6B. Earthshock

Season Nineteen - 1982

Script Editor: Anthony Root
Produced by: John Nathan-Turner
Writer: Eric Saward
Director: Peter Grimwade
Designer: Bernard Lloyd-Jones
Incidental Music: Malcolm Clarke
Second Trooper (Carter): Mark Straker (1)

Last words of Adric



Now I'll never know if I was right.


The Doctor, after arguing with Adric, materialises the TARDIS, only ths time it materialises in a cave system. Soon the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan are captured and accused of killing palaeontologists who had disappeared.

Soon the real killers emerge - two blank faced robots who are protecting a hatch. After destroying the robots the Doctor examines the hatch, and finds it is concealing a giant bomb which had the power to severly weaken, or destroy, Earth. Using the TARDIS the Doctor is able to jam, and later disable, the bomb.

The Doctor and his companions, along with some soldiers, follow the arming signal to a spaceship that is returning to Earth, and has been granted security clearance.

On board are approximately 15,000 Cybermen who plan to destroy a conference on Earth where the delegates are discussing how to destroy the Cybermen. As the bomb has been disabled the Cyberleader decides to use the spacecraft instead, and locks it on course to Earth.

The Cyberleader leaves with the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa in the TARDIS, whilst the Cybermen leave via escape pods. Adric is left behind, and immediately uses his mathematical skills to attempt to bypass the Cybercontrols. There is one escape pod left, but Adric stays behind when he realises the final answer. Before he can free the controls a dying Cyberman destroys them and the ship plunges into Earth - millions of years in the past - with Adric still on board.

Regular Cast

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

Guest Cast

  • Lieutenant Scott: James Warwick
  • Professor Kyle: Clare Clifford
  • Walters: Steve Morley (1)
  • Snyder: Suzi Arden (1)
  • Sergeant Mitchell: Ann Holloway (1)
  • First Trooper (Bane): Ann Clements (1)
  • Captain Briggs: Beryl Reid (2-4)
  • Berger: June Bland (2-4)
  • Ringway: Alec Sabin (2-3)
  • Cyberlieutenant: Mark Hardy (2-4)
  • First Crewmember (Vance): Mark Fletcher (2)
  • Second Crewmember (Carson): Christopher Wittingham (2)
  • Androids: Barney Lawrence (1-2), Carolyn Mary Simmonds (1-2)
  • Cybermen: David Bache, Norman Bradley, Graham Cole, Peter Gates Fleming, Steve Ismay, Jeff Wayne
  • Troopers: Lynne Brotchie, Lisa Clifton, Nikki Dunsford, Ian Ellis, Jonathon Evans, Kevin O'Brien, Miles Ross, Stephen Whywent
  • Crew Members: Tim Goodings, Val McCrimmon, David Melbourne, John Towns

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 572. Part One Tuesday, March 9, 1982 6:55 PM - 7:20 PM 9.3M
BBC 1 573. Part Two Wednesday, March 10, 1982 7:05 PM - 7:30 PM 9.0M
BBC 1 574. Part Three Tuesday, March 16, 1982 6:55 PM - 7:20 PM 9.9M
BBC 1 575. Part Four Wednesday, March 17, 1982 7:05 PM - 7:30 PM 9.1M

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Television Centre Studio 1
  • Television Centre Studio 8

Outside Locations

  • Springwell Lock Quarry, off Springwell Lane, Rickmansworth, Herts


Part 1: Watch the scene when the last soldier in the search party hears a noise down in the caves and turns around. By the time he does so, the androids have disappeared down a side corridor, but you can see the shadow of one of them on the cavern wall. The soldier would have had to have been blind to miss it.

Part 2: Just before he receives a message saying that the freighter has received security clearance the Cyberleader tries to press a button on his console - and misses! But we hear the appropriate sound effect anyway.

Part 3: About 15 minutes into the episode, as Tegan complains that she's exhausted and Scott tells her to keep her voice down, look in the shadows behind them - something that looks like a stick is being waved around in the darkness. Then immediately afterwards as they climb the stairs on their way to the bridge you can see what could possibly be someone holding a clipboard moving about in the background. (This information came from Peter Davison, the first person to spot it afterwards.)

Part 3: After one of the first battles, as the Cybermen are walking up some stairs through the dead bodies, one of them stumbles briefly.

Part 3: During the cliffhanger it's blatantly obvious that the 3 columns of advancing Cybermen are merely mirror images - watch the middle one's right hand disappear!

Part 4: Look at the scene after the troopers and Tegan are separated. The troopers return to the TARDIS. There are four of them remaining at this point: the commander, a male with straight hair, a male with curly hair and a female. As they enter the TARDIS a Cyberman grabs the female trooper. In the next shot (inside the TARDIS) the commander, the male with straight hair and the female make it inside, closely followed by the Cyberman, but the curly-haired male trooper is missing! After they leave the TARDIS and are evading Cybermen in the freighter's hold, the female trooper has disappeared, and the curly-haired male one is back...!

Part 4: As the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa are being led away from the bridge, the Cyberleader loses his footing when he gets to the bottom step.

Part 4: Watch Adric as he's trying to type in the final code on the keyboard. He keeps tapping a key or two, then pulling away from the console because Matthew Waterhouse knows it's going to blow up any minute, thanks to the final remaining Cyberman (which Adric isn't supposed to know about.)

The Cybermens' mouth/chin pieces were originally clear plastic, but were later sprayed lightly with silver paint. Due to the order of filming they tend to swap back and forth.

Working Titles



Matthew Waterhouse leaves (dies) at the end of the story.

After Adric's death the end titles to Part Four scroll over a shot of his shattered badge with no end theme.

Part Two includes a flashback sequence with clips from Logopolis 1, The Tenth Planet 2, The Wheel in Space 6 and Revenge of the Cybermen 3.