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Kinda was the third serial of season 19 of Doctor Who. It featured mainly Tegan and Adric alongside the Fifth Doctor. Narratively, it was an especially important story for Tegan, as it established a villain, the Mara, particularly interested in her. The Mara would later return to plague Tegan in other performed Doctor Who stories. (TV: Snakedance and AUDIO: The Cradle of the Snake)

In 1982, it was a serial that wasn't well liked amongst the Doctor Who fans who participated in the Doctor Who Monthly (later known as Doctor Who Magazine) season poll. It ranked last amongst the season's stories, although the Mara, Dukkha, Hindle, and Todd were all well-liked enough to be runners-up in their respective "favourite character" categories (DWM 69). It has gradually seen its status rise over the years, including among 2010s writer of DWM, Big Finish and BBC Books Jonathan Morris (DWM 474). In a larger poll done in 2009, respondents to DWM placed it 69th out of the then-200 Doctor Who stories that had been made — almost a full 60 positions higher than its sequel, Snakedance (DWM 413). A similar DWM poll in 2014 ranked it 63rd out of the 241 Doctor Who stories from the show's first fifty years and the second most popular season 19 story after Earthshock (DWM 474). Whatever the fan opinion, Kinda was something contemporary British critics appreciated. The National Film Archive purchased it soon after its broadcast as "an example of the programme at its best" (DWM 104).

Kinda, however, was remarkable for reasons other than its reception.

With the exception of K9, Kinda was the first occasion since the show had started filming in colour that a companion was absent from the narrative for an entire episode. Generally, this happened in the monochromatic era because an actor needed to take a holiday from the nearly year-long production schedule that was then the norm. In this instance, however, Nyssa's absence was more akin to Jamie's in The Moonbase: the scripts had simply been completed by the writer before the new companion had been cast. Thus, just as Jamie McCrimmon was "ill" for large parts of The Moonbase, Nyssa fainted in part one of Kinda and re-emerged after a restorative TARDIS nap in part four.

Kinda was also responsible for a bit of a revolution in the way that Doctor Who was made. On the positive side, it featured some of the then-latest Quantel effects for the trip through Tegan's eye. On the negative, it was plagued by studio problems with camera flare that eroded the five-day studio schedule to the point that there was no time left for some of director Peter Grimwade's more innovative shots. The chief casualty was the depiction of the Mara's snake form in episode four. This was originally going to have been achieved in a completely different manner, but the time crunch meant that Grimwade had to resort to a less-than-convincing puppet. Still, this disaster would allow the programme to push for and get, a six-day recording block in future (DWM #104).


The TARDIS visits the planet Deva Loka, where Nyssa remains behind in the ship to recover from a mild mental disorientation while the Doctor, Tegan and Adric explore. Tegan falls asleep under some wind chimes and becomes possessed by an evil force, a Mara.


Part one[]

A small human expedition has established a domed base on the tranquil jungle planet of Deva Loka to determine its suitability for colonisation, but all is not well. Three members of the team have disappeared, leaving only the overbearing commander, Sanders; his second, Hindle; and the scientist Todd. Todd's warning to Sanders that he's pushing Hindle to the point of a nervous breakdown go unheeded. Hindle suspects that the native humanoid population, the apparently peaceful and primitive Kinda, are responsible for the disappearances, and is holding two males as hostages.

Inside your head

Inside Tegan's head, the Mara vies for control.

The TARDIS arrives on Deva Loka. Nyssa is still unsteady after recent events aboard the Urbankan ship, and the Fifth Doctor builds her a delta wave augmenter, using his sonic screwdriver as a component, to help her relax. He, Adric and Tegan explore the jungle and discover a clearing lined with crystalline wind chimes. The Doctor is surprised; the chimes are set up in harmonics, suggesting the presence of intelligent life. While Tegan rests under the wind chimes, Adric and the Doctor find an empty Total Survival Suit (TSS) nearby, a machine built for a standing human to travel. The door to the machine is open but its operator is nowhere to be found. When Adric impulsively slams the machine's door, it activates and marches the Doctor and Adric to the dome.

Tegan, meanwhile, falls into a deep sleep as the chimes appear to have a hypnotic effect. Her consciousness is transported to a black void where she encounters an elderly couple, Anicca and Anatta, playing a board game, who refuse to acknowledge that she exists and tell her to go away. Tegan then encounters Dukkha, who appears to be the spokesman for a sinister entity. All three have the same mark of a snake on their forearms. Dukkha confronts Tegan with paradoxes of existence; he splits her into two beings and orders them to argue which one is real.

At the Dome, the Doctor and Adric are treated with suspicion. Sanders demands to know what has happened to Roberts, the expedition member who was using the machine in the area, but the Doctor explains that it was empty when he and Adric found it. Todd brings the Doctor to see the two Kinda hostages. The males are mute, but while Sanders and Hindle see this as evidence of primitive minds, Todd sees evidence of deeper intelligence. She muses that the Kinda are telepathic, and the ornaments they wear around their necks resemble a DNA double-helix. Todd starts eating an apple and offers one to the Doctor. Outside the window, a lone Kinda male, Aris, watches.

Hindle takes over

Hindle takes over.

Hindle smashes things in the lab after ordering the Doctor and Todd to go see Sanders. Left alone with the two Kinda, he holds up a mirror. Seeing their own faces in the reflection, they appear to believe that he has captured their souls and submit to his will.

Todd is appalled when Sanders announces his intention to explore the jungle in the TSS, leaving Hindle in command. Not only does she believe that Hindle is unstable, but all three of the missing expedition members disappeared the same way. Her fears about Hindle are immediately confirmed once Sanders leaves; flanked by his two armed Kinda servants, Hindle announces that he has the power of life and death over all of them.

Part two[]


Panna and Karuna sense Aris' approach.

Sanders, in his TSS, draws near to the Kinda village. Panna, the female shaman of the tribe, hears his approach and directs her acolyte Karuna to give him a small box she is holding - the male Kinda are mute but females can speak. Before Sanders comes near, Aris returns to his village in anguish. Panna instructs Karuna to read him telepathically. She senses great pain and anger in Aris, as one of the captured Kinda is his brother.

The Doctor, Adric, and Todd are locked in a cell while Hindle dresses his Kinda hostages in colonial uniforms. Meanwhile, Sanders draws nearer to Panna and Karuna. Karuna protests that it is dangerous for a male to take the box, but Panna is resolute. Karuna presents him with the box; Sanders takes it and is overcome by a psychic force.

Hindle, now even more unhinged, announces his intention to sterilise an area fifty miles around the dome, using fire and acid, believing the plant life of Deva Loka to be an enemy. Adric manages to persuade Hindle he's on his side, then swipes the cell key. Unfortunately, his attempt to smuggle the key to the Doctor in the cell fails.


Tegan multiplies herself within her dreams.

Tegan, still trapped in the void, is literally arguing with herself. Dukkha returns to taunt her, adding many more Tegans. Dukkha makes it clear what he wants: her physical form. When Tegan demands that he leave her alone, he grants her wish: she is left completely alone. Tegan submits to his will. Taking his hand, the mark of the snake moves from his forearm to hers. She wakes in the clearing with a malevolent grin, now possessed by the Mara.

Hindle's plan to punish Adric's treason is interrupted when Sanders returns to the Dome in the TSS. His demeanour is entirely changed, playful and childlike. He offers the box to Hindle, who is terrified at what may lurk inside.

Tegan encounters Aris in the jungle. She senses his anguish and taunts him with promises of power. On taking her arm, he receives the mark of the snake and becomes the new host of the Mara.

Hindle imprisons the Doctor, Todd, and Sanders in the cell, and orders them to open the box or else he'll have them shot. The Doctor opens the box, and Todd screams...

Part three[]

A jester's puppet pops out of the box. The tension is broken with laughter; the Doctor observes that the Kinda have a sense of humour. Hindle is unamused. However, staring into the box, the Doctor and Todd have a shared psychic experience in which they receive a summons from Panna and Karuna. The dome's power flickers out and the door to the cell opens. Todd and the Doctor take their cue to exit, seeking out the Kinda. Sanders is left in a daze from the box, however, and is left behind.


Hindle tries to draw Adric into his Mara-inspired insanity.

While Hindle decides that the only recourse is to destroy the dome with explosives, the Doctor and Todd encounter the Kinda, led by a jester. The Doctor builds a rapport with the jester with sleight of hand, only to be interrupted by Aris bellowing, "Seize the Not-We!"

With the mark of the snake on his arm hidden, Aris invokes a Kinda prophecy that when the tribe is confronted with outsiders (the "Not-We"), a male "with voice" would become the tribe's leader. In the confusion, Karuna leads the Doctor and Todd away from the stunned Kinda. Hindle has rigged the dome to explode, taking a chunk of the jungle with it, ensuring their perpetual safety through death. Adric attempts to play along with the unhinged Sanders and Hindle who are constructing an elaborate model city out of cardboard boxes.

The Doctor and Todd meet Panna and Karuna in their mountaintop cave. Aris follows and confronts them. Despite Panna's protests, the Kinda submit themselves to Aris's will, and Karuna joins them to attack the Not-We in the Dome.

The Doctor notices the mark of the Mara on Aris's arm; despite her blindness, Panna is aware of it as well. She insists that they must understand. Together they have a shared psychic vision of the Kinda in a circle of timekeeping devices. As the timepieces countdown, the jester dances in the circle until the clocks stop, the end of the cycle. Emerging from the trance, they find that Panna is dead.

Part four[]

Karuna receives Panna's spirit and is snapped out of her obedience to Aris. She returns to the cave and takes Panna's staff. They realise that the Mara entered Tegan's mind from the Dark Places of the Inside, and is now present on Deva Loka in Aris.

Adric seeks shelter from Sanders and Hindle in the TSS, but it activates and he can't control it. At the same time, Aris and the Kinda launch a futile attack on the dome. Adric in the TSS accidentally opens fire, wounding Aris and making the others flee. The Doctor arrives and calms Adric, freeing him from the machine.


Caught in a circle of mirrors, the Mara has no choice but to leave Aris's body.

Todd and the Doctor confront Hindle and Sanders. Hindle reveals how he is controlling the Kinda hostages: they believe the mirror he held to their faces captured their souls. When the Doctor accidentally steps on and crushes one of the cardboard people in Hindle's city, Hindle becomes violent and attempts to detonate the explosives. The Doctor restrains him, and in the ensuing struggle, the mirror is shattered. Todd persuades Hindle to open the box, and his sanity is restored.

The Doctor realises that the Mara may be repelled by its own reflection; the one thing evil cannot face is itself. They trap Aris in a circle of reflective solar panels, and the Mara separates itself from him. The Mara enlarges itself into a giant snake, but its power is reflected on itself by the mirrors and it dissipates. Aris is free, the Mara is expelled back to the Dark Places of the Inside, and Hindle and Sanders are restored to mental stability.

Todd tells the Doctor that she'll recommend that Deva Loka be classified unsuitable for colonisation and that the unit should be removed. She plans to leave, saying, "it's all a bit too green for me". They reach the TARDIS, and when Todd sees Tegan, Adric and the fully-recovered Nyssa standing outside it, Todd asks the Doctor if he really goes into space in it. The Doctor says the idea is "impossible", if not "ridiculous". The Doctor then says goodbye to Todd and herds his companions into the TARDIS. He stops in the doorway and says, "I think paradise is a little too green for me, as well." He waves goodbye to Todd and enters the TARDIS.


Uncredited cast[]


Uncredited crew[]


The Doctor[]

  • The Doctor states a phrase he believed K9 would say.
  • The Doctor begins to recite the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," but stops when considering the end of the statement.

Foods and beverages[]

  • When Tegan was three years old, she didn't like ice cream.

Galactic empires[]

Myths and legends[]

Cultural References from the Real World[]

  • The Doctor quotes Prospero from The Tempest, "Such stuff as dreams are made on," when they are outside of Panna's cave.

Supposed deities[]

  • The Mara can only cross into reality through the dreaming of a solitary mind.

Jargon, slang and colloquialisms[]

  • ILF stands for intelligent life form.


Story notes[]

  • The working title for the story was The Kinda.
  • Kinda is based on Buddhist concepts, with Buddhist names and themes throughout the story. The name of the planet "Deva Loka" means "realm of the Gods". The Mara derives from a demon of the same name in Buddhist mythology which, as in Doctor Who, symbolises temptation rather than evil (at least, in the sense of "sinfulness"). In Kinda, Dukkha, Panna, Karuna, Anatta and Anicca's names and functions all derive from Buddhism as well. Dukkha is "suffering" (his name is also a play on the word "Doctor"), Panna is "wisdom", Karuna means "compassion", Anatta is "not-self" and Annica means "impermanence". In Snakedance, the character of Tanha appears; Tanha is "thirst", which figuratively means "restlessness" or "craving".
  • This is the only story of the Peter Davison era not to feature any TARDIS interior scenes.
  • In addition, the story contains Biblical references (an arboreal paradise, a serpent, and apples).
  • Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text features a section on the making of Kinda.
  • Nyssa does not appear in parts two and three due to Sarah Sutton's contract being negotiated. Sutton didn't mind, as she took the time off to go shopping.
  • While the exact date in which this story is set is not made clear, Todd does mention that their unnamed "mother world" —which could be Earth, bearing in mind the survey team have recognisably English names — is vastly overpopulated. This could indicate that it takes place around the same era as TV: Colony in Space. A History of the Universe and the first two editions of AHistory arbitrarily place the story in 2782. The third edition redates it to 3026, based on evidence from The Cradle of the Snake.
  • This was Janet Fielding's favourite script, according to the roughly contemporaneous DWM #104. Peter Davison also loved it, as he felt that it gave her more to do than raise her eyes and get angry at the Doctor.
  • Kinda was commissioned by Christopher H. Bidmead, worked on by Anthony Root and actually produced under Eric Saward. It, therefore, is at least in the running for the serial that went through the most script editors.
  • Adric asks the Doctor about leaving the sonic screwdriver in the TARDIS, to which the Doctor replies, "What would we need it for?" The screwdriver is destroyed in the following story, The Visitation.
  • One of the uncredited child actors in this story is future film and TV star Jonny Lee Miller.[1]
  • The story is also a striking allegory for Australian colonialism. It is unclear if this is intentional but there are many striking similarities between both the Kinda themselves and their colonisers; and those of the Australian Aboriginal people and theirs. The automatic dismissal of their status and intelligence (out of ignorance or indifference). Similar kinship systems are also reflected. The period of creation in Aboriginal lore is also known as the Dreamtime or the Dreaming and the snake/serpent is a prominent feature.
  • Christopher Bailey regrets using Buddhist names in the script, saying, "If you were making a Japanese show, you'd think twice about calling one of the characters Jesus Christ." He also thought the production was poor, although he admired Simon Rouse's performance as Hindle. He was horrified by the childish cardboard box construction of Hindle's and Sanders' model city in the last episode, which he felt should have been a more serious enterprise. He didn't like that garden centre look of Deva Loka either, and asked that if they couldn't realise his ideas, why didn't they ask him to come up with ideas that could be realised? He particularly hated the shampoo-advert hippies playing the natives.
  • Matthew Waterhouse felt that he gave his best performance in this story and that production was emotionally deeper than usual.
  • Christopher Bailey originally wrote the script with the Fourth Doctor in mind. He had originally envisioned the Doctor playing the role of a “wise sage”, but the younger Doctor anticipated by the production team would no longer suit this portrayal.
  • Richard Todd is first best actor Oscar nominee to appear in the series.
  • Harry AndrewsBernard ArchardRobin BaileyErnest ClarkRobert FlemingTrevor Howard, John Mills and Nigel Stock were considered for Sanders.
  • Nerys Hughes replaced Marti Webb as Todd. Lynda Bellingham, Isla Blair, Eleanor Bron, Clare Clifford, Pauline Collins, Judi Dench, Liza Goddard, Jenny Hanley, Diane Keen, Rula Lenska, Maureen Lipman, Joanna Lumley, Helen Mirren, Kate O'Mara, Diana Quick, Diana Rigg, Pamela Salem, Twiggy, Wanda Ventham and Fiona Walker were also considered for the role.
  • Richard Todd was asked to tone his performance down in rehearsals as John Nathan-Turner thought it was far too over the top.
  • Nerys Hughes says on the DVD commentary she was baffled by the script.
  • Both Simon Rouse and Jeff Stewart later went on to star in The Bill. Peter Davison's daughter Georgia Moffett would later appear in the series herself as Abby Nixon and her husband, future Doctor David Tennant appeared in the series in the one-off guest role of Steve Clemens.
  • The relationship between Christopher Bailey and Eric Saward was uneasy, as the author felt that the script editor was performing unnecessarily broad rewrites on his episodes, forcing him to make further changes at the last minute in an attempt to find middle ground. According to Saward, Bailey said at one point, "My themes! Where have they gone?" to which Saward replied, "It was either this or we rejected it". Bailey found the rewrites clunky and rewrote the script himself.
  • John Nathan-Turner disapproved of the intended final scene, in which Sanders and Hindle link arms and walk into the forest, holding a flower. He feared that this would appear too campy, and ordered that it be excised from the shooting script.
  • The colonial subtext was John Nathan-Turner's idea, as was the pith helmets.
  • In editing, it was discovered that although parts one and two overran significantly (resulting in a number of minor edits), part four could not be made to stretch to its requisite duration. Because of the structure of part three, it would be difficult to move up material to help fill the gap, as was the normal practice. Consequently, Eric Saward was forced to ask Christopher Bailey to provide four minutes' worth of extra material featuring only the regular cast to pad out the episode. Bailey developed two scenes set in the expedition dome's airlock, one involving Tegan and Adric discussing Hindle's bomb, and another in which the Doctor assures them that Hindle is no longer a threat.
  • Sarah Sutton and Sarah Prince were at drama school together, yet they don't share any screen time in the story.
  • The forest of the Kinda was an allusion to the Garden of Eden.
  • Sanders was named for the title character in the 1935 adventure film Sanders of the River. Ironically, Richard Todd starred in the remake Death Drums Along the River.[2]
  • Peter Grimwade was unhappy with the forest set, feeling that it gave away the studio-bound nature. Considerable time was spent hiding the studio floor under scattered leaves, resulting in some material being taped without the benefit of camera rehearsals. Grimwade was ultimately forced to abandon some of his planned shots, including a complex effects sequence in which Panna sat atop a crumbling plinth. Visual effects designer Peter Logan was infuriated that so much thought and planning had gone to waste, and he subsequently requested that special effects be given greater consideration in the future.
  • Peter Grimwade was concerned about some of the symbolism in Tegan's dream environment, as he thought that some of these elements, such as the phallic nature of the Mara's serpentine form, were too adult, and tried to tone them down.
  • Tegan's dream environment was referred to as "The Wherever" in the script, while Panna's vision was described as being set in "The Beyond".
  • At a late stage, it was decided to substantially shorten the dream sequences, including dropping plans for the appearance of a plant creature. The BBC Visual Effects Department had already started to build the prop, however, meaning that the associated expense would be squandered.


  • Part one - 8.4 million viewers
  • Part two - 9.4 million viewers
  • Part three - 8.5 million viewers
  • Part four - 8.9 million viewers


  • Kate Bush wrote Kinda under a pseudonym. (She didn't.)
  • Playwright Tom Stoppard wrote this story under a pseudonym. (He didn't.)
  • During a break between filming scenes, Matthew Waterhouse attempted to lecture the Oscar-nominated and vastly more experienced Richard Todd on how to act. (While Peter Davison has made this claim, Waterhouse has clarified that this did not actually happen. He did off-handedly remark to Todd that "the secret of acting is not to look at the camera," but was actually poking fun at a scene he himself had flubbed by looking into the camera a little while earlier. However, Waterhouse did admit that he tried to give the more experienced Davison tips on how to play the Doctor during filming of Four to Doomsday, and that Davison likely assumed he was doing the same to Todd.

Filming locations[]

Production errors[]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • In part one, the Doctor asks Tegan to strike two winds chimes, resulting in an ascending perfect fourth. The Doctor incorrectly identifies the interval as a "perfect fifth".
  • In part two, when the Doctor asks Hindle why he thinks the plants are hostile, a crew member is visible through the doorway behind them.
  • Adric and Nyssa's draughts board is the wrong way round.
  • The camera wobbles often throughout the serial.
  • When the Kinda surround the Mara-possessed Aris with mirrors, there is an obvious gap at the lower left for the camera to dolly in and out.
  • In numerous shot of the Mara in part four, a wire can be seen protruding from the top of its head.


  • The Mara maintains a connection to Tegan, which soon manifests itself again on the planet of Manussa, before being banished for a second time. (TV: Snakedance) At a later point in time, when the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough were visiting the planet of Chodor, a third manifestation was premised. (AUDIO: The Whispering Forest) They then fought the entity, once again on Manussa, though centuries before the rise of the Sumaran Empire. (AUDIO: The Cradle of the Snake)
  • The Eleventh Doctor encountered the Mara while protecting the town of Christmas on Trenzalore. (PROSE: The Dreaming)
  • The Mara later taunts the Doctor by saying Chodor is too green for him, which is what he said about Deva Loka. (AUDIO: The Whispering Forest)
  • Tegan later recounts the events of Kinda while in a dream state induced by the Doctor. (TV: Snakedance)
  • Wind chimes from Deva Loka are possessed by the Galactic Federation, who classified the planet as "S14" by the mid 39th century. (PROSE: Legacy)
  • Adric apparently holds on to one of the Kinda's caduceus pendants as a keepsake in his room; it makes minor appearances in part one of both TV: Earthshock and TV: Terminus.
  • Jack Harkness later described the Mara as "kind of malignant wraiths," claiming it was where the word "nightmare" came from, and that they suffocated people in their sleep. (TVSmall Worlds)

Home video and audio releases[]

DVD releases[]

It was released on DVD in a box set called Mara Tales with Snakedance on 7 March 2011 in Region 2.



It was released as issue 93 of Doctor Who DVD Files.

Video releases[]

This story was released on VHS in October 1994 in the United Kingdom, February 1995 in Australia and June 1996 in the US.

Digital releases[]

The story is available for streaming through BritBox in Canada & the US and through Amazon Instant Video in the UK.

Audio release[]

An audio recording of the story was also released. It was read by Peter Davison.

External links[]