The Full Wiki

Snakedance: Misc


Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"You'll always know... that you discovered them - once."
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 20
Story Number: 125
Doctor: Fifth Doctor
Enemy: The Mara
Setting: Manussa
Writer: Christopher Bailey
Director: Fiona Cumming
Broadcast: 18th January - 26th January 1983
Format: 4 25-minute episodes
Previous Story: Arc of Infinity
Following Story: Mawdryn Undead

Snakedance was the second story of Season 20. A sequel to Kinda, it featured the return of the Mara.



Tegan falls once more under the influence of the Mara and directs the TARDIS to the planet Manussa. There the Federator's son Lon and his mother Tanha are preparing for a ceremony to celebrate the banishment of the Mara five hundred years earlier.

The Mara takes control of Lon and uses him and Tegan to obtain from Ambril, the Director of Historical Research, the 'great crystal' - the large blue stone that originally brought it into being by focusing energy from the minds of the planet's one-time inhabitants. The Mara now plans to use the crystal during the ceremony to bring about its return to corporeal existence.

Ambril's aged predecessor Dojjen in the wilderness.
The Doctor and Nyssa, aided by Ambril's assistant Chela, locate Ambril's aged predecessor Dojjen, who predicted the Mara's rebirth before wandering off into the wilderness. The Doctor allows himself to be bitten by a snake in order to enter a state of mental commune with Dojjen, who tells him that fear is the only true venom and that in order to defeat the Mara he must find the still point within himself.

The Doctor and his friends then return to the caves where the ceremony is being held. The Doctor, by concentrating his thoughts with the aid of a small replica of the great crystal, is able to find the still point and repel the Mara.


to be added




  • Manussa is in the Scrampus system, and is a colony of a Federation formed by one of Lon's ancestors (part of a network of former Earth colonies).
  • The Mara was created here, and ruled, turning the former Manussan empire into the Sumaran empire.

Story Notes


Ratings/Appreciation Index

  • Part 1 — 6.7 million viewers | 95th place | AI 65
  • Part 2 — 7.7 million viewers | 75th place | AI 66
  • Part 3 — 6.6 million viewers | 98th place | AI 67
  • Part 4 — 7.4 million viewers | 78th place | AI 67


to be added

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Lon claims that the fake crystal is made of glass. It smashes like plastic or polystyrene.
  • When the time has finally come that Dojjen has been waiting and preparing for, for so many years, why a) Is he so far from the city, having to be specifically summoned by the Doctor, and b) Does he not accompany the Doctor and the others to the cave to help defeat the Mara? He knew he had grown too weak and feeble to face the Mara, and had given up hope. Only when the Doctor signalled him with the crystal did he see that there might still be a chance, if he could impart his knowledge to the Doctor in time.
  • Surely someone would have worked-out the patently obvious point of the 'six faces of deception' headpiece before the Doctor did. It has never been on public display. Ambril found it alone and has kept it exclusively for his own collection, and he is somewhat dim/shortsighted.
  • If 'evil cannot face itself' as the Doctor had asserted in Kinda, then the Mara's explanation to Tegan in the hall of mirrors that not being held in a circle meant it could look at its own reflection, makes very little sense. It would only mean that it could escape its own reflection, not that it would find looking at it any easier to do. The Mara facing its own reflection was only one aspect of what made the circle work on Deva Loka. Each mirror was being held remember, by one of the telepathic Kinda. With all of them working in unison in this way, they created a powerful psychic barrier (akin to finding their own 'still point'), which was the true cause of the Mara's banishment on that occasion. Or maybe the Mara is strong enough to face one of its selves, just not more. Remember the circle meant he was looking at lots of reflections. It's like if you were split into two and you had a fight, it would probably end in a draw; whereas if there was twelve of them, then you would lose.


  • The Mara previously appeared in DW: Kinda.


DVD and Video Releases

to be added


Main article: Snakedance (novelisation)

External Links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: Snakedance
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - Snakdedance
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): Snakedance


  1. "Four Writers, One Discussion" a record of a conversation held on 17 January 1995. Time Space Visualizer #43. New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club. March 1995.
  2. Moffat, Steven. "Season 19 Overview". In-Vision #62. 1996. Posted to Registration required.
Season 20
Arc of Infinity  • Snakedance  • Mawdryn Undead  • Terminus  • Enlightenment  • The King's Demons  
20th Anniversary Special: The Five Doctors

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


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address