The Aztecs is the sixth serial of the first season of Doctor Who. It was written by John Lucarotti, directed by John Crockett and featured William Hartnell as the First Doctor, William Russell as Ian Chesterton, Jacqueline Hill as Barbara Wright and Carole Ann Ford as Susan Foreman.
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And with Barbara mistaken for a reincarnation of an ancient high priest called Yetaxa, the history teacher thinks that she can put an end to the barbaric human sacrifices once and for all. But can she rewrite history without disastrous consequences?
The Temple of Evil (1) Edit
Following their departure from Marinus, the TARDIS arrives in what appears to be a Aztec tomb. Barbara and Susan are quickly fascinated by the body there and all of the precious possessions on him. Searching around the room, Susan finds a wall with illustrations engraved in it and pushes on it, revealing an exit. Upon exiting thought, Barbara is caught and accused of defiling the tomb of the High Priest Yetaxa. When she is apprehended though, the Priest is seemingly deterred from using force by the bracelet on Barbara's arm.
Leaving the TARDIS soon after, the Doctor grumbles over Barbara not heeding his warning to not go off on her own and he, Ian and Susan leave the tomb as well. Looking out from the top of the temple, Ian is impressed by the magnificent Aztec architecture. Before they notice it, the door to the tomb closes behind them, sealing them out. Before they can find a way in, High Priest Autloc arrives and greets them as servants of Yetaxa.
The Doctor, Ian and Susan are taken to speak with Yetaxa, while they all feel intimidated by one of Autloc's subsidiaries, Tlotoxl. When they arrive, the find Barbara being treated as if she were a reincarnation of Yetaxa, on account of her wearing the bracelet of the High Priest when she was caught. Knowing that they are shut out of the tomb, the Doctor warns Barbara not to let on that she isn't any such reincarnation as it would be dangerous for all of them.
Autloc and Tlotoxl present themselves before Barbara and make a plea to her appear before the people and make the rains fall again, to which she agrees. They also request that she allows her 'servants' to move freely among them. Barbara has Susan remain with her while 'permitting' the Doctor and Ian free movement. After Autloc and Tlotoxl leave, the Doctor joyously concludes that now they are in the perfect position to find a way into the tomb without suspicion, with him and Ian learning about the tomb and Susan and Barbara safe and in control.
Outside, Tlotoxl discerns positions for Ian and the Doctor, opting the have Ian put up against their chosen warrior, Ixta, to prove himself. The Doctor is taken to the Garden of Peace while Tlotoxl takes Ian to meet Ixta, who is training to fight. Tlotoxl has Ixta engage in a training combat to show his skills, when he later declares his intention to be feared as the man who kills the servant of Yetaxa. He explains that Ian's role in the upcoming rain ceremony is to bring the sacrifice the Tlotoxl.
Elsewhere, Autloc shows the Doctor the Garden of Peace, where all those beyond the age of 52 are permitted to live the remainder of their lives safe and carefree, pointing out how everybody has much experience in one field or another, particularly a woman named Cameca. After Autloc leaves, the Doctor approaches her and they strike up a friendly conversation about the origin of the garden. Ian arrives dressed in armour and tells the Doctor of his predicament, but the Doctor only tells him that he must comply and not interfere with the Aztecs' traditions before going off and imparting the same sentiment to Barbara. However, Barbara refuses to heed his warning and plans to forbid the sacrifice. The Doctor, shocked by this, strongly insists for Barbara to listen to what he says as it isn't right to alter history to suit oneself, but she still doesn't listen.
Making her way to the alter, the victim has been made ready for sacrifice. Autloc addresses his people and introduces Barbara to them as Yetaxa before the presents herself before them them. Tlotoxl has the victim readied to sacrifice, but just before any blood is spilled, Barbara steps in and stops him. The victim is horrified that she has robbed him of his honour and, at Tlotoxl's insistence, throws himself off the temple to his death regardless. As a thunderstorm looms overhead, Barbara refuses the let Tlotoxl punish Susan for her interference and instead has Autloc take her to be taught the Aztecs' ways. Tlotoxl then addresses the crowd and declares Barbara as a false goddess and shall thus destroy her.
The Warriors of Death (2) Edit
Back inside the temple, the Doctor angrily berates Barbara for her actions and reminds her that preventing the sacrifice, the belief and religion of the locals, has broken Tlotoxl's faith in her, got Susan locked up and put all their lives in danger. However, since reprimands wouldn't change what happened, he tells her that keeping them alive now rests on how well she can convince Autloc that she is Yetaxa, pitting him against Tlotoxl's doubts while he tries to find out about the tomb from Cameca. Tlotoxl arrives as the Doctor leaves and he probes her with questions of her so-called 'divinity' and tells her that Ixta and Ian are set to fight against one another.
Elsewhere, Ixta demonstrates his use of weaponry to Ian while he claims that he can disable an opponent with just his thumb; Ixta accuses him of mockery until Ian performs the very move on Ixta, rendering him unconscious. Tlotoxl arrives and is in shock of this development, as is Ixta when he awakens. Desperate to ensure that Ian is not made commander of the Aztec army, Tlotoxl summons the next human sacrifice, the Perfect Victim, to call another fight between Ian and Ixta to determine who is the truly worthier candidate. Having total control over everything around him for his final days, he has Tlotoxl arrange it.
In the Garden of Peace, the Doctor speaks with Cameca about the temple; she opts to arrange a meeting between him and the son of the temple's architect. Tlotoxl approaches Barbara in the temple and brings Autloc in to question her under the terms that if he deems Barbara to be the true Yetaxa then Tlotoxl will concede. He also tells her that while her status as a goddess are in question, none of her friends are permitted access to her.
Ixta prepares himself for his battle with Ian when Cameca approaches him to arrange the Doctor's meeting with him. Realising the Doctor doesn't know who he is, Ixta agrees, planning to use the opportunity to get the better of Ian. Meanwhile, Susan is making headway with Autloc's teachings until she is informed that she would be told who her future husband would be and insists that she wouldn't be so. Ixta approaches the Doctor and tells him about the temple; he agrees to bring the Doctor a drawing of the tomb that evening. At the same time, he tells him of his upcoming battle, not telling him who he is due to fight, and asks the Doctor's assistance or else be disgraced. Unaware that he is fighting Ian, the Doctor readies a way for Ixta to win his fight.
Ian, meanwhile, is preparing himself to fight Ixta when he returns and challenges Ian to weaponless combat, to which he agrees. He secretly confides in Tlotoxl that he has a means of killing Ian, to which he insists Ixta utilise. In the temple, Autloc addresses Tlotoxl's lack of faith in Barbara with her, still believing her to be Yataxa. She prophesies the fall of the Aztec civilisation should any further sacrifices be made; Autloc takes her words into consideration. Ixta returns to the Doctor, who has prepared a needle soaked in a poison which would weaken his opponent but not kill them.
Autloc and Tlotoxl are addressing Barbara's claims when they watch the Doctor approach Barbara's chambers. He goes and tells Barbara that he should have information on how to enter the tomb by the evening, when she tells him that the warrior he aided was Ixta, who is set to fight Ian. As the Doctor leaves the chamber to warn him, Tlotoxl arrests him for entering the temple and transgressing the law, but Barbara has Autloc release him on the grounds that no-one told him. She also attempts to stop the fight between Ixta and Ian, but is unable to do so, only ensuring that the combat is non-fatal.
When evening comes, the contest begins and Ian and Ixta engage in a hand-to-hand combat in which Ian is initially the superior fighter. However, just as the Doctor arrives to warn him, Ixta scratches him with the poison-tipped needle and gains the upper hand on him. Ian manages to hold out for a while but the poison starts to weaken him. When Tlotoxl orders Ixta to kill him, Barbara enters and order the fight ceased, but Tlotoxl challenges her that if she really were a god, she would stop the fight herself.
The Bride of Sacrifice (3) Edit
Adhering to Tlotoxl's challenge, Barbara unsheathes a blade and holds it to his throat, threatening to kill him should Ixta not stand down, which he ultimately does and Tlotoxl relents. The contest is concluded and Ixta is told he will not claim victory. Autloc orders Ian to be tended to and the Doctor released, after which Tlotoxl asks Ixta about his agreement with the Doctor and decides to talk to him about it himself.
Barbara speaks with Autloc of her prophecy of the fall of the Aztecs but he only makes claim that he hopes that she is true divinity when she asks him to back her over Tlotoxl, who speaks with the Doctor in the Garden of Peace. The Doctor does not wish to speak with him but he wants to know the Doctor's interest in Yetaxa's tomb, to which he says to speak with Ixta.
Ian awakens to see Ixta brandishing a blade and he helps him to his feet when Tlotoxl enters, asking after his father's drawings, but Ixta reveals that there are no such drawings. After Ian and Ixta leaves, Ian overhears Tlotoxl plot against Barbara, still under the impression that she is a fraud. While initially reluctant, Tonila agrees to assist him. Out in the Garden of Peace, Autloc approaches Cameca about her recent jubilation, where she reveals she wishes to share cocoa with the Doctor, which symbolises one's marriage to another. After Autloc leaves, she approaches him and discreetly pours the cocoa beans before him. The Doctor, unaware of the symbolism, heartily agrees to share a drink with her.
Ian goes to Barbara about what he heard Tlotoxl and Tonila discussing. He tries to convince her that her views that Tlotoxl is the one evil barbarian among the people is flawed and the, despite Autloc's reasonable and rational mindset, he is just one man and Barbara, disheartened, concurs. When Tlotoxl and Tonila enter the temple, Ian hides and watches them serve her a drink with poison in it. When she makes them drink from it first and they don't she angrily sends Tonila away and tells Tlotoxl that she isn't Yetaxa, but threatens him with being discredited before everybody should he tell anyone.
The Doctor and Cameca share cocoa together in the Garden of Peace and Cameca delightedly accepts his proposal; the Doctor's is completely shocked. Autloc refuses to listen to Tlotoxl's shoutings, so, in retribution, he has Tonila arrange a set marriage for Susan upon hearing of her earlier claims in a bid to unmask Barbara as a fraud.
During another of Autloc's teachings, Tonila brings the Perfect Victim to Susan and all state that they will be married before he is sacrificed, which Susan defiantly refuses. Tonila seizes on her response to incite her for punishment for breaking the law. Outside the temple, the Doctor examines the walls when Cameca approaches him with a pendant as a gift, which came from Ixta's father when he went missing in the Garden. Tonila approaches Barbara about the punishment, for which she ultimately relents, unaware that Susan is the one to be punished. Later, the Doctor goes to Ian with the pendant and tells him that there may be a tunnel from the Garden to the tomb that they'll look into when Ixta sleeps. Ian also finds the Doctor's revelation of his engagement highly amusing.
Autloc reveals to Barbara that it's Susan being punished before the eclipse and declares that she must stop it, but Autloc ponders to her about whether she'll sacrifice the Aztec society to spare her. That night, when Ixta is asleep, Ian awakens and goes to meet with the Doctor, his departure waking Ixta, who takes a blade and follows him. In the Garden, Ian meets with the Doctor, who helps him remove the stone blocking off the tunnel to the tomb. Ian goes into the tunnel while the Doctor stands guard, when Ixta arrives and finds the tunnel open. He replaces the stone, revealing to the Doctor that the tunnel is a water course from a lake, sealing Ian inside it as the tunnel starts to fill with water.
The Day of Darkness (4) Edit
Still trapped in the tunnel, Ian finds a stone at the top of the structure and lifts it. While he pulls himself out of the tunnel, the Doctor tries to get Ixta to remove the stone, but he refuses and leaves. Ian finds himself back inside the tomb and uses a piece of fabric to give them a way to enter the tomb from the outside. The Doctor approaches to find the two and Barbara tells them that they have to get Susan out of Autloc's seminary to keep her from being punished; Ian goes off the free Susan by himself. Tlotoxl is please that Ixta has 'killed' Ian and tasks him with guarding Susan, even from Autloc. When he gloats about having killed Ian to Susan, he sneaks up behind them, knocks Ixta out and rescues Susan.
Back at the temple, the Doctor and Barbara await Susan and Ian's return. When they do, they use the fabric to pull the door open, but to no avail. Tlotoxl returns and is angry that Ixta allowed Susan to escape and opts to find him herself, ordering Ixta to attack Autloc so that Ian will be blamed. When the travellers have no success pulling the door open, Ian and Susan go to the garden to get in through the tunnel and let the Doctor and Barbara in from the other side.
When they reach the Garden, Susan hides to keep guard while Ian opens the tunnel, but they find Autloc unconscious. By the time Ian picks up the weapon and realises he's been set up, he and Susan are arrested and Autloc proclaims Barbara a false goddess. Tlotoxl and Tonila arrange how to deal with Barbara. The following morning, the Doctor speaks with Cameca about Ian and Susan's arrest, but neither know how to convince Autloc.
Autloc meets with Barbara on Cameca's behest and she manages to convince him that Ian did not commit the crime; he says he may be able to help Susan but Ian's protection is out of his hands. Cameca is saddened when she realises that the Doctor will soon be leaving and preaches her sadness to Autloc. He gives her his broach that will enable her to reach Susan and get her away to the temple.
Before the sacrifice, Ixta readies the Perfect Victim for the ceremony. Tlotoxl informs Barbara that Autloc has left, meaning that he cannot help free Susan or Ian. Meanwhile, Cameca takes his ornament to give to the guard holding Susan and Ian, when Ian knocks him out and she leaves the brooch with him. Ian sends Susan with Cameca to the temple while Ian takes the warriors armour. With Autloc gone, Tlotoxl promotes Tonila to High Priest of Knowledge in his place, when they plan to deal with Barbara at the ceremony. They find Ian and Susan gone and kill the guard responsible for them before going to the ceremony.
Before the ceremony, Tlotoxl tries to kill Barbara before his stopped by Ian in disguise. He orders Ixta to come and fight Ian and they engage in another combat. Soon Ixta disarms him, but Ian bests him by throwing him off the roof of the temple to his death. The travellers quickly open the tomb and rush inside. Tlotoxl doesn't attempt to follow them; instead he goes out to the alter and sacrifices the Perfect Victim at the moments of the eclipse.
In the tomb, Barbara despairs over her failure, but the Doctor comforts her that she helped Autloc find a better faith. As they prepare to leave, the Doctor leaves the brooch that Cameca gave him, but quickly picks it up again before they leave in the TARDIS. Inside, while the Doctor is working it the controls, the instruments tell him that despite being stationary, they are still moving. When Ian ponders if they've landed on top of something, Barbara worriedly thinks that they could have landed inside something.
- Dr. Who - William Hartnell
- Ian Chesterton - William Russell
- Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill
- Susan Foreman - Carole Ann Ford
- Autloc - Keith Pyott
- Tlotoxl - John Ringham
- Ixta - Ian Cullen
- Cameca - Margot Van der Burgh
- First Victim - Tom Booth
- Aztec Captain - David Anderson
- Tonila - Walter Randall
- Perfect Victim - Andre Boulay
- Writer - John Lucarotti
- Designer - Barry Newbury
- Assistant Floor Manager - Ken Howard
- Associate Producer - Mervyn Pinfield
- Costumes - Daphne Dare
- Fight Arrangers - David Anderson, Derek Ware
- Incidental Music - Richard Rodney Bennett
- Conductor - Marcus Dods
- Make-up Supervisor - Jill Summers
- Title Music - Ron Grainer with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
- Story Editor - David Whitaker
- Director - John Crockett
- Producer - Verity Lambert
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Story notes Edit
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Broadcast & Ratings Edit
|No. Overall||#||Title||Runtime||First Airdate||Viewers (in millions)|
|#27||1||The Temple of Evil||23:56||23 May 1964||7.4|
|#28||2||The Warriors of Death||24:11||30 May 1964||7.4|
|#29||3||The Bride of Sacrifice||25:27||06 June 1964||7.9|
|#30||4||The Day of Darkness||25:30||13 June 1964||7.4|
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Home video and audio releases Edit
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External Links Edit
- Official The Aztecs page on Doctor Who Website