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Taren Capel was a scientist who tried to instigate a robot revolution on Kaldor in the late 29th century.


Capel spent almost his entire life around robots, being practically raised by them. As a result, he identified with them more than he did with humans and came to believe that robots should rule over them. He intended to lead a robot revolution, dressing himself and painting his face to resemble his robot "brothers".

Posing as chief engineer Dask, Capel joined the crew of Storm Mine 4 and reprogrammed the sandminer's robot crew to kill the humans aboard, at first individually and secretly. Eventually, he ordered them to massacre the survivors, as well as the Fourth Doctor and Leela who had recently come aboard. The Doctor drew Capel into a room and had Leela release helium whilst she was concealed from view. Not recognising his voice, SV7 throttled him to death, repeating the command given to him to kill all the humans. (TV: The Robots of Death)

As was eventually discovered, Capel's plan also had a second phase that was activated after his death. It concerned the transmission of a specially-designed program to modify the robots' basic operational software in order to turn them into murderers. (AUDIO: Taren Capel) He became idolised by a cult called the Tarenists, who were used by the Fendahl which pretended to be a resurrected Capel. (AUDIO: Hidden Persuaders, Checkmate)


Capel considered himself to be a "superior being" to humans, after his upbringing solely by robots. He considered the robots his brothers and sisters, emphasising with them, and Capel believed that they should rule over humans. (TV: The Robots of Death, PROSE: Doctor Who and the Robots of Death)

Behind the scenes[]

  • Capel's name is a reference to the science fiction author Karel Čapek, who wrote the play R.U.R.. The story follows a robot rebellion and the downfall of the human race. The word "robot" was introduced into English through its use by Čapek.[source needed]
  • It is never explained in The Robots of Death what became of the real Dask — if there ever was one.