Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Keys of Marinus 

The Doctor and his friends must locate the real murderers and the fourth key before heading off for a final confrontation with the Voord.




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Episode cast overview:
... Dr. Who
... Ian Chesterton
... Barbara Wright
... Susan Foreman
... Altos
... Sabetha (as Katharine Schofield)
Alan James ... Guard
... Kala
... Eyesen
Henley Thomas ... Tarron
Michael Allaby ... Larn
Stephen Dartnell ... Yartek
Martin Cort ... Voord
Peter Stenson ... Voord


The Doctor and his friends must locate the real murderers and the fourth key before heading off for a final confrontation with the Voord.

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Release Date:

16 May 1964 (UK)  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode was watched by 6.9 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »


An inlay shot against a black background is used to create the appearance of teleportation. This technique is revealed by the appearance of the characters' shadows against a pillar after they have "teleported" - the shadows also reveal the actors scurrying off the set afterwards. See more »


The Doctor: I don't believe that man was made to be controlled by machines.Machines can make laws but they cannot preserve justice.Only human beings can do that.
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User Reviews

S1: The Keys of Marinus: A bit fragmented and doesn't deliver on interesting ideas and characters
10 August 2013 | by See all my reviews

This was the next story within the first season I was able to watch as all episodes of Marco Polo had long since been lost/destroyed and I wasn't interested enough to hunt down fan-recreations with audio over still photographs. In terms of following the plot it didn't make too much difference apart from understanding why Ian is dressed as he is. This story sees the group land on a planet in an area of acid and glass, where gimp-mask style aliens called the Voord are the main danger. The group are forced by an old man to obtain the missing keys for a machine which for time has controlled the populace of the planet by suppressing evil thoughts. These keys are scattered across the planet and, using devices to help them jump to the rough area, the group get into a series of different scrapes in their hunt.

This 6-part story started really well with an interesting world and characters. The acid and glass and large buildings were suitably otherworldly and, although they seem to just move slowly with knives raised dramatically over their heads, I did like the Voord for their design and look. The concept also offered interest as well since this planet has been essentially fully controlled by this central machine – a morally dubious concept and one I thought would be given more time. Unfortunately the Voord are mostly just topping and tailing the serial and the whole idea behind this machine isn't really touched on apart from a quick line of dialogue at the end, which is delivered as if suggesting you shouldn't keep tomatoes in the fridge rather than suggesting a machine isn't the best way forward. The idea of the machine also doesn't seem to affect the creation of the rest of the planet since it's influence doesn't make sense in context; eg one part of the story is a legal trial – not sure why such a structure would exist if the machine was controlling evil thoughts? Anyway, this isn't what this story is about because mostly it is a series of detached stories.

The four keys are in four different environments so it allows mini- adventures rather than one sustained story. I guess this is easier to write and it also allows the Doctor to vanish for 2 or 3 episodes; a vanishing so obvious that I had to Google to see if he had taken ill or something (he hadn't, apparently he had booked vacation and couldn't be there for filming because his manager had already approved it – or something like this). The mini-stories mean that the overall flow does feel fragmented and we don't really have time to get into any one part of Marinus that we are in. It produced OK little stories with action and events and I suppose it deserves credit for the difference things it did (chased by demons in the mountains one episode, in the dock the next) but as a whole it just seemed a little bit too fragment and fleeting.

The cast are OK. The Doctor is a bit too chipper compared to his more effective playing earlier, while Russell's Ian is a bit too cleancut and heroic – I preferred the earlier tension these two had between each other. Hill's Barbara is OK but Ford has little to do but scream and run – her Susan had been more confident that this before. The supporting cast are mostly decent enough, but nobody really has too much time to do much since they are mostly fleeting characters within the mini-stories. The different areas are nicely designed but it is a shame that I wasn't as taken by any of them as I was by the first place they landed.

Keys of Marinus is still an OK little serial but it's fragmented structure worked against it, although I guess it allowed Hartnell to use up his annual leave by dropping him from some episodes. Would have liked more meat on the ideas and maybe one less key to be able to spend more time within each sub-story area.

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