5T. The Keeper Of Traken

Season Eighteen - 1980/1981

Script Editor: Christopher H. Bidmead
Writer: Johnny Byrne
Produced by: John Nathan-Turner
Director: John Black
Designer: Tony Burrough
Incidental Music: Roger Limb


While in flight the TARDIS is boarded by a strange figure in a chair. The figure announces himself as the Keeper of the Traken Union. The peace of the Union has been invaded by an alien entity, and the Keeper believes the Union is in trouble, and asks the Doctor and Adric to help him.

The Keeper is nearing the end of his reign and he needs help to ensure that evil does not take his place. The TARDIS materialises in a grove, and the Doctor and Adric are taken in front of the consul. The Doctor claims he is there at the request of the Keeper, but when the Keeper his summoned, but the Melkur is present and the Keeper announces that there is evil in the room.

Everyone assumes he is referring to the Doctor and Adric.and Consul Tremas takes them into his care. Along with Tremas's daughter Nyssa the Doctor and Adric discover a plan by the Master to gain the Keeper ship. He has taken over one of the Consul, who is chosen to the be the next Keeper. This paves the way for the Master to gain control.

The Doctor manages to expel the Master, and a new Keeper quickly takes position. The Master is thought to be dead, but some of the powers of the Keeper remain, and the Master takes over the body of Nyssa's father, Tremas.

Regular Cast

  • Adric: Matthew Waterhouse
  • Nyssa: Sarah Sutton

Guest Cast

  • Tremas: Anthony Ainley
  • Kassia: Sheila Ruskin
  • Katura: Margot Van Der Burgh
  • Luvic: Robin Soans
  • Proctor Neman: Roland Oliver
  • Melkur/The Master: Geoffrey Beevers (credited as Melkur)
  • The Keeper: Denis Carey (1-2)
  • Seron: John Woodnutt (1-2)
  • Fosters: Liam Prendergast (3), Philip Bloomfield (4)
  • Foster Extras: Maurice Connor, Michael Gordon-Browne, Pat Gorman, Donald Groves, Pat Judge, Barney Lawrence, Mark Midler, Jim Morris, Ralph Morse, Stuart Myers, Fred Redford, Doug Roe, Tony Snell, Barry Summerford, Colin Thomas
  • The Master: Anthony Ainley (4)

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 546. Part One Saturday, January 31, 1981 5:10 PM - 5:35 PM 7.6M
BBC 1 547. Part Two Saturday, February 7, 1981 5:10 PM - 5:35 PM 6.1M
BBC 1 548. Part Three Saturday, February 14, 1981 5:10 PM - 5:35 PM 5.2M
BBC 1 549. Part Four Saturday, February 21, 1981 5:10 PM - 5:35 PM 6.1M 63%

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  • Television Centre Studio 6
  • Television Centre Studio 8


This story saw the surprise return of the Master starting a trilogy of linked stories to reintroduce the character.