Doctor Who (1963)

Season 17 Episode 8

City of Death, Part Four

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Oct 20, 1979 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
32 votes

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Episode Summary

Scaroth is determined to go back 400 million years in time to prevent a mistake. But the Doctor must stop him – because the consequences would be disastrous.

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    Catherine Schell

    Catherine Schell


    Guest Star

    Kevin Flood

    Kevin Flood


    Guest Star

    Eleanor Bron

    Eleanor Bron

    Art Gallery Visitor

    Guest Star

    Julian Glover

    Julian Glover


    Recurring Role

    Tom Chadbon

    Tom Chadbon


    Recurring Role

    David Graham

    David Graham


    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (1)

    • QUOTES (11)

      • Duggan: Where do you two come from?
        The Doctor: From? Well, I suppose the best way to find out where you've come from is to find out where you're going and then work backwards.
        Duggan: Where are you going?
        The Doctor: I don't know.
        Romana: Nor do I.

      • Count Scarlioni: Doctor, how very nice to see you again. Seems like only 474 years since we last met.
        The Doctor: Indeed, indeed, yes. I so much prefer the weather in the early part of the 16th century, don't you?

      • The Doctor [ to the Count's henchman ]: Silent type, eh? I once knew a boy like you: never said a word. Very taciturn. Oh, I said to him, "There's no point in talking if you've got nothing to say." Did well in the end, though. Name of Shakespeare. Have you ever read any Shakespeare?

      • Duggan: You're mad. Insane. Inhuman!
        Count Scarlioni: Quite so. When I compare my race to yours, human, I take the word "inhuman" as a great compliment.

      • The Doctor: Duggan… Duggan! I think that was possibly the most important punch in history.

      • Duggan: You can't hang a fake Mona Lisa in the Louvre.
        Romana: How can it be a fake if Leonardo painted it?
        Duggan: With the words "this is a fake" written under the paintwork? In felt tip?
        Romana: It doesn't affect what it looks like.
        Duggan:It doesn't matter what it looks like!
        Doctor: Doesn't it? Some people would say that's the whole point of painting.
        Duggan: But they'll find out. They'll x-ray it.
        Doctor: Serves them right. If they have to x-ray it to find out if it's good art, we might as well have painting by computers.

      • The Doctor: I can't let you fool about with time.
        Count Scarlioni: What else do you ever do?
        The Doctor: Ah, well, I'm a professional.

      • Count Scarlioni: On the contrary, Doctor. You're going to help me.
        Doctor: I am?
        Count Scarlioni: You are indeed. And if you do not, it'll be so much the worse for you, this young lady and for thousands of other people I could mention if I happened to have the Paris telephone directory on my person.

      • The Doctor (entering the cellar at gunpoint): Ah, Count. Hello. I wonder if you could spare me a moment of your time? Romana. Hello. How are you? I see the Count roped you in as a lab assistant. What you making for him? A model railway? Gallifreyan egg timer? I hope you're not making a time machine. I shall be very angry.

      • [Admiring the TARDIS in the Louvre]
        Art Gallery Visitor #2: For me, one of the most curious things about this piece is its wonderful… afunctionalism.
        Art Gallery Visitor #1: Yes, I see what you mean. Divorced from its function and seen purely as a piece of art, its structure of line and colour is curiously counterpointed by the redundant vestiges of its function.
        Art Gallery Visitor #2: And since it has no call to be here, the art lies in the fact that it is here.
        [The TARDIS dematerializes.]
        Art Gallery Visitor #2: Exquisite. Absolutely exquisite.

      • Countess Scarlioni: Hamlet. First draft.
        The Doctor: It's been missing for centuries!
        Countess Scarlioni: It's quite genuine, I assure you.
        The Doctor: I know. I recognise the handwriting.
        Countess Scarlioni: Shakespeare's?
        The Doctor: Mine. He sprained his wrist writing sonnets. Wonderful stuff. "To be or not to be, that is the question; Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and--" Take arms against a sea of troubles? That's a mixed-- I told him that was a mixed metaphor, and he would insist!
        Countess Scarlioni: Oh, Doctor, I'm quite convinced that you're perfectly mad.
        The Doctor: Only nor'-norwest. Nobody's perfect.

    • NOTES (5)

      • The idea of an alien trying to prevent himself from destroying his ship and starting life on Earth would be recycled in script-writer Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency.

      • The Doctor travels back in time to the earliest image of Earth ever seen on the show: 400,000,000 B.C.

      • This episode drew 16.1 million viewers on first broadcast, making it the highest rated Doctor Who episode ever. (Rival network ITV was affected by industrial action between August and Ocober 1979, which helped.)

      • Yes, that is John Cleese in a brief and very funny cameo as an art critic much taken with the TARDIS. Douglas Adams had been a fringe member of the Monty Python collective in the middle 1970s and persuaded him to appear.

      • By the story's conclusion, the Mona Lisa has 'THIS IS A FAKE' written on the canvas under the paint in felt tip pen.

    • ALLUSIONS (0)