5X. The Visitation

Season Nineteen - 1982

Script Editor: Anthony Root
Produced by: John Nathan-Turner
Writer: Eric Saward
Director: Peter Moffat
Designer: Ken Starkey
Incidental Music: Paddy Kingsland


The Doctor tries to take Tegan back to Heathrow in 1981. Although the location is right, the year is in fact 1666 - the time of the Great Plague.

The Doctor and his companions meet an out of work actor, Richard Mace, who tells the Doctor of a recently fallen comet. The Doctor begins to suspect alien intervention, and his suspicions are confirmed when he is confronted by an Android who is terrifying the locals by impersonating Death.

The Doctor finds a group of Terileptils who have crashed on Earth. They plan to depopulate Earth by releasing a plague, using the black rat as a carrier. The Doctor and his companions follow the Terileptils to London where a struggle sets fire to a bale of hay. The Terileptils are destroyed, and the Doctor throws the remaining vials of black plague into the furnace.

The Doctor's companions wonder why the Doctor does not attempt to stop the fire, but he suggests it should be allowed to run its course.

Regular Cast

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

Guest Cast

  • Richard Mace: Michael Robbins
  • Android: Peter Van Diesel
  • Miller: James Charlton
  • Villager: Richard Hampton (1-3)
  • The Squire (Sir John): John Savident (1)
  • Charles: Anthony Calf (1)
  • Ralph: John Baker (1)
  • Elizabeth: Valerie Fyfer (1)
  • Chief Terileptil: Michael Melia (2-4)
  • Poacher: Niel West (2-3)
  • Headman: Eric Dodson (3)
  • Stuntmen: Alan Chuntz (1), Stuart Fell (1)
  • Scythemen: Jeff Wayne (2-3)
  • Terileptils: Michael Leader (3-4), David Summer (3-4)
  • Nightwatchman: Don Paul (4)
  • Villagers: Victor Cruxford, Tom Gandl, Charles Adey Gray, Keith Guest, Tom Knox, James Tye, Bill Whitehead

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 566. Part One Monday, February 15, 1982 6:55 PM - 7:20 PM 9.3M
BBC 1 567. Part Two Tuesday, February 16, 1982 7:05 PM - 7:30 PM 9.5M
BBC 1 568. Part Three Monday, February 22, 1982 6:55 PM - 7:20 PM 10.1M
BBC 1 569. Part Four Tuesday, February 23, 1982 7:05 PM - 7:30 PM 10.2M

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Ealing Television Film Studios
  • Television Centre Studio 3

Outside Locations

  • Black Park, nr. Iver, Slough
  • Tithe Barn, Hurley


When Nyssa is pushing the Terileptils' android into her room you can see that her pants have fallen down a bit too far. She hurriedly pulls them up, making a big show of it in the process.

Watch for Peter Davison's hat trick in this story? One scene he's wearing it, next scene it's gone.

Working Titles

The Plague Rats

The Invasion of the Plague Men


The Doctor's sonic screwdriver is destroyed in Part Three.