"I am Scaroth! Through me, my people will live again!"
Count Scarlioni
"City of Death"
Series Doctor Who
Season 17, Episode 8
Doctor Who 17x04 001
Air date October 20th, 1979
Writers David Fisher
Douglas Adams
Graham Williams
Director Michael Hayes
Producers Graham Williams
Starring Tom Baker; Lalla Ward
Episode guide
"City of Death (Part 3)"
"The Creature from the Pit (Part 1)"

"City of Death (Part 4)" is the fourth and final part of the "City of Death" storyline, which ran through episodes 5-8 in series 17 of Doctor Who. The episodes originally aired on BBC1 from September 29th to October 20th, 1979. It was directed by Michael Hayes and written by David Fisher, Douglas Adams and Graham Williams, all credited under the single pseudonym of David Agnew. In this episode, Scaroth captures Romana and blackmails her into completing Kerensky's work on his time machine. The Doctor fails to prevent him from activating it, and must follow him back to Earth's primordial past to stop him from preventing the development of the human race.

Synopsis Edit

Doctor Who 17x04 002

Count Scarlioni tells Romana of his evil scheme.

Count Scarlioni tricks Kerensky into stepping into the energy field of the device he created. Before the scientist can react, Scarlioni throws a switch and Kerensky instantly ages into a skeleton. Content with his gruesome example, Scarlioni turns towards Romana and threatens to execute a similar feat on all of Paris unless she can provide him with the means for stabilizing the time field. Romana reluctantly agrees to help him, and Scarlioni orders Hermann to take Duggan away. He then explains how four-hundred million years ago, he crash-landed on Earth, but the space ship carrying him exploded. The explosion fractured his physical essence into twelve identical, yet distinctive splinters, casting them throughout the time stream. The twelve splinters have been working in tandem with one another to elevate humanity's level of technology so that he can create a successful time machine that will allow him to go back to the beginning and prevent the accident that caused the explosion in the first place. Romana tells him that his device will not work in his present condition, which is why he needs her to build him a field interface stabilizer. Romana smiles and says, "All right, I'll help you."

Meanwhile, the Doctor makes his way back to the chateau. One of Scarlioni's goons takes him by gunpoint and moves him into the living room where the Countess is waiting for him. The Doctor criticizes the Countess for her greed and intimates that there is much more to the Count than even she is aware of. He begins shouting about how the Count is actually a being with one eye and green skin who has been ransacking history in order to find a means of re-establishing the Jagaroth. The Countess chuckles at the absurdity of such an accusation. Hermann comes into the room and says that Scarlioni wishes to see the Doctor. He escorts him out of the room and leads him back down into the cellar. Once the room is clear, the Countess pulls a case down from the book shelves and from it, withdraws several Egyptian scrolls. Unfurling one of the pieces of papyrus, she finds an image of a being who looks exactly the way the Doctor described the Jagaroth.

Doctor Who - City of Death (Part 4) 005

The Doctor

In the cellar, the Doctor cheerfully greets the Count, Romana and the imprisoned Duggan. He tells Scarlioni that he had better not be thinking about going back in time, because he intends on stopping him. He warns that going back to the time of Earth's pre-history will have disastrous consequences, but Scarlioni doesn't care. The Count has the Doctor and Romana locked up with Duggan then goes back upstairs.

As he walks into the library, he finds his wife pointing a pistol at him hissing, "What are you?" The Count maintains his aloof demeanor and pours himself a drink. He tells her that his real name is Scaroth and that he is a member of a race of "infinitely old, infinitely superior" beings known as the Jagaroth. As the Countess stares wide-eyed at him, the Count pulls away at the false facial mask he had been wearing and reveals his true visage. He then pushes a button on his ring, which activates a device implanted on the Countess' bracelet. Green energy swirls about the bracelet and the Countess falls shrieking to the floor and dies.

Down in the cellar, the Doctor, Romana and Duggan discuss the Count's plan. Romana reveals that she rigged his device so that he can only back in time for exactly one minute. The Doctor confirms however, that one minute is all he would need to warn his people away from Earth and thus change all of human history. Time now literally being of the essence, they need to make a break for it. They coax Duggan into storming the prison door - a feat he is only too anxious to do. He rams through the door and the three of them race into the lab. Unfortunately, they run into the unmasked Scarlioni/Scaroth, who stands before them holding a pistol. He sets a self destruct sequence on the instrument panel before him, then steps into the field. Scaroth disappears into the time stream just as the panel explodes. Now, nobody can reverse the effect.

Doctor Who - City of Death (Part 4) 008

Final flight for the Jagaroth.

The three of them leave the house and race across the Champs-Élysées on their way to the TARDIS. They take the TARDIS back in time four-hundred million years. They appear to have arrived before the Count and they find the Jagaroth ship. The Doctor reveals that it was the radioactivity given off by the exploding ship that served as the catalyst for all life on Earth. Scaroth appears behind them and approaches the ship. The Doctor blocks his path, telling him that he cannot allow him to enter the ship. Scaroth continues to advance forward, but Duggan punches him. Scaroth falls to the ground unconscious. Once his minute is up, he disappears back into the time stream. Though he normally admonishes Duggan for his violent tendencies, the Doctor now congratulates him on making the most "important punch in history". The three get back into the TARDIS and return to the present before the Jagaroth ship explodes.

Scaroth re-appears in the center of his impromptu time machine at his chateau. Hermann sees him, but not recognizing the Count in his true form, grows scared. He throws a vase at him, which strikes the machine causing the entire device to explode, killing Scaroth.

The Doctor, Romana and Duggan are back in modern-day Paris and go to the Eiffel Tower. The Doctor tells Duggan, that he took one of the surviving Mona Lisas back to the Louvre, though as far as Duggan is concerned, all of the duplicate Mona Lisas are fakes. The Doctor and Romana bid Duggan goodbye and walk off.

Cast Edit

Principal Cast Edit

Actor Role
Tom Baker The Doctor
Lalla Ward Romana

Guest Stars Edit

Actor Role
Julian Glover Carlos Scarlioni / Scaroth
Catherine Schell Countess Scarlioni
Tom Chadbon Duggan
David Graham Fyodor Nikolai Kerensky
Kevin Flood Hermann
Eleanor Bron Art gallery visitor
John Cleese Art gallery visitor

Notes & Trivia Edit

  • David Fisher, Douglas Adams and Graham Williams are all credited under the collective pseudonym of David Agnew in this episode. Originally, David Fisher was contracted to write the entire teleplay, but he was undergoing a divorce at the time and was unable to complete the serial. As a result, Graham Williams and Douglas Adams rewrote it under the David Agnew by-line.
  • "City of Death" is story number 105; production code number 5H.
  • This episode includes a cameo appearance by Monty Python actor and writer John Cleese.
  • This is the first sci-fi genre work for actress Eleanor Bron.

Allusions Edit

  • There are no allusions available for this episode at this time. Be the first to add some! Just click on the edit tab under the section heading and start typing. An allusion is an incidental reference made to a character, person, event or other miscellaneous piece of media that can be found somewhere in the episode itself. In most cases, this refers to characters or events from previous episodes.

Bloopers Edit

  • There are no bloopers available for this episode at this time. Be the first to add some! Just click on the edit tab under the section heading and start typing. A blooper is any revealing mistake that can be found within the episode that the production crew may have missed during editing. This can range from inconsistent lines of dialogue to visible production equipment in the shot to mis-spoken lines of dialogue, or... dare we say it? A wardrobe malfunction.

Quotes Edit

  • The Doctor: Duggan... Duggan! I think that was possibly the most important punch in history.


  • Duggan: You're mad. Insane. Inhuman!
  • Count Scarlioni: Quite so. When I compare my race to yours, human, I take the word "inhuman" as a great compliment.


  • The Doctor: Silent type, eh? I once knew a boy like you: never said a word. Very taciturn. Oh, I said to him, "There's no point in talking if you've got nothing to say." Did well in the end, though. Name of Shakespeare. Have you ever read any Shakespeare?


  • Duggan: Where do you two come from?
  • The Doctor: From? Well, I suppose the best way to find out where you've come from is to find out where you're going and then work backwards.
  • Duggan: Where are you going?
  • The Doctor: I don't know.
  • Romana: No do I.

See also Edit


The World of Doctor Who

Doctor Who miscellaneous

External Links Edit

"City of Death"
This is the second multi-part storyline from series seventeen of Doctor Who and is divided into four chapters.