4P. The Deadly Assassin

Season Fourteen - 1976/1977

Script Editor: Robert Holmes
Writer: Robert Holmes
Produced by: Philip Hinchcliffe
Director: David Maloney
Designer: Roger Murray-Leach
Incidental Music: Dudley Simpson
Fight Arranger: Terry Walsh (3-4)


After receiving a summons from the Time Lords the Doctor returns to Gallifrey. During the journey he experiences a premonition of the President's death. The TARDIS materialises and immediately attracts the attention of the Chancellery Guards, who use a key to enter the TARDIS and arrest the Doctor.

The Doctor manages to create a diversion, and sneaks out of the TARDIS, unseen until he enters a 53 storey lift. Pursued by the Guards he manages to disguise himself and attend the abdication of the Lord President. From a vantage point the Doctor sees the killer, and tries to shoot him.

The Doctor is caught and accused of the murder or the President. There is a law on Gallifrey that states that when a new President is sworn in political prisoners are set free. In order for this not to happen Chancellor Goth attempts to try, and execute, the Doctor before the new President is sworn in.

The Doctor manages to buy himself some time and discovers that the villain who tried to frame him is none other than the Master, who has reached the end of his natural life. The Master plans to obtain the Sash and the Rod of Rassilon in order to release the power of the black hole located beneath the Panopitcan.

The Doctor thwarts the Master's plan, and finds that Chancellor Goth has been helping. Goth dies as the Master escapes, and Borusa, one of the Doctors old teachers, becomes President.

Guest Cast

  • Chancellor Goth: Bernard Horsfall
  • The Master: Peter Pratt
  • Castellan Spandrell: George Pravada
  • Co-Ordinator Engin: Erik Chitty
  • Cardinal Borusa: Angus McKay (1,2,4)
  • Commander Hildred: Derek Seaton (1,2,4)
  • Commentator Runcible: Hugh Walters (1-2)
  • The President: Llewellyn Rees (1+reprise 2)
  • Time Lords: John Dawson (1-2), Michael Bilton (1)
  • Gold Usher: Maurice Quick (1)
  • Solis: Peter Maycock (3)
  • Narration Voice: Helen Blatch (4)
  • Guards: Harry Fielder (1,2,4), Pat Gorman (1-2), Steve Ismay (1,2,4), Michael Lomax (1-2)
  • Tannoy Voice: Derek Seaton (1)
  • Technician: Brian Nolan (1)
  • Train Driver: David Smith (2+reprise 3)
  • Samurai: Bernard Horsfall (2)
  • Gas Masked Soldier: Dave Goody (2)
  • Biplane Pilot: Chris Jessons (3)
  • Doubles for the Doctor: Eddie Powell (3), Terry Walsh (4)
  • Double for Goth: Terry Walsh (3)
  • Poind: Pat Gorman (4)
  • Time Lord Walk-Ons and Extras: (all 1-2) Leslie Bates, Willie Bowman, Alf Coster, Reg Cranfield, Jim Delaney, Michael Earl, Walter Henry, James Linten, Steve Kelly, Richard King, Ronald Mayer, George Romanov, Terry Sartaine, Garth Watkins, Sonnie Wills, Geoff Witherick, Christopher Woods

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 436. Part One Saturday, October 30, 1976 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 11.8M
BBC 1 437. Part Two Saturday, November 6, 1976 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 12.1M 59%
BBC 1 438. Part Three Saturday, November 13, 1976 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 13.0M
BBC 1 439. Part Four Saturday, November 20, 1976 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 11.8M 61%

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Ealing FIlm Studios
  • Television Centre Studio 3
  • Television Centre Studio 8

Outside Locations

  • Betchworth Quarry, Dorking, Surrey
  • Gardens of Royal Alexandra and Albert School, Reigate, Surrey

Working Titles

The Dangerous Assassin


The organ music heard in the story was played by Leslie Pearson.

The 1977 repeat cut the cliff-hanger to Part Three.