Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Ambassadors of Death: Episode 1 

While the Brigadier investigates a loss of contact with Mars Probe 7, the Doctor realises signals coming from the probe are of extra-terrestrial origin.




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Episode cast overview:
Ronald Allen ...
Robert Cawdron ...
John Abineri ...
Ric Felgate ...
Van Lyden / Alien
Cheryl Molineaux ...
Ray Armstrong ...
Robert Robertson ...


While the Brigadier investigates a loss of contact with Mars Probe 7, the Doctor realises signals coming from the probe are of extra-terrestrial origin.

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Release Date:

21 March 1970 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In an interview years later, Terrance Dicks recounted the experience of rewriting David Whitaker's story:

"One of the situations I inherited [as Doctor Who (1963) script editor] was Ambassadors of Death and the ongoing tangle with that. David Whitaker...had gone through four or five drafts and you come to a stage where you write so much it just gets worse. What was happening was that the need for the script was very urgent and I stormed into [producers] Peter [Bryant] and Derrick [Sherwin] and said, "Look, we've got five drafts of this. David's fed up with it, he doesn't know what to do. What we need to do is pay David in full and Mac [Hulke] and I will finish." And that's basically what we did. I made sure that David got a full script fee for all his episodes because he had been buggered about by the establishment and Mac and I took the bare bones of his story and almost did a "War Games" - wrote new scripts very quickly - and it shows. It had its moments though". See more »


In "The Ambassadors of Death": Episode 4, a UNIT soldier is killed when he touches the same barrier as the alien. In Episode 6, he's alive and well and back at work. See more »


The Doctor: [shouting down the lift] My dear fellow, I simply don't happen to have a pass!
[pause for inaudible query]
The Doctor: Because I don't believe in them, that's why!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credit sequence for all episodes of the story is split into two parts and the episode title is presented in two separate lines, the second "OF DEATH" part being larger and accompanied by a dramatic audio sting. See more »


Featured in Mars Probe 7: Making the Ambassadors of Death (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Pertwee's first season summed up
1 May 2013 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

WOW! A brilliant story... I only saw this complete story recently on BBC DVD, and boy, I was impressed! Jon Pertwee, in his third story as the Doctor, is marvellous. To me it shows him setting the foundations for the rest of his WHO career. The plot is also brilliant, given it is the eventual work of FOUR script writers: David Whitaker, Terrance Dicks, Trevor Ray and Malcolm Hulke. The conspiracy plot and mystery of the ambassadors creates an eerie setting, sending the Doctor into deep space and Liz Shaw into trouble. What interested me when I first saw Part One was the opening titles. The splitting of the titles (music, graphics and text: DOCTOR WHO; and electronic sting, graphics and text: THE AMBASSADORS... OF DEATH, BY David WHITAKER, PART ONE) helps generate a sense that this is something big. The scene slotted between the DOCTOR WHO and THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH allows the cliffhanger from the previous episode to be replayed, creating an even bigger sense of evil. Overall, THE AMBASSADORS... OF DEATH is a brilliant, 1970s example of "Who", full of death, action fight, conspiracy and mystery. If you have not yet seen it, go and buy the DVD and enjoy. You will not be disappointed.

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