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"As bandits go, you're a pretty duff bunch..."
The Creature from the Pit
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 17
Story Number: 106
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companions: Romana II
Enemy: Lady Adrasta
Setting: Chloris
Writer: David Fisher
Director: Christopher Barry
Broadcast: 27 October 1979-
17 November 1979
Format: 4 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: City of Death
Following Story: Nightmare of Eden



The Doctor and Romana receive a distress signal and arrive on Chloris, a lush and verdant world that has only small quantities of metals, all of which are controlled by its ruler, Lady Adrasta. Adrasta keeps order with the aid of her Huntsman and his wolfweeds - mobile balls of vegetation - while a band of scruffy thieves, led by Torvin, organize raids on her palace to steal whatever metal they can.

The Doctor identifies the distress signal's source as a large eggshell-like structure in the forest. He is taken prisoner by Adrasta's guards and, in order to escape, leaps into the Pit - the entrance to a cave system into which all those who incur Adrasta's wrath are consigned to be devoured by an immense green globular creature living within. The Doctor, with the aid of the elderly soothsayer Organon, discovers that the creature is not an unthinking killer but an ambassador from the planet Tythonus, which has a lack of chlorophyll but an abundance of metal.

The Tythonians had hoped to trade with Chloris, but the first person their ambassador Erato encountered on arriving in his eggshell-like ship was Adrasta, who took his communicator device and trapped him in the Pit so as to preserve her monopoly on metal. Erato retrieves his communicator and kills Adrasta.

He then warns the Doctor that the Tythonians have set a neutron star on a collision course with Chloris in retaliation for his imprisonment. With the Doctor's help he is freed from the Pit and, out in space, spins an aluminium shell around the star, allowing for it to be pulled off course by the TARDIS's gravitational tractor beam and thus saving Chloris.


The use of an MK3 Emergency transceiver on the TARDIS identifies a distress signal and brings the craft to the lush jungle world of Chloris, where metal in all forms is a rare and prized commodity. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 venture out to discover the remains of an enormous egg in the jungle, and when they meet the inhabitants they find a matriarchy ruled through fear by the icy and callous Lady Adrasta. Without metal to make the tools needed to keep the jungle under control, lush plant life dominates. The Lady Adrasta controls the planet's very last metal mine, holding on to power through the Huntsmen and the Wolfweeds. Her throne room contains an array of metal including a shield patterned in the same way as the remnants of the shell. She mentions the Creature which dwells in a deep pit on Chloris.

Romana has meanwhile been captured by a party of scavengers, even keen to find and horde more metal, and they are particularly impressed by the possibilities of K9. The robot enables her escape and she is briefly reunited with the Doctor before he leaps into the Pit himself, determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and the Pit. Within the Pit he encounters Organon, an astrologer thrown there by Adrasta some time earlier, and then comes face to face with the Creature: indeed, the vast shapeless blob rolls over him. The Doctor calculates it is not, however, dangerous, and is fascinated to note the Creature produces metal from within itself. It also forms a tentacle and draws a picture which the Doctor recognises as the shield from Adrasta’s throne room. The Doctor, Organon and the Creature now find a way out of the Pit.

The scavengers have meanwhile raided the throne room for booty, including the alien shield. It comes in useful when the Creature is freed from the Pit as the shield is indeed a communication device. Erato, as the Creature is named, is the Tythonian ambassador to Chloris and came to negotiate a treaty exchanging metal for chlorophyll fifteen years earlier. Its craft was the vast egg found in the jungle. However, Adrasta realised her power was dependent on the control of the planet’s metal supply and so imprisoned Erato to maintain her status. It exacts its revenge by crushing her to death. The attempts by Adrasta’s sidekick, Karela, to capitalise on the situation and seize power herself are aborted.

The Doctor has rescued the Tythonian just in time – it seems Tythonus has declared war on Chloris over the missing ambassador, and has despatched a neutron star to collide with Chloris’ star and destroy the system. It is due to collide within the next twenty-four hours. Working against the odds, the Doctor uses the TARDIS to stabilise the star while Erato weaves a metal covering around it and the danger is neutralised. The Doctor’s last act on Chloris is to push Organon, now one of the de facto rulers, toward a mutually beneficial trade agreement with Erato and the Tythonians.







  • The TARDIS has a tractor beam.
  • Mark Three Emergency transceiver

Story Notes

  • Christopher Barry is said to have had differences of opinion with both Tom Baker and Lalla Ward regarding their characters and dialogue during filming of this story. These plus frequent technical problems led to his departure from directing on Doctor Who.
  • This story is one of few that does not challenge the Doctor to decide the fate of the Earth or the universe. The events concern the politics of a single planet.
  • A clip of this story was used in the documentary "Synth Britannia", first broadcast on BBC 4 on Friday 16th October 2009. (The clip seems to be from episode 2 or 3.)


  • Part 1 - 9.3 million viewers
  • Part 2 - 10.8 million viewers
  • Part 3 - 10.2 million viewers
  • Part 4 - 9.6 million viewers


to be added

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • Wrapping a sheet of aluminium around the neutron star would not have the effect of reducing its gravitational pull, but rather, would increase it. The sheet of aluminium merely enables the Doctor to get a better lock on it with his tractor beam.
  • Nobody's lips move when they are connected to Erato's vocalizer sheild. Using someone else to speak for you would require that you could control their mouth and lips as well as their larynx in order to form intelligible words and speech.



DVD, Video and Other Releases

In January 2010 the British Board of Film Classification cleared Creature from the Pit and several featurettes for future DVD release (release date not yet announced as of 7th January 2010). Among BBFC-cleared featurettes include a 19-minute profile of Christopher Barry, a photo gallery, a 14-minute featurette called "Team Erato" and another called "Animal Magic" running 2:34.[1]


Main article: Doctor Who and the Creature from the Pit

See also

to be added

External Links

  • BBC Episode Guide entry for The Creature From the Pit
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - The Creature from the Pit
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Creature from the Pit
  • Contact sheet of The Creature from the Pit story images at the Doctor Who Image Archive
Season 17
Destiny of the Daleks  • City of Death  • The Creature from the Pit  • Nightmare of Eden  • The Horns of NimonShada
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This article uses material from the "The Creature from the Pit" article on the Dr Who wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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