The Masque of Mandragora

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PRODUCTION INFO

Name

The Masque of Mandragora

Serial Code

4m

First Transmitted

4 September 1976

Final ratings

8.3m

DVD RELEASE

DVD

VHS RELEASE

VHS

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CAST

Regular Cast

Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith)

Guest Cast

Jon Laurimore (Count Federico) [1-3]*, Anthony Carrick (Captain Rossini), Tim Piggott-Smith (Marco), Gareth Armstrong (Giuliano), Norman Jones (Hieronymous), Robert James (High Priest), Brian Ellis (Brother) [1], Pat Gorman (Soldier) [1]; James Appleby, John Clamp (Guards) [2]†; Jay Neill, Peter Walshe (Pikemen) [2]; Peter Tuddenham (Titan Voice) [2]†; Peggy Dixon, Jack Edwards, Alistair Fullarton, Michael Reid, Kathy Wolff (Dancers) [4]; Stuart Fell (Entertainer) [4]. .

CREW

Written by Louis Marks
Directed by Rodney Bennett
Produced by Philip Hinchcliffe

sypnosis

Forced off course by the Mandragora Helix, the TARDIS lands in the province of San Martino in fifteenth-century Italy. Here, the court astrologer, Hieronymous, has been taken over by the Mandragora energy-form — Hieronymous and the other members of his star-worshipping black magic cult will be used as a bridgehead, enabling the Mandragora Helix to conquer the Earth and rule it through their chosen servants.

The Doctor has to defeat not only the Mandragora energy, but the evil schemes of the murderous Count Frederico who plans to usurp the place of his nephew, the rightful ruler of the province. .

NOTES

  1. This is the last story to be written by Louis Marks.
  2. Elisabeth Sladen is credited as “Sarah Jane” in Radio Times.
  3. The surname of Jay Neill (Pikeman) is misspelled as “Neil” in Radio Times for part two.
  4. The title of the story is given in Radio Times as Masque of Mandragora (with no “The”) for all four episodes.
  5. A full-page article entitled Dr. Who’s Renaissance was published in Radio Times (cover dated 4-10 September 1976) to tie-in with the start of Season 14, featuring Philip Hinchcliffe talking about both Doctor Who and the opening story of the new season. The article was accompanied by a large black and white artwork illustration of the Doctor’s head, with his scarf arranged above in the shape of a question mark, with the accompanying caption “Who, what and where? The doctor comes back down to earth in Italy”.
  6. The Radio Times programme listing for part one was accompanied by a black and white artwork illustration depicting Hieronymous in his hooded robe and golden mask, swirling Mandragora energy, The Doctor and the masked axe-wielding figure of the executioner, with the accompanying caption ” ‘Mandragora energy! Get down! Quick!’ It’s the start of a new Dr. Who adventure, and The Doctor (Tom Baker) finds himself involved in more strange happenings, this time in 15th-century Italy. Part 1: 6.10 p.m.”
  7. With the start of the new season, the previous police box exterior was replaced, as the old one had deteriorated due to wear and tear. A new serif font is introduced for the episode titles as well.
  8. This serial also marks the first appearance of the TARDIS’s secondary console room, designed by Barry Newbery, which continued to be used until the end of this season, making its final appearance in The Robots of Death. Depending on the account of information, either the set got damp and warped in storage between seasons, thereby becoming unusable, or new producer Graham Williams was not very fond of the wooden set; therefore the original, futuristic interior was restored.
  9. Elizabeth Sladen stayed contracted to Doctor Who for an additional seven months just because she had heard about this upcoming serial and wanted to make it. Without this serial, she would have left in season 13. (The Seeds of Doom)
  10. Sarah wonders to The Doctor why she can understand Italian. He says that it is a “Time Lord gift” that he allows her to share. In The End of the World, Rose asks the Ninth Doctor a similar question and he says it is a function of the TARDIS’ telepathic field, altering her perception. In The Christmas Invasion, it is revealed that The Doctor is “part of the circuit” of the TARDIS’ telepathic translation abilities; it does not function while he is in a post-regenerative coma. Planet of the Dead seems to imply that The Doctor himself does not need the TARDIS for its translational abilities. This amplifies Masque’s point that a companion’s ability to understand other languages is indeed a gift of the Doctor and the TARDIS merely offers the technology to express that gift.
  11. The Mandragora Helix appears in The Mark of Mandragora.
  12. In the second of the Sarah Jane Smith audio series it is revealed that after his encounter with The Doctor and Sarah, Giuliano took charge of the Brotherhood of Demnos and reformed them into a group called the “Orbus Postramo”. The consequences of this action come to bear in Dreamland.
  13. By the time of City of Death, The Doctor has already met Leonardo da Vinci.
  14. During his first incarnation, The Doctor had encountered the Mandragora Helix in China in 1865 in the company of Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright and Vicki Pallister but never learned what the plasma based helix called itself. On that occasion, the Helix referred to the fact that The Doctor had defeated it 400 years earlier. (The Eleventh Tiger)
  15. The Doctor meets Mandragora again in Beautiful Chaos.
  16. Order the DVD

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