Moments after the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie leave the safe confines of the TARDIS to explore a seemingly hospitable planet, a hulking robotic attacker assails the time machine – causing it to disappear on its own! The Doctor reassures his companions that it’s merely the TARDIS’ automatic defense system in operation, and they continue exploring until they find a peaceful people known as the Gonds. At a certain age, young Gonds undergo an intelligence test; those who pass are permitted to serve the Krotons, a crystalline-based species that rules over them – and the same creatures who attacked the TARDIS. On a whim, Zoe takes the test and ranks highly, assuring her of a place among the Krotons, and the Doctor, fearing for her life, takes the same test, naturally scoring off the scale. Once they are taken to the Krotons, the Doctor and Zoe must figure out how to rid the Gonds of their “benevolent” overlords, for not everyone who has passed the intelligence test has lived to tell the tale – keeping the general populace docile, and robbing them of the curiosity that could lead them to defeat the Krotons.
written by Robert Holmes
directed by David Maloney
music by Brian Hodgson
Guest Cast: James Copeland (Selris), Gilbert Wynne (Thara), Terence Brown (Abu), Madeleine Mills (Vana), Philip Madoc (Eelek), Richard Ireson (Axus), James Cairncross (Beta), Maurice Selwyn (Custodian), Bronson Shaw (Student), Robert La Bassiere, Miles Northover, Robert Grant (Krotons), Roy Skelton, Patrick Tull (Kroton voices)
Broadcast from December 28, 1968 through January 18, 1968
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
It’s a fairly tame little story, full of the kind of offbeat humor that marks the best Troughton episodes, but in Doctor Who history The Krotons is a big turning point: it was the first script contributed by writer Robert Holmes, who would later serve as script editor during Tom Baker’s mold-breaking early seasons, and contributed some of the series’ most high-profile stories from the Pertwee era through the end of Colin Baker’s reign.
There’s something to be said for the simple charm and simple menace of The Krotons, though – sure, the main baddies were even more cumbersome than Daleks, and considerably less threatening overall, but the thought of what they’re doing to their enslaved minions is pretty sinister. Really not a bad story at all.