Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Talons of Weng-Chiang: Part One 

The Doctor and Leela land in Victorian London, and find themselves in the middle of missing girls, mutilated bodies, and vicious Chinese gangs. The Palace theater, presenting hypnotist Li H'sen Chang seems to be at the center of it all.




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Episode complete credited cast:
Trevor Baxter ...
David McKail ...
Conrad Asquith ...
Alan Butler ...
Tony Then ...
John Wu ...


In Victorian London, the Doctor and Leela are on their way to a performance by Chinese magician Li H'Sen Chiang when they come across a gang carrying away a body. At the police station, they learn that young girls have been going missing. They also meet the magician who has come to free one of his men. The man bears a tattoo of the a black scorpion, one of the greatest criminal organizations of all time. When the Doctor finds a tuft of rat hair on the dead man, he and Leela explore the sewers. At the theater, the doorman Casey and the manager Jago see what is going on in the cellar. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

26 February 1977 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This serial began as a story idea commissioned from Robert Banks Stewart called "The Foe from the Future", but he was unable to continue with it due to other commitments. See more »


Though they tried to cover them up with white tape, the mortuary where the Doctor meets the Professor has a couple of power-points on the white tiled wall. See more »


Leela: This is a big village.
The Doctor: Yes.
Leela: What's the name of the tribe here?
The Doctor: Cockneys.
See more »


Featured in The Lively Arts: Whose Dr. Who (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

a little absurd, a little too long (six parts!), but a cool atmosphere and a giant rat!
4 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A really cool episode of Doctor Who is the Talons of Weng-Chiang, where the good doctor and his lady Leela come to 19th century Victorian London, and there's a big plot involving a 51st century Chinese "Lord" who's trying to get a device together so that he won't die off (he already wears a chintzy black mask). It is, par for the course of a Doctor Who mystery, a bit more convoluted than maybe necessary, but that's part of the fun in figuring out what will happen next. There's a lot of servant-and-master stuff between "Chinese" magician (in quotes as it's really a white guy in make-up, probably a savage joke at old stereotypes) played by Christopher Benjamin, and some solid, very 'British' dialog between some supporting characters, and a little guy in a mask (played, I think, by the amazing Deep Roy) and a giant, Rodan-esquire rat! Overall the episode might be a little sluggish in parts, but for the most part it's as close to a classic as fans can hope for. Especially with Tom Baker at the helm, who makes the doctor a bad-ass sort of in the tradition of a Jack Sparrow character (almost without trying, and by luck, he gets his way against those against him), and is of course very funny beneath the seriousness of the story. And, by the way, there's magic! And some cool twists like someone you didn't expect in that box stuffed with swords!

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