6A. Black Orchid

Season Nineteen - 1982

Script Editor: Eric Saward
Produced by: John Nathan-Turner
Writer: Terence Dudley
Director: Ron Jones
Designer: Tony Burrough
Incidental Music: Roger Limb


The TARDIS lands beside a railway station in June, 1925, where the Doctor and his companions are warmly welcomed, and told that they are expected by Lord Cranleigh. The chauffeur who met them stares at Nyssa - much to her annoyance.

Whilst the Doctor is invited to play cricket on Lord Cranleigh's team, Tegan and Adric find out why the chauffeur was stating at Nyssa: she is identical to Ann Talbot. After the match the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric are invited to a party. Nyssa and Ann, as a joke, dress up in the same way.

Ann is the fiancée of Lord Cranleigh, but there is someone who is jealous - George, Lord Cranleigh's brother. He was thought to have died whilst exploring the Amazon, but in fact lives in the house, known only to Lady Cranleigh.

Disguising himself in the costume that the Doctor was to have worn George goes to the party and kidnaps Nyssa, believing her to be Ann. George takes Nyssa up to the roof of the building, where the Doctor convinces him he has the wrong girl. Lord Cranleigh tries to help his brother, but George stumbles and falls from the roof.

Regular Cast

  • Adric: Matthew Waterhouse
  • Nyssa: Sarah Sutton
  • Tegan Jovanka: Janet Fielding

Guest Cast

  • Lady Cranleigh: Barbara Murray
  • Lord Charles Cranleigh: Michael Cochrane
  • Sir Robert Muir: Moray Watson
  • Ann Talbot: Sarah Sutton
  • Brewster: Brian Hawksley
  • George Cranleigh: Gareth Milne (credited as The Unknown for 1)
  • Dittar Latoni: Ahmed Khalil
  • Tanner: Timothy Black (1)
  • Sergeant Markham: Ivor Salter (2)
  • Constable Cummings: Andrew Tourell (2)
  • Stationmaster: Jim Morris (1)
  • Footman (James): Derek Hunt
  • Raymond Digby: David Wilde
  • Double for Nyssa/Ann: Vanessa Paine
  • Ann's Maid: Caron Heggie
  • Cricketers: (all 1) John Asquith, Adrian Gibbs, Mitchell Horner, Nick Joseph, Fernando Monast, Stuart Myers, Kevin O'Brien, Rory O'Connor, Gus Roy, Lionel Sansby, Douglas Stark, Derek Suthern, Alan Talbot
  • Spectators: (all 1) Lisa Clifton, Lindy Salmon, Jane Sherborne, Sheila West
  • Police Driver: James Muir (2)
  • Dancers: John Asquith, Lisa Clifton, Adrian Gibbs, Nola Haines, Christine Kendall, Rosemary Lyford, Annette Lyons, Fernando Monast, Rory O'Connor, Gus Roy, Lindy Salmon, Jane Sherborne, Sheila West
  • Walk-ons: Amanda Carlson, Charles Milward, Brychan Powell, Frederick Woold

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 570. Part One Monday, March 1, 1982 6:55 PM - 7:20 PM 9.1M
BBC 1 571. Part Two Tuesday, March 2, 1982 7:05 PM - 7:30 PM 9.2M

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Television Centre Studio 3

Outside Locations

  • Buckhurst House, Withyham, East Sussex
  • Buckhurst Park, Withyham, East Sussex
  • House and yard in Quainton Road, Waddesdon
  • Quainton Railway Station, Quainton Road, nr. Aylsebury
  • Quainton Road, between Quainton and Waddesdon


Part 1: As the TARDIS crew arrive at the cricket match we hear a batsman hit the ball towards the boundary and see a fielder running after it. Then the umpire calls a wild Only it can't be a wide because the batsman hit it.

Working Titles

The Beast

The Black Orchid


This was the first purely historical story since Patrick Troughton's The Highlanders.