Doctor Who (1963–1989): Season 14, Episode 17 - The Robots of Death: Part One - full transcript

The TARDIS materialize aboard a sandminer, a mining ship on a desert planet run by a robot labor force headed by a fairly small but sniping human crew. As one crewman is discovered ...


V14: Turbulence centre, vector seven.

V32: Scan commencing now.

There was a Voc therapist
in Kaldor City,

specially programmed,
equipped with vibro-digits,

subcutaneous stimulators, the lot.

You know what happened, Borg?

Its first client
wanted treatment for a stiff elbow.

The Voc therapist felt carefully
all round the joint

and then suddenly
just twisted his arm off

at the shoulder. Shumph!

(CHUCKLES) All over in two seconds.

-I've never heard that.
-Kaldor City.

-What was the reason?
-Reason? It was haywire.

I wouldn't let a robot work on me,

not for the zelanite in this ship.

Shut up, Chub.

Thank you, V16.

A Voc class robot

has over a million multi-level
constrainers in its circuitry.

All of them would have to malfunction
before it could perform such an action.

Your trouble, Dask,
is you take all the magic out of life.

They go wrong, my friend.

It's been known.

Only where there's an error
in programming.

-DASK: Each case on record...
-This was a case.

Tore his arm off.

We're turning. Has anyone noticed?

ZILDA: I heard it was a leg.

V9: Mate in eight moves, Commander.

-I will check, Commander.

The computation Is confirmed.


They're unbeatable, Commander.



-V14: V74 tracer, sir.

Storm scale three, range 10.52,
timed 306,

-vector 71 and holding...
-Right, full crew alert, 14.


Full crew alert.

-Full crew alert.

-break out an instrument pack.
-Right, sir.

Let's hope this one's worth chasing.

About time we had some luck.

Full crew alert.


Can I stop now?

If you want to.

It will not affect this?

Affect this? No, it's a yo-yo.

It's a game.
I thought you were enjoying it.

Enjoying It?

You said I had to keep it
going up and down.

-I thought it was part of the magic.
-Magic, Leela?

-I know, I know.

There's no such thing as magic.

Exactly. To the rational mind
nothing is inexplicable,

only unexplained.


explain to me how this Tardis
is larger on the inside than the out.


All right, I'll show you.

It's because Insides and outsides

are not in the same dimension.

Which box is larger?

That one.

Now which is larger?

That one.

But it looks smaller.

-Well, that's because It's further away.

If you could keep that
exactly that distance away

and have it here,

the large one would fit inside
the small one.

That's silly.

That's transdimensional engineering,

a key Time Lord discovery.


-This is the exciting bit.
-What's exciting?

Well, seeing what's outside.

DOCTOR: I don''t...

It's metal!

We've landed inside something metal.

But how can we?

How can the Tardis be Inside
something metal?

Well, one box inside another.
I just explained it to you.

No, not very clearly.

Well, it's a rather dull
subject, anyway.

-I wonder where we are?
-You mean you don't know?

Well, not precisely, no.

You mean you can't control this machine?

Well, of course I can control it.

Nine times out of ten.
Well, seven times out of ten.

Five times. Look.

Never mind, let's see where we are.

You won't need that.

-How do you know?
-I never carry weapons.

If people see you mean them no harm,
they never hurt you.

Nine times out of ten.

-How does It look, Toos?
-Tell you in a moment.

Right tracking?

-Clear and running, Commander.
-Left tracking?

-And running.
-TOOS: It's small.

Scale 3.4, not building.

What have you done
with all the big ones?

TOOS: I don't make them!
ZILDA: Range 4.12.

-Running time 3.30.
-That's something, anyway.

-We won't have to chase this one.
-ZILDA: Ground centre, 001.

V32: No instrument pack report
yet, sir.

Chub. Get after him.

It's all right, I'll go.

-UVANOV: Scientists.

How can I run a mine with amateurs?

-Chub's all right.

Just because he's from
one of the founding families?

-I didn't mention his family, Commander.
-One of the 2Q?

You know, it's amazing
the way you people stick together.

No, it's not amazing, it's sickening.

I hope you're watching
the traverses, Commander.

Oh, please, don't worry
about my job, Zilda.

What's she blowing, Toos?

Spectro’s muddy.
Could be some zelanite, some keefan,

traces of lucanol!

Ah, money in the bank. Cheer up, Zilda.

I'll make you rich again.


(SIGHS) Blazing rods!
Where in the seven suns is that robot?



Yes, sir?

Where have you been?
Get that instrument package.

Well, come on, get a move on.

I've got to launch it
before the hatches are locked.

Did you hear what I said?

Yes, sir. I heard what you said.

Well, get on with it, then!

No, look, there, you electronic moron.

What are you doing?

Look, stop. Stand still.


No. Get back.

Get away from me!


This is the Commander.
All checks complete.

All systems clear and running.

Security robots stand by

-to commence hatch-lock sequence now.
-TOOS: Range 219.

Running time .43.

Duty mover, stand by for switch
to motive power.

Coming right down our throats

SO we can really suck the pay stream
out of this one.

V32: Monitors indicate obstruction
on forward scoop deck.

Then get it cleared, V32.
Get it cleared.

What Is It?

Specially hardened alloy.

Scored all over.

Must come in under great pressure.

-What must?
-Whatever it is they fill it up with.


-This Is very interesting.
-Back there.

I heard something.

It comes in here.

-What does?
-Whatever it is.

Range .87.

Running time .13.

Ground centre 093.

It's veering away.

Mover, where's that power?

BORG: It's coming, sir.

So is old age, Borg,

and I don't want to spend mine
in this desert

waiting for you to do your job.

-Range .3. Running point...
-Switching to motive units now.

...ground centre 991.

UVANOV: Oh, we may just catch the edge,

but we're going to have to chase
to stay there.

-What is it?

-Chub's dead.

-UVANOV: You sure?
-Of course I'm sure.

All right, then, first things first.

-There's nothing we can do for him now.
-He was murdered!

How do you know?

Because people don't strangle


Yes, he's in the forward storage locker.

You have to abort this one.

What, lose this storm?
We're almost on to it.

Poul's talking about murder, Commander.

I'm talking about money!

-You have no choice!
-This time.

Close scoops, trim vents.

Crew, stand down.

What Is It?


Either that or the tide's gone out.

Where are the trees?

There's no water, so nothing grows.

Nothing at all, by the look of it.

It's beautiful.

Hmm. A bit garish for my taste.

-What's that white thing on the horizon?

Looks like dust.


It's a sandstorm.

Come on, let's get out of here.

Come on!

This is a Sand mine.
We're in one of the scoops.

-What does that mean?
-The storm could be travelling

at a thousand miles an hour.

The sand will cut us to pieces
unless we get back to the Tardis.

Come on!

-We've been robbed!
-I said I heard something.

-The shutters!

If there are no manual controls,
we're dead!

Somebody must have heard.

-Was he like this when you found him?
-Just a little fresher.

You said you heard screams.


He was strangled.

Well, the scream stopped.

UVANOV: What's this?

POUL: I've no idea.

-Crew all assembled?
-They should be by now.

Let's get this thing settled, then.

The sooner we get this worked out,

the sooner we get back
to making our quota.


Never should have let him on board.

He'd probably agree with you.

-Coming, Commander.

There must be a way out.

I do not think I like this
metal world, Doctor.

Well, we can't get out of it
till we find the Tardis.

Watch it!

All present?

Kerril’s not here yet.

He's on his way.
He was in the rear section.

-But it'll take a while.
-Right, we'll make a start, then.


Now, you all know that Chub is dead.

-One of you killed him.
-One of us, surely?

-That's what I said.
-No, you did say "one of you".

All right then, one of us killed him.
The question is which one?

And why?

Well, this is a two-year tour.

Maybe Chub was just beginning
to get on somebody's nerves?

-He was certainly getting on yours.

UVANOV: Yes, but we all know
where I was.

I was on the power deck.

UVANOV: Was Dask with you?


Not all the time.

I went to check the syncro-relays.

Now, look, I had nothing against Chub.

-Okay, he talked too much but...

-the time Poul heard the scream...

Says he heard the scream.

Let's keep the point open.

Why should I lie?

Now, you interrupted Zilda.

Founding family people never interrupt
each other. Isn't that right, Zilda?

Someone interrupted Chub,
with both hands.

Please, Poul.
We're all waiting for Zilda.

I was simply going to say
the scream could have been arranged.

-TOOS: How?
-A communicator recording.

-What would be the point?
-To give somebody an alibi, Commander.

You sent Poul to look for Chub.

You could have arranged it all.

You mean the poor man
might have been dead

-when Poul heard the scream?
-Oh, nice try, Zilda.

Now, does anybody know what this Is?

DASK: It's a corpse marker.
UVANOV: A what?

A robot deactivation disc.

They use them
in the construction centres.

If ever we used the stop circuit
and turned off all our robots,

they'd have to go back to a construction
centre for reactivation.

On arrival, each would be marked
with a disc like that

to show it was a deactivated robot.

The technicians call them
corpse markers.

It's a sort of a joke.

It seems our murderer
has a sense of humour.

UVANOV: That was on the back
of Chub's hand.

Not just a murderer, then.

Seems like one of us IS a Maniac.

Use your brain, Borg.

We would know, wouldn't we?

But we don't.

Do we?

V14: Storm scale 16, range 9.8.

Timed 707.

Vector 72 and holding.

SV7: All right, 14. Full crew alert.

All but the human in the rear section
are accounted for.

Storm Mine Four is now
under complete robot control.

Begin the check sequence.


how do you know they're not hostile?

Because robots are programmed
to help people, not hurt them.

You won't hurt us, will you?

-V9: Please wait here.
-Thank you.

What's all this for?

Mineral extraction.

The surface of this planet
is a sea of sand,

probably several miles deep
and constantly moving.

And I imagine
contains valuable metallic elements,

otherwise they wouldn't go
to all this trouble.

But those creepy mechanical men?


I have seen a similar sort of thing
on Korlano Beta.

The mine passes over the surface
searching for useful ores.

Naturally, the heavier elements
tend to sink into the sub-stratas,

so a really good sandstorm Is a bonus.
It stirs things up a bit.

-Sometimes you talk like a Tesh.
-Thank you.

It was not well meant.

Are the mechanical men friendly?

Robots don't have feelings.

It's the people they serve
we must hope are friendly.

-Perhaps there are no people here.

Robots don't need chairs,
and certainly not padded ones.

Because they have no feelings?

SV7: Please identify yourselves.

Well, I'm the Doctor, and that's Leela.

I wonder if It's possible for us
to speak to the person in charge?

I'd like to thank him
for saving our lives.

SV7: Il command.

Well, thank you for saving our lives.

What are you doing here?

Oh, well, the other mechanical man
told us to wait.

What were you doing in the scoop?

DOCTOR: Trying to get out.

Please wait here.


No, Doctor.

He said we must wait here.

First we find the Tardis,

then we have a little scout round

and we'll be back before they know.


Right. Hold them there.

Well, that settles that, then.

CASS: I told you. Didn't I say so?


Come on, let's all get back to work.

-Now, just a minute.
-Yes, what do you mean,

let's get back to work?

You heard SV7. There are intruders,
a man and a woman.

They're obviously the murderers
and we've got them under lock and key.

Why are they obviously the murderers?
I don't see that.

You just don't like to be wrong, do you?

Nobody's proved that I am.

I mean, who are these people?

-Could they be ore raiders?
-Ore raiders? There's no such thing.

No, listen. We are at this moment
in the middle of the biggest storm

we've come across since we started
this tour and we are wasting time.

The robots are mining.

UVANOV: Robots do not have instincts.

They'll be lucky to get half
of what we can get.

We are not out in the middle
of this desert for pleasure.

We are here to make money.

So get on your feet
and get back to work.

That is an order!

Give it to a robot.

-What did you say?

we've got to find out about those two.

For all we know,
there may be more of them.

Makes sense.

If there are more of them,
they will be caught.

In the meantime,
as the Commander suggests,

I think we should return to our posts.

Why? Nothing's changed.

-All right. 7.

-SV7: Yes, Commander?
-Bring the man and the woman here.

I was about to inform you, Commander.

-They have escaped.
-You see?

What? Escaped?

Then you'd better find them
and find them quick.

Put every spare robot on it.

Ah, there we are.

Hello, my dear old thing.

The ore comes In under pressure
from the separators.

I wonder what it is, Leela.
What do you think...



I wish that girl
wouldn't wander off like that.