with a Knave and a Joker. An adjoining room has a further four chairs, and Steven deduces that six of the seven chairs are deadly to sit on. Seven mannequins are provided to be used for testing on the chairs. The King and Queen play alongside them, and some of the mannequins are destroyed as seats are proven unsafe and eliminated. Dodo is nearly killed by a chair that almost freezes her into ice before Steven helps her stand up. The King and Queen are trapped when they sit in a chair which folds in on them.

Steven and Dodo next meet the comical Sgt. Rugg and Mrs. Wiggs in a kitchen. They challenge them to hunt the thimble – the key to the exit door. Dodo finds the key inside the large pie which Mrs Wiggs was making. She and Steven depart and enter another room with a dancing floor. There they encounter the three mannequins not destroyed by the chairs, who transform into ballerinas and start to dance. At the far end of the floor is the TARDIS. Steven and Dodo get trapped as partners with two of the dolls and only free themselves by swapping their partners for each other. They pelt on to the TARDIS, but the police box is a fake.

The Toymaker chooses Cyril the schoolboy to take on the Doctor's companions. Dodo and Steven find themselves in a vast game of hopscotch against Cyril, who slips on a triangle he has booby-trapped and is electrocuted. Dodo and Steven thus reach the TARDIS.

In the Toymaker's study at the same time, the Doctor is at the final stage of the Trilogic Game. The three friends are reunited, with Steven and Dodo sent into the TARDIS for safety while the Toymaker challenges the Doctor to complete the Game. The Doctor realises that when he makes the move and the Game is won, the Toymaker's domain will disappear – and the TARDIS with it. He orders the last piece to move using the Toymaker's voice from inside the TARDIS, allowing them to depart while the Toymaker's world is destroyed.

The Doctor explains what he did to Dodo and Steven, and the team commemorate their victory with a bag of sweets given to Dodo by Cyril. The Doctor puts one in his mouth and immediately yells in pain...



Working titles for this story included The Toymaker and The Trilogic Game. Brian Hayles was unavailable to do necessary rewrites, so then script editor Donald Tosh performed them. As Tosh would no longer be script editor by the time the story was transmitted, he agreed with Hayles to take the writer's credit, with Hayles being credited for the idea. After Tosh finished work on the scripts, his successor, Gerry Davis, was forced to make further rewrites due to a budget shortfall. Tosh was unhappy with the rewrites and refused to be credited, while Davis could not take a credit because he was the series' script editor. As a result of this, Hayles was the sole credited author on the final serial, despite the fact that he had not worked on it in three months and the final scripts bore little to no resemblance to what he wrote. Davis adapted themes from "George and Margaret", a popular play from the time in which the central characters are never seen as themselves.[1]

William Hartnell was on holiday during the recordings of Episodes 2 & 3, "The Hall of Dolls" and "The Dancing Floor". Pre-recordings of his voice were heard[2] in episode 2 and Albert Ward was a hand double (sporting the Doctor's ring) for scenes where the mostly invisible Doctor played the Trilogic Game throughout the story. The story was commissioned by producer John Wiles, who left the series before it was recorded after several clashes with William Hartnell. His intention was to replace Hartnell in the role of the Doctor during the story, having the character reappear in a new guise after the invisibility was removed by the Toymaker. The BBC's head of serials, Gerald Savory, vetoed the idea, leading to Wiles quitting in protest.[3]

All episodes of this story except Episode 4, "The Final Test", are missing from the BBC archives.[4] Only audio recordings and production stills survive from the first three episodes, as no tele-snaps were captured. Wiles opted not to use John Cura's services during his tenure, which has led to many visual elements of Wiles' stories being completely lost. This serial is one of the more well-documented of Season 3's broadcast without tele-snaps, so more photographs of these elements survive than the preceding stories, including the sets, costumes and actual colour of everything.

In 1985, during the routine examination of its film archive, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation discovered a 16mm film print copy of "The Final Test" in Australia, and promptly returned it to the BBC.[5]

Donald Tosh, script editor during Hartnell's tenure as the Doctor, later stated that, although never addressed onscreen, the Toymaker was intended to be a member of the Doctor's own race, the then-unestablished Time Lords.[6]

Cast notes


Michael Gough later appeared in the Fifth Doctor story Arc of Infinity (1983).[7] Peter Stephens later appeared in the Second Doctor story The Underwater Menace (1967).[8] Carmen Silvera later appeared in the Third Doctor story Invasion of the Dinosaurs (1974).[9]

Broadcast and reception

EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [10]
Archive [11]
1"The Celestial Toyroom"24:402 April 1966 (1966-04-02)8.0Only stills and/or fragments exist
2"The Hall of Dolls"24:459 April 1966 (1966-04-09)8.0Only stills and/or fragments exist
3"The Dancing Floor"24:1016 April 1966 (1966-04-16)9.4Only stills and/or fragments exist
4"The Final Test"23:5723 April 1966 (1966-04-23)7.816mm t/r

^† Episode is missing

BBC Television, the producers, received complaints from lawyers acting on behalf of the late Frank Richards' estate. The character Cyril (played by Peter Stephens), who was fat and wore glasses, was said to bear a remarkable resemblance to fictional schoolboy Billy Bunter. Viewers complained to the BBC that Billy was not as cruel as Cyril.[12] The BBC subsequently issued a disclaimer saying that Cyril was merely "Bunter-like",[13] and that the only thing they had in common was their costume.[14]

The BBC's Audience Research Report on the final episode found that it "had little appeal for a large proportion of the sample, over a third of whom actually disliked it." Some found the episode to be lacking in action and it was also criticised for 'ham' acting, although other viewers had enjoyed the cast's performance. The audience sample mostly found the story as a whole to be too different from the usual Doctor Who story format, being more of a whimsical fantasy. The most critical viewers dismissed it as "ridiculous rubbish"; others said that although disliking it themselves, their children had enjoyed it.[15]

The serial was positively received by Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times who said the first episode was "undoubtedly a fantasy classic". Mulkern thought that Michael Gough did not get much screen time in his role as the Toymaker, but "exudes menace ... and has that fabulous voice." The review also praised Dudley Simpson's musical score, and the "excellent" costume and design.[16]

Commercial releases


In print

The Celestial Toymaker
AuthorGerry Davis and Alison Bingeman
Cover artistGraham Potts
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
PublisherTarget Books
Publication date
June 1986 (Hardback) 20 November 1986 (Paperback)

A novelisation of this serial, written by Gerry Davis and Alison Bingeman, was published by Target Books in June 1986. It is one of the few Doctor Who novels (original or adapted) to be written by more than one person.

Home media


The fourth episode, "The Final Test", was released on The Hartnell Years VHS in 1991, albeit with the "Next Episode" caption rather clumsily cut from the cliffhanger scene (this was unavoidable, as the 16mm black & white film telerecording was itself incomplete). In November 2004, "The Final Test" was released in digitally re-mastered form (with the "Next Episode" caption restored) on DVD in Region 1 and Region 2 in a three-disc Lost in Time box set.

An audio-only version of the serial was released on Compact Disc in 2001, featuring linking narrations by Peter Purves. One of these narrations is deliberately inserted to obscure a line in "The Hall of Dolls" where the King of Hearts recites a version of "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe" that includes a racial slur.[17]

A fully animated release utilising the original soundtrack recordings was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2024.[18][19]

The Toymaker's other appearances


Although fifty-seven years had elapsed since the Toymaker's last appearance in a televised Doctor Who story, the Toymaker returned as the antagonist in "The Giggle", the third and final of the 60th anniversary specials released in 2023.[6] In this story, he was played by Neil Patrick Harris.[6]

The character has also appeared in other Doctor Who media:

  • The Toymaker appeared in the 1981 expanded-universe comic strip titled "The Greatest Gamble", retaining his Michael Gough "Chinese mandarin" guise. This story did not feature the Doctor.
  • The Toymaker was the Fifth Doctor's antagonist in the 1999 BBC Past Doctor Adventures novel Divided Loyalties[20][21] (again, using the Michael Gough incarnation).
  • The Toymaker was set to return as the Sixth Doctor's antagonist in a cancelled 1985 television story,[6] titled The Nightmare Fair, in which he would have again been played by Michael Gough. However, the story was cancelled after Doctor Who was put on hiatus by the BBC in 1985.[6] The story was novelised in 1989 as part of Target's Missing Episodes line, and adapted as an audioplay by Big Finish Productions in 2009 (this time, with David Bailie playing the Toymaker).
  • The Toymaker is stated in the 2001 BBC Books novel The Quantum Archangel to be a Guardian, transcendental beings who appear in Doctor Who's sixteenth season,[22] despite having originally intended to be a Time Lord.[6]
  • The Toymaker was the Seventh Doctor's ultimate antagonist in the Big Finish Productions audio play The Magic Mousetrap in 2009.
  • The Toymaker was the antagonist to Charley Pollard and the Eighth Doctor in the Big Finish Productions audioplay Solitaire in 2010, again played by David Bailie.
  • The Toymaker was the Twelfth Doctor's antagonist in the Doctor Who comic strip "Relative Dimensions" in 2015.
  • The Toymaker was the antagonist in two short stories ("Murder in the Dark" and "Trick or Treat") in the Doctor Who anthology "Tales of Terror" in 2017.


  1. ^ Haining, Peter (1984). Doctor Who: The Key to Time. A Year-by-Year Record. London: W. H. Allen, 46.
  2. ^ "NZDWFC: TSV 2: Gerry Davis Interview".
  3. ^ "Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – Season 3". BBC. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  4. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 3, The Celestial Toymaker - The Fourth Dimension". BBC.
  5. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who, Season 3, The Celestial Toymaker - The Fourth Dimension". BBC.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Griffin, Louise (9 December 2023). "Who is The Toymaker in Doctor Who? Neil Patrick Harris villain explained". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 January 2024.
  7. ^ "Arc of Infinity ★".
  8. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who".
  9. ^ "BBC One - Doctor Who".
  10. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  11. ^ Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "The Celestial Toymaker". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  12. ^ Haining, Peter (1984). Doctor Who: The Key to Time. A Year-by-Year Record. London: W. H. Allen, 47.
  13. ^ Cyril or Billy? The resemblance causes allegations of plagiarism against Doctor Who's producers, the BBC: IMDB.com website. Retrieved 24 February 2008.
  14. ^ Haining, Peter (1984). Doctor Who: The Key to Time. A Year-by-Year Record. London: W. H. Allen, 47.
  15. ^ "The Celestial Toymaker". BBC Online. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  16. ^ Mulkern, Patrick (13 March 2009). "The Celestial Toymaker ****". RadioTimes. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  17. ^ Rice, Barry (9 April 2015). "The Time They Said the N-Word on Doctor Who". Winter Is Coming. Retrieved 22 June 2022.[dead link]
  18. ^ "Doctor Who's lost story The Celestial Toymaker animation confirmed". radiotimes.com. 7 December 2023. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  19. ^ Dee, Christel (7 December 2023). "The Celestial Toymaker Animation". Doctor Who. Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  20. ^ "BBC - Cult - Doctor Who - Books - Divided Loyalties". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2024.
  21. ^ Lovett, Jamie (11 December 2023). "Doctor Who To Recreate Missing The Celestial Toymaker Episodes With Animation". CBR. Retrieved 28 May 2024. the Toymaker[...]'s appeared in several comic book stories (most recently Titan Comics' Doctor Who 2015 Holiday Special) and the Fifth Doctor novel Divided Loyalties by Gary Russell.
  22. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (9 February 2020). "Doctor Who: Who are the Eternals, the Guardians and the Toymaker?". Radio Times. Retrieved 8 January 2024.