[[caption-width-right:350:See [[Creator/ElisabethSladen the person]] on the far right? [[BlatantLies One-off character for sure.]]]]

->''"A longshanked rascal with a mighty nose!"''
-->-- '''Irongron''' describes the Doctor

The one where Middle Age warlords meet a talking potato. Oh, and the one where we meet the woman who first etched herself on the Doctor's hearts.

An [[IntrepidReporter intrepid investigative journalist]], Sarah Jane Smith, [[GoingForTheBigScoop infiltrates a secret research centre]] where a number of top scientists are being held in protective custody while UNIT investigates the disappearance of some of their colleagues.

The Doctor follows the trail back to TheMiddleAges in the TARDIS; unbeknownst to him, Sarah Jane has stowed away on board. It seems that a robber baron called Irongron has made a deal with Linx, a Sontaran of the Sontaran Army Space Corps. Linx gives Irongron advanced weapons in exchange for time and shelter while repairing his damaged spacecraft. The kidnapped scientists are working under hypnosis to help.

The Doctor helps local lord Sir Edward of Wessex to repel an attack by Irongron's men, then drugs the food in Irongron's castle in order to remove the advanced weapons while they sleep. With the help of one of the scientists, the Doctor then sends the scientists back to the 20th century.

Linx kills Irongron and is about to leave when he is shot in the back of the neck with an arrow by Hal, one of Wessex's archers. Turns out that's the only weak spot on a Sontaran's armour - the "probic vent" - and he dies. The Doctor, Sarah and Hal escape before the ship can explode and destroy Irongron's castle.


An official BBC radio play by Barry Letts, "[[Radio/TheParadiseOfDeath The Paradise of Death]]", takes place between this episode and the next and stars Three, Sarah Jane and the Brigadier.


* AchillesHeel: The Sontaran's probic vent.
* AnachronismStew: It's implied that the action may be taking place pre-1066 ("Wessex," as a place name, was quickly dispensed with after the Norman Conquest), but the armor and weapons look to be anywhere between the 13 to 15th centuries.
* AnimatedArmor: Linx builds a robot knight for Irongron, but when the control unit gets damaged it turns on his men. The Doctor decides to [[DressingAsTheEnemy impersonate another robot]], but this backfires when Irongron decides to test the robot's skill by fighting it.
* ArmorPiercingSlap: Irongron gets a nasty surprise when he tries to manhandle Linx and gets knocked across the room by the HeavyWorlder.
* BlastingItOutOfTheirHands: Once by Linx with his hand laser, and more impressively, Hal shooting an axe out of Irongron's hand [[ImprobableAimingSkills with a bow]].
* BlindWithoutEm: Prof. Rubeish. He fashions himself a monocle using Linx's equipment.
* BorrowedCatchphrase: The Brigadier says, "Oh, my giddy aunt" when he learns Professor Rubeish is missing, a phrase that was commonly spoken by the Second Doctor.
* BulletProofFashionPlate: After spending days in the middle ages, exercising (and presumably sweating) and rolling around in the dirt and straw, the Doctor's clothing is still immaculate.
* CallForward[=/=]CallBack: The Doctor remembers [[Recap/DoctorWhoS22E4TheTwoDoctors the last time]] he met a Sontaran, but the actual events behind the meeting wouldn't be shown on TV for another 20 years.
* ChandelierSwing: The Doctor does one during a fight with Irongron's men.
* CutHisHeartOutWithASpoon:
-->'''Irongron:''' I'll chop him up so fine, not even a sparrow will fill its beak!
* DramaticUnmask: Happens twice InUniverse to Irongron; first when he catches sight of a Sontaran with his helmet off, then when the robot warrior he's fighting turns out to be the Doctor.
* EnhancedOnDVD: The special release adds a starburst glow and laser blast effect to the orange tip of Linx's Sontaran hand laser device that makes it more apparent when it's activating, and replaces the exterior shot of an explosion going off that implies the castle Irongron sacked blew up (the series didn't have the budget or technology back then to show a castle properly explode) with a CGI effect where it is actually shown to be blown apart as everyone runs for cover.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Sarah is introduced infiltrating UNIT by impersonating her aunt and getting belligerent when the Doctor asks her to make coffee.
* EvolvingCredits: This episode debuts the opening sequence used until Three's finale, when it was modified to become Creator/TomBaker's intro for all but his final season.
* FireForgedFriends: The Doctor and Sarah start off not liking or trusting each other much. Battling Linx together marks the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
* FishOutOfTemporalWater: Sarah Jane.
* TheGadfly: The Doctor enjoys himself trolling feminist Sarah Jane with sexist remarks.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: When the Doctor says he has to go find a young girl (Sarah Jane), Prof. Rubeish says to himself: "Young girl? Should have thought he was a bit old for that sort of thing."
* GivingRadioToTheRomans: Though unlike other examples of this trope, it's simply a means of buying off Irongron. The Doctor still worries about the [[HumansAdvanceSwiftly long term effects]] of giving these warlike humans advanced weaponry before their time.
* GoingForTheBigScoop: Sarah Jane.
* HistoricalInJoke: The Doctor describes Linx as "nasty, brutish and short", just like life in the Middle Ages (actually the quote is from Hobbes ''Leviathan'').
* HumansAreUgly: Irongron recoils in horror at the sight of Linx without his helmet, who snarks in response that his appearance isn't particularly pleasing to a Sontaran either.
* ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy: The knaves of Irongron, and Irongron himself, can't hit anything with their new 'star weapons'. Doesn't really discourage them from having fun with them, if a bit frustrating when actually in battle. Justified as older rifles weren't very accurate and the men firing them had normally fought with medieval weapons and had never seen a gun before. They decide to kill the Doctor via firing squad as aiming practice.
-->'''Irongrad:''' ''[amused]'' These knaves of mine aim so ill, Doctor, you are mayhap safer to stand still.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Hal the archer can put an arrow through a probic vent from quite a ways away.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: A caffeine variation; when the Doctor reveals to Sarah Jane that he is an alien time-traveler, after a moment's shock she announces, "I could murder a cuppa tea!"
* InformedAbility: The Doctor's 'skilled' swordplay.
* InstantSedation: {{Inverted|Trope}}. The drugged food takes a minute or so to knock out the people who ate it, but they are awakened with just a shake and a warning the castle is going to blow up.
* IntrepidReporter: Sarah Jane.
* ItAmusedMe:
** BloodKnight that he is, Linx has no problem giving some primitives advanced weaponry so they can attack their rivals. The Doctor compares him to a [[EvilIsPetty little boy stirring up an ant hill to stop himself from getting bored]].
** The guards let the Doctor and Sarah enter the castle posing as monks seeking alms, then have a good chuckle over how Irongron will react to them.
* JabbaTableManners: The Doctor decides to toss away a bone while feasting, and gets a DisapprovingLook from Sarah.
* LaughablyEvil: Irongron and Bloodaxe are a damn goofy couple of guys.
* MagicFromTechnology: Both Linx and the Doctor are seen as wizards by the locals.
* MayDecemberRomance: Rubeish mistakes the Doctor's interest in Sarah as this. Probably because he's eccentric, a bit of a distracted klutz, and [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} prone to letting his thoughts meander into La La Land]].
* TheMiddleAges: Sarah Jane seems to think it's TheDungAges.
* MindControl: Linx does this to the scientists.
* PeopleInRubberSuits: Linx.
* PullTheThread: The Doctor, when he sees through Sarah Jane's cover story
* SculleryMaid: Sarah Jane poses as one to infiltrate Irongron's castle and drug the food.
* ShotAtDawn: Irongron puts the Doctor in front of an impromptu firing squad so his men can have some target practice with their new firearms (thus possibly becoming the first firing squad in Earth's history).
* SlippingAMickey: Sarah Jane drugs Irongron's men's food and drink.
* {{Technobabble}}
-->'''Sarah:''' I've never heard so much gobbledegook in my life, but I expect you know what you're talking about.
* TimePolice: The Doctor finds himself in this role, and states that the Time Lords don't like "unauthorised" time travel. Well he should talk!
* TimeyWimeyBall: The Doctor recognizes the Sontarans, complete with asking about their interminable war against Rutan Host, despite them never appearing in the series before. It's shown ''12 years later'' that the Second Doctor had [[Recap/DoctorWhoS22E4TheTwoDoctors encountered them before]], along with the Sixth Doctor.
* TranslationConvention: Both scientific technobabble and the Doctor's QuintessentialBritishGentleman slang are apparently interpreted into Norman French for Irongron.
* UnfortunateNames: Professor Rubeish's name sounds like "Rubbish". The Doctor almost thinks he's been insulted when the professor first introduces himself.
* UnwantedRescue: When the Doctor finds Rubeish at the castle, the scientist doesn't want to be rescued because he's too interested in the work being carried out for Linx. Also, he's so nearsighted and so naive that he hasn't actually realized how much danger he's in.
* WaybackTrip[=/=]GivingRadioToTheRomans: In this case, keeping firearms from developing centuries too early.
* [[WhamEpisode Wham Serial]]: This serial names the Doctor's home planet, introduces one of the most popular companions of the series, Sarah Jane Smith, and also introduces recurring enemy race the Sontarans ([[TimeyWimeyBall although]] the Second Doctor [[TimeTravelTenseTrouble will later have]] [[Recap/DoctorWhoS22E4TheTwoDoctors previously battled them]]). Along with a prototype version of the time-tunnel credits sequence, This episode is also the debut of the Diamond Logo, arguably the most recognizable logo from the classic series.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We're introduced to the scullions who work in Irongron's castle, who get a significant scene discussing feminism with Sarah Jane. We see the Doctor go out of his way to evacuate Irongron's men, but we never see him go back for the women and they don't appear in later scenes. Sarah doesn't even express any concern about them. Did they get blown up?
* WheresTheFunInThat:
** After the Doctor tells the Brigadier that he'll go search for the missing Professor Rubeish in the TARDIS, he pretty much says this to the Brigadier after the Brigadier points out the TARDIS's not-quite-good landing record.
--->'''The Doctor:''' A straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, but it is by no means the most interesting.
** The Doctor pretty much states his MO when Sarah Jane Smith asks "[[YouHaveGOTToBeKiddingMe Are you serious?]]"
--->'''The Doctor:''' About what I do, yes. Not necessarily about the way I do it.
** This is Irongron's reaction when he gets a firing squad of his men to [[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy kill the Doctor with their new rifles]], and Linx tells him to let him (Linx) do it personally.
--->'''Linx:''' Give me a weapon. I will destroy him.\\
'''Irongron:''' Come now, Linx. Would you spoil good sport?
* WorthyOpponent:
** Irongron briefly considers the Doctor as this, appreciating his [[DeadpanSnarker wit]] as he dodges the bullets of the firing squad.
--->'''Irongron:''' Beshrew me, I grow fond of this Doctor.
** Subverted with Irongron and Linx. They work to each other's mutual gain and occasionally exchange respect and good natured banter but in their time apart, they express entirely justified distrust and constantly plot to murder each other.
* WrongGenreSavvy: See TheMiddleAges above.
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: When Sarah Jane starts speaking like this, Irongron's maid thinks she's nobility.