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From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"We've got to get out of this ship!"
―Tegan Jovanka
Four to Doomsday
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 19
Story Number: 118
Doctor: Fifth Doctor
Setting: Monarch's ship; 28th February, 1981
Writer: Terence Dudley
Director: John Black
Broadcast: 18th January - 26th January 1982
Format: 4 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: Castrovalva
Following Story: Kinda



The TARDIS arrives on board a huge spaceship where the Doctor and his companions encounter the frog-like Urbankans and a population of human androids. The androids are drawn from four different ethnic groups - Greek (led by Bigon), Chinese (led by Lin Futu), Mayan (led by Villagra) and Aboriginal Australian (led by Kurkutji) - and perform regular displays of dance and other rituals termed 'recreationals'.

The Urbankans' leader, Monarch, aided by his ministers Persuasion and Enlightenment, is engaged in a complex scheme to plunder from Earth the raw materials needed to enable him to travel back in time and thereby confirm his belief in his own status as the universe's divine creator.

Monarch has a poison that he intends to use to conquer humanity so that Earth can be repopulated with his androids. The Doctor, however, throws a canister of the poison at Monarch, causing him to shrink away to virtually nothing.


Part One

The Doctor tries to return Tegan to Heathrow Airport but the TARDIS lands on a technologically advanced ship. The Doctor goes out to investigate and discovers a Monoptican surveying them. The Doctor returns to the TARDIS and emerges along with Adric, Nyssa and Tegan. All four have to wear helmets in order to breathe. The Doctor addresses the Monoptican hoping whoever is using it for suveillance will know they are friendly. The Doctor questions the Monoptican on their location. A door opens shortly afterwords and, recognising this as a friendly gesture, the Doctor goes through it followed by Tegan. Nyssa and Adric stay in the room to operate some machinery there. Tegan and the Doctor eventually find themselves on the bridge of the ship and come face to face with the Monarch and his two associates Enlightenment and Persuasion. The Monarch is interested in The Doctor and Tegan's knowledge of current and past Earth culture. The Monarch then reveals their ship is bound for Earth. Tegan draws a picture of male and female uniforms at Heathrow for Enlightenment. Tegan and The Doctor then leave the bridge and meet up with Nyssa and Adric. Nyssa claims she saw a humanoid man. The Doctor doubts this until the man emerges and asks them to follow; he is dressed in a Greek toga. They are led to a dining chamber at are seated at a rectangular table. They are then joined by an Aborigine (Kurkutji) a Mayan (Villagra) and a Chinese mandarin (Lin Futu). They are all representatives of there respective cultures with the Greek man (Bigon) representing ancient Greece. The last guests to join them are Enlightenment and Persuasion who have seemingly transformed into the humans Tegan sketched.

Part Two

The TARDIS crew are reunited as guests aboard the ship and it soon becomes apparent that there are four distinct human cultures represented on the vessel by a small group of humans – Ancient Greeks, the leader of whom is the philosopher Bigon; Chinese Mandarins and their leader Lin Futu; Princess Villagra and representatives of the Mayan people; and Kurkutji and his tribesmen, of the very ancient Australian Aboriginal culture. The Urbankans have made periodic visits to Earth, each time getting speedier in their journeys.

This time they have left their homeworld after erratic solar activity, storing three billion of their species on slides aboard their craft, and it seems the current journey is their last and they now wish to settle on Earth, which they are due to reach in four days time. Bigon demonstrates to an astonished Doctor that within his chest and beneath his face there is just a mass of electronics. Holding up a printed circuit connected to his chest, he states: "This is me..."

Part Three:

The Doctor becomes suspicious of Monarch and soon learns that the Urbankan does not plan on peaceful co-existence: instead, he has developed a toxin to wipe out humanity, and this will be unleashed before the Urbankans disembark. He also finds out that the humans aboard are not descendents of the original abductees, but are the original people taken from Earth and converted into androids like the three Urbankans walking around on board. The four leaders of the peoples have been given additional circuits to help them reason, but this facility can be taken away, as Bigon learns when he crosses Monarch once too often. He explained to the Doctor that Monarch strip-mined and destroyed Urbanka in a quest for minerals to improve the ship, and now plans to do the same to Earth. Monarch believes that if he can move the ship faster than the speed of light, he can pilot it back to the beginning of time and discover himself as God. Adric is restrained as, on Persuasion's orders, the Doctor is forced to his knees and one of the Greek androids raises a sword to decapitate him...

Part Four:

Adric, nevertheless, is rather taken with Monarch, and tensions between him and the Doctor become very strained. It takes the truth to break the alien’s hold over the boy. The Doctor now sets about over-throwing Monarch and, with the help of the human androids led by a restored Bigon, a revolution is put into effect.Enlightenment and Persuasion are de-circuited, while Monarch himself is exposed to the deadly toxin and killed.It seems he was a product of the weak “flesh time” after all, having never, as the Doctor suspected, been fully converted into an android. The humanoid androids decide to pilot the vessel to a new home on a new world, while the TARDIS crew departs. Back in the console room, Nyssa suddenly collapses to the floor in a dead faint...




  • Urbanka is in the solar system Inokshi in Galaxy 1489.
  • The Doctor was a friend of Francis Drake.
  • The Doctor demonstrates that he can survive (for a short time) exposed to the vacuum of space.
  • The Doctor states that only his Professor at the Academy really understood artron energy, which powers the TARDIS.
  • Nyssa is skilled in bioengineering and cybernetics.
  • The Doctor first demonstrates his skill with a Cricket ball.

Story Notes

  • This was the first Fifth Doctor story to be filmed.
  • Working title for this story was Days of Wrath.
  • Nyssa's sudden fainting spell at the end of the story was a throwback to the style of serial transition often employed during the First Doctor era (for example, when the Doctor suddenly cries out in pain at the end of The Celestial Toymaker, which leads into The Gunfighters in which it is revealed a toothache as the culprit). In this case, the reason for Nyssa's sudden collapse is revealed at the start of Kinda.


  • Part 1 - 8.4 million viewers
  • Part 2 - 8.8 million viewers
  • Part 3 - 8.9 million viewers
  • Part 4 - 9.4 million viewers


to be added

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • In part 1 the doors of the TARDIS are pushed shut from behind as the Doctor didn't shut them all the way.
  • Tegan is able to draw very quickly and incredibly detailed sketches in less than a minute.
  • The Doctor describes the Maya civilisation as having reached its peak "8000 years ago"; the very earliest Maya settlements began 4000 years ago.
  • The Doctor claims the population of the Earth to be 3 Billion, where as it was around 4.5 Billion by 1980, being about 3 Billion in around 1960. [1]
  • Few non-indigenous Australians speak an Aboriginal language (of which around 200 exist) as fluently as Tegan demonstrated with her conversation with Kurkutji. It is almost certain that the language that Kurkutji spoke 40,000 years ago would have since evolved into a totally different language that his people would be using today.
  • The Doctor is able to survive in the vacuum of space without a space suit.
  • Why did Monarch choose to stay in the 'Flesh Time', given his beliefs? He was a hypocrite, and was afraid to abandon his real body.
  • When the TARDIS is ejected from the ship, it drifts off into space. But in DW: Voyage of the Damned, the Doctor mentioned that, when set adrift, the TARDIS is programmed to lock on to the nearest centre of gravity. Shouldn't the ship have qualified as the nearest centre of gravity?


  • DW: Human Nature also demonstrates the Doctor's amazing abilities with a cricket ball.
  • The Doctor previous displayed an ability to survive exposure to a vacuum in space in DW: Nightmare of Eden.

DVD and Video Releases

Region 2 cover
  • Region 4 TBA
  • Region 1 TBA



Main article: Four to Doomsday (novelisation)

External Links

  • BBC Episode Guide for Four to Doomsday
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - Four to Doomsday
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel): Four to Doomsday
Season 19
Castrovalva  • Four to Doomsday  • Kinda  • The Visitation  • Black Orchid  • Earthshock  • Time-Flight

This article uses material from the "Four to Doomsday" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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