Doctor Who (1963–1989)
3 user 4 critic

A Desperate Venture 

While the City Administrator's schemes reach their climax, the Doctor and Ian venture into the tunnels under the city to discover the real cause of the Sensorite plague.


Frank Cox


Peter R. Newman


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Episode cast overview:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Carole Ann Ford ... Susan Foreman
Stephen Dartnell Stephen Dartnell ... John
Ilona Rodgers ... Carol
John Bailey ... Commander
Martyn Huntley Martyn Huntley ... First Human
Giles Phibbs Giles Phibbs ... Second Human
Peter Glaze Peter Glaze ... Third Sensorite
Arthur Newall Arthur Newall ... Fourth Sensorite
Eric Francis Eric Francis ... First Elder
Joseph Greig Joseph Greig ... Warrior (as Joe Greig)
Anthony Rogers Anthony Rogers ... Sensorite


While the City Administrator's schemes reach their climax, the Doctor and Ian venture into the tunnels under the city to discover the real cause of the Sensorite plague.

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Did You Know?


This episode takes place in the 28th century. See more »


Susan smudges the letter to prove that the ink is still wet, but the smudge was visible before Susan and John had received the letter. See more »


Susan Foreman: Grandfather and I don't come from Earth. Oh, it's ages since we've seen our planet. It's quite like Earth, but at night the sky is a burned orange, and the leaves on the trees are bright silver.
See more »


Featured in Looking for Peter (2012) See more »

User Reviews

S1: The Sensorites: Solid if disjointed story with good design but delivered too slowly and with too little consequence
14 August 2013 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Having really enjoyed the previous story, it was a little disappointing to find that this story did not really maintain the standard. It starts well enough with the alien race offering a sinister presence but this is minimized after the first two episodes and what remains is a bit of a mystery story combined with race-against-time elements and also a slippery member of the Sensorites trying to thwart the Doctor at every step. These elements are all decent enough but they don't really slot together as well as they should and generally I felt it stuttered and stumbled a bit in the telling.

This isn't helped by the rather slow pace that some of the episodes have, not too much of consequence happens and it happens slowly. I never really disliked any of it but it didn't spark or have the sort of content that I had enjoyed with The Aztecs. It is a shame because I really liked the Sensorites as characters – at least at first, before the plot became a bit ordinary and they seemed a bit "human" in their delivery. Their design is the main thing that appeals. The Ood of the new seasons clearly owe these creatures a debt since they have a similar look and in particular carry something to aid their telepathy. The masks are great and look very alien – like the Daleks they are very imaginative in terms of their look, particularly for a show where so far the humans or humanoids seem to be predominately used. I wasn't so keen on their body shapes being that of the actors (some are pretty tubby and don't look "alien" in their tight tracksuit) and I also thought it was a shame that the mask moved when the actor moved their mouth - I would have prefer them to not have a "mouth" in this way, but overall I liked them.

The cast are decent but not as good as the previous story. This time I guess it is Hill's turn to head off to the beach for a few weeks as she is sidelined for much of the story. Hartnell is mostly good and sells his lines even if he is trying to be dramatic within some so-so developments. Russell is solid but not great although it was nice to see Ford continue to be more than a screaming presence. The aliens are mostly good – although the villain of the pack does ham it up somewhat. The humans are mostly pretty wooden for some reason, although I liked the moments where Dartnell's John was suffering. It isn't new to this story, but I did notice a lot more stumbled lines and small errors in these episodes. Perhaps I was less engaged and more prone to notice them, but it did amuse me to think of the approach of the BBC then – they carry on shooting and figure "close enough" while the cast are professional enough to carry on and not break character or say "cut".

The Sensorites as a race interested me but as a story arch it only did a solid, so-so job. Coming off the back of The Aztecs probably didn't help me but the plotting is a little bit messy and it doesn't flow or have any of the tightness that it needed. Things happen slowly which hurts them where maybe a bit more urgency and pace to the delivery would have helped? Has good aspects but as a whole it is only a solid story.

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Release Date:

1 August 1964 (UK) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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