4L. The Seeds Of Doom

Season Thirteen - 1975/1976

Script Editor: Robert Holmes
Writer: Robert Banks Stewart
Produced by: Philip Hinchcliffe
Director: Douglas Camfield
Designers: Roger Murray-Leach and Jeremy Bear (1-2)
Incidental Music: Geoffrey Burgon
Fight Arranger: Terry Walsh (4-5)


In the Antarctic a strange pod is found by an expedition. Due to the permafrost it was found in the pod could have been there for around 20,000 years. John Stevenson is getting a strange feeling from it, as though it is alive. Stevenson send pictures of the pod to colleagues in London. When all the experts have been baffled Richard Dunbar, from the World Ecology Bureau, calls in UNIT, specifically the Doctor. When the Doctor suggests that it could be of alien origin Dunbar is sceptical, but the Doctor tells him to tell the expedition to guard the pod until he arrives.

In the Antarctic base Stevenson is monitoring the pod, and notices it has grown by 10cm. The expedition people take it in turns to watch the pod. On Winlett's watch he looks away for a moment and the pod opens. A vine touches his arm, and he manages to call for help before collapsing. By the time Stevenson and Moberley get to him he has already started to turn green.

Dunbar has set up a meeting with Harrison Chase. Whilst the World Ecology Bureau is keen on looking after threatened animals, Chase is more keen on looking after plant life, and Dunbar thinks he would be interested in the pod that has been found. Dunbar tells chase the pod could disappear, for the right price, and gives Chase the location of the expedition. Chase sends two of his men - Scorby and Keeler - to retrieve the pod.

The Doctor and Sarah arrive at the base in the middle of a snow storm. Sarah is freezing even through protective clothing and the Doctor is just in his normal clothes, unaffected by the cold. The Doctor insists on seeing Winlett who is getting worse, and his temperature and pulse are dropping rapidly. The Doctor tells Stevenson that Winlett is changing form, and demands a blood test. Moberley goes off to take the blood as the Doctor is taken to the pod. Stevenson takes the Doctor and Sarah to the location where the pod was found, and the Doctor digs for another pod. When he finds one he confirms that the pods are Krynoid pods - they always travel in pairs. At the base the Doctor checks the blood sample which contains schizophytes - plant bacteria.

A medical team has been sent but is having problems getting through the ice. When a plane is heard outside Stevenson and Moberley help two people in to the base - Scorby and Keeler. As they warm up the Doctor tells Stevenson and Moberley there may be one way to save Winlett - amputate the arm where the infection started. There is only one person who is remotely qualified to perform the procedure - Moberley. As he prepares he is attacked by Winlett. Sarah finds Moberley's body, and the door to the outside open.

The Doctor, Sarah and Stevenson go out to look for Winlett, leaving Scorby and Keeler alone to search for the pod. Finding the open pod Scorby and Keeler start looking for the planet that came from it. The search for the Winlett/Krynoid outside proves fruitless, and the Doctor and Sarah return to the base as Stevenson goes to check the power plant. Inside the base the Doctor and Sarah and held at gunpoint by Scorby. Keeler ties up the Doctor and Sarah whilst Scorby questions them about the pod. When Stevenson returns he is captured by Scorby, and accidentally reveals there is a second pod. After retrieving the second pod, and also tying up Stevenson, Scorby frees Sarah so she can lead him and Keeler to the power plant where he sets up bombs that will destroy the plant.

Scorby and Keeler leave Sarah tied to a barrier in the power plant and leave for London. Inside the base the Doctor frees himself and Stevenson and goes to the power plant. The Winlett/Krynoid returns to the base and kills Stevenson before making its way to the power plant where the Doctor is freeing Sarah. They manage to get round it and trap it inside as the power plant explodes. They are rescued by the medical team that had been sent to the base.

In London Scorby hands the pod over to Chase, and tells Chase about the infection at the Antarctic base. Scorby tells Chase that everyone at the base was killed, but Dunbar visits Chase to let him know the Doctor and Sarah survived. The Doctor meets up with Dunbar and Sir Colin Thackery to discuss the pod's disappearance, and also how someone else knew of its existence. Thackery tells the Doctor that in the search for the pod the resources of his department are at the Doctor's disposal. Thackery tells Dunbar to organise a car for the Doctor, and outside they building the Doctor and Sarah are met by a chauffeur.

The car stops in a deserted track and the chauffeur points a gun at them. Seizing a chance the Doctor and Sarah run past chauffeur and into the countryside. They manage to overpower the chauffeur and go back to search the car to find out who he was hire by. In the boot Sarah finds some pictures painted by Amelia Ducat. The visit Ducat to see if she knows who bought the pictures. After some prompting Ducat remembers that Chase bought the picture - although he never paid for it.

The Doctor and Sarah drive round to Chase's mansion. Once in the grounds there leave the cars and try to sneak in to the house. They run from guards but are caught by Scorby and taken to see Chase. The Doctor demands the pod, but Chase says he has the greatest collection of rare plants in the world, and that the pod signifies the rarest of all.

In a laboratory Keeler is working on the pod, and when he notices it growing he sends a butler to fetch Chase. As Chase leaves Scorby is left to take the Doctor and Sarah to a cell. They overpower Scorby and Sarah goes to call for help whilst the Doctor goes back to look for the pod. From the roof the Doctor looks down into the laboratory and sees Scorby enter with Sarah. As the pod begins to open Chase grabs Sarah's arm and holds it close to the pod. The Doctor jumps through the skylight and rescue Sarah. During the confusion Keeler leans on the bench and is infected by the Krynoid pod and immediately starts to transform into a Krynoid. Chase, and his butler, take Keeler to the cottage where he can be looked after.

Inside the house Sarah is looking for the Doctor. Ducat, on behalf of Thackery and using the non-payment for the painting, had been visiting Chase. On her way out Sarah manages to talk to her and asks he to contact Thackery and let him know what is happening. Outside Duct confirms Thackery's fears.

When the Doctor returns to the laboratory Scorby is waiting for him, and tells him Keeler has been infected. Scorby and a guard take the Doctor to the compost room. Chase arranges for the Doctor to be placed inside a grinder in the compost room. Sarah finds her way to the compost room and frees the Doctor from the grinder.

In the grounds Keeler, now fully Krynoid, breaks free from the cottage,. The Doctor and Sarah, joined by Scorby and some guards, flee from the Krynoid and hide in the cottage. The Krynoid is capable of speech and thought, and calls for the Doctor to join with it. It then says it will let everyone else go if the Doctor is handed over, an idea Scorby is keen on. The Doctor convinces Scorby that sacrifice will do no good, and asks Scorby to create a Molotov cocktail to distract the Krynoid.

When daytime comes Chase is able to finally go out into the grounds and photograph the Krynoid, and he watches as Scorby lobs a Molotov cocktail at it. The Doctor uses the distraction to make the Krynoid follow him as the rest of the people make it back to the main house. The Doctor makes it into London to Thackery's office where Thackery is talking to Major Beresford from UNIT, who refuses to attack a house without evidence. The Doctor tells them that as the Krynoid gains strength and grows plants everywhere will become hostile. As reports come in of people being killed within a mile of Chase's house Beresford thinks he has the evidence he needs, and the Doctor sets off to Chase's house with Sergeant Henderson.

At Chase's house plants start to attack, and windows break. After hearing reports of screams from the grounds Sarah and Scorby go out to investigate. They find a dead guard, and also Chase who has been possessed by the Krynoid, and believes that all animal life should be destroyed. Back inside the house Chase starts talking to his plants. Scorby and Sarah try to talk to him, but the plants start to attack them. The Doctor and Henderson arrive and fight the plants with weed killer.

The Doctor, Sarah, Scorby and Henderson retreat to a laboratory where the plants try to attack. Whilst getting additional wood to secure the windows Henderson is caught and killed by Chase. Scorby, believing UNIT to have deserted them, tries to make a run for it through the plants. Sarah goes looking for Henderson and find the compost room where Chase is waiting.

The Doctor finds a radio in the house and contacts Beresford and Thackery outside the grounds. He tells them the Krynoid could be as little as fifteen minutes away from primary germination where it would eject embryo pods around, and this would start the end of animal life on Earth. The Doctor says the only answer would be an air-strike on the Krynoid, and the house.

On the hunt for Sarah the Doctor enters the compost room and manages to get Sarah out of the grinder. He and Chase fall in but the Doctor manages to get himself out. The Doctor and Sarah are able to escape from the house, and through the plants, before the air-strike destroys the house and the Krynoid. As soon as the Krynoid is destroyed the plants become inanimate again.

Regular Cast

  • Sarah Jane Smith: Elisabeth Sladen

Guest Cast

  • Harrison Chase: Tony Beckley
  • Scorby: John Challis
  • Sir Colin Thackery: Michael Barrington (1,3-6)
  • Arnold Keeler: Mark Jones (1-4)
  • Hargreaves: Semour Green (1-5)
  • Richard Dunbar: Kenneth Gilbert (1-4)
  • John Stevenson: Hubert Res (1-2)
  • Charles Winlett: John Gleeson (1)
  • Derek Moberley: Michael McStay (1-2)
  • Amelia Ducat: Sylvia Coleridge (3-5)
  • Guard Leader: David Masterman (3-4)
  • Doctor Chester: Ian Fairbairn (3)
  • Chauffer: Alan Chuntz (3)
  • Guard: Harry Fielder (3-4 - uncredited for 3)
  • Krynoid Voice: Mark Jones (4)
  • Major Beresford: John Acheson (5-6)
  • Sergeant Henderson: Ray Barron (5-6)
  • Guards: Ian Elliott (3-4), Pat Gorman (3-5), Brian Nolan (3-5)
  • Marines: Ronald Gough (3), Patrick Milner (3)
  • Double for the Doctor: Terry Walsh (3-4)
  • Krynoid: Keith Ashley (4-6), Ronald Gough (4-6)
  • Secretary: Keith Ashley (5)
  • UNIT Soldiers: Peter Bailey, Rowland Geall, Patrick Ginter, Tony Snell, Barry Summerford, Derek Wayland

Original broadcast on the BBC

Channel Title Date Viewers Rating
BBC 1 422. Part One Saturday, January 31, 1976 6:00 PM - 6:25 PM 11.4M 59%
BBC 1 423. Part Two Saturday, February 7, 1976 5:30 PM - 5:55 PM 11.4M
BBC 1 424. Part Three Saturday, February 14, 1976 5:55 PM - 6:20 PM 10.3M
BBC 1 425. Part Four Saturday, February 21, 1976 5:45 PM - 6:10 PM 11.1M
BBC 1 426. Part Five Saturday, February 28, 1976 5:45 PM - 6:10 PM 9.9M
BBC 1 427. Part Six Saturday, March 6, 1976 5:45 PM - 6:10 PM 11.5M


  • Television Centre Studio 4
  • Television Centre Studio 8

Outside Locations

  • Athelhampton House, Athelhampton, Dorset
  • Dorking Quarry, Surrey; Buckland, nr. Reigate, Surrey
  • Television Centre, London


This is the final story to feature U.N.I.T. until the 1989 Sylvester McCoy story Battlefield.