Galaxy 4

Galaxy 4 (alternatively spelled Galaxy Four) is the mostly missing first serial of the third season in the British science-fiction television series Doctor Who. It was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 11 September to 2 October 1965. Only the third episode ("Air Lock") is held in the BBC archives, and the other three remain missing.

018 Galaxy 4
Doctor Who serial
The Drahvins, with their weapons drawn, and a Chumbley
Directed byDerek Martinus
Mervyn Pinfield (uncredited)[1]
Written byWilliam Emms
Script editorDonald Tosh
Produced byVerity Lambert
Executive producer(s)None
Incidental music composerStock music by Les Structures Sonores
Production codeT
SeriesSeason 3
Length4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing3 episodes (1, 2 and 4); 6 minutes exist from episode 1 – Four Hundred Dawns
First broadcast11 September 1965 (1965-09-11)
Last broadcast2 October 1965 (1965-10-02)
 Preceded by
The Time Meddler
Followed by 
"Mission to the Unknown"


The First Doctor, Vicki and Steven Taylor arrive on an eerily silent planet and encounter curious short and squat non-humanoid robots which resemble three domes stacked on top of each other, and Vicki decides to call the blind, beeping metre-tall machines "Chumblies" because of what she calls the "chumbley" way they move.

The TARDIS crew are still trying to decide whether the Chumblies are hostile or not when one is disabled by an all-female party of cloned blonde Drahvin warriors from the planet Drahva in Galaxy 4. It is revealed that the unknown planet they are on is also in Galaxy 4 but is not given a name. The Drahvins are dominated by their cruel leader, Maaga, who treats her simple-minded subordinates with bullying contempt. The Drahvins are at war with the reptilian Rills, the masters of the Chumblies, and both races have crashed spaceships on this planet.

The planet will be destroyed in 14 planetary cycles and, with the Drahvin ship irreparable, Maaga and her warriors are keen to capture the Rill ship, which they believe has been made functional again. Maaga paints a picture of the Drahvins as the attacked species in the scenario, but the Doctor has witnessed some of the Drahvin aggression and is clearly not convinced. He also reworks the probability on the planet's destruction and calculates it will break up in just two days' time. The Doctor tries to keep this new finding from the Drahvins, but Maaga reveals her true colours and forces the truth from him at the point of a gun.

With Steven held as hostage to ensure their co-operation, the Doctor and Vicki are sent by the Drahvins to try to seize control of the Rill ship. The Doctor works out that the ammonia-breathing Rills are a very advanced species: when he meets one he is impressed, not least by their species' use of telepathy. The huge and impressive, horned warthog-like Rill explains that they have offered to take the Drahvins away with them but Maaga has refused, preferring to maintain a state of war. The Doctor tells the Rills of the true life remaining in the planet and promises to help them escape, since the solar energy converters on the Rill craft have not gathered enough power to effect a lift-off.

The Doctor and Vicki return to the Drahvin ship to find Steven unconscious after Maaga has tried to kill him by leaving him in a depressurised airlock. They all return to the Rill vessel, where the Doctor successfully develops a power converter linked to the TARDIS, which charges the Rill craft. Maaga leads the Drahvins in a final assault but the Chumblies defend their ship long enough for it to power up and leave the planet. One Chumbley left behind to aid the time travellers helps them get back to the TARDIS. Once the ship leaves, the planet explodes, with the Drahvins perishing on the dying world.

The story ends with a lead in to "Mission to the Unknown" with Vicki looking at a planet, and wondering what is happening on it. The action then switches to the planet, where Jeff Garvey in a jungle is repeating "I must kill".


The working title for this story was The Chumblies. Different resources alternatively spell out the numeral in the title: Galaxy Four.

The BBC no longer holds the complete serial in its archives, although on 11 December 2011 it was announced that episode 3, "Air Lock", had been discovered earlier that year among material bought by former ITV engineer Terry Burnett;[2][3] however, due to a break in the film, the last 27 seconds of action and the closing credits are all missing from the print.[4] Additionally, almost six minutes' worth of footage from episode 1, "Four Hundred Dawns", is held in the archive thanks to a 1977 documentary entitled Whose Doctor Who—although only 30 seconds were eventually used, the footage that was discarded was kept by Jan Vincent-Rudzki, then-president of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society, who acted as a technical advisor on the documentary programme, and who returned the footage he had kept to the BBC in the 1990s.[5][6]

Broadcast and reception

EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
1"Four Hundred Dawns"22:2111 September 1965 (1965-09-11)9.0Only stills and/or fragments exist
2"Trap of Steel"24:5118 September 1965 (1965-09-18)9.5Only stills and/or fragments exist
3"Air Lock"24:1925 September 1965 (1965-09-25)11.316mm t/r
4"The Exploding Planet"24:472 October 1965 (1965-10-02)9.9Only stills and/or fragments exist

^† Episode is missing

The ratings for this story ranged from 9 million viewers for episode one to a peak of 11.3 million viewers for episode three.

Radio Times reviewer Patrick Mulkern thought the story was "By no means a classic" but did have "sparks of originality". Mulkern considered it to be "an entertaining if pedestrian beginning" to season 3.[9]

Ian Levine claimed that the Doctor Who Appreciation Society obtained legal permission to privately screen this serial at a convention in 1978, only to find that the BBC had junked the episodes about three weeks prior.[10] Later research subsequently showed this to be mistaken, as the DWAS never held any agreement to show the serial, and BBC Enterprises appear to have junked at least one of the episodes by the end of 1976.[11]

Commercial releases

In print

Galaxy Four
AuthorWilliam Emms
Cover artistAndrew Skilleter
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
PublisherTarget Books
Publication date
November 1985 (hardback) 10 April 1986 (paperback)

A novelisation of this serial, written by William Emms, was published by Target Books in November 1985, entitled Galaxy Four.

The script of this serial was published by Titan Books in July 1994, edited by John McElroy, here entitled Galaxy 4. At the time of printing, the only audio recording known to exist was a poor-quality copy of the second episode "Trap of Steel" which had several parts completely inaudible.[12]

Home media

All the existing audio-visual material for this story was released on VHS in 1998 as part of the documentary The Missing Years.

The same material was released on DVD in 2004 as part of the Lost in Time box set. The newly rediscovered third episode, "Air Lock", was released on 11 March 2013 as an extra on The Aztecs—Special Edition DVD.[13] Along with the episode, a reconstruction of the other three episodes, which had been originally prepared for the DVD of The Time Meddler, was included, with surviving clips and photographs.[14]

The soundtrack for the serial is intact and was released commercially in 2002, with linking narration provided by Peter Purves.[15]

See also


  1. "BBC – Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – Galaxy 4 – Details".
  2. "Missing Episodes Recovered!". BBC. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  3. Plunkett, John (12 December 2011). "'Lost' Doctor Who episodes from 1960s returned to BBC". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  4. "Doctor Who: two long-lost episodes uncovered". Radio Times. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  5. Phillips, Steve. "Galaxy Four episode 1 (Four Hundred Dawns)". The Doctor Who Clips List. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  6. Jan Vincent-Rudzki (1998). The Missing Years (documentary included on The Ice Warriors Collection set) (VHS). BBC Worldwide.
  7. "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  8. Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "Galaxy 4". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 31 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  9. "Galaxy 4 *** | Radio Times". 11 April 2014.
  10. Levine, Ian (July 1992). "The Mark of Destruction: The truth behind the missing episodes of Doctor Who (part one)". DWB (103): 12–15.
  11. Bignell, Richard (June 2005). "Withdrawn, De-accessioned and Junked". Nothing at the End of the Lane — the Magazine of Doctor Who Research and Restoration (2): 44–49.
  12. Emms, William (July 1994). McElroy, John (ed.). Doctor Who – The Scripts: Galaxy 4. London: Titan Books. pp. 2, 5–6. ISBN 1-85286-566-0.
  13. "DVD Update: 2013 updates and expectations". Doctor Who News. 20 August 1975. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  14. Elton Townend Jones. "Galaxy 4 Features Doctor Who: The Aztecs Special Edition DVD". Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  15. "Doctor Who: Galaxy 4 (TV Soundtrack)". AudioGo. Retrieved 20 October 2013.


Target novelisation

Audio adaptation

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