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24 September 2014

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High above the sea a tiny dot appears with a wheezing, groaning sound. It is the TARDIS, a police box piloted erratically through time and space by a mysterious traveller known only as the Doctor.

The TARDIS arrives

Despite the Doctor's best efforts, the police box falls into the water. The Doctor and his young companions Jamie and Victoria scramble out with a rubber dinghy. 'Trust you to bring us right down in the middle of the sea!' complains Jamie.

The Doctor rows them ashore, reassuring them that the TARDIS is perfectly capable of floating. Observing the white cliffs the Doctor confirms they are in England. 'We always seem to land on this planet,' says Victoria.

The Doctor's curiosity is aroused - the beach is full of a strange, foam-like substance. Playfully, the Doctor throws the foam at Jamie.

A play-fight soon ensues, and soon all three are submerged in foam. They are distracted by a huge pipe in the sand.

They investigate, unaware that they are being watched by a man with a gun. The pipe is labeled 'Euro Sea Gas', and features a protruding black box.

When the box proves impossible to open by hand, the Doctor unveils a slim, wand-like device. 'A sonic screwdriver,' he explains. 'Never fails.' He aims the device at the lid which unscrews itself.

Applying a stethoscope to the open control box, the Doctor detects an ominous, booming heartbeat. He assumes it is the noise of a pump.

Alien heartbeat

While the travellers examine the pipe, the man observing them carefully takes aim. A shot punctures the air and the Doctor collapses. Two more shots follow in rapid succession ... Jamie and Victoria fall to the ground.

Their unconscious bodies are dumped in a control room at the Euro Sea Gas refinery.

Victoria opens her eyes, and soon realises she can't move. The Doctor reassures her - the tranquiliser will take a while to wear off.

As the travellers regain their senses, armed guards keep an impassive watch over them.

Two men, Robson and Harris, introduce themselves as controllers. Robson demands to know why they were tampering with the pipe - the company has been suffering from sabotage. The Doctor protests their innocence, and Harris is inclined to believe them.

Robson isn't so sure, and orders the strangers locked up.

Harris explains to the Doctor that that the base is in a state of emergency - they've lost contact with some of their offshore rigs, and their pipelines are suffering mysterious drops in pressure.

Harris's wife Maggie is trying to visit her husband in the base, but finds her way blocked by bars.

A guard orders her off the base, back to her quarters.

In the bunk room the Doctor tells Harris he heard something moving in the pipe on the beach - something alive. Harris is incredulous, refusing to believe that anything could live in the pipes.

The Doctor suggests that until the mystery is solved, the gas should be stopped. Harris says that Robson prides himself on the fact that the supply has never been turned off.

In the control room, communications officer Price has succeeded in contacting Carney, the controller on Drilling Rig D.

Robson demands to know what's happening on the rig.

Something is obviously very wrong. Carney reports that the rescue crew have arrived, 'But we've had a slight accident... two men out of action...'

Robson orders Carney to get the rig working again.

Harris recommends that gas from the rigs is turned off while the pipes are checked. He mentions that the Doctor heard a strange noise in the pipes. 'Did he say what he thought it was?' sneers Robson. 'Mice?'

The Chief Engineer reports that the pressure has fallen again. Harris says it's been fluctuating like this for three weeks.

While Harris tries to persuade Robson to look at his report on the problem, a white-gloved hand takes the report from Harris's bag.

'What are you trying to prove?' Robson asks Harris. 'That I don't know my job?' When Harris notices the absence of the file containing his crucial report, Robson's scepticism grows.

A confused Harris explains that he must have left the report at home. Robson isn't impressed - he orders Harris to get the file.

Meanwhile, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria are already trying to escape through the nearest ventilation shaft.

Jamie climbs onto the Doctor's shoulders. 'Do you think you can make it?' asks the Doctor.

Seeing that Jamie is struggling, Victoria takes a hairpin and offers it as a means of picking the door lock. 'Pick a lock with a hairpin?' says Jamie over his shoulder. 'Don't be daft.'

Harris catches up with his wife, Maggie. He asks her to look for the missing file back at home.

Jamie gives up on the ventilation shaft, while Victoria picks the lock and calmly opens the door. Finally free, the Doctor, Victoria and a bruised Jamie emerge into the outside corridor.

At home, Maggie searches for her husband's missing file.

She locates the file, but is intrigued to discover that something is tucked inside it.

A sprig of seaweed falls to the floor, and she stoops to pick it up.

She throws the seaweed onto the veranda. It stings her hand.

Outside, the seaweed lies pulsating on the ground.

Alien heartbeat

Van Lutyens, the refinery's technical advisor, tells Robson that the control rig's crew have been worried ever since contact was lost with Rig D.

The two men argue in the control room. Van Lutyens is concerned about maintaining morale.

Robson doesn't care. 'When I need your advice I'll ask for it.'

A furious Van Lutyens storms out, angrily muttering in Dutch. He is overheard by the Doctor as he walks past.

Robson is contacted by Chief Baxter from the control rig. Baxter says that something seems to be in the pipes. Something making 'a peculiar sound... pulsating like a heartbeat.'

Alien heartbeat

Fascinated, the Doctor eavesdrops - it's the same sound he heard on the beach. The Doctor and Jamie decide to explore. The Doctor tells Victoria to return to the safety of the bunk room, but as soon as he is out of sight she heads off in the opposite direction.

Back at home, Maggie's reacting badly to being stung by the seaweed.

She calls her husband, telling him that she is feeling unwell.

Victoria hears footsteps, and ducks into the oxygen store room. Outside, Harris rushes past.

Victoria begins to choke, overcome by fumes: whatever's leaking from the oxygen tanks, it's poisonous. She struggles to switch off the cylinders.

The saboteur is still in the room! He knocks Victoria aside and rushes out, trapping her inside.

With Victoria trapped, he adjusts the environmental controls to the sealed room.

The slats on the ventilation grille swivel open - and something's on the other side...

The Doctor and Jamie begin their investigation in the pipeline room. They discover the impeller - a machine that pumps gas from the main pipeline out at sea.

Jamie notices a section of pipe that is transparent, and the Doctor explains that this helps to check on condensation, 'and anything else that might get inside.'

Victoria is startled by a banging noise, and looks up to see foam and weed bursting through the ventilation grille. An ominous heartbeat begins to fill the air.

Alien heartbeat

Weed and foam cascade through the opened slats, threatening to engulf her.

The Doctor and Jamie listen to the heartbeat from the pipes with the Doctor's stethoscope. 'There's something inside there,' the Doctor mutters darkly. They hear a piercing scream...

Alien heartbeat

... and as the Doctor and Jamie run to the rescue, Victoria backs away from the flailing tendrils of a monstrous creature, as it pours into the room...

Victoria's Screams

NEXT WEEK: Can Victoria scream her way out of this one?

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