Doctor Who (1963–1989)
2 user 4 critic

A Bargain of Necessity 

Ian finds himself held prisoner by the treacherous Leon while the Doctor attempts to engineer Susan and Barbara's escape.


Henric Hirsch


Dennis Spooner


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Episode cast overview:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Carole Ann Ford ... Susan Foreman
James Cairncross James Cairncross ... Lemaitre
Jack Cunningham Jack Cunningham ... Jailer
Donald Morley ... Jules Renan
Edward Brayshaw ... Léon Colbert
Keith Anderson Keith Anderson ... Robespierre
Terry Bale Terry Bale ... Soldier


Ian finds himself held prisoner by the treacherous Leon while the Doctor attempts to engineer Susan and Barbara's escape.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Did You Know?


This episode was watched by 6.9 million viewers on its original transmission. See more »


Ian Chesterton: Barbara! We thought you'd been arrested!
Barbara Wright: Yes, we were. But when we got to the prison, the Doctor was there.
Ian Chesterton: What!
Barbara Wright: Yes, he's dressed up as if he was running the revolution! From what I could gather, half the people there take orders from him!
Ian Chesterton: That sounds like the Doctor, alright.
Jules Renan: The Doctor? You mean Susan's grandfather?
Barbara Wright: Yes, that's right.
Ian Chesterton: And where's Susan?
Barbara Wright: Oh, she'll be along later with him. I just walked out.
Ian Chesterton: Walked out? But...
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Referenced in Dennis Spooner: Wanna Write a Television Series? (2009) See more »

User Reviews

The Reign of Terror: Episode 5 - Excellent French Revolution Adventure

Review for all 6 episodes:

This pure historical adventure beginning with A Land of Fear and continuing for 6 episodes takes place in the French Revolution. It is an excellent and thoroughly entertaining story from writer Dennis Spooner.

It features William Hartnell in a wonderful double role showing his ability to act very differently from his normal performance as The Doctor. The story revolves around the characters being caught up with the revolution and shows the way Dennis Spooner would continue to write in the series mixing very serious drama with humour. This is one of his very best efforts as sometimes later on he got that balance wrong.

There are scenes, mostly in episodes 2 and 3, that are not so great and Carole Ann Ford as Susan is annoying at times. She is a sad shadow of the promise of the character in 'An Unearthly Child', the writers did let the character generally diminish in strength after the initial promise. Apart from these minor flaws, though, the vast majority of this story is real top quality.

This finishes the first season in the same superbly high standard that it began. The writing of most of the first series is brilliant and the main credit for the series must go to script editor David Whitaker and producer Verity Lambert. The scripts and story here maintain that brilliance. William Hartnell (The Doctor), William Russell (Ian) and Jacqueline Hill (Barbara) also maintain their fantastic characterisation and acting quality. The Doctor himself is particularly tremendous in this story.

The final 3 episodes are particularly strong and thankfully there are good animated reconstructions available with the original audio to preserve episodes 4 and 5 for which the videos were sadly wiped.

Overall very high standard story.

My Ratings: Episodes 1, 4, 5 and 6 - 10/10, Episodes 2 & 3 - 8.5/10, overall average rating - 9.5/10

Average Rating for Season 1 - 8.83/10

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Release Date:

5 September 1964 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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