Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Ambassadors of Death: Episode 5 

The Doctor decides to take Recovery 7 back into space to search for the missing astronauts but Reegan sabotages the launch.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
... Doctor Who
... Liz Shaw
... Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart
... Quinlan
William Dysart ... Reegan
Ronald Allen ... Ralph Cornish
... General Carrington
... Lennox
Ric Felgate ... Astronaut
Steve Peters ... Astronaut
Neville Simons ... Astronaut
Tony Harwood ... Flynn
... Sergeant Benton
James Clayton ... Private Parker
Joanna Ross ... Control Room Assistant


The Doctor decides to take Recovery 7 back into space to search for the missing astronauts but Reegan sabotages the launch.

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Release Date:

18 April 1970 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sergeant Benton's role in this story was originally filled by a new sergeant named West. See more »


The model of Recovery 7 is a different colour from the full-size prop. See more »


Doctor Who: [opening line] Sir James!
See more »


Featured in Mars Probe 7: Making the Ambassadors of Death (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Appearances can be deceptive.
21 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

Review of all 7 episodes:

This story begins intriguingly with UNIT and The Doctor helping to look into space missions which have run into trouble. The whole story has brilliant performances from Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stuart), Ronald Allen (Professor Cornish), John Abineri (General Carrington) and the rest of the cast, some good grown-up science fiction writing, realistic dialogue, plenty of thrills and intrigue plus good production values. It features some mysterious aliens, lots of action and double crossing and some good underlying moral themes to do with xenophobia and military reaction to perceived threats. That this good, solid story is the weak link in series 7 is testament to the extremely high quality of this period of the show.

The first episode is very well done with interest provided by missing astronauts, mysterious goings on, lively action and very good script and performances. The second and third episodes are less impressive. The storytelling in these two episodes feels a bit jumbled and unclear and in the second episode the Doctor inexplicably is able to make an object disappear into thin air and reappear at will - bizarre and inconsistent with anything in the series history! Episodes 4 and 5 are better although it is slightly hard to believe that UNITs security is repeatedly shown to be so poor. Episodes 6 and 7 are back to the excellent standard of the first part with the story coming to a well written, action packed and satisfying climax.

Whilst being pretty impressive for its day in presenting a space mission it does not feel entirely in keeping with its setting in the 70s or even early 80s. The ability to travel to Mars, to carry out launches and returns to Earth at great speed and a few other bits of technology shown suggest a more advanced age. This is because it was originally written to be a Second Doctor story set a bit further in the future. The original story was written by David Whitaker and would be his last credit as writer on the series. Whitaker had been the very first Doctor Who script editor, a role he carried out brilliantly, and had written such great stories as The Crusade, The Power of the Daleks and The Evil of the Daleks. His contribution to the series was huge. Sadly this final story was rewritten (uncredited) by Terrance Dicks, Malcolm Hulke and Trevor Ray and, whilst good, I believe it became less successful than it could have been. I think the rewrites lead to the little bits of jumbled plot, UNITs inept security and the Doctor's incongruous magical powers making it into the story! It is also a pity the story was used whilst the Doctor was stuck in a contemporary Earth setting as a setting in the future would have added believability.

This is a very exciting, enjoyable, well acted story but under different circumstances I think it could have been one of the real classics which it falls short of in my opinion.

Episode ratings: Episode 1 - 9/10, Episode 2 - 6.5/10, Episode 3 - 7.5/10, Episode 4 - 8/10, Episode 5 - 8/10, Episode 6 - 9/10, Episode 7 - 9/10. Average rating: 8.14/10

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