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The Keys Of Marinus

The crew now must find

Hidden keys of Marinus

And defeat the Voords

In the early seasons of Doctor Who (in fact for most of the William Hartnell episodes) each individual episode had a title rather than episode 1, episode 2 etc. I mention this because this “story” is almost a mini season ~ six episodes tied together with the search for the Keys of Marinus (which is the given name for this serial, unusually it is the name of the final part of the story whereas others were often refered to by the name of the first part).

This story is also the second alien story and once again is written by Terry Nation. The baddies in this serial aren’t quite as good visually as the iconic Daleks with the Voord being beings hidden in a rubber suit (although this is actually a rubber suit whereas in future stories the rubber suit was most often supposed to be the alien being).

The episodes are mostly self-contained with a variety of settings including a carnivorous jungle (not the last time theat Terry Nation will include deadly plants in a storyline), ice caves and even a court room drama involving Ian as the defendant and the Doctor as his counsel.

Set design must have been a real challenge for this story as each episode is located in a different part of the planet and one part involves alien brains in jars that use mind manipulation in order to make the people see a perfect world which is far different from the grotty reality. The scenes where Barbara can see the truth while the rest see the illusion must have been tricky to do with  the editing equipment of the time.

One question that remains unanswered about this story; in order to prevent the TARDIS to leave, a force field is placed around it by Arbitan, who promises to remove it once they return with the keys. Without going into too much detail (I don’t want to spoil any surprises for those who haven’t seen it) when does Arbitan do this? If you have a theory, please comment…

  1. The Sea Of Death*
  2. The Velvet Web
  3. The Screaming Jungle
  4. The Snows Of Terror
  5. Sentence Of Death*
  6. The Keys Of Marinus

*This is the first time in Doctor Who history that the title “…of death” is used (and here it is used twice). There will be many of these in the stories to come.


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