The Time Warrior
|070 – The Time Warrior|
|Doctor Who serial|
Sarah Jane discovers that attitudes in the Middle Ages were somewhat different
|Directed by||Alan Bromly|
|Written by||Robert Holmes|
|Script editor||Terrance Dicks|
|Produced by||Barry Letts|
|Incidental music composer||Dudley Simpson|
|Length||4 episodes, 25 minutes each|
|First broadcast||15 December 1973|
|Last broadcast||5 January 1974|
The Time Warrior is the first serial of the 11th season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts on BBC1 from 15 December 1973 to 5 January 1974. The serial introduced Elisabeth Sladen as new companion Sarah Jane Smith. It also marked the debut of the Sontaran race. The serial also introduces the name of the Doctor's home planet, Gallifrey.
In the serial, the Sontaran Commander Linx (Kevin Lindsay) crash lands his spaceship in medieval England. He agrees to give futuristic weaponry to the warrior Irongron (David Daker) and his men in exchange for Linx being given shelter to perform repairs on the damaged spaceship.
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In the Middle Ages, the bandit Irongron and his aide Bloodaxe, together with their rabble of criminals, find the crashed spaceship of a Sontaran warrior named Linx. The alien claims Earth for his Empire, then sets about repairing his ship, offering Irongron “magic weapons” that will make him a king in return for shelter. They strike a bargain, though Irongron remains suspicious.
The Third Doctor and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart are investigating the disappearance of several scientists from a top secret scientific research complex. They do not know Linx has used an Osmic Projector to send himself forward to the 20th century and has kidnapped the scientists, then hypnotised them into making repairs on his ship. The Projector only lets him appear in another time for a brief period. While the Doctor investigates he meets an eccentric scientist called Rubeish and a young journalist called Sarah Jane Smith, who has infiltrated the complex by masquerading as her aunt. Later that evening Rubeish disappears and the Doctor uses the data he has gathered to pilot the TARDIS back to the Middle Ages, not realising new companion Sarah has stowed away on board.
Irongron has stolen his castle from an absent nobleman, and relations with his neighbours are appalling. Indeed, the mild Lord Edward of Wessex has been provoked into building an alliance against him and, when this is slow in developing, sends his archer Hal on an unsuccessful mission to kill Irongron. Irongron is in a foul mood when a captured Sarah is brought before him. His mood improves when Linx presents him with a robot knight which is then put to the test on a captured Hal. The Doctor shoots the robot control box from Irongron’s hands. The ensuing confusion lets both Hal and Sarah flee, and they head for Wessex Castle.
Meanwhile, the Doctor has realised both that Sarah is in the time period and has been captured, and also that she previously supposed him to be in league with Irongron. The next morning Irongron and his troops assault the castle using rifles supplied by Linx but the attack is repelled by the Doctor’s cunning. The failure further sours the relationship between Linx and Irongron, which has deteriorated since the robot knight fiasco and the point at which the robber saw the Sontaran’s true visage beneath his helmet.
The Doctor now decides to lead an attack on Irongron’s castle, and he and Sarah enter dressed as friars. He makes contact with Rubeish and finds the human scientists in a state of extreme exhaustion. Linx catches the Doctor in the laboratory once more, but this time is rendered immobile when a lucky strike from Rubeish hits his probic vent – a Sontaran refuelling point on the back of their necks which is also their main weakness. Rubeish and the Doctor use the Osmic Projector to send the scientists back to the twentieth century. Sarah now invites herself into Irongron’s kitchen, using the opportunity to drug the food, thereby knocking out Irongron’s men.
A recovered Linx now determines his ship is repaired enough to effect a departure. Once more he encounters the Doctor, and they wrestle in combat. A crazed and half drugged Irongron arrives and accuses Linx of betraying him: the Sontaran responds by killing him. As Linx enters his spherical vessel Hal arrives and shoots him in the probic vent, and the Sontaran warrior falls dead over his controls, triggering the launch mechanism. Knowing the place is about to explode when the shuttle takes off, Bloodaxe awakes and rouses the remaining men and tells them to flee, while the Doctor hurries the last of his allies out of the castle. It explodes moments before the Doctor and Sarah depart in the TARDIS.
Working titles for this story included The Time Fugitive and The Time Survivor. The original outline for the serial was humorously submitted to the production office in the form of a "Field report from Sontaran Field Marshal Hol Mes, to Terran Cedicks".
The serial stars Jeremy Bulloch as the archer Hal. Bulloch would go on to perhaps greater fame as bounty hunter Boba Fett in the Star Wars films, as well as a series of small roles in the James Bond films. He previously played Tor in The Space Museum.
The serial also stars Kevin Lindsay as Commander Linx. Lindsay would reappear as Cho-je in Jon Pertwee's last episode, Planet of the Spiders, and again as two Sontarans in Tom Baker's third story The Sontaran Experiment.
The story introduces a new opening sequence that includes a slit-scan "time tunnel" effect. It also introduces a new, diamond-shaped logo. These remained in use until 1980. This is the first story in the series history to refer to each segment as a 'Part' rather than 'Episode'. This remained until the end of the classic series with the exception of Destiny of the Daleks.
Broadcast and reception
|Episode||Title||Run time||Original air date||UK viewers|
|1||"Part One"||24:15||15 December 1973||8.7||PAL 2" colour videotape|
|2||"Part Two"||24:10||22 December 1973||7.0||PAL 2" colour videotape|
|3||"Part Three"||23:30||29 December 1973||6.6||PAL 2" colour videotape|
|4||"Part Four"||24:57||5 January 1974||10.6||PAL 2" colour videotape|
The BBC Audience Research Report taken for the fourth episode was positive, particularly the climax. However, there was a minority that felt it was too far-fetched or slapstick.
In The Discontinuity Guide (1995), Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping wrote that the story was "a rather wonderful romp" and "one of Robert Holmes' funniest". David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker in The Television Companion (1998) gave a mixed review, stating that it was "enjoyable", especially in its dialogue and characters, but "lacks the sort of impact ideally needed to launch a new run of adventures". They felt that it was "absurd" for scientists to be under custody by UNIT, that the scientists were "cliched and unbelievable", and the setting had "a lack of convincing period atmosphere". In 2010, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times praised the "broad characters and ripe dialogue", but felt the "greatest success" was Linx. The A.V. Club's Christopher Bahn praised the characterisation of Linx and Sarah. DVD Talk's Stuart Galbraith gave The Time Warrior four out of five stars, highlighting the "clever writing" and actor David Daker. In 2009, SFX listed the cliffhanger where Linx removes his helmet as the seventh scariest Doctor Who moment, praising the monster design and idea.
|Author||Terrance Dicks and Robert Holmes (uncredited)|
|Cover artist||Roy Knipe|
|Series||Doctor Who book:|
|29 June 1978|
The Target novelization, Doctor Who and the Time Warrior, features a prologue written by Robert Holmes involving Linx at war with a group of Rutan Fighters. He is given the first name of Jingo. The Sontaran home planet is named Sontara. It also suggests that the Earth had never been surveyed, which would eventually happen in the following Sontaran story The Sontaran Experiment.
Holmes was initially commissioned to novelise his own story, but wrote only the book's prologue, sending it to Dicks with a note telling him to finish the rest himself. Holmes was not credited for his contribution. An unabridged reading of the Target novel was released by BBC audio on CD in February 2009. It is read by Jeremy Bulloch who played Hal the archer in the TV story.
In 1989, the story was released in an omnibus format on VHS. This version omits a slightly extended scene of Sarah's capture from the beginning of episode two. The Time Warrior was released on region 2 DVD on 3 September 2007, commercially available in its original episodic format for the first time. It was also released as part of the Bred for War DVD boxset along stories The Sontaran Experiment, The Invasion of Time and The Two Doctors. This serial was also released as part of the Doctor Who DVD Files in issue 53 on 12 January 2011.
- "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - The Time Warrior - Details". www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
- Shaun Lyon; et al. (2007-03-31). "The Time Warrior". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on December 12, 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
- Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7.
- Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "The Time Warrior". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5.
- Mulkern, Patrick (21 February 2010). "Doctor Who: The Time Warrior". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- Bahn, Christopher (14 August 2012). "The Time Warrior". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- Galbraith, Stuart (25 April 2008). "Doctor Who - The Time Warrior". DVD Talk. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "21 Scariest Doctor Who Moments 5". SFX. 1 February 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- Molesworth, Richard (Producer), Broster, Steve (Producer and Director) (9 October 2006). The Sontaran Experiment ("Made for War" documentary) (DVD). London, England: BBC Video/2 entertain. Event occurs at 8:05–9:35. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- Neal, Tim. "Doctor Who and the Time Warrior". On Target. University of Leeds. Retrieved 2007-03-29.[permanent dead link]
- "The Time Warrior DVD". BBC. 2007-08-20. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
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