Arriving on the third moon of Delta Magna, the Doctor and Romana are forced to leave K-9 in the TARDIS as they explore the swampy marshes in search of the fifth segment. The Doctor runs afoul of human miners who seem to have mistaken him for the notorious gun runner Rohm Dutt, while Romana is abducted by the displaced indigenous population of Delta Magna. Dubbed the “swampies” by the employees of the human mining colony, the natives have contracted with Rohm Dutt for weapons and training, hoping to boost their fight to free themselves from servitude to the human interlopers. The swampies worship Kroll, an enormous, squid-like being measuring almost five miles across, though the miners don’t believe a word of it…until it appears. When the Doctor and Romana learn that Kroll isn’t holding the fifth segment, but is the fifth segment, to say that they have a large problem on their hands is a bit of an understatement.
written by Robert Holmes
directed by Norman Stewart
music by Dudley Simpson
Guest Cast: Neil McCarthy (Thawn), Philip Madoc (Fenner), Grahame Mallard (Harg), Glyn Owen (Rohm Dutt), John Leeson (Dugeen), Terry Walsh (Mensch), Carl Rigg (Varlik), John Abineri (Ranquin), Frank Jarvis (Skart)
Broadcast from 23 December 1978 through 13 January 1979
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: For some reason, and maybe it was that five-mile-wide squid that pops out of the CSO ocean at the end of episode two, The Power Of Kroll has always stuck in my mind. It is a nifty example of one thing I do like about Doctor Who, however – when the Doctor discovers that the humans are in the wrong, he promptly puts them in their place and helps the local population instead. But since the natives have hired a gun smuggler to further their cause of freedom… well, I’d say it muddies the waters a bit, but that goes without saying in a four-parter that takes place in a swamp.
It’s nice to see John Leeson actually appearing instead of voicing K-9; since the robot dog had to be written out of the show because the setting would have damaged the radio-control prop, and since Leeson was already on contract for the entire season, he got to go on camera for once. Speaking of knowing when to be on camera and when to be off, how about that giant squid? Seriously, the director seemed to have a good sense that his serial’s monster might look just a little silly, despite the BBC’s visual effects wizards’ best shot, and kept the huge creature’s first full appearance at the end of the second episode – in other words, all we see are some slimy tentacles dragging people off screen for the first half of the story. In some ways, that works better than if we’d been seeing that whole plate of calamari throughout the story.
I used to drive by a restaurant very close to my home in Green Bay several years ago, right across from Lambeau Field, called “Kroll’s East.” I never did work up the nerve to go in and ask if they served squid, lest something really big rise up out of Lake Michigan to answer my question.