Doctor Who: Season 26, Episode 12

Survival: Part One (22 Nov. 1989)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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A spate of mysterious disappearances in Perivale have been recently taking place. Meaning that the Doctor's decision to take Ace to her home village couldn't come at a better time.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Anthony Ainley ...
Lisa Bowerman ...
Norman Pace ...
Gareth Hale ...
Will Barton ...
David John ...
Sean Oliver ...
Kate Eaton ...
Kathleen Bidmead ...


The Doctor takes Ace back to the London district of Perivale where she grew up. Thinking that his young friend wanted to visit her former home which he discovers to be quite the contrary. For Perivale Is hardly the most exciting place in the world. Or at least it didn't used to be. As the duo discover when they are informed of a spate of mysterious disappearances that have recently taken place in the last few weeks. Some of which are old friends that Ace grew up with. Intruiged, the Doctor endeavors to uncover what is behind people seemingly vanishing off the face of the Earth. But doing so ends up getting the cosmic time traveler wrapped up in a deadly game of survival on another world. Pitting himself and his young companion against a race of cat like creatures called the Cheetah people. And an old adversary from the Time Lords past. Written by Robert McElwaine

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Release Date:

22 November 1989 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The last Doctor Who (1963) of the original series to be transmitted. See more »


The Doctor: If we fight like animals, we'll die like animals!
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who Confidential: Lords and Masters (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

When time ran out for the Doctor...
22 June 2010 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

Finding myself at a loose end t'other day, I watched the D.V.D. of 'Survival'. No, not the long-running Anglia T.V. series about wildlife ( which has been revived so I hear ), but the last throw of the dice for '80's 'Dr.Who'. I had put off watching it for a long time as I had thought it might bring back unhappy memories. Not only was this the last story of the original series, but for a very, very long time looked to be the last story full stop.

Written by Rona Munro ( who went on to become an award-winning playwright. Good for her. ), it begins in Perivale, London in the Year Of Our Lord 1989 A.D. Thatcher is still in Downing Street ( though not for much longer ), Wogan has that bloody awful thrice-weekly chat show on B.B.C.-1 ( "Hello me darlings, here we are again at the start of another exciting week..." and so on ), 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' are on their last legs, and Peter Cook, Benny Hill, Spike Milligan, and Kenny Everett are all alive ( so it was not all bad then ). Some bloke washing his car is spied on by an animatronic cat ( nowadays, it would be C.G.I. ) Said moggy turns nasty, and the man's bucket of water goes flying. The Doctor ( Sylvester McCoy ) has taken Ace ( Sophie Aldred ) home to see how her old 'gang' is doing. They have gone. Spirited away to nowhere. Back in '89 I fancied the pants off La Aldred, but only now am I aware just what a terrible actress she was, speaking every line as though impersonating E.L. Wisty. She can't even get the Doctor's name right, referring to him constantly as 'Professor'. Why does he never correct her? ( I think he did so in one of the 'New Adventures' books ).

The Doctor goes to a shop and meets everyone's favourite cat microwaving comics Gareth Hale and Norman Pace, the Lucas and Walliams of their day, now completely forgotten. Finding their puss half-eaten, they look about as concerned as you might expect two comics only in the show as a result of stunt casting ( still continuing alas. Witness the hopelessly clumsy attempt at acting recently by James Corden in 'The Lodger' ) to do. They are not seen again after Part 1 thankfully.

Everyone's gone to the moon...well, some strange planet inhabited by 'cheetah' people who ride horses, hunt humans and eat them. Those who don't get chomped become cheetah people themselves. Cheetah World consists of a forest and a few tents, the sky a shocking pink thanks to nifty digi-box work. As Part 1 draws to a close, it transpires that The Master ( Anthony Ainley ) is around and controlling Tiddles. Judging from his eyes, he seems to be developing feline tendencies himself. Oo-er! ( While all this was happening, over on I.T.V., Alan Bradley ( Mark Eden ) was chasing Rita Fairclough ( Barbara Knox ) round Blackpool in 'Coronation Street'. The viewers were spoilt for choice in those days ).

To Be Continued...

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