1873: Renowned explorer Professor Cornelius Perkins ventures into the Amazon rainforest to follow up on clues that might lead him to a legendary lost city of gold. He, his assistant and the locals they’ve hired to haul their supplies are never seen again, though a diary chronicling some of his discoveries turns up at a later date in surprisingly good shape.
1977: Edward Perkins, great-grandson of Cornelius Perkins, announces his intention to follow up on the lost expedition, using his great-grandfather’s journal as a guide. The Doctor, with Leela in tow, pulls rank as a UNIT observer and gets himself added to the new expedition. A freak storm brings the plane down near the Amazon River, requiring all of the Doctor’s piloting skills to bring the plane to a survivable crash landing. As the Doctor and photojournalist Valerie Carlton go exploring on foot and find what appears to be a downed (but not destroyed) UFO, Leela and Perkins discover signs of advanced technology and are taken to a creature called Godrin, worshipped by the natives but careful to conceal himself since he’s obviously not from Earth. Godrin has another surprise: thanks to a time bubble he has erected around his crashed spaceship, time is dilated, and Cornelius Perkins is still alive, the only survivor of the 1873 expedition and the last person Edward expected to find. Godrin proposes a peaceful exchange with the people of Earth, but once the Doctor brings him back to London, he realizes that Godrin has been far from truthful about his real intentions. Godrin and the last of his people are ready to begin the stealth colonization of Earth, and by bringing him into modern civilization, the Doctor has made this invasion possible.
written by Philip Hinchcliffe
adapted by Jonathan Morris
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Andy Hardwick
Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Nigel Carrington (Emissary Godrin / Dr. Summersby / Announcer), Delia Lindsay (Overlord Saldor / Newsreader), Jane Slavin (Valerie Carlton), Anthony Howell (Edward Perkins), David Killick (Professor Cornelius Perkins), Richard Bremmer (General Hemmings / Valcon / Taxi Driver)
Timeline: after The Horror Of Fang Rock and before The Invisible Enemy
Notes: Originally devised by producer Philip Hinchcliffe as a story for Doctor Who’s 15th season, The Valley Of Death was shelved when Hinchcliffe’s successor, Graham Williams, was given orders from the BBC brass to tone down the gothic horror elements that characterized the much-acclaimed but occasionally controversial tenure of Hinchcliffe and his script editor, Robert Holmes. Leela mentions that she has been blinded once before, a reference to the conclusion of The Horror Of Fang Rock (a scene added to that story at a late stage sees Leela temporarily blinded, resulting in her eyes turning blue, allowing actress Louise Jameson to ditch the brown contact lenses that were causing her considerable pain), so Valley Of Death a la Big Finish happens at some point after that story and, due to the absence of K-9, presumably before the television story that immediately follows it, The Invisible Enemy.
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green […]