Inside the TARDIS the Doctor has promised to take Sarah to the planet Floranna. On the way the power fails, and the TARDIS crash lands. Sarah manages to activate the scanner, which shows fog outside the TARDIS, before the power is drained completely. The drain even affects the backup storage. Sarah grabs a torch from a cabinet but even that is affected. The Doctor manages to find an oil lamp and this is unaffected. To get out of the TARDIS the Doctor uses a crank handle to manually open the doors just enough to let him and Sarah out in to the surface of Exxilon. The planet is cold, windy, barren and sandy, but something on the planet is draining the power.
Sarah isn't dressed properly for Exxilon, so she goes back into the TARDIS to change. Whilst she is gone the Doctor investigates the immediate area, and is attacked by a robed figure. When Sarah returns there is no sign of the Doctor, just an oil lamp covered in blood. Scared Sarah runs back to the TARDIS. She hears sounds outside and sees robed figures approaching. Using the crank handle she closes the TARDIS door, not realising a robed figure is also inside the console room. She manages to knock the figure to the ground and open the TARDIS doors and escape.
The Doctor has had his wrists tied and is being led away by two figures. He seizes an opportunity and manages to escape from his captors and head back to the TARDIS. Going through a narrow crevice he sees a trip wire in the sand. He throws a rock at in, and from above a giant boulder comes crashing down, followed by a man in uniform. A second man appears and tells the first man, Galloway, to stop. All three head back to the newcomers' base.
The people in the base introduce themselves. Captain Richard Railton is second in command, Commander Stewart is lying injured on a bench. Geologist Jill Tarrant was tending to Stewart. There is also weapons officer Lieutenant Dan Galloway, and guarding the base is Lieutenant Peter Hamilton. Railton tells the Doctor they are part of the Marine Space Corps. The Doctor tells them about Sarah, and Railton says Sarah shouldn't be in too much danger from the Exxilons, they are predominantly night creatures, unless she goes near their forbidden city; only their high priests are allowed near it. Anyone else is sacrificed. Naturally the Doctor is curious about the city. Railton shows the Doctor pictures of the city.
Sarah has found the city. Some of the smooth white walls glow as she touches them. Some walls also have hieroglyphics that also glow. But there are no doors or windows. She doesn't see the Exxilon behind her until it is too late.
Back at the base Railton explains that they, too, experienced a complete loss of power on approach to the planet. The expedition came to Exxilon to collect parrinium, a mineral which can stop, and provide immunity, to a disease that has been ravaging the outer planets. Whilst the expedition is trapped more people are dying. Before they lost power the expedition managed to send a request to Earth for a relief ship. They never knew if the message arrived, but Hamilton rushes in saying the relief ship is arriving. Outside everyone watches as a ship lands in the next valley. They rush off to meet it, leaving Stewart in the base. After they have gone two Exxilons go into the base.
In an underground cell Sarah is tied up in a cell, accused by the Priest of defiling the "place of all power". She is taken by Exxilons to be prepared for sacrifice.
In the next valley a ship lands, but is not of Earth design. As they wait Daleks appear. Immediately they start to exterminate, but their weapons, like their ship, has been affected by the power drain, making them powerless. The Daleks move under psychokinetic power, so they can still move, but any technology is useless. As they are all powerless together Railton suggests that they all join forces, to which the Daleks reluctantly agree. The Daleks have told the Doctor that they are also suffering from the same disease and need parrinium for the same reason. Even with a truce in place the Doctor does not trust the Daleks, and the Daleks are hiding the real reason why they need the parrinium. Although four Daleks have left the ship there are more still inside.
The expedition takes the four Daleks to their mining operation in the hope the Daleks can suggest a better way to mine the ore without power. This means crossing open space, and in doing so Railton is killed by a arrow. On the top of some sand cliffs Exxilons with bows start firing arrows. Galloway, now in charge, fires an arrow back killing an Exxilon. This makes them angry and they start to attack. One of the Daleks is attack and bursts into flames. The Exxilons fetch Commander Stewart, who orders everyone to surrender. As the expedition and the Daleks, another Dalek returns to the Dalek ship.
Underground Sarah is drugged by incense. The expedition, with the Doctor, is led in to the cells. The Doctor sees Sarah and attacks the Exxilons. The Exxilons manage to regain control, and the expedition, with the Daleks and the Doctor and Sarah are all locked into one cell. One of the Daleks has discussed surrender terms with the Exxilons, and the Daleks says the Exxilons are prepared to talk after the sacrifices are concluded. Stewart tells Galloway to relinquish command to Hamilton, but dies in the cell. Galloway does not pass on the message, leaving people to think he is in command.
Inside the Dalek ship the Daleks have created new weaponry that uses bullets instead of power, and they are able to shoot a model of the TARDIS and an Exxilon. As the Exxilons prepare to sacrifice the Doctor and Sarah more Daleks enter, firing their new weapons. The Doctor and Sarah manage to get away as the Daleks take control of the Exxilons and the expedition. The Doctor and Sarah have, however, escaped using a tunnel where they were due to be sacrificed anyway - probably by something that lives in the tunnel.
Galloway, the Daleks, and the Exxilons manage to work out a deal. Under Dalek supervision the Exxilons will provide working parties to mine the parrinium. In return the Daleks will wipe out a splinter race which is an enemy of the Exxilons. And the expedition will hand over the Doctor and Sarah - dead or alive. Two of the Daleks follow the Doctor and Sarah down the tunnel, just in case the creature that lives down there does not kill them. In the tunnels the Doctor and Sarah can hear a strange whirring noise. At a junction the Doctor leaves Sarah on watch as he goes to investigate a tunnel. Sarah is startled when she sees a humanoid being similar to the Exxilons but not wearing the usual robes. The figure introduces himself as Bellal, and offers to help Sarah and lead her to a safe place. Another figure runs up and warns Bellal and Sarah about Daleks approaching.
Down the tunnel the Doctor finds the source of the whirring noise - a form of synthetic root. As he gets near it rises up to like a snake. The Doctor dive out of the way as it strikes, the rock bursting into flames as it strikes. The Daleks follow the Doctor down the same path and meet the root. They fire at it but the root easily destroys them.
The Doctor emerges from the tunnel, must to Sarah's relief. She introduces him to Bellal and they all run off before the remaining Dalek can get to them. Bellal shows the Doctor and Sarah to small tunnel that is barely wide enough to fit through. They squeeze in but the Dalek cannot fit. Whilst leading the Doctor and Sarah out of the tunnels Bellal explains that Exxilon was old before other planets had grown, and they had long ago explored other planets. Using their knowledge the Exxilons built a city that would last through all of time; a living city that could protect and repair itself.
On Exxilon there are two distinct groups: The robed Exxilons worship the city and make sacrifices to it. The second group, to which Bellal belongs, fear the city but do not worship it, and seek to destroy it before the Exxilons die out.
The Daleks have surveyed the planet, and determined that the beacon at the top of the Exxilon city is what is draining the power. If they can destroy that they can restore power. In the mine the root the Doctor encountered earlier emerges from a lake and kills one of the Exxilons. The Daleks fire at it but one is destroyed by the root. A Dalek takes Jill and the Exxilons to begin mining in a new area. A second Dalek orders Hamilton and Galloway to take explosives to destroy the Exxilon city beacon.
Bellal takes the Doctor and Sarah to see the city. The Doctor is in awe, considering it to be one of the 700 wonders of the Universe. The Doctor sends Sarah back to the mine to tell the expedition to be ready to lift off as soon as he restores the power, and to beware of the Daleks as they will be restored as well, and will try to destroy the human ship. As she leave the Doctor and Bellal attempt to enter the city.
As the Doctor is examining the symbols on the city wall two Daleks appear, firing. The Doctor manages to open a hidden door and both he and Bellal enter the city, leaving the Daleks to work out how to get inside.
Inside the Doctor and Bellal find a room containing skeletons of people who have not made it out. The Doctor finds a maze on the wall. Tracing through the maze the Doctor is able to open the door to the next corridor. The Daleks enter the room shortly after the Doctor and Bellal have left. The Doctor and Bellal make their way through the city, managing to get through any traps and logic tests, followed closely by the Daleks.
As the Daleks are making their way through the city another Dalek orders Hamilton and Galloway to climb the outside of the city and place explosives around the beacon at the top of the city. Hamilton places one of the charges. One charge would be enough and Galloway keeps the second for himself.
At the mine Sarah contacts Jill and tells her what the Doctor said. Many bags have been mined, and Sarah and Jill need to work out how to get this on to the expedition ship. Sarah has a plan; fill empty bags with sand, and substitute them with the bags containing the parrinium.
Inside the city the Doctor and Bellal work through all the tests; the final test is an assault on their sanity, which both make it through, allowing access to the main control room. The Doctor has access to the city's computer, and starts to reprogram it. The city still has defences and starts to make antibodies to fight intruders. The Daleks enter the control room, and the antibodies created by the city leave the Doctor and concentrate on the Daleks that fired at them.
The Doctor and Bellal escape through the city. The traps have been deactivated leaving them a clear path to the exit.
After setting the explosive the Daleks order Galloway and Hamilton to load the parrinium, in reality bags of sand, onto their ship. As they finish loading the bomb goes off, destroying the beacon and restoring power to the Daleks' ship. Hamilton leaves the ship but Galloway stays on board. The Dalek ship takes off leaving the Doctor, Sarah, Hamilton and Jill on the planet they plan to destroy after take off.
As the Dalek ship enters the atmosphere Galloway explodes the bomb, destroying the ship.
Regular castSarah Jane Smith: Elisabeth Sladen;
Guest castLieutenant Galloway: Duncan Lamont; Lieutenant Peter Hamilton: Julian Fox; Jill Tarrant: Joy Harrison; Daleks: Murphy Grumbar, John Scott Martin, Cy Town; Dalek Voices: Michael Wisher; Captain Richard Railton: John Abineri (1-2); Commander Stewart: Neil Seiler (1-2); High Priest: Mostyn Evans (1-2); Spaceman: Terry Walsh (1); Bellal: Arnold Yarrow (2-4); Gotal: Roy Heymann (2); Zombies: Steven Ismay (3), Terry Walsh (3);
Uncredited cast: Exxilons: Leslie Bates, Bob Blaine, Derek Chafer, Terry Denville, Steven Ismay, Kevin Moran, Roy Pierce, Dennis Plenty, Mike Reynel, David Rolfe, Terry Sartain, Nigel Winder;
|BBC 1||366||Part One||Sat 23 February 1974||5:30 pm - 5:55 pm||8.1M||48th|
|BBC 1||367||Part Two||Sat 2 March 1974||5:30 pm - 5:55 pm||9.5M||30th|
|BBC 1||368||Part Three||Sat 9 March 1974||5:30 pm - 5:55 pm||10.5M||20th|
|BBC 1||369||Part Four||Sat 16 March 1974||5:30 pm - 5:55 pm||9.8M||21st|
ARC Quarry, Binnegar Heath, Dorset;
Television Centre Studio 3;
Bloopers and mistakes
You can see the tracks the Daleks are moving on in one of the Exxilon outdoor mining scenes.
A Dalek's head is falling off in one scene.
When the city root guardian comes out of the water and attacks the Exxilons you can see the piece of string holding it up.
Episode 2: Watch for when Sarah Jane is supposed to be trapped in the cage. The empty cage can be clearly seen in the background. Apparently Lis Sladen got sick of waiting around for them to set up the shot and so wandered off to get a cup of tea. When she came back they were already filming and didn't want to reshoot it.
Episode 4: When they are placing the bomb on the beacon, watch as the chap doing it slams it into place, and you can see the whole structure move. He even reaches out quickly and grabs the pole as if he's afraid it\'s about to fall over.
Notes and trivia
This programme has no additional notes.