|'The Greatest Show
in the Galaxy'
Story Code '7J'
by Stephen Wyatt
An advertising device enters the TARDIS, prompting the Doctor and Ace to travel to the planet Segonax, where the Psychic Circus, the self-proclaimed 'Greatest Show in the Galaxy', has arrived. On the way to the Circus, the Doctor and Ace meet Captain Cook - a boastful and self-absorbed explorer - his assistant Mags, and a biker known as Nord the Vandal, who have all travelled to the planet in order to compete in a talent contest. The circus is controlled by the sinister Chief Clown and his deadly robotic clowns, who hold its performers in a grip of fear; any would-be entertainers that fail to amuse the circus's only spectators, a strange family of three, are killed. The Doctor is imprisoned with the Captain, Mags and Nord; the biker is forced to appear in the ring, but despite successfully weight lifting he is reduced to ashes when he is unable to tell a joke. The Doctor and Mags escape, while Ace meets Bellboy, the man responsible for creating the robots for the Chief Clown. The Doctor and Mags find a bottomless well in caverns below the Circus tent, but the Captain, who is now working with the clowns, confronts them. The Doctor avoids capture and meets Deadbeat, the mentally damaged cleaner, who takes him to Ace and Bellboy. As the Doctor begins to uncover the secret behind the Circus, he discovers that Deadbeat used to be called Kingpin, the original founder of the Circus. After the Doctor, Ace and Deadbeat leave for the well, the Chief Clown arrives at the workshop. Rather than be captured, Bellboy commits suicide at the hands of his clown creations. Deadbeat recalls that he inadvertently used the well and the amulet worn around his neck to summon the powers that now control the Circus; however, the centrepiece of the amulet is now missing. The Doctor returns to the ring while Ace and Deadbeat attempt find the missing piece of the amulet. The Doctor, Mags and the Captain are forced to perform in the ring; Mags is revealed to be a werewolf, and she attacks and kills the Captain. Ace finds the amulet segment, which restores Deadbeat's sanity and causes him to become Kingpin again. The Doctor uses a crystal ball to open a pathway into the dimension of the well, where he discovers that the family are in fact his old enemies, the three evil stone Gods of Ragnarok, who have an insatiable craving for entertainment. Ace uses a giant robot bus conductor to kill the Chief clown. The Doctor distracts the Gods with conjuring tricks while Ace and Kingpin head for the well, but a reanimated Captain Cook seizes the amulet from them and drops it into the well. It appears in the 'dark circus' dimension, where the Doctor catches it and throws it at the Gods, turning their power against them. He reappears in the Circus, and leaves the tent just as everything is destroyed. The Doctor and Ace leave Kingpin and Mags to build a new circus.
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), T.P. McKenna (The Captain), Jessica Martin (Mags), Ricco Ross (Ringmaster), Peggy Mount (Stallslady), Ian Reddington (Chief Clown), Deborah Manship (Morgana), Christopher Guard (Bellboy), Gian Sammarco (Whizz Kid), Daniel Peacock (Nord), Dee Sadler (Flowerchild), Dean Hollingsworth (Bus Conductor), Chris Jury (Deadbeat), David Ashford (Dad), Janet Hargreaves (Mum), Kathryn Ludlow (Little Girl)
Produced by John Nathan-Turner
Directed by Alan Wareing
Part 1 - 14th December, 1988 @ 7.35pm - 8.00pm
Part 2 - 21st December, 1988 @ 7.35pm - 8.00pm
Part 3 - 28th December, 1988 @ 7.35pm - 8.00pm
Part 4 - 4th January, 1989 @ 7.35pm - 8.00pm
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace