Doctor Who: Season 14, Episode 17

The Robots of Death: Part One (29 Jan. 1977)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 272 users  
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The TARDIS materialize aboard a sandminer, a mining ship on a desert planet run by a robot labor force headed by a fairly small but sniping human crew. As one crewman is discovered ... See full summary »



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Title: The Robots of Death: Part One (29 Jan 1977)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Russell Hunter ...
Brian Croucher ...
Tania Rogers ...
Tariq Yunus ...
Rob Edwards ...
Gregory de Polnay ...
Miles Fothergill ...
Mark Blackwell Baker ...
John Bleasdale ...
Mark Cooper ...


The TARDIS materialize aboard a sandminer, a mining ship on a desert planet run by a robot labor force headed by a fairly small but sniping human crew. As one crewman is discovered strangled to death, the Doctor and Leela arrive just in time to become the prime suspects. Written by statmanjeff

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Release Date:

29 January 1977 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to director Michael E. Briant on the DVD commentary, producer Philip Hinchcliffe was against his casting of Russell Hunter in the part of Commander Uvanov, who Hinchcliffe initially believed lacked the presence and authority for the character. See more »


At the time this episode was set, Louise Jameson wore brown contact lenses as Leela. During the scene in the lounge, the right lens slipped out of place, showing her real blue eye. See more »


Chub: There was a Voc therapist in Kaldor City. Specially programmed, equipped with vibro-digits, subcutaneous stimulators, the lot. You know what happened, Borg? Its first client wanted treatment for a stiff elbow. The Voc therapist felt carefully all round the joint, and then suddenly just twisted his arm off at the shoulder. Shoompf. All over in two seconds.
See more »


Referenced in Doctor Who: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS (2013) See more »


Préludes, Book 1 no 8: La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl With the Flaxen Hair)
Composed by Claude Debussy
Arranged by Dudley Simpson
See more »

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Traditional Horror Fare Helped By A Good Cast
30 October 2013 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Immediately after materialising upon a sandminer vehicle the Doctor and Leela find themselves suspected of a motiveless murder . After another murder is committed the Doctor tries to solve the mystery but will he live long enough to do so ?

Yet another story that frequently appears in the top ten of classic Who fan surveys one has to answer the question of its validity as an undisputed classic . It's very much n the tradition of what the classic show was remembered for - a quasi horror show broadcast at tea time that sent a generation of children hiding behind the sofa but there's not a lot here to differentiate amongst its horror peers . There's an element of an Agatha Christie style whodunit but nothing that makes it standout and I wonder how well regarded it would have been if it'd appeared a year earlier ? Certainly several of the stories of season 13 developed bone chilling terror and imagery to much better effect

Not to be too negative the story is engaging enough and the cast of well known television faces namely Hunter , Salem , Croucher and Collings make the most of the material , more so when you see them perform in some laughably eccentric costume design , but the robots themselves are well realised on screen helped greatly by the always efficient directing from Michael E Briant . The voices especially are well done as the robots commit murder against a rapidly dwindling band of humans

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