The Fourth Dimension

The Time Monster


Following the renovation of the TARDIS console for The Claws of Axos, the console room itself gets a bit of a facelift. Jo comments that it looks different and the Doctor tells her that he’s been doing a spot of redecorating. The circular patterns on the wall are still there, but here they appear to be more like large, raised bowls. This was the work of designer Tim Gleeson. However, The Time Monster was the only time that this version of the set was used.


The interior of the Master’s TARDIS has also been redecorated and has the same white bowls on the wall as the Doctor’s ship. The console itself, although the same as the Doctor’s, has a different central column. Instead of a clear column containing colourful tubing, the Master’s time rotor is a solid metal cylinder. For this story, the exterior of the Master’s TARDIS has disguised itself as a computer bank.


Queen Galleia is played by Ingrid Pitt, well-known as one of the glamorous stars of many Hammer Horror movies. She appeared in the title role of Countess Dracula and The House that Dripped Blood which had also featured Jon Pertwee. Pitt would return to Doctor Who in 1984 as Dr Solow in Warriors of the Deep.


Trapped in the labyrinth in Atlantis, the Doctor and Jo are confronted by the bull-headed minotaur. Body builder Dave Prowse was cast as the mythical beast. Prowse would later use his imposing frame to become the body of Darth Vader in all three of the original Star Wars films. He was also well-known as the Green Cross Code man who helped children learn to cross roads safely.


The Time Monster presents the mind bending idea of the Doctor’s TARDIS and the Master’s TARDIS being inside each other at the same time. This concept was repeated in the Fourth Doctor’s final story, Logopolis, in which the Master materialises his ship around (and inside!) the Doctor’s.


Trapped in a prison cell together, the Doctor gives Jo (and the viewer) a rare insight into his life on his home planet before he escaped in the TARDIS. He tells Jo how his family’s home was half way up a mountain and that behind the house lived a wise old hermit who taught the young Doctor to see the universe in a new and positive light.


For the first time, the Doctor identifies the realm through which the TARDIS travels as being the ‘vortex’, a term that would be regularly used throughout the rest of the series. It’s also the first time that we see the TARDIS exterior spinning as it travels. This would become a standard in future stories.


The legendary Atlantis gets its third and (to date) final outing in Doctor Who following on from its destruction in The Underwater Menace and the claim by Azal in The Daemons that his race also brought about its end. Here we see it getting reduced to rubble yet again, this time at the hands of the winged Kronos.


The Time Monster replaced a proposed story by the same author, Robert Sloman, that would have featured the Daleks, tentatively called The Daleks in London. However, although the production team were keen to bring back the Daleks, it was decided that they would be inserted into the story that eventually became the season opener, Day of the Daleks. Sloman abandoned his storyline and began again on what would become The Time Monster.


All six episodes of The Time Monster, restored and remastered, have been released in colour on DVD. The story is accompanied by a commentary from actors John Levene (Benton), Susan Penhaligon (Lakis), producer Barry Letts, production assistant Marion McDougall, and writers Graham Duff, Phil Ford, Joe Lidster and James Moran. Also included on the disc is the documentary Between Now... and Now! which looks at the science behind the story.

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