5K. Nightmare Of Eden

Season Seventeen - 1979/1980

Script Editor: Douglas Adams
Writer: Bob Baker
Produced by: Graham Williams
Director: Alan Bromly
Designer: Roger Cann
Incidental Music: Dudley Simpson


The space cruiser liner, the Empress, is due to drop out of hyperspace and enter orbit around the planet Azure. However Navigator Secker has not set the co-ordinates properly. Although the Empress is only a few degrees out, when it finally emerges from hyperspace it collides with another ship, the Hecate, and the two ships become fused together.

The Doctor picks up the Empress's mayday call, and a few minutes later the TARDIS materialises on board the Empress. The Doctor, Romana and K9 make their way to the bride of the Empress and find Captain Rigg of the Empress and Mr Dymond from the Hecate arguing about who was a fault and insurance details. The Doctor tells Rigg that he is from Galactic Salvage and Insurance, here to help, and that it is possible to separate the two ships. Rigg says the Empress does not have any power, and tells Secker to show the Doctor and K9 to the power unit, leaving Romana and Dymond to wait in the passenger lounge. When they've gone Rigg checks the Doctor's credentials, and finds Galactic Salvage and Insurance was liquidated twenty years earlier.

Secker shows the Doctor part of the way to the power unit, but then tells the Doctor which way to go, and says he is busy. Instead of going to the power unit the Doctor and K9 instead follow Secker. They watch as Secker takes something from a filing cabinet before running off into the ship. The Doctor looks in the filing cabinet and finds a fungus. K9 tells him this is the source of the drug XYP, otherwise known as Vraxoin. The Doctor knows how bad Vraxoin can be, having seen whole communities and planets destroyed because of the effects, which include a warm complaceny and a total apathy.

In the passenger lounge Romana meets Professor Tryst and has colleague Della. Tryst plans to become the first zoologist to qualify and quantify every species in the galaxy, and was hoping to find a sponsor on Azure. Tryst shows Romana his CET machine - the Continuous Event Transmuter. Tryst and Della explain that they collect specimens and store them in special crystals that are stored in the CET. The CET then allows them to view them at any time, continuing to live inside the crystals.

The Doctor tells Rigg about Secker leaving him, and asks if there is anywhere that Secker could have gotten hold of Vraxoin. Rigg tells the Doctor that the Empress is on a charter run, and that all passengers have been checked by the Azurean authorities. Rigg tells the Doctor about zoologist Tryst, and the Doctor goes off to meet him, telling Rigg to find Secker. When Rigg later tells the Doctor that Secker cannot be located the Doctor asks him to show him to the power unit. The power unit is close to the matter interface. The Doctor and Rigg hear a scream, and manage to pull an injured Secker out. Rigg calls for medics, and Secker is taken to the sickbay, but they are unable to save him.

Romana asks Tryst about his expeditions, and Tryst lets slip that one of his expedition of ten people died, and the circumstances are unknown. When Tryst and Della go out of the room Romana has a chance to look at some of the places that have been visited by Tryst in the CET. One of them is Eden, and in the trees a man is watching.

After learning of Secker's death the Doctor tells Romana to deal with the CET machine, which by her standards is primitive, whilst the Doctor and Rigg, with K9, try to separate the ships. Near the matter interface the Doctor orders K9 to start cutting a way through to the power unit. After a hole is cut the Doctor and Rigg remove a panel, and from within a creature leans out, and the Doctor orders K9 to fire on it, and then seal the panel back in place.

The Doctor tells Rigg about Secker taking the drug Vraxoin. Back on the bridge Rigg scans the ship for Vraxoin, and the scans turn up nothing. The Doctor tells Rigg there may be way he can use the TARDIS to get to the power unit, and leaves Rigg to go back to the TARDIS.

In the passenger lounge Romana operates the CET and takes another look at Eden. As she is watching something flies out and stings her, and she loses consciousness. Della finds her collapsed on the floor, but when she recovers Romana does not know what happened. Della goes to get Romana a drink, but unseen someone adds something to the drink. Then Rigg arrives, wanting a drink, and he takes away the tainted drink with him.

After setting up a device outside the TARDIS the Doctor returns to the passenger lounge where Romana tells him about the machine, and how something from the planet Eden got out. He tells Tryst to turn the machine off as he goes off to the bridge and Romana goes back to the TARDIS.

On the bridge Rigg is acting very strange. He is sat back in his chair, and is making jokes. The Doctor doesn't notice the state Rigg is in, and tells Dymond to start increasing the power on his ship whilst Romana gets ready inside the TARDIS. Rigg tells the Doctor he is thirst and goes to get a drink. A comment the Doctor doesn't immediately pick up on.

Dymond tells the Doctor his ship won't take the strain, and turns off the power. The Doctor goes off to search for K9, who had been taking a reading from one of the matter interfaces, and finds a space suited figure who runs away when the Doctor approaches. The Doctor chases him through the passenger pallets where there are many other people dressed in exactly the same silver space suits with white glasses, and into one of the matter interfaces. Inside the Doctor is attacked by another of the creatures.

In the passenger lounge Romana and Tryst are watching Rigg, who is laid back in one of the chairs, laughing, and not caring about the consequences of what has happened to his ship, or his likely execution for dereliction of duty. Romana leaves Tryst to go and look for the Doctor. As she approaches a matter interface a creature emerges. Another man appears and fires at it. As it disappears inside the Doctor comes crawling out. Although the man has disappeared the Doctor has a radiation meter that had been dropped. It bears the name Volante - Tryst's ship.

Tryst later finds the Doctor and tells him that he thinks his ship was used to smuggle the drugs, and also that he thinks his dead expedition member, Stott, was the person doing the smuggling, and that he may have passed the drugs on to someone else - Della. The conversation is cut short by the Doctor being called to the bridge. On the bridge he is met by Dymond, and also Waterguard Fisk and Landing Office Costa of the Azurian Excise. The Doctor had a trace of Vraxoin in his pocket from earlier, and when scanned it shows up. Fisk tries to arrest him, but the Doctor and Romana escape.

They make their way back to the passenger lounge, and Romana operates the CET machine and sets it to Eden. She and the Doctor then make their way into the machine, and to the Eden sample. Tryst's device is primitive, and lacks a dimensional osmosis damper. This means anyone can get into a projection... and also that anything can get out. The Eden sample also contains flora, and soon after entering vines entagle them and start dragging them towards a plant. The Doctor attacks one of the plant's roots and the vines let go.

There Doctor and Romana are attacked by creatures similar to the ones seen on the Empress, and they are rescued by a man who identifies himself as Stott, from the Tryst expedition. Stott leads them to a safe place. Stott has some scratches on his face from the creatures - Mandrels. Stott has found he could get out of the projection and onto the Empress. He never told Tryst or Della because he is a Major in the Intelligence section of the Space Corps investigating drug running.

Stott tells the Doctor it is possible to leave the projection at different points, one of which is the power unit. There they find K9. K9 tells the Doctor that there are five Mandrels close by. The Mandrels make their way to the passenger area. On the bridge Rigg sits and laughs watching the monitors showing the Mandrel attack. Fisk arrests Rigg for dereliction of duty, and orders armed crew to kill the Mandrels. Tryst doesn't want them killed, and instead suggest tranquillisers. Fisk takes charge of the Empress and orders crew to arrest the Doctor and Romana, or kill them if they offer resistance.

The Doctor tells K9 to return to a matter interface and go back to the TARDIS, and Stott and Romana to return to the bridge, through Eden. Whilst he works on the power unit a Mandrel attacks, and is killed when it is electrocuted. As it dies it crumbles to dust, and into Vraxoin. This is how the Vraxoin has been transported.

The Doctor arranges a preset time for him to set up the power unit, Romana to activate power from the bridge and K9 to operate the device by the TARDIS. At 20:25 all three things come together and the ships are separated. Dymond calls back to the Empress and tells Fisk the separation was a success and requests that he be allowed to continue. Fisk tells him that before the accident he was in a forbidden area, and so the request is denied.

During the separation the Doctor ends up aboard the Hecate - Dymond's ship. On board is a computer that reveals the Eden project is going to make around 9 million galactic credits in profit, and also an enchooka laser with which the CET projections could be transmitted across space. As Dymond prepares to enter a small shuttle to return to the Empress the Doctor sneaks on board. The Doctor tells Romana that Tryst and Dymond are the drug smugglers.

When Romana tells Della about Stott being alive she confronts Tryst, who tells that his operation was bankrupting him, and he needed to continue his research.

The Doctor returns to the CET machine but Fisk is waiting for him. Stott appears, shows his identification, and tells Fisk to look for Tryst and Dymond, who are returning to Dymond's ship to make the Eden transfer. Fisk's men, along with armed crew, start to herd Mandrels back into the projection. The Doctor, using the dog whistle he uses for K9, makes the final step to get the Mandrels inside. As he escapes, with a torn jacket, Romana turns off the machine.

On Dymond's ship Tryst begins the transfer, and on the Empress the Doctor and Romana boost the power of the CET. The Doctor then uses the CET to grab the Hecate and transfer that inside the CET. All Fisk has to do is to pluck Tryst and Dymond from the CET.

Regular Cast

  • Voice of K-9: David Brierley
  • Romana: Lalla Ward

Guest Cast

  • Professor Tryst: Lewis Flander
  • Captain Dymond: Geoffrey Bateman
  • Della: Jennifer Lonsdale (1-2,4)
  • Captain Rigg: David Dakar (1-3)
  • Crewmen: Richard Barnes (1,3), Sebastion Stride (3-4), Eden Phillips (4)
  • Navigator Secker: Stephen Jenn (1)
  • Stott: Barry Andrews (2-4)
  • Waterguard Fisk: Geoffrey Hinsliff (2-4)
  • Landing Officer Costa: Peter Craze (2-4)
  • Passengers: Maggie Petersen (2-3), Annette Peters (2), Peter Roberts (2), Lionel Sansby (2)
  • Stewardess: Sally Sinclair (1-2)
  • Computer Voice: Pamela Ruddock (1)
  • Mandrels: David Korff (2-4), James Muir, Jan Murzynowski (3-4), Derek Suthern (2-4)
  • Medics: Gary Dean, Reg Turner
  • Crewman Extras: (all 1,2,4) David Cole, Terence Creasy, Mark Kirby, Simon Sutton
  • Passenger Extras: (all 1-3) Jean Channon, Derek Hunt, Pat Judge, Ann Garry Lee, Greg Marlowe, Jay Roberts, Jenny Roberts, Judy Roger, Audrey Searle, Madelaine Simpson

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 518. Part One Saturday, November 24, 1979 6:00 PM - 6:25 PM 8.7M
BBC 1 519. Part Two Saturday, December 1, 1979 6:05 PM - 6:30 PM 9.6M
BBC 1 520. Part Three Saturday, December 8, 1979 6:00 PM - 6:25 PM 9.6M
BBC 1 521. Part Four Saturday, December 15, 1979 5:55 PM - 6:20 PM 9.4M 65%


  • Television Centre Studio 6