On Halloween, 1973, Ange Barnes is finishing up her little brother, Terry's David Bowie face paint, much to the chagrin of her youngest brother, Ian, who is dressed up as Frankenstein's monster. Ange herself is dressed as a vampire lady and has promised her mother that she would let them show off their costumes. As Mrs. Barnes prepares dinner for her husband, she tells her children not to bang on anyone else's doors.
Later, the children go down to the woods to meet their secret friend, a Dalek that they have called "Starman". Starman invites the kids into his den where he informs them that a signal has been sent. Terry introduces Ian to Starman, and Ian calls him the "Monster in the Woods". Ange assures Starman that it's just a story that her mother told them to try and keep them out of the woods. Starman tells the kids that soon there will no longer be a monster in the woods and instructs them to bring one more item to him to make sure that the message repeats. When Ange tells him that they can bring him the item after school, Starman holds Ian hostage until they bring him what he needs.
Meanwhile, at UNIT HQ, Jo Grant is dressed as a black cat and is trying to convince the Third Doctor to join her at Miss Hawthorne's Halloween shindig, but the Time Lord is focusing on getting his TARDIS in working order, remarking that "humans do have the silliest festivals". Jo notices the Doctor looking at a particular device that she dubs the "Time Fridge", which prevents the temporal circuits from overheating. As the Doctor begins to question Jo's costume, they hear an alarm bell that warns them about erroneous time technology. The Doctor identifies it as a transmitter that's operating from a nearby town and broadcasting into the Time Vortex. Jo is disappointed that they're going out to an investigation instead of a party, but the Doctor puts on his cloak and says that it's still a trip out.
Ange and Terry are heading back to their house so they can collect the device for Starman so that they can save Ian from his clutches. Ange is especially worried for Ian's safety as he has only just started going to school. She and Terry try to make things look like they are playing a game and take a shortcut through the nearby building site. Ange reassures both herself and Terry that Ian will be okay, but Terry is worried about their mother's anger when she finds out about Ian's disappearance. When Ange tells him that Starman is their friend, Terry angrily asks her what they really know about him, calling him a monster and reaffirming that Ian is his hostage. Returning to their garden, Ange remembers the first time she and her brothers met Starman in his secret den where he was trying to repair his own body.
When Ange and Terry return home, they hear their parents arguing, which allows them to sneak past them and retrieve the 1960s tape recorder in Terry's room that was given to them by their grandmother. Despite being upset about having to give up a family heirloom, the children have to give up their recordings of lost family members to save Ian.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Jo are driving to the transmission's location in Bessie, with the Doctor being especially concerned about the transmission's energy signature, but Jo has absolute faith that the Doctor will be able to deal with whoever sent the signal.
- Third Doctor
- Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
- Jo Grant
- Ange Barnes
- Terry Barnes
- Ian Barnes
- Mrs Barnes
- Mr Barnes
- The Doctor wants the Dalek time-codes as he is still trapped on Earth.
- The Dalek claims it is a "lowly trooper" and does not know the Dalek time-codes, which the Doctor wants for his TARDIS.
- The Dalek claims to broadcast a message to the Dalek Fleet in the Time Vortex. The Doctor says they would not be interested in coming to 1973.
- In regards to the UNIT dating controversy, this story is set in 1973.
- The Doctor suspects that the Dalek may have escaped from "all the mischief" the Daleks caused in the 22nd century. (TV: Day of the Daleks)
- UNIT are using Doc Dantalion's manor house as their headquarters (TV: The Three Doctors, PROSE: Where the Heart Is).
- The Dalek is able to self-destruct. (TV: Dalek)