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The Time Monster was the fifth and final serial of season 9 of Doctor Who. It featured another explanation of the destruction of Atlantis (1967's The Underwater Menace and 1971's The Dæmons also offered explanations). This was also the penultimate serial to feature Roger Delgado as the Master and was the last story to feature the Master on "present day" Earth against the Doctor and UNIT. In addition to his use of hypnosis, the Master also demonstrated a newly seen ability to perfectly imitate another person's voice.

This story marked the debut of the first redesign for the TARDIS console room, which was shared for both the Third Doctor's and the Master's respective TARDIS interiors. It featured heavy alterations to the original roundel design of the TARDIS interior set that had remained in use since 1963, and a new time rotor prop. However, the exaggerated roundel design was subjected to criticism and suffered heavy damage during the filming break between season 9 and season 10, necessitating the disposal of the new set and the construction of a second redesign that would appear in the upcoming season.


The Master, in the guise of Professor Thascalos, has constructed at the Newton Institute in Wootton a device known as TOMTIT — Transmission Of Matter Through Interstitial Time — to gain control over Kronos, a creature from outside time. The creature is summoned but proves to be uncontrollable.


Episode 1[]

The Doctor sits before the Master, who stands next to a crystal, laughing. Explosions resound.

In UNIT HQ, Jo wakes the Doctor. He enquires if there have been any reports of volcanic eruptions or earthquakes lately.

Elsewhere, the Master — or Professor Thascalos, as he calls himself — holds the crystal the Doctor saw in his dream. He's in a laboratory at the Newton Institute, working with Dr Ruth Ingram. The crystal, the Master claims, is no different than any other piece of quartz, yet it is. Stuart Hyde, a co-worker, enters. The Master leaves them to conduct further experiments. After he has left, Ruth says she doesn't know which is more annoying, "his dictatorial manner or that infernal courtesy of his."

At UNIT HQ, Mike Yates points out the Thera islands, where the quakes have struck. Jo mentions Atlantis, telling the Doctor that Thera is reputedly its location. The Doctor talks to the Brigadier on the phone and tells him to put out a warning to every UNIT section and HQ, because of a dream he had about a half hour ago. He says he is too busy to see the TOMTIT demonstration at the Newton Institute, so Benton, who was meant to be going off duty is asked to go instead.

At the institute, the Master hypnotises the Director, Dr Charles Percival, into believing him about his TOMTIT experiments and his credentials. In the lab, Ruth and Stu decided to run the test without "the Professor". Outside, a window cleaner observes their efforts, having been distracted from his work.

The Master apologises to Ruth Ingram and Stuart Hyde for his outburst.

At UNIT HQ, the Doctor uses a time sensor to detect the Master. It shows a TARDIS in use. The experiment at the institute shows the jar at one end disappearing and reappearing at the other. Looking at the clock outside his window, the Master notices it has slowed down. The experiment is causing an overload, but Ruth and Stu contain it. Outside, the window cleaner falls from his ladder.

The Doctor and Jo decide to follow the signal. They set off in Bessie. Back at the institute, the Master confronts Ruth and Stu, berating them for their foolishness. They tell him about the overload, and he tells them they were drawing power from outside time itself. Stu looks out the window; a convoy is approaching with a UNIT Jeep in it. The Master tells Ruth and Stu to leave him to his work.

The Doctor and Jo realise that the signal must be coming from Wootton, where the institute is. Using Bessie's super drive function, they speed along. UNIT arrive at the institute and find the window cleaner, alive but injured.

The Brigadier, Benton, Dr Cook, his aide Proctor and Percival enter the control room with Ruth at the research station. Cook complains about his pheasant lunch and expenditures. The Master enters in a radiation suit, his features hidden.

The test begins, and Ruth warns the Master that the power is overloading. Stu is in the crystal room. He gets too much power and can't control it. He calls to them to switch off. Ruth shouts the warning at the Master. The Master only yells out, "Come, Kronos, come!"

Episode 2[]

Stu aged into an old man.

The Doctor and Jo arrive in Bessie. Jo seems to freeze. The Doctor runs to the laboratory, where he orders Ruth to reverse the polarity and cut the power. They go to help Stu, only to find he has been aged to an eighty year old man.

Different theories are suggested — radiation and a change in metabolism, both of which the Doctor denies. The Brigadier points out that the only thing that makes people age naturally is the passing of time; the Doctor realises this is the explanation — Stu's personal time has been vastly accelerated. They learn that Professor Thascalos is the Master — Thascalos is Greek for Master.

Stu wakes up and starts rambling. The Doctor demands he tell what he saw. With difficulty, Stu replies "Kronos!" The Doctor and Ruth go back to the laboratory whilst the Brigadier summons troops from UNIT, as well as the Doctor's TARDIS. He tells Percival to order an evacuation of the building of all but essential personnel by three o'clock.

Meanwhile, Ruth shows the Doctor the crystal. He explains that outside space-time live creatures called Chronovores, time eaters. Kronos is the most fearsome of the lot. The crystal is the original from Atlantis, which summoned Kronos. Long ago, in Ancient Atlantis, Kronos begins to stir.

Percival finds the Master in his study and panics. The Master hypnotises him into not worrying and continues with his sums. Both the Doctor and the Master are confused about the earlier power build up, which logically shouldn't have happened. The Doctor discovers that the crystal has been moved through interstitial time. This means it really is the original crystal used to summon Kronos in Atlantis.

The Master tricks Benton out of the laboratory by faking instructions from the Brigadier. Benton, however, climbs back in through the window, having seen through the Master's ruse. The Master knocks him out and summons an Atlantean priest called Krasis.

Episode 3[]

Whilst the Master orders Krasis to give him the secret to controlling Kronos, Benton escapes and warns the Doctor. Kronos is summoned and devours Percival. The Brigadier, Benton and Ruth run towards the lab and begin to run in slow motion. The Doctor notices what is happening and pulls them out of the time field. Stu's ageing is suddenly reversed, returning his age to twenty-five. The Doctor orders them all back inside.

The Doctor constructs a device out of assorted items.

The Master returns Kronos to the crystal, which Krasis claims is but a portion of the original. In Atlantis, Hippias asks Lord Dalios if the time has come for Kronos to return at last. Dalios is old enough to remember the time of Kronos and fears his return. He shows Hippias the true crystal, which is guarded by a "horrible" creature.

The Doctor cobbles together a time flow analog, which works like jamming a radio signal. It works until the Master uses the TOMTIT device to overload it. He sets about delaying the convoy from UNIT, using a medieval knight, a troop of Roundheads, and finally, a German V1 "doodlebug" bomb. The Brigadier, Jo and the Doctor watch as the bomb explodes where the convoy is.

Episode 4[]

The Doctor, Jo and the Brigadier go to meet the convoy. Fortunately they are unharmed. Ruth, Stu and Benton go to the laboratory to stop the Master. The Doctor and Jo follow in the Doctor's TARDIS, using the time sensor as a homing device and placing the Doctor's TARDIS inside the Master's.

The Doctor explains that if the frequency of the two TARDISes is too high, even by a fraction, a time ram will occur, resulting in utter annihilation. This does not dissuade Jo, so they take off, in pursuit of the Master.

The Doctor's TARDIS inside the Master's TARDIS.

They end up stuck in a space loop with the Master's TARDIS — if they enter one, they come out into the other. The UNIT convoy arrives at the institute, but the Master freezes them in space-time. Krasis and he escape into the TARDIS, leaving Benton, Ruth and Stu trapped inside the building. As this is going on, the Master taunts the Doctor, pointing out that he could easily throw his enemy into the Time Vortex and refusing to listen to the Doctor. When the Doctor forces the sound of his voice through to the Master's TARDIS, the Master feeds the words back to him and makes them come out as garbled nonsense.

In the lab, Ruth and Stu try to turn off the machine. It has no effect on the Brigadier and his men, who are still frozen, and Benton is regressed in age to a baby.

With no other options, the Doctor orders Jo to close the door behind him when he steps into the Master's TARDIS. Yet again the Master refuses to listen to reason and summons Kronos, who devours the Doctor. The Master sends Kronos back into the crystal and breaks the lock on the Doctor's TARDIS, sending it and Jo tumbling through the Vortex.

Episode 5[]

Jo hears the Doctor calling to her, along with many other whispering voices. He explains they are his subconscious thoughts and tells her not to listen too closely. The TARDIS is relaying his thoughts to Jo; she follows his instructions and pulls a red handle on the third control panel, allowing the TARDIS to pull the Doctor out of the Vortex.

In Atlantis, Dalios holds court. Hippias speaks to the king, saying the people wish for the blessings their ancestors enjoyed under Kronos. Dalios tries to convince his people that Kronos was a curse. The Master arrives in his TARDIS, bringing Krasis with him. Krasis says he has seen Kronos. Dalios takes the Master and Krasis with him to discuss the matter.

"Good afternoon. Now where have I seen that face before?"

Later in the courtyard, the TARDIS materialises. The Doctor and Jo are confronted by Hippias and Krasis, who calls the guards. The Doctor and Jo are taken to the king.

The Master tries to hypnotise Dalios but fails. He is sent away, and to his surprise sees the Doctor and Jo being brought to the king. The Doctor and Jo meet the king, and Jo is brought to Galleia. The king asks for the Doctor's help to save Atlantis. Galleia and the Master meet to discuss the crystal, with Jo eavesdropping on their conversation. The crystal is in a maze guarded by the Minotaur. Galleia sends Hippias to retrieve the crystal. Jo follows them while Lakis goes to tell the king and the Doctor. Krasis catches Jo and puts her in the maze. She hears a loud roaring...

Episode 6[]

Hippias saves Jo from the Minotaur but is killed in the process. The Doctor arrives and bull fights the Minotaur. It falls in a pit, breaking open a wall to a hidden chamber.

The Doctor and Jo discover the Crystal of Kronos.

The Doctor and Jo find the Crystal of Kronos waiting inside the secret room but are caught by Krasis, who takes the crystal. The Doctor demands to be taken to the king but is taken to the Master, who has taken over with Galleia's help. The Doctor and Jo are imprisoned. The Doctor tells Jo about his hermit friend. Dalios is put in the cell with them and dies there.

Galleia presents the Master to the council. The Doctor and Jo are in attendance. The Master announces he will bring Kronos. Jo tells Galleia that the king is dead. Galleia orders the Master seized, but Krasis summons Kronos, whom the Master orders to destroy Atlantis. Jo tries to stop the Master but is taken to his TARDIS, which dematerialises. The Doctor escapes into his TARDIS. The Doctor contacts the Master and threatens him with a time ram. The Master calls his bluff, but the Doctor gives him one last chance. Jo pleads with the Doctor to do it, but when he says there's another way, Jo pushes the button, causing the time ram.

Both TARDISes are in a featureless place. Jo thinks they're dead, but the Doctor isn't sure. Suddenly a large female face appears. She is Kronos, and she was freed when the two TARDISes collided. She is grateful for the Doctor's help and plans to keep the Master to torment him. The Doctor asks to take the Master with them, and Kronos agrees. However, the Master makes a run for his TARDIS and escapes.

Back in the lab, Stu takes care of baby Benton while Ruth works on the machine. The TARDIS lands back in Cambridge. The machine finally releases the Brigadier and his men, then it overloads. The soldiers enter the room, believing the Master is still there, only to find him long gone. The Brigadier questions Jo's strange Atlantean getup, a spontaneous change from his point of view. However, Stu goes to check on the baby Benton, finding nothing but the clothes he shrank out of. Then, a familiar figure rises up from the floor. To everyone's surprise, Benton has returned to his original age... only he's no longer sporting his uniform, but his birthday suit!


Uncredited cast[]


Uncredited crew[]



Temporal theory[]


Earth history[]

  • Stuart Hyde says that he has always fancied himself a Cavalier.

Story notes[]

  • During the Doctor's vision, the volcano stock footage used in The Enemy of the World and the title sequence of the parallel Earth story Inferno is re-used.
  • This is the only appearance of the "washing up bowl" interior for the TARDIS (designed by Tim Gleeson).
  • One of the voices representing the Doctor's subconscious thoughts is female. This is the first reference to the Doctor being able to change genders after regenerating.
  • A notable scene dropped before the recording of Episode Five depicted the Doctor activating a device in the TARDIS which permitted Jo to speak the language of the ancient Atlanteans; the series had never before attempted to explain how the Doctor's companions could speak foreign and alien tongues.
  • It was Paul Bernard's idea to have Kronos' final form be that of a young woman.
  • The historical setting was suggested by the Official Doctor Who Fan Club, an organisation which had recently been reinvigorated when it was put in the hands of a teenage fan named Keith Miller.
  • This was the first time the series had visited Earth's past since The Abominable Snowmen.
  • Inspiration came to Robert Sloman during a walk outdoors, when he heard an airplane flying overhead and was reminded of the sound of German bombers during the Second World War. From this experience came the idea of “time slippages”, and Sloman envisaged a fleet of World War I biplanes descending on a modern-day aircraft. As Sloman developed his narrative, it was realised that budgetary considerations would prevent the First World War element from featuring prominently. Instead, it was decided to emphasise the Atlantis strand of the plot.
  • Influenced by Buddhist philosophies, Barry Letts wanted to portray the Doctor as being merely “semi-enlightened”: able to see the universe more clearly than most, but still possessing personal flaws. Letts' ideas were most prominently reflected in the Doctor's Episode Six tale about the Hermit on his home planet.
  • At Stratfield Saye, stuntman Greg Powell, playing the knight who attacked the convoy in Episode Three, was thrown from his horse when his mount did not follow the planned route and collided with one of the UNIT vehicles. Accounts vary as to the extent of the injuries to both Powell and the horse. Equity, the actors' union, condemned the incident because budgetary limitations had prevented Paul Bernard from hiring more than a single stunt driver.
  • While filming scenes in Bessie using a side-mounted camera, Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning realised that they had gotten lost. By the time the two actors were finally able to find their way back to Paul Bernard, the director was already in the process of assembling search parties to track them down.
  • According to John Levene on the DVD commentary, the baby that portrayed infant Benton, Darren Plant, sadly didn't live to see his first birthday. This gives him the unfortunate distinction of being the shortest-lived individual ever to appear in Doctor Who.
  • The Doctor and Jo's "Permission to come on board?" scene as they set off for Atlantis in the TARDIS was not in the script. The composer also added an unscripted small bit from "The Sailor's Hornpipe" melody in order to complete it.
  • Robert Sloman was unimpressed with the realisation of Kronos. He envisaged it as a shimmer and a vibration, but it was realised by an actor flapping away on pulleys.
  • While filming the ending scene, John Levene was terrified that his nappy would fall off.
  • The mythological setting was was suggested by the Official Doctor Who Fan Club, which had recently been reinvigorated when it was put in the hands of a teenaged fan named Keith Miller.
  • It was Paul Bernard's idea to have Kronos' final form be that of a young woman.
  • While filming at Stratfield Saye, stuntman Greg Powell, playing the knight who attacked the convoy, was thrown from his horse when his mount did not follow the planned route and collided with one of the UNIT vehicles. Accounts vary as to the extent of the injuries to both Powell and the horse. Equity condemned the incident because budgetary limitations had prevented Paul Bernard from hiring more than a single stunt driver.
  • While filming scenes in Bessie using a side-mounted camera, Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning realised that they had gotten lost. By the time they were finally able to find their way back to Paul Bernard, the director was already in the process of assembling search parties to track them down.
  • A scene dropped before the recording of Episode Five had the Doctor activating a device in the TARDIS which permitted Jo to speak the language of the ancient Atlantean.


  • Episode one - 7.6 million viewers
  • Episode two - 7.4 million viewers
  • Episode three - 8.1 million viewers
  • Episode four - 7.6 million viewers
  • Episode five - 6.0 million viewers
  • Episode six - 7.6 million viewers


  • Well-known actress Susan Penhaligon, making an early television appearance as Galleia's handmaiden Lakis, was originally to have been credited as Virginia Mull. (Virginia Mull was a different actress who had a small uncredited walk-on role as a serving girl in the Atlantis scenes of this story. Susan Penhaligon, who was a late replacement for actress Ann Michelle, was always to have been credited under her own name.)
  • The Master's alias is "Thascales". (The majority of printed and online episode guides say this. Unfortunately, (a) "Thascales" isn't the Greek for "Master", and (b) no-one in the story says "Thascales". They all say "Thascalos", which is the Greek for "Master". The error first appears in the Radio Times 1973 Doctor Who Special and presumably has been taken from there by all subsequent episode guides without checking against the broadcast episodes. Terrance Dicks, however, has the correct spelling in the novelisation.)

Filming locations[]

  • Swallowfield Park, Swallowfield, Berkshire
  • Stratfield Saye Park, Stratfield Saye, Hampshire
  • Old Church Farm (road), Hartley Wintney, Hampshire
  • Park Lane, Fair Cross, Berkshire
  • School Lane, Heckfield Heath/Riseley, Hampshire
  • Ealing Television Film Studios, Ealing Green, Ealing
  • BBC Television Centre (Studio 3 & 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 one, the interior of the police box prop is visible.
  • Jo is obviously operating a button with her index finger on the time sensor in episode one to make the prop spin as it "detects" the Doctor's TARDIS.
  • At first, the Master speaks with an attempted Greek accent, which quickly disappears within the same scene.
  • The crystal moves when Benton tries to lift it, even as he and the Doctor talk about it being impossible to move.
  • The Doctor doesn't close the TARDIS door all the way before taking off with Jo, yet it is completely shut when they dematerialise.
  • The V1 footage is black-and-white.
  • The Doctor's supposedly backwards dialogue when played backwards is still gibberish.
  • In episode three, the Doctor states that the Master is using the crystal to bring enemies "back in time". However, these characters are clearly from the past, and therefore were brought forward in time.
  • When the UNIT team attempt to pull the TARDIS out of the crater the bomb has made, a castor wheel on the bottom of the prop can be seen.
  • Dave Prowse (Minotaur) is credited for episode five, though he does not appear.


Home video and audio releases[]

DVD releases[]

  • This story was first released on DVD in the UK on 29 March 2010 as part of the Myths and Legends Boxset. The one disc set includes a restored version of the story, as well as the following special features:
  • Commentary by John Levene (Benton), Susan Penhaligon (Lakis), Barry Letts (Producer), Marion McDougall (Production Assistant), Graham Duff (Fan/Writer), Phil Ford (Fan/Writer), Joe Lidster (Fan/Writer), James Moran (Fan/Writer) and Toby Hadoke (Moderator).
  • Between Now... And Now!
  • Restoration Comparison
  • Coming Soon Trailer
  • Radio Times Billings
  • Production Subtitles
  • Photo Gallery

It was released as issue 137 of Doctor Who DVD Files.

It was released in The Sontarans box set in The Monster Collection series on 2013. This box set was later released in Brazil as O Monstro do Tempo.

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 64 of Doctor Who (Classic) series;
  • for streaming through BritBox (US) as part of Season 9 of Classic Doctor Who.

VHS releases[]

This story was released in the UK as Doctor Who: The Time Monster in November 2001 (as part of the Master box set which also contains Colony in Space).

External links[]