The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve

The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve is the completely missing fourth serial of the third season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in four weekly parts from 5 to 26 February 1966. This serial marks the first appearance of Jackie Lane as companion-to-be Dodo Chaplet. Although audio recordings and still photographs of the story exist, no footage of this serial is known to have survived.

022 The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve
Doctor Who serial
The Doctor and Steven discuss events
Directed byPaddy Russell
Written byJohn Lucarotti
Donald Tosh
Script editorDonald Tosh
Gerry Davis
Produced byJohn Wiles
Executive producer(s)None
Incidental music composerStock music by Pierre Arvey
Production codeW
SeriesSeason 3
Length4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missingAll 4 episodes
First broadcast5 February 1966 (1966-02-05)
Last broadcast26 February 1966 (1966-02-26)
 Preceded by
The Daleks' Master Plan
Followed by 
The Ark


The arrival of the TARDIS in Paris, France in 1572 places its occupants, the First Doctor and Steven, in a dangerous situation. Tensions between Protestants and Catholics are at fever pitch in the city. Despite the danger, the Doctor heads off alone to visit the apothecary Charles Preslin, leaving Steven alone. Steven enters a tavern and meets Nicholas Muss, a Huguenot. When the Doctor does not return as arranged, Steven decides to spend the night at the home of his new friend. While Steven and Nicholas are wandering home, they find a frightened serving girl, Anne Chaplet. Anne is terrified because she has overheard some Catholic guards speaking of a coming religious massacre of Huguenots here in Paris. To protect her and her knowledge, Nicholas arranges for Anne to go into the service of his master, Admiral Gaspard de Coligny.

The next day, the Abbot of Amboise arrives at his Parisian residence. Convinced that Anne has discovered the threat to the Protestants, the Abbot sends his secretary Colbert to find her. Steven sees the two talking, and becomes convinced that the Abbot is the Doctor in disguise. He then tries to track down Preslin, the apothecary the Doctor went to meet, but learns he was arrested two years ago for heresy. He heads to the Abbot's house to wait for the doctor. While hidden he overhears Colbert and an assassin plotting to kill someone they call "the sea beggar" tomorrow. With night falling again, Steven heads out and finds Anne following him. They hide for the night at Preslin's empty shop, planning to search for the identity of the sea beggar. The call upon the Abbot, but are forced to flee after Steven realises that the Abbot is not the Doctor.

Anne and Steven meet back at Preslin's shop after the Abbot is killed, and a little later the Doctor himself arrives. After Anne tells the Doctor what day it is, he is very insistent that he and Steven must depart the city as soon as possible. He sends Anne to her aunt’s house, warning her that she must stay there. Meanwhile, Steven and the Doctor head across the city. They make it to the TARDIS just as the curfew is falling and depart as the massacre begins. Steven is worried for Anne and his friends, and angry that the Doctor made him leave. The Doctor insists that history could not be changed. Steven cannot accept that the Doctor left Anne behind, and is so disgusted with his colleague that he determines to leave his company. When the TARDIS lands in 1966 on Wimbledon Common, Steven offers a terse goodbye and ventures outside. The Doctor is left totally alone for the first time, and reflects on the other companions that have travelled with him and then left him, and his inability to return home. A young girl mistakes the TARDIS for a Police Box and enters to report a road accident. Steven comes in too, saying that policemen are approaching, and his heart softens when the young woman introduces herself as Dorothea or Dodo Chaplet.

The Doctor, hearing Steven's warning of the approaching policemen, hurriedly dematerialises the TARDIS, not noticing until after it has left 1966 that Dodo is still aboard. Steven informs her that there's no way back, and "we could land anywhere," but Dodo seems either unworried or simply doesn't believe him. She says she is an orphan who lives with her great aunt and thus has few ties, as the TARDIS continues to hum, hurtling them toward the next great adventure.


EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
1"War of God"24:515 February 1966 (1966-02-05)8.0Only stills and/or fragments exist
2"The Sea Beggar"24:4312 February 1966 (1966-02-12)6.0Only stills and/or fragments exist
3"Priest of Death"24:3319 February 1966 (1966-02-19)5.9Only stills and/or fragments exist
4"Bell of Doom"25:0626 February 1966 (1966-02-26)5.8Only stills and/or fragments exist

^† Episode is missing

Script editor Donald Tosh rewrote much of the script delivered by John Lucarotti. In a monograph on The Massacre, James Cooray Smith argues that the Doctor's similarity with the Abbot of Amboise was inspired by a real historical event, the impersonation in 1562 of the Abbot responsible for Marmoutier Abbey in the commune of Amboise by a man called Chastillon, who was later executed. He suggests that Lucarotti's original script (which no longer exists) involved the Doctor extensively impersonating the Abbot with the audience's connivance, whereas Tosh's preference was for the audience to be left unsure whether or not the Abbot was really the Doctor, leading to the disagreements between the two.[3] There are conflicting accounts as to whether Lucarotti's name was removed from the credits at his request.[4] Tosh is credited with co-writing the final episode, on which incoming script editor Gerry Davis was credited as script editor in his place.[5]

According to the book Doctor Who: Companions by David J. Howe and Mark Stammers, the final episode of the serial was to have included a cameo appearance by William Russell and Jacqueline Hill reprising their roles as former companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. The scene had Ian and Barbara witnessing the dematerialisation of the TARDIS after Dodo enters. Although the scene was scheduled, it was not filmed.

Alternative titles

Original production documents state the name of the serial as The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve, although this is an anachronism, as the actual massacre took place on St Bartholomew's Day.

The BBC Radio Collection release gives the title as, variously, The Massacre and The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve. The packaging uses the title The Massacre, but the accompanying booklet uses both titles. The CDs have The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve printed on them and this is also the title announced by Peter Purves on the discs themselves.

Cast notes

William Hartnell was on holiday during filming of episode two;[5] the Doctor does not feature in the episode, and the Abbot appears in a pre-filmed scene only.

Leonard Sachs later played Borusa in Arc of Infinity (1983). Michael Bilton later played Collins in Pyramids of Mars (1975) and a Time Lord in The Deadly Assassin (1976). Christopher Tranchell later played Jenkins in The Faceless Ones (1967) and Commander Andred in The Invasion of Time (1978). David Weston later played Biroc in Warriors' Gate (1981).

Commercial releases

In print

The Massacre
AuthorJohn Lucarotti
Cover artistTony Masero
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
PublisherTarget Books
Publication date
June 1987 (Hardback) 19 November 1987 (Paperback)

John Lucarotti's 1987 novelisation of this serial for Target Books, entitled simply The Massacre, returned the story to a previous draft before both a scheduled holiday for Hartnell and technical limitations forced a number of rewrites (allowing Hartnell to not have to be present during recording of the second episode and removing the need for Hartnell to be doubled throughout the story).

Home media

This is one of only three stories, along with Marco Polo and Mission to the Unknown, of which no footage survives.[6] However, a fan-recorded soundtrack, with linking narration provided by Peter Purves, was released by the BBC Radio Collection on both audio CD and cassette in 1999.


  1. "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  2. Shaun Lyon; et al. (31 March 2007). "The Massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve". Outpost Gallifrey. Archived from the original on 7 May 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2008.
  3. Smith, James Cooray (2016). The Black Archive #4: The Massacre. Obverse Books. pp. 32, 98.
  4. "The Making Of The Massacre". Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013.
  5. "BBC – Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – The Massacre – Details".
  6. "Doctor Who: the 10 stories you can't actually watch".

Further reading

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