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Death Flower was the comic debut of the Fourth Doctor.

Summary[]

The Fourth Doctor and Sarah investigate Vegpro, a firm manufacturing a sinister new breed of plant life; the Sarricoids.

Plot[]

Part One[]

Newly regenerated, the Doctor takes Sarah Jane in his car Bessie to investigate the Vegpro Factory on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture. Once they are through security, a man named Sillett shows them a new artificial vegetable Vegpro is growing called Sarricoids, which he claims are the fastest growing plants on Earth, and provide double the nutrition of any known vegetable. Sillett does not allow the Doctor inside the growing chamber, however, and the Doctor grows suspicious, then leaves quickly with Sarah. An unknown man watches them leave and praises Sillett for his performance.

Part Two[]

The unknown man, revealed to be heavily bandaged, watches the Doctor and Sarah leave from his wheelchair next to Sillett. The Doctor and Sarah find the nearest village, Suffingham, and ask around the local pub for information. A local mentions a recent accident at Vegpro that befell a man named Frank Lampard, whom the Doctor quickly tracks down at his home. Lampard's wife tells them he's been silent and stoic for the fourteen months since the accident, and points out a mark on his arm which he didn't have before it happened.

Part Three[]

The Doctor promises Lampard's wife that he will get Frank admitted to a top London hospital, before departing with Sarah in a hurry. He tells her Frank's lesion is "decidedly active," warning that Frank's metabolism may soon switch from "animal" to "vegetable." One of Sillett's men cuts the wires to a nearby phone booth before the Doctor can call the Ministry. The Doctor and Sarah continue driving but soon notice a car following them. Suddenly, Bessie's brakes fail just as a Vegpro truck pulls out in front of them.

Part Four[]

Just in time, the Doctor uses an anti-gravity device to fly Bessie over the Vegpro truck and out of harm's way. He and Sarah take off into a crop field and reach some woods, but the Doctor is intent on returning to the Vegpro factory. Meanwhile the hired men report back to an angry Sillett and the bandaged man, Professor Sarric, who decides to "activate" Frank Lampard. Sarric throws a switch, and miles away, Lampard stands up and walks out into the woods. At the factory, the Doctor and Sarah climb a tree over an electrified fence, but the branch breaks as Sarah is climbing across.

Part Five[]

The Doctor catches Sarah Jane, but the broken branch triggers the electric fence, attracting attention. Inside the factory, Professor Sarric assures Sillett that the Doctor's curiosity will lead him back to them. The Doctor and Sarah wait until nightfall to investigate the Sarricoids, and they both put on pressurized suits before entering the growing chamber. However, Professor Sarric is watching their every move on a screen, and gleefully springs his trap, revealing his hand is made of roots.

Part Six[]

Sarah is unnerved by the way the Sarricoid plants appear to watch them, while in his control room, Professor Sarric removes his mask of bandages to reveal his face, also consumed by roots. At his command, the plants attack the Doctor and Sarah by spitting seeds at them relentlessly, making it impossible to breathe. Sarah passes out, but the Doctor manages to pull her to safety while holding his breath, and notices how the seeds dissolve in water in the decontamination chamber. Sarah regains consciousness just as Sillett emerges and draws a gun on them both.

Part Seven[]

At gunpoint, the Doctor mentions to Sillett that Sarric is an alien, one of the Sarricoids, and correctly guesses that Sarric looks and walks strangely. As Sillett's faith momentarily falters, the Doctor uses the opportunity to kick him to the floor, before escaping with Sarah. From his control room, Sarric orders the Doctor and Sarah captured, but they manage to escape through a labyrinth of corridors. The Doctor turns on the emergency sprinkler system, soaking himself and Sarah, before he spots a forklift and attempts to hijack it.

Part Eight[]

Avoiding gunfire from the guards, the Doctor uses the forklift to hoist Sarah Jane up over the electric fence and out of danger, before toppling bags of mulch onto the security guards. The Doctor crashes the forklift through the fence and escapes with Sarah, while Sarric orders the creature that was Frank Lampard to find them. Sillett is still troubled by the Doctor's words but is angrily dismissed by Sarric. In the woods, Sarah sprains her ankle, just as she hears something in the bushes.

Part Nine[]

The Doctor recognizes Frank Lampard, now fully transformed into a Sarricoid. He gives Sarah a homing beacon, then leads the creature away to a stream, which he uses to defeat it before finding Sarah again with the beacon. Sillett, meanwhile, spies his first glimpse of Sarric's true plant form, but trips an alarm, alerting Sarric of his treachery. Sillett slips out and manages to trick the guards before stealing a car to find the Doctor.

Part Ten[]

Sillett crashes the car through the security barricade and escapes. Sarric orders the Lampard-creature to abandon pursuit the Doctor and block the road for Sillett instead, as he knows too much. The Doctor and Sarah return to the Lampard household, where the Doctor informs Mrs. Lampard of the Sarricoid's hold over her husband. The Doctor then visits the Vicar of Suffingham to relay his findings before using the vicar's phone to alert the Ministry. Just outside the vicarage, Sillett crashes into the Lampard-creature and is thrown through the windshield. The Doctor believes Sillett is only "badly concussed" as he hoists him over his shoulders, but the most immediate concern is the Lampard-creature, rising again.

Part Eleven[]

The Doctor carries Sillett with the others into the vicarage for safety, but the creature follows them inside, chasing them up to the bell tower. Sarric has an army of such creatures at his disposal, and grants the creature that was Lampard even more power to consume the church. The Doctor proclaims that their only hope is the call he placed to the Ministry, just as helicopters appear in the distant sky. They spray water over the creature, dissolving it as before, and the Doctor leads a full attack on the factory using the water-spraying helicopters. Firefighters assist the Doctor and Sillett in dissolving the Sarricoids with firehoses, including the creature that was Professor Sarric. Finally, the Doctor and Sarah recover Bessie before setting off for another adventure...

Characters[]

Worldbuilding[]

  • Sarah Jane compares the name "Vegpro" to a name for vitamin pills.
  • The Vicar refers to Vegpro as "Satan's work".

Notes[]

  • This was the very first Doctor Who comic strip to feature the Fourth Doctor, published during the broadcast period from Robot into Genesis of the Daleks. It opened with a brief recap of Planet of the Spiders and the following narrative; "One crisp, January morning of the new year finds Sarah-Jane Smith and the Doctor spinning through the Dorset countryside..."
  • The very first words were spoken not by the Doctor himself; but by Sarah Jane; "I still haven't got used to your new face, Doctor."
  • The very first words spoken by the Fourth Doctor were; "You're not the only one, Sarah-Jane. I have a similar problem when I shave each day!"
  • In the first issue, Mr. Sillett is referred to as Simon, but by the tenth issue his first name has been changed to Malcolm.

Original print details[]

(Publication with page count and closing captions)

  • TVC 1204 (2 pages) Next week: mark of mystery!
  • TVC 1205 (2 pages) More of the mystery mark next week.
  • TVC 1206 (2 pages) More drama with the Doctor next week!
  • TVC 1207 (2 pages) [No closing caption]
  • TVC 1208 (2 pages) Is the Doctor doomed? See next week!
  • TVC 1209 (2 pages) Next week: a race for freedom!
  • TVC 1210 (2 pages) More shocks for the Doctor soon!
  • TVC 1211 (2 pages) Next week: hunted by a mindless monster!
  • TVC 1212 (2 pages) The Doctor battles the alien flower power next week!
  • TVC 1213 (2 pages) Next week: struggle for supremacy!
  • TVC 1214 (2 pages) The Doctor's kidnapped in a great, new story next week!

Continuity[]

External links[]

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