by VICTOR PEMBERTON
first broadcast - 13th April 1968
running time - 23mins 50secs
(The transparent section of the huge pipeline tube is crawling with clumps of pulsating seaweed, all wriggling in a mass of oozing white foam.........)
(The DOCTOR points up to the illuminated panel at the top of the Cone. The indicator light is no longer operating for the Control Rig, and only three lights remain: Rigs B, E, and F.)
DOCTOR: With the Control Rig gone we can draw only one conclusion. The weed is trying to take over all the rigs and form one vast colony.
MEGAN JONES: With what objective?
DOCTOR: The saturation of the British Isles and perhaps in time the entire planet.
HARRIS: Is such a thing possible?
DOCTOR: Well, yes. Unless we can find the nerve centre and destroy it.
(HARRIS and MEGAN exchanges a puzzled glance.)
MEGAN JONES: But how can we possibly do that? It could be anywhere out there in the North Sea.
DOCTOR: Yes, that is the difficulty.
(JAMIE and VICTORIA spot the DOCTOR from the door of the Impeller Area.)
DOCTOR: What is it?
JAMIE: Doctor! The pipeline, quick!
VICTORIA: (Practically screeching) Quickly! Quickly!
(They all run into the Pipeline Room.)
(The transparent section of the pipeline tube is, by now, jammed solid with the mass of foam and clumps.)
DOCTOR: What's happened?
JAMIE: Here! Come up!
(They all stare at the foam in the pipeline.)
MEGAN JONES: What is heaven's name is that?
DOCTOR: (grim) The advanced guard.
MEGAN JONES: I don't understand. What's happening?
DOCTOR: The first part of the invasion.
(The DOCTOR moves forward to examine the pipeline.)
VICTORIA: Doctor, don't go near!
DOCTOR: It's begun. The battle of the giants!
(The heartbeat is almost deafening and in the middle of it all, the weed tendrils grope uncontrollably at the transparent walls. The weed wants out and is determined to find a way........)
(PRICE is trying to call up any of the rigs on the communicator.)
PRICE: Feed HQ calling Rig F. Feed HQ calling Rig F, can you hear me? Come in please.
(He notices HARRIS walking by the communicator.)
Oh Mr Harris. I can't raise any of the rigs. Not one!
HARRIS: This is unbelievable!
PRICE: I'll try again, sir.
(Into communicator.) Feed HQ calling Rig B. Feed HQ calling Rig B, can you hear me?
(There is no reply. PRICE looks about in desperation.)
MEGAN: (To PRICE.) Well keep trying man!
DOCTOR: Your wasting your time, Miss Jones. By now all those rigs will have been taken over by the weed colony.
HARRIS: I don't care about the rigs. What's happened to the crews?
DOCTOR: The worst I'm afraid.
HARRIS: Then we've got to destroy the rigs.
DOCTOR: No, we daren't do that .
HARRIS: Why not?
DOCTOR: Well that would spread this menace over a wide area and make it impossible to attack it.
HARRIS: Well what are we going to do?
DOCTOR: No, what is the weed going to do?
MEGAN: What can it do?
DOCTOR: Well, let's think. Now I imagine, that in the first place the weed was drawn up by one of the drilling rigs.
HARRIS: No, no, anything that comes up through the bores would be cleared by the engineers at the source otherwise it would block the pumps.
DOCTOR: Precisely. And the engineers who cleared it much have touched it, yes?
HARRIS: Yes, so they must have been amongst the first to be controlled.
DOCTOR: You see then this attack, and it is an attack, follows a set pattern.
MEGAN: How do you mean?
DOCTOR: Top priority people have been attacked first.
MEGAN: If your theory is correct, the weed now controls two people who know the entire layout and structure of this whole compound.
DOCTOR: Yes I'm very much afraid that is true.
MEGAN: Robson was here not long ago. We must find him and prevent them using him, for his own sake as well as ours.
HARRIS: Yes I agree. Price.
HARRIS: Get security to search the entire Compound. I want Mr Robson found and put under arm guard in his cabin.
PRICE: Very good, sir.
HARRIS: Doctor! There's one thing that doesn't fit in with your theory.
DOCTOR: Oh, and what's that?
HARRIS: When Victoria was locked in the Oxygen Room. Now she's nothing to do with the personnel here.
DOCTOR: Yes, that's something that's being puzzling me too. But she disturbed somebody who was interfering with the oxygen supplies.
HARRIS: Someone wearing a gas mask.
DOCTOR: Now supposing that person was under the control of the weed. He was wearing a gas mask for one reason only.
HARRIS: Because to him pure oxygen would be toxic.
DOCTOR: Exactly, Mr Harris.
(Among a group of engineers listening nearby is OAK and QUILL, who exchanged a pointed glance with each other. Without saying a word, both slipped out of the room unnoticed.)
HARRIS: Well then we can use the oxygen as a weapon against the weed!
DOCTOR: Well it's... it's only a theory at the moment.
MEGAN: Well as Mr Harris said before, you've been right so far. There's no reason why you shouldn't be now.
DOCTOR: (beaming) Oh, how nice to be trusted. But I only hope I am right.
(OAK and QUILL enter the OXYGEN STORE ROOM. They put their white gloves and masks on and one by one they opened the release taps on the oxygen cylinders. The room soon fills with the sound of hissing gas...........)
(PRICE is talking to a guard on the communicator.)
PRICE: Good, see that he stays there.
(He switches off the communicator and turns to HARRIS.)
PRICE: They've found Mr Robson.
HARRIS: Good. Where?
PRICE: In his cabin, lying on his bunk apparently.
HARRIS: Oh well that's a relief.
PRICE: There's a guard at the door, sir.
(Hearing this, MEGAN walks over to HARRIS.)
MEGAN: Mr Harris. I want to see Mr Robson.
HARRIS: Robson? But he's ill, he won't be able to put two...
MEGAN: I want to see him.
HARRIS: But you've seen him already. Surely you could see that he was in no fit state to help us in anyway.
MEGAN: I fully realise that, Mr Harris, but we're old friends, he might talk to me. There's just a possibility that he may know something that could help us.
HARRIS: I see. All right, but I'm coming with you. Robson's in an unpredictable state at the moment, he could be violent.
MEGAN: All right, you come too Perkins.
PERKINS: Yes, Miss Jones.
(They both leave the room. HARRIS stops by PRICE before following them.)
HARRIS: Oh if anything happens Price. Anything at all, I'll be with Miss Jones in Mr Robson's cabin.
PRICE: Very good, sir.
(The CHIEF ENGINEER joins them.)
CHIEF ENGINEER: I'm right with you, sir.
PERKINS: Look, why don't you get the Minister to call up the National Defences?
MEGAN: What exactly do you suppose the armed forces could do?
PERKINS: Well attack this weed, or whatever it is.
MEGAN: How? If we attack the rig what about the men out there?
PERKINS: But we don't know that they are there.
MEGAN: Equally we don't know that they aren't. They could be prisoners, anything. Anyway even if we blow the rigs out of the sea there's no guarantee it will end this nightmare. It might well spread the menace, as the Doctor suggested.
HARRIS: This way please, Miss Jones.
(They start to move down the corridor and MEGAN notices PERKINS's worried look.)
And come along, Perkins. Don't look so worried, man, you might as well go home.
(There is a guard outside the cabin door. HARRIS stops MEGAN just before the door.)
MEGAN: If you please, Harris.
HARRIS: Miss Jones, I'd rather you let me or Perkins come in with you.
MEGAN: No! Now don't fuss, Harris, I'll be perfectly all right.
(Giving up, HARRIS lets go of the door handle and MEGAN enters the room.)
(ROBSON is lying on his bunk, eyes staring aimlessly at the ceiling. His face is white, gaunt, and lined, and his hair is now streaked with white.)
MEGAN: Robson. Robson! John. John. It's all right John, it's me Megan, Megan Jones.
(ROBSON's head turns to face her. It was covered with sweat like he was fighting a mental battle.)
ROBSON: (lifelessly) Megan.
MEGAN: I want to try to help you.
(ROBSON speaks in a bewildered voice.)
ROBSON: Can't help. No one can help.
MEGAN: John, can you tell us what happened?
MEGAN: John, listen to me. We can't help you unless you help us.
ROBSON: Can't help, no one... can help.
MEGAN: Yes we can, John, if you let us. Now whatever it is that's affecting you, you've got to fight it!
ROBSON: Can't fight.
MEGAN: You've got to fight it, John!
ROBSON: Can't fight it.
(MEGAN grabs ROBSON by the shoulders and shakes him - hard.)
MEGAN: Now come on, Robson! Robson! Now listen to me. I'm director of the board. I put you in charge of this area and I can just as easily send you back to the rigs. Do you understand me, Robson? Now pull yourself together, man!
MEGAN: Pull yourself together!
ROBSON: Megan... Megan... help me.. help... Help me, Megan!
MEGAN: It's all right, John.
(HARRIS and PERKINS burst into the room.)
HARRIS: Miss Jones!
MEGAN: John, can you hear me? Can you hear me?
(ROBSON just stares into space. MEGAN turns to HARRIS.)
It's as if he was in a trance, hypnotised. I thought for a minute he was rational.
HARRIS: I think we'd better let him rest.
(With a last look at ROBSON, MEGAN leaves the room.)
(The guard snaps to attention as the three leave ROBSON's cabin.)
MEGAN: Harris, is there nothing we can do to help him?
HARRIS: No, the Doctor couldn't help my... my wife... so I'm sure there is nothing he can...
MEGAN: No. No, of course not. As far as I can see the only thing to do is to destroy this weed. Come on.
(She marches back toward the Control Cone. PERKINS and HARRIS exchange a surprised look before following her.)
(The DOCTOR is sitting on some steps looking anxious as he thinks about the problem. JAMIE and VICTORIA are watching him.)
JAMIE: He does look worried this time. It's beginning to give me the willies.
VICTORIA: Yes. I wish we could go back to the TARDIS. Leave all this trouble behind.
JAMIE: We couldn't do that. You know the Doctor would never leave these people. Not while there's...
VICTORIA: (irritably) Oh I know, I know!
JAMIE: Oh, Victoria, you're not going to start again, are you? Look, the Doctor's got enough trouble as it is. So let him just sit and work it out. Anyway, he says there's an obvious answer to this seaweed stuff.
VICTORIA: Is there? What do you mean?
JAMIE: A way of fighting it.
VICTORIA: If it's that obvious he would have thought of it by now.
(MEGAN and the others enter the room. MEGAN marches straight up to the DOCTOR.)
MEGAN: Well Doctor, have you thought of a way in which we can attack this weed?
(The DOCTOR, deep in thought, does not respond.)
DOCTOR: Oh, Miss Jones. No, I'm afraid I haven't.
MEGAN: Well have you any idea what it might do next?
DOCTOR: Well I think it has little alternative, but to attack us here.
PERKINS: But why?
DOCTOR: 'Cause this is the gas distribution centre. It will want to gain control of it! We must find a way of attacking it's nerve centre before it does.
PERKINS: But where is the nerve centre?
DOCTOR: That's the trouble, we don't know.
HARRIS: And we're not sure yet quite how to destroy it, are we?
DOCTOR: No, but there... there is something at the back of my mind.
PERKINS: Well what about the oxygen?
DOCTOR: Yes, that is a possibility.
MEGAN: Then we must put the oxygen supply room under guard.
(ROBSON is asleep, his eyes closed. Suddenly the heartbeat of the Weed Creature starts. ROBSON eyes open and he focuses on the ventilator grill in his room.)
ROBSON: Yes. Yes.
(It appears that ROBSON is receiving instructions.)
(The Guard is waiting for an attack but is completely unprepared of the one from ROBSON who breathes on him with toxic air........ The guard collapses and ROBSON runs off.)
(HARRIS is being told of the damage done by OAK and QUILL.)
HARRIS: The whole of the oxygen store?
PRICE: Yes, sir, and there are no reserves left at all.
HARRIS: They seem to be one step ahead of us all the time
DOCTOR: Yes, I was right. Someone amongst us here is under the control of the weed.
HARRIS: You mean apart from Robson and Van Lutyens.
DOCTOR: Yes, I'm afraid so.
HARRIS: How will we find out who they are?
DOCTOR: Don't know, that's the difficulty.
(Everybody looks at each other in surprise and suspicion. VICTORIA's eyes fall on two engineers - OAK and QUILL.)
HARRIS: Well, we must have a personnel check. Now there's a fingerprint file in security.
HARRIS: Doctor, I shall need your help.
(VICTORIA alerts JAMIE to the two engineers. However they are just going out the door and JAMIE and VICTORIA rush after them.)
(OAK and QUILL hurry down the corridor, but find it difficult to move their legs while under the Weed's control. This gives JAMIE and VICTORIA time to catch up......)
JAMIE: Hey you two, just a moment! Stop!
(The two engineers turn into another corridor.)
Hey, come back. You wont get away from me!
(JAMIE throws himself on QUILL who tries to breathe the toxic air into JAMIE's face..... VICTORIA screams and QUILL's strength seems to fade away. A quick punch from JAMIE puts the engineer on the floor. OAK manages to escape as the DOCTOR and the others arrive. Two guards grabs QUILL.)
JAMIE: Didn't know what hit him, did he?
DOCTOR: Yes Jamie, I'm... I'm sure you're right.
JAMIE: There's a wee bit of power left in the old McCrimmon punch yet.
DOCTOR: (examining QUILL.) I'm sorry to disillusion you, Jamie, but... I don't think it was the punch that did it.
(The CHIEF ENGINEER rushes into the room.)
CHIEF ENGINEER: Mr Harris!
HARRIS: What is it?
CHIEF ENGINEER: I think you better come, sir. Quickly!
(The guards drag a dazed QUILL away as the others rush back to the Pipeline Room.)
(MEGAN and PERKINS notice the rush towards the Pipeline Room. MEGAN calls HARRIS over.)
MEGAN: What's the trouble?
HARRIS: The pipeline room.
MEGAN: But it's incredible
PERKINS: Why can't we do something?
MEGAN: We have to trust this strange Doctor. He's the only one who seems to be able to anticipate events.
PERKINS: Don't you think that in itself is suspect?
MEGAN: He's our only hope. Come on.
(The pipeline is totally filled with the foam and weed. The alien heartbeat is almost deafening.)
JAMIE: What's happened to it, Doctor?
DOCTOR: It's beginning to expand, like it did in the TARDIS.
JAMIE: Is there no way of stopping it?
DOCTOR: No. I should have thought of this.
(Afraid, VICTORIA holds back at the doorway. Suddenly a weed-covered hand is placed over her mouth and she is dragged away without a sound.......)
MEGAN: But you mean this horrible stuff's growing all the time?
DOCTOR: I'm very much afraid so!
PRICE: Mr Harris, sir. Mr Harris. Mr Robson's broken out of his cabin. He's attacked the guard!
JAMIE: Doctor, look at that!
(JAMIE points in horror at the pipeline tube. The transparent section fractures with a loud crack, right down the middle. The foam explodes out of the crack and lands on some engineers nearby. The Weed creature starts to follow.)
DOCTOR: Right, Jamie, back. Back, everyone back. Come along.
(The room clears quickly. However MEGAN is transfixed, staring at the creature in horror.)
Miss Jones, I think it's time you went. Come along.
(The DOCTOR shoves the Chairperson out of the room. Only JAMIE and himself remain.)
JAMIE: Where's Victoria?
DOCTOR: She was here.
VOICE: (from speakers) RED EMERGENCY ALERT! RED EMERGENCY ALERT!
JAMIE: But, where is she?
DOCTOR: I don't know! She was standing right beside you.
JAMIE: I thought she was with you!
(The DOCTOR and JAMIE continue their search for VICTORIA. Turning to leave they notice that the doors are closed...)
DOCTOR: The doors!
(They started to bang on the doors.)
Open these doors! Open these doors!
(They notice some other doors.....)
Let's try here, Jamie!
(...as they move towards the doors they close in their faces.)
JAMIE: They've closed too.
(The DOCTOR spots some more doors...)
DOCTOR: They're not, come along!
(The DOCTOR runs through the doors as they start to close. He tries to stop them from closing before JAMIE can come through.)
Jamie, I... the doors, they're heavy. I can't hold them! Jamie, hurry! Jamie! Jamie, come on! This way, in here. Hurry up, I can't hold them!
(JAMIE throws himself through the doors. As they close the area behind them fills with lethal gas....)
JAMIE: Now what do we do?
DOCTOR: We must look for Victoria. You go that way, I'll go this.
JAMIE: All right.
(ROBSON drops an unconscious VICTORIA from his shoulder into the passenger seat of a little two-seater car. He gets into the drivers seat and drive off at great speed.....)
(The Control Cone is filled with people to-ing and fro-ing, alarm klaxon horns in the background.)
HARRIS: Seal of the pipeline room, completely! Close the pipeline - in and out! Well come on, man, don't just stand there!
(He turns to some guards) Guards! You must find Mr Robson. Search everywhere.
(The car comes to a halt. ROBSON gets out, drags VICTORIA from her seat, and throws her across his shoulder. He turns and almost runs to a waiting helicopter. He starts the machine and takes off.)
PRICE: Mr Harris!
HARRIS: What is it?
PRICE: Mr Robson has just taken off.
(VICTORIA is still unconscious. ROBSON moves the controls with his weed-covered hands......)
(JAMIE and the DOCTOR come back into the Control Cone.)
JAMIE: Hey, have you seen Victoria?
HARRIS: No I haven't.
(JAMIE turns a worried face to DOCTOR.)
JAMIE: Look, haven't you found her yet?
DOCTOR: No, I was hoping you had.
JAMIE: But she was standing right beside us...
DOCTOR: No, no, no...
(While JAMIE looks totally crushed, HARRIS receives some news.)
HARRIS: Doctor, it's Robson. He's trying to get away in one of the company helicopters.
HARRIS: I'm afraid he's got your young girl with him.
DOCTOR: Oh no. Oh no. Can I speak to him from here?
HARRIS: Yes. Price, switch to RT.
PRICE: Yes, sir.
(PRICE switches on the RT and a picture appears on one of the communicator screens. The DOCTOR turns to PRICE to confirm that he will be speaking to the right screen.)
DOCTOR: This one?
DOCTOR: (to the screen.) Robson. Robson. Robson, listen to me. Can you hear me?
(The DOCTOR's voice comes over the RT into the helicopter.)
DOCTOR: (oov) Robson. Come back, man, come back. Robson, don't you realise what they're trying to do to you? They're trying to control you!
ROBSON: Now listen to me.
DOCTOR: (oov) Robson. Robson.
ROBSON: Listen! Listen!
ROBSON: (oov) I have the girl. She is my prisoner. She is my hostage. Do you understand? If you want her to live, come over to us. Come over to us.
(The screen goes blank.)
DOCTOR: Robson. Robson!
PRICE: He's switched off, sir.
MEGAN: What did he mean come over to us?
DOCTOR: Well he meant exactly what he said!
HARRIS: You mean they want you?
DOCTOR: Yes, they must think I'm a serious menace.
HARRIS: But you won't go, surely?
DOCTOR: But of course.
MEGAN: But we need you here, you're our only hope.
JAMIE: Doctor, we can't let him take Victoria! Now we've got to do something to stop him!
MEGAN: You can't go with that man, you can see he's not responsible.
DOCTOR: Jamie's right, we've got to go after him.
HARRIS: Yes, you can use the company helicopter.
MEGAN: Harris! If we let this man go now what hope have we got?
DOCTOR: Miss Jones, I have a feeling that Mr Robson is going to lead us to the nerve centre of the colony.
HARRIS: Price, tell the helicopter crew to stand by. Doctor, come with me. I'll get you some transport.
(ROBSON's helicopter approaches the Complex. VICTORIA is starting to come to.....)
(It is a little later. HARRIS is talking to PRICE through the Communicator.)
HARRIS: Good! Thank you, Price. Tell them not to lose touch. Oh and Price, the Doctor and the boy, are they airborne yet.
PRICE: (oov) No, sir, they're just approaching the air field.
(The other helicopter, this time with a pilot takes off with the DOCTOR and JAMIE in the back.)
(HARRIS rush back into the Control Cone.)
PRICE: Mr Harris, sir. Mr Harris, the Doctor's airborne.
(into the microphone) Doctor, can you see Robson.
DOCTOR: (oov) No, can't see anything here.
HARRIS: All right, listen carefully. We managed to track him on the Radar scope. He just landed on the control rig complex.
(The DOCTOR and JAMIE are wrapped up warm in their anoraks.)
DOCTOR: The control rig complex.
HARRIS: What? Say again.
DOCTOR: (oov) We are proceeding there now.
(He turns to MEGAN and PERKINS who standing there with a worried look on their faces.)
MEGAN: What chance have they got?
HARRIS: Your guess is as good as mine.
MEGAN: What do we do now?
HARRIS: We sit and wait.
MEGAN: But we can't...
HARRIS: If the Doctor hasn't done something within an hour, I'm evacuating the compound.
HARRIS: And that's final, Miss Jones!
(The Chairperson looks outraged but says nothing more.)
(The two men are approaching the Complex.)
DOCTOR: (pointing) Jamie, there's the control rig complex.
JAMIE: Hey Doctor, one of those towers is all covered in white.
DOCTOR: Yes, it's foam. That's the nerve centre.
(JAMIE points something else out....)
JAMIE: Robson's helicopter.
JAMIE: We can't land there.
DOCTOR: Oh yes we can, Jamie.
(The helicopter rolls out a long ladder and the DOCTOR starts to climb down.)
DOCTOR: Come on in, the water's lovely.
(JAMIE follows him down.)
Go on, Jamie.
(They both walk across the landing pad which is covered with a thin layer of foam. The DOCTOR waves at his helicopter pilot.)
(They both enter the nearby room with LOG ROOM written on the door.)
So far so good, Jamie.
JAMIE: But the driver, will he wait for us?
DOCTOR: Oh yes, he said he'd hang around.
JAMIE: Where do we go from here?
DOCTOR: I think we'll go down that way.
JAMIE: Like walking into the lion's den.
DOCTOR: Jamie, we're already in the lion's den. What we've got to concentrate on is keeping our heads out of his mouth.
(They leave the room via the interior door and start to climb down the metal stairs beneath.)
JAMIE: It's very quiet. Do you think Victoria really is down here?
DOCTOR: There's nowhere else she can be.
JAMIE: Aye, I suppose you're right.
(JAMIE opens his mouth to call to Victoria but only manage to get "Vic..." out before the DOCTOR clamp his hand over his mouth.)
DOCTOR: Jamie! Jamie! Now there's no element of surprise!
(But it was too late as for down the corridor comes......)
VICTORIA: (oov) Jamie! Doctor!
JAMIE: See I was right.
(He starts to charge down the corridor towards the cries but the DOCTOR holds his arm to stop him.)
DOCTOR: Now, Jamie!
JAMIE: What's the matter?
(The DOCTOR trys reasoning with the warrior Scot.)
DOCTOR: If you were hunting what would you do?
JAMIE: Well I'd set a... oh I see you think it might be a trap.
DOCTOR: Might be. We'll lets be cautious just in case, hey?
(They move slowly down the corridor checking each room as go. The is no sign of VICTORIA however and they reach the end of the corridor. Behind a door they can here the unmistakable sound of the heartbeat.)
DOCTOR: Here we go.
(The two men burst into the room and stare in horror.... The end of the room is filled with the foam and the heartbeat and in the middle was a terrifying sight.... The figure of ROBSON looking half-demented, his neck and hands sprouting frond-like weed formations. And out of the foam that had almost completely engulfed him, the tentacles of the giant Weed Creature was snaking about him.)
JAMIE: (in almost total shock, half whispering) It's Robson!
(At his name, ROBSON started to move forward slowly towards the pair.)
ROBSON: (softly) Come in, Doctor. I've been waiting for you.
Title Music by
and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
CHRIS MOORE (CMoore4@compuserve.com)
LEE HORTON (LeeH@tcp.co.uk)
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