The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve

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022 – The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve
Doctor Who serial
Massacre of St Bartholomews Eve.jpg
The Doctor and Steven discuss events
Directed by Paddy Russell
Written by John Lucarotti
Donald Tosh
Script editor Donald Tosh
Gerry Davis
Produced by John Wiles
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Stock music by Pierre Arvey
Production code W
Series Season 3
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing All 4 episodes
Date started 5 February 1966
Date ended 26 February 1966
← Preceded by Followed by →
The Daleks' Master Plan The Ark
List of Doctor Who serials

The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve is the completely missing fourth serial of the third season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 5 to 26 February 1966. This serial marks the first appearance of Jackie Lane as companion-to-be Dodo Chaplet. Although audio recordings and still photographs of the story exist, no footage of this serial is known to have survived.


The arrival of the TARDIS in Paris, France in 1572 places its occupants, the First Doctor and Steven Taylor, in a dangerous situation. Tensions between Protestants and Catholics are at fever pitch in the city –- with younger hotheads like Gaston, Viscount de Lerans, a Protestant Huguenot nobleman, and Simon Duval, a Catholic, drawn into violent confrontation in a tavern. Despite the danger, the Doctor heads off alone to visit the apothecary Charles Preslin, leaving Steven to drink alone but warning him to keep out of trouble. Moments later, Steven attracts the attention of the landlord of the tavern for not settling his bill, but is helped out financially by Nicholas Muss, a Huguenot, who welcomes him to his party of drinkers. Muss explains that the marriage of the Protestant Prince Henri of Navarre, to the Catholic Princess Marguerite de Valois, the sister of the King, is the cause of the heightened tension in Paris. While Steven, Gaston and Nicholas are wandering home, they find a frightened serving girl, Anne Chaplet, who is terrified of being pressed into the service of the Catholic Abbot of Amboise. Anne is also scared because she has heard some guards in the pay of the Cardinal mention how a religious massacre of Huguenots back in her home town of Wassy a decade earlier could now be replicated in Paris. To protect her and her knowledge, Nicholas arranges for Anne to go into the service of his master, Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, the most senior Protestant adviser at the Royal Court. Steven also stays with the Admiral to avoid the curfew in the city, as the Doctor has not returned to the tavern as arranged.

The next day, the Abbot of Amboise has arrived at his Parisian residence. He bears the exact likeness and voice of the Doctor. He is a religious zealot who acts as enforcer to the ever-absent Cardinal of Lorraine. The Abbot is about to journey to Paris to conduct a witch-hunt against all heresy, including the apothecaries and the Huguenots. He sends his secretary, Roger Colbert, out to track down the missing Anne Chaplet, convinced she has worked out the threat to the Protestants. Colbert makes for de Coligny’s house and tries to convince Nicholas, Gaston, and Steven that Anne has been over-creative in her interpretation of what she heard. A little later, Steven spies Colbert talking to the Abbot about the situation, and is stunned that the cleric seems to be the Doctor. When Steven and Nicholas track down Preslin’s shop to try to find the Doctor, they discover it has been closed since Preslin was arrested for heresy two years before. This news makes Nicholas suspicious that Steven is a spy in the employ of the Doctor/Abbot.

In the Council of France a power struggle is in place between the impassioned, Catholic Tavannes, Marshal of France, and the more cautious Admiral de Coligny, who is trying to persuade the Court to back the Dutch in their war against Spain.

Steven has now fallen out with and evaded Nicholas Muss, taking his chances in the streets of Paris alone. He heads for the Abbot’s house, believing him to be the Doctor, and hides there while Tavannes, Duval and Colbert meet to discuss their plans. The "Sea Beggar dies tomorrow" assures Tavannes, as an assassin has been engaged to kill him when he departs the Royal Council in the Louvre. The Sea Beggar is a codename for de Coligny, but the conspirators do not reveal this. With night falling again, Steven heads out again and finds Anne following him. She has been dismissed from service for protesting Steven’s innocence in the Catholic plot. They hide the night at Preslin’s empty shop then determine to try to find the identity of the Sea Beggar.

When the Council resumes at the Louvre the next morning, Tavannes and de Coligny are still locked in conflict. They also argue about domestic matters, with de Coligny urging more action to protect the Huguenots.

Steven and Anne call upon the Abbot, where he learns both that the Doctor is not the Abbot and the identity of the Sea Beggar. The pair flee before Anne can be confined, alerting the Abbot, Tavannes and Colbert of their danger since they evidently know too much. Steven and Anne make contact with Nicholas Muss and warn him the assassination of his master is about to take place. Nicholas bolts off and witnesses the assassination attempt, but de Coligny is merely wounded.

Tavannes believes the bungled assassination is the fault of the Abbot, who has become a liability, and the cleric is placed under arrest, suspected of being an impostor.

De Coligny has meanwhile been moved to his house, and a surgeon called, and as Steven and Nicholas tend to him they too receive news that the Abbot of Amboise has died. Steven is distraught, still partly convinced that the Doctor has adopted the Abbot’s guise, heads to the Abbot’s lodgings and sees the dead body there. It seems the Abbot has been assassinated too, inflaming the Catholic mob outside the house, which does not disappoint the real culprits, Colbert and Tavannes.

On the following day, Steven heads back to Preslin’s shop and is reunited with Anne. A little later the Doctor himself arrives, and is very insistent that he and Steven must depart the city as soon as possible. Anne is sent to her aunt’s house, with a warning from the Doctor that she must stay there. She heads off while Steven and the Doctor head across the city.

The Queen Mother has now persuaded the King that the Huguenots are a threat to his reign, and has signed an edict authorising a Huguenot massacre over the next twenty-four hours. Simon Duval and Colbert greet the coming massacre with more glee and bloodlust than that displayed by Tavannes, who fears the Queen Mother has gone too far.

The Doctor and Steven make it to the TARDIS just as the curfew is falling and depart as the massacre begins. Steven is worried for Anne and his friends, and angry that the Doctor made him leave. The Doctor insists that history could not be changed. De Coligny and Nicholas Muss will be amongst the dead, and possibly Anne too. Steven cannot accept that the Doctor had to leave Anne behind, and is so disgusted with his colleague that he determines to leave his company. When the TARDIS lands Steven offers a terse goodbye and ventures out into a woodland area. The Doctor is left totally alone for the first time, and reflects on the other companions that have travelled with him and then left him, and his inability to return home.

The TARDIS has arrived in 1966 and a young girl enters the vehicle thinking it to be a Police Box on Wimbledon Common. A small child has been hurt in a road accident and she wishes to make a call. Steven arrives back too, saying that policemen are approaching, and his heart softens when the young woman introduces herself as Dorothea or Dodo Chaplet.

The Doctor, hearing Steven's warning of the approaching policemen, hurriedly dematerialises the TARDIS, not noticing until after it has left 1966 that Dodo is still aboard. Steven informs her that there's no way back, and "we could land anywhere," but Dodo seems either unworried or simply doesn't believe him. She says she is an orphan who lives with her great aunt and thus has few ties, as the TARDIS continues to hum, hurtling them toward the next great adventure.


Episode Title Run time Original air date UK viewers
(millions) [1]
Archive [2]
1 "War of God" 24:51 5 February 1966 (1966-02-05) 8.0 Only stills and/or fragments exist
2 "The Sea Beggar" 24:43 12 February 1966 (1966-02-12) 6.0 Only stills and/or fragments exist
3 "Priest of Death" 24:33 19 February 1966 (1966-02-19) 5.9 Only stills and/or fragments exist
4 "Bell of Doom" 25:06 26 February 1966 (1966-02-26) 5.8 Only stills and/or fragments exist

^† Episode is missing

Script editor Donald Tosh rewrote much of the script delivered by John Lucarotti. In a monograph on The Massacre, James Cooray Smith argues that the Doctor's similarity with the Abbot of Amboise was inspired by a real historical event, the impersonation in 1562 of the Abbot responsible for Marmoutier Abbey in the commune of Amboise by a man called Chastillon, who was later executed. He suggests that Lucarotti's original script (which no longer exists) involved the Doctor extensively impersonating the Abbot with the audience's connivance, whereas Tosh's preference was for the audience to be left unsure whether or not the Abbot was really the Doctor, leading to the disagreements between the two.[3] There are conflicting accounts as to whether Lucarotti's name was removed from the credits at his request.[4][5] Tosh is credited with co-writing the final episode, on which incoming script editor Gerry Davis was credited as script editor in his place.[6]

According to the book Doctor Who: Companions by David J. Howe and Mark Stammers, the final episode of the serial was to have included a cameo appearance by William Russell and Jacqueline Hill reprising their roles as former companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. The scene had Ian and Barbara witnessing the dematerialisation of the TARDIS after Dodo enters. Although the scene was scheduled, it was not filmed.

Alternative titles[edit]

A few original production documents state the name of the serial as The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, although this is an anachronism, as the actual massacre took place on St Bartholomew's Day. Some have noted that as the original French name for the event (Massacre de la Saint-Barthélemy) lacks a day, the title actually refers to the lead up to the massacre itself — that is, the Eve of the Massacre of St Bartholomew.

The BBC Radio Collection release gives the title as, variously, The Massacre and The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve. The packaging uses the title The Massacre, but the accompanying booklet uses both titles. The CDs have The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve printed on them and this is also the title announced by Peter Purves on the discs themselves.

Cast notes[edit]

William Hartnell was on holiday during filming of episode two;[7] the Doctor does not feature in the episode, and the Abbot appears in a pre-filmed scene only.

Leonard Sachs later played Borusa in Arc of Infinity. Michael Bilton later played Collins in Pyramids of Mars and a Time Lord in The Deadly Assassin. Christopher Tranchell later played Jenkins in The Faceless Ones and Commander Andred in The Invasion of Time. David Weston later played Biroc in Warriors' Gate.

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

The Massacre
Doctor Who The Massacre.jpg
Author John Lucarotti
Cover artist Tony Masero
Series Doctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
Publisher Target Books
Publication date

June 1987 (Hardback)

19 November 1987 (Paperback)
ISBN 0-491-03423-7

John Lucarotti's 1987 novelisation of this serial for Target Books, entitled simply The Massacre, returned the story to a previous draft before both a scheduled holiday for Hartnell and technical limitations forced a number of rewrites (allowing Hartnell to not have to be present during recording of the second episode and removing the need for Hartnell to be doubled throughout the story).

Home media[edit]

This is one of only three stories, along with Marco Polo and Mission to the Unknown, of which no footage survives.[8] However, a fan-recorded soundtrack, with linking narration provided by Peter Purves, was released by the BBC Radio Collection on both audio CD and cassette in 1999.


  1. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Shaun Lyon; et al. (2007-03-31). "The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 2008-05-07. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 
  3. ^ Smith, James Cooray (2016). The Black Archive #4: The Massacre. Obverse Books. pp. 32, 98. 
  4. ^ "The Making Of The Massacre". Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  5. ^ "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): The Massacre Of St Bartholomew's Eve". Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links[edit]


Target novelisation[edit]