Serial AA:
The Savages


The TARDIS lands on an apparently idyllic planet inhabited by the advanced Elders and the barbaric Savages. Dodo and Steven discover that something is wrong in this paradise: the Elders are fuelling their wondrous culture by draining the life energy from the Savages. Worse still, the Elder leader, Jano, is eager to gain the life energy of one person in particular: the Doctor.


Ian Stuart Black got his start in film before shifting his attention to television, where he wrote for programmes such as HG Wells' The Invisible Man and The Saint, and co-created Danger Man. Around December 1965, on an impulse following a script conference at the BBC, Black visited the Doctor Who production office and enquired about writing for the series. A regular viewer of the show, Black thought that a Doctor Who credit would impress his children.

Black was asked to compose a storyline for delivery in mid-January 1966. In the interim, producer John Wiles and story editor Donald Tosh resigned from Doctor Who and were replaced by Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis. On the strength of his storyline, Davis commissioned Black to write “The White Savages” on January 19th. For a time, it was thought that this serial might replace Donald Cotton's comedic The Gunfighters, which neither Lloyd nor Davis liked; in the end, however, “The White Savages” would follow it into production. Since The Gunfighters (Serial Z) had exhausted the alphabetical method of assigning production codes, “The White Savages” was designated Serial AA.

Innes Lloyd felt that Steven Taylor did not work well as an object of audience identification

When Peter Purves received the contract extension which culminated with Black's story on February 24th, it had been with the proviso that this would be his last Doctor Who adventure. Lloyd and Davis felt that his character, Steven Taylor, was rather shallow and did not work well as an object of audience identification. At the time, Purves was himself beginning to weary of what he felt was Steven's lack of development after a promising genesis, and was already considering leaving Doctor Who. Black was therefore asked to incorporate Steven's departure into his scripts; it was planned that Steven's replacement, Richard (or “Rich”) would join the Doctor and Dodo in the next serial, The War Machines, also written by Black. The event was announced to the press on April 26th; by this time, it was known that Jackie Lane would also be leaving the series midway through The War Machines. Lane was contracted for her final six episodes on the 28th.

Filming at the Ealing Television Film Studios took place on April 27th and 28th; by now, the adventure's title had been truncated to The Savages. The director assigned to handle it was Christopher Barry, whose last Doctor Who work had been on The Romans. The Savages then went on location for two days. April 29th was spent at Shire Lane Quarry near Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire, filming scenes set in the craters. May 1st saw cast and crew visit Callow Hill Sandpit in Virginia Water, Surrey, which doubled as the ravine.

Studio recording for The Savages began on May 13th. As usual, each installment was taped on consecutive Fridays in Riverside 1. One change instituted by Lloyd was to cease the practise of giving each Doctor Who episode its own title, and this took effect with The Savages. Unusually, the first eight scenes of part four were recorded on May 27th after the completion of the third episode. This was done because both the concluding scenes of the latter and the opening moments of the former required the use of dry ice, and in this way Barry could avoid having to mount the effect twice.

June 3rd marked Peter Purves' final work on Doctor Who. In 1967 -- after a period of unemployment which Purves blamed on bad luck deriving from the Trilogic Game prop he had been given after the completion of The Celestial Toymaker -- he was hired as a presenter on the children's programme Blue Peter, a job he would enjoy for more than a decade. Since that time, Purves has continued to work as a presenter and has also become a successful producer with his own company, Video Projects. More recently, Purves has put his vocal talents to good use as narrator of some of BBC Audiobooks' releases of incomplete Doctor Who stories -- including The Savages.

  • Doctor Who: The Handbook: The First Doctor by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker (1994), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 0 426 20430 1.
  • Doctor Who: The Sixties by David J Howe, Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker (1992), Virgin Publishing, ISBN 1 85227 420 4.
  • Doctor Who Magazine #295, 20th September 2000, “Archive: The Savages” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.
  • Doctor Who Magazine Special Edition #7, 12th May 2004, “I'm Into Something Good” by Andrew Pixley, Panini Publishing Ltd.

Original Transmission
Episode 1
Date 28th May 1966
Time 5.36pm
Duration 23'41"
Viewers (more) 4.8m (62nd)
· BBC1 4.8m
Appreciation 48%
Episode 2
Date 4th Jun 1966
Time 5.35pm
Duration 23'57"
Viewers (more) 5.6m (50th)
· BBC1 5.6m
Appreciation 49%
Episode 3
Date 11th Jun 1966
Time 5.35pm
Duration 24'59"
Viewers (more) 5.0m (66th)
· BBC1 5.0m
Appreciation 48%
Episode 4
Date 18th Jun 1966
Time 5.35pm
Duration 24'41"
Viewers (more) 4.5m (93rd)
· BBC1 4.5m
Appreciation 48%

Dr Who
William Hartnell
Peter Purves
Jackie Lane
Frederick Jaeger
Ewen Solon
Patrick Godfrey
Captain Edal
Peter Thomas
Geoffrey Frederick
Robert Sidaway
Kay Patrick
Clare Jenkins
Norman Henry
Edward Caddick
First Assistant
Andrew Lodge
Second Assistant
Christopher Denham
Third Assistant
Tony Holland
John Dillon
Tim Goodman

Written by
Ian Stuart Black
Directed by
Christopher Barry
Produced by
Innes Lloyd

Title music by
Ron Grainer and
the BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Incidental music composed and conducted by
Raymond Jones
Costumes designed by
Daphne Dare
Make-up by
Sonia Markham
Graham Sothcott
Norman Greaves
Story Editor
Gerry Davis
Stuart Walker

Archive Holdings
Episodes Missing
Episodes 1-4
Clips Extant
Episode 3 (0'03" in 1 clip)
Episode 4 (0'41" in 12 clips)
Telesnaps Surviving
Episodes 1-4

Working Titles
Whole Story
The White Savages

Updated 14th May 2011