5H. City Of Death

Season Seventeen - 1979/1980

Script Editor: Douglas Adams
Writer: David Agnew (alias Douglas Adams with Graham Williams from material by David Fisher)
Produced by: Graham Williams
Director: Michael Hayes
Designer: Richard McManan-Smith
Incidental Music: Dudley Simpson


400 million years ago a crippled spacecraft landed on Earth. It attempted to take off using warp drive, and caused a huge explosion. The radiation from the explosion caused life to start evolving on Earth.

The Doctor decides it is time for a holiday, and chooses to visit Paris in 1979. Whilst sitting in a café the Doctor and Romana experience what the Doctor terms a crack in time. Whilst visiting the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa the Doctor and Romana are affected again, and the Doctor manages to slip a bracelet off a women observer.

The bracelet belonged to Countess Scarlioni, given to her as gift by Count Carlos Scarlioni. He is not happy to learn that it has been stolen, and orders the butler, Herman, to have the Doctor and Romana brought to him.

The Doctor discovers that Scarlioni has been selling lost works of art in order to finance his experiments in time travel. Scarlioni was split into splinters in time, and managed to get Leonardo Da Vinci to paint six more Mona Lisas which he later attempted to sell in 1979.

It is Romana who later gives Scarlioni, alias Scaroth, the secret of time travel, and he disappears into the past, with the Doctor and Romana following with a human detective, Duggan. Duggan punches Scaroth, and Scaroth is catapulted back to 1979. Herman, seeing a monster, destroys the time machine - and Scaroth.

Regular Cast

  • Voice of K-9: David Brierley
  • Romana: Lalla Ward
  • Artist: James Charlton (1)

Guest Cast

  • Count Carlos Scarlioni/Captain Tancredi/Scaroth: Julian Glover
  • Countess Scarlioni: Catherine Schell
  • Duggan: Tom Chadbon
  • Hermann: Kevin Flood
  • Professor Theodore Nikolai Kerensky: David Graham (1-3+reprise 4)
  • Louvre Guide: Pamela Stirling (1,3)
  • Soldier: Peter Halliday (2-3)
  • Art Gallery Visitors: Eleanor Bron (4), John Cleese (4)
  • Thugs: Mike Finbar (1-2), Pat Gorman (1), Peter Kodak (1) Anthony Powell (1-2,4)
  • Customers in Cafe: Lewis Pirella (1-3), Harold Shields (1-3), Colin Thomas (1-3), Elaine Williams (1)
  • Louvre Guards: Bruce Callender (1,3), Maureen Mason (1,3)
  • Double for Scaroth: Richard Sheekey (1,4)
  • Jagaroth Voices: Tom Chadbon (1), Peter Halliday (1)
  • Cafe Patron: Walter Henry (1)
  • Gendarmes outside Louvre: Christian Foucat (3), Robert Jouhier (3)
  • Maid: Jane Bough (4)
  • Customers in Art Gallery: (all 4) Iris Everson, Juliette James, Leon Maybank, Terry Sartain
  • Plain Clothes Detectives in Louvre: David Glen, Alfred Moore, James Muir, Mike Mungarvan
  • Tourists in Louvre: Michael Brydon, Karen Cooper, David Glen, Philip Grant, David Harris, Kevin Hudson, Michael Josephs, Mike Mungarvan, Jenny Persiva, Maggie Pilleau, Helen Raye, Shane Ricco, Lee Richards, Graham Smith, Kevin Sullivan, Frances Tanner, Geoffrey Whitestone, Sue Winkler, Cathy Winter

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 510. Part One Saturday, September 29, 1979 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 12.4M
BBC 1 511. Part Two Saturday, October 6, 1979 6:15 PM - 6:40 PM 14.1M 64%
BBC 1 512. Part Three Saturday, October 13, 1979 6:00 PM - 6:25 PM 15.4M
BBC 1 513. Part Four Saturday, October 20, 1979 6:15 PM - 6:40 PM 16.1M

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Ealing Film Studios
  • Television Centre Studio 3
  • Television Centre Studio 6

Outside Locations

  • Paris, France


This is the first story to feature foreign location filming.

David Brierley's K-9 voice is not heard in this story.

John Cleese and Eleanor Bron were not credited in the Radio Times as their cameo was intended as a surprise.