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Tom Baker
The Masque of Mandragora
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Synopsis


Hieronymous is Absorbed by Mandragora
Hieronymous is Absorbed by Mandragora
 When a wave of Mandragora energy hitches a ride with the TARDIS to 15th century Earth The Doctor and Sarah Jane’s troubles are only just beginning. Caught up in a power struggle far the Dukedom of San Martino and the mysterious ancient cult of Demos, The Doctor’s scientific expertise is really put to the test.

 A darker force is beginning to glow, gaining power after centuries of waiting in the shadows. And it must take over the Earth when the evil of Mandragora swallows the moon…

Source: BBC VHS Video


General Information

Season: Fourteen
Production Code: 4M
Story Number: 86
Episode Numbers:428 - 431
Number of Episodes: 4
Percentage of Episodes Held:100%
Working Titles:"The Catacombs of Death", "Doom of Destiny", "Secret of the Labyrinth" and "The Curse of Mandragora"
Production Dates: April - June 1976
Broadcast Started: 04 September 1976
Broadcast Finished: 25 September 1976
Colour Status: Colour
Studio: BBC Television Centre (TC3 and TC4A)
Location: Portmerion (Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, Wales).
Writer:Louis Marks
Director:Rodney Bennett
Producer:Philip Hinchcliffe
Script Editor:Robert Holmes
Editor:Clare Douglas
Production Assistant:Thea Murray
Production Unit Manager:Chris D'Oyly-John
Assistant Floor Manager:Linda Graeme
Designer:Barry Newbery
Costume Designer:James Acheson
Make-Up Designer:Jan Harrison
Cameraman:John Baker
Incidental Music:Dudley Simpson
Special Sounds (SFX Editor):Dick Mills
Studio Sounds:Colin Dixon
Lighting:Dennis Channon
Visual Effects:Ian Scoones
Title Sequence:Bernard Lodge
Title Music:Ron Grainer and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Arranged by Delia Derbyshire
Number of Doctors: 1
The Doctor: Tom Baker (The Fourth Doctor)
Number of Companions: 1The Companion: Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) Additional Cast: John Laurimore (Count Federico), Norman Jones (Hieronymous), Antony Carrick (Captain Rossini), Gareth Armstrong (Giuliano), Tim Piggott-Smith (Marco), Robert James (High Priest), Brian Ellis (Brother), Pat Gorman (Soldier), James Appleby (Guard), John Clamp (Guard), Peter Walshe (Pikeman), Jay Neill (Pikeman), Peter Tuddenham (Titan Voice), Peggy Dixon (Dancer), Jack Edwards (Dancer), Alistair Fullarton (Dancer), Michael Reid (Dancer), Kathy Wolff (Dancer), Stuart Fell (Entertainer)Setting: San Martino, Italy, (circa 1470-1482 when Da Vinci was in Florence) Villains:Count Federico, Hieronymous and The Mandragora Helix

The Episodes

No. Episodes Broadcast
(UK)
Duration Viewers
(Millions)
In Archive
428Part 104 September 197624'31"8.3PAL 2" colour videotape
429Part 211 September 197624'44"9.8PAL 2" colour videotape
430Part 318 September 197624'34"9.2PAL 2" colour videotape
431Part 425 September 197624'45"10.6PAL 2" colour videotape

Total Duration 1 Hour 39 Minutes


Audience Appreciation

Average Viewers (Millions) 9.5
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (1998)74.23%  (Position = 43 out of 159)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2009)71.86% Lower (Position = 85 out of 200)
Doctor Who Magazine Poll (2014)72.02% Higher (Position = 104 out of 241)


Archives


 All four episodes exist as PAL 2" colour videotapes.



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Notes


"The Masque of Mandragora" was the first story of Season Fourteen and was notable for being the first historical story since the 1966 First Doctor story "The Gunfighters" not to be principally set in Great Britain.

The director chosen for this story was Rodney Bennett, whose last Doctor Who work had been on "The Ark in Space" two seasons earlier.

It was originally planed to record this story overseas. Instead it was shot at the resort of Portmeirion, a Welsh resort village near Penrhyndeudraeth in Gwynedd. Designed by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion boasts architecture inspired by the Mediterranean region. It had already featured in many films and television programmes, most notably as the paranoiac village in Patrick McGoohan's classic 1960s television series, The Prisoner.

Between seasons, the shows’ recording timetable had undergone a new stage of evolution. The two-day blocks which had been habitual for several years gave way to sessions which were variously two and three days in length. Furthermore, although these were held still roughly fortnightly, they would no longer almost universally fall on exactly the same days of the week, as had been in the past.

This story saw the first use of a new TARDIS exterior as it had deteriorated due to wear and tear and had collapsed at the end of production on the previous story "The Seeds of Doom". This new police box would be used regularly until the aborted story "Shada" in 1980.

This story also marks the first appearance of the TARDIS's secondary Console Room, with wood panelling. It was designed by Barry Newbury as the old set was too big and difficult to record in, and the central column and main doors suffered perpetual technical problems. The Jules Verne-inspired wood-panelled look still retained the same overall configuration with the roundels, scanner and console. In addition it includes a shaving mirror, a recorder, the chair (seen in certain First Doctor, Second Doctor and Third Doctor stories) and the Third Doctor's smoking jacket. However, the double doors leading outside the TARDIS were replaced by a dark passageway, and the central column was done away with altogether, much to Director Rodney Bennett's disapproval. To explain the change in the design the script for episode one had to be amended to include The Doctor and Sarah's discovery of the alternative Console Room.

This new set though was not popular and was only used until the end of the season, making its final appearance in "The Robots of Death". Depending on the account of information, the set either warped in storage between seasons, thus becoming unusable, or new producer Graham Williams didn't care for the wooden set. Whichever - the original, futuristic interior was restored for Season Fifteen.

In the Console Room, The Doctor is seen clearing some dust with a frilly white undershirt like those worn by the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith is seen picking up a recorder like the one played by the Second Doctor.

This isn't the first time The Doctor has visited Italy. The TARDIS first landed there in the 1965 First Doctor story "The Romans" and has returned there in the 2008 Tenth Doctor story "The Fires of Pompeii" and the 2010 Eleventh Doctor story "The Vampires of Venice".

Many of the period costumes seen in this story were first used in Renato Castellani's 1954 feature film production of Romeo and Juliet.

The Doctor explains for the first time why he and his companions are able to understand unfamiliar languages. At one point Sarah Jane Smith questions why she can understand Fifteenth Century Italian and The Doctor is heard replying that this is ‘a Time Lord gift I allow you to share’.

In the 2005 story "The End of the World", Rose Tyler asks the Ninth Doctor a similar question and The Doctor tells her that altering her language perception is a function of the TARDIS's telepathic field. In the 2005 Tenth Doctor story "The Christmas Invasion", it is revealed that The Doctor is ‘part of the circuit’ of the TARDIS's telepathic translation gift, and so it does not function while he is in a post-regenerative coma; furthermore, it is extended to various people standing near the TARDIS as well as Rose when he recovers. Furthermore the 2009 story "Planet of the Dead" seems to imply that The Doctor himself does not need the TARDIS for its translational abilities. This amplifies the point in "The Masque of Mandragora" that a companion’s ability to understand other languages is indeed a gift of The Doctor, and the TARDIS merely offers the technology to express that gift.

While staunching the bleeding from Giuliano's wound, The Doctor is heard making a reference to Florence Nightingale.

In the scene where the astrologer uses a telescope, and The Doctor reveals that he does not like it very much, he comments: ‘A pity, in another fifty years we could've used Galileo's’.

The Doctor is heard to say that he was looking forward to meeting Leonardo da Vinci, implying that he either had not met him previously or is just eager to meet up with him again. By the time of the 1979 story "City of Death", it is revealed that The Doctor has already met Leonardo da Vinci.

The rattle The Doctor uses in the first episode returns in The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith".

This story’s plot has been compared with Hamlet. Giuliano, like Hamlet, is an intellectual and inexperienced prince opposed by his usurping uncle. The conflict between science and religion in this story also echoes Hamlet's discussions about the nature of the supernatural world.

It is revealed that The Mandragora Helix is one of a number of Helix intelligences, spiralling energy masses that can manipulate energy into matter. The Mandragora Helix appears to be aware of the Time Lords and has previously been in contact with humans.

Interestingly Mandragora is the Latin name of the plant mandrake and is believed in folklore to have magical qualities. This member of the plant genus Mandragora belongs to the nightshades family and is highly poisonous. The plant grows natively in southern and central Europe and in lands around the Mediterranean Sea, as well as on Corsica.

This story saw the first use of a new style of lettering, in a serif font, for the on-screen episode titles.

In The Radio Times Elisabeth Sladen is credited as ‘Sarah Jane’ rather than Sarah Jane Smith.

During the production of this story, Elisabeth Sladen announced her intention to leave the programme.

This story also saw the end of both Rodney Bennett's and Louis Marks' involvement in the programme. Rodney Bennett continued directing, earning credits on programmes such as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, The Darling Buds of May and Doctor Finlay. Louis Marks continued to work as a script editor and latterly a producer, handling shows like Middlemarch, Play For Today, Northanger Abbey... and The Lost Boys, directed by Rodney Bennett.

The Mandragora Helix showed up again in the various spin-off media. In comic strip "The Mark of Mandragora", published in Doctor Who Magazine (issues 169 - 172), it is defeated by the Seventh Doctor and Ace with the help of UNIT Captain Muriel Frost. The BBC Books’ The Past Doctor Stories novel "The Eleventh Tiger", by David A. McIntee, features an energy helix that is strongly implied to be the same one featured in this story. The Mandragora Helix returned once more in the BBC Books’ The Tenth Doctor Stories novel "Beautiful Chaos" by Gary Russell.

According to the Sarah Jane Smith Audio range from Big Finish Productions, after his encounter with The Doctor and Sarah, Giuliano takes charge of the Brotherhood of Demnos and re-forms them into a group called ‘The Orphans of the Future’. The consequences of this action come to bear in the 2009 Tenth Doctor animated story "Dreamland".



First and Last

The Firsts:

 The first story of Season Fourteen.

 The first appearance of the TARDIS's wood panelled secondary console room, designed by Barry Newbury.

 The first time it is revealed that the TARDIS can translate languages so enabling The Doctor and his companions to understand unfamiliar languages.

 The first historical story, since the 1966 First Doctor story "The Gunfighters", not to be principally set in Great Britain.

 The first use of a new style of lettering, in a serif font, for the on-screen episode titles.

 Chris D'Oyly-John's first involvement in the show as Production Unit Manager.


The Lasts (Subject to Future Stories):

 The last Doctor Who story written by Louis Marks.

 The last Doctor Who story to be directed by Rodney Bennett.


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The Plot

WARNING: May Contain SpoilersHide Text
Sarah and The Doctor
Sarah and The Doctor

While The Doctor and his travelling companion Sarah Jane Smith are investigating some unfamiliar areas of the TARDIS they come across another Console Room with wood panelling and a smaller central control console. The Doctor tells Sarah that this is the TARDIS’ secondary control room.

Switching on the scanner, The Doctor realises that they are very close to a Mandragora Helix, a spiral of energy radiating outwards with a controlling influence at the centre. Before The Doctor can do anything the TARDIS is captured by the Helix and is drawn to a still point at its centre. After a brief look outside, The Doctor dematerialises the TARDIS, but unnoticed a sparkling piece of Mandragora energy enters the TARDIS. It then emerges, again unseen, from the TARDIS at the next point of call, Earth…

The TARDIS has materialised in a field in the Dukedom of San Martino, in fifteenth century Renaissance Italy. As they start to explore Sarah wanders off and is kidnapped by a group of men in hooded robes. The Doctor tries to rescue her but is knocked unconscious. When he awakes he is shocked to witnesses an energy fragment fly towards a peasant – who is then killed. The Doctor realises that the Mandragora energy, has hitched a lift in his TARDIS and is now on the loose and up to no good. While searching for Sarah, The Doctor is soon confronted by some guards and arrested.

The Doctor
The Doctor

The Doctor finds himself taken to the court of Count Federico. The Doctor tries to warn the Count about the energy fragment, that killed the peasant and the danger it poses to the whole of mankind, but Count Federico does not believe him and orders The Doctor to be executed as a spy. The Doctor is then led to an executioner and is forced to his knees for decapitation. However, before the executioner can use his sword, The Doctor manages to unfurl his scarf and hook it around the executioner's ankle, throwing him off balance. The Doctor then escapes out of the palace grounds and finds his way into some catacombs beneath the city.

These are the same catacombs that Sarah has been taken to. This is where the outlawed star worshipping Brotherhood of Demnos, the Roman god of moonlight and solstice, gather. Sarah is brought before a priest and is told that she is the foretold sacrifice to Demnos. She is then dressed in a white robe and made ready to be sacrificed.

Sarah Jane Smith
Sarah Jane Smith

As Sarah is about to be sacrificed on a stone alter The Doctor arrives to rescue her. At the same time the Mandragora energy also enters the underground temple. Its arrival distracts the worshippers so allowing The Doctor to rescue Sarah. The worshippers, led by the court astrologer Hieronymous, are awed by the presence of the Mandragora energy and Hieronymous receives instructions to make ready for Mandragora's full appearance.

Hieronymous, however, is one of the pawns in the evil Count Federico's plans to take control of the Dukedom of San Martino for himself. He intends to usurp his young nephew Giuliano, whose recent accession to the Dukedom is being marked with a celebratory masque. Count Federico had already arranged for the old Duke to die under 'mysterious circumstances', as predicted by the stars, and is planning for the same to happen to the new Duke, Giuliano. Hieronymous, who is increasingly coming under the influence of Mandragora, realises that The Doctor is a threat and so arranges for the Brethren of Demnos to capture Sarah again. He then hypnotises Sarah and instructs her to kill The Doctor.

The Doctor however, becomes aware of the trap when Sarah innocently asks him how she is able to speak and understand the local language - something that had not previously bothered her in all the times and places she had visited while with The Doctor. He de-hypnotises her and then makes arrangements to remove Mandragora's influence from Earth.

Sarah and Count Federico
Sarah and Count Federico

The Doctor has deduced that the Helix used the TARDIS to arrive at this crucial point of transition between the Dark Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Also in San Martino the Brethren provided a ready-made power base that it could use. The Doctor, after doing some astronomical observations, calculates there will be a lunar eclipse that evening and it is at this point that the Mandragora Helix will take over the Earth by removing all sense of purpose from mankind. Right now, however, he realises that the Mandragora Helix energy is currently spread thinly over all the Brethren, and so could be exhausted.

At the height of the masked ball, the Brethren of Demnos attack the court and kill many of the guests with bolts of fire. Meanwhile Hieronymous, who has now been completely taken over by Mandragora, confronts The Doctor in the underground temple and attempts to blast him down. The Doctor however, has earthed both himself and the altar so that the Mandragora energy blasts are carried safely away.

Disguised as Hieronymous, The Doctor then lures the Brethren back down into the temple. They arrive just as the eclipse of the moon occurs. As the Brethren place their hands on the altar the ball of Helix energy then descends and all the members of the Brethren are consumed by the Helix energy which then drains away, leaving the planet safe.

As they prepare to leave, in the TARDIS, The Doctor tells Sarah that even though they have prevented the Mandragora Helix doing any long lasting damage the Mandragora's constellation will be in a position for it to make a further attack on the Earth in about five hundred years' time - at the end of the Twentieth Century.

 
The Doctor Defends Himself
The Doctor Defends Himself
The Mandragora Helix Leaves the TARDIS
The Mandragora Helix Leaves the TARDIS
Hieronymous
Hieronymous
Hieronymous
Hieronymous
 
The Brotherhood of Demnos
The Brotherhood of Demnos
Hieronymous is Absorbed by Mandragora
Hieronymous is Absorbed by Mandragora
The Secondary Console Room
The Secondary Console Room
Sarah and The Doctor
Sarah and The Doctor




Quote of the Story


 'Had it not been you, there would have been other travellers drawn into Mandragora's Helix. Earth had to be possessed and checked. Man's curiosity might lead him away from this planet until, ultimately, the galaxy itself might not contain him. We of Mandragora will not allow a rival power within our domain.'

Hieronymous



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Release Information

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)Code NumberCover ArtRemarks
Audio
LP
Science-Fiction Sound Effects No. 191978REC 316Sound Effects
Audio
Tape
Science-Fiction Sound Effects No. 191978Sound Effects
Video
VHS
The Masque of MandragoraAugust 1991BBCV 4642Alister Pearson
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
Audio
CD
Doctor Who at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop Volume Two - New Beginnings 1970-1980May 2005WMSF 6024-2Music and sound effects
Video
DVD
The Masque of MandragoraFebruary 2010BBCDVD 2805Photo-montage
Audio
CD
The 50th Anniversary CollectionDecember 2013Photo-montageOriginal Television Soundtracks
Video
Blu-Ray
Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 14May 2020Photo-montageBlu-Ray boxed set containing 6 specially restored stories


In Print

FormatTitleRelease Date (UK)PublisherAuthorCover ArtRemarks
Novel
Novel
Doctor Who and the Masque of MandragoraDecember 1977Target No. 42Philip HinchcliffeMike LittleISBN: 0-426-11893-6
Novel
Novel
The Masque of MandragoraSeptember 1991Target No. 42Philip HinchcliffeAlister PearsonVirgin new cover reprint.
ISBN: 0-426-11893-6
CD
CD
Doctor Who and the Masque of MandragoraApril 2009Target No. 42Philip HinchcliffeMike LittleAudio version of the Target Novel read by Tim Pigott-Smith.
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision)Issue 15 (Released: April 1989)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 161 (Released: June 1990)
Doctor Who Magazine - ArchiveIssue 287 (Released: February 2000)
Doctor Who Magazine - Time TeamIssue 352 (Released: February 2005)
Doctor Who DVD FilesVolume 64 (Released: June 2011)

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Photo Gallery


The Doctor and Companion

 
Tom Baker
The Fourth Doctor

   

 
Elisabeth Sladen
Sarah Jane Smith
 
   




On Release

Audio LP - Sound Effects No. 19
Audio LP - Sound Effects No. 19

BBC
AUDIO
VHS Video Cover
VHS Video Cover

BBC
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
   
Audio - Volume 2: New Beginnings
Audio - Volume 2: New Beginnings

BBC
AUDIO
DVD Cover
DVD Cover

BBC
VIDEO
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover
The 50th Anniversary Collection Cover

BBC
AUDIO
The Collection Season 14 Blu-Ray Cover
The Collection Season 14 Blu-Ray Cover

BBC
VIDEO
   



In Print

Target Book Cover
Target Book Cover

Target
NOVEL
Reprinted Virgin Book Cover
Reprinted Virgin Book Cover

Virgin
NOVEL
Target Audio CD Cover
Target Audio CD Cover

BBC
CD
   


Magazines

Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 15
Doctor Who CMS Magazine (In Vision): Issue 15

CMS
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 161
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 161

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 287
Doctor Who Magazine - Archive: Issue 287

Marvel Comics
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 352
Doctor Who Magazine - Time Team: Issue 352

Marvel Comics
   
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 64
Doctor Who DVD Files: Volume 64

GE Fabbri


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