BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage

Entertainment Cult

Contact Us

The Rescue

Production Code: L

First Transmitted

The Powerful Enemy - 02/01/1965 17:40

Desperate Measures - 09/01/1965 17:40


Arriving on the planet Dido in the late 25th Century, the time travellers come upon a crashed spaceship from Earth. Its two occupants - a paralysed man named Bennett and a young girl, Vicki - are living in fear of a creature called Koquillion, a native whose people have apparently killed the other members of the human expedition.

However, the Doctor quickly deduces that Koquillion is in fact Bennett in disguise; it was he who killed the others in order to conceal an earlier murder he had committed on the ship.

Confronted by two of the humanoid Dido natives - whom he thought he had completely wiped out - Bennett falls from a high rock ledge to his death. As Vicki's father was amongst the murdered crewmen and she is now an orphan, the Doctor offers her a place aboard the TARDIS.

Episode Endings

Making their way along a narrow ledge to escape from the cave in which Koquillion has trapped them, the Doctor and Ian find some metal wall rings, apparently intended as hand-holds. One of them comes loose as Ian pulls on it, activating a mechanism that traps him between two sets of sharp spears. More spears emerge from the wall behind him and start to push him toward the edge while, below, a horrific monster awaits.

The travellers leave the planet Dido taking Vicki with them. The Doctor hopes that they might get some rest at their next port of call. The TARDIS materialises on the edge of a cliff, however, and slowly topples off...



The Terror from Beyond Space.

Dialogue Triumphs

Vicki : "What are you looking like that for?"

Barbara Wright : "Like what?"

Vicki : "You're sorry for me aren't you? I'm perfectly all right, you know. I don't care if nobody ever comes. I'm fine. I'm perfectly all right!"

The Doctor : "We can travel anywhere and everywhere in that old box as you call it. Regardless of space and time... and if you like adventure, my dear, I can promise you an abundance of it."

The Doctor : [Barbara, thinking the TARDIS has landed, tells the Doctor that the trembling has stopped.] "Oh my dear, I'm so glad you're feeling better."

Double Entendre

Ian : [Pronounces Koquillion as] "Cockylickin"


The Doctor says of his medical qualifications that 'It's a pity I didn't get that degree, eh?'.

He dozes during materialisation, and for the first time the TARDIS lands itself.

Vicki left Earth for the planet Astra in 2493. Vicki's mother had recently died and her father was about to start a new job on Astra. He was among the people killed by Bennett. Vicki is not short for Victoria.

When the Doctor first visited Dido there were about 100 inhabitants. They appear human-like, and violence is unknown to them. (So why do they build a knife-wall trap and have a hall of justice?)


The Doctor's Doctorate



Dido [almost certainly 2493].

Future History

The crashed spaceship has a Union Jack flag. [Britain still exists in some form in 2493.]



The Doctor has been to Dido before.


The TARDIS makes the familiar 'wheezing and groaning' noise both inside and outside the ship as it materialises in this story.

Jacqueline Hill suffered shock and a sore face when the wooden effects gun used in the scene where she shot the Sand Monster detonated with greater ferocity than expected.

Tom Sheridan, who played the Space Captain heard but not seen in this story, was also inside the Sand Monster costume.


The inhabitants of Dido are called Didonians. (They are never referred to as such in the televised story).


The TARDIS has no back to it, and you can see the cave wall beyond.

In episode two, a stagehand is visible behind Vicki's pet.

Barbara's shot at the sand creature is a firework which drops off the end of her gun.

Cast & Crew


The Doctor - William Hartnell

Barbara Wright - Jacqueline Hill

Ian Chesterton - William Russell

Vicki - Maureen O'Brien

Bennett - Ray Barrett

Koquillion - Sydney Wilson

Koquillion - Ray Barrett

Space Captain - Tom Sheridan


Director - Christopher Barry

Assistant Floor Manager - Valerie Wilkins

Associate Producer - Mervyn Pinfield

Costumes - Daphne Dare

Designer - Raymond P Cusick

Film Cameraman - Dick Bush

Film Editor - Jim Latham

Incidental Music - Tristram Cary from stock

Make-Up - Sonia Markham

Producer - Verity Lambert

Production Assistant - David Maloney

Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson

Story Editor - Dennis Spooner

Studio Lighting - Howard King

Studio Sound - Richard Chubb

Title Music - Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, arranged by Delia Derbyshire

Writer - David Whitaker

Bottom Line - from The Discontinuity Guide

As a vehicle to introduce a companion, The Rescue just about works, but it's too inconsequential to sustain any real interest.

Analysis - from Doctor Who, the Television Companion

The Rescue, as a relatively unambitious two-parter nestling between the epic The Dalek Invasion of Earth and the amusing historical The Romans, is a story that sometimes seems to get overlooked. This is a pity, as it is actually one of the best examples of character-driven drama from this period of the series' history.

With Susan out of the way, attention focuses initially on the Doctor, Ian and Barbara, and the story opens with a lovely scene illustrating just how far these people have come since we first met them. Primarily, however, the story is a vehicle to introduce the new companion, Vicki, and this is done with the minimum of fuss. The newcomer's character is sketched in nicely, and Maureen O'Brien plays the part with great skill and conviction - even Vicki's distress at the death of 'Sandy', a hideous but tame monster that she has adopted as a pet, is made completely believable.

Vicki actually steals the show here, having some nicely written and acted exchanges with Barbara and the Doctor. Her decision to come on board the TARDIS at the end is also nicely handled and bodes well for the future. As Trevor Wayne wrote in Gallifrey Issue Twelve dated autumn 1980, 'Vicki was a very sympathetic character throughout, and portrayed a variety of emotions...[The Doctor] saw that she needed protection, and she would of course suit his own inner desire for someone to alleviate the loss of his Susan.'

The plot itself is rather lightweight - perhaps not surprisingly, given the story's relative brevity. That Bennett has managed to keep his masquerade as Koquillion going well enough to fool Vicki is just about believable, although the Doctor sees through it immediately and it is really a little difficult to accept that a masked man carrying a jewelled spanner could strike terror anywhere. To his credit, though, Ray Barrett plays the 'dual role' very well and manages to bring a certain intensity to the supposed creature's demeanour, making it a memorable creation.

The climax of the story is visually impressive but a little strange, as John Peel described in TARDIS Volume 6 Number 3/4, dated October 1981: 'The... sequence, where the Doctor is seated in the Didonian Hall of Judgment, long, dark and gloomy, has to be one of the most marvellous climaxes to a story I have ever seen. [The Doctor forces] a confession of guilt from the mentally sick Bennett, only to suddenly realise that he is in terrible danger from this homicidal maniac! He is saved only by the intervention of two silent Didonians - a very weak plot device, and I still find it dreadfully hard to believe that the sight of these two unarmed aliens (totally human looking) should scare Bennett so much that he should fall off a cliff after backing away from them.'

The appearance of these two Dido natives, dressed in white jogging suits, is totally unexplained. One can only assume Bennett did not, after all, kill all the natives in his engineered explosion; but if that is the case, where have they been all the time? And what is their wrecking of the crashed ship's radio transmitter at the end of the story supposed to signify? Surely the approaching rescue ship would not turn back simply because of this?

These unexplained plot threads are, however, only a minor irritation and scarcely detract from the viewer's overall appreciation of the story, which stands as an enjoyable interlude effectively allowing for a new regular to be introduced and for the other travellers to recover from their recent adventure against the Daleks.

< The Dalek Invasion of EarthFirst DoctorThe Romans >

This episode guide is made up of the text of The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping, and Doctor Who: The Television Companion by David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker.

The Discontinuity Guide © Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping 1995.
Doctor Who: The Television Companion © David J Howe and Stephen James Walker 1998, 2003.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy