Inferno

Doctor WhoJoining the Brigadier’s team at a hazardous research site where Dr. Stahlman plans to drill through the Earth’s crust to tap its core as a new source of energy, the Doctor is annoyed when Stahlman rejects most of his expert scientific advice. But this isn’t enough to prevent to Doctor from availing himself of power from Stahlman’s nuclear reactor for his own experiments – yet another attempt to restore the TARDIS to full function. But during one such experiment, the TARDIS console shoots the Doctor sideways in time, depositing him in another dimension where Britain is a fascist state. In this alternate Earth, the Doctor can only watch in horror as Stahlman’s experiment progresses to the point where it destroys the world. The Doctor barely escapes, only to find that he may be too late from saving the Earth he knows from the same fate.

written by Don Houghton
directed by Douglas Camfield & Barry Letts
music by Delia Derbyshire

Guest Cast: John Levene (Sergeant Benton), Olaf Pooley (Stahlman), Christopher Benjamin (Sir Gold), Ian Fairburn (Bromley), Walter Randall (Slocum), Sheila Dunn (Petra Williams), Derek Newark (Greg Sutton), David Simeon (Latimer), Derek Ware (Wyatt), Roy Scammell (Sentry), Keith James (Patterson), Dave Carter, Pat Gorman, Philip Ryan, Peter Thompson, Walter Henry (Primords)

Broadcast from May 9 through June 20, 1970

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Rounding out season seven is yet another seven-part epic, this one breaks ground in the “alternate universe” mold about a quarter of a century before Fox’s Sliders ever hit the airwaves. One of the best Doctor Who stories ever, and tied with Doctor Who and the Silurians as my favorite of the Jon Pertwee era, Inferno is a very dark, intense installment, if perhaps one or two half-hour segments long. Pertwee plays the Doctor in his typically serious manner, though in this one he gets to display shock and terror as well, especially at the thought that many of his friends from his own dimension could, under different circumstances, evolve into goose-stepping uniformed thugs. Inferno also marks the final appearance of Caroline John as Liz Shaw. Liz didn’t get a sendoff scene at all, nor was there even so much as a mention of her departing the show. (A very brief explanation that she had returned to her research at Cambridge was dropped into the opening scenes of Terror Of The Autons the following season.) The character, not to mention the actress, deserved a lot more than that, and explaining her departure later became a favorite pastime of authors of Virgin’s Missing Adventures books.

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