One of the earliest WHO stories I ever saw, back in the 70's, and the 1st one I saw every episode of (having missed the last 3 parts of "THE SILURIANS" and Parts 4-6 of "THE AMBASSADORS OF DEATH").  More frightful and horrific than usual, especially during the "alternate universe" section. In the 80's, when the Pertwee stories were initially put back into syndication, this was the FIRST one of his stories in the run, the earlier 3 not being included because they were in B&W (except for "SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE"-- not sure what happened there, maybe they just couldn't find a copy at all, until a color print turned up?).

This was also the very first time I saw The TARDIS control panel on the show, although, it still remains a total mystery how it is evven physically possible for him ot have removed it from the TARDIS itself, and how the thing managed to work at all disconnected from the rest of the machine.

I still don't think "Project Mohole" makes any damn sense at all, and more so, how breaking thru the crust of the Earth, even if it might release some strange gas and/or liquid, would somehow result in the DESTRUCTION of the entire planet!!  A sizable chink of the English countryside, maybe... but the whole planet?  NO WAY.  (Besides, anybody who's watched THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN with George Reeves knows that if you drill down far enough, you'll run into Mole Men!)

I leave it for others to do a more comprehensive run-down on this, Liz Shaw's final story. I mainly started this thread because of a fascinating article about the MUSIC used on the show, and this story in particular, that I wanted to share with everybody here...

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This was always a favorite story of mine - I was always a sucker for "mirror universe" stories, where you see different versions of familiar characters. Fascist Liz Shaw - woo-hoo!

I just read last night that Caroline John enjoyed playing "Fascist Liz Shaw" more than the regular one. She may have felt it was a good way to go out.

She's long been one of my top fave WHO girls, though this month, watching some Pertwee stories, I found I really got into Jo Grant much more. I guess my tastes have changed over the years.

Caroline John played "Laura Lyons" in the Barry Letts-Terrence Dicks HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES. There's a great scene between her and Tom Baker where his Sherlock Holmes tells her just what a CLOSE CALL she's had, getting involved with Jack Stapleton the way she did. (In the Sy Weintraub-Ian Richardson version of the same story, Laura is MURDERED-- and her husband, who never appears in any other version of the story, is blamed for it.  He was played by Brian Blessed!)

Watched this last night - this was another of the earliest stories that I saw when I was a kid.  I gather there was a certain amount of trouble behind the scenes - director Douglas Camfield started having heart trouble about halfway through and had to go into the hospital. Barry Letts had to step in and direct the rest of it. It must have been hard on his wife - Sheila Dunn, who played Petra Williams in this - to have to go on working while he was hospitalized. More random thoughts below...


1)I liked the volcano footage under the episode credits. This is the last time I can recall them doing something like that.


2)Good to see Christopher Benjamin in the first of his three (to date) Doctor Who appearances. Always liked him.


3)Olaf Pooley does quite well as Stahlman. Shame he couldn't meet up with Nyder's character from "The Silurians" and complain about "that wretched Doctor" over some sherry.


4)What are "Megga Volts", exactly?


5)Kate O'Mara was Camfield's original choice to play Petra. He only gave the part to his wife when O'Mara proved unavailable.


6)The Doctor was at Krakatoa? I wonder if he ran into Doug Philips and Tony Newman?


7)We also see the first mention of Venusian karate.


8)The Doctor apparently trusts Liz to work on the TARDIS console.  This was the last appearance of the original Hartnell console, by the way.


9)Supposedly this story was based on reports of real-life American and Russian drilling projects that were in the news at the time.


10)I like the whole "Mirror Universe" thing-  John and Courtney both play fascists pretty well, and Levene makes a good thug.  The various rank titles - Brigade-Leader, Section-Leader, Platoon Under-Leader, were derived from similar ranks used by the SS during the war. The interrogation scen was particularly intense.


11)Funny how long it takes the infection to affect Stahlman - everyone else goes nuts almost immediately.


12)Even as a kid, I questioned whether penetrating the Earth's crust would destroy the Earth.


13)He makes all this noise about not being able to take the others back with him,  but later on in life he'll have no problem leaving whole families in a parallel universe.  Heh, they should've had him bring Fascist Liz back - then they could've sent Scientist Liz back to Cambridge, and had Fascist Liz become the Brigadier's new second-in-command instead of that wuss Mike Yates.


14)I liked the paralle of him calling the Brigade-Leader "Brigadier" and then later calling the Brigadier "Brigade-Leader".


15)Lots of fun quotes:

  • "Yes, well, if it's true, I can see why you grew that mustache."
  • "Twenty miles - you're liable to wake up Old Nick going that deep."
  • "Our liver playing us up again this morning, is it, Professor?"
  • "Yes, well, I'll tell you something that should be of vital interest to you, Professor."  "What?" "That you, sir, are a nitwit."
  • "But I don't exist in your world." "Then you won't feel the bullets when we shoot you."
  • "I'll leave you to the Brigadier. He'll get the truth out of you."  Scary Fascist Liz is scary.
  • "What did you expect? Some sort of space rocket with Batman at the controls?" Now that would've been a good crossover.
  • "So free will is not an illusion after all."
  • "Goodbye, Liz, I shall miss you my dear."  Apparently they thought of writing a "farewell" scene for Liz but decided not to make a big thing of it.



  • Episode 1: Slocum bounds into the room!
  • Episode 2: The Doctor vanishes from the hut!
  • Episode 3: Mirror-Benton threatens to shoot the Doctor!
  • Episode 4: Penetration Zero is reached!
  • Episode 5: The Primords break in!
  • Episode 6: The lava flow approaches the hut!
  • Episode 7: And we end with Liz laughing!  (Probably because she knows she's not going to have to put up with these two jokers much longer!)



This is quite good, if - as with any seven-parter - a bit long.  Grim and apocalyptic - there's real tension in this.


I used to think the movie Quest for Love (1971), which was based on John Wyndham's story "Random Quest", was likely the inspiration for the parallel world element in this serial, because they both depict parallel worlds in which modern British history took a different course and appeared so close together. Then I checked the dates and found that "Inferno" appeared first. It turns out that the story had earlier been adapted on TV on the BBC SF anthology show Out of the Unknown in 1969, and I'd now guess it was this that inspired the Doctor Who story and the movie's production. Lest I give anyone the wrong idea I should say that Quest for Love is basically a romance movie and pretty awful.


This post displaced the thread Giant Monsters! from the home page.

More from the blog.  Enjoy!
Philip Sandifer:
"what do we get? Another scientific installation with mysterious deaths and monsters."

This latest time around, I watched "SPEARHEAD" and went straight to the sequel, skipping all 3 7-parters.

"Put another way, nothing whatsoever that the Doctor learns in the course of the four episodes spent in the alternate universe matters in the slightest when it comes to saving the real world. The four episodes dealing with the fascist alternate Earth only pad out the story. They have no consequences."

I think that has always annoyed me. They drag out the alternate Earth thing for 4 WHOLE long painful episodes, right to the final moment when "Everybody dies!!!!!", and then, in episode 7, there's no call for it.

"INFERNO", as it happens, was the 1st WHO TV story I actually managed to see every episode of. (I missed "AMBASSADORS" parts 4-6, but did catch the ending.) Since it started the Pertwee run on PBS in the 80's (right after Davison's 3rd season, if memory serves), when only half his stories turned up, this means I've probably seen it more than any other Pertwee story. Future video playbacks may make up for that eventually.

"John does brilliantly, but as turns out to be the effective epitaph for her character, she was wasted on the part."

I really liked her as a character (in principle, anyway), as in my younger days, I admired "intelligent" women more than the airheaded screamers. Betts & Dicks would later cast her as "Laura Lyons" in their version of "HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES". A great scene is when Sherlock Holmes (Tom Baker) informs her "You've had a VERY CLOSE brush with death", as it turns out the mans who befriended her is actually the story's murderer. (Her character was actually killed in the Ian Richardson version a bit later, but she was played by a different actress in there. In that one, Laur'a husband, the artist, "Jeffrey" was framed for her murder. He was played by Brian Blessed! I just love anything with a Holmes connection in it.)

"eventually the idea was hit upon that playing the Doctor as Jon Pertwee might work. (Pertwee, by all accounts, found this to be a tremendous acting challenge.)"

FUNNY. Troughton, a "character" actor, played it with a lot of humor, while Pertwee, a "comedy" actor, played it deadly serious too much of the time. I didn't start to like him until he began to "lighten up".

Right after "INFERNO", Pertwee crossed paths with Geoffrey Bayldon in "THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD". Also with John Bennett, and Ingrid Pitt. Va-va-voom!

Don Houghton, meanwhile, would reunite Peter Cushing with HIS "Master", Christopher Lee, in "DRACULA A.D. 1972" and its sequel, "THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA". The latter, especially, had an "espionage thriller" feel to it, and feature future AVENGERS girl Joanna Lumley! (Va-va-voom!)
Something no one's mentioned that has always bothered me about this story, frankly, is its premise. We're supposed to believe that just because someone drills a hole thru the Earth's crust, that this awful green stuff will come oozing out, people will turn into werewolves, and, further, earthquakes will happen, molten magma will begin pouring out, and, the WHOLE PLANET will be destroyed. Over ONE small hole?

I could almost see a section of England destroyed, but not the entire planet...

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