Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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Underworld: Part One 

Materializing at the edge of the cosmos, the frontier of creation, The Doctor, Leela & K-9 encounter four ancient space travelers from Minyos, the first race ever contacted by the Time ... See full summary »


Norman Stewart


Bob Baker (by), Dave Martin (by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Tom Baker ... Doctor Who
Louise Jameson ... Leela
James Maxwell ... Jackson
Alan Lake Alan Lake ... Herrick
Jonathan Newth ... Orfe
Imogen Bickford-Smith Imogen Bickford-Smith ... Tala
John Leeson ... K9 (voice)


Materializing at the edge of the cosmos, the frontier of creation, The Doctor, Leela & K-9 encounter four ancient space travelers from Minyos, the first race ever contacted by the Time Lords. All but extinct due to their Time Lords encounter, the Minyans (rejuvenated 1000 times each) have been embarked on a long 100,000 year old quest, searching the universe for the lost race bank of their species to take to a new home world. But their equally old ship is finally failing, succumbing to the gravitational pull of a newly forming sun and taking the Doctor and his party with it. Written by statmanjeff

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Release Date:

7 January 1978 (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 story was inspired by the story of Jason and the Argonauts. See more »


Doctor Who: [about the Time Lords] It was what happened on Minyos that led to our policy of non-intervention.
Leela: Huh?
Doctor Who: Yeah. Well, the Minyans thought of us as gods, you see, which is all very flattering, and we were all new at time and space exploration, so we thought we could help. Gave them medical and scientific aid, better communications, better weapons.
Leela: What happened?
Doctor Who: Kicked us out at gunpoint. They went to war with each other, learned how to split the atom, discovered the toothbrush and finally split the...
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Featured in Into the Unknown: The Making of 'Underworld' (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Attack Of The Killer CSO
31 October 2013 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

There's a school of thought in DOCTOR WHO fandom that the worst crime a story can commit is to be boring . I don't go along with this train of thought . The simple truth is that the worst crime a DOCTOR WHO story can do is embarrass fans of the show . I've lost count the number of times I've watched a story either in front of my parents or on my own in the 1980s when I felt my skin blush so badly that my body temperature was in danger of causing a fire and felt a fundamental sense of shame that I had told anyone in the world that I once confessed to enjoying the show as a child , never mind confessing to watch it as an adult . No , an embarrassing story is infinitely worse than a boring one

That said Underworld is a good example of a boring story . It's been said by Robert Holmes that the programme works best when its roots are showing . This might well be true when DOCTOR WHO is ripping off HG Wells , or Nigel Kneale or Hammer horror movies but Underworld shows it's not a good idea to plagiarize Greek myth . Did someone mention Jason And The Argonauts ? If you're expecting blokes having a sword fight with skeletons you're going to be very disappointed . That I can guarantee along with being bored

What also lets Underworld down is an over reliance of Colour Separation Overlay ( CSO ) . What's that you ask ? It's a form of back projection where the cast stand in front of a blank screen and an image is superimposed behind them . It was used throughout the 1970s and beyond . A good /bad example would be the 1973 story The Green Death and fiver years later the CSO process seemed to have gone backward rather than forward with the cast often surrounded by a haze

It's interesting the large viewing figures that Underworld received of over 11 million viewers but perhaps this can be easily explained by the fact that no one would have had video recorders , that there were only three television stations and hardly anyone would watching BBC 2 and the time of year when Christmas and New Year meant that few households would money to go out on a Saturday evening

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