Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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Mawdryn Undead: Part One 

With the TARDIS trapped on a collision course with a strange, orbiting spaceship, locked in time as well as space, the Black Guardian recruits a deceitful and ill-natured British student to kill the Doctor.


Peter Moffatt


Peter Grimwade (by)

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Episode cast overview:
Peter Davison ... The Doctor
Janet Fielding ... Tegan
Sarah Sutton ... Nyssa
Nicholas Courtney ... The Brigadier
Valentine Dyall ... Black Guardian
Mark Strickson ... Turlough
Angus MacKay Angus MacKay ... Headmaster
Stephen Garlick Stephen Garlick ... Ibbotson
Roger Hammond ... Doctor Runciman
Sheila Gill Sheila Gill ... Matron


The Black Guardian strikes a deal with a British student named Turlough. He will return him to his home planet if Turlough will kill the Doctor for him. Meanwhile the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa are near Turlough's school, trying to repair a hidden device that has the TARDIS trapped in perpetual orbit, when they run into an old friend of the Doctor's... twice. Can the Doctor avoid the machinations of both Turlough and the mutated alien scientists while keeping the two Brigadiers from different time zones from meeting? Written by Jay H

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

1 February 1983 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Turlough was originally going to be introduced in a story called "The Song of the Space-Whale" by Pat Mills and John Wagner. The story concerned a group of people living in the belly of a giant whale in space. The Doctor would find this out while attempting to protect the creature from being slaughtered by a rusting factory ship. The castaways living in the whale, as well as the ship's captain, would be working class characters, with the former's dialogue being based on that of a working-class Northern Irish family that Mills knew. A disagreement between Mills and Eric Saward led to the script being delayed until it was too late to serve as Turlough's introduction. See more »


Black Guardian: We haven't much longer. I need to know that I have your assent to our arrangement. You will find me the most accommodating of partners.
Vislor Turlough: But, Murder. I'm not sure I could go that far.
Black Guardian: You will be destroying one of the most evil creatures in the universe. He calls himself "The Doctor."
See more »


Featured in Who Wants to Live Forever? (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Good To See The Return Of The Brigadier In A Very Forgettable Story
31 January 2014 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

Arriving in 1983 England The Doctor is surprised to find his former friend Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart is teaching at a boarding school . One of the pupils there is a Trion called Turlough and The Black Guardian promises him passage home if he kills The Doctor

I was climbing the walls looking forward to this story when it was revealed that Lethbridge Stewart was returning to the show . The Brigadier was as much .as a part of my childhood as the third Doctor was . It's impossible to think of the Pertwee era without thinking of The Brigadier charging to the rescue of the Doctor and battling bullet proof monsters every Saturday afternoon . It might seem strange that Lethbridge Stewart is now a teacher but Ian Chesterton was supposedly written to be that character and due to William Russell being unavailable the role was changed to accommodate Lethbridge Stewart . This is a pity and once you know about this character change it does jar somewhat . If you're expecting a battle scene of soldiers against monsters that look like giant melted condoms then you'll be very disappointed . Perhaps that's why the highlight is the flashback scene in episode 2

It also leads to a very annoying continuity problem that wouldn't have happened with Ian Chesterton in the role that is the plot revolves around the Brigadier existing in two time streams , one in 1983 and one in 1977 set during the Queen's Silver jubilee . . " So what ? " Mr Casual Viewer asks and you'd be right but the UNIT era would always be set in a non specific near future and in 1977 Lethbridge Stewart would still be the commanding officer of UNIT .

I don't want to sound too anal but this plot point is very annoying It wouldn't have mattered if the continuity had been sacrificed for the sake of a great story but Mawdryn Undead is very average stuff . Perhaps even more sadly is that amongst the nostalgia there is a great story trying to get out . DOCTOR WHO in its original incarnation didn't really concern itself with the dynamics of time travel and used time travel as a mere plot device to send the Tardis on a new adventure every few weeks and director Peter Moffat fails to develop Peter Grimwade's script to its full potential . It should be pointed out that Moffat was much better in creating historical adventures and this type of glossy time travel space opera shows he's a bit out of his depth

Mawdryn Undead also features the debut of Mark Strickson as Turlough a humanoid with a dark secret . Turlough is slightly better regarded than Adric but that's not saying much and once again a character of great potential seems rather poorly developed . It's also noticeable that Strickson seems to be a little too old to be playing a public schoolboy and lacks a menacing edge needed for the character . Perhaps if the premise had Lethbridge Stewart teaching at a dead end school on a rough council estate we'd see a working class character with a Scouse or Glasgow accent played with a violent intensity by an unknown actor with a big future like Robert Carlyle . This confirms a criticism that the original series did pander to the middle classes too much and Russell T Davies made the new show identifiable to the proletariat

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