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From TARDIS Index File, the free Doctor Who reference.

"What have I come upon?"
―Jamie McCrimmon
The Underwater Menace
Series: Doctor Who - TV Stories
Season Number: Season 4
Story Number: 32
Doctor: Second Doctor
Companions: Ben Jackson
Jamie McCrimmon
Enemy: Professor Zaroff
Setting: Atlantis, post-1968 (March)
Writer: Geoffrey Orme
Director: Julia Smith
Broadcast: 14th January - 4th February 1967
Format: 4 25-minute Episodes
Previous Story: The Highlanders
Following Story: The Moonbase

The Underwater Menace was the fifth story of Season 4 of Doctor Who. The third episode of this story is currently the earliest surviving Second Doctor episode.



The TARDIS arrives on a extinct volcanic island. Before long, the travellers are captured and taken into the depths of the Earth, where they find a hidden civilisation - the lost city of Atlantis.

The Atlanteans worship a goddess named Amdo and use Fish People - men and women operated upon so that they can breathe under the sea - to farm the plankton-based food on which they survive. A deranged scientist, Professor Zaroff, has convinced them that he can raise their city from the sea, but actually he plans to drain the ocean into the Earth's molten core, so that the resultant superheated steam will cause the planet to explode.

The travellers meet up with two shipwreck survivors, Sean and Jacko, who manage to persuade the Fish People to rebel and stop work. The Doctor eventually manages to foil Zaroff's plan, but only by breaking down the sea walls and flooding the city. Zaroff drowns, but everyone else escapes.


to be added




  • As they land, Polly hopes it is 1966 Chelsea, Ben wants to avoid the Daleks, and the Doctor wishes to see prehistoric monsters.

Story Notes

  • This story had the working titles of; The Fish People, Doctor Who Under the Sea, Under the Sea, Atlanta.
  • Professor Zaroff utters the timeless line "Nothing in the world can stop me now!". Davros would say a similar line in Journey's End.
  • In the opening TARDIS scene, Polly, Ben and the Doctor are each heard 'thinking' about where they would like to land next. (Polly hopes for Chelsea in 1966, Ben wants not to meet the Daleks and the Doctor relishes the idea of encountering prehistoric monsters.) This was achieved by pre-recording the actors' voices and playing them back during the making of the episode.
  • The name of the mad scientist, Zaroff, is similar to that of Dr. Zarkoff, a scientist featured in the classic Flash Gordon adventures.


  • Episode 1 - 8.3 million viewers
  • Episode 2 - 7.5 million viewers
  • Episode 3 - 7.1 million viewers
  • Episode 4 - 7.0 million viewers


  • Joseph Furst adopted an outrageous East European accent in his portrayal of Zaroff. (Furst spoke in his own normal accent.)

Filming Locations

Discontinuity, Plot Holes, Errors

  • At the start of episode three the director can be heard.
  • During the underwater scenes in episode 3, the Kirby wires holding up the fish people are clearly visible
  • Polly hits Zaroff with an enormous boulder and he goes 'Ooh!'
  • Why are some of the Fish People more "fishy" than others? On some you can see they have scales and fins, but on others, they look like humans with goggles on!



DVD, Video and Other Releases


Main article: The Underwater Menace (novelisation)

See also

to be added

External Links

  • Official BBC Episode Guide for The Underwater Menace
  • Photonovel of The Underwater Menace on the BBC website
  • Doctor Who Reference Guide: Detailed Synopsis - The Underwater Menace
  • A Brief History of Time (Travel) entry for The Underwater Menace
  • The Underwater Menace transcript
  • The Locations Guide to Doctor Who - The Underwater Menace
Season 4
The Smugglers  • The Tenth Planet  • The Power of the Daleks  • The Highlanders  • The Underwater Menace  • The Moonbase  • The Macra Terror  • The Faceless Ones  • The Evil of the Daleks

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


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