The Sensorites is the seventh serial of the first season of Doctor Who. It was written by Peter R. Newman, directed by Mervyn Pinfield & Frank Cox 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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The Doctor and his companions land on a spaceship orbiting a distant and mysterious world where a human crew lie frozen somewhere between life and death. The planet is the Sense-Sphere, home of the Sensorites, beings of immense intelligence and power. Unable to leave, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan must decduce the Sensorites' intentions: are they friendly, hostile or frightened? And what is the deadly secret at the heart of the Sense-Sphere?
Strangers in Space (1) Edit
While the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan ponder on why the TARDIS controls are reading that the ship is both stationary and moving at the same time, they check the scanner but it gives them no clear answer. Opening the doors and stepping outside, the walk onto the control room of a spaceship with two bodies slumped in chairs, both seemingly dead with no evident cause.
As they conclude that there is no help that they can give them, they prepare to leave when one of the two people suddenly moves. They rush to look at him and give him a device which fully recuperates both of them. They introduce themselves as Maitland and Carol, astronauts from Earth. They've arrived some time during the 28th century, when they both tell them that they should both leave.
The explain that the ship is orbiting a planet called the Sense Sphere where it's inhabitants, the Sensorites, don't permit them to leave their area of space but make no actual attempt to kill them, instead placing in them in deep sleeps such as before. While they are talking, a hand takes a device to the TARDIS doors and physically removes the lock. The travellers return to examine the TARDIS to find the lock the entire opening mechanism missing, trapping them when the ship undergoes a serious destabilisation that the Doctor manages to fix, but the ship starts to fly toward the Sense Sphere. The Doctor and his companions attempt to alter the course before collision, narrowly avoiding hitting the planet.
Later, the group try and deduce the Sensorites' motives and abilities. The Doctor wishes to speak with the third member of Maitland's crew, John, the only one to see a Sensorite, but Maitland doesn't allow it and won't explain why. Meanwhile, Barbara and Susan go searching for water and get sealed out of the control room by John, who appears in a strongly zombified state. Barbara and Susan hear John approaching and hide. Realising the danger their in, Maitland and Carol try to get Ian in but both ways in a locked and they still refuse to speak tell him what the danger is.
Inside, Susan and Barbara steer clear of John as he stumbles around them and are locked in when they try to flee. Maitland and Carol argue outside about what to do and reveal to Ian that John is Carol's fiancé and that the Sensorites did the most damage to his mind, meaning he may be volatile and dangerous to strangers. John approaches Susan and Barbara again, but just breaks down crying on his knees, asking for their help and they both comfort him. Outside, Maitland and the Doctor cut their way through the lock to gain entry, when they alerted by a high pitched whirring that the Sensorites machines make when they approach.
They spot them on the scanner screens outside and the Doctor ponders on what their intentions are for returning. John, Barbara and Susan hear the whirring too and ready to defend themselves. Interference overtakes the ship's instruments when the whirring stops. Looking out of the ship's porthole, Ian spots a figure, a Sensorite crawling across the ship's hull.
The Unwilling Warriors (2) Edit
The Doctor orders Ian to keep calm as he notices that Maitland and Carol have both frozen. Bringing them back to their senses, Maitland continues trying to open the door. John, meanwhile, keeps panicking and sobbing and refuses to let Susan and Barbara out, hearing something in his mind. Carol finds the Sensorites have got inside the ship and warns the Doctor. Susan and Barbara try to convince the delirious John that they are trying to help when the Sensorites board the ship. Susan suggests trying to get through to John on a mental level like the Sensorites do. Combining a mental decree of defiance that overwhelms the Sensorites, Susan collapses from the strain, just as Ian and Maitland break in.
The Doctor wonders if Susan's communion with the Sensorites eased some of the pressure in John's mind, when Ian comes in and tells him that something John said before passing out has made him think that John discovered something that made the Sensorites deal him the most damage; the Doctor wants to attempt talking to the Sensorites to get the TARDIS lock back. The Sensorites on board get a mental communication from their superior, who is curious about Susan's trick. The group looks over John's experiments but it provides them no answers.
The Doctor finds the element John discovered, Maligdinum, a highly valuable alloy that John mentally broadcast the discovery of upon his excitement of finding it. Suddenly, Maitland and Carol are struck by another mental attack and Ian and Barbara go to investigate, finding the two Sensorites aboard the ship. Backing away from them, Ian picks up a weapon and they both retreat. Barbara goes to fetch Maitland while Ian holds his own against the advancing Sensorites.
The Doctor has Barbara ask John how to lock the Sensorites out of the control room just as Ian backs through. Ian and Barbara realise that the Sensorites haven't actually done anything to attack them and are generally non-aggressive. Meanwhile, they use their devices to try to access the control room when they make a mental communication with Susan, asking if they are permitted to talk with them; the Doctor agrees. Susan lets them inside and they state their intention to take them down to the Sense Sphere instead of letting them go, based on their previous experiences with have their trust broken by humans.
Refusing to comply, the Doctor firmly addresses them, when they are distressed by the intensity of his words. After they go to confer, the Doctor assumes from the Sensorites' irises that they haven't decent sight in the dark and decides that it's their best defence against them. Susan is contacted telepathically again and she agrees with them to go down to the Sense Sphere if they spare the others' lives.
Hidden Danger (3) Edit
The others immediately follow the Sensorites wanting to bring Susan back with them, refusing to let her go with them. Reluctantly, Susan returns to the Doctor and Ian turns out the lights, frightening the Sensorites as they drop their weapons. Ian turns the lights back on and the Sensorites commune with the Sense Sphere for new orders. As the Doctor and Susan argue over her actions, the Sensorites come back, wondering over the sadness in Susan's mind, to which the Doctor is angry for having cause the first argument the two had ever had since they'd been travelling together.
The Sensorites are given orders from the First Elder to listen to the Doctor and his party. Carol tends to John and becomes distraught when he cannot remember her name. Maitland informs her the she is going with the Doctor, Ian, Susan and John to the Sense Sphere and that John will be fixed there. Ian is not happy that Barbara and Maitland are remaining behind, but they eventually relent.
One of the Sensorites take the party down to the planet where the First Elder awaits their arrival. He debates with his associates that the Doctor and his party may be capable of helping with the illness that was brought to the Sense Sphere by the last human arrivals, despite reservations from the others. The City Administrator informs the Second Elder in confidence that he has brought a disintegrator to the main chamber, planning to use it because of his mistrust of the humans.
The group is brought before the First Elder when John starts to sense an evil mind from within the city, alerting Susan. The City Administrator has the disintegrator tested and readied for when the group arrives, watching their progress by body heat. He orders the engineer to kill them as soon as they are sat. The First Elder sends John to be helped, allowing Carol to go with him. As the Doctor, Susan and Ian sit, the City Administrator prepares to fire by the Second Elder arrives and stops him, taking the machine's firing key from him.
The First Elder explains that when John found the Maligdium, the Sensorites detected the images in his mind of coming to mine the ore from the planet, so the Sensorites attempted to stop him, but accidentally drove him insane when they attempted to put him to sleep when his mental defences were down and he heard the full power of their control. He order the group to be given the Crystal Water that the Elders drink. The City Administrator devises with his confidant a plan to overthrow the Elders who he believes are too weak willed and trust the humans too readily.
While the First Elder explains the Sensorites' civilisation and the decease that has afflicted them, Ian starts suffering from a cough when he suddenly falls unconscious, a symptom of the decease from which he is now dying.
A Race Against Death (4) Edit
The First Elder cannot figure out the cause of the illness and that it strikes randomly. The Doctor deduces that the water from the Sensorites' aquaduct is the source of the illness. Susan remains with Ian to keep an eye on his condition, while the First Elder arranges for the aquaduct to be closed off and the Doctor to work with his staff to help find a cure. With three days to try and cure him and the sick Sensorites, the Doctor asks the First Elder for the return of his TARDIS lock but he tells him he must think it over.
Elsewhere, an engineer is working to clear John's mind. The City Administrator is furious over this course of action, but the Second Elder threatens to remove his rank. Hearing of Ian's condition and the Doctor's suspicions, the City Administrator calls it a ploy. John, in his delirium, tries to convince the Second Elder of the Administrator's evil, but he falls unconscious after the Elder leaves. Before the Administrator does anything, Carol returns to check on John and she unwittingly gives him the idea of switching sashes with another.
The Doctor is indignant about the First Elder's indecision about the TARDIS lock and the Elders commune, but Susan cannot make out what they say. The First Elder does not allow him access to the TARDIS and instead provides him facilities on the Sense Sphere to work out of. The Doctor tells Susan to watch Ian while he goes with the Second Elder to the laboratory. The City Administrator meets with an engineer who tells him that the disintegrator's firing key is out of their reach, before they are interrupted by the First Elder. The Administrator order the engineer to bring the Second Elder to him, planning to take his sash.
The Doctor examines the water from the aquaduct with the Sensorite scientists with the hope of uncovering the poison which is clearly causing the illness, and he has the scientists collect water samples from all outlets around the city. Finding the poisonous water from one of the outlets, the First Elder is informed that he can find an antidote for the condition.
The Second Elder is brought to the City Administrator, where he restrains him and steals his sash, heading off to stop the antidote from being distributed, believing that the Doctor is lying. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Carol are sat with John who is still recovering from his condition, where a scientist brings him the antidote and he tells him to give it to Susan to bring to the First Elder. John deliriously tries to warn the Doctor and Carol that enemies are plotting something, but fails.
The Administrator meets with the engineer about his disguise, where he stops the scientist taking the cure to Ian and Susan and takes the vial. Believing that it is still a trick, he destroys the sample. A scientist brings the Doctor to the aquaduct to examine it, but warns him not to go inside as there are monsters inside. Nevertheless, he sends the scientist back to the laboratory and goes into the aqauduct to investigate. Susan brings another sample of the antidote to Ian and he begins to recover when the scientist returns and tells the First Elder that the Doctor has gone into the aquaduct alone. Since the Sensorites cannot follow, Ian and Susan are forced to go after him themselves.
The First Elder communes with the real Second, who is being held captive by the City Administrator, and is forced to tell him what the First Elder is saying. Arriving at the aquaduct, the scientist gives Susan and Ian a light and the go inside, where the Doctor is examining a sample of Deadly Nightshade, the herb responsible for the poison when a monster roars from the dark.
Kidnap (5) Edit
Following the sound, Ian and Susan hear the Doctor cry out and find him unconscious with his coat badly torn. Ian helps him to his feet while Susan takes his possessions. The First Elder and Carol mull over the Doctor, Ian and Susan's predicament, but the First Elder tries to console her that John's final treatment will be administered soon. Outside the aquaduct, the Doctor, Susan and Ian reason that there is a rogue Sensorite trying to sabotage them and that the monsters and the poisoned water are connected.
The First Scientist prepares John for the final treatment. The engineer tells the City Administrator that the Doctor, Ian and Susan know of his duplicity and that John's mental restoration could also expose him. Still threatening the Second Elder's family, the Administrator orders him to ask for the disintegrator's firing key. Arriving back in the reception, the Doctor goes off to talk with the "Second Elder", but he flees, returning to the laboratory with the firing key. Before he can use it, however, the Second Elder attacks him and breaks the key before the engineer kills him.
The First Elder speaks with the Doctor and his companions about the "Second Elder"'s peculiar behaviour when the City Administrator, back in his own collar, approaches the Elder and the engineer tells the Elder that the Second Elder is dead and that it was the Doctor that killed him. He says that the Doctor took an item from his coat in a struggle for the firing key and struck him down with it. Ian seizes on this story to point out that the Doctor's coat is ruined and the cloak he is wearing was just given to him by the First Elder, who sends the engineer away to be imprisoned.
The City Administrator gives the Elder the sash of the second and the Doctor suggests to the First Elder that the Administrator should be elected to the new rank. The First Elder agrees and promotes him to Second Elder. While the First Elder and new Second talk, the Doctor and the others go to check on John, who has fully recovered and mentally reunited with Carol. When the Doctor, Ian and Susan arrive, Susan asks him if he can remember the warnings he tried to impart to them.
The Administrator arrives and tries to avert attention away from John's claims, pinning the blame on the recently killed Elder. The Doctor finds a plan of the aquaduct that Susan realises that the City Administrator that has just been made Elder has been their enemy the whole time. Elsewhere, the Administrator springs the engineer from prison and has him disable a pair of weapons but leave them looking fully functional. The Doctor and Ian meet with the First Elder and propose to go into the aquaduct and stop those that are deliberately poisoning it as well as request Barbara to be brought down to the Sense Sphere.
The Administrator watches the defective armaments be given to the Doctor and Ian and has the map of the aquaduct altered to render them both lost and defenceless. The incorrect map is given to them and they head off to the aquaduct, leaving the First Elder to ponder on the death of the second. Carol goes off to ask after the Doctor and Ian, but before she gets them she is grabbed by an unseen assailant.
A Desperate Venture (6) Edit
Carol is ordered by the City Administrator to write a letter to John telling him that she's gone to the spaceship to explain her absence. With no help available, she reluctantly agrees; Susan, John and Barbara receive the letter but none believe it and agree that she's been kidnapped. The First Elder greets Barbara and he confirms that Carol did not go to the spaceship or he would've known about it; although conflicted, he agrees to investigate for the humans' peace of mind.
In the aquaduct, the Doctor and Ian discover the sabotage to their map and weapons and ponder on how they will get out. The scientist continues to hold Carol hostage, while John secretly sneaks in and distracts him long enough for Carol to disarm his weapon; another Sensorite comes in and takes the scientist away. The First Elder speaks to the City Administrator about the scientist, while the Elder remains unaware of his Second Elder's duplicity. Barbara and Susan arrive after interrogating the scientist and tells the First Elder of his sabotage to the Doctor and Ian's tools. Unfortunately, the Sensorites cannot go into the aquaduct after them, so the First Elder agrees to offer the girls all the help he can offer in rescuing them.
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- Dr. Who - William Hartnell
- Ian Chesterton - William Russell
- Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill
- Susan Foreman - Carole Ann Ford
- John - Stephen Dartnell
- Carol - Ilona Rodgers
- Maitland - Lorne Cossette
- First - Ken Tyllsen
- Second - Joe Greig
- Third - Peter Glaze
- Fourth - Arthur Newall
- First Elder - Eric Francis
- Second Elder - Bartlett Mullins
- First Scientist - Ken Tyllsen
- Second Scientist - Joe Greig
- Warrior - Joe Greig
- and: Anthony Rogers, Gerry Martin
- Commander - John Bailey
- First Human - Martyn Huntley
- Second Human - Giles Phibbs
- Writer - Peter R. Newman
- Director - Mervyn Pinfield & Frank Cox
- Producer - Verity Lambert
- Story Editor - David Whitaker
- Designer - Raymond P. Cusick
- Associate Producer - Mervyn Pinfield
- Costumes - Daphne Dare
- Incidental Music (composed and conducted by) - Norman Kay
- Make-Up - Jill Summers
- Title Music - Ron Grainer with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
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Story notes Edit
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Broadcast & Ratings Edit
|No. Overall||#||Title||Runtime||First Airdate||Viewers (in millions)|
|#31||1||Strangers in Space||24:46||20 June 1964||7.9|
|#32||2||The Unwilling Warriors||24:44||27 June 1964||6.9|
|#33||3||Hidden Danger||24:53||11 July 1964||7.4|
|#34||4||A Race Against Death||24:49||18 July 1964||5.5|
|#35||5||Kidnap||25:47||25 July 1964||6.9|
|#36||6||A Desperate Venture||24:49||1 August 1964||6.9|
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Home video and audio releases Edit
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External Links Edit
- Official The Sensorites page on Doctor Who Website