- You may be looking for the titular character.
The Celestial Toymaker was the seventh serial of season 3 of Doctor Who. Most notably, it was famously the story that almost wrote William Hartnell out of the series. Producer John Wiles' original idea for dispensing with Hartnell's services was to have the Doctor disappear as Hartnell during the Trilogic game, then reappear as another actor.
The larger truth, however, was that it was a serial that had, unlike most others, been shaped by two different production teams. Along the way, it had generated unusual criticism from rights-holders of other properties — including Wiles' own boss — who were concerned that their characters were being unhelpfully, if not illegally, used within the production. In fact, "The Final Test" was the only Doctor Who episode forced to have a continuity announcement to protect the BBC from legal action on behalf of a copyright holder.
The Celestial Toymaker saw Innes Lloyd officially take over as the producer, which led to far less formal clothing for his female cast. For the first time, the female companion wears a miniskirt. The serial also suffered due to a hangover from The Ark that posted over budget, resulting in minimalist set design.
"The Final Test" currently remains the only recovered episode of this serial.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Plot
- 3 Cast
- 4 Crew
- 5 References
- 6 Story notes
- 7 Continuity
- 8 Home video and audio releases
- 9 External links
- 10 Footnotes
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
The travellers arrive in a strange domain presided over by the Celestial Toymaker — an enigmatic, immortal entity who forces them to play a series of games, failure at which will render them his playthings for all eternity.
Plot[edit | edit source]
The Celestial Toyroom (1)[edit | edit source]
The Doctor has been rendered invisible and intangible, though his voice can still be heard. When Steven moves his arm in the direction the Doctor's voice is coming from, he cannot feel anything there; the Doctor appears to exist only by the sound of his voice. According to the Doctor, this is some form of powerful attack that has penetrated the TARDIS. He tells Dodo and Steven to turn on the scanner, but nothing appears on the screen. However, the scanner is not broken; it's just not picking anything up. The Doctor tells Steven to open the doors and, against his and Dodo's advice, heads outside.
Elsewhere, a man dressed in the manner of a Chinese mandarin is lounging among toys and detritus. He is aware of the Doctor's arrival, as well as the details on his companions. He approaches a large dollhouse and removes two small figurines of clowns. He places them on the floor and they grow to life size. He tells them to "deal with" Dodo and Steven. They lumber off.
Steven and Dodo find the Doctor now visible, but they also discover a life-sized toy robot with a video screen built into its chest. Steven sees images on the screen of himself on Kembel and in 16th century Paris. The Doctor warns Steven that this is a hypnotic screen and realises that they are in the world of the Celestial Toymaker; the screen is a trap designed to let him get into their minds. The Doctor explains that the Toymaker is an evil force that traps people and turns them into his playthings. Dodo notices that the TARDIS is now no longer in the room. The Toymaker appears and tries to get Dodo to watch the screen, which shows her on the day her mother died, but Steven forces her to look away. Dodo suggests they escape in the TARDIS, which prompts the Toymaker to show them hundreds of TARDISes on the screen; he says "Take your pick", before vanishing with the Doctor. The two clowns appear and first begin to entertain Steven and Dodo, but the Toymaker reappears and explains that the two clowns are to act as their opponents. In order to win the TARDIS back, they must beat his toys in a series of games. Every time they win they will get a TARDIS from the number of copies he has made in hope that it may be the genuine article. If they lose, they will become the Toymaker's playthings forever. Faced with no choice, Steven and Dodo agree.
In the depths of the Toyroom, the Toymaker alludes to a time when the Doctor has been here but left before the Toymaker could engage him in competition. The Toymaker explains that he specifically brought the Doctor to his world because he's been bored, and if he can trap the Doctor, he'll have a brilliant mind to play against for all time — unlike Steven and Dodo who will be kept here as toys if they lose. The game he assigns to the Doctor is called the Trilogic game. This is a series of 10 blocks piled in ascending order using two other points on the board. The Doctor has to rearrange them in that exact order on point C. He can only move one block at a time and cannot put a larger block on top of a smaller block. The Toymaker tells the Doctor he has exactly 1023 moves to complete the game; one wrong move, and he will lose and be kept there forever. He points out a counter to keep track of how many moves the Doctor has taken. He tells the Doctor that he specifically chose this game as he feels travelling has made his mind old, lazy and weak. When the Doctor argues with this, the Toymaker says it was easy enough to trick him into leaving the TARDIS this time compared to his last visit.
Steven and Dodo, meanwhile, are pitted against the two clowns, called Joey and Clara, in "Blind man's buff". One teammate will move around an obstacle course blindfolded, being guided only by coded buzzes from their partner in a soundproof booth. If the blindfolded person falls over, they lose. The obstacle course consists of a swing, stepping stones, a plank, a tube and a ladder. The Doctor tries to call out to warn Steven and Dodo about the game, but the Toymaker cuts him off, and, as punishment, makes him invisible and intangible once more, except for the Doctor's right hand — bearing his blue-stoned signet ring — so he can still play his game. Joey goes first and effortlessly succeeds. Steven goes next, but has a hard time, especially because Joey has moved some obstacles around. Steven seems to fail and Clara is exultant that they've won. However, Steven and Dodo inspect Joey's discarded blindfold, and it's transparent, meaning the clowns had been cheating all along. They demand a re-match, this time with Joey wearing Steven's blindfold, and Joey topples off the plank, while Clara collapses lifelessly over the buzzer in the booth. A TARDIS appears, but it's a fake, containing only a door behind it. Steven and Dodo find a piece of paper with a riddle on it: "Four legs, no feet; Of arms no lack; It carries no burden on its back; Six deadly sisters, seven for choice; Call the servants without voice." They move on through the door, leaving Joey and Clara — who have now reverted to dolls — behind.
The Hall of Dolls (2)[edit | edit source]
Steven and Dodo move on through the false TARDIS into the next room, which contains different sizes and shapes of chairs in two adjoining rooms — three in one room, four in the other. They deduce that the first lines of the riddle must correspond to the chairs they see in this room.
The Doctor watches this unfold and, apparently familiar with the Toymaker's games, cries out, "It's chair number —" but he is cut off by the Toymaker before he can give them the answer to the game. The Toymaker takes away the Doctor's ability to speak and commands him to continue his game. He picks up a deck of cards and declares that he will send the Hearts Family to play against Steven and Dodo next.
Dodo and Steven are visited by the Toymaker, who informs them how he deals with cheaters by letting them know what state the Doctor is in. Dodo tries to point out the Toymaker's hypocrisy, but he disappears. The pair are joined in the chair room by people dressed as the King, Queen, and Knave of Hearts, as well as the Joker. They realise that the line from the riddle they found earlier, "Six deadly sisters, seven for choice", means one chair is the correct choice and the other six will kill them if they sit on them. The King and the Queen keep interrupting and distracting Dodo and Steven, so they go to the next room, with Steven convinced they are imaginary products conjured up by the Toymaker.
In the next room, Steven and Dodo find three TARDIS-shaped cabinets and one TARDIS they assume to be theirs. Inside the fake TARDISes, they find seven ballerina dolls, correctly assuming them to be the "servants without voice". Steven tries to command the dolls with his voice but nothing happens, so they decide to place them on the chairs. As they attempt to do this the King and Queen return. Again Steven calls them imaginary, but they prove that they are real as well — equally as trapped by the Toymaker as Dodo and Steven are. They will gain their freedom if they win at the game. The King and Queen see the dolls and demand they be shared, so Steven and Dodo hide three of them, and the four players take one doll each. They split up between the rooms, and each tries a chair. The King puts his doll in a chair, and the chair shakes violently until the doll's head falls off.
In the other room, Dodo throws her doll into a chair, and there is a flash and a puff of smoke; the chair is electrified. Steven tries another, and a blade cuts the doll in half.
Back in the main room, the King puts the last doll into a chair, and both chair and doll simply vanish, leaving just two chairs in their room. The King and Queen hatch a plan to use the Joker to sit on one of the chairs to ascertain if it's the right one.
Steven and Dodo have one chair left in their room but left the extra three dolls in the room the King and Queen are in. Dodo hears the King and Queen coming and plans to sneak out to get them; however, when the King and Queen wake the Joker, Steven sees through their plan and tries to stop them. Steven heads for the other room, and Dodo sits down in the remaining chair.
In the main area of the Toyroom, the Toymaker taunts the Doctor, now on move 690, telling him Dodo has chosen the wrong chair — the "freezing" chair.
Steven notices and rushes to Dodo. She says she suddenly feels cold and cannot move. Steven forces Dodo to concentrate on him and eventually pulls her free from the chair.
Meanwhile, the King and Queen try to convince the Joker to test a chair for them, but he catches on to their plan when the Knave laughs at his stupidity; the Joker runs away. Unable to agree on who should try a chair next, the King and Queen sit in one of the two remaining chairs together. For a moment, nothing happens, and it appears they have won until the chair suddenly collapses on them. Dodo and Steven enter and realise there's only one chair left and sit in it, winning the game. The TARDIS lights up, but it's another fake. Recalling that they haven't solved the entire riddle, they try to "call the servants without voice" and call the remaining three dolls to them. Just then, the police box telephone rings. Steven answers, and it is the Toymaker. He tells them that they are doing better than he expected but warns them not to get complacent as the Doctor is progressing through his game faster than they are and that they're running out of time and luck. He then delivers the next clue: "Hunt the key to fit the door; That leads out on the dancing floor. Then escape the rhythmic beat; Or you'll forever tap your feet." There is a click, and then a dial tone. They notice the King and Queen have become playing cards once more. As the two continue on, the three remaining ballerina dolls come to life and start to pursue them.
The Dancing Floor (3)[edit | edit source]
The Toymaker congratulates the Doctor on his choice of companions and decides they have earned some amusement. He selects Sergeant Rugg and Mrs Wiggs.
Steven and Dodo are at the next door but can find no way in. Dodo is frightened at the appearance of the "servants without voice". However, the door suddenly opens on its own, and they go inside to discover a large old-fashioned kitchen populated by the familiar-looking Rugg and Mrs Wiggs. Mrs Wiggs directs them to the Dancing Floor, but the large oak door that leads there is locked. Though Steven is getting thoroughly annoyed at the characters set against them, whose only job appears to be to "get his goat", Dodo appeals sweetly to Rugg. He helps them realise the game is "Hunt the Thimble"; the key to the door is hidden somewhere in the kitchen.
The Toymaker complains that the Doctor is not playing quickly enough and orders the advance of his game twice, to move 813.
Steven and Dodo discover a third character asleep in the kitchen, who looks uncannily like the Knave of Hearts. This character is wearing a kitchen boy's uniform. Dodo again appeals to Rugg, and he chivalrously helps her and Steven search for the key. Mrs Wiggs is getting more and more irritated at the three of them tearing her kitchen apart. She eventually loses her temper, even at Rugg, at the shattering of some of her plates and cups. Rugg and Mrs Wiggs quarrel violently, while the kitchen boy wakes and takes refuge under a table, but Steven tries to keep Dodo on task. Soon, food is thrown around and plates get broken, whereupon Dodo tries unsuccessfully to reconcile the two. Steven catches the kitchen boy trying to escape and tries to force him to tell him where the key is, but the kitchen boy escapes and locks himself in the pantry. As the food fight continues, Rugg threatens a pie that Mrs Wiggs has made. She becomes very concerned and pleads with him to put it down. Dodo realises that's the one place they haven't looked, and all four go for the pie — which naturally doesn't stand a chance and is smashed on the floor. Sure enough, Dodo finds the key in the remains of the pie. She and Steven quickly apologise for the mess, open the door and go inside. The Toymaker appears and angrily confronts Rugg and Mrs Wiggs, exclaiming how they have wasted their "chance at life". He commands them to prevent Steven and Dodo reaching the next TARDIS at all costs, or he will break them like the plates. To demonstrate this threat, the Toymaker shatters the last remaining plate.
Steven and Dodo arrive on the Dancing Floor to witness three ballerina dolls performing a dance. They see the TARDIS at the opposite end of the floor, but realise it can't be so easy to get there. When they place their hands curiously over the floor, music plays and the dolls begin to dance. As Rugg and Mrs Wiggs enter, having "made up", Steven makes a dash for it, but once the music starts, he is forced to dance, and the dolls surround him. Soon Dodo is pulled into the dancing, while Rugg and Mrs Wiggs scheme to get to the "big cupboard" first. As Mrs Wiggs begins to dance, the dolls change partners. Rugg finds he cannot resist and is soon dancing as well. Steven eventually becomes Dodo's partner, and they successfully jump off the floor and into the TARDIS as Rugg and Mrs Wiggs dance on, left — as the rhyme says — to "forever tap their feet", or at least until the pair start shrinking to become dolls again. The TARDIS is another fake. Dodo is firmly convinced that these characters are alive, but Steven is doubtful.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is pleased with his companions, laughing despite the Toymaker being the only one who can see him. The Toymaker is livid with his "too human" characters. He takes out a Cyril doll, an "innocent, fat, jolly schoolboy" who he thinks will lull Steven and Dodo into a false sense of security.
Steven and Dodo find the way out of the cupboard and another message: "Lady luck will show the way; win the game or here you'll stay." As they emerge from a passageway, Dodo screams when Cyril appears in front of them. Steven thinks he's seen Cyril before, and Cyril confirms this: he was previously the Knave of Hearts and the kitchen boy. As Cyril shakes Steven's hand, Steven is shocked by an electrode and pulls away; Cyril giggles mischievously. As they realise the Doctor has reached move 902, Steven asks where the next game is and Cyril replies "Yaroo! It's right over here! But you won't find it so easy this time you know; 'cause you see, you'll be playing against me".
The Final Test (4)[edit | edit source]
The next game is "TARDIS hopscotch". Each player rolls a die at his turn and moves the number of triangles indicated. First to reach the TARDIS, which stands on the home triangle, is the winner. Steven is very suspicious at the apparent simplicity but is pleased at the 2 to 1 odds. Cyril warns that the area between the triangles is electrified.
The Toymaker taunts that Cyril hates to lose, so he makes sure he never does. He pushes the Doctor's game to move 930. He further taunts that Steven and Dodo's places in the dolls' house are prepared; sure enough, there are chairs inside labelled STEVEN and DODO.
Dodo is allowed to go first, then Steven. When Cyril plays, he sweetly informs them of another rule he hadn't mentioned before: if anybody lands on an already occupied triangle, the first player must return to the start. After one turn, Steven is ahead at triangle 7, having been given a free move by the die indicator. But Dodo's next turn lands her on Steven's triangle and sends him back. To add insult, the die indicator tells Steven he loses a turn.
The Doctor is removed from his ban of silence by the Toymaker and confidently states that his concentration will not be broken now.
Cyril appears behind Dodo wearing a gorilla mask, frightening her. In so doing, he has landed on her triangle. Steven threateningly moves towards Cyril, but Cyril calls him a cheater for moving when it wasn't his turn. Steven and Dodo both must now go back to the start. By now, Steven has had enough, exclaiming that Cyril makes up the rules as he goes along, and tries to go on, but he runs into an invisible barrier. The Toymaker then appears, saying the barrier yields only to those who play the game by the rules. With no choice, Steven and Dodo both jump back to the start and, as they do, Cyril nails Steven with a shot from a catapult. Steven rolls a six, but in his haste his momentum almost carries him onto the electrified floor. He asks if he gets a second turn for a six, but Cyril indignantly dismisses that idea: "Eh? Certainly not!"
The Doctor is pushed forward to move 1000.
Steven loses another turn. Dodo rolls a much-needed six as well. While she is rolling, Cyril secretly sprinkles something onto his triangle. Cyril needs a three to get home; he rolls a two. Then, the die indicator tells him he must move to triangle 9, putting him behind Dodo. Dodo's turn is interrupted when Cyril starts to cry, and Dodo spots blood on his foot. She goes over to help him, despite angry warnings from Steven. It turns out to be a ruse; what Dodo thought was blood is really red ink. Cyril tells Dodo that she's easy to trick, and exclaims that she must go back to the start for moving off her triangle.
Cyril is exultant at his next roll, a five; he wins! However, as Cyril reaches triangle 11, he slips off and straight onto the electrified floor. There is a scream, a flash and a puff of smoke as Cyril is instantly electrocuted. When the smoke clears, all that is left of Cyril is a charred doll. Steven discovers slippery powder on the triangle; Cyril must have placed it there himself to ensure his victory but, in his haste to reach home, forgot it was there and fell into his own trap. They must yet play the game to the end, so Dodo — ignoring Cyril's order to go back to the start — rolls a four from her triangle and makes it home, though almost slipping on the powder herself.
The Doctor has been rematerialised fully, and at move 1022 sees that he will win the Trilogic game. He activates the Toymaker's scanner to see that Steven and Dodo have won their game also. He happily goes to see if the real TARDIS is undamaged. Steven and Dodo hear the humming of the real TARDIS and the Doctor joins them. The Toymaker continues to tease the Doctor and his companions via a robot's video screen, and the Doctor is forced to admit that the three of them could be dragged down in defeat with him. When the Toymaker suddenly appears in person, Steven moves to attack him, but finds it impossible to touch him; Steven's strength is turned against him. The Doctor calms Steven down and orders both his friends into the TARDIS.
The Toymaker offers the Doctor a chance to serve him and share in his power; the Doctor refuses and claims victory as he enters the TARDIS. A moment later, the Doctor re-emerges angrily to accuse the Toymaker of tampering with his ship. The Toymaker reminds him that the Trilogic game is not over; he must make move 1023 in order to leave. The Doctor moves to do so but realises he can't, for when he does, the Toymaker's world will vanish, along with everyone in it.
In the TARDIS, the Doctor explains to his companions that the Toymaker is immortal, and though his world may be destroyed he can merely build a new one. They must find a way to finish the game and leave safely. The Toymaker begs to be given the TARDIS, as "it would be such an amusing toy". The Doctor asks for the Trilogic game to be moved inside the TARDIS, but the Toymaker refuses and tells them they must either stay there forever or make the last move and be destroyed. Steven offers to make the move himself, sacrificing himself so at least the Doctor and Dodo can escape, but the Doctor refuses to allow it — causing Steven to comment that they're not going to get anywhere by trying to talk their way out of the situation.
The Doctor is suddenly inspired by Steven's comment and, after Steven presets the controls, he attempts to orally command the Trilogic game to move forward, as the Toymaker had done. His first attempt fails (which the Toymaker laughs at), but then the Doctor imitates the Toymaker's voice and the move is made. He instantly commands Steven to throw the master switch, and the TARDIS safely dematerialises as the Toymaker's world is destroyed in a large explosion.
Safely on their way again, the travellers celebrate with a bag of sweets, which Cyril gave Dodo earlier. The Doctor puts one in his mouth, but suddenly yelps in pain and grabs his jaw...
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Dr. Who - William Hartnell
- Steven Taylor - Peter Purves
- Dodo Chaplet - Jackie Lane
- Toymaker - Michael Gough
- Joey the Clown / King of Hearts / Sergeant Rugg - Campbell Singer
- Clara the Clown / Queen of Hearts / Mrs. Wiggs - Carmen Silvera
- Cyril / Kitchen Boy / Knave of Hearts - Peter Stephens
- Joker - Reg Lever
- Dancers - Beryl Braham, Ann Harrison, Delia Lindon
Uncredited cast[edit | edit source]
- Dr. Who's hand - Albert Ward
Crew[edit | edit source]
- Assistant Floor Manager - Elisabeth Dunbar
- Choreographer - Tutte Lemkow
- Costumes - Daphne Dare
- Designer - John Wood
- Incidental Music - Dudley Simpson
- Make-Up - Sonia Markham
- Producer - Innes Lloyd
- Production Assistant - Snowy White
- Script Editor - Gerry Davis
- Special Sounds - Brian Hodgson
- Studio Lighting - Frank Cresswell
- Studio Sound - Alan Fogg
- Theme Arrangement - Delia Derbyshire
- Title Music - Ron Grainer
References[edit | edit source]
- Dodo initially speculates that the Doctor's intangibility is due to the Refusians.
- The Toymaker invented the memory window.
Story notes[edit | edit source]
- This story had the working titles The Trilogic Game and The Toymaker. (REF: The First Doctor Handbook)
- Only the final episode of this four-part story, "The Final Test", exists in the BBC Archives as a 16mm black & white film telerecording. It was found by the ABC in Australia during the early 1980s, but the reel had actually originated from Singapore.
- There is a cut during TARDIS Hopscotch between Steven jumping from his current platform to the one covered in slippery powder. It is unknown if this was an error on the production team's part, or if the surviving print suffered damage that led to this awkward cut being featured. If the latter is so, the brief one or two second jump and land Steven takes is most likely permanently missing due to this being the last known copy in existence.
- The first of six Doctor Who scripts to be written by Brian Hayles and (out of those six) one of only two not to feature the Ice Warriors.
- It was at one point considered writing out William Hartnell as the Doctor in this story (by making the Doctor become invisible at one point, then regain visibility later with the appearance of a different person), but the idea was vetoed.
- The Celestial Toymaker was due to return in The Nightmare Fair, and Michael Gough was approached to reprise his role, but this was never made due to BBC1 Controller Michael Grade having unexpectedly decided to postpone the series for eighteen months. This was part of the unmade Season 23 in 1986, which was later made into a Target Missing Episodes novelisation and a Lost Stories audio story; the latter starring David Bailie as the Toymaker, as Gough had long since retired from the acting profession.
- Radio Times credits "Michael Gough as the Toymaker" for all four episodes and "Dancers: Beryl Braham, Ann Harrison, Delia Lindon" for "The Dancing Floor", with the other supporting cast members credited without specific roles under the heading "with" in the programme listings for all four episodes.
- In "The Hall of Dolls", whilst deciding which of the seven chairs — six of which are deadly, while one remains safe — to choose, the King of Hearts recites a version of the children's counting rhyme "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe" (used to select a person to be "it" for games and similar purposes), which includes the racial slur "n*gger" in the second line. The use of this word was still considered acceptable by the BBC at the time of the story's original 1966 broadcast. Although the rhyme is still present on BBC Audio's CD release of the story, it has been obscured by placing part of Peter Purves's narration over the top, in order to correspond to modern views on the use of the "n-word".
- Similarly, the word "celestial" is itself an old slur used to describe the Chinese. "The Celestial Toyroom" is thus the first episode of Doctor Who to include a slur in its title.
- William Hartnell was on holiday for the recording of "The Hall of Dolls" and "The Dancing Floor", and so the Doctor's appearances during the Trilogic game scenes is limited to pre-recorded dialogue for the former and a disembodied right hand (that of extra Albert Ward, sporting the Doctor's signet ring) for both episodes.
- Though Gerry Davis and Innes Lloyd received their first credits for a full serial with The Celestial Toymaker, both men had in fact worked on Doctor Who before. Evidence of Lloyd's presence in the production office extends at least back to 26 January 1966, when he sent scripts of the first two episodes of The Gunfighters to director Rex Tucker. This was the same week that "War of God" first went in front of the cameras. John Wiles, however, may still have been around for at least some of the recording of The Massacre. By 14 February, a few days before "The Steel Sky" was recorded, Lloyd was fully in charge of the series. Thus he was known to have at least produced The Ark, and perhaps some of The Massacre, before receiving his first on-screen credit for The Celestial Toymaker. Davis, meanwhile, had actually received a credit on "Bell of Doom".
- This was the first story to make use of flashbacks to past Doctor Who adventures.
- Following the completion of the serial, the Trilogic Game prop came into the possession of Peter Purves, who was very pleased with Steven's increased importance in the serial. Unfortunately, after leaving Doctor Who, Purves endured a year and a half without work and came to see the Trilogic Game as the source of his bad luck. He finally discarded the prop, and ironically was rewarded with a role in Z-Cars the following day; and, shortly after that, came to the offer to become a presenter on Blue Peter.
- This is the last story with missing episodes until The Invasion for which no tele-snaps are known to exist, due to the incoming production team resuming their usage. As such, only audio recordings and production stills exist for the first three episodes. Unofficial reconstructions even use screenshots from "The Final Test" to portray the episodes visually.
- The original storyline for the serial was very different, and much more adult and satirical in scope. After he was fired, however, John Wiles massively overspent on The Ark as a final act of spite against his superiors, leaving the incoming team of Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis virtually nothing to make this story with. Davis therefore had to do a massive rewrite, cutting the story right down in order to accommodate filming with as many pre-existing sets and costumes as possible, changing the story's tone from satirical to surreal.
- The original script featured the main characters from the play George and Margaret. Although the entire story revolved around the imminent arrival of the eponymous characters at the setting, a country house, the play ended just as they were about to appear. When permission to use them was denied, their roles were filled by other characters.
- Cyril was originally going to take the form of the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist.
Competition in the Toyroom[edit | edit source]
Producing The Celestial Toymaker wasn't easy, even by Doctor Who standards. Most of the difficulties stemmed from the fact that it arose at a time of transition in the production office. Though commissioned by the team of producer John Wiles and script editor Donald Tosh, it was ultimately completed by the new team of Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis. The two sides simply had very different ideas about how the story should proceed.
All four episodes were in fact written three different times. Brian Hayles had delivered all four original scripts, likely in late 1965. Tosh and Wiles had immediately seen that the scripts could not be practically realised, and thus Tosh rewrote them entirely. By the time he was finished, though, he was no longer script editor. Davis, his replacement, now had to deal with the fact that Tosh had inserted the use of the title characters from a play called George and Margaret by Gerald Savory without obtaining permission. Since Savory was now Head of Serials, and had the power to veto scripts, he quickly rejected Tosh's approach to The Celestial Toymaker.
Davis, therefore, had to tackle the scripts again. These rewrites got Savory's approval, but the old production team were left wondering what had happened to their scripts. Tosh opined that Davis' approach was "much lighter, more pantomime" than his own. The results were no more pleasing to John Wiles, who wrote a memo to Savory on 25 February 1966, after he had technically left the Doctor Who production office. In it, he claimed that the central battle of wills between the Doctor and the Toymaker had been downplayed to the benefit of new elements involving a more childish confrontation between the companions and the Toymaker's creations. Ultimately, Wiles would have liked to have seen the entire production halted, since its commissioning producer and script editor had gone — and with them, the original, more adult intent of the story. (REF: The First Doctor Handbook)
However, the story's problems weren't over even after Davis's script had been recorded. After the transmission of "The Dancing Floor", the BBC had to field charges from the estate of Charles Hamilton that the character of Cyril was in fact meant to be his popular children's character, Billy Bunter. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that actor Peter Stephens had ad-libbed the line "My friends call me Billy" during recording. Thus the BBC were forced to take a step never taken before or since: they had to have a special continuity announcement at the end of "The Final Test" which declared that the character of Cyril was not meant to be Billy Bunter, but merely a character like him.
Ratings[edit | edit source]
- "The Celestial Toyroom" - 8.0 million viewers
- "The Hall of Dolls" - 8.0 million viewers
- "The Dancing Floor" - 9.4 million viewers
- "The Final Test" - 7.8 million viewers
Filming locations[edit | edit source]
Production errors[edit | edit source]
- In a scene where the Doctor is playing the Trilogic game, a shadow can be seen behind the game even though only he and the Toymaker are in the room.
- During the Trilogic game scenes, the table top is often clearly visible through the Doctor's disembodied right hand and sometimes through the game pieces.
- Whenever the Toymaker advances the Trilogic Game, some of the pieces are shown to be placed at different angles to how they were before he advanced it.
- When Cyril is telling Steven the TARDIS hopscotch floor is electrified, a camera and its operator are visible in the reflection on the wall behind them. This also happens when Cyril is stepping onto the first triangle to begin the game.
- On one of Cyril's moves, he's standing next to the dice indicator and it's shown to have settled on 2 before Cyril has even thrown his die.
- There are multiple occasions during TARDIS hopscotch in which the turns are played out of sequence. For example, after Cyril tricks Dodo into thinking he's bleeding, he then rolls; even though he had a turn just before she was supposed to roll so it should have been Steven's turn next.
- Peter Stephens fluffs a line in episode four. He says "you can go back to the start for-" and then makes a few garbled noises before finishing his line with "-for moving out of your triangle."
- When the Toymaker teases the Doctor and his companions via a toy robot's chest-mounted video screen, and before he suddenly appears before them in person, the shadow of a boom microphone falls across the robot during Steven's line "Your power? We won through, didn't we?"
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- The Celestial Toymaker reappears in PROSE: Divided Loyalties, COMIC: Endgame, AUDIO: The Magic Mousetrap, AUDIO: Solitaire, and PROSE: The Nightmare Fair/AUDIO: The Nightmare Fair.
- The Doctor cries out in pain in the cliffhanger that concludes the story, later revealed to be caused by a toothache triggered by biting into a hard sweet, an event for which he will need a dentist. (TV: The Gunfighters)
- After being conditioned by the artificial intelligence WOTAN on 20 July 1966, Dodo suffered a nervous breakdown. She left the TARDIS soon after. Her claims to have played games with living dolls and other similarly outlandish stories resulted in her being sent to a psychiatric institution. (PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy)
- Steven sees himself on the planet Kembel and in 16th century Paris in flashbacks to TV: The Daleks' Master Plan and The Massacre respectively, and also refers to the Monoids from The Ark.
Home video and audio releases[edit | edit source]
- The surviving episode, "The Final Test", was released on VHS as part of The Hartnell Years (with the "Next Episode" caption rather clumsily cut from the cliffhanger scene, as it was at the time missing from the existing 16mm black & white film telerecording).
- "The Final Test" was also released in digitally re-mastered form on the Lost in Time DVD box set (with the "Next Episode" caption reconstructed and restored).
- Editing of the surviving episode's DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.
- The soundtrack for the story was released on CD, with linking narration by Peter Purves, on 2 April 2001. This edition was re-released in 2011 as part of the box set Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes - Collection Two.
- A fan-produced photo video reconstruction has been made of this story by Loose Cannon Productions. This includes a celebrity introduction by Peter Purves.
[edit | edit source]
- The Celestial Toymaker at the BBC's official site (includes a video clip)
- The Celestial Toymaker at RadioTimes
- The Celestial Toymaker at BroaDWcast
- The Celestial Toymaker at Shannon Sullivan's A Brief History of Time (Travel)
Footnotes[edit | edit source]