Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Temple of Evil 

The TARDIS arrives on Earth landing in 16th century Aztec society. Barbara goes off exploring - despite the Doctor's orders not to wander off - and is taken away by the high priest Autloc ... See full summary »




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Episode complete credited cast:
William Russell ...
Jacqueline Hill ...
Keith Pyott ...
John Ringham ...
Margot Van der Burgh ...
Tom Booth ...
Dave Anderson ...
Aztec Captain (as David Anderson)


The TARDIS arrives on Earth landing in 16th century Aztec society. Barbara goes off exploring - despite the Doctor's orders not to wander off - and is taken away by the high priest Autloc who believes she is the reincarnation of the goddess Yetaxa. They believe it is a sign that the rains - which are late - will now come. The high priest of sacrifice Tlotoxl recruits Ian to lead their army but he finds he has a rival in Ixta. Ian is less than comfortable with his role when he learns that they are to deliver the human sacrifice to the high priest at the rain ceremony. The Doctor emphasizes that they must not interfere with Aztec rituals, something that does not sit well with Barbara. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

23 May 1964 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This four-part serial was released by the BBC on video cassette in the UK in November 1992. See more »


William Hartnell oversteps his mark during the first scene in the temple's main chamber after Barbara is deemed to be the spirit of Yetaxa. He delivers his subsequent dialogue with almost all of his face obscured by Barbara's headdress. See more »


[first lines]
Barbara Wright: Look at that!
Susan Foreman: I am.
Barbara Wright: It's an Aztec mask. He must have been a priest.
Susan Foreman: Oh, the Aztecs were Mexicans. We must be on Earth again. I wonder what year it is?
Barbara Wright: He must have died around 1430 I should think.
Susan Foreman: How do you know that?
Barbara Wright: All these things belong to the Aztecs' early period.
Susan Foreman: Now that's what I call really knowing your subject!
Barbara Wright: Ah well, that was one of my specialties, Susan.
See more »


Featured in Remembering 'The Aztecs' (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

The Aztecs: Episode 1 - An excellent historical adventure, brilliantly written and acted
5 July 2014 | by (South Wales, UK) – See all my reviews

Review for all 4 episodes:

This is a 4 part adventure beginning with The Temple of Evil. It is a pure historical adventure with the TARDIS crew arriving in a tomb in 15th Century Mexico during the time of the Aztecs. The TARDIS becomes trapped inside the tomb with the crew outside the tomb's inaccessible sliding door. Barbara is taken to be the reincarnation of their goddess Yataxa by the high priest of knowledge Autloc but is doubted and proclaimed a false God by the high priest of sacrifice Tlotoxl. Barbara tries to influence against human sacrifice despite the Doctor's insistence that this is meddling in the past which cannot be done, and they all try to find a way to get to the TARDIS before the Aztecs turn on them.

This is a top notch adventure, brilliantly scripted by John Lucarotti, following on from his previous great historical adventure 'Marco Polo'. It is beautifully acted with an interesting plot that includes very strong material about how the time travellers can or should interfere with historic events. William Russell and Jacqueline Hill as Barbara and Ian are two of the finest companions the Doctor ever had and they are superb here as is William Hartnell as The Doctor. Carole Ann Ford as Susan has one of her best performances here too. Autloc and a female elder Cameca are fantastic too.

Tremendous adventure across all four episodes.

My Ratings: All 4 Episodes 10/10

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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