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 »


John Crockett


John Lucarotti

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode complete credited cast:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Carole Ann Ford ... Susan Foreman
Keith Pyott ... Autloc
John Ringham ... Tlotoxl
Ian Cullen ... Ixta
Margot Van der Burgh Margot Van der Burgh ... Cameca
Tom Booth Tom Booth ... First Victim
Dave Anderson 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 May 1964 (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?


This episode was watched by 7.4 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »


Susan asks Barbara if Hernán Cortés landed in Mexico in 1520 - Barbara, supposedly a specialist on the subject, confirms this. Cortés actually landed in 1519. 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.
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Featured in Last Stop White City (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Insipid Who
14 November 2014 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

Review of the Complete Story:

I'm not really a fan of the William Hartnell Dr Who stories, finding them incredibly dated and dull compared to the much more entertaining later adventures of Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker. THE AZTECS is a case in point, a cheap and distinctly un-cheerful story that's spoilt by boring characterisation and a badly-written story.

The tale sees Hartnell and his companions finding themselves caught up in some Aztec political plots when they accidentally arrive inside a temple complex. What could have been an exciting and exotic adventure quickly turns to stodge thanks to a lack of incident and a back-and-forth style of narrative that fails to really go anywhere. The characters are one-dimensional in the extreme and the story lacks the kind of danger and fear factor of the best Who stories.

It's not totally without merit, as despite the faults of his era, Hartnell was still a more than adequate Who, and the BBC writers deserve credit for delivering something out of the ordinary in setting at least. But when you think of classic era Who you want Cybermen and Daleks, not characters wandering aimlessly through cardboard sets as they do here.

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