Silver Nemesis (TV story)

From Tardis Wiki, the free Doctor Who reference

Silver Nemesis was the third and penultimate serial of season 25 of Doctor Who. Being the twenty-fifth anniversary story, John Nathan-Turner chose silver as a theme for the story, alluding to the phrase "silver jubilee". Kevin Clarke contacted Andrew Cartmel and asked if he could write a script for the series. The only slot left was the special and Clarke claimed to have the perfect script. In fact, he didn't, but when he met with Nathan-Turner, he proposed an eleventh hour storyline to ask the question: who is the Doctor? (DOC: Industrial Action)

Another theme Nathan-Turner wanted was royalty, and so Windsor Castle was introduced. He even sent a letter to Prince Edward, asking him if he wanted to appear. He declined, but JN-T took it to be that he had wanted to appear, but Queen Elizabeth II had stopped him doing so. Arundel Castle doubled for Windsor, and several figures from the history of Doctor Who turned out to play tourists, including Andrew Morgan, Graeme Curry, Kathleen Bidmead, Nicholas Courtney, Fiona Cumming, Peter Moffatt and Kevin Clarke himself.[1]

This story featured the final appearance of the Cybermen in the original run of Doctor Who.


The arrival of a mysterious comet heralds impending danger from enemies both old and new. As Ace helps the Doctor defend Earth, she is confronted with a dangerous question... "Doctor Who?"


Part one[[edit]]

South America, 22 November 1988: In an office full of Nazi imagery, a man looks at a computer screen displaying details on which he sees "Landing Location, Windsor, Grid Ref: 74W 32N, November 23, 1988". Outside, his superior, De Flores, is about to shoot a parrot with a bow and arrow when the man informs him about the news.

Windsor, England, 1638: A finely dressed woman is shooting pigeons with a bow and arrow whilst her manservant looks on. In her house, an elderly gentleman mathematician is performing complex calculations. The woman enters and demands to know how long his work will take, but he is too engrossed in his work to answer her. She goes to the fireplace and, picking up a poisoned arrow, hands it to her manservant and tells him to put it with the others. He inquires after a silver arrow, and she replies that she will deal with that arrow personally.

Back in the Nazi office, De Flores addresses a group of followers, telling them they are at the turning point of history. He proposes a toast to the Fourth Reich, before taking a silver bow from a display case, preparing to board an aircraft. In space, a comet is seen from which a glowing energy emanates...

Back in Windsor, the mathematician finally reveals the result of his calculations to the woman, telling her that the Nemesis comet circles the earth every 25 years, and its decaying trajectory means that it will eventually fall to Earth from the point where it originally departed — the meadow outside. This will occur on 23 November 1988.

At a jazz performance by Courtney Pine, the Seventh Doctor and Ace relax and enjoy the music. Ace's newspaper — namely the Daily Mirror — has a story about a comet heading to Earth, but she is more interested in the football results. The Doctor hears a bleeping from his pocket watch and wonders of what it is trying to remind him. Pine's performance ends to applause and Ace asks him to sign a tape for her.

As they head back to the TARDIS, a concealed marksman raises a gun towards them. At the sound of gunfire, Ace and the Doctor duck down and retreat quickly towards the TARDIS, but have to jump in the river to escape their pursuers. Two men arrive wielding guns and wearing headsets, but, assuming they must have got their targets, they leave again. The Doctor and Ace then struggle back on to the riverbank, safe now.

In 1638, the mathematician dreams of great inventions that he could discover. The lady tells her servant to bring forth the potion, and he replies that they only require the final ingredient, human blood. They look meaningfully towards the mathematician...

Nemesis crash lands.

The Doctor fetches a new tape deck that he has built to replace the one of Ace's that had been destroyed by an Imperial Dalek. This one, however, can do much more than play tapes. The Doctor tells Ace that his reminder had a terminal rating, meaning some planet somewhere is facing imminent destruction, and an image of the planet Earth appears on the tape deck.

In 1638, the woman and her servant drink their potion and are surrounded by a glowing miasma. They begin to travel forwards through time. They appear in present-day Windsor in the middle of a crowded cafe.

The Doctor admits that he has known about the possible destruction of Earth for 350 years. He and Ace take a quick trip in the TARDIS to Windsor Castle. In its basement, the Doctor tells Ace he is looking for a silver bow.

As the comet finally hits Earth, the woman's arrow begins to pulsate with light. In the castle, the Doctor and Ace feel the force of the impact. The Doctor tells Ace that it is the return to Earth of a comet called Nemesis, and then reveals that it was he who had launched it into space in the first place. Led by their glowing bow, the group of Nazis heads towards the comet in a van.

De Flores is in no rush to retrieve the Nemesis yet, as the comet will be too hot due to its descent through the atmosphere. He tells his soldiers they will wait in a hotel, leaving British police to guard the site, unaware of the true power of the Nemesis. In the castle, Ace finds a card telling the history of the bow, relating to how it disappeared in 1788, and that unless a place is kept in the castle for its return, the entire silver statue will return to destroy the world. The Doctor tells her that the statue has indeed returned with that purpose. At this point, the lights dim, and Ace thinks it is a power cut.

Travelling back in time to 1638, the Doctor and Ace go to the time travelling woman's house in Windsor. Seeing the corpse of the mathematician, the Doctor hurriedly covers it with a cloth so that Ace does not see it. The Doctor sees the mathematician's calculations and is impressed that he had been able to work out when the Nemesis comet will return to Earth, only months since the Doctor's previous visit.

The Doctor reveals that the woman — Lady Peinforte — made the Nemesis statue, depicting herself, out of a silver metal that fell to Earth in the meadow outside her house. The Doctor sees a chessboard and notes that the game is going rather badly. He tells Ace that Peinforte managed to travel forward in time to 1988 using the arrow and a rudimentary knowledge of time travel, but mostly "black magic". He says that she has a nose for secrets. The Doctor tells Ace that the statue is made of a living metal — validium — which is capable of great destruction.

Peinforte and her servant Richard withdraw from the statue to assess the strength of the police guarding it. The police are having their own problems. Their radios are not working; the batteries are dead. Around the comet crash site, vents emerge from the ground spewing gas, causing the policemen to choke and fall unconscious.

The TARDIS materialises outside Windsor Castle in 1988. The Doctor and Ace follow a group of tourists on a guided tour. Seeing a NO ENTRY sign, they sneak into the castle. Hearing the bark of dogs, they see a woman coming towards them with several corgis. The Doctor recognises the woman, but can't immediately place who she is. Ace realises that it is Queen Elizabeth II and drags him into hiding. However, when she tells him who it was, he races after the Queen, saying they need the armed forces and police on their side, and who better could they ask? However, the Doctor and Ace are seized by security guards before they can get anywhere near the Queen.

The Doctor informs the guards that they got into the castle by travelling in time and space, but the guards are incredulous. The Doctor tells them the fate of every living person is in danger, but the guards do not believe him. The Doctor dons a pair of glasses and, glaring at them, intones, "You will believe me! You will let us go!" Having distracted the guards with this spectacle, the Doctor and Ace flee into the corridors of the castle. As they run, Ace sees a portrait of herself hanging on a stairwell wall. When she says she does not remember this happening, the Doctor tells her that it has not happened yet.

Richard asks Peinforte what she will do when she gains control of the Nemesis, and she replies that first, she will exact revenge on that "predictable little man". She predicts that he will soon arrive, and tells Richard she knows the secret of the "nameless Doctor."

De Flores and his Nazis make their move for the Nemesis comet and see the unconscious policemen. He takes the bow case and places it on the comet, and within the Nemesis statue begins to glow. The Doctor and Ace arrive, and De Flores demands that they hand over the arrow. The Doctor reveals that the bow and arrow give the validium metal critical mass. The Doctor confronts De Flores and asks if he has observed the advanced technology, which has been used to attack the policemen, and the power blackouts that have been occurring over the last few days. De Flores threatens to shoot Ace if they do not tell him where the arrow is, but at this moment a large spacecraft lands near the crash site. The doors open and from within emerge a troop of Cybermen.

Part two[[edit]]

The Cyber-Leader recognises the Doctor, even though his appearance has changed, and tells the onlookers that the Cybermen had predicted his presence. The Nazis open fire on the Cybermen but their bullets are ineffective. The Cybermen open fire and drive the Nazis away. The Doctor says that this happened before, but before it was the Roundheads and Lady Peinforte. Peinforte shoots one of the Cybermen with a bow and arrow and the Doctor recognises the arrows to be gold-tipped, a major weakness for Cybermen. But so does De Forres.

Peinforte and Richard withdraw, allowing the Nazis and the Cybermen to fight it out, hoping to retrieve the Nemesis in the aftermath. In the confusion, the Doctor and Ace manage to seize the silver bow and return to the TARDIS. Peinforte sees this and tries to shoot them, but her arrow thuds into the TARDIS door just as it dematerialised. The Cybermen have taken out all the Nazis, except De Flores, and his second-in-command Karl.

While Peinforte and Richard enter the town of Windsor, the Cybermen begin to cut the Nemesis statue free of the comet. The Doctor and Ace go back to Peinforte's house in 1638. The body of the mathematician has gone, and the chess pieces have also been moved. The Doctor tells Ace that although the mathematician was a genius, he had needed a little help to get started. The Doctor picks up a piece of paper from the desk and throws it into the fireplace. The Doctor makes a further move on the chessboard, and they leave.

Materialising back in the present day, the Doctor explains that validium was created on ancient Gallifrey by Omega and Rassilon as the ultimate defence. Some of it, however, left Gallifrey, and now they must stop Peinforte or anyone else reuniting the statue, the bow and the arrow. Using the bow to lead them, they proceed in the direction of the statue.

In Windsor, Peinforte and Richard are confronted by two thugs, who think they are mugging social workers. The Doctor finds and questions them later; they had been left semi-naked, dangling from a tree.

Lady Peinforte shows Richard his grave.

As Richard is terrified by the sound of bears and the sight of a llama, Peinforte tells him that if he does not help her retrieve the Nemesis, she will abandon him in this future time. He then sees that they are standing by a memorial statue. She tells him that it is his tomb, placed in the grounds of her own burial place. The arrow starts glowing and they realise that that is where the Cybermen have taken the Nemesis statue. As they scour the tomb for Nemesis, the Cybermen prepare to attack, but realising that they are armed with gold arrows retreat. Opening up her own grave, Peinforte and Richard see that it does not contain her bones.

Much to her surprise, the Doctor orders Ace to destroy the Cybermen vehicle with Nitro-9 explosive. De Flores strikes a deal with the Cyber-Leader to kill Peinforte and Richard in exchange for a share of control of Earth after its conquest. The Cybermen have no intention of honouring the deal and plan to kill the Nazis after the death of Peinforte.

The Doctor tells Ace that every time the Nemesis comet approached Earth in its 25 year orbit, it caused destruction: in 1913, the eve of the First World War; 1938, Hitler annexed Austria; 1963 Kennedy assassinated, and now it is 1988. They use the tape deck scanner to try to find the Cyber-fleet.

Opening up the grave fully, Peinforte gazes upon her own image shown on the Nemesis statue. However, De Flores and his man arrive with guns, and Richard has only one arrow left. In fear, he hands over the arrow to De Flores and drags Peinforte away, leaving the Nazis in control of Nemesis. De Flores believes he now has all three parts of the validium. He places the arrow in the statue's hands, and it becomes more animated. The Cybermen arrive and ask De Flores where the bow is. When he opens the case he sees that he does not have it at all.

The Doctor sees a lizard emerge from hiding and realises that the Cyber-fleet is shrouded. He makes an adjustment to the tape deck and reveals the entire fleet of Cyber-warships, thousands of them...

Part three[[edit]]

The Doctor decides to activate the validium by taking the bow to the crypt. When Ace seems frightened, the Doctor tells her she can wait in the TARDIS, but she refuses and wants to accompany the Doctor.

Meanwhile, De Flores realises he has overplayed his hand and tries to negotiate with the Cyber-Leader. The Cyber-Leader orders his lieutenant to kill De Flores, but he throws gold dust in the Leader's face and flees.

As the Doctor and Ace arrive at the crypt, the jazz tape finishes playing and the Cybermen's communications begin working. The Doctor enters the crypt holding the bow, and, manoeuvring past the Cybermen with Ace, places the bow in the statue's hands but snatches it away again. The statue awakens and begins to follow the bow.

Going back to 1638, the Doctor continues his chess game against his unknown opponent. Ace asks him who brought the validium to Earth in the first place, and what is really going on, but he remains silent. Taking a bag of gold coins, they leave.

Peinforte begins to rant about all power being hers and her intent to retrieve the Nemesis. They come to the road and attempt to hitch a lift in a passing car. Richard stands with his thumb out, but no cars stop for them. Seeing this fail, Peinforte steps into the middle of the road. A large, white stretch limousine with dark-tinted windows stops, and the passenger in the back seat, an American woman, offers to take them into Windsor. She tells them that she is in England discovering her roots. Revealing she is descended from the 17th century Remington family, Peinforte calls them thieves and swindlers. Mentioning a Dorothea Remington, the American woman recognises the name, and Peinforte knows that Dorothea died in 1621 from a slow poison.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Ace materialise inside the hangar containing the comet. Soon the Nemesis statue arrives, and the Doctor gives it the bow. The Nemesis speaks to Ace, telling her that it was fashioned by Peinforte into its current beautiful form, but that it has also had horrific forms in the past, and will again in the future. The Cybermen arrive, and Ace shoots one down using a gold coin and shoots it with a slingshot.

The Cybermen pursue her, but she manages to elude them. The Doctor sets the trajectory of the rocket sledge containing the Nemesis, headed for the Cyber-fleet. Ace becomes trapped on a gantry between two Cybermen and the Cyber-Leader, with only a single remaining gold coin. The Cybermen lift their guns to shoot her, but she fires the gold coin at the Cyber-Leader and ducks, causing the other two Cybermen to shoot each other instead. The Nemesis asks the Doctor if she must destroy the entire Cyber-fleet, to which he says that she must. She asks the Doctor whether she will be needed again, or whether she will have her freedom, but the Doctor hushes her.

Ace arrives down from the gantry but is surrounded by two more Cybermen. They demand that the Doctor hands the bow over to them, but the Doctor threatens to destroy the bow if they harm her. Placing it in front of the rocket sledge engines, he grabs Ace. As the two Cybermen advance towards them, the engines fire, killing the two Cybermen. However, upon the gantry, the Cyber-Leader plucks the gold coin from its chest unit.

De Flores arrives and picks up the bow. He speaks to the Nemesis, but she remains silent. The Cyber-Leader raises his gun and shoots De Flores dead, and demands that the Doctor hands over the bow. At this point, Peinforte and Richard arrive. Demanding the bow for herself, she asks Ace who the Doctor is, and whether she knows where he came from. Ace says that nobody knows who the Doctor is, but Peinforte says that she does. When Ace asks how, she says the Nemesis told her.

Peinforte and Nemesis "become one".

The Doctor asks what will happen if he gives her the bow, to which Peinforte replies his power will be hers, but his secrets remain his own. Appearing to concede defeat, the Doctor says he is surrendering, but not to Peinforte, rather to the Cybermen. Peinforte threatens to reveal his secrets, so he calls her bluff. She says that she will tell them of Gallifrey, of the Old Time, the time of Chaos. However, the Cyber-Leader says that the secrets of the Time Lords are of no interest of the Cybermen.

The Cyber-Leader tells the Doctor to cancel the Nemesis's destructive capabilities. The Doctor asks the statue if she understands the Cyber-Leader's instructions, and she replies, "Perfectly".

The triumphant Cyber-Leader tells the Doctor to set the statue's course to rendezvous with the Cyber-fleet. He tells them that the Earth will become their new base planet, the New Mondas. As the Nemesis launches, Peinforte screams and throws herself into the rocket sledge and merges with the Nemesis.

The rocket sledge takes off and heads out into space. It arrives in the midst of the Cyber-fleet and there is an enormous explosion, destroying all of the Cyber-warships. The Cyber-Leader asks how it is possible, and the Doctor replies that he merely asked if Nemesis had understood the instruction, but had not said anything about obeying them. The Cyber-Leader prepares to kill the Doctor, but Richard grabs the gold-tipped arrow from the TARDIS door and stabs it into the Cyber-Leader's chest unit, finally killing it.

The Doctor and Ace return Richard to 1638. There, Richard and a Stuart woman perform a concert for them. Ace asks the Doctor who he really is, but he just puts a finger to his lips and listens to the music.




Uncredited crew[[edit]]


The Doctor[[edit]]

  • The Doctor indicates that he knows Queen Elizabeth II, yet fails to recognise her when she walks past him.
  • The Doctor is fond of jazz music.
  • Lady Peinforte claims that she learned of a grim secret of the Doctor's from the "Old Time, the Time of Chaos", from Nemesis.




  • Validium is a Gallifreyan living metal. Peinforte calls the validium her Nemesis.


  • Ace uses gold fired from a slingshot to fight the Cybermen, and Lady Peinforte's arrows are made of gold dipped in poison.


Story notes[[edit]]

  • This story had working titles of The Harbinger and Nemesis.
  • The tourists at Windsor Castle consist of Doctor Who alumni. This was done as a tribute to John Nathan-Turner, who was expected to be leaving at the end of the season. The crowd conists of Nicholas Courtney, Andrew Morgan, Peter Moffatt, Fiona Cumming, Graeme Curry, Ian Fraser, Kathleen Bidmead and Kevin Clarke. Anthony Ainley and Stephen Wyatt had hoped to participate, but were ultimately unable to attend.
  • This story marked the 25th anniversary of Doctor Who, giving the "Silver" in the title a double meaning.
  • The setting is on November 23 - another anniversary reference, being the date of the airing of the first episode in 1963.
  • This is currently the only anniversary special in the series proper that isn't a multi-Doctor special, and is the first since TV: The Three Doctors that was aired in parts.
  • Courtney Pine guest stars as himself in part one.
  • The first name of Leslie French (Mathematician) is misspelled as "Lesley" in Radio Times for part one.
  • Martyn Read (Security Guard) is credited as "Security Man" in Radio Times for part one.
  • Chris Chering and Symond Lawes (Skinheads) are credited as "First Skinhead" and "Second Skinhead" in Radio Times for part two.
  • Brian Orrell (Cyberman) is credited as "First Cyberman" in Radio Times for parts two and three.
  • The Doctor's new stereo (for Ace) was to have Zygon like speakers, but these were replaced with more conventional technological ones.
  • The gasworks site (the site of the warehouse and main battle sequence) takes place on the site which would become the site for the Millennium Dome.
  • An outtake from this story sees Sylvester McCoy tripping over a bush and then trying to stab it with his umbrella. The blooper appears in a contemporary PBS documentary on the making of the serial, and was also played during McCoy's 1988 "Clown Court" appearance on Noel Edmonds' Saturday evening light entertainment programme The Noel Edmonds Saturday Road Show. This was later included on the 2009 DVD release of TV: Delta and the Bannermen.
  • For the sequence in which the policemen were gassed, visual effects assistant Mike Tucker suggested using Cybermats, even going as far as building a new Cybermat prop, but Andrew Cartmel disliked the creatures and the notion was dropped.
  • John Nathan-Turner tried to get Prince Edward to make a cameo appearane. Edward was a fan of the entertainment industry and was then working as a production assistant for Andrew Lloyd Webber; Nathan-Turner hoped that a cameo role in Doctor Who might appeal to him, especially given the Windsor Castle setting. However, Edward's duties with Webber's Really Useful Theatre Company precluded his involvement in the serial, and he was replaced in the script by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II who would be portrayed by an imitator.
  • The production office asked permission to film at Windsor Castle, but were regretfully informed by the Buckingham Palace press office that permission was never granted for fictional projects to be filmed at the Royal residence, and documentary units were the only cameras allowed.
  • This story marks the only on-screen appearance of Mark VII Cybermen.
  • This is Chris Clough's sixth and final story as director.
  • Kevin Clarke lived seven minutes away from Television Centre and so had seven minutes to come up with an idea. He pitched the idea with "Doctor Who? We don't know who he is". He was amazed that John Nathan-Turner and Andrew Cartmel didn't know either. Eventually he summarised the way he saw the Doctor as, "well, he's basically God", which terrified Nathan-Turner and Cartmel. Nathan-Turner eventually replied, "Well, you can do it, but you can't say it".
  • This is the last story to feature the Cybermen before Doctor Who's cancellation in 1989. Consequently, it is also David Banks' last televised appearance as the Cyber-Leader.
  • For the anniversary a narrative trailer was made promoting Silver Nemesis. However due to the lack of a name for the anniversary story the trailer simply was called the 25th anniversary trailer.
  • David Banks didn't feel that the Cybermen were well served here. He also felt that gold had become an angle and they looked weak. "The writer didn't understand the Cybermen, so he used them as a metaphor for Nazis".
  • By all accounts, the shoot was pretty rancorous. When John Nathan-Turner brought in Kevin Clarke, Andrew Cartmel jumped on the first train back to London to escape the "poisonous atmosphere". Things got so bad that even Sylvester McCoy lost his temper and snapped at Sophie Aldred. "I couldn't stop the tears rolling down my cheeks. Luckily, this broke the tension; Sly gave me a big hug and we laughed at our bad tempers".
  • According to various cast and crew members, the only reason Anton Diffring accepted to appear in this serial was because its filming occurred at the same time as Wimbledon and he'd get the opportunity to watch it in his hotel room. He lived in the South of France at the time and couldn't get easy access to it.
  • Harry Andrews, Bernard Archard, Peter Cushing, Frank Finlay, Robert Flemyng, Michael Gough, Charles Gray, Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Donald Pleasence and Peter Vaughan were considered for the role of De Flores.
  • Penelope Wilton was considered for the role of Lady Peinforte.
  • Alun Armstrong and Simon Callow were offered the role of Richard Mayland.
  • The American tourist was originally a man named Milton P Remington. John Nathan-Turner hoped to interest Larry Hagman in the role, having been put in touch with Hagman's representatives by Kate O'Mara. When this didn't pan out, the role was rewritten as as woman and Dolores Gray was cast.
  • Validium was originally named makarianite.
  • Chris Clough was very unhappy with the quality of the special effects and models used in this story.
  • Anton Diffring was completely baffled by the whole project, having never seen the series.
  • According to various cast and crew members, Anton Diffring was seriously unwell while working on this serial. He died a year later.
  • Although Anton Diffring played Nazis in many film and TV productions, according to Chris Clough on the DVD commentary, he fled Nazi Germany because he was liberal and gay.
  • Sylvester McCoy later described the serial as "a disappointment", feeling that it would have been good if it hadn't been the 25th anniversary story.
  • Kevin Clarke wrote a part for Courtney Pine because he wanted to meet him. He also made the Doctor a jazz fan. (The "straight blowing" line refers to clarinet technique). As it happened, Pine was a fan of the show and got his band to appear with him.
  • Kevin Clarke tried to write all of Lady Peinforte's dialogue in iambic pentameter.
  • Dolores Gray was badly upset when she discovered that she had left a bag containing expensive jewellery on the London street where she had been collected. Happily, the bag and jewels were found and couriered to her at Arundel Castle.
  • According to the DVD commentary, several scenes were shot in woodland areas around Arundel Castle, notably the climax of part two, when the Doctor and Ace discuss the Cyber-threat while sitting near a fallen tree. The damaged and fallen trees, which can often be seen in these shots, were a result of the recent storm of 1987 that had caused widespread damage throughout southern England. 
  • To ensure that part one of this serial was broadcast on the exact day of Doctor Who's 25th anniversary after the premiere of Season 25 was delayed by coverage of the Olympics, the intended broadcast orders for The Happiness Patrol and The Greatest Show in the Galaxy were swapped. This change resulted in numerous continuity errors being present throughout the three serials, including Ace already wearing Flowerchild's brooch on her jacket in this serial and The Happiness Patrol, and Ace searching for her rucksack at the beginning of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy despite it having been blown up during this serial's events.
  • It was John Nathan-Turner who suggested that the Cybermen were the natural villains to appear in a silver anniversary adventure. Kevin Clarke had hoped to use the Daleks, but they were already being used in Remembrance of the Daleks.
  • Lady Peinforte's name came from the seventeenth-century torture peine forte et dure (which literally translates as “long and hard trauma”), in which increasingly heavy weights were placed on the body.
  • The Nemesis statue drew upon Adolf Hitler's obsession with the Spear of Destiny, the legendary lance described in The Bible as having pierced the side of the crucified Jesus, which was now reputed to bestow great powers upon its bearer. This led to the neo-Nazi plot.
  • The man to whom Richard owed a debt was named Briggs, after Ian Briggs.
  • In the original script, the TARDIS scanner served the role filled by Ace's ghetto blaster.
  • Pre-production was complicated when the discovery of asbestos at BBC Television Centre forced the rearrangement of the recording dates for The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. As a result, the availability of Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred for rehearsals was severely limited. Indeed, Dolores Gray became confused after mistakenly assuming that assistant floor manager Lynn Grant (who was reading Aldred's lines in her absence) was actually playing Ace.
  • Chris Clough staged the episode one cliffhanger to show the Cyberman ship landing, whereas it had been Kevin Clarke's intention that the vessel was already present, invisibly, and was only now revealing itself.
  • Filming went over-schedule, causing some shots to be abandoned, while others were rewritten on the spot. For instance, when the extras playing the Cybermen's servitors were unavailable, Chris Clough was left with no choice but to record some of the scenes in which they were intended to appear.
  • There was originally supposed to be a Communications Cyberman, reminiscent of the Cyber Director. However, there were concerns that it would seem too similar to the Special Weapons Dalek.
  • The painting of Ace in the past was created by the design team and depicted her in the style of Thomas Gainsborough. Several tourists at Arundel Castle were baffled to see it hanging there, as it wasn't in the guidebooks.
  • In the original script, the Doctor and Ace come across a statue of Ace rather than a painting.
  • Mrs. Remington was originally named Miss Hackensack, but Dolores Gray disliked the name, so it was changed.
  • In part because of the limited rehearsals, the original edit proved to be much too long. As a result, various elements were lost or truncated, most notably a subplot in which Karl appeared to betray De Flores to the Cybermen, who planned to convert both men. As written, De Flores' attempt to get away by using gold dust was foiled as part of this ruse; Karl later freed him once the Cybermen were lulled into a false sense of security and had left them virtually unguarded. All that survived of this story strand was the gold dust escape (now made to seem successful) and some brief glimpses of De Flores wearing Cyber-headphones.


  • Part one - 6.1 million viewers
  • Part two - 5.2 million viewers
  • Part three - 5.2 million viewers

Myths and rumours[[edit]]

Filming locations[[edit]]

  • Greenwich Gas Works, Tunnel Avenue, North Greenwich (where the Nemesis lands)
  • Arundel Castle, Arundel, West Sussex (stand-in for Windsor Castle)
  • London Road, Arundel, West Sussex (one of the roads Peinforte and Richard walk down)
  • Casa Del Mar, Aldsworth Avenue, Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex (De Flores' house)
  • Arundel Estate (now known as Arundel Park), Arundel, West Sussex
  • High Street / Tarrant Street, Arundel, West Sussex
  • St Mary's House, The Street, Bramber, West Sussex (exterior of Peinforte's house)
  • Black Jack's Mill, Harefield, Middlesex (location where Ace and the Doctor are listening to music)

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • The story is set in November, but the Courtney Pine Quartet are playing outside in the sunshine, and Ace is in a T-shirt. The foliage is decidedly lush, green, and non-Autumnal as well.
  • The camera operator stumbles or knocks into something when following Ace across the gantry in part three.
  • In part two, a helicopter was used to simulate the Cybership landing, the craft being superimposed over it. However, the helicopter's rotor blades are sometimes visible.
  • When Ace says "I hope me tape's alright", her mouth doesn't move.


  • Ace compares the events she encounters here with her experience with the Daleks. The Doctor also mentions that they had destroyed her stereo, and he built her a new one. (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks)
  • Lady Peinforte shows her servant, Richard Maynarde, his grave. The Sixth Doctor explained to Peri that if he took her to Earth after she had died, she could see her own gravestone. (TV: Revelation of the Daleks) The Eleventh Doctor would later see his own tomb on Trenzalore. (TV: The Name of the Doctor)
  • The Cybermen aim to use Nemesis as a means of making Earth a new home, describing it as a second Mondas, in light of the latter's destruction in TV: The Tenth Planet.
  • The Doctor spots a chess set in Lady Peinforte's home and realises that she is a Wolf of Fenric. Consequently, he becomes aware of Fenric's imminent return and plays chess with himself in apparent preparation, though he wouldn't clarify any of this until his actual confrontation with the entity. (TV: The Curse of Fenric)
  • Although it should be impossible for anyone from 1638 to calculate correctly a day 350 years later, as in 1752 the Julian calendar was 'brought into line' with the Gregorian one (effectively meaning that 11 days from 3 to 13 September were skipped over), this seeming discrepancy is later explained by Fenric having consistently manipulated the timeline in order to control Ace. In Lady Peinforte's home, the Doctor retrieves a note and burns it. He tells Ace that although the mathematician was a genius, he did need a nudge in the right direction. (TV: The Curse of Fenric)
  • In PROSE: Interference - Book Two there is another validium-based weapon featured.
  • The Doctor dematerialises the TARDIS as an arrow hits it. The same thing happens again to the Tenth Doctor. (TV: The Shakespeare Code, Gridlock) In both cases, the arrow dematerialises with the TARDIS. In another case, an arrow hits the TARDIS, but the Twelfth Doctor removes it prior to dematerialisation; in this instance, the TARDIS is able to repair the hole left by the arrowhead. (TV: Robot of Sherwood)
  • Queen Elizabeth II later acknowledges the Doctor as he flies the Starship Titanic overhead, having saved it from crashing into her and London. (TV: Voyage of the Damned)
  • The Doctor wears a fez and briefly carries a mop. His eighth incarnation would once wear a fez on his way to Egypt. (COMIC: Doctor Who and the Nightmare Game) His eleventh incarnation would later wear a fez and carry a mop, (TV: The Big Bang) and ultimately developed quite a fondness for that style of headwear. (TV: The Day of the Doctor, Kerblam!).
  • Lady Peinforte asks "the First Question" in her final confrontation with the Doctor: "Doctor Who? Have you never wondered where he came from?" "Doctor Who?" would again be used as a threat. (TV: The Wedding of River Song, The Name of the Doctor)
  • The Doctor dons a pair of "brainy specs", akin to the Fifth Doctor. However, he uses them in a futile attempt to hypnotise two of Windsor Castle's guards in a manner similar to the glasses utilised by the War Lords. (TV: The War Games)
  • Nemesis passes close by the Earth during PROSE: Human Nature and is witnessed by a soldier named Wrightson.

Home video and audio releases[[edit]]

DVD releases[[edit]]

This story was first released on DVD in the UK on 9 August 2010 in a double-pack with Revenge of the Cybermen. The one disc set includes a restored version of the story, as well as the following special features:


  • The DVD contains the original three-part broadcast version, much to the consternation of a number of Doctor Who fans who consider the extended version to be the definitive one. It does however contain 22 minutes' worth of deleted scenes. While including some never before seen, it nevertheless omits two scenes and several instances of cut dialogue, now only to be found in the previous VHS release.

Box set[[edit]]

VHS releases[[edit]]

A VHS edition of Silver Nemesis was released by BBC Video in 1993. This was an "extended edition" containing scenes not included in the original broadcast. This VHS release also included the American documentary The Making of Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis celebrating this 25th Anniversary story. Like the extended edit, this documentary was not included in any of the DVD releases.

External links[[edit]]