Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: Part Four 

The Doctor goes into the Dark Circus and defeats the Gods Of Ragnarok, helped by Ace, Kingpin and Mags. Captain Cook, the clowns and the Chief Clown are killed. The circuses are destroyed.




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Episode cast overview:
Jessica Martin ...
Peggy Mount ...
Deborah Manship ...
Chris Jury ...
Dean Hollingsworth ...
Bus Conductor
David Ashford ...
Janet Hargreaves ...
Kathryn Ludlow ...
Little Girl


The plot thickens massively, as the Doctor goes into the Dark Circus with the Gods of Ragnarok. Mags, Kingpin and Ace meet together and kill the clowns (androids) and the Chief Clown. The Gods then revive the Captain (it is implied) in order to stop Ace, Mags and Kingpin from helping the Doctor. The Captain is then killed by falling into the eye. The Doctor destroys the Gods and the Dark Circus and escapes, while the main circus tent is destroyed back on Segonax. Written by Alex Gosling

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Release Date:

4 January 1989 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode drew the highest ratings of Sylvester McCoy's tenure. See more »


Featured in The Culture Show: Me, You and Doctor Who (2013) See more »


Water Scenes Op. 13 No 4: Narcissus
Composed by Ethelbert Nevin
performed by Alfredo Campoli & his Salon Orchestra
See more »

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User Reviews

"Circus riff-raff, you don't own this planet you know." Strong end to an OK story.

Doctor Who: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy: Part 4 starts with the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) in the ring of the Psychic Circus performing for his, & his friends lives. He survives & makes his way to where the real evil is, the Dark Circus where the three Gods of Ragnarok preside & wait to be entertained by unwilling participants at the Psychic Circus & when they become bored the unlucky entertainer is killed & another is brought in to replace them. With Ace (Sophie Aldred) trying to retrieve an artifact that will destroy the Gods on the surface of Seganox will the Doctor be able to keep them entertained for long enough for her to get it to him so he can use it against them & put an end to their murderous ways?

This Doctor Who adventure was the last story from season 25 & it aired here in the UK during the first week of 1989, directed by Alan Wareing I was getting bored & a bit annoyed with The Greatest Show in the Galaxy up to Part 3 but I have to say Part 4 was easily the best episode & much more like the Doctor Who I know & like. The script by Stephen Wyatt at last gets to the point & reveals exactly what's going on in the Psychic Circus & it's suitably daft & it works quite well, if only the previous episodes had been a bit better The Greatest Show in the Galaxy could have been a great story, as it is I think it's an OK story & nothing that special. More should have been made of the robotic clowns in my opinion & why would anyone put a self destruct button on the top of a robots head?

There's some fun to be found in this episode particularly as the Doctor performs all sorts of magic tricks to try & keep the Gods of Ragnanok entertained so they won't kill him, hey it did the trick for me. The Gods themselves look pretty good actually & are quite menacing in their own silly way, unfortunately the terrible looking robot from Part 1 makes an appearance again. The way the Gods Dark Circus ring collapses is pretty good & I just wished the previous episodes were as fun as this one. I also rather liked incidental music or The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy overall as a Doctr Who story gets a 6 stars out of 10 from me across it's four episodes which vary in quality, it's worth watching but uneven.

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