Doctor Who (1963)

Season 3 Episode 42

The War Machines, Episode 1

Aired Saturday 5:15 PM Jun 25, 1966 on BBC
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Episode Summary

The War Machines, Episode 1
London 1966 and the Doctor and Dodo, on a visit to the Post Office Tower, meet Professor Brett whose new computer WOTAN is soon to be networked with other computers around the world. But it seems to be wielding a strange influence over the people exposed to it…moreless

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    Guest Star

    John Doye

    John Doye


    Guest Star

    Ric Felgate

    Ric Felgate

    American Journalist

    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (6)

      • Factual Error: In 1966, July 16 was a Saturday, not a Monday, as Sumner states. This may be a deliberate error, as 16 July 1966 was the broadcast date of the final episode of the serial.

      • Equipment Visible: At the beginning of the press conference, a BBC camera is in the foreground.

      • Major Green is in charge of Security at the Post Office Tower but lets the Doctor and Dodo go straight into WOTAN's control room. The Doctor is a specialist in computer development and "will enjoy" seeing WOTAN, but these don't seem like good enough reasons to grant total strangers direct access to the computer.

      • When the Doctor and Dodo emerge from the TARDIS, he tells her that he feels energy in the air, similar to what he felt when the Daleks were about (although he never mentioned experiencing this sensation before). Obviously, he was meant to sense WOTAN, but the writers accidentally did a bit of foreshadowing. The Facelss Ones, Episode 6 reveals that it took place on the same day as The War Machines, Episode 4. We find out in the next episode, The Evil of the Daleks, Episode 1, that the Daleks have indeed been in town for a while.

      • This was the first story to take place entirely on Earth in the present day (other than Planet of Giants, in which the regulars were miniaturised for the duration of the adventure).

      • The computer, WOTAN, and its followers refer to the Doctor as "Doctor Who". This is the only story where he was referred to by this name. This caused quite a stir among the fans, who flooded the BBC with telephone complaints, and the incident has never been repeated.

    • QUOTES (6)

      • Brett: Well now, this machine, which I call WOTAN—
        The Doctor: You call what?
        Brett: WOTAN. Spelled W-O-T-A-N. Will Operating Thought Analogue.
        The Doctor: Oh. Yes, yes. Quite right.
        Brett: Well now, WOTAN can not only think faster than Polly or myself, it can also type faster.
        Dodo: True?
        Polly: I'm afraid so. And it never makes mistakes. Wretched thing.
        The Doctor: Are you, uh, seriously telling me, sir, that, uh, you have invented a machine that can think?
        Brett: Yes.
        The Doctor: And never mistakes?
        Brett: Never.

      • The Doctor: Well, I suppose you know where you are, my dear?
        Dodo: London, home. It's marvellous to be back, it seems ages since I left.
        The Doctor: When you've seen the ages that I've seen, you won't use that term quite so freely!

      • Brett: We've reached a standstill. We cannot develop the Earth any further, further progress is impossible.
        Krimpton: What do you mean, "impossible"?
        Brett: That is the conclusion reached by WOTAN.
        Krimpton: Are you joking? This machine—
        Brett: I am not joking! WOTAN has decided the world cannot progress further with mankind running it.
        Krimpton: Oh really? And what does WOTAN profess to do about it, take over from us?
        Brett: From now on, we are to serve.

      • Krimpton: I won't work for you! I am human, there's nothing more important than human life. Machines cannot govern man. I will not…

      • Kitty: Have one on the house, Doctor. It isn't everyday we get the over-twenties in this place! I dig your fab gear!

      • WOTAN: Doctor Who is required!

    • NOTES (6)

      • First appearances of Anneke Wills as Polly and Michael Craze as Ben Jackson.

      • Uniquely, the story titles for this serial are given in computer print-out format.

      • Among the actors who auditioned for the part of Ben was Frazer Hines, who would later join Ben as companion Jamie McCrimmon.

      • Deborah Watling, who plays future companion Victoria Waterfield, actually auditioned for the role of Polly but was deemed too young by the production crew.

      • DVD: Doctor Who: The War Machines (BBCDVD 2441) released in August 2008.

        Video: Doctor Who: The War Machines (BBCV 6183) released in June 1997. Released in U.S.A./Canada (Warner Home Video E1079) in March 1998.

      • Novelisation: Doctor Who â€" The War Machines by Ian Stuart Black (ISBN 0 426 20328 3) first published by W H Allen in 1989.

    • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • 9:00 pm
      What Would You Do?
    • 10:00 pm
      Dateline NBC