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The Helm of Awe was the third release in Philip Hinchcliffe Presents and the fourth story overall.

Publisher's summary[]

The TARDIS arrives on the remote Shetland isle of Bothness and the Doctor and Leela find themselves threatened by Vikings! Only all is not as it seems. The locals are celebrating the old Norse fire festival of Up Helly Aa, so there’s nothing to be worried about. Or is there?

For, unknown to the islanders, the TARDIS crew are on the trail of an ancient artefact invested with mysterious powers that has recently been stolen and brought to this remote location.

Somewhere on this island lurks something ancient, and evil, and alien. The Doctor and Leela will have to stop it. Only on this occasion time might not be on their side.


Part one[]

Responding to a space-time telegraph from the Brigadier, the Doctor and Leela investigate reports of a dangerous artefact that has been stolen from Edinburgh and taken to the remote Shetland Island of Bothness.

The artefact, in truth a dangerous alien device, is now in the hands of archaeologist Professor Angus Renwick. When the aurora borealis apparently appears at midday, he suffers a delirium, revealing to his daughter Joanna that her birthright is close at hand.

The aurora is in fact a time barrier, connected somehow to the island and the stolen device. When the Doctor pressures Renwick to hand it over, a violent, localised storm whips up Renwick's collection of Viking artefacts, which begin to amalgamate into a humanoid figure.

While Leela partakes in a galley boat race, she succumbs to a vision of Vikings bearing down on them from the sky, before finding herself tied to the mast of a ship, about to be burned alive ...

Part two[]

Professor Renwick is under the control of the alien power emanating from Bothness, which is compelling him to excavate the island's ancient artefacts, as well as affecting his memories.

The Doctor discovers vast space-craft hangers, deep underneath the island, under the aegis of the corpulent, jellyfish-like Barbezans. The time barrier is the result of malfunctioning shielding equipment.

Leela is attacked by island bully boys Davy and Murdo, who tie her up in a ceremonial galley before it is set on fire in the bay - her vision now made reality. The Doctor attempts to rescue Leela, but before they can both escape through the time barrier, the burning mast starts to collapse on top of them ...

Part three[]

The Doctor and Leela make it through the barrier, reappearing on a fishing boat covertly operating in the North Sea during World War II. The boat is captained by Renwick's father, who appears under the same influence that will come to direct his son in the future.

The Doctor and Leela are accused of being German spies, before the fishing boat is attacked by a German U-Boat, which is in turn destroyed by a Barbezan battle droid.

The Doctor and Leela are taken back to Bothness, where they are given an artefact by the younger Renwick - a device for controlling the time interface between here and the present.

Driven to distraction by the island's influence, the elder Renwick seemingly executes the Doctor ...

Part four[]

The Doctor and Leela make it through the barrier back to 1977, with the aid of the device given to them by young Renwick. Nardos, the Barbezan creature in control of Bothness, opens the island for business - literally. As a Barbezan Star-Darkener descends overhead, Nardos enters into a transaction to destroy the earth to provide fuel for their fleet's magnatron drives.

Descending into the island, the Doctor uses his temporal scanner to disrupt the flow of energy to the Star-Darkener, which breaks its link to Bothness and leaves. The Doctor resets the barrier to encompass only Nardos, while the seismic disturbances caused by the Barbezan technology causes a volcanic eruption on Bothness, flooding Nardos' base with lava.



  • The Brigadier's messages are dated 23 and 24 January, 1977.
  • The Doctor mentions rolling across the time tracks, and being lucky the TARDIS didn't shake apart.
  • The Sevateem possessed a war canoe.
  • The Aurora Borelis was caused by charged particles from the sun colliding with the earth's atmosphere.
  • The interface/barrier is two incompatible time fields scrapping up against each other.


  • This story was recorded at Audio Sorcery.
  • This story was originally released on CD and download.


External links[]