Doctor Who (1963–1989)
4 user 2 critic

The War Machines: Episode 1 

The Doctor and Dodo return to London in the present day where the Doctor becomes concerned about WOTAN, a new super-computer installed in the Post Officer Tower.


Michael Ferguson


Ian Stuart Black (by), Kit Pedler (based on an idea by)

On Disc

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Episode cast overview:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
Jackie Lane ... Dodo
Alan Curtis ... Major Green
John Harvey John Harvey ... Professor Brett
Anneke Wills ... Polly
Sandra Bryant ... Kitty
Michael Craze ... Ben
Ewan Proctor Ewan Proctor ... Flash
William Mervyn William Mervyn ... Sir Charles Summer
John Cater ... Professor Krimpton
Ric Felgate Ric Felgate ... Roy Stone - American Journalist
John Doye John Doye ... Interviewer


The Doctor and Dodo return to London in the present day where the Doctor becomes concerned about WOTAN, a new super-computer installed in the Post Officer Tower.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 June 1966 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Anneke Wills makes her first appearance as companion Polly. This was also the name of her daughter (b. 1963). See more »


WOTAN: Doctor Who is required! Bring him here!
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty (2013) See more »


Composed by Eric Siday
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User Reviews

The Extinction of Dodo
22 June 2010 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Science fiction has long dealt with the replacement of people by machines. This was a real and understandable issue that began with the invention of the Jacquard Loom putting weavers out of business. Advancements in technology and production techniques did away with a great need for unskilled labor and even some skilled labor. What need for a hundred navvies when you have a backhoe? What need for ten thousand cobblers when shoes can be made by machines? But brainwork was considered the final provenance of humans, at least until computers began to be used widely in the 1950s and 1960s. Once they started coming in, who would need people any more?

THE WAR MACHINES deals with this worry in a bizarre fashion as the master computer, WOTAN, proceeds to hypnotize people into its quest for a world where man lives only to serve the computer. Although the symbolism of this is buried -- properly so -- it is the intelligent manipulation of these symbols that makes good fantasy and science fiction, and that made DOCTO WHO into more than a pointless children's show.

The writers, Kit Pedlar and Ian Stuart Black have written a straightforward script that goes about its work efficiently -- even though the symbols show up occasionally with the dehumanized scientists under Wotan's domination, or the young people who seem to have no jobs -- there are several scenes set in a disco; older people, on the other hand, seem to get their plot points while in their locals. The actors read their lines well and the directing is first rate -- notice the point-of-view shot for the cliffhanger that ends episode Two: suddenly you are not an audience, not even one of the good guys, but one of the lumbering robots under the control of WOTAN. Very nicely done.

Unhappily, much of he technology looks ridiculous, not only from the perspective of 2010, but even for the day: it all looks like flat-painted fiberboard.

Oh, well, the delight of DOCTOR WHO does not lie in its visual execution, which was always limited by a budget that was tight at the beginning and shrank every year. It lies in the vision of its writers, their care and their craft, and the competence of the actors, producers, directors and cameramen.

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