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The Space Museum was the seventh serial of season 2 of Doctor Who. It was the first story to deal with the dimensions of time as well as space and the first to feature alternate timelines. While it presented many original science fiction elements, it still retained the elements of a typical story of the era.

The story's cliffhanger also presented fans with a preview of the Daleks' third appearance. Their return was awaited impatiently, a fact that was baited by the appearance of a Dalek shell in parts one and two. This shell was the final appearance of the original Dalek design until The Magician's Apprentice in 2015. The Daleks at the end of "The Final Phase" do not have the metal band of their predecessors.


The TARDIS jumps a time track and the travellers arrive on the planet Xeros. There they discover their own future selves displayed as exhibits in a museum established as a monument to the galactic conquests of the warlike Morok invaders who now rule the planet. When time shifts back to normal, they realise that they must do everything they can to avert this potential future.

Vicki helps the native Xerons obtain arms and revolt against the Moroks. The revolution succeeds and the travellers go on their way, confident that the future has been changed.


The Space Museum (1)[]


The Doctor examines the TARDIS exhibit.

The TARDIS materialises on a planet replete with many different specimens of space technology. The Doctor says that they have landed far quicker than he ever has done before. Ian and Barbara notice that they have switched clothes since just before they landed. They had been in their 12th century Crusade clothes. The Doctor explains this away as being mere "time and relativity" and says that their old clothes will be hanging in the wardrobe, which Vicki confirms.

Following the Doctor's orders, Vicki fetches a glass of water from the food machine. She is startled by something and drops the drink. As the glass smashes on the floor, it immediately reforms itself and leaps back into her hand. She reports this to the Doctor, who says that all should be explained when they explore the planet they have landed on. He postulates it is a museum because the spacecraft are lined up in chronological order.

Once they leave the TARDIS, they find the planet has nothing living on it. Ian also notices that their footprints make no tracks in the dust.

The travellers head towards a large building in the middle of the spacecraft. Once there, they find the doors shut, but they soon open to reveal two men. The travellers hide from the men, but as they pass, Vicki sneezes loudly. To the travellers' surprise, the two men do not seem to hear her. The Doctor says this is inexplicable and begins to explore the building.

As they walk through the many corridors, they are startled by a Dalek, which they then realise is only a museum piece. As they discuss their previous experiences with Daleks, about which Vicki has only read about, they see two more men coming who are different to the ones they saw previously. They hide but are surprised to see that, although the men seem to be speaking to each other, they are inaudible to the travellers. Ian wonders if they speak at another frequency than humans. The Doctor doubts it but has no other explanations.

As they continue to explore the museum, Vicki discovers that they cannot touch any of the pieces on display. Their hands simply pass through them. The Doctor suggests they are not actually where they think they are. Yet again, the travellers encounter three men who go about their business, unaware of the travellers. This supports the Doctor's theory.

Further in the museum, they find the Doctor's TARDIS on display. Barbara, Ian, and Vicki, although confused as to how the ship came to be here, say they think they should leave the planet. The Doctor soon proves this to be impossible. The TARDIS also cannot be touched. The Doctor points out a display case containing the bodies of the four travellers. He says the TARDIS must have jumped a time track when they materialised, therefore they temporarily occupy a fourth dimension. This lets them be simultaneously in the cases in one reality and standing, looking at themselves in the fourth dimension.

The Doctor suggests that the only course of events is to wait at the museum until they return to the real reality. He suggests that what they are seeing in front of them is merely a possibility of the future and it can be changed. He notes that the versions of them in the display cases are wearing the same clothes as they are wearing now, so it is only a matter of time before the two realities merge again. No sooner does he say this than Barbara has a strange feeling. Time seems to rewind and two men discover the TARDIS. At the same time, the display cases disappear. The Doctor announces, "We have arrived."

The Dimensions of Time (2)[]

The mutant is revealed

The Doctor emerges from hiding.

The museum's curator, Lobos, receives news of the alien ship that has landed on his planet. Although concerned, he is also pleased to have his day's monotony broken by an intruder. He orders his men to find the visitors before the rebels find them. However, he is too late — three rebels have already heard about the travellers and intend to intercept them before Lobos' men. They will befriend them and overthrow the oppressive rule that Lobos, a representative of the Moroks, holds over them.

Meanwhile, in the museum, the travellers have taken a gun from the exhibition to bluff their way out of the museum. The four friends discuss how best to avoid the future that they saw in the fourth dimension. It is suggested that they do the opposite of what they would normally do, but they decide to try to escape. If they escape, then they will never be captured in the first place.

They begin to navigate the labyrinthine corridors, searching for an escape. As they make their way through the corridors, they are pursued by the rebels, who decide that to avoid startling the travellers, they will capture one of them and explain their situation. It is not long before the opportunity shows itself. As the travellers walk through the corridors, the Doctor is distracted by an exhibit and falls behind his friends. The rebels grab him and carry him away through a door without the others seeing. He plays dead and the rebels decide to split up. One of the rebels, Dako, elects to stay and watch the Doctor while the others go to track the other travellers.

The remaining travellers, now aware of the Doctor's disappearance, argue how best to find him and save themselves from their possible future. They decide it is best to push on for the exit.

The two rebels return to discover that Dako has been tied up and gagged. They question him about what happened, but he has no memory after being knocked unconscious. They go to seek the Doctor, who they assume escaped back into the museum. However, he is hiding in the hollowed out Dalek shell. When he escapes, he is accosted yet again, but this time by the Moroks.

Barbara, Ian, and Vicki, now tired and cranky, decide to use yarn to ensure that they are not repeating their paths. They unravel Barbara's cardigan to do this. The rebels find the yarn and decide to follow it. Eventually, they find the exit. As they pull back the doors they see that the TARDIS has been captured.

The Doctor finds himself in a room with only a chair. As he sits on it, bars lock him in place. A wall slides up to reveal Lobos. He explains that the museum is a homage to the great history of the Moroks and it is silent because the Moroks are now peace-loving creatures. Lobos asks the Doctor with whom he came here. The Doctor refuses to say, but Lobos somehow knows anyway. He explains that the Doctor's chair allows his thoughts to be shown on a video screen on his desk. When Lobos continues to question the Doctor on how he came here and where he is from, the Doctor uses the strength of his brain to confuse and misdirect Lobos. Lobos tires of this and summons his guards to take the Doctor to the Preparation Room. He will become an exhibit, causing an image of the Doctor on display to appear.

The Search (3)[]

Ian steps up

Ian confronts a Morok.

Barbara, Ian and Vicki look on as the Moroks decide to try to force their way into the TARDIS. One of the Morok soldiers is sent to fetch cutting equipment. As the humans discuss what they should do, a Morok finds them and holds them at gunpoint.

Ian decides that if they are to be put in the exhibition cases in the future, the Morok soldiers must have been told not to kill them. The gun must be a deterrent, not a threat. Ian calls the soldier's bluff and overpowers him. The other Moroks overhear the scuffle and rush to try to catch the travellers, but in the panic, the humans flee in different directions. Barbara hides behind a stack of boxes. The Moroks leave without seeing her, but she finds they have locked the door, trapping her.

Vicki escapes from the Moroks another way and gets captured — not by the Moroks but by the rebel faction. At first, she is terrified of her captors, especially when she hears that they captured the Doctor, but the rebels insist they wish her no harm. This is proved when they send one of their number, Dako, to find Barbara.

Ian elects to hide behind the TARDIS. He overhears a conversation between a Morok guard and Lobos over instructions to guard the TARDIS while the rest of the army track down the "aliens". Using a stone to distract the guard, Ian overpowers him and holds him at gunpoint. He orders the guard to take him to where the Doctor is being held. The guard informs him that it will be too late for the Doctor, but Ian insists.

Lobos is tired of the aggravation from high command, what with the aliens running loose on his planet and the ever-growing number of Xeron rebels on his base. He elects to flood his museum with Zaphra gas. This paralyses anyone who inhales it, making all the Moroks' enemies easy pickings.

Dako finds the room in which Barbara is hiding but is almost knocked unconscious by a terrified Barbara. He says her name; this calms her. Dako explains that his race is called the Xerons and that they are the original occupants of this planet, but the war-loving Moroks took over their planet to establish their museum. The Moroks swept away the Xeron civilisation and killed all the Xeron people except the children, whom they enslaved. These are the Xerons that now live underground in the museum. The conversation is interrupted by the Zaphra gas that floods into the room. Barbara and Dako try to escape before falling under the gas' paralytic effects.

Vicki is also being given a lesson on Xeron history. The Xerons admit that whilst they are more numerous, they do not have the artillery to overpower the Moroks. Vicki asks if there is an armoury that they can raid. The Xerons say that there is, but it is protected by a lock with a lie detector. Unless you answer a series of questions truthfully, you cannot enter. Vicki asks to be taken to this machine, and the Xerons willingly oblige, happy to have an addition to their revolutionary force.

Meanwhile, Ian and the Morok guard have arrived at the Preparation Room where the Doctor is being held. The guard suggests waiting until it isn't as busy to enter. Ian agrees. They are soon interrupted by Lobos. Ian hides while the Moroks talk. Ian learns that his friends have not been captured but gas will be used on them. They hide until the Preparation Room may be more accessible.

Sita, Tor and Vicki arrive at the armoury. Vicki listens to the questions that the complex telekinetic lock asks. As soon as she has heard the full cycle, she takes off the front of the machine and tinkers with its workings. She gets the machine to ask her the questions again. When asked what her name is, she responds with "Vicki", and when asked what the guns are to be used for, she responds "revolution". To the surprise of the Xerons, the doors open. While the Xerons begin arming themselves Vicki explains that she wired the machine to accept any truthful answer, not just the ones that the Moroks were looking for.

Lobos is interrupted by Ian, who has gained access to the Preparation Room. Ian holds Lobos at gunpoint and demands to see the Doctor. Lobos obliges, saying there is no point. Ian stops in his tracks, shocked at the state the Doctor is in.

The Final Phase (4)[]

You may be looking for the audio story.

The Xerons take action.

Ian finds the Doctor attached to a device, unconscious. He demands that Lobos reverse whatever it is that the machine has done to the Doctor. Lobos says the Doctor is as good as dead and it would be impossible to revive him. It has never been done before. Ian forces Lobos at gunpoint to try anyway.

Meanwhile, Tor marshals the Xeron revolution. He orders his newly armed platoon to attack the barracks. As they do, Vicki says she wants to help find her friends. After arguing briefly, Tor agrees but sends Sita to protect her.

Back in the preparation room, Lobos has defied the odds and has resurrected the Doctor. The only side effect that the Doctor displays is a bit of rheumatism from the extreme cold to which he was subjected. As the Doctor and Ian discuss their next move, a group of Moroks silently ambush them, knocking Ian unconscious. Once Lobos has imprisoned the two men, he tries to call the barracks to muster more men to find the rest of the aliens. There is no answer.

Outside where a Morok soldier guards the TARDIS, the doors to the museum spring open to reveal Barbara and Dako. Barbara has carried Dako to safety after he collapsed from the Zaphra gas. The guard pulls his gun on them when a shot rings out and he falls. Barbara and Dako turn to see Vicki and Sita, who is holding a gun. Sita tells Dako about the revolution. Barbara and Vicki decide to join them, hoping they will find the Doctor and Ian on the way. Whilst they talk, another Morok soldier appears. He shoots Dako and Sita and takes Barbara and Vicki prisoner. The soldier returns Dako and Sita's guns to Lobos. Lobos says it is from the armoury and worries he cannot contact his soldiers there either.

The four travellers are reunited, locked in the Preparation Room. In an effort to render their possible future redundant, Ian destroys the machine that turns them into exhibits. However, the Doctor speculates that there are many more on the planet. Ian and Barbara seem resigned that there is no escaping the future they saw, but Vicki and the Doctor say that ever since they touched down on Xeron they have been altering and affecting the course of events — although they can't alter their own chain of events while imprisoned, they may have made an impression on others, who will do it for them.

Outside, the Xerons overpower the Moroks in the battle for Xeron. The Xeron rebels include Sita and Dako, who were only paralysed by the blast from the Morok soldier. Tor finds them and demands to know what happened to Vicki. Sita says that they were taken to the Preparation Room. Tor and his men go after her.

Outside the Preparation Room, Lobos receives news that defeat is inevitable. He decides to flee the planet and orders the killing of his prisoners. Just as the travellers are about to be killed, Tor and the rebels burst through the door and kill Lobos, freeing the Doctor and his companions.

Later, reunited with his TARDIS, the Doctor explains to Ian and Barbara the problem he had with his TARDIS was all down to a small part that hadn't quite clicked into place — this meant that they had been wandering around Xeron for a while before it clicked back into place and re-landed again, resetting time.

The Xerons have given the Doctor a Time-Space Visualiser as a souvenir before they dismantle the museum. He tells his friends that he will be able to get it working again but leaves its actual use a mystery to them. Vicki bids goodbye to Tor and enters the TARDIS, which dematerialises.

On a distant planet (whether this is Skaro or not is unclear), a Dalek enters a control room in response to an alarm call. It informs another Dalek via a communications panel that their "greatest enemies" have left Xeros. The response from the Dalek at the other end is that the Daleks' own time machine will soon be in pursuit and their enemies will soon be exterminated...


Uncredited cast[]


Uncredited crew[]


  • The Doctor claims he was with James Watt when he discovered steam power.
  • The Moroks were from Morok.
  • The Moroks used a paralytic called Zaphra gas during the creation of their empire.
  • The museum has a Dalek as an exhibit, with a sign confirming it comes from Skaro.
  • Vicki states that "time, like space, although a dimension in itself, also has dimensions of its own".
  • The Doctor calls up images of a penny-farthing, walruses and himself in a Victorian era bathing suit.
  • The Doctor claims his brain works "at the speed of a mechanical computer."

Story notes[]

  • All episodes exist as 16mm telerecordings.
  • Only the third episode, "The Search", was found to be retained as a positive film print by the BBC Film and Videotape Library when it was audited in 1978.
  • Negative film prints of all four episodes have been found.
  • A better quality print of the first episode, "The Space Museum", was returned to the BBC in 1981.
  • The working titles of the first and fourth episodes, "The Space Museum" and "The Final Phase", were "The Four Dimensions of Time" and "Zone Seven" respectively.
  • William Hartnell does not appear in "The Search" except in the reprise from the previous episode, "The Dimensions of Time", as he was on holiday during the week it was recorded.
  • Of all the William Hartnell stories with individual episode titles, this is the only one for which only one overall story title has ever been used. See also Disputed story titles.
  • It was during the production of this story that Jacqueline Hill decided that she was leaving the series.
  • This is the only story Mervyn Pinfield directed entirely by himself.
  • Glyn Jones was later dismayed by Dennis Spooner's editing of his scripts, which excised much of the humorous content. Spooner felt that such material was inappropriate in what he envisioned as a high-concept science-fiction story.
  • The first episode, "The Space Museum", begins with a brief reprise of the final scene of The Crusade. This clip is currently the only surviving 16mm black-and-white film footage from that story's final episode, "The Warlords".
  • Richard Shaw, who spoke with a Cockney accent, was cast as Governor Lobos but was asked to deliver his lines in "BBC English". His accent slips only once when he bellows at a Morok underling to use "maximum securi'ee!"
  • The incidental music was all from stock recordings rather than being specially composed for the story.
  • In a nice piece of internal continuity, William Russell starts gently banging his fists together as he leaves the TARDIS interior set and carries this through to the next scene, following a recording break, as he emerges from the police box onto the Xeros surface set; this gives the effect of a continuous piece of action and helps maintain the illusion that the TARDIS interior really is inside the police box shell.
  • Salvin Stewart (Morok Messenger/Morok Guard) also provided the voice of the armoury computer in "The Final Phase", for which he remained uncredited both on-screen and in Radio Times.
  • This was one of the stories selected to be shown as part of BSB's Doctor Who Weekend in September 1990.
  • Glyn Jones later starred as Krans in The Sontaran Experiment nearly a decade later, making him one of five individuals to have both written for and acted in Doctor Who (the others being Victor PembertonDerrick SherwinMark Gatiss, and Toby Whithouse).
  • The first episode, "The Space Museum", features a rare use (for the 1960s) of a filmed insert of an interior location, specifically a room in the TARDIS, due to the need to show a special effect — namely Vicki dropping a glass and the glass reassembling itself — that at the time could not be rendered on videotape. The switch from video to film was rendered unnoticeable in the filmed recordings of the serial that were circulated after its UK broadcast and when the story was recovered in the 1980s but is once again quite noticeable following the serial's vidFIRE remastering for DVD release in 2010.
  • Several of the story's guest cast members are credited on-screen but not in Radio Times, presumably due to lack of space for those particular issues: Bill Starkey (Third Xeron) for the first episode, "The Space Museum"; Lawrence Dean and Ken Norris (Morok Guards) for all four episodes; and Michael Gordon, Edward Granville, David Wolliscroft and Bill Starkey (Xerons) for "The Search" and "The Final Phase".
  • The four episodes were produced at the same time that the feature film Dr. Who and the Daleks was in production.
  • This story was ranked as Doctor Who Magazine readers' least favourite First Doctor story in their 2009 and 2014 polls. In the other two polls, it was voted second-last. (DWM 589)
  • Moroks was a play on “moronic”, with Lobos' name suggested by the word “lobotomy”.
  • The Xerons were originally called Tharls, drawing on an archaic term for a slave or servant from which the modern “thrall” was derived.
  • The cause of the time distortion was originally a machine in the Morok processing room, rather than an issue with a TARDIS component.
  • It was decided early on that the serial would be a budget-saving exercise since The Web Planet had proved very costly. Mervyn Pinfield was brought in to direct, as his knowledge and expertise would help bring costs down.
  • Just before filming began, Dennis Spooner carried out further rewrites to the last episode, including ending it with a lead-in to The Chase.
  • The actors playing the Moroks wore fake eyebrows, as well as having their own eyebrows hidden by makeup. The fake eyebrows were not easy to work with, as they kept falling off.


  • "The Space Museum" - 10.5 million viewers
  • "The Dimensions of Time" - 9.2 million viewers
  • "The Search" - 8.5 million viewers
  • "The Final Phase" - 8.5 million viewers


  • This was a low budget story due to the high cost of some of the other stories this season. (The story had a similar budget and cost about the same to make as the other four-part stories at the time.)

Filming locations[]

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.
  • When the main characters exit the TARDIS, their shadows can be seen across the mountains in the distance.
  • After the travellers establish that they can't touch any of the exhibits, they hide behind a statue; as they do so, they bump into it and cause it to wobble.


Home video and audio releases[]

DVD releases[]

A restored version of this story was first released on DVD in the UK as a one disc set on 1 March 2010 as part of a boxset with The Chase.

Special Features[]

Editing for the DVD release was completed by the Doctor Who Restoration Team.

Blu-ray releases[]

The story was released on Blu-ray in the UK on 5 December 2022, as part of the box set The Collection: Season Two.

Digital releases[]

This story is available:

  • for streaming through BritBox (US) as part of Season 2 of Classic Doctor Who.

VHS releases[]

The Space Museum was released on VHS together with the surviving episodes of The Crusade.

UK Release: July 1999 / US Release: January 2000
PAL - BBC Video BBCV6805
NTSC - CBS/FOX Video 2000020
NTSC - Warner Video E1399

Audio releases[]


External links[]