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Doctor Who and the Keys of Marinus was a novelisation based on the 1964 television serial The Keys of Marinus.

Publisher's summary[]

MARINUS a remote force-shielded island set in a sea of acid, governed by

THE CONSCIENCE the ultimate computer which rules and balances the gentle life of Marinus, guarded by

ARBITAN THE KEEPER ruthless protector of a peace-loving race threatened by

YARTEK Warlord of the brutal sub-human Voords, sworn enemy of Arbitan and of Marinus, who has within his grasp

THE KEYS OF MARINUS the Conscience's vital micro-circuits, the doors of good and evil.

Can the Doctor find the hidden circuits in time? Arbitan's command was 'Find them, OR DIE!'

Chapter titles[]

  1. The Sea of Death
  2. The Marble City
  3. The Velvet Web
  4. The Brains of Morphoton
  5. The Screaming Jungle
  6. The Whispering Darkness
  7. The Snows of Terror
  8. The Demons
  9. Sentenced!
  10. The Mystery of the Locked Room
  11. The Missing Key
  12. Arbitan's Revenge
  13. Final Goodbyes

Deviations from televised story[]

  • The Voord are identified as a frog-like subspecies with bullet-shaped heads, lacking their distinctive inky black helmets.
  • The warrior that stalks Susan around the perimeter of the marble City is described as a "Class 1 Voord Assault Trooper", programmed to kill enemies on sight, implying that part of the Voord assault force may be bionic or robotic in nature.
  • In the TV serial, it's never quite clear what triggers the outer city walls' ability to rotate. The novelisation clarifies this by stating that there are sections of the marble that are pressure sensitive.
  • Yartek is said to have developed a technological immuniser to the influence of the Conscience, distributing it among his followers, rather than the unexplained resistance of the televised story.
  • Ian is still on the rope bridge when Vasor severs it with his knife.
  • Sabetha and Altos briefly visit Ian during his incarceration in Millennius.
  • Aydon attempts to flee the Court when identified by Sabetha before he makes his protestations heard. It's vice versa in the televised version. The shot that kills him is a "spurt of blue flame" and Susan sees that those closest to the body as it falls are Tarron, Eyson and Larn.
  • When the false key is inserted into the apparatus of the Conscience, there is a red glow at the centre, growing in intensity, until finally spokes of purple light radiate outwards along the delicate metal connectors. The entire structure blazes like a giant catherine wheel and self-combusts. The explosion vaporises Yartek and the entire Archive Room of the complex in less than a millionth of a second.

Writing and publishing notes[]

  • This title was Philip Hinchcliffe's last contribution to the range and his sole novelisation of a serial he did not produce.
  • With no photographs for reference, cover artist David McAllister decided to try something different and feature no people on the cover.
  • Then producer John Nathan-Turner's insistent critique of the cover artwork - namely that the TARDIS itself is blue, not grey and the light atop it white, not red - went unheeded. The unaltered image was used for publication.


Additional cover images[]

British publication history[]

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H.Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


A planned reissue in 1994 was cancelled.

External links[]

to be added