BBC Doctor Who - The Stories BBC
QuickNav to a Season: 
QuickNav to a Story: 
 
The Previous Story
Full Circle
 The Previous Story
The Previous Story
(Meglos)
 The Next Story
(State of Decay)
Season
Details
SynopsisGeneral
Information
The
Episodes
Audience
Appreciation
ArchivesNotesFirst and LastThe PlotQuote of
the Story
Release
Information
In PrintPhoto
Gallery
 

Tom Baker
Full Circle
Fourth Doctor Logo


Synopsis


A Marshman
A Marshman
 The TARDIS is not where it should be – instead of the planet Gallifrey, clearly shown on the instruments and the scanner, The Doctor and Romana have arrived on the planet Alzarius. They find the only people there are living in a vast, crashed spaceship, the Starliner. They have been repairing it for generations in order to return to their home planet, Terradon.

 But Alzarius is starting to change. Mistfall, a mythical time of terror, is coming again , and an eerie menace is rising out from the misty marshes. The Doctor investigates further and uncovers some disturbing truths about the planet and its people – and that the TARDIS has fallen into Exo-Space, a different universe altogether.

 Why have huge poisonous spiders begun to appear in the Alzarian food supply? What is the secret of the strange marshmen rising from the misty waters – and what do they want? The Doctor and Romana become involved in a life and death struggle for survival as evolution on the planet comes full circle – but even if they win will the TARDIS ever get them back to their own universe?

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Eighteen
Production Code: 5R
Story Number: 111
Episode Numbers:534 - 537
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"The Planet That Slept"
Production Dates: July - August 1980
Broadcast Started: 25 October 1980
Broadcast Finished: 15 November 1980
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC3 and TC6)
Location: Black Park (Fulmer, Buckinghamshire)
Writer:Andrew Smith
Director:Peter Grimwade
Producer:John Nathan-Turner
Executive Producer:Barry Letts
Script Editor:Christopher H Bidmead
Editor:Mike Houghton
Production Assistant:Susan Box
Production Unit Manager:Angela Smith
Assistant Floor Managers:Alex Bridcut and Lynn Richards
Designer:Janet Budden
Costume Designer:Amy Roberts
Make-Up Designer:Frances Needham
Cameraman:Max Samett
Incidental Music:Paddy Kingsland
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:John Holmes
Lighting:Mike Jefferies
Visual Effects:John Brace
Title Sequence:Sid Sutton
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Peter Howell
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 3The Companions: John Leeson (voice only) (K9 Mk II), Lalla Ward (Romana 2) and Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) (Joins) Additional Cast: Richard Willis (Varsh), George Baker (Decider Login), Tony Calvin (Dexeter), Leonard Maguire (Decider Draith), James Bree (Decider Nefred), June Page (Keara), Alan Rowe (Garif), Bernard Padden (Tylos), Andrew Forbes (Omril), Adrian Gibbs (Rysik), Barney Lawrence (Marshman), Norman Bacon (Marshchild)Setting: Planet Alzarius, E-space (32nd century) Villain:Marshmen

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
534Part 125 October 198024'23"5.9PAL 2" colour videotape
535Part 201 November 198022'11"3.7PAL 2" colour videotape
536Part 308 November 198022'00"5.9PAL 2" colour videotape
537Part 415 November 198024'16"5.5PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 33 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 5.2
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)72.49%  (Position = 52 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)69.86% Lower (Position = 101 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)69.36% Lower (Position = 143 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 2" colour videotapes.



Return to the top of this page
 


Notes


"Full Circle" is the first of three loosely connected stories known as the E-Space Trilogy. This trilogy continues in the next story, "State of Decay", and concludes in "Warriors' Gate".

This story also introduces Matthew Waterhouse as The Doctor’s newest companion, Adric. The following story, "State of Decay", was recorded first but as "Full Circle" was broadcast first the character of Adric is introduced here.

Adric’s name was suggested by Script Editor Christopher H Bidmead as an anagram of eminent physicist P.A.M. Dirac, who in 1930 was the first person to predict the existence of antimatter.

This story was written by Andrew Smith, a 19-year old fan of the show. He was eager to establish a career as a writer and had previously submitted material to comedy programmes such as Not The Nine O’Clock News. In 1978 he had offered a storyline called "The Secret of Cassius" to The Doctor Who production office but this though was rejected by the then Script Editor Anthony Read.

When new Doctor Who Script Editor Christopher H Bidmead began reviewing the programme’s files in early 1980, his attention was drawn to another of Andrew Smith’s submissions, entitled "The Planet That Slept". As Christopher H Bidmead was urgently seeking scripts for Season eighteen, and he and Producer John Nathan-Turner both wanted to encourage new writers to the show, Andrew Smith was invited to expand on his submission into what would become known as "Full Circle".

Buoyed by the success of this story, Andrew Smith submitted several further ideas to the Doctor Who production office. These included "The Torson Triumvirate", later in 1980, and "The First Sontarans" in 1984. However, none of his ideas were taken forward, and so "Full Circle" became his only contribution to the show. His subsequent credits included comedy sketch programmes on both television and radio.

The director assigned to this story was Peter Grimwade, who had previously worked on Doctor Who as a production assistant dating back to 1970 Third Doctor story "Spearhead From Space". He had come to know John Nathan-Turner when both were involved with All Creatures Great and Small. Peter Grimwade had recently completed the BBC’s internal directors course, and had already worked on an episode of The Omega Factor. He was also a writer, having contributed to Z Cars, and had submitted an idea called "Xeraphin" to the Doctor Who production office which was, at the time, being considered for this season’s final story.

This story’s roots include The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Alan Rowe, who played the part of Garif, makes his final Doctor Who appearance. He had previously appeared as Doctor Evans and the voice of Space Control in the 1967 Second Doctor story "The Moonbase", as Edward of Wessex in the 1973/74 Third Doctor story "The Time Warrior" and as Skinsale in the 1977 story "Horror of Fang Rock".

George Baker, who played the part of Login, went on to star as Inspector Wexford in the police drama series The Ruth Rendell Mysteries.

The baby Terradonian was played by Alys Dyer, the daughter of Production Unit Manager Angela Smith. Alys Dyer had also been the infant Pangol in "The Leisure Hive".

There is no voice credit for John Leeson in the third episode as K9 does not speak in this episode owing to his head having been knocked off by the Marshmen.

At the beginning of this story The Doctor and Romana are summoned to Gallifrey, although the recall circuit (see the 1976 story "The Deadly Assassin" and the 1983 Fifth Doctor story "Arc of Infinity") is not used as The Doctor asks K9 to set the course (the binary coordinates are 1001100 zero by 02 from galactic zero centre, as in the 1975 story "Pyramids of Mars").

The Doctor is heard to say that he is looking forward to seeing Leela and Andred again and that the original K9 can meet its twin. Mention is also made of The Key to Time when The Doctor says to Romana ‘Yes, well, you only came to help with the Key to Time’.

The Doctor is heard stating that short trips in the TARDIS usually don’t work, and that reversing them is even more difficult, but despite this he manages the required journeys (see the 1975 story "Planet of Evil").

It is revealed that the Starliner was originally from the planet Terradon.

Adric is given a homing device in order to find the TARDIS again (see the 1965 First Doctor story "The Chase" and the 1982 Fifth Doctor story "The Visitation").

When the Image Translator is replaced it confirms The Doctor’s worse fears and that they have passed through a Charged Vacuum Emboitement into Exo-space, an entirely different Universe. Nothing else is revealed about CVE’s in this story, apart from their incredible rarity.

It is also revealed that the planet Alzarius occupies the same coordinates as Gallifrey in E-Space. The technology of Gallifrey and Alzarius/Terradon also seem to be interchangeable as The Doctor is able to use the Image Translator from the Starliner in the TARDIS.

Look out for the scene where the TARDIS is seen drifting through E-Space, the background stars can be seen in front of the TARDIS.

This story was repeated on BBC One in August 1981.

A novelisation of this story, written by Andrew Smith, was published by Target Books in September 1982. The novelisation opens with the Starliner crashing on Alzarius.



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The introduction of companion Adric played by Matthew Waterhouse.

 The first Doctor Who story to be written by Andrew Smith.

 The first Doctor Who story to be directed by Peter Grimwade.

 The first of three loosely connected stories known as the E-Space Trilogy.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The last Doctor Who story to be written by Andrew Smith.


Return to the top of this page
 


The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
An Unhappy Romana
An Unhappy Romana

Unbeknown to The Doctor and Romana, who are heading back to Gallifrey so as to return Romana to the High Council of Time Lords, the TARDIS falls through a Charged Vacuum Emboitment, a hole in the fabric of space, and is drawn into E-Space, a smaller universe which coexists with our own.

The first planet The Doctor and Romana arrive on is Alzarius, a seemingly idyllic world of flora and fauna supporting a small but sustainable civilisation of happy and contented people.

The Terradonians are however, misplaced from their own world as according to their records their spaceship, known as the Starliner, crashed on Alzarius fifty years before. They now live on Alzarius, whilst the entire time making repairs to their spaceship in readiness to leave.

K9 at the Console
K9 at the Console

The colony is run by three self-selecting senior colonists knows as Deciders who ensure the smooth running and order of their adopted world and lay particular store on technical ability. One of the brightest of the younger generation of colonists is Adric, who bears a Badge of Mathematical Excellence in recognition of his computational skills. However, Adric has joined his brother Varsh, along with a number of young Terradonians who have rejected the regimented society of the Starliner. Called Outlers they steal harvested river fruit and other foods to survive.

The arrival of the TARDIS on Alzarius coincides with Mistfall, a periodic event spoken about in the Terradonians’ history, when a race of misshapen monsters, known as Marshmen, emerge from the misty marshes to attack the colony. Also the normally harmless river-fruit The Terradonians harvest hatch venomous spiders.

K9 and The Doctor on Alzarius
K9 and The Doctor on Alzarius

As the Marshmen arise and begin to advance on the colony the Deciders evacuate everyone back to the Starliner safe in the knowledge that the Marshmen will not be are able to gain access to the spaceship. The Doctor, however, gains entry to the Starliner, using his sonic screwdriver, but he is followed by a young and inquisitive Marshchild. Both are found and taken before the Three Deciders. The Doctor is appalled when the Terradonians’ chief scientist announces that he intends to perform a vivisection experiment on the Marshchild.

Unable to stop him The Doctor instead works out the truth about the planet and the Terradonians. He realises that all the Terradonians died when they first arrived, and the people who now think of themselves as Terradonians are in fact evolved Marshmen. Mistfall is just a part of the planet’s ecological process, and that the Starliner has been maintained for 40,000 generations by a species that has three aspects; spiders, Marshmen, and the current humanoids. They are all from the same DNA and thus have come "full circle" - the spiders will become new Marshmen and the Marshmen currently attacking the spaceship will eventually evolve into the humanoids who now run the Starliner.

The Doctor also further deduces that the Starliner has been ready for take off for years; the problem is that none of the Deciders will face up to the awful knowledge that they simply don’t know how to pilot the spaceship.

Adric
Adric

Meanwhile Romana and K9 venture outside but soon find themselves trapped inside a nearby cave containing the river fruit and also some venomous marsh spiders. As one of the spiders scuttle toward Romana she picks up a river fruit, so as to use it to defend herself. But instead the fruit splits open and another marsh spider emerges. It lands on her cheek and even though Romana tries to fend it off the spider bites her. Almost immediately Romana falls to the ground, unconscious. When she awakes she assists the Marshmen, by opening an emergency escape hatch, to allow the Marshmen to board the Starliner.

Realising that Romana has been infected The Doctor uses a protein serum to cure her. With the Marshmen roaming the Starliner The Doctor realises that they are more inquisitive then dangerous.

When it is accidentally deduced that the Marshmen can’t cope with pure oxygen this non-lethal defence is used to force the Marshmen out of the Starliner. With the Marshmen returning to the swamps The Doctor helps the humanoid Alzarians leave the planet.

The Doctor, Romana and K9 then return to the TARDIS. But as they depart they are unaware that Adric, rather than leave with his own people, has stowed away aboard the TARDIS.

 
Keara
Keara
Decider Draith and Dexeter
Decider Draith and Dexeter
Mistfall Begins
Mistfall Begins
Adric and The Doctor
Adric and The Doctor
 
Romana Attacked by the Spider
Romana Attacked by the Spider
Romana is Possessed
Romana is Possessed
The Marshmen Invade the Starliner
The Marshmen Invade the Starliner
The Stowaway
The Stowaway




Quote of the Story


 'Seek out the Doctor. He can teach you to fly the Starliner. It is my wish that you all leave Alzarius.'

Nefred



Return to the top of this page
 


Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Audio
LP
Science-Fiction Sound Effects No. 261981REC 420Sound Effects
Audio
Tape
Science-Fiction Sound Effects No. 261981ZCM 420Sound Effects
Video
Viewmaster Reels
Full Circle1983BD 1871, BD 1872 & BD 1873
Video
VHS
The Tom Baker YearsSeptember 1992BBCV 4839PhotoClip only Introduced and commented on by Tom Baker Double cassette release
Audio
CD
30 Years at the Radiophonic Workshop1993BBC CD 871Photo-montageSound effects
Video
VHS
Full CircleOctober 1997BBCV 6230Photo-montagePart of the "The E-Space Trilogy" box set (BBCV 6229) along with "State of Decay" and "Warriors' Gate"
Audio
CD
Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume Three - The Leisure HiveMarch 2002WMSF 6052-2Music and sound effects
Audio
CD
Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume Four - Meglos and Full CircleMarch 2002WMSF 6053-2Music and sound effects
Video
DVD
Full CircleJanuary 2009BBCDVD 1835Photo-montagePart of the "The E-Space Trilogy" box set along with "State of Decay" and "Warriors' Gate"
Audio
CD
sci-fi Sound EffectsApril 2013CD release of the Science-Fiction Sound Effects No 26 LP
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 18 (Limited Edition)Mar 2019BBCBD 0462Photo-montageBlu-Ray Limited Edition boxed set containing 7 specially restored stories


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Full CircleSeptember 1982Target No. 26Andrew SmithAndrew SkilleterISBN: 0-426-20150-7
Novel
Novel
Full Circle1982Target No. 26Andrew SmithBook: Andrew Skilleter
Box: Bill Donohoe
Re-released as part of The Second Dr Who Gift Set
ISBN: 0-426-19289-3
CD
CD
Full CircleJanuary 2015Target No. 26Andrew SmithAndrew SkilleterAudio version of the Target Novel read by Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) and John Leeson (K9)
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 48 (Released: January 1994)
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/FeatureIssue 47 (Released: December 1980)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 135 (Released: April 1988)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 327 (Released: March 2003)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 369 (Released: May 2006)
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of FictionIssue 535 (Released: March 2019)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 85 (Released: April 2012)

Return to the top of this page
 


Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companions

 
Tom Baker
The Fourth Doctor

   

John Leeson (voice only)
K9 Mk II
Lalla Ward
Romana 2
Matthew Waterhouse
Adric
   




On Release

Audio LP - Sound Effects No. 26
Audio LP - Sound Effects No. 26

BBC
AUDIO
Audio Tape - Sound Effects No. 26
Audio Tape - Sound Effects No. 26

BBC
AUDIO
Viewmaster Reels
Viewmaster Reels

GAF Corporation
VIDEO
Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover
Tom Baker Years VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   
Sound Effects CD Cover
Sound Effects CD Cover

BBC
AUDIO
VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
VIDEO
Audio - Volume 3: The Leisure Hive
Audio - Volume 3: The Leisure Hive

BBC
AUDIO
Audio - Volume 4: Meglos and Full Circle
Audio - Volume 4: Meglos and Full Circle

BBC
AUDIO
   
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
sci-fi Sound Effects
sci-fi Sound Effects

BBC
AUDIO
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
The Collection Season 18 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 18 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
The Second Dr Who Gift Set
The Second Dr Who Gift Set

Target
NOVEL
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 48
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 48

CMS
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 47
Doctor Who Monthly - Article/Feature: Issue 47

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 135
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 135

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 327
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 327

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 369
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 369

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 535
Doctor Who Magazine - The Fact of Fiction: Issue 535

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 85
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 85

GE Fabbri


Return to the top of this page
 
 
Who's Who
KJ Software
Who Me
Episodes of the
Fourth Doctor


Season 18 Press to go back to the previous visited page References
 
 
Doctor Who is the copyright of the British Broadcasting Corporation. No infringements intended. This site is not endorsed by the BBC or any representatives thereof.