Kinda (Doctor Who)

Kinda is the third serial of the 19th season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four twice-weekly parts on BBC1 from 1 to 9 February 1982.

118[1] Kinda
Doctor Who serial
Trapped in a circle of mirrors, the Mara reveals its true form.
Directed byPeter Grimwade
Written byChristopher Bailey
Script editorEric Saward
Produced byJohn Nathan-Turner
Executive producer(s)None
Incidental music composerPeter Howell
Production code5Y
SeriesSeason 19
Length4 episodes, 25 minutes each
First broadcast1 February 1982 (1982-02-01)
Last broadcast9 February 1982 (1982-02-09)
 Preceded by
Four to Doomsday
Followed by 
The Visitation

In the serial, the Mara, an alien being from another plane uses the dreams of the time-travelling air stewardess Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding) to reach the planet Deva Loka. The Mara takes over the body of the Kinda Aris (Adrian Mills) to attack colonists on the planet.


An Earth colonisation survey expedition to the beautiful jungle planet Deva Loka is being depleted as members of the survey disappear one by one. Four have gone, leaving the remainder somewhat apprehensive. Sanders relies on bombast and rules, while Hindle his deputy, is close to breaking point. Only Todd, the scientific officer, seems to deal with the situation with equanimity. She does not see the native people, the Kinda, as a threat but rather respects their culture and is intrigued by their power of telepathy. The social structure is also curious in that women seem dominant and are the only ones with the power of voice. The humans are holding two silent males hostage for "observation". Todd believes they are more advanced than they first appear, as they possess necklaces representative of the double helix of DNA, indicating a more advanced civilisation.

Elsewhere in the jungle, the TARDIS crew are also under stress, especially Nyssa, who has collapsed from exhaustion. The Fifth Doctor constructs a delta wave augmenter to enable her to rest in the TARDIS, while he and Adric venture deeper into the jungle. They soon find an automated total survival suit (TSS) system, which activates and marches them to the Dome, the colonist base. Sanders is a welcoming but gruff presence, further undermining Hindle at regular intervals. Sanders decides to venture into the jungle in the TSS, leaving the highly-strung Hindle in charge. His will is enforced by means of the two Kinda hostages, who have forged a telepathic link with him, believing their souls to have been captured in his mirror. The Doctor, Todd and Adric are arrested as Hindle now evinces megalomania.

Tegan faces a more metaphysical crisis. She has fallen asleep near the euphonious and soporific windchimes, unaware of the danger of the dreaming of an unshared mind (one not engaged in telepathy with another humanoid). Her mind opens in a void, where she undergoes provocation and terror from a series of nightmarish characters, one of which taunts her: "You will agree to being me, sooner or later, this side of madness or the other". The spectres are a manifestation of the Mara, an evil being of the subconscious that longs for corporeal reality. Mentally tortured, she eventually agrees to become the Mara and a snake symbol passes to her arm. When her mind returns to her body, she is possessed by the Mara. She passes the snake symbol to the first Kinda she finds, a young man named Aris, who is the brother of one of the Kinda in the Dome. He too is transformed by evil and now finds the power of voice.

Back at the Dome, Hindle has conceived a bizarre and immolatory plan to destroy the jungle, which he views as a threat. Adric plays along with this delusion but Hindle’s world starts to fall apart when, first, Adric "betrays" him and then Sanders defies expectation and returns from the jungle. Sanders is radically different from the martinet in earlier episodes. Panna, an aged female mystic of the tribe, presented him with a strange wooden box called the "Box of Jhana" which, when opened, cleared his mind and left him a more contented and enlightened person. When Hindle continues to claim authority over the Dome, Sanders plays along with his deputy's megalomania - "As you like. You know best." He still has the box and shows it to Hindle, who makes the Doctor open it.

The Doctor and Todd see beyond the toy inside and share a vision from Panna and her young ward, Karuna, who invites them to a cave. The shock of the situation (accompanied by strange phenomena) allow the Doctor and Todd to slip away into the jungle, where they encounter Aris dominating a group of Kinda and seemingly fulfilling a tribal prophecy that "When the Not-We come, one will arise from among We, a male with Voice who must be obeyed." Karuna soon finds the Doctor and Todd and takes them to meet Panna in the cave from the vision, with the wise woman realising the danger of the situation now Aris has voice. She places them in a trance like state and reveals that the Mara has gained dominion on Deva Loka. The Great Wheel, which turns as civilisations rise and fall has turned again and the hour is near when chaos will reign, instigated by the Mara. The vision she shares is Panna’s last act: when it is finished, she is dead.

In the Kinda world, multiple fathers are shared by children, just as multiple memories are held and at Panna's death, her life experience transfers to Karuna. She urges Todd and the Doctor to return to the Dome, to prevent Aris leading an attack on it, which will increase the chaos and hasten the collapse of Kinda civilisation.

At the Dome, Hindle, Sanders and Adric remain in a state of unreality, with the former becoming ever more demented, unbalanced, and infantile. Sanders continues to humour him, even to the point of talking Adric out of an initial escape attempt. Adric does eventually escape, however, and attempts to pilot the TSS but is soon confronted by Aris and the Kinda. He panics and Aris is wounded by the machine (which responds to the mental impulses of the operator) and the Kinda scatter.

The Doctor and Todd find an emotionally wrecked and sleeping Tegan near the windchimes and conclude that she was the path of the Mara back into this world. They find Adric and the party heads back to the Dome, where Hindle has now completed the laying of explosives, which will incinerate the jungle and the Dome, the ultimate self-defence. Hindle is tricked into opening the Box of Jhana and the visions therein restore his mental balance as with Sanders. The two enslaved Kinda are freed when the mirror entrapping them is shattered. The Doctor then devises the only method of combating the Mara; since evil cannot face itself, he organises the construction of a large circle of mirrors (actually reflective solar panels) in a jungle clearing. Aris is trapped within it and the snake on his arm breaks free, whereupon he is pulled from the circle. The Mara swells to giant proportions but is then banished back from the corporeal world to the Dark Places of the Inside.

With the threat of the Mara dissipated and the personnel of the Dome back to more balanced selves, the Doctor, Adric and an exhausted Tegan decide to leave (as does Todd, who decides 'it's all a bit green'). When they reach the TARDIS, Nyssa greets them, fully recovered.


The working title for this story was The Kinda. This was the first story Eric Saward oversaw as script editor, though Castrovalva was broadcast earlier.

Nyssa makes only brief appearances at the start of episode 1, and at the end of 4, because the script had largely been developed at a time when only two companions for the Doctor were envisioned. When it was known a third companion would also be present, rather than write Nyssa into the entire storyline it was decided she would remain in the TARDIS throughout and be absent through most of the narrative. To account for this absence, Nyssa was scripted to collapse at the end of the previous story, Four to Doomsday. In this story, she remains in the TARDIS, resting. Sarah Sutton's contract was amended to account for this two-episode absence.

Themes and analysis

This serial was examined closely in the 1983 media studies volume Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text by John Tulloch and Manuel Alvarado. This was the first major scholarly work dedicated to Doctor Who. Tulloch and Alvarado compare Kinda with Ursula K. Le Guin's 1976 novel The Word for World Is Forest, which shares several themes with Kinda and may have been a template for its story. The Unfolding Text also examines the way "Kinda" incorporates Buddhist and Christian symbols and themes, as well as elements from the writings of Carl Jung.[2]

Broadcast and reception

EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
1"Part One"24:501 February 1982 (1982-02-01)8.4
2"Part Two"24:582 February 1982 (1982-02-02)9.4
3"Part Three"24:178 February 1982 (1982-02-08)8.5
4"Part Four"24:289 February 1982 (1982-02-09)8.9

The story was repeated on BBC1 across four consecutive evenings from 22–25 August 1983, achieving viewing figures of 4.2, 4.3, 3.9 and 5.0 million viewers respectively.[4]

Paul Cornell, Martin Day, and Keith Topping gave the serial a positive review in The Discontinuity Guide (1995), writing, "One of the best Doctor Who stories ever, astonishingly directed and written as a theatrical piece brimming with allusions and parallels. It's also got a direct and unsilly performance from Simon Rouse, and a thoughtful one from Nerys Hughes."[5] In The Television Companion (1998), David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker praised the dream sequences, the "intelligence and sophistication" of the script and direction, as well as the main cast. They felt that these outweighed the more negative aspects, such as a plot that could be hard to follow and the unconvincing alien environment and snake.[6] In 2012, Patrick Mulkern of Radio Times called Kinda "an imperfect gem", with some production shortcomings in an otherwise worthwhile story. He praised the guest cast and the "unusually adult psychodrama".[7] The A.V. Club reviewer Christopher Bahn said that the strength of the serial was "the way it behaves like an experimental stage-theater piece", with the highlight being Tegan's dream sequences. However, he felt that a problem was that the TARDIS crew was "kind of sidelined ... and rather passive", with the Doctor merely reacting to events.[8] DVD Talk's Justin Felix gave Kinda three and a half out of five stars, describing it as fun and interesting, though with its fair share of poor special effects.[9] Ian Berriman of SFX gave the serial a positive review, highlighting its adult tone and the strong female roles.[10]

Commercial releases

In print

AuthorTerrance Dicks
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
PublisherTarget Books
Publication date
15 March 1984

A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in December 1983.

In 1997, the novel was also issued by BBC Audio as an audio book, read by Peter Davison.

Home media

Kinda was released on VHS in October 1994 with a cover illustration by Colin Howard. This story was released on DVD on 7 March 2011, along with the sequel Snakedance in a special-edition box-set entitled Mara Tales. For this DVD release there is an option for the effect of the Mara at the end of part 4 to be replaced with a CGI version. This serial was also released as part of the Doctor Who DVD Files in Issue 93 on 25 July 2012 (minus any special features). In January 2019, Kinda was again released in Blu Ray format as part of the Peter Davison (Season 19 or Season 1) Blu Ray release.


  1. From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this as story number 119. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. Tulloch, John; Alvarado, Manuel (1983). Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-21480-4.
  3. "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  4. "Doctor Who Guide: broadcasting for Kinda".
  5. Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (1995). "Kinda". The Discontinuity Guide. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-426-20442-5.
  6. Howe, David J & Walker, Stephen James (1998). Doctor Who: The Television Companion (1st ed.). London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-40588-7.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. Mulkern, Patrick (18 January 2012). "Doctor Who: Kinda". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  8. Bahn, Christopher (30 October 2011). "Kinda". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  9. Felix, Justin (1 May 2011). "Doctor Who: Kinda". DVD Talk. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  10. Berriman, Ian (4 March 2011). "Doctor Who: Mara Tales - DVD review". SFX. Retrieved 27 March 2013.

Target novelisation

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