5D. The Androids Of Tara

Season Sixteen - 1978/1979 (The Key To Time)

Script Editor: Anthony Read
Writer: David Fisher
Produced by: Graham Williams
Director: Michael Hayes
Designer: Valerie Warrender
Incidental Music: Dudley Simpson
Fight Arranger: Terry Walsh (4)


The TARDIS lands on the planet Tara in the continuing quest to assemble the Key to Time. The Doctor insists of fishing, whilst Romana goes off alone to obtain the segment.

Romana finds, and transforms, the fourth segment that was part of a statue. After she has done that she is taken by Count Grendel. He is amazed how similar she is to Princess Strella, and that's when Count Grendel gets an idea inside his head.

Prince Reynart is due to take the throne soon, but he is concerned that he will be assassinated. He has an android duplicate for this eventuality. The Doctor is taken captive by Reynart's men, and asked to repair the android.

Meanwhile Grendel is having android problems of his own. His plan was for the real Strella to marry the Prince, then the Prince would be killed. Grendel would then marry Strella, taking her estates, and she would also be killed. As the real Strella would not co-operate he planned to use an android. But now he has Romana the plan was to change ...

Regular Cast

  • Voice of K-9: John Leeson
  • Romana: Mary Tamm

Guest Cast

  • Count Grendel of Gracht: Peter Jeffrey
  • Swordmaster Zadek: Simon Lack
  • Prince Reynart: Neville Jason
  • Swordsman Farrah: Paul Lavert
  • Madame Lamia: Lois Baxter (1-3)
  • Till: Declan Mulholland (1,3-4)
  • Archimandrite: Cyril Shaps (2-4)
  • Sergeant Kurster: Martin Matthews (2-4)
  • Creature: Ray Lavender (1)
  • Double for Romana: Roberta Gibbs (1)
  • Princess Strella: Mary Tamm (2-4)
  • Double for the Doctor and Grendel: Terry Walsh (4)
  • Gracht Guards: (all 2-4) Rodney Cardiff, Derek Carter, Steve Ismay, Mike Mungarvan, Gus Roy, Peter Roy, Tony Snell, Derek Suthern
  • Palace Guards: (all 2-3) Tony O'Leary, Walter Turner, Reg Woods
  • Priests: Ronald Gregory (2-3), Jay McGrath (2-3)
  • Nobles: (all 2-3) Kyle Adair, Charles Adey-Grey, Richard Atherton, James Delaney, Vernon Drake, Harold Horsham, Dennis Jennings, Jimmy Mac, Michael Moore, James O'Neil, Brychan Powell, Victor Reynolds, George Romanov, Evan Ross, Raymond St Clair, Roy Seeley, Philip Webb, Bill Whitehead, Lincoln White
  • Court Ladies: (all 2-3) Delphine Auchterlonie, Enice Bennett, Barbara Bermel, Christine Cole, Angela Delaney, Helen Garton, Iris Roniger
  • Extras: Ray Lavender (4), Alan Troy (2-3), Trevor Wedlock (2-3)

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 492. Part One Saturday, November 25, 1978 6:20 PM - 6:45 PM 8.5M
BBC 1 493. Part Two Saturday, December 2, 1978 6:20 PM - 6:45 PM 10.1M 65%
BBC 1 494. Part Three Saturday, December 9, 1978 6:20 PM - 6:45 PM 8.9M
BBC 1 495. Part Four Saturday, December 16, 1978 6:20 PM - 6:45 PM 9.0M 66%

Click here to show repeat broadcasts on the BBC


  • Television Centre Studio 1
  • Television Centre Studio 6

Outside Locations

  • Leeds Castle, Kent