Doctor and Leela arrive aboard a huge Sandminer, a mobile factory which
mines metal ores from the surface of a deserted planet. The Sandminer
has only a token force of Humans, the rest of the crew being robots divided
into three classes: Dums, Vocs and one supervising Super Voc, SV7. Mysteriously,
a member of the crew is murdered and when the Doctor and Leela are discovered
they become suspects. Leela discovers that a crew member and a robot,
D84, are in reality investigators despatched by the company which chartered
the Sandminer. There is a sabotage attempt on the ship but the craft is
saved by the Doctor. Dask, a member of the crew, is found to be the killer:
he is actually Taren Capel, a scientist who has been raised by robots
and thinks of them as his brothers. He wants the robots to take control
over Mankind and has programmed them to kill. The Doctor, Leela, Commander
Uvanov and his aide Toos escape. The Time Lord releases helium into, the
atmosphere, changing Dask's voice. The robots, now unable to identify
him, destroy him.
The Doctor: Tom
Uvanov: Russell Hunter
Toos: Pamela Salem
Dask/Taren Capel: David Bailie
Chub: Rob Edwards
Borg: Brian Croucher
Cass: Tariq Yunus
Poul: David Collings
Zilda: Tania Rogers
SV7: Miles Fothergill
D84: Gregory de Polnay
Robots: Mark Blackwell Baker, John
Bleasdale, Mark Cooper, Peter Langtry, Jeremy Rachev, Richard Seager (Robots
Script Editor: Robert Holmes
Writer: Chris Boucher
Director: Michael E Briant, Peter
Costume: Elizabeth Walker
Make up: Ann Briggs
Visual Effects: Richard Conway
Music: Dudley Simpson (including
"None But The Weary Heart" by Tchaikovsky and "Girl
With The Flaxen Hair" by Debussy")
Novelized as "Doctor Who The
Robots of Death" by Terrance Dicks (0 426 20061 6) first published
by W H Allen (now Virgin Publishing Ltd) in 1979 with cover by John Geary.
New edition in 1994 as "Doctor Who and the Robots of Death"
with cover by Alister Pearson. Target library number 53.
Robots of Death" was united with
two other season fourteen stories, "The
Deadly Assassin" and "The
Face of Evil" and was released in
the USA as "The Further Adventures of Doctor Who". The
book was only available through book clubs and only as a hardback. The
publishers were Nelson Doubleday, Inc. and the artist's signature (Daniel
Horne) on the cover is dated 1985.
Robots of Death" in
episodic format, UK - (BBC DVD 1033). Released in US & Canada by Warner
Commentary by Philip Hinchcliffe and Chris Boucher
as "The Robots Of Death" in omnibus
format, April 1986, (BBCV 4108).
Released in US and Canada by Warner (E1120) and by CBS/FOX video (3776)
with photomontage cover.
Re-released in episodic format in 1995, in UK (BBCV 5521).
Robots Of Death" saw the final appearance of the TARDIS' secondary
console room introduced in "The Masque Of Mandragora".
This set was not required in the last Season's last story, "The
Talons Of Weng-Chiang", and unfortunately was stored in a poor
location, subsequently the wood become damp and warped. Consequently,
a new set had to be constructed for the following season.
Brian Croucher, who
plays 'Borg', is better known for
his portrayal of 'Travis' in "Blake's 7".
All four episodes
exist in color on videotape.
recording in unknown studio. (22-23 November;
5-7 December 1976)
1 - When the
Doctor & Leela are escorted by V9 to Uvanov's cabin to await questioning,
after they were rescued from the miner's scoop. V9 leaves them and then
listens at the door. As he does so you can clearly see the actor's neck
between the mask and his rollneck sweater!
- When the Doctor leaves the TARDIS, he is wearing his scarf. As he is
escorted to Uvanov's cabin, it has vanished. It re-appears when he leaves
- Uvanov flubs his line just after Leela is caught: "If we could
have got her to tell her what those corpse markers were, we'd be halfway
to a confession!" I think he meant "us".
- When Taren Capel is modifying a Voc robot, there is a shot of the robot's
agitated hands as he reassures it. On the silver gloves, the "Marigold"
logo is obvious.
- After the newly reprogrammed SV7 leaves Toos' quarters, the next shot
shows Leela hammering on the locked door to the crew room, yelling for
help. Now, keep an eye on the gold statue visible near the centre of the
room. As the scene comes up, a studio light comes on a little late - a
bright light suddenly illuminates the gold statue about a second after
the cameras start rolling.
- Watch the scene where Uvanov sticks a Laserson probe into the head of
one of the Vocs as it is strangling the Doctor. After he shoves the probe
in, you can quite clearly see the suit's helmet come away from the rest
of the suit.
- Watch really closely when Leela throws the knife at one of the robots.
You can see the knife fall to the floor about a second after she throws
it. Then, of course, the next shot shows the knife sticking out of the
- Immediately after the Doctor stabs SV7 in the back of the head and the
robot crashes to the floor, the next scene shows the fallen figure of
SV7 in the background - breathing heavily, with his chest moving.
- At the story's climax, Leela is hiding in a cupboard with a canister
of helium which alters the voices of everyone in the room except the Doctor
(supposedly because of his biology). Taren Capel and Leela had their voices
filtered in post- production while the Doctor's was left unchanged. The
technicians made an error, however: when Leela finally squeaks, "Will
somebody let me out?", the Doctor quickly rejoinders with "Ha!"
His short exclamation is on a much higher octave than the rest of his
- While the Doctor is patching the communicator into the android's head,
he takes off the communicators top, yet magically it is back on a few
- When Toos is being hunted by a robot, she shuts the door on its hand.
When you see it from the inside of the room the hand is trapped at a different
place to the next shot, from outside.
- The Doctor mispronounces "Terran" (Earthling) as "Tehran"
(capital of Iran).