Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Keys of Marinus 

The Doctor and his friends must locate the real murderers and the fourth key before heading off for a final confrontation with the Voord.


John Gorrie


Terry Nation




Episode cast overview:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Carole Ann Ford ... Susan Foreman
Robin Phillips ... Altos
Katherine Schofield ... Sabetha (as Katharine Schofield)
Alan James Alan James ... Guard
Fiona Walker ... Kala
Donald Pickering ... Eyesen
Henley Thomas Henley Thomas ... Tarron
Michael Allaby Michael Allaby ... Larn
Stephen Dartnell Stephen Dartnell ... Yartek
Martin Cort Martin Cort ... Voord
Peter Stenson Peter Stenson ... Voord


The Doctor and his friends must locate the real murderers and the fourth key before heading off for a final confrontation with the Voord.

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Did You Know?


This was the first of two William Hartnell stories that Stephen Dartnell has a key role in, the other being "The Sensorites". See more »


An inlay shot against a black background is used to create the appearance of teleportation. This technique is revealed by the appearance of the characters' shadows against a pillar after they have "teleported" - the shadows also reveal the actors scurrying off the set afterwards. See more »


The Doctor: I don't believe that man was made to be controlled by machines.Machines can make laws but they cannot preserve justice.Only human beings can do that.
See more »


Referenced in The Watch-A-Thon of Rassilon: The Keys of Marinus (2015) See more »

User Reviews

A great adventure concept, that is somewhat failed due to limited resources.
8 August 2013 | by AceTheMovieCriticSee all my reviews

The Keys of Marinus is a story written by Terry Nation, who also penned the second serial of Hartnell's first series, The Daleks. This serial is sadly not The Daleks. The plot starts with The Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Susan landing on a planet called Marinus. (NOTE: I love the first episode of this serial. Really sets up some intrigue, and the planet is pretty cool. Definitely one of Mr. Nation's strong points, as Skaro was also an interesting planet.) It's here they come upon a man called Arbitan who is the keeper of a great machine which once made Marinus a sort of utopia. But of course, things went wrong, and they had to turn the machine off, removing the five key micro-circuits (i.e The Keys of Marinus) and scattering them all over the planet, for which the Doctor and his band of companions must help retrieve in order to gain access to the Tardis.

This is where the story takes off, and we end the first episode. The next two episodes, "The Velvet Web" and "The Screaming Jungle" are fantastic. What I love about this serial, and also what kind of kills it, is that the search for these keys takes our Tardis crew all over the planet of Marinus. The constant changing of environment does tend to keep the story interesting, and I wish more serials would have followed suit. I won't go into detail on all the environments, and episodes, but I will say that the changing of sets and story of the episodes (there's a little mini story in each episode) really brings an adventurous quality to the story, except when it doesn't. This occurs midway through "The Snows of Terror" and "The Sentence of Death". The Keys of Marinus is NOT a story to watch in one sitting. I've seen the serial three times now, and this conclusion has become quite apparent to me; the first time, which I watched over the span of a week, I loved it. The second time, I watched in one sitting, and it started to reeaaaally drag, mainly on parts four and five and six. The third time I again chose to spread it out, and I came away better for it.

Episode 6 was also very disappointing for me. I felt little interest in the plot after about the first 10 minutes, which I can say is certainly not a positive. But apart from that episodes 1, 2, 3 and partly four, I guess, were all quite enjoyable.

So in conclusion, you can get a lot worse with Doctor Who then The Keys of Marinus. It was an enjoyable First Doctor Era story, mind you he is not in episodes 3/4 (dang Doctor light stories!). It may not have been one of the high point in his first series, and it may drag, but The Screaming Jungle was great, and so was The Sea of Death. So I'd say, if you can handle slow paced and kinda padded Doctor Who, give The Keys of Marinus a go. It's got a pretty cool concept, which was sadly let down by budget and resource.

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Release Date:

16 May 1964 (UK) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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