Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure

Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure

Advertisement for the play during the time Jon Pertwee starred as the Doctor.
Written by Terrance Dicks
Date premiered 23 March 1989 (1989-03-23)
Original language English
Genre Science Fiction

Doctor Who – The Ultimate Adventure was a 1989 stage play written by Terrance Dicks, based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who.

The play was staged at twenty theatres around Britain, commencing 23 March 1989. It initially starred Jon Pertwee (who had played the Third Doctor in the series) as the Doctor. On 29 April Pertwee was ill, so understudy David Banks, who portrayed the Cyber Leader in the series from Earthshock onwards, played the Doctor for the matinee and evening performances. Pertwee continued in the role until 3 June and two days later Colin Baker, who had played the Sixth Doctor, took over the lead until the run ended on 19 August. The play was adjusted accordingly to conform with the Sixth Doctor's persona.


The story involves an alliance between the Daleks and the Cybermen who have joined forces to kidnap the American Envoy and ruin a peace conference on Earth. The Doctor's companion is a Frenchman named Jason. After failing to stop the Cybermen take the US Envoy from a nightclub, they are joined by a singer named Crystal, who works there. Following a trip to Altair Three and then the Bar Galactica, they meet Madame Delilah but are forced to flee along with a small furry creature called Zog.

The time travellers are captured briefly by the Daleks and navigate their ship through an asteroid field before making a series of short trips, arriving finally to confront the Dalek Emperor. The Doctor tricks the Emperor into revealing that the Daleks intend to betray the Cybermen and a battle breaks out between the two. Returning to Earth, the Doctor realises the US Envoy is under Dalek influence and programmed to destroy London with a Dalekanium bomb. The Doctor breaks his conditioning and defuses the bomb by putting it in a teapot.

The play featured a female Prime Minister named in the script 'Mrs. T' (a reference to Margaret Thatcher). The Third Doctor addresses her as Margaret in the play whilst the Sixth Doctor addresses her as Maggie. The Third Doctor also mentions Denis, a reference to Denis Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher's husband. The play also features some musical numbers, including two from Crystal and "Business is Business" from Madam Delilah, the title of which acted as a catchphrase running throughout the play.


Advertisement for the play during the time Colin Baker starred as the Doctor.


The script featured numerous Doctor Who in-jokes, including Jon Pertwee's line "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" and his singing of the Venusian Lullaby. The story also required a Dalek casing to be borrowed by one of the heroes to fool the Daleks, a ploy used in television stories The Daleks (1963) and Planet of the Daleks (1973). Other ties to the television series included a Draconian and a Vervoid which make cameo appearances as mercenaries in the Bar Galactica scenes.

Five new Dalek props were built for the production. Specific design differences from the props used in the Doctor Who television series at the time included a more cylindrical shape and a single vertical column of hemispheres on the skirt side panels. They also had larger rectangular dome lights, no discs along the eye stalks and no shoulder slats as were present on post-1966 Daleks. The Dalek Emperor prop was a faithful reproduction of the model that appeared in The Evil of the Daleks (1967).

The TARDIS set was also different, featuring roundels in a square rather than a hexagonal grid and a miniature console in which the central column was retracted completely out of view. The Cybermen costumes were identical to those used in Attack of the Cybermen (1985).

When Colin Baker took over as the Doctor, he was provided with a redesigned version of his Sixth Doctor costume by the production crew. The new version incorporated shades of purple and blue, colours which could not have been used on TV due to interference with blue screen effects.

The production used a large screen that displayed visual effect sequences and also incorporated lasers into the action. The screen showed such things as the TARDIS spinning through space and a meteor shower. The lasers were used to depict the effect of the Dalek guns, a force field and a time tunnel.

Audio adaptation

In 2008 Big Finish Productions released The Ultimate Adventure as an audio drama, directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery.

The Ultimate Adventure
Album cover
Big Finish Productions audio drama
Series Doctor Who: The Stageplays
Release no. 1
Featuring Sixth Doctor
Written by Terrance Dicks
Directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive producer(s) Nicholas Briggs
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Production code BFPDWSPCD01
Release date September 2008




  1. "The Ultimate Adventure Cast and Crew". The Ultimate Adventure – Doctor Who Stageplay. 1989. Retrieved 3 April 2015.

External links

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