The Full Wiki

The Sensorites: Misc


Dr Who

Up to date as of January 31, 2010

From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"It all started out as a mild curiosity in a junk yard..."
―The Doctor
The Sensorites
Series: Doctor Who -
TV Stories
Season Number: Season 1
Story Number: 7
Doctor: First Doctor
Companions: Susan Foreman
Barbara Wright
Ian Chesterton
Second Elder
Un-named Humans
Writer: Peter R. Newman
Director: Mervyn Pinfield (episodes 1-4), Frank Cox (episode 5-6)
Broadcast: 20th June -
1st August 1964
Format: 6 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Aztecs
Following Story: The Reign of Terror

The Sensorites was the seventh story of Season 1 of Doctor Who. While the dialogue of "The Daleks" and "The Keys of Marinus" never made it clear if these stories were set in the past, present, or future, this was the first story to be categorically set in the future, and especially the future of Earth.



The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan arrive in the TARDIS on board a spaceship. Their initial concern is for the ship's human crew who are suffering from telepathic interference from the Sensorites, but Susan communicates with the Sensorites and finds that the aliens are fearful of an attack from the humans and are just defending themselves. Travelling to the Sense Sphere (the Sensorites' planet) the Doctor then seeks to cure an illness the Sensorites and Ian have succumbed to, but finds that this has been caused by deliberate poisoning. The political maneuvering of the Sensorite City Administrator adds an additional threat to the TARDIS crew as he seeks to discredit and implicate them.


The TARDIS travellers land on a moving spaceship and find the crew apparently dead. However, one of the crew members, Captain Maitland, regains consciousness and Ian Chesterton fully revives him and another woman, Carol Richmond. These two tell the travellers that they are on an exploration mission from Earth and are orbiting Sense Sphere. However, its inhabitants, the Sensorites, refuse to let them leave the orbit. The Sensorites visit and stop the travellers from leaving, while sending them on a collision course, which the Doctor diverts. The travellers then meet John (whose mind has been broken by the Sensorites) and find out that he is Carol's fiancé.

Returning to plague the crew, the Sensorites freeze Carol and Maitland once more. The Doctor breaks Maitland's mental conditioning, but cannot help John. Susan's telepathic mind is flooded with the many voices of the Sensorites who remain scared of the humans and are trying to communicate with her. Meanwhile, the Doctor works out that the Sensorites attacked the human craft because John, a mineralogist, had discovered a vast supply of molybdenum on Sense-Sphere. Susan reports that the Sensorites want to make contact with travellers, asking the crew to go aboard Sense-sphere and reveal that a previous Earth expedition caused them great misery. The Doctor refuses but Susan, under duress, agrees and departs.

The Doctor deduces that the Sensorites need plenty of light, so Ian reduces the lighting on the ship, in a bid to rescue Susan. As a result, Susan returns to the spacecraft. The Doctor then asks the Sensorites to return his lock and is invited to go to Sense-Sphere to speak with the leader. Susan, Ian, Carol and John join him while Barbara and Maitland stay behind. John is promised that his condition will be reversed. On their journey to Sense-Sphere, the party learn that the previous visitors from Earth exploited Sense-sphere for its wealth, then argued. Half of them stole the spacecraft, which exploded on take-off.

The Sensorite Council is divided over the issue of inviting the party to Sense-Sphere: some of the councillors plot to kill them on arrival, but some believe that the humans can help with the disease that is currently killing many Sensorites. Their first plot is foiled by the other Sensorites, but they continue to plot in secret. The humans are not told of the first plot, and John and Carol are cured. In the main conference room, Ian starts vomiting and collapses. Suffering from the disease that has blighted the Sensorites, he is told that he will soon die.

It turns out that he was actually poisoned by drinking water from the general aqueduct. The Doctor finds the problem aqueduct and starts work with the Sensorite scientists. The plotting Sensorites impersonate the Sensorite leader and steal the new cure, before it is given to Ian, but a new one is made easily and Ian is cured.

Meanwhile, investigating the aqueduct, the Doctor finds strange noises and darkness. He finds and removes deadly nightshade (the cause of the poisoning), but on going back, meets an unseen monster. Susan and Ian find him unconscious with a ripped coat, but otherwise unharmed. On being recovered, he tells of his suspicion that some Sensorites are plotting to kill them. The plotting Sensorites kill the Second-Chief and one of them replaces him in his position.

John tells the others that he knows the lead plotter, but he is now too powerful, so The Doctor and Carol go down to the aqueduct to find the poisoners. Their weapons and map were tampered with and are useless.

Elsewhere, a mysterious assailant abducts Carol and forces her to write saying she has returned to the ship. Neither Susan, John nor Barbara believe this so they go to investigate and find her imprisoned. Susan, John and Barbara overpower the guard and release Carol. On finding out about the tampered tools, they go into the aqueduct to rescue the Doctor and Ian. The leader discovers the plotters a little while later.

Ian and the Doctor discover that the monsters were actually the survivors of the previous Earth mission, and they had been poisoning the Sensorites. Their deranged Commander leads them to the surface, where they are arrested by the Sensorites. The Doctor and his party return to the city, pleading clemency for the poisoners. The leader of the Sensorites agrees and sends them back with Maitland, John and Carol to Earth, for treatment for madness.




  • Dialogue suggests the Doctor has only 1 heart at this stage of his life.
  • Despite travelling together for years the Doctor and Susan have never argued.
  • Dialogue seems to confirm Susan and the Doctor are from the same planet.
  • Susan has telepathic abilities which the Doctor is not aware of however it is suggested that many of those on their home planet have such abilities as the Doctor suggests her skills could be perfected if she gets home.
  • The Doctor and Susan's home planet is similar to Earth but the sky at night is burnt orange and the tree leaves are bright silver.
  • The Doctor once argued with Henry VIII as he wanted to be sentenced to the Tower of London where the TARDIS was located.
  • The Doctor and Susan encountered telepathic plants on the planet Esto.

Story Notes



  • Strangers in Space - 7.9 million viewers
  • The Unwilling Warriors - 6.9 million viewers
  • Hidden Danger - 7.4 million viewers
  • A Race Against Death - 5.5 million viewers
  • Kidnap - 6.9 million viewers
  • A Desperate Venture - 6.9 million viewers


  • The Humans responsible for poisoning the water supplies were part of a group called INEER. (The initials INEER were meant to be the end of the word Engineer.).
  • Arthur Newall appeared in Doctor Who as a Dalek. (He in fact appeared in this story as a Sensorite.)

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • The Sensorites are able to cut the lock out of the TARDIS doors, which has the somewhat counter-intuitive effect of completely sealing the ship. From season 2 onwards the TARDIS is depicted as being effectively invulnerable to this kind of brute-force attack.That may have been one of the faults included when the Doctor stole the TARDIS. He probably fixed it by season 2
  • During episode 1 while the Doctor is delivering his lines the camera hits the table in front of him.
  • The drill marks are visible before Maitland starts to use the drill.
  • It is stretching credibility to the extreme to suggest that the Sensorites can only recognize each other by the sashes they wear. Visits to the swimming baths on the Sense-Sphere must be fraught with opportunities for social embarrassment. As explained in the episode where the idea is used the only reason that the Sensorites don't recognize each other is that these Sensorites don't see the ones that he is dressing up as very often and even then from very far away so they don't have that good a idea of what they look like.*
  • Despite this story being set in the 28th century the astronauts wore contemporary-looking space suits. This is not a trend which is seen in other stories set in this time period.
  • In episode 1, Susan is seen holding the TARDIS key although we mostly see the Doctor holding the key and never giving it to Susan. Susan may have had her own copy they have copies all the time in the new series and besides she is his granddaughter for all we know. In fact, Susan had her own key which was destroyed in 'The Daleks' but when the Doctor made a second key in 'Marco Polo' she was given the replacement. Her key was seen to be dropped by her after the Doctor leaves her at the end of 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth'.




Main article: The Sensorites (novelisation)

DVD, video, and audio releases

  • Video Release - Released as Doctor Who: The Sensorites
UK Release: June 2000 / US Release: October 2003
PAL - BBC Video BBCV7276
NTSC - Warner Video E1852
Released as part of The First Doctor Collection boxset in the UK - BBCV7278.
Released as part of The End of the Universe Collection in the US.
The Sensorites was released by BBC Audio in July 2008, with linking narration by William Russell.

External links

  • BBC - Doctor Who - The Classic Series - Episode Guide: The Sensorites
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide - Detailed Synopsis - The Sensorites
  • Doctor Who: A Brief History of Time (Travel) - A Brief History of Time (Travel): The Sensorites
  • Encyclopedia of Fantastic Film and Television - The Sensorites
  • BBC Production Information - The Sensorites (PDF)


  1. Howe, David J., Stammers, Mark, Walker, Stephen James, 1992, Doctor Who: The Sixties, Doctor Who Books, an imprint of Virgin Publishing Ltd, London, p.34
Season 1
An Unearthly Child  • The Daleks  • The Edge of Destruction  • Marco Polo  • The Keys of Marinus  • The Aztecs  • The Sensorites  • The Reign of Terror
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at The_Sensorites. 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 "The Sensorites" 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