The Dominators (TV story)

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The Dominators was the first serial of season 6 of Doctor Who.

Although the Dominators were the titular villains, it was the Quarks who later made appearances in Doctor Who in TV Comic (as well as a cameo in The War Games). Both the Dominators and the Quarks later featured in the Lethbridge-Stewart book series and Big Finish's audio adventures.


When two belligerent Dominators and their robotic servant Quarks land on the peaceful planet Dulkis planning to drop a radioactive seed into the planet's core to refuel their spaceship, the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe must attempt to inspire the pacifist Dulcians to resist.


Episode 1[[edit]]

A Dominator spacecraft lands on an island on the planet Dulkis, having just separated from its fleet on their way to Epsilon 4. It absorbs the radiation of the island into its power reserves. The two Dominators, Navigator Rago and Probationer Toba, step out of the craft. Rago is intent on establishing an energy source by drilling through the planetary crust, which is at its thinnest on this part of the planet. Toba is more concerned about the possible aggression of the natives, appearing willing to eliminate them should they resist. Rago, who wants to use the natives for slave labour instead, calls some Quarks off to survey the land.

Meanwhile, a Dulcian seacraft arrives at the island on an unauthorised trip. It is piloted by Cully, the son of Director Senex, a high-ranking member of the Dulcian council. The passengers include three Dulcians who think Cully has conned them when they find out there is no radiation on the island, which they call the Island of Death since it has been uninhabited for 172 years. As the passengers argue, a distracted Cully takes his eyes off the controls and they crash, becoming stuck on the island. The three Dulcians want to go out and explore, and Cully tries to stop them, as he is still worried about radiation — as well as the fact his passengers haven't yet paid him for the trip.

As the three Duclians disembark, they soon see Toba, Rago, and "some new type of robots". They set off towards them for help. Toba sees the three Dulcians approaching and commands the Quarks to destroy them. Hearing this, Rago admonishes Toba for the unnecessary killings. Meanwhile, the TARDIS crew land nearby and the Doctor assumes they're in for a nice holiday, having visited "peaceful" Dulkis before. While the Doctor relaxes in a deckchair, Jamie blows up a beach ball given to him by the Doctor.

Cully, the only surviving member of the party, returns to his craft. But as he approaches, Toba orders the Quarks to destroy it.The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe follow the sound and find a burnt-out shell of a building; however, it has been this way for many years. Uncomprehending, the Doctor and his companions begin to explore and discover it is a war museum containing old laser weapons. Zoe finds some bodies on display; however, on closer inspection, the "bodies" are just dummies. With the place reminding her of atomic blast sites from Earth, Zoe asks the Doctor if he checked the radiation levels before leaving the TARDIS. Unnerved by this, Jamie suggests they return to the TARDIS, only to be met by three suited figures.

In a permanent research station on the island, university Educator Balan and his two students, Kando and Teel, try to decontaminate the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe. To their surprise, they find their radiation levels are already at zero, and the Doctor and his companions are allowed out of the decontamination chamber. When the Doctor expresses his confusion at the state of Dulkis, Balan seems surprised, but accepts the Doctor's candid explaination that they are travellers through space. Kando tells them that the only nuclear blast on the island was an experiment conducted some 172 years ago, after which all weapons were banned on Dulkis and the island was kept as an observation area for study and research, as well as a warning to future generations of the danger of atomic energy. However, the absence of radiation remains a mystery to them all.

At the Dominator spaceship, Toba and Rago argue about Toba's bloodthirsty ways. Toba informs Rago that the Quarks have marked out their sites for the drilling, and both go to inspect them. Meanwhile, Cully has found the TARDIS, which happens to be right next to the drilling area set out by the Quarks. As Toba and Rago approach, Cully hides behind the TARDIS and overhears Toba's desire to destroy the craft before he slips away. Rago holds him back, as the primitive-looking box obviously poses no threat to their drilling.

Teel is out examining the abandoned museum when he encounters Cully, whom he knows from the mainland. Cully demands to be taken to the survey team. As Teel and Cully leave, Rago and Toba explore the museum for themselves. Seeing the weapons on display, Rago assumes that the Dulcians have since then developed much more sophisticated weaponry, and chastises Toba for destroying the natives, thus robbing them of vital information.

Balan suspects that the TARDIS might have absorbed the radiation, a theory the Doctor dismisses. Teel returns with Cully, who demands to be returned to the capital immediately, being genuinely afraid of the aliens and robots he has seen outside. Limited by facts, Balan refuses to believe Cully, whose rebellious reputation leads the Educator to suspect that Cully is playing a practical joke, and that the Doctor and his companions are in on it, too. However, the Doctor believes his story, especially when Cully talks about seeing a wooden blue box and the aliens' intention to destroy it. Alarmed, the Doctor and Jamie rush out.

Back at their ship, Rago and Toba are ready to begin the drilling process. Meanwhile, Balan continues to deny Cully's claims of aliens and refuses to take any action until he has reported to Director Senex; however, the robots outside are blocking communications to the capital. Infuriated by the inaction and slow-witted attitudes of the Dulcian people, including his father, Cully speaks to Zoe instead, glad at least that the Doctor showed some interest in his story.

The Doctor and Jamie have made it back to the TARDIS and are relieved to find it unharmed. The Doctor finds marks on the ground that signal the site is to be used for drilling. Seeing footprints in the dust, he and Jamie follow them to the Dominators' spaceship. As the Doctor ventures inside to explore, Jamie soon shouts for his attention, for up on a peak stand two robots with rectangular bodies and circular heads — the Quarks. As Toba joins the Quarks atop the ridge, they ask him, "Shall we destroy?"

Episode 2[[edit]]

Jamie being examined by the Dominators.

The Quarks manhandle the Doctor and Jamie into their ship. Jamie tries to stand up for himself, but both he and the Doctor are magnetised to a wall using molecular force binding. The Dominators tell them that they intend to probe their physiological makeup. The wall to which Jamie is attached becomes a table, and he is examined. He is judged to have a brittle skeletal structure, reasonable flexibility, and a certain amount of muscle force. The Dominators say that he is vulnerable as he has only one heart and that he has a simple brain, albeit one that shows signs of recent rapid learning. They decide not to examine the Doctor as they believe he will be the same as Jamie. (Little do they know...) Rago wants to destroy them, but Toba wants to keep them for slave labour, allowing the Quarks to recharge. They squabble about this. Toba orders a test of their reactions, starting with the Doctor.

Balan tries to contact Senex, but the line is still bad. Senex says he will examine the strangers in the capital. Kando reassures Zoe that everything will be alright; Zoe and Cully set off for the capital in a travel capsule.

The Doctor overhears Rago and Toba talking about an intelligence test and isn't sure whether the desired result is intelligence or stupidity.

Eight minutes after they set off, Zoe and Cully arrive at the capital. They interrupt the meeting of the Dulcian counsel being chaired by Bovem. Cully wants to share his news from the island and introduces Zoe as someone from another planet. He is met with scorn by the counsellors. Bovan insults Cully and is overheard by Senex as he enters the room. Senex clears the room to talk to Cully and Zoe privately. Senex assumes that Zoe must have been part of one of Cully's illegal tours. Cully expresses surprise that Senex was aware of the tours. Senex states it would have been embarrassing for himself if he were to have ordered his own son's arrest. Zoe sticks up for Cully and tells Senex about the TARDIS. Senex still thinks it all to be a joke. Cully tells Senex about all the things he's seen on the island, including the Dominators and the Quarks. Senex asks Zoe if she too has seen these things. Zoe confesses she hasn't.

Toba sets up a very simple puzzle-solving task for the Doctor. The Doctor's hands are placed in a box which gives him an electric shock every ten seconds until he solves the puzzle. The Doctor plays dumb despite the pain. When he is released, the Doctor advises Jamie that they should play dumb in order to appear non-threatening to the Dominators. Jamie and the Doctor are both subjected to a second test where they are asked to sit in a seat whilst the immediate flooring around them is electrified. They, again, take the pain to come off as stupid. Toba assumes that all Dulcians must be this slow-witted. Rago enters and says he will take over the testing as he believes that people like this couldn't have built the weaponry they saw in the museum. He also sends a message out that the "material is readily accessible".

Kando wonders where the Doctor and Jamie are, whilst Teel shows Balan that the radiation has dropped to zero. Balan assumes that this means that radiation is only present in the atmosphere for 172 years after exposure.

Rago has taken the Doctor and Jamie to the old museum and shows them the gun. He asks the Doctor to identify and fire it. He plays dumb. Jamie does the same. Rago fires the gun inches from the Doctor's head and orders him to tell them how these weapons came about. The Doctor states that the "Clever Ones" invented the guns, adding that they don't like the Clever Ones as they boss them about. This explanation satisfies the Dominators. Toba wants to destroy them, but Rago sets them free on the proviso they keep out of the way. Left on their own, the Doctor and Jamie wonder what the Dominators could be and slip back to the research centre.

Cully and Zoe decide they should go back to the island to gather more evidence. Cully is worried about Zoe's clothes being too conspicuous, so they go to the clothing dispenser unit in his father's quarters in order to get her some Dulcian clothing.

The Doctor and Jamie, having returned to the research centre, are bundled into a pod and are off to the capital. They have told the team about the Dominators and the Quarks, though. Balan does not believe them, but Kando and Teel are unsure. They share their doubts with Balan. He takes them out to look, certain that nothing is there.

Zoe, now in Dulcian garb, heads off to the capsule with Cully.

The Quarks see Balan, Kando, and Teel approaching. They warn the Dominators. Toba wants to destroy the Dulcians but Rago decides they should investigate.

Outside, the research team marvel at the craft. Balan still doubts Cully's version of events. Kando wants to investigate, and Balan agrees. As they explore the ship, the Quarks round on them. Balan is paralysed with a blast from the Quarks' guns. They use their molecular force binder to examine Teel in the same way as they did Jamie earlier. They discover a greater brain power than that of Jamie and two hearts. The Dominators still don't see the Dulcians as a threat, but the variances bear up with the Doctor's statement that there are two different species on the planet. The Dominators head out to search for more Dulcians, hoping to build a slave labour force.

Cully and Zoe begin the descent to the island.

The Quarks have infiltrated the research centre and are recording their data.

Cully and Zoe alight from the capsule to find the research centre abandoned.

Outside, Toba and his Quarks discover the research centre. Toba orders its destruction.

As the bombardment begins to destroy the building, Cully and Zoe try to escape, but they are trapped. Zoe screams as the building starts to come down around her ears.

Episode 3[[edit]]

Rago orders Toba to stop the destruction.

Cully suspects that the destruction has been brought about by the Quarks.

Rago orders that what is left of the research centre be searched and that any survivors be brought to him.

Cully and Zoe cannot open the door; it is stuck. Zoe suggests that they use the capsule, but Cully says the robots will easily pick them off in flight. The door opens and a Quark enters.

At the capital, Bovem shows Jamie and the Doctor in. They are told that Zoe is no longer there and that Senex will explain further.

Toba has brought Cully and Zoe for examination. Rago has found intelligence in his examination of Teel and now wants to test their physical capabilities. Rago orders that the Quarks go to the research centre to keep an eye on any new arrivals.

Senex tells Jamie and the Doctor that Zoe has returned to the island. Jamie wants to go back with weapons, only to be told that the Dulcians have none as they are pacifist. Jamie is shocked and dismayed. Senex observes that Jamie's lack of understanding of Dulcian ways backs up Cully's story of them being from another planet. The Doctor confirms all that Cully has said. Jamie is restless and wants to return.

Cully and Zoe are being held captive by a circle of Quarks surrounding them. Zoe has a plan to escape.

Rago sends Balan, Kando, and Teel to be with Zoe and Cully to begin their testing. Toba wants permission to destroy any escapees. Rago denies this. Toba leads his captives away.

Back in the capital, the Doctor has recounted his whole story to Senex and the council. The Doctor implores Senex to send someone to verify this story. Senex is very passive. He refuses to see the Dominators as any threat, citing the fact that they let the Doctor and Jamie go peacefully as a reason to remain unconcerned. The Doctor suggests that Senex contact Balan to obtain more news. When he does, they see the destruction of the research centre with a Quark standing in the rubble. The Doctor and Jamie rush off. It is not until they are in the capsule heading to the island that Jamie reminds the Doctor that they are heading precisely to the building where the Quark awaits them.

Meanwhile on the island, Toba explains the task he expects his captives to complete. They are to clear the drilling site of any rocks or debris. If they refuse, they will be destroyed. Zoe and Cully plan their escape; Balan and Kando are reluctant whilst Teel is unsure.

The Doctor starts to deconstruct the capsule. He is forced to go right into the nose of the machine.

A Quark reports back to Rago saying that all of the work party are fine apart from one female. Rago orders the Quark to keep on working them until they are all exhausted.

Zoe explains that they are right by the museum in which there is a laser gun. If they were to get that gun, they could destroy the Quarks and escape. As they talk, Balan collapses. The Quarks order the others to continue working whilst Zoe takes Balan off to sit by the side. She tries to sneak into the museum but sees a Quark in the building and slips away.

In the capsule, the Doctor thinks he has done it. He tries to direct the capsule and it wildly lurches to one side.

Senex and his council have sent for Tensa, the Chairman of the Emergency Committee. He has decided that if the Dominators are aggressive, the Dulcians have three options: fight, submit, or flee. All three of these prove unacceptable to the council, so they pick a fourth option: wait.

The Doctor and Jamie have landed undetected. They go off in search of Zoe.

Cully and Zoe conspire. Teel tells them that there is a bomb shelter nearby where they can hide if they escape.

High above the pit, the Doctor and Jamie overlook the proceedings. They decide to split up and go around to the back.

Zoe and Cully decide to put their plan into action. Cully fakes an injury. The Quarks send him to where the other exhausted captives have gone. He sneaks away into the museum and gets the gun. On cue, Zoe pretends to faint. The Quarks gather around her. Cully lines up the shot. However, before he can fire, Jamie comes up behind him and stops him, not understanding what is going on. By the time Cully lines up the shot again, it is too late. With all the captives exhausted, the Quarks lead them back to the Dominator ship. They realise that Cully is missing.

The Doctor is discovered by Toba. As they talk, Toba sees the returning Quarks are missing a captive. He puts the Doctor in amongst the prisoners and goes to seek Cully out.

Cully and Jamie are waiting in the museum for the Doctor. Toba turns up. Jamie grabs the gun. Toba orders the Quarks to destroy the museum. Jamie shoots a Quark as the building falls down around him. A beam falls on Cully. Jamie grabs him and escapes out of the museum.

As the building is completely destroyed, Toba grins...

Episode 4[[edit]]

The Quarks report the destruction of the museum to Rago, who loses his temper. Rago orders that the prisoners are to be sent to clear the site for the mining, with the exception of the "inferior" Doctor and Zoe. Once the prisoners have gone, Rago questions Toba's service. Toba sticks up for himself, but Rago says he plans to report him to the fleet commander. Toba retorts he will do the same. Rago threatens Toba with execution, calling a Quark over. Rago gives Toba two choices: molecular destruction or submission. Toba backs down. When alone with the Doctor and Zoe, Rago says that they are to be questioned about Dulkis.

When Toba arrives at the drilling site, he orders Kando and Teel to continue clearing the area and leaves with Balan. Left alone, Kando and Teel wonder about the fate of Jamie and Cully.

Jamie and Cully have found their way into an underground bunker. Cully wants to wait for Balan. Jamie tries the hatch, but it is blocked with debris. They realise that it is getting stuffy in the bunker; the ventilation shafts must be blocked, too. They will soon run out of oxygen.

Zoe is threatened by Rago as he demands answers from the Doctor. He wants to know about Senex and where he is based. He plans to take his own ship to go and see Senex, but the Doctor tells him about the modified capsule. Rago goes to discuss this with the fleet commander. The Doctor explains to Zoe that if Rago takes the capsule, it will allow them to investigate the ship and find Jamie. Rago returns and orders the Doctor to take him to the capsule.

Balan has been taken to help two Quarks with the drilling. They report that Toba has been ordered to seek Rago.

Rago finds the capsule primitive but suitable. Toba arrives, and Rago explains the plan to him. Toba is in charge whilst Rago is gone; Toba is not to kill anyone in Rago's absence. Whilst the Dominators are distracted, Zoe informs the Doctor of the underground shelter. Toba interrupts and leads them away.

Jamie and Cully are desperately forcing the hatch with a ladder. They eventually break through and climb up. They duck out of sight of the two Quarks that are guarding Teel and Kando. Jamie plans an attack on the Quarks. The two of them split up. There are nine Quarks altogether: five at the main site and four more at the drilling sites. Jamie has formed a plan.

A Quark reports to Toba that drilling is almost at completion. The Doctor needs to know for what they are drilling and yearns for a diversion to allow the Quark that is guarding them to leave.

Jamie, standing on a cliff top, chucks rocks at the Quark that is supervising Balan. The Quark tries to shoot Jamie but misses. Jamie runs and is pursued by the Quark. When Jamie gets into a ravine, Cully pushes a massive boulder down the steep drop and destroys the Quark.

The destruction of the Quark registers at the main ship. Toba runs off to investigate, accompanied by the Quark that was guarding the Doctor and Zoe. The Doctor suggests that the destruction was caused by Jamie. The Doctor begins to investigate the ship, looking for its power source. He soon discovers it runs on radioactive material, which explains the disappearance of the radioactivity in the atmosphere. The discovery does, however, raise the question as to what the Dominators are drilling for.

Toba questions Balan as to who destroyed the Quark. He claims to have no knowledge of the matter. Toba orders the Quarks to destroy any unknown being they come across.

The Dulcian council are still discussing what to do when Rago enters. Rago starts to demand answers from Senex. Tensa stands up for Senex. Rago warns him to be silent, but Tensa continues to challenge him. When Tensa doesn't back down, Rago orders his destruction. The Quark kills Tensa. Rago orders that all Dulcains are to be rounded up and enslaved; those that survive will return to the Dominators' planet. He points to Tensa's death as a warning against any further outcries.

Back on the island, Toba questions Teel and Kando. Toba grabs Kando and starts to hurt her. Teel attacks him. Toba gets a Quark to torture Teel as he asks about who has been attacking them. He only stops when Kando says that she suspects the destruction was caused by Cully. Toba thinks Cully is dead but realises that there is another on the island: the "stupid one", Jamie.

In the ship, the Doctor questions Balan as to where they got their radioactive materials when they built the bomb. Balan says it was the other side of the planet. This answers no questions for the Doctor. Why are the Dominators drilling here? And why are they drilling in this pattern of four in a square with one in the middle? Toba enters with the rest of the prisoners. He demands to know where Jamie is and states he will kill each of them, one by one, until they tell him. He kills Balan to prove his point. Next up is the Doctor.

Episode 5[[edit]]

Rago stops Toba just as he threatens the Doctor. Rago is furious that the drilling has stopped. He orders that the rockets need to be in place and commands the placement of the "seed device". Rago recalls the Quarks from searching for Jamie in order to continue drilling.

Jamie and Cully are being chased by Quarks across the Dulcian plains. The Quarks are closing in, but suddenly they withdraw. Surprised but relieved, Jamie and Cully decide to go back to the shelter.

Once there, Jamie and Cully unblock the ventilation shaft and the periscope, then enter. Using the periscope, they see the Doctor and his colleagues being led away by the Quarks whilst another group of Quarks are being ordered by Toba to continue the drilling. Jamie wants to rescue his friends. When Cully asks how he plans to do so, Jamie mysteriously picks up a sheet from the nearby bunk.

Toba begins the drilling. While being held captive with his friends, the Doctor sees Jamie approaching, brandishing a twisted-up sheet. Jamie approaches a Quark from behind and ties its feet together. The Doctor calls the Quark over and it topples over. Jamie sits on the Quark whilst Cully covers it with a sheet. Their friends run off into the shelter. The Quark's distress call alerts Toba, who stops the drilling and goes to investigate. He is enraged when he finds everyone gone. Yet again he orders the Quarks to search and destroy, but Rago immediately countermands this order and commands the Quarks to continue drilling. Rago pacifies Toba by saying that the Dulcians won't escape for long as they will soon die with their planet.

Under the ground, the Doctor and Jamie have overheard this worrying conversation between the Dominators. They relay this information to the rest. The Doctor has finally figured out what the Dominators are planning. Using the four outer drilling sites, they intend on firing four rockets into the centre of the planet and its molten core, thus creating a volcano. The middle bore hole is for the seed device which will explode in the centre of the volcano, destroying the planet and producing enough atomic energy for the Dominator ship to be fully powered. The only way to stop this is to defuse the seed device, but there is no way of reaching it. Jamie comes up with a plan whereby they dig a hole from the shelter to the central bore hole and intercept the seed device when the Dominators drop it down. Worried about time, the Doctor starts construction on the hole right away. He uses his sonic screwdriver to blast through the wall of the shelter in order to get them started. Jamie and Cully offer to buy them time by going out and destroying some more Quarks. The Doctor tells them to wait as he wants to see if he can create a weapon for them.

Rago announces that the rockets are in place. Toba states that drilling will be finished on schedule.

Using a medical kit he has found in the shelter, the Doctor has constructed a homemade grenade that Jamie and Cully can use against the Quarks.

Once outside, Jamie and Cully make a bee line for the drilling site. En route, they use the grenades to destroy three Quarks, doing a great deal of damage.

The destruction of the Quarks registers in the Dominator ship, and Rago goes to investigate.

Toba overhears the distress call of the Quarks but decides to follow orders and continue drilling.

Using the periscope, Zoe sees that Toba hasn't stopped drilling. The diggers redouble their efforts.

Toba berates Rago for not letting him destroy the prisoners when they had the chance. He informs Rago that the Quarks are running out of power but have enough to finish the drilling.

Jamie and Cully approach the main drilling point. They see that they need to stop the drilling.

Down in the shelter, the diggers are getting ever closer to the drill shaft. They are shaken by a huge explosion.

The drill has been knocked out of its hole, and a Quark has been destroyed. Rago takes another Quark with him in search of the vandals. Toba continues the drilling.

As they run off, Jamie and Cully find themselves surrounded. They scarper up a hill, hoping that the Quarks cannot follow. Rago orders their destruction. The Quarks warn their power is too low for accuracy, then fire. Cully is hit, but he is paralysed rather than killed due to the weak strength of the Quarks' lasers. The Quarks draw in.

The diggers can hear the drill in the tunnel. They stop digging temporarily when Jamie returns with Cully. The Doctor says that Cully's paralysis will only be temporary. The drilling from above stops. They rush to complete the tunnel.

Toba tells Rago that the drilling is complete before going to fetch the seed device.

Jamie breaks through into the shaft just in time. Zoe watches Rago drop the device into the shaft; the Doctor is able to catch it. His joy is short-lived when he finds the device sealed. He needs to get it off the planet. He sends Jamie and Zoe to the TARDIS and tells Kando and Teel to go to the capsule. They need to fly to the capital and inform their people that there will be minor volcanic disruption on the island. He then rushes off.

The Dominators begin their take-off procedure, while the remaining Quarks board the ship.

The Doctor sprints across the Dulcian terrain. He enters the ship alongside the last Quark and places the device in the ship, behind the unsuspecting Quark. He nearly gets caught in the doors as he exits but squeezes through. Minutes later, the ship takes off.

Jamie and Zoe wait anxiously for the Doctor outside the TARDIS. He startles them by approaching from behind. The rockets explode and the ground begins to shake.

In the ship, Rago sees the device. He orders Toba to stop the countdown. Toba begins to argue... and the ship explodes.

The Doctor is very pleased with himself; he reassures a still-agitated Jamie that the planet is safe since the formation of the volcano will now only affect the island. However, the Doctor abruptly realises he needs to get moving when Jamie reminds him that they aren't safe yet since they are still on the island. The Doctor is horrified when he sees volcanic lava flowing towards them...


Uncredited cast[[edit]]


Uncredited crew[[edit]]


  • Zoe mentions both the Daleks and the Cybermen, hoping that neither will be present on Dulkis.

Story notes[[edit]]

  • Originally a six-part story, The Dominators was edited at the script stage down to five episodes by script editor Derrick Sherwin. The original sixth episode became the first episode of The Mind Robber. Derrick Sherwin generally compacted the original storyline for episodes four, five and six down to two installments.
  • A rumoured working title for this story is The Beautiful People, but this does not appear on any contemporary BBC paperwork.
  • The end of this story leads directly into The Mind Robber.
  • Derrick Sherwin heavily re-wrote the script with his assistant, Terrance Dicks. He felt that Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln's scripts had too many satirical elements at the expense of incident and requested changes which the writers were reluctant to make. Peter Bryant informed the writers that they would not be required to provide the final episode, although they would be paid in full for their efforts. The writers no longer wanted to be credited with the serial, requesting the pseudonym Norman Ashby, after their fathers-in-law.
  • Episode three was recorded on 35mm black-and-white film, as opposed to the usual 625 line PAL black-and-white videotape, to make editing easier. The episode was not identified by any on-screen caption, as this was inadvertently omitted on the recording day, Friday 31 May 1968.
  • Radio Times credits Sheila Grant as "Quark Voices" for all five episodes. On-screen credits read "Quark Voices by" for episodes one and two; and "Quark Voices" for episodes three to five.
  • The start of Season 6 was heralded with a preview of episode one on the This Week page in Radio Times (cover dated: 10-16 August 1968), which read as follows: "The start of a new adventure — Dr. Who and the Dominators — in which the Doctor hopes for a peaceful holiday on the planet of Dulkis, but meets some very disagreeable creatures / Saturday, BBC-1". This was accompanied by a small black-and-white profile shot of Rago looming over the Doctor on the Island of Death, with the accompanying caption "Dr. Who comes face to face with a new and particularly deadly foe in his latest adventure — Dr. Who and the Dominators — which begins on Saturday". (original published text)
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode one was accompanied by a black-and-white photograph of two Quarks at the drilling site near the war museum, along with a synopsis, bearing the title Look Out! It's the Quarks, which read as follows: "They're Dr. Who's latest enemies in the new adventure beginning today at 5.15 / The TARDIS excels itself and picks a very pleasant spot on which to land — the planet Dulkis. The Doctor has been there before and knows its inhabitants, the pacifist Dulcians, well. So he promises Jamie and Zoë that they can look forward to a peaceful holiday. But things are never what they seem and the Doctor discovers how he has been deceived. For the planet has been taken over by the cruel Dominators and their deadly robots, the Quarks, perhaps the most frightening enemy the Doctor has ever encountered." (original published text)
  • Chris Jeffries doubles for Patrick Troughton in all location-shot scenes featuring the Doctor.
  • The Quarks were played by children from a nearby acting school.  They were voiced by an adult woman doing a childlike voice with something of a public schoolboy sound.
  • This was one of the stories chosen to be shown as part of BSB's Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
  • Patrick Troughton requested a showing of The Dominators at his birthday party shortly before his death in March 1987.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode three in certain regions was accompanied by a black-and-white photograph of Jamie and Cully on the Island of Death, bearing the title Two in Peril, with the accompanying caption "Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Cully the Dulcian (Arthur Cox) are menaced by the terrifying Quarks in Dr. Who / Today at 5.15". (original published text)
  • The Quarks frequently appeared in the run of the Second Doctor in TV Comic, starting on the very day that episode four of this serial initially aired.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode four was accompanied by a black-and-white head-and-shoulders photograph of Wendy Padbury, along with a brief biography of the actress, bearing the title How Wendy caught the acting bug.
  • Jelly babies, more usually associated with the Fourth Doctor, make their Doctor Who debut — the Doctor eats some from a bag while waiting in the transport capsule.
  • This is the only Doctor Who story directed by Morris Barry not to feature the Cybermen and the only story written by Haisman and Lincoln not to feature the Robot Yeti or the Great Intelligence.
  • Douglas Camfield was considered to direct.
  • With a length of five episodes, this was the longest season opening story of the classic series.
  • Arthur Cox sprained his ankle while filming at Gerrards Cross. He would be in a cast for some time as a result, limiting Morris Barry's camera angles for the rest of the pre-filming.
  • Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln drew upon Latin for many of their character names - Bovem (“bull”), Senex (“old man”), and Dulcian (“beautiful people"). The name Cully, meanwhile, came from a word meaning “dupe”. Cully's passengers in Episode One had names derived from Arabic numerals: Wahed (from waahid, “one”), Etnin (from ithnaan, “two”) and Tolata (from thalaatha, “three”).
  • Senex was originally called Somex, derived from the Latin word for “sleep”.
  • The word Quark came from a family of subatomic particles, the existence of which had first been theorised in 1964.
  • Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln wanted to get away from the purely action-adventure nature of their previous scripts. Preferring a narrative with timely, modern relevance, they sought to explore what they considered to be the misguidedly passive philosophy of the hippie movement.
  • The Quarks were created to be the series' next merchandisable monster after the Daleks. However, a falling out between the writers and the production led to this being their sole appearance. Things got so heated that Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln attempted to legally prevent the serial from airing.
  • Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln observed that much of the Daleks' appeal lay in the fact that they didn't just look like people in costumes. With this in mind, they devised the Quarks.


  • Episode 1 - 6.1 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 5.9 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 5.4 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 7.5 million viewers
  • Episode 5 - 5.9 million viewers


  • The location scenes of this story were shot on colour film as a test exercise. (They weren't. Despite persistent rumours to the contrary, the BBC did no colour filming or recording on any of the 1960s black-and-white Doctor Who episodes.)
  • This was Patrick Troughton's personal favourite of all the stories that he appeared in. (While he did request that the story be screened at the convention where his untimely death occurred, there is no evidence to suggest that he held the story in any particular high regard. In fact, he admitted to a fan who called the story "dull" that he was inclined to agree. His favourite story was in fact The Mind Robber)

Filming locations[[edit]]

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 rubble over a hatch in episode four vanishes.
  • A boom mike shadow drops into shot in the first War Museum scene in episode one.
  • The zip at the back of Zoe's skirt causes her problems on numerous occasions, being open in episodes two, three and five.
  • In certain scenes, especially those when the Quarks are recharging, the operators' hands are visible using the Quark arms.
  • When Rago is testing the supposedly self-charging laser gun, a power lead can be seen attached to it.
  • When the Doctor is running with the seed device to the Dominators' ship in episode five, the camera gets a little too close to the stunt double and we clearly see that it is Chris Jeffries and not Patrick Troughton.
  • In the exterior shots of the island recorded in the studio, the lighting on the backcloth is so hard that its wrinkles are clearly visible.
  • In episode three, a camera enters from behind the set aboard the Dominators' ship as Balan and Kando are menaced by Rago and Toba.
  • When Jamie and Cully destroy the first group of Quarks with explosives in episode five, the appearance of the landscape changes dramatically following the second explosion, and two of the three Quarks present disappear completely without explanation. This error occurs as a result of footage of a single Quark exploding from episode three being reused.


Home video and audio releases[[edit]]

DVD releases[[edit]]

This story was first released on DVD in the UK on 12 July 2010. The one disc set includes a restored version of the story, as well as the following special features:

  • Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
  • Censor clips from episodes four and five have been restored for the DVD as part of the episodes themselves. These were first found in 1996 and therefore did not make it to the VHS release in 1990.

The Dominators was released on DVD in the United States in January 2011, along with the Tom Baker serial Meglos.

VHS releases[[edit]]

The Dominators was released on VHS in September 1990 in episodic format, with episodes four and five in the incomplete form in which they existed at the time (see DVD releases above).

Audio releases[[edit]]

Soundtrack released on CD as a 2-disc set by BBC Audio in May 2007, with linking narration by Wendy Padbury. Includes bonus interview with Wendy Padbury.

External links[[edit]]