The Creature from the Pit: Wikis


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106 – The Creature from the Pit
Doctor Who serial
The Creature from the Pit.jpg
The Doctor approaches Erato, attempting to communicate with the creature.
Guest stars
Writer David Fisher
Director Christopher Barry
Script editor Douglas Adams
Producer Graham Williams
Executive producer(s) None
Production code 5G
Series Season 17
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Originally broadcast October 27–November 17, 1979
← Preceded by Followed by →
City of Death Nightmare of Eden

The Creature from the Pit is a serial in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from October 27 to November 17, 1979.



On the planet Chloris, metal is scarce. Making a forced landing on Chloris, the Doctor, Romana and K-9 soon find themselves caught up in a long and secret enmity between the Lady Adrasta, who rules the planet in fear, and the mysterious Creature she keeps in a Pit...


The use of an MK3 Emergency transceiver on the TARDIS identifies a distress signal and brings the craft to the lush jungle world of Chloris, where metal in all forms is a rare and prized commodity. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 venture out to discover the remains of an enormous egg in the jungle, and when they meet the inhabitants they find a matriarchy ruled through fear by the icy and callous Lady Adrasta. Without metal to make the tools needed to keep the jungle under control, lush plant life dominates. The Lady Adrasta controls the planet's very last metal mine, holding on to power through the Huntsmen and the Wolfweeds. Her throne room contains an array of metal including a shield patterned in the same way as the remnants of the shell. She mentions the Creature which dwells in a deep pit on Chloris.

Romana has meanwhile been captured by a party of scavengers, ever keen to find and hoard more metal, and they are particularly impressed by the possibilities of K9. The robot enables her escape and she is briefly reunited with the Doctor before he leaps into the Pit himself, determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and the Pit. Within the Pit he encounters Organon, an astrologer thrown there by Adrasta some time earlier, and then comes face to face with the Creature: indeed, the vast shapeless blob rolls over him. The Doctor calculates it is not, however, dangerous, and is fascinated to note the Creature produces metal from within itself. It also forms a tentacle and draws a picture which the Doctor recognises as the shield from Adrasta’s throne room. Lady Adrasta, her lady-in-waiting Karela, the Huntsman, his wolfweeds, and some guards, enter the Pit from a secondary entrance and make their way to the Doctor, Organon and the Creature.

The scavengers have meanwhile raided the throne room for booty, including the alien shield. It exerts influence over two of them, who take it down into the Pit and place it on the Creature. It turns out that the shield is a communication device. Erato, as the Creature is named, is the Tythonian ambassador to Chloris and came to negotiate a treaty exchanging metal for chlorophyll fifteen years earlier. Its craft was the vast egg found in the jungle. However, Adrasta realised her power was dependent on the control of the planet’s metal supply and so imprisoned Erato to maintain her status. The Huntsman orders the Wolfweeds to detain Adrasta as Erato takes his revenge, smothering the evil ruler and dissolving her in seconds. The Doctor makes arrangements to have Erato lifted from the Pit. Meanwhile, Adrasta’s sidekick, Karela, attempts to capitalise on the situation and seize power herself—but with the help of K9 the Doctor brings it to nought.

The Doctor has rescued the Tythonian just in time – it seems Tythonus has declared war on Chloris over the missing ambassador, and has despatched a neutron star to collide with Chloris’ star and destroy the system. It is due to collide within the next twenty-four hours. Working against the odds, Erato, from his reconstituted spacecraft, weaves a metal covering around the star, enabling the Doctor, using the TARDIS gravity beam, to draw the star off course and neutralise the danger . The Doctor’s last act on Chloris is to push the Huntsman, now one of the de facto rulers, toward a mutually beneficial trade agreement with Erato and the Tythonians.

Cast notes

  • Adrasta's engineer, Tollund, was played by former Doctor Who director Morris Barry.
  • Eileen Way, who played Karela, also played Old Mother in the very first Doctor Who story, An Unearthly Child.
  • David Brierley makes his debut as the voice of K-9 in this story, taking over from John Leeson.


Serial details by episode
Episode Broadcast date Run time Viewership
(in millions)
"Part One" 27 October 1979 (1979-10-27) 23:32 9.3
"Part Two" 3 November 1979 (1979-11-03) 24:03 10.8
"Part Three" 10 November 1979 (1979-11-10) 23:55 10.2
"Part Four" 17 November 1979 (1979-11-17) 24:07 9.6
  • This was actually the first serial of the season to be filmed. As a result, Lalla Ward's performance and manner of dress as Romana is somewhat different than that seen in the previously broadcast serials, since she was still working out her character at the time.
  • This was the final story to be directed by Christopher Barry, one of Doctor Who's longest-serving contributors.
  • Although the Doctor's solution to the problem of the neutron star, weaving a shell of aluminium around it, has been criticised as silly, the idea was, in fact, proposed to David Fisher by members of the Cambridge University Institute of Astronomy.
  • At the start of the story K9 is seen reading "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" to the Doctor.

In print

Doctor Who book
Book cover
Doctor Who and the Creature from the Pit
Series Target novelisations
Release number 11
Writer David Fisher
Publisher Target Books
Cover artist Steve Kyte
ISBN 0-426-20123-X
Release date 15 January 1981
Preceded by Doctor Who and the Monster of Peladon
Followed by Doctor Who and the Enemy of the World

A novelisation of this serial, written by David Fisher, was published by Target Books in January 1981. Fisher amuses himself with lengthy discourses on life on Tythonus complete with a glossary. Audiobook released by the BBC on 7 April 2008 read by Tom Baker as part of the "Doctor Who: Classic Novels" range.

Broadcast and VHS release

  • This story was released on VHS in July 2002
  • The BBFC have recently cleared some extras for a future DVD release.


  1. ^ Shaun Lyon et al. (2007-03-31). "The Creature from the Pit". Outpost Gallifrey. Retrieved 2008-08-30.  
  2. ^ "The Creature from the Pit". Doctor Who Reference Guide. Retrieved 2008-08-30.  
  3. ^ Sullivan, Shannon (2007-08-07). "The Creature from the Pit". A Brief History of Time Travel. Retrieved 2008-08-30.  

External links


Target novelisation

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