Doctor Who: Season 16, Episode 17

The Power of Kroll: Part One (23 Dec. 1978)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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The TARDIS arrives at it's next destination, the marsh planet "Delta Magna". Where the Doctor and Romana goes in search of the fifth segment to the Key to Time. Where they discover the ... See full summary »



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Title: The Power of Kroll: Part One (23 Dec 1978)

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The TARDIS arrives at it's next destination, the marsh planet "Delta Magna". Where the Doctor and Romana goes in search of the fifth segment to the Key to Time. Where they discover the native tribal Swampies worships Kroll, a gigantic squid as a god, only to find Kroll has accidentally swallowed the fifth segment and Romana is chosen by the Swampies for sacrifice and The Doctor sets out to save a local refinery from being attacked by Kroll. Written by Daniel Williamson

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Release Date:

23 December 1978 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Fans voted this number 147 in a countdown of the 163 Doctor Who (1963) stories in Outpost Gallifrey's 40th anniversary poll in 2003, making it the least popular installment of the Key to Time season. See more »


Romana: Oh, it's a sort of Holy Writ?
The Doctor: It's atrociously writ.
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Badinerie: Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B Minor, BWV 1067
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
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User Reviews

Better Than It's Reputation Suggests
12 January 2014 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Refers To All Four Episodes . Suggestive Spoilers

Searching for the fifth segment of The Key To Time the Doctor and Romana land on the third moon of Delta Magna where the indigenous population colloquially called " The Swampies " are in dispute with the humans running a methane refinery . Things take a turn for the worse when the Swampie God Kroll - in reality a giant squid - makes an appearance

The Power Of Kroll has a very poor reputation amongst DOCTOR WHO fandom with many fans rating it the worst story scripted by Robert Holmes and by far the worst story of season 16 . I've always been puzzled by its low regard . Okay narrative wise it's a simple story of cowboys and Indians , or more accurately greedy corporate humans versus green aliens but its serious tone is a welcome relief from the whimsy seen throughout the season . It's not a story that's scared to kill off characters and little touches like the Swampy firing his weapon only for it to explode in his face does bring a dramatic quality to the proceedings

One thing the season has done very well is make use of location filming though it's painfully noticeable that the season is bookended by two tales that don't feature it . But Kroll sees an attempt by the production crew to make a planet that is a convincing swamp world and flies in the face of the erroneous accusation that every planet from the classic show always looked like a quarry in Surrey . It makes sense having a swamp world since refining methane is tied in with the plot

That said the plot itself is relatively black and white with greedy industrialists exploiting the planet and people and the natives themselves being led by a misguided high priest who sees a giant squid as a living God . Actually having a giant squid as the monster of the week is slightly problematic in that it's impossible to fully realise on screen and Holmes complained loudly that his remit of writing in the biggest monster seen in the history of the show was going to sink the production at first draft stage . .Whatever the problems the production team may have had they seem to have coped very well with it . The one problem I had with the realisation of Kroll is that it doesn't resemble the giant squids seen on Earth but this is an alien planet remember . Perhaps parallel evolution makes an alien squid look like that . And at least we've got a monster for the story even though you're able to second guess where the fifth segment to the key is located well in advance

In summary The Power Of Kroll is no classic but is much better than many of the other stories from the period due to the tone of gravitas and some superb location filming brought to the production which makes for four episodes of solid DOCTOR WHO

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