Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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Black Orchid: Part One 

The TARDIS arrives in England, 1925, near to where a mysterious, gurgling man has escaped his bonds and started strangling servants. The Doctor is "expected" and taken (along with Tegan, ... See full summary »




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Episode complete credited cast:
Barbara Murray ...
Moray Watson ...
Brian Hawksley ...
Timothy Block ...
Ahmed Khalil ...
Gareth Milne ...


The TARDIS arrives in England, 1925, near to where a mysterious, gurgling man has escaped his bonds and started strangling servants. The Doctor is "expected" and taken (along with Tegan, Nyssa and Adeic) to the Cranleigh's country estate where The Doctor participates in a cricket match and Nyssa turns out to be the near spitting image of Ann, fiancée of Charles Cranleigh. They all stay for an afternoon costume ball. Tegan teaches others how to do the Charleston, and Adric eats, but The Doctor finds himself searching through secret passageways in his bathrobe after the gurgling man steals his clothing and party costume to attend the ball and deal with one of the guests. Written by statanjeff

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Release Date:

1 March 1982 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Nathan-Turner first offered Lady Cranleigh the main guest starring role to Dinah Sheridan but she was unavailable. See more »


The combination of vodka and orange juice was not called a Screwdriver until 1949, 24 years after this story is set. See more »


Adric: So, what is a railway station?
The Doctor: Well, a place where one embarks and disembarks from compartments on wheels drawn along these tracks by a steam engine - rarely on time
Nyssa: What a very silly activity.
The Doctor: You think so? As a boy, I always wanted to drive one.
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

An Undemanding Crime Drama
28 January 2014 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Landing in 1926 England The Doctor and his companions find themselves guests of Lord Cranleigh . Staying at Cranleigh Hall everyone are shocked to find that Cranleigh's fiancée Ann Talbot is physically identical to Nyssa . As things progress it becomes clear that Cranleigh Hall holds a very dark secret

Coming immediately after the pseudo-historical adventure The Visitation the production go all the way and introduce a purely historical drama for the first time since the mid 1960s . One criticism it deserves is deserves that it should have been broadcast between Four To Doomsday and Kinda where it would have contrasted better between two sci-fi tales , coming so soon after a story featuring renegade reptiles in 17th Century England the contrast is lost . It's also got one of those doppleganger/mistaken identity plots which like Meglos and Andriods Of Tara which is hardly groundbreaking and don't make the most involving of stories . Perhaps mindful of this the production team confine the story to a mere two episodes which is the first time since 1975 we've had a two episode story .

Black Orchid has a relatively languid pace which is in no way a criticism and feels and looks like one of those Agatha Christie mysteries broadcast on Sunday evenings . You do expect David Suchet to turn up at any moment introducing himself as a Belgian detective and everything benefits from a great deal of location filming . It also gives Sarah Sutton a chance to shine in a dual role and perhaps because it's a straight historical drama the regulars give much better performances than expected . The only fly in the ointment is contemporary characters entering the Tardis only to exclaim " Strike me pink " which damages the illusion you're watching the show combine realism with drama

Black Orchid might have been inconsequential and in many ways it is but taken on its own terms it is a very likable tale . The problem watching this in 1982 was the fan press was hyping up the next story which was hinting it was going to be very special indeed

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