The Dominators

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie to the planet Dulkis, which the Doctor knows as a peaceful world that has abandoned war. But the travelers find themselves on an island strewn with the remnants of an ancient war and contaminated with radiation – the legacy of nuclear weapons tests, according to a small number of researchers encountered by the Doctor. What the Time Lord doesn’t realize is that the native Dulcians are not the only people visiting the island. Another Dulcian expedition meets with disaster, its only survivor claiming that his shipmates were killed by well-armed robots. The Doctor and Jamie go to investigate these claims, and find themselves taken prisoner by a group of aggressive aliens who call themselves the Dominators. These would-be invaders, backed up by their powerful Quark robots, intend to mine the radioactive minerals on Dulkis to make their own nuclear weapons…and they also wish to use the pacifist Dulcians as their slaves. The Doctor scrambles to find a way to undermine the Dominators when it becomes obvious that the Dulcians are unwilling to rediscover the aggression necessary to protect themselves.

Season 6 Regular Cast: Patrick Troughton (The Doctor), Frazer Hines (Jamie), Wendy Padbury (Zoe)

written by Mervyn Haisman & Henry Lincoln
directed by Morris Barry
music not credited

Guest Cast: Ronald Allen (Rago), Kenneth Ives (Toba), Arthur Cox (Cully), Philip Voss (Wahed), Malcolm Terris (Etnin), Nicolette Pendrell (Tolata), Feliticy Gibson (Kando), Giles Block (Teel), Johnson Bayly (Balan), Walter Fitzgerald (Senex), Ronald Mansell, John Cross, Malcolm Watson, Aubrey Danvers Walker (Council Members), Alan Gerrard (Bovem), Brian Cant (Tensa), John Hicks, Gary Smith, Freddie Wilson (Quarks), Sheila Grant (Quark voices)

Broadcast from August 10 through September 7, 1968

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Not the best adventure of Troughton’s era, perhaps what bogs down The Dominators most precariously is – and I hate making this argument – the lack of a “monster,” at least one of any effectively threatening posture. The chirpy-voiced Quarks are hardly menacing. As a result, the story becomes an exercise in rather drab political allegory…something which Doctor Who can do well, but that just wasn’t what one expects of the Troughton era. Put it in the Pertwee or Davison eras, and it might just work.

The slow pace also sucks the urgency out of the story, pretty much ensuring that by the time something finally happens, no one really cares. I hate to say it, because on the face of it, The Dominators has a truly intriguing premise, but that same theme – pacifism in the face of extinction – was much more effectively explored in The Daleks. Drab is the best word I can think of for this story. Not one of my favorites.