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Galaxy 4
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 3
Story Number: 18
Doctor: First Doctor
Companions: Vicki
Steven Taylor
Setting: Unknown
Writer: William Emms
Director: Derek Martinus
Mervyn Pinfield (uncredited)
Broadcast: 11th September -
2nd October 1965
Format: 4 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Time Meddler
Following Story: Mission to the Unknown
"Yours must be a very interesting civilisation..."
―The Doctor

Galaxy 4 was the first story of the third season of Doctor Who. It was the last serial for which Verity Lambert was the credited producer. Its third episode, "Air Lock", achieved the highest ratings of any episode between the final episode of The Web Planet and the final episode of The Three Doctors.

It is the earliest non-historical story to have missing episodes, and is notable for its extreme paucity of surviving material. Although an extended scene from the first episode does exist today, no telesnaps were taken during filming. All surviving stills of the actors in costume therefore come from publicity shoots rather than the actual recording sessions.

Actor Peter Purves has been outspoken in his distaste for the serial. He has frequently opined that his character, companion Steven Taylor, was not well-served by the story, which was originally written for Ian, Barbara and Vicki. The hurried rewrite mostly transferred Barbara's lines to him, resulting in a "feminization" of Steven's character.



The Doctor, Vicki and Steven arrive on an arid planet where they meet the occupants of two crashed spaceships: the beautiful Drahvins and the hideous Rills. The latter prove to be friendly, compassionate explorers while the former are a group of mindless cloned soldiers terrorised by a warlike matriarch, Maaga.

Both ships were damaged when the Drahvins precipitated a confrontation in space, but whereas the Rills' is almost ready to take off again (having been repaired by their robot drones, which Vicki nicknames 'Chumblies'), the Drahvins' is irreparable. When the planet is discovered to be on the point of disintegration, Maaga tries to force the time travellers to help her steal the Rills' ship. Instead, the Doctor allows the Rills to draw power from the TARDIS in order to refuel and escape, leaving the Drahvins to their fate.


"Four Hundred Dawns"

A Chumbley communicates with its masters

The Doctor, Vicki, and Steven Taylor arrive on eerily silent planet and encounter curious small robots which Vicki names Chumblies. It is unclear whether the robots are hostile when one is disabled by a party of female cloned Drahvins, from the planet Drahva in Galaxy Four. This planet too is in Galaxy Four but is not given a name. The Drahvins are dominated by their leader, Maaga, who treats her other warriors with bullying contempt. The Drahvins are at war with the reptilian Rills, the masters of the Chumblies, and both races have crashed spaceships on this planet. However, the planet will end in 14 planetary cycles and, with the Drahvin ship irreparable, Maaga and her warriors are keen to capture the Rill ship, which they believe has been made functional again. She paints a picture of the Drahvins as victims, but the Doctor has witnessed some of the Drahvin aggression and is clearly not convinced. He also reworks the probability on the planet’s destruction and calculates it will break up in just two days time.

"Trap Of Steel" and "Air Lock"

A Rill reveals itself

The Doctor tries to keep this new finding from the Drahvins, but Maaga reveals her true colours and forces the truth from him at the point of a gun.

With Steven held as hostage to ensure their co-operation, the Doctor and Vicki are sent by the Drahvins to try to seize control of the Rill ship. The Doctor works out that the Rills are a very advanced species: when he meets one he is impressed, not least by their telepathy. The ugly, horned, ammonia-breathing Rill explains that the Rills have offered to take the Drahvins away with them but Maaga has refused, preferring to maintain the state of war she caused when the Drahvins shot down the Rill craft. The Doctor tells the Rills of the true life remaining in the planet and promises to help them escape since the solar energy converters on the Rill craft have not gathered enough power to effect a lift-off.The Doctor and Vicki return to the Drahvin ship to find Steven unconscious after Maaga has tried to kill him by leaving him in a depressurised airlock.They are being watched by Drahvins.

"The Exploding Planet"

They all the return to the Rill vessel, where the Doctor successfully develops a power converter linked to the TARDIS, which charges the Rill craft. Maaga leads the Drahvins in a final assault on the Rill craft but the Chumblies defend their ship long enough for it to power up and leave the planet. One Chumblie left behind to aid the travellers helps them get back to the TARDIS. Once the ship leaves, the planet explodes and the Drahvins die.

Safely inside the TARDIS, the Doctor pines for time to rest from his wearying adventures. On the scanner, Vicki notices a planet and wonders what could be happening there. It is the planet Kembel. Unbeknownst to the travelers, Jeff Garvey has awakened, remembering only that he "must kill" . . .

Cast & Characters



  • Vicki refers to their trip to Xeros.

Story Notes

  • The working title for this story was The Chumblies.
  • All 4 episodes of this story have been lost, with only very limited material being held in the BBC archive.
  • 6 minutes worth of footage exists from "Four Hundred Dawns".
  • This story was nearly saved by negotiations for the story to be screened at a convention
  • The surviving clips come from a number of sources including a "Lively Arts" documentary "Whose Doctor Who"
  • The soundtrack for the serial is intact and has been released commercially, with linking narration provided by Peter Purves
  • The BBC partly own the rights to the Drahvins as they were jointly credited to William Emms and Verity Lambert.
  • The Bonzo Dog Band's 1968 song 'Beautiful Zelda' included lyrics about "Beautiful Zelda from Galaxy Four", perhaps inspired by Galaxy 4.


  • Four Hundred Dawns - 9.0 million viewers
  • Trap of Steel - 9.5 million viewers
  • Air Lock - 11.3 million viewers
  • The Exploding Planet - 9.9 million viewers


  • A late change to the casting of the voice actor meant that Anthony Paul was credited in the Radio Times as providing the voice of the Rills for episode 3 (Robert Cartland was correctly named in the Radio Times)
  • William Emms was a school teacher who wrote in his spare time (Although he had been a school teacher he had been working as a full time writer for the 4 years before writing Doctor Who)

Filming Locations

All episodes were filmed at BBC Television Centre TC4, London, UK

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

to be added



ST: "Planet of the Bunnoids" is implied to take place after this story, because the Doctor mentions the Chumblies. However, its failure to note Vicki's ankle problem makes it hard to definitively place "Bunnoids" anywhere — given that the ankle issue is still unresolved at the start of DW: The Myth Makers.

DVD, Video and Other Releases

  • Video Release - This story has not been released on video due to the limited material which remains available
A reconstruction of this story has been made using the available images and audio by Loose Cannon Productions.


Main article: Galaxy Four (novelisation)

Script book

  • In July 1994, Titan Books published the scripts for the serial as part of its Doctor Who: The Scripts line of books.

See also

External Links

  • Official BBC Episode Guide for Galaxy 4, with video clips
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - Galaxy 4
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel) entry for Galaxy 4
  • Transcript of Galaxy 4
  • Galaxy 4 entry at Encyclopaedia of Fantastic Film and Television
  • Loose Cannon Productions reconstruction of Galaxy 4
  • EOFFTV - Galaxy 4
Season 3
Galaxy 4  • Mission to the Unknown  • The Myth Makers  • The Daleks' Master Plan  • The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve  • The Ark  • The Celestial Toymaker  • The Gunfighters  • The Savages  • The War Machines
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Galaxy_4. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the TARDIS Index File, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

This article uses material from the "Galaxy 4 (TV story)" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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