Doctor Who: Season 16, Episode 21

The Armageddon Factor: Part One (20 Jan. 1979)

TV Episode  |  Not Rated  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 142 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 3 critic

The Doctor and company drop in on the planet Atrios, whose inhabitants are in an interplanetary war with their twin planet Zeos. Although Astra, Princess of Atrios, wishes for peace, the ... See full summary »



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Title: The Armageddon Factor: Part One (20 Jan 1979)

The Armageddon Factor: Part One (20 Jan 1979) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Davyd Harries ...
Ian Saynor ...
John Leeson ...
K9 (voice)
Ian Liston ...
Susan Skipper ...
John Cannon ...


The Doctor and company drop in on the planet Atrios, whose inhabitants are in an interplanetary war with their twin planet Zeos. Although Astra, Princess of Atrios, wishes for peace, the Marshal, her commander of the military, does not share her views. So, while the TARDIS is in orbit around the planet, the Marshal targets the Doctor for destruction. Written by Moviedude1

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Release Date:

20 January 1979 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the original script, both Atrios and Zeos were populated. Astra (at that point called "Reina", a name later changed to avoid confusion with Prince Reynart from The Androids Of Tara) was an astrophysicist who had discovered the Shadow's planet lying between the two warring worlds. The conflict had arisen because Atrios and Zeos blamed each other for a catastrophic shift in their orbits; they were being egged on by the Shadow, known as "the Presence" on Atrios and "the Voice" on Zeos. The Doctor was forced to use the makeshift Key To Time to temporally freeze both planets' armies. The Shadow's own shadow turned out to be the sixth segment of the Key To Time. His plan was to use the powers of the Key to pit one half of the universe in war against the other half. The Doctor stopped the Shadow by unfreezing the Atrian and Zeon armies and giving each the coordinates of the Shadow's "Castle of Evil". See more »


The Doctor: Where's your joy in life? Where's your optimism?
Romana: It opted out.
K9: Optimism: belief that everything will work out well. Irrational, bordering on insane.
See more »

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User Reviews

very good, if not really great and almost overlong, six-parter episode
21 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Armageddon Factor features the Doctor and Romanna coming to a planet where Princess Astra is trying to bring peace to her planet Atrios and has to contend with a conniving and war-mongering Marshall, who only wants to wage battle and some outcome with planet Zeos. But as it turns out, maybe not entirely surprisingly, there's more sinister elements- like the black guardian and his Shadow figure with the dark cloak and overtly dastardly demeanor/voice. Throughout this six-parter episode we get equal amounts of atypically (and always enjoyably) witty and British aside-type dialog and those diggs from the Doctor that show he has another motive going on nine times out of ten- usually the right one- and some wooden or terribly overwrought acting (Lalla Ward as the Princess and John Woodvine as the Marshall respectively), and a couple of shoddy special effects.

And while we get a really amusing side character with the Doctor's old school chum- bringing about his real name as Theta Sigma- and some nail-biting tension in the fifth and sixth acts, there's something about the episode that feels padded and big, despite the importance of the key and its sixth "component". Nevertheless, fans of classic Tom Baker won't be disappointed as there's many scenes that ring out as amazing and fun and and kooky (i.e. Baker's momentary power-craving with the key towards the last part) even intellectually stimulating (I liked how the Marshall is frozen in time right when he reaches his climactic glory at Zeos) and a lot of great K-9 action that only reinforces him/it as one of the great TV dogs/computers. If it's not entirely perfect the writers and actors come up with some clever moments and delicious hambone acting to suffice.

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