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The Claws of Axos was the third serial of season 8 of Doctor Who. It was the first story written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, who would write for the series until the end of the 1970s and created K9.

The Claws of Axos was the third story in the season long "Master arc" and saw the introduction of Axos. Despite its popularity, Axos did not again appear in the Doctor Who universe until the Doctor Who Magazine comic story The Golden Ones in 2010. Thus far it has not appeared in any other television stories, although it was mentioned on screen occasionally.

This story's events led the Doctor to strike a deal with the Master, who was unusually placed in a position of distress. With his help, the Doctor was able to restore his TARDIS back to working order, only to discover the High Council of Time Lords had programmed it to always return to Earth no matter how many times he could attempt to leave. He also revealed that the Time Lords had blocked his knowledge of dematerialisation theory.


A group of gold-skinned aliens land on Earth and offer wondrous technology in exchange for fuel. The Third Doctor, however, isn't fooled, uncovering the Axons' true nature and once again facing his arch enemy, the Master...


Episode one[]

UNIT's radar control pick up what they think is a comet however it alters course and is now on a collision course with Earth.

A large, breathing, aquatic-looking creature approaches Earth.

Mr Chinn - the head of a committee inquiry into UNIT - is demanding to see papers in relation to the Doctor. The Brigadier insists that he is personally responsible for the Doctor. Chinn loses his temper and the Doctor walks in.

Jo is talking to an American man who has been sent to UNIT to track down and deal with the Master.

The Doctor and Chinn argue with regards to his identification. Jo walks in and introduces Bill Filer and his reason for being there. The Doctor insists that there is no point in discussing the Master. Chinn wants to know who the Master is but Filer says it is classified, much to the annoyance of Chinn. An alarm goes off and Yates informs the Brigadier of the UFO. It is now 500 miles away. The Brigadier, accompanied by Chinn, rush to the radar rooms. Chinn rushes off to ring the Ministry - much to the relief of the Brigadier. The Doctor has no idea what it is but notes that it has variable mass and appears to be heading for the South East coast.

Chinn tells the Brigadier that the Ministry wants UNIT to be linked up with the missile strike force. The Brigadier complies. Chinn says that they will destroy the UFO as soon as he gives the word. The Doctor questions the Brigadier about this policy. Corporal Bell informs the Brigadier of freak weather conditions such as snow and dense fog on the South East coast.

UNIT have scattered all aircraft to avoid the UFO. Chinn orders the missile strike. Yates reports they have lost contact with the UFO. The Doctor points out that the warheads need to be destroyed. Panicked, Chinn aborts the missiles and destroys them in midair.

UNIT still have no trace of the UFO. The Doctor points out that it has probably landed.

Chinn is worried that this hostile force is threatening the power supply. The Brigadier sends all UNIT forces to the scene. Chinn places himself in charge and Filer asks where he should go. Chinn says that if he doesn't leave he will have him arrested. The Brigadier sticks up for him but Filer leaves.

At the same time that this is occurring, a homeless man picks through rubbish on a seashore, wading through the debris in a snowy terrain. He then cycles through the snowy landscape until he is disorientated by a bright light and cycles into a river. When he comes out he notices he is by the Nuton Power Complex. Here he finds the UFO and explores it, resulting in a hatch opening and a tendril pulling him inside.

Filer is in his car listening to the radio to find out where the UFO landed, leading him to find the homeless man's bike nearby the UFO. Inside, the homeless man is being analysed. They register his locomotor facility as normal, his sensory receptors as acute but his intelligence as atypical. He is ultimately deemed valueless and the disembodied voice says he is to be absorbed, processed and ejected.

Filer examines the UFO. As he sees the UNIT forces approaching, a tendril grabs him and pulls him in. UNIT sets up camp around the UFO while Filer is being analysed inside. Filer is classified as intelligent, aggressive and possibly dangerous. He is to be held for further investigation.

The Brigadier is introduced to Sir George Hardiman, who runs the Nuton Power Complex, and Winser, his head of research. Winser dissuades the Brigadier from attacking so close to the complex. Sir George agrees. Chinn says he has called for the artillery. The Doctor mocks his hardheaded viewpoint. The Doctor thinks a majority of the UFO is buried underground. The UNIT scientists pick up something that sounds like a heartbeat.

The craft beams a message to the UNIT ship saying that they are from Axos and that their fuel systems have been exhausted. They request immediate assistance. The Doctor tells Chinn that this does not sound like his hostile force. Chinn still wants to attack. The Doctor says they should go and explore. Winser agrees. Jo is to stay behind with Yates as the rest of them explore the craft. As the men approach the craft the hatch opens. They all go in and the hatch closes behind them.

Benton reports to Yates that he has found a body. They rush off to investigate and find the body of the tramp. It glows; pure white and iridescent. The body disintegrates when Yates touches it.

The Doctor and his party explore the craft. Unbeknownst to them they are being watched. A high pitched trilling noise begins. The Doctor is analysed. He is classified as non-typical and extraterrestrial and is to be investigated. The Doctor, crippled by the examination, calls for help. The Doctor is released from the analysis and they continue to investigate.

Meanwhile, with the soldiers distracted, Jo sneaks out. The hatch opens when she approaches the craft, and she enters. She hears Filer shouting and searches for him.

The party comes across some golden figures who approach them calmly. They say they are from the outer rim of the galaxy. Their planet, Axos, was crippled by a solar flare. They explain that science on Axos has taken an organic path and that the craft they stand in was grown from a single cell - however their nutrient is exhausted. They wish to stay until their nutrition and energy cycle is fully replenished. In return they will give the people of Earth Axonite.

The figures explain that Axonite is the source of their growth technology and has the ability to absorb, convert, transmit and programme all energy. The Doctor says if this is the case how come the radiation from the solar flares effected them. He is told it was too late. The figures go on to say that Axonite is the chameleon of elements and can copy and recreate substances. The Doctor asks if this is the case how they ran out of fuel. He gets no answer.

As a demonstration, the figures inject Axonite into a frog, causing it to expand. They explain how it would alleviate food shortages. They then reverse the frog back to normal size. Winser is blown away by this, and Chinn says that mankind must have it.

Filer has awoken in a small room, trapped under the weight of tendrils. He calls for help and looks up to see that the Master is trapped alongside him, and he introduces himself to Filer.

As Jo continues to look for Filer a creature appears. She screams.

Episode two[]

The Doctor hears Jo scream and he and the members of UNIT hurry to find her while Chinn stays behind, being more concerned about the Axonite.

Jo has fainted. The Brigadier berates her for following them into the craft and she tells UNIT and the Doctor that she heard Filer and saw a creature. The Axonites say that she is close to the organic power cells and she must be hallucinating, however Jo is convinced that is not the case. Sir George and the Doctor discuss Axonite and the Doctor says he wants to experiment on it in their labs.

Filer tries to use his gun to break out. The Master points out a ganglion on the wall that is the nerve centre and explains that, if it is hit, it will disorientate that section of the ship for a while. Filer hits it and they are freed. However, not long later the Master is recaptured, though he argues that he has upheld his end of the bargain. Filer is also captured and lead away to an area called the Replication Sector.

Meanwhile Chinn orders everyone out of UNIT's mobile HQ and contacts the Ministry. The Minister clearly dislikes Chinn, and he is told that he must sort out the current issue or lose his job.

Chinn agrees with the aliens that the Axonite is to be controlled by Britain, and they agree to work alongside him as long as it has worldwide distribution. They hand over a sample, as the Axon woman reverts to her true form under the Eye of Axos' orders.

Chinn presents the Axonite to the Brigadier who demands that he hand it over, but he refuses until the Brigadier pulls his gun on him. The Brigadier leads them all out of the craft into the mobile HQ, where they are faced with the army. Chinn explains that the army has taken over and that all of UNIT are under arrest. Chinn gets the Axonite back and the Brigadier is put under twenty four hour armed guard.

As the Doctor is wondering what the link is between the creature and Filer in the craft, Filer is going through a process in the Replication sector which results in him being duplicated into an identical copy.

Jo explains to the Doctor about the homeless man and the fact that his body has now disintegrated. When the Doctor speculates about Filer, Jo refuses to consider that he might be dead and says they should search the craft. Chinn, who has been eavesdropping on this, ignores it, and Jo argues with him until she is arrested and the Doctor is confined to the lab under the protection of Winser.

The Axonites reveal that they were working with the Master, who led them to Earth in return for the destruction of the Doctor and all life on Earth. An Axonite says that in order to get maximum nutrient value from the Earth, Axonite must circle the world in seventy two hours. The Master says he can help with this, however the Axonites have lost trust in the Master as he did not tell them that the Doctor was also a Time Lord.

The Axonite controller tells the replicated Filer to find the Doctor and bring him to the craft. The real Filer, who had previously collapsed after the duplication process, awakens. He is trapped but manages to free himself and escape from where he is being held.

Winser is showing the Doctor around his lab. He shows him a Light Accelerator that he thinks might be the first step towards time travel. The Doctor, uninterested, says he has already cracked this. Winser is in disbelief as the Doctor offers to show him his TARDIS and says that he believes the Axonite might fix his ship. Winser is horrified that the Doctor thinks they should use the expensive Light Accelerator to analyse the Axonite, saying that he intends to do it the old fashioned way.

Elsewhere in the Axonite's ship, the Master pleads his case for being allowed to help the Axonite cause. They analyse him as having the ability but are concerned about his motivation and ultimately decide that he can help but that they will retain his TARDIS. Filer is nearby and overhears all this, and, as the Master is freed, an alarm goes off alerting the Axonites to the escape of Filer, who sneaks outside, unseen. The Master sneaks out of the craft, spotted only by a UNIT soldier who he kills.

The Master jumps atop a UNIT lorry and hypnotises the driver, ordering him to load the Doctor's TARDIS into the lorry. The Master sneaks in to the radio room and tells a soldier to send a message to the UN.

Back in Winser's lab, Winser is unable to analyse the Axonite. The Doctor says it is revisiting analysis and that particle acceleration is the only answer, offering his TARDIS for this process. The replicated Filer suddenly enters the lab and grabs the Doctor. He is resistant to the Doctor's attempts to disable him with Venusian Karate, and knocks the Doctor out. The real Filer enters and tries to shoot his doppelganger but he is resistant. The two fight, and eventually the replicated Filer is forced into the Light Accelerator and disintegrates.

The Doctor rouses and tells the Brigadier about the replicated Filer. Filer tells them that the Master is involved and that he has said that the Axonites are scavengers and that there is no Axos. The army burst in and say that they have been bugging their conversation.

The Doctor is confined to the lab, where he decides to use the Light Accelerator. The Axonite begins to smoke, and he records the process. Inside the craft the creatures are effected, and the Nutrition Cycle has begun prematurely.

Filer knocks out the army guards that are keeping watch of himself, the Brigadier and Jo, freeing them. Jo and Filer look for the Doctor and find him in distress: the Axonite is absorbing the reactor to fuel its growth. Winser bursts into the lab, furious at the Doctor for using his equipment. He tries to open the Light Accelerator and is electrocuted, his body immediately disintegrating. The Doctor realises that everything is made of the same element; the creatures, the craft and the Axonite, and that he has activated it.

The lab is soon surrounded by membranous creatures formed by the Axonite who start to pursue the Doctor.

Episode three[]

Filer is shot by a tendril from one of the Axonites. They re-energise and re-personalise into the golden figures. They hypnotise the Doctor and Jo and take them back to the craft.

The Brigadier is trying to get a message to the UN but is confused when he is told a similar message has already been sent out. The army guard enters and tells him to hang up the phone but the Brigadier says he should check his orders.

Sir George and Chinn run into the lab. An Axonite tells them that Winser was killed by radiation and that it came to help but it was too late. It says that if anymore unsanctioned experiments take place they will withdraw their offer.

Jo and the Doctor are held by the tendrils in the ship.

The army captain tries to tell Chinn something but he won't listen. The Axonite says they don't know where the Doctor and Jo are. They find Filer in a coma and take him to the medical wing.

The Axons explain that the Axonite was a bait for human greed. Their plan was for it to spread across the planet and then they can begin their nutrition cycle; consuming every particle of Earth's energy and sucking the planet dry.

The Ministry have put the Brigadier back in charge. He sends out UNIT forces to find the Doctor and Jo.

The creatures tell the Doctor they have 72 hours to re-energise. The Doctor thanks Chinn for trying to keep the Axonite in Britain.

The Ministry contacts Chinn and says that the UN know of the Axonite and want it deployed around the world. Chinn is ordered to do this immediately or be sacked. He organises the air transport.

Filer is in hospital muttering about Axonite, danger and distribution.

The TARDIS arrives at the Nuton Power Complex alongside a figure from the army who tells Yates he is here for a surprise inspection. When left alone, it is revealed to be the Master in disguise. He heads straight for the lab and enters the TARDIS.

Filer mutters about help and finding the Master.

The Master looks at the butchered TARDIS console.

The Doctor is tortured. The Axonites want the secret of time travel to expand their field range. He insists he is not a Time Lord.

The Master thinks he might get the TARDIS working again.

The Doctor refuses to help. He is tortured again. The Axonites age Jo in front of his eyes. He begs them to stop. He says that he cannot defy the laws of time but he will show them. They reverse the ageing process.

The Brigadier wants distribution to stop until they find the Doctor. The Axonites refuse and order to see the state of the distribution.

The Doctor telepathically passes on the equation for time travel and the power requirements. They confirm the data and the Doctor tells them they won't have enough power to facilitate it. The Axonites tell him to add in the power from Nuton Power Complex. He realises that will be enough but says they can't just walk in. They disagree.

Chinn tells the Axonite that Axonite is on its way to every major capital city and scientific institution in the world. The Axonite receives orders to depersonalise, locate and enter the main reactor and establish a link to transmit power. It walks out on a confused Chinn.

Filer tells the Brigadier what actually happened. The Brigadier goes to tell Chinn. He is followed by Filer.

The Brigadier sees the Axonite mid-transformation and pursues it. He sees the Axonite attack and kill three UNIT soldiers on its way to the reactor. It enters the main furnace.

The Brigadier returns and tells Sir George to check the main reactor. The readings are up.

The Master is thwarted in his attempts to get the TARDIS working. There is no power and no stabiliser. He manages to get the scanner working, which gives him an idea.

Sir George says that if the Axonite walked into the reactor it must be dead. They see the Master in the lab. He enters the Light Accelerator. The Brigadier sends for more men and they sneak up on him until he is surrounded. He tries to run but there is nowhere to go. He is disarmed and handcuffed. He says he wanted to steal the TARDIS to escape. Sir George says that the reactor is about to go critical. The Master explains what is happening and offers his services in exchange for freedom. The Brigadier refuses but Sir George stresses how dangerous an explosion would be. The Brigadier complies. The Master's plan is to stack up power from the Light Accelerator into the TARDIS, channel it back into the Accelerator and boost the power that the Axonites are expecting back at them in one huge surge. Filer enters and pulls a gun on the Master. The Brigadier calls him off.

The Doctor watches as the power builds up and the Axonites prepare to enter the time field. Suddenly the power supply starts to drop. As the Axonites become disorientated the Doctor sneaks out. He is briefly caught by the tendrils but breaks free.

Sir George is having second thoughts about the Master's plan. The Master tells him he has to take the risk.

The Doctor frees Jo.

The Master is ready to pull the switch that will start the surge. Filer asks about the Doctor and Jo. The Master says that they will die. The Brigadier stops him. The Master says that either they destroy the Axonites or the Axonites destroy the world. The Brigadier walks away. The Master pulls the switch.

The craft rocks and shakes as the Doctor and Jo fall to the ground.

Episode four[]

Sir George reports that the Light Accelerator is registering well over maximum. The Master boosts the surge through the TARDIS.

The Doctor and Jo are chased by Axonites. As they run the floor starts to disintegrate. The Doctor says that they are suffering from electro-convulsions as there is an electrical storm in the ship's brain. Jo starts to freak out but the Doctor focuses her brain using maths. They manage to escape.

The Master thinks he has solved everything and goes to leave in the TARDIS. The Brigadier stops him. The Axonites have reversed the power flow and are feeding it all back into the Light Accelerator.

The Axonites are trying to set about destroying the Light Accelerator.

Sir George evacuates the Accelerator sector and tells the Brigadier that he intends on disconnecting the cables alone. The rest watch in as he attempts to do it. He removes the wires but in the last minute is thrown across the room due to a huge power surge. In the confusion, the Master tries to escape but is stopped by the Doctor.

The Doctor tells them that the Nutrition Cycle is still ready to begin. Once it has started Axos will grow until everything is consumed. The Doctor wants to use the lab's computers for some calculations. The Brigadier is going to keep a watch on the craft. The Doctor wants the Master's help and says he will use his weapon on him if needs be.

The Brigadier sets up a perimeter around the craft. Yates places a camera for the Brigadier to observe. Chinn enters and wants to get in touch with the Ministry. The Brigadier blocks him and tells him that Sir George is dead.

Filer is concerned that the Master and the Doctor are plotting. He is suspicious as to why they have insisted that they work alone.

Inside the TARDIS, the Doctor confides in the Master that there is no plan. He says that the Master should mend the TARDIS and that they should both escape and leave Earth to Axos. The Doctor says that if he doesn't help he will hand him over to UNIT and they will all die together. The Master asks why the Doctor cannot escape himself and the Doctor admits that the Time Lords have put a block on his knowledge of dematerialisation theory. The Master agrees. He says he can use the trigger from the Light Accelerator to compensate for the deficiencies in the Doctor's dematerialisation circuit. The Doctor leaves the Master to fix the TARDIS while he goes to calculate a course. He takes a part of the circuit to act as insurance.

Clawsofaxos ep4

Two Time Lords working together.

The Axonites activate their Nutrition Cycles.

The ship rises up out of the Earth. Yates and Benton are withdrawn. The Axonites try and stop their withdrawal. Benton drives through some of them and then is forced off the road. Finally the road is blocked by a felled tree. The Axonites ambush the Land Rover. The UNIT forces manage to knock one of them off but Yates uses a grenade to destroy the vehicle with the Axonites clinging on to it.

The Doctor says he has finished his course calculations. Filer asks where he is going. The Doctor confirms he is abandoning them. Filer pulls out a gun but the Doctor disarms him with the Master's gun. Everyone else enters and the Doctor bids them farewell and enters the TARDIS. Jo begs for the Doctor to come out as it begins to dematerialise. UNIT Forces enter and take refuge from the Axonite onslaught.

The Doctor starts the rematerilisation process before the TARDIS has entered space time. He orders the Master outside. They are back in the Axonite ship. The Doctor offers the Axonites an alliance. They will join forces against the Time Lord High Council for the gift of time travel. The Doctor says he will fuse the TARDIS's drive circuits with the drive circuits of Axos and therefore fuse the two ships together. The Master wants to leave but there is a forcefield around his TARDIS.

The Axonites are gaining entrance to the lab. The UNIT soldiers are preparing their weapons. All of a sudden they stop. A bolt of electricity comes through the door which reenergises the Light Accelerator. It sets about overloading.

As the Doctor is fusing the TARDIS to Axos, the Master realises that he has put the TARDIS into a time loop. At the same time all of the systems between Earth and Axos are disconnected and the Nutrition Cycle is incomplete. Realising that this was all a secret plan of the Doctor's to defeat Axos and save Earth, the Master rushes out and says that the Doctor is committing suicide and taking them all with him as once they enter the time loop they will never get out.

The Axonites enter the lab and set about destroying the UNIT soldiers. All looks lost.

Outside the Axonite ship disappears.

Inside the lab, one by one, the Axonites disappear.

The Doctor is joined by the Axonites in the time loop. He tries to break through and free himself.

The Light Accelerator is still building. The Brigadier orders evacuation. The TARDIS rematerialises into an empty lab. The Doctor emerges and as soon as he does the lab starts to fall apart. He re enters his TARDIS.

The Brigadier, Jo and UNIT watch from a distance.

The TARDIS dematerialises.

The Power Complex explodes. The Brigadier, Jo and UNIT return to the wreckage. As they explore the TARDIS rematerialises.

The Doctor explains what he did to save the world. He struggles to explain the concept of a time loop to the Brigadier. Filer asks after the Master. The Doctor hopes he is trapped in the time loop too but cannot be certain. The Brigadier asks if the Doctor meant to return to Earth. The Doctor initially says he did, but when pressed confesses that the Time Lords have programmed his TARDIS so even if he does get it working, he will always return to Earth — "like a galactic yo-yo".


Uncredited cast[]


Uncredited crew[]



  • Winser's particle light accelerator cyclotron is a primitive electromagnetic tachyon field.

Temporal theory[]

  • The Doctor puts Axos in a time loop. He describes it simply, even though his audience doesn't understand, as "one passes continually through the same points in time."

Story notes[]

  • Working titles for this story included The Gift (also sometimes referred to as Doctor Who and the Gift, as well as simply Gift). The Friendly Invasion, The Axons, and The Vampire from Space. The last title was used through the production of the first two episodes. It was changed only by the time filming began on the third as the BBC wanted to avoid the word "vampire". The DVD release contains unused footage and cuts from the story packaged with the original title sequence — naming the story as The Vampire from Space. The three page comic strip by Frank Bellamy, published by Radio Times adapting the opening scenes of the following serial Colony in Space, also referred to this story as The Vampire from Space.
  • The Vampire from Space was envisaged as a seven-parter during the era of the Second Doctor (see below), but the concept of the storylines changed as production progressed.
  • Bob Baker and Dave Martin originally pitched this as a seven-part story featuring the Second Doctor. It involved an alien that resembled a pulsating brain which looked like a jellyfish and was essentially all brain and could reshape itself into any form. It crash landed in Hyde Park in a ship resembling a skull. Inside was a humanoid race who appeared to be friendly, but who actually had malevolent ideas. The story also featured space battles and a cliffhanger where Battersea Power Station gets destroyed. It was scrapped for being overly ambitious, the story lacking discipline and Barry Letts disliking the skull idea.[1]
  • During location filming, the weather proved highly variable, ranging from snow at the start of the week, through fog and finally to sunshine on the final day. To explain the inconsistency, Terrance Dicks assigned a new line of dialogue to Corporal Bell which noted that Axos' arrival had prompted “freak weather conditions”. Nicholas Courtney recalled that at one point it was so cold that half his fake moustache kept falling off. Katy Manning had to have makeup applied to hide her chilled pallor, and she had nearly suffered frostbite through her thin boots. The cast and crew kept warm over open vehicle bonnets with the engines running. Barry Letts vowed never to film on location in such conditions again.
  • The Radio Times programme listing for episode one was accompanied by a black-and-white full-length photograph labelled "DOCTOR WHO in The Claws of Axos" showing the Doctor and Jo, with an inset of the pair escaping from Axos, with the accompanying caption "A new adventure for Dr. Who and Jo: 5.15".
  • Bernard Holley (Axon Man) also provided the Voice of Axos, but was uncredited on-screen.
  • Donald Hewlett (Hardiman) is credited as "Sir George Hardiman" in Radio Times.
  • Paul Grist (Filer) is credited as "Bill Filer" in Radio Times.
  • Patricia Gordino (Axon Woman) is credited on-screen for episodes one and two, but not in Radio Times.
  • John Hicks (Axon Boy) and Debbie Lee London (Axon Girl) are credited on-screen for episode one, but not in Radio Times.
  • Michael Walker (1st Radar Operator) and David G. March (2nd Radar Operator) are credited together as "Radar Operators" in Radio Times for episode one.
  • Nick Hobbs (Nuton Driver) is uncredited on-screen for episodes two and three, but is credited in Radio Times for episode two only.
  • UNIT's Mobile H.Q. was a BBC Outside Broadcast van, with the BBC logos obscured.
  • The use of Axonite was originally to have been demonstrated using a rat instead of a toad.
  • One of the Axon costumes was later repainted green and reused for the humanoid stage of the Krynoid in The Seeds of Doom.
  • Nicholas Briggs jokingly said on the David Tennant video diaries that if they didn't finish the ending of Rise of the Cybermen and the beginning of The Age of Steel, they would have to do a Claws of Axos rewrite.
  • This episode marked the first that time the interior of the Doctor's TARDIS was seen since TV: The War Games.
  • Scenes cut from the script include a meet cute between Jo and Bill and the Brigadier daydreaming of having Chinn taken out the back and shot through the head.
  • Bob Baker was unhappy at the inclusion of the Master, as he felt the character didn't fit well into the established plot.
  • Pigbin Josh was inspired by a man who frequented the pub where Bob Baker and Dave Martin often ate lunch.
  • Terrance Dicks suggested that the interior of Axos should appear organic rather than man-made, and that the space parasite could drain the life out of the surrounding countryside.
  • Corporal Bell's role in the story was originally filled by an unnamed UNIT R/T Man.
  • Ronnie Marsh ordered an edit to the scene in which Pigbin Josh's body decomposed. On location, a wax dummy had been made to implode, but Marsh felt that this was too horrific; instead, a whiteout effect was added to the picture.
  • Jon Pertwee and Kenneth Benda had previously appeared in The Avengers episode "From Venus with Love".
  • The name Axon was inspired by the term for the nerve fibre along which neurological impulses are carried.
  • This was the last of four serials directed by Michael Ferguson.
  • Axos ship was referred to as a "spacedome" in the script.
  • During rehearsals, designer Kenneth Sharp debuted a new TARDIS console. The original had become badly battered over its seven years of service, and had been subject to various modifications. It was also tinted a light green to show up better as white on monochrome videotape, a fact which worked against it, now that the series was being broadcast in colour.
  • There was originally a scene where the Axos crew are revived by isotope. It was scrapped for being too similar to a scene in The Ambassadors of Death.
  • It was Terrance Dicks' influence and idea that the spaceship be organic. He also suggested that there be scenes where nearby animals and vegetation have been killed by Axos.
  • Pigbin Josh's capture by the Axons was envisioned as a snake striking its prey. A tendril from Axos would have would have slithered out and lay in wait, only to strike and wrap itself around him when he unknowingly stepped over the tendril.
  • The Doctor and Jo's escape from Axos was originally evisioned to be that of a space trip from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • During the woodland battle sequence, it was stated in the script directions that gunfire had no effect on the Axons. It was hoped that reverse shots could be inserted in the final episode showing bullet holes closing up on the Axons.
  • The design of the Axons was carried out in three stages. The first saw the construction of the main monsters, which were fully operational tentacled suits with latex rubber tendrils and foam, which were placed on a chamois leather bodysuit, another tentacle was manipulated by a wire. The Axon Globs, who were less tentacled, had styrofoam padding placed over a bodysuit, whilst the Rolling Axons were painted sacks.


  • Episode one - 7.3 million viewers
  • Episode two - 8.0 million viewers
  • Episode three - 6.4 million viewers
  • Episode four - 7.8 million viewers

Filming locations[]

  • Dungeness Beach, Dungeness, Kent (Pigbin Josh finds bike on beach)
  • Dengemarsh Road, Lydd, Kent (Josh finding new bike and Josh falling into river)
  • Dungeness Road, Dungeness, Kent (Axos lands and half buries itself)
  • Dungeness Power Station, Dungeness, Kent (the Nuton Power Complex)
  • St. Martin's Plains Camp, Shorncliffe, Kent (Axons attack UNIT Land Rover)
  • BBC Television Centre (Studio 7, 3 and 4), Shepherd's Bush, London

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 episode four, after the TARDIS dematerialises from the Nuton lab, it is still there during the UNIT gun battle which follows.
  • In episode two, during the "absorption" scene, the Axon Woman's mask fails to inflate due to the stuntwoman not fitting the size of the mask making it appear to deflate due to the mouth being where the mask's nose was and the stunt double breathing in. This is even commented on in the production notes.
  • In episode three, when Jo Grant is being aged, the eyes of Katy Manning and Mildred Brown do not match properly.
  • As the Brigadier and his men leave the room where they've been held captive in episode two, the wall shakes.
  • The Axon on the bonnet of the car explodes before the grenade that supposedly destroyed it hits.
  • When the Master kills the UNIT guard outside Axos, the guard's beret flies off. However, as the Master moves off, the beret is back on the guard's head.
  • The model shot of the TARDIS exterior in part four shows a St John Ambulance logo, unlike the actual prop itself seen in this episode. It would seem that the production crew were using a TARDIS model from the 1960s, when the police box did bear the logo. Although an obvious production error, it is one of the only colour examples of the St John's cross prior to its reintroduction in The Eleventh Hour.
  • The CSO has many notable errors, most obvious is the frog shown in episode one, which is missing many areas that should be there yet has a flickering shadow.


Home video and audio releases[]

DVD releases[]

This story was released as Doctor Who: The Claws of Axos.




Special Edition DVD[]

As with numerous serials released on DVD prior to 2007, The Claws of Axos was ultimately chosen for a special edition. This DVD was released on 22 October 2012.

Special Features[]
  • Commentary with actors Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates) and producer Barry Letts.
  • Axon Stations! - Cast and crew look back at the making of the story.
  • Now & Then - A look at the locations used in The Claws of Axos, contrasting how they appeared in 1971 with how they are now. Narrated by Katy Manning.
  • Directing Who - Director Michael Ferguson recalls his work on The Claws of Axos.
  • Studio Recording - The entirety of the earliest surviving Doctor Who studio recording - complete with studio chatter, recording breaks and VT run-ups.
  • Living with Levene - Toby Hadoke spends a weekend with actor John Levene
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Radio Times Listings (DVD-ROM)
  • Production Information Subtitles
  • Photo Gallery
  • Coming Soon Trailer - The Legacy Collection
  • Easter Egg: Reverse Standards Conversion - The Axon Legacy. To access this hidden feature, press left at Audio Options on Disc One's Special Features menu to reveal a hidden Doctor Who logo.

Doctor Who DVD Files[]

It was released as issue 97 of Doctor Who DVD Files.

Digital releases[]

This story is available:

  • in non-continental iTunes stores (Australia, Canada, UK and US) as a stand-alone season of Doctor Who: The Classic Series;
  • on Amazon Video (UK) as Season 57 of Doctor Who (Classic) series;
  • for streaming through BritBox (Canada and US) as part of Season 8 of Classic Doctor Who.

Video releases[]

External links[]