7G. Dragonfire

Season Twenty Four - 1987

Script Editor: Andrew Cartmel
Produced by: John Nathan-Turner
Writer: Ian Briggs
Director: Chris Clough
Designer: John Asbridge
Incidental Music: Dominic Glynn


Inside Iceworld Belazs leads the crew of the Nosferatu to see the Kracauer, who tells the crew they have been selected to join Kane's group of mercenaries. Kracauer orders the men to be frozen until they are needed. One of the crew makes a break for it and runs into the restricted zone where he finds a man making an ice sculpture. He accidentally drops him gun into a vat of liquid nitrogen. A man reaches inside and hands the gun back. Naturally it is too cold to handle, and when dropped it shatters. The man, Kane, puts his hand of both side of the escaped mercenary's head, killing him in a few seconds.

Inside the TARDIS the Doctor has been picking up a strange tracking signal from the dark side of the planet Svartos - home to the trading colony Iceworld. He thinks something interesting is going on, and the TARDIS materialises inside the colony, unnoticed by everyone except a little girl. At first the colony appears to be like the frozen food section of a supermarket, but going through a door the Doctor and Mel enter a cafe.

As they sit down at the table they overhear someone talking to a waitress, arguing over an unpaid bill. The Doctor and Mel recognise the voice - Sabalom Glitz. Glitz recognises Mel, but does not recognise the regenerated Doctor. Glitz tells the Doctor and Mel that he is on a mission to deliver some documents that nefarious unnamed parties are keen to get their hands on. At that moment Belazs appears to talk to Glitz. She is wants the return of the 100 crowns he took from Kane for a freighter full of frozen food which turned out to be rotten fruit. The Doctor suggests that he should pay back the money, but Glitz lost his money in a game of cards - including 102 crowns that he sold his crew for. Belazs gives Glitz 72 hours to come up with the money or he loses his ship - the Nosferatu.

At the same time Kane is overseeing the cryo-sleep of the crew of the Nosferatu with Kracauer. Even though the crew were unwilling they will wake up from the process with no memories, allowing Kane to order them to do anything.

In the cafe Mel learns about a dragon from the disgruntled waitress - Ace. She realises the Doctor had a reason for coming to Iceworld. Ace asks if she can go with the Doctor to look for the dragon - and the treasure it is supposed to be guarding. Glitz tries to convince the Doctor there is no treasure, despite looking at a treasure map for several days. Unbeknown to Glitz the game of cards he was involved it was rigged by Kane. In order to get his money back he has to go looking for the treasure.

Inside the colony Belazs has been thinking of leaving Kane's service, and asks Kane for Glitz's spacecraft. Kane tells her that whilst she bears his mark on her hand he own's her, and orders the Nosferatu to be destroyed. Kane likes the cold, but even Iceworld is not cold enough, and he has to return to the restricted zone where he has a cabinet that cools him down. Whilst he is there Belazs gives orders that the spacecraft is not to be destroyed.

The map shows the lower levels of Iceworld including the Singing Trees, the Ice Garden, Lake of Oblivion, Death of Eternal Darkness and Dragonfire. The Doctor folds the map and prepares to leave. Glitz says it's his map, and that it's too dangerous for girls. Ace is not happy, but Mel says she is happy to stay behind whilst the Doctor and Glitz go looking for the treasure. Mel sits in the cafe whilst Ace continues to wait on the customers. One such customer is not happy with her milkshake saying it is too lumpy. Ace pours the milkshake of the customer's head, and she is fired on the spot and ordered to get out, along with Mel.

Ace takes Mel back to her room, which is untidy with clothes strewn everywhere. Mel learns that Ace comes from Perivale, and studied A-level chemistry. During an experiment to extract nitroglycerine from gelignite when something went wrong, and some form of time storm appeared and transported Ace to Iceworld. Since the altercation in the cafe there have been announcements about an ice blockage. Ace decides she can deal with it, and hands some deodorant cans containing Nitro-9 to Mel.

Ace and Mel make their way to the ice blockage and find several of Kane's men trying to push it. Ace tells them to take a tea break whilst she attaches two cans of Nitro-9. The explosion blows apart the ice, much to Ace's excitement. Soon afterwards Belazs arrives and arrests Ace and Mel. They are taken to Kane. Kane asks Ace to join his army of mercaneries. All she has to do is take his golden sovereign. Mel shouts at Ace not to do it, and Kane orders her to be frozen. Ace snatches the coin then holds up a can of Nitro-9 and tells the men to let Mel go. Together they run out and into the lower sections of Iceworld. Mel thinks they are lost, and screams as the dragon, which Ace does not believe in, appears.

The Doctor and Glitz are making progress, and find their way to the singing trees - ice structures that are constantly making a strange noise. As they travel down a corridor the Doctor goes ahead of Glitz and loses him in the corridors.

The Doctor makes his way to a ledge, but needs to get to a lower ledge. He climbs over the edge and tries to use his umbrella to help himself down but gets stuck, and is left dangling over the edge. Glitz returns and tells the Doctor, who is still hanging over the ledge, that he has found the Ice Gardens.

Kane is not happy with Belazs for not searching Ace and Mel. He needs to stop them reaching the Doctor and Glitz, and thaws out Glitz's old crew.

Glitz is able to help the Doctor onto a lower ledge. Unaware that the map has a tracking device, or that is is recording his voice and transmitting it, Glitz tells the Doctor it is going to take more than 72 hours to find the dragon's treasure, and that, with the Doctor's help, plans to hijack the Nosferatu. Unfortunately the plan has been overheard by Belazs. As the Doctor and Glitz go to the lower docking bay to find the Nosferatu Ace and Mel find the Doctor's umbrella. Ace digs into her backpack and pulls out an emergency ladder which they use to get down to the lower ledge.

In the lower docking bay there is only one guard, and the Doctor distracts him by talking about the nature of existence, whilst Glitz sneaks on board. Inside, as he sits in the pilot's chair, Belazs appears. She points a gun at Glitz, but when the Doctor appears Glitz grabs the gun. The Doctor tells Glitz that now he has the ship he should pay back his debt, whilst Belazs will never be able to pay her debt to Kane. They leave Belazs to continue their pursuit of the dragon and the treasure.

Ace and Mel are having problems of their own. Kane's mercenaries catch up with them. Mel uses two cans of Nitro-9, and whilst this slows them down they recover. Ace and Mel run off, but Mel slips near some stairs. Ace drags Mel under the stairs as a mercenary approaches.

Inside the restricted zone the man making the ice sculpture of Kane's dead wife finishes. Kane says that no-one must ever see it, and kills the man.

Inside the colony Belazs talks to Kracauer about leaving, and about killing Kane. She tells him about the cabinet, and when Kane returns there he sneaks in and alters the ambient temperature, causing it to rise instead of fall. Kane awakes and sees Kracauer, and also sees his statue melting. He kills Kracauer before resetting the temperature. He knows Belazs is behind the plot to kill him.

In the lower levels the Doctor opens a hatch and hears a growl. Looking round the corner they see the dragon, and it fires a laser at them. They close the hatch, but using a laser the dragon is able to cut its way through. Glitz points a laser gun at it, but the Doctor grabs it off and throws it away saying they have no right to kill. The dragon, realising the Doctor and Glitz are not a threat, moves away.

The Doctor and Glitz meet up with Ace and Mel and talk about meeting the dragon. They are met by one of the mercenaries - Pudovkin. Glitz recognises him, but Pudovkin does not acknowledge Glitz at all. Pudovkin has lost all memories -

except in cases of overwhelming hate or anger. As Pudovkin raises his gun to fire his gun he is shot - by the dragon. The dragon signals for the Doctor, Glitz, Ace and Mel to follow it. The dragon leads the group to the Singing Trees. Using itself as the power source the dragon activates a poly-dimensional scanning imager. A hologram of a woman appears and starts reading the planetary archives - criminal segment 93-1203. The woman speaks of two criminals - the leaders of the notorious Kane-Xana gang. For his crimes Kane was exiled from his home planet of Proamon and sent to Svartos. One side is perpetually in sunlight, meaning one side is perpetually cold, and it here that Kane is able to survive. Xana killed herself during the final siege of the gang's headquarters. The Doctor realises that the dragon is in fact the treasure. When the Doctor asks the question the dragon's head opens revealing a power source.

Whilst this is going on Kane confronts Belazs. He says he has been thinking it over and he should let her leave. She is taken aback by the change of heart, but Kane puts his hands on her face and the cold kills her. Kane listens in on the Doctor's conversation and hears about the location of the treasure - a treasure he has been after for 3,000 years. Kane orders the duty guards to attack the dragon and to bring back its head. The duty guards grab heavy weapons and head off to look for the dragon.

The Doctor has heard of the planet Proamon before, and wants to head back to the TARDIS to consult his star charts. Glitz tells the Doctor that the ice garden is a star chart, and the Doctor and the dragon head off, leaving Glitz behind with Mel and Ace. Ace wants to go back to her quarters for some more Nitro-9. Glitz tells her he has commercial explosives on the Nosferatu and leaves them to fetch it.

In the Ice Gardens the Doctor sees the star charts, but realises that all the planets are slight out of position, meaning the star charts are very old - over 2,000 years old.

In the colony Kane orders all his frozen mercenaries to spread terror through Iceworld and to clear all the people by herding them towards the Nosferatu. In the cafe people panic as the mercenaries start firing. Everyone flees except one little girl who hides under a table.

As the creature escape from the guards the Doctor meets up with Ace and Mel and takes them back to the TARDIS. He needs to convince Kane that the star charts are wrong, and to learn more about Proamon.

Glitz arrives back at his ship in time to see it take off without him after all the people have been shepherded on to it. As he watches the ship takes off - and explodes. He goes back towards the cafe and finds only one person - a woman looking for her daughter.

In the lower levels the two guards manage to disable the dragon and cut off the head for Kane. As they do so the head opens revealing the power source. A power discharge kills both guards. The Doctor and Mel come across the guards and power source. The Doctor takes the power source.

The Doctor always planned to take it to Kane, but when Kane reveals he is holding Ace, the Doctor, Mel and Glitz go to see him. Kane reveals that all around are dead controls awaiting a power source. The dragon - a bio-mechanoid creature - was his jailer. Now, after 3,000 years, with the power source Kane plans to take his revenge on Proamon. Mel inserts the power source, and the controls start up along with a star flight drive. The whole colony is the spaceship which Kane travelled to Svartos on. Kane is keen to take vengeance on his home planet, but the Doctor tells him there is no home planet; Proamon was destroyed 1,000 years after he was exiled.

During his exile Kane had often planned to travel to the light side of the planet where he would quickly die. Now, with no home planet, he has nothing to live for. Instead he opens a viewing hatch to outside allowing unfiltered sunlight through; the sunlight quickly melts him.

Glitz renames Iceworld as the Nosferatu II. Mel decides the Doctor's random lifestyle is too much, and stays on board with Glitz. Ace is not looking forward to a trip with Glitz, and instead the Doctor offers to let her travel with him.

The TARDIS de-materialises, noticed only by the small girl - Stellar. He mother finally catches up with her, and they head off to their own ship.

Regular Cast

  • Melanie Bush: Bonnie Langford
  • Ace: Sophie Aldred

Guest Cast

  • Kane: Edward Peel
  • Sabalom Glitz: Tony Selby
  • The Creature: Leslie Meadows
  • Announcer: Lynn Gardner
  • Kracauer: Tony Osoba (1-2)
  • Belazs: Patricia Quinn (1-2)
  • Pudovkin: Nigel Miles-Thomas (1-2)
  • McLuhan: Stephanie Fayerman (1, 3)
  • Bazin: Stuart Organ (1, 3)
  • Customer: Shirin Taylor (1, 3)
  • Anderson: Ian MacKenzie (1)
  • Zon: Sean Blowers (1)
  • Arnheim: Chris MacDonnell (2)
  • Archivist: Daphne Oxenford (2)
  • Stellar: Miranda Borman (3)
  • Sculptor: Larry Bishop
  • Glitz's Crew: (all 1) Ian Bodenham, Ray Knight, Ross Murray, Sue Somerset
  • Guards: Chris Andrews, Jon Baker, Simon Brown, Keith Harvie
  • Customers/Mercenaries: Miles Ambrose, Olwyn Atkinson, Caroline Christie, Tricia Clark, Penny Cole, Noel Drennan, Patrick Edwards, Christian Fletcher, Nick Florio, Rick Florio, Andrew Hunter, Brian Jacobs, Ian Johns, Linda Kent, Harry Klein, Eric Lindsey, Maggie Linton, Bill Malin, Gloria McGuire, Stuart Myers, Lee Pond, Denise Powell, Barbara Russell, Pat Shepherd, Doug Stark, Julie Ann Wood

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 665. Part One Monday, November 23, 1987 7:35 PM - 8:00 PM 5.5M 61%
BBC 1 666. Part Two Monday, November 30, 1987 7:35 PM - 8:00 PM 5.0M 61%
BBC 1 667. Part Three Monday, December 7, 1987 7:35 PM - 8:00 PM 4.7M 64%


  • Television Centre Studio 1
  • Television Centre Studio 3


Part 1: When Kane lays his coin on the control panel you can see the plywood grain of the 'metal' console.

Part 1 - 2: In the the cliffhanger to episode 1, with the Doctor dangling over a precipice, clinging only to his umbrella, it's established that it's quite a long way down. Eventually Glitz rescues him by going to the bottom of the precipice and letting him step down onto his shoulders, implying that the fall was only a few feet after all!

Watch out for the Doctor's amazing appearing umbrella. One minute he has it, then it's gone, then, for a brief second on Glitz's ship, he has it again.

In the scene where Ace and Mel meet the Dragon, when Mel screams there is a momentary expression of pain on Ace's face. According to Sophie Aldred she had a massive headache that day, and here she was standing inches away from Bonnie Langford in full scream.

In one scene Sophie Aldred is running down a pathway and the supposedly crystalline wall alongside her lifts up briefly to show us that it's nothing more than a plain old sheet of plastic.

When Belazs goes to push down a button, the whole console strains under the pressure.

Working Titles

Absolute Zero

The Pyramid's Treasure

Pyramid In Space


Mel (Bonnie Langford) leaves at the end of the story.