Exploration Earth - The Time Machine, by Bernard Venables

A BBC Schools Radio Drama, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 4 Oct 1976 


The Time Machine. Doctor Who and Sarah fight Megron, the Lord of Chaos, and discover how the Earth was formed.
ANNOUNCER: Radio Four VHF for Schools.
(Tom Baker's opening Doctor Who theme, composed by Ron Grainer.)
ANNOUNCER: Yes, in this week's Exploration Earth we join the Doctor and Sarah as they journey through time in the TARDIS.

(The sound of rushing through cosmic vastness is heard. Inside the TARDIS control room. DOCTOR WHO singing to himself.)
DOCTOR WHO: And there's a response. Jelly baby. Reciprocator cancel. That's odd. Nothing happening. Intra-cote. Oh no.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh, the great Doctor in travail, hmm? Doctor ... is there something...? Are you keeping something from me?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Are you keeping something from me...?
DOCTOR WHO: No, no, no, of course not. You know how tactful one must be with the low continuum resolutions. It's a delicate bit of organisation, you know.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh Doctor, come clean - yes, there is something.
DOCTOR WHO: Well, yes. There's some malfunctioning of the Relative Dimensional Computer.
DOCTOR WHO: It means the steering's gone haywire.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh - so, we're off course, lost in space.
DOCTOR WHO: Well, yes ... up to a point.
SARAH JANE SMITH: And at this speed we're getting loster and loster, thousands and thousands more miles every second.
DOCTOR WHO: Yes. We're sliding with enormous speed in retrograde time. Let's look at the chronometric astrometer.
(There is a humming sound mixed in with a cricking sound like the croak noise made by a toad.)
DOCTOR WHO: Yes. The way we're going we could be out of all Earth time reckoning soon.
(The cricking sound becomes more frequent and the humming rises to intensity - then fades.)
DOCTOR WHO: We've stopped! There's a force. It's gripped the TARDIS. I don't know what it is, but it's interesting. Yes, it's very interesting. We've gone back four thousand five hundred million years Earth-time.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh. Don't you ever feel lonely, Doctor? I do. I do now . Four thousand five hundred million years back down the wastes of Space-Time.
DOCTOR WHO: Four thousand five hundred million years - yes! Yes, that rings a bell. Sarah, I think you're going to be able to see what your funny little planet started from.
SARAH JANE SMITH: How? How are we going to see the start of dear old Earth? What - just open the TARDIS door, and step out into endless empty space, with no atmosphere?
DOCTOR WHO: Just step into this capsule with me.
(We hear their voices as though they are now inside)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh! Not very big, is it?
DOCTOR WHO: Well, it's a two-person capsule. Right. Now, I'll ... I'll just atmosphere-inject it.
(There is the faint sound of air being pumped in.)
(A quiet burring sound is heard.)
DOCTOR WHO: Out we go.
(There is a whooshing sound, and then the sound of a strong wind.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Ow ... Ow! Ooh, it's all right for you - you're a Time Lord. This gives me earache!
DOCTOR WHO: There! Look, Sarah. Look at that enormous body.
(SARAH JANE SMITH groans again.)
DOCTOR WHO: We're held in the pull of it. Far bigger than the Earth of your time. A wondrous sight, isn't it?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh ... Oh, yes - yes, it is a wondrous sight.
DOCTOR WHO: An enormous billowing mass of gases, pulsing and burning.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Flaming tongues licking out of it.
DOCTOR WHO: Well, it's hot, you know. Millions of degrees centigrade. And those gases, churning and burning - they're space gases. No oxygen there.
(The sound of the strong wind continues.)
DOCTOR WHO: And right in the middle, wrapped in that inferno is a core of rock, a ball, almost certainly molten. And that - that's about the size of planet Earth. It's the beginning of your home planet, Sarah.
(The sound of the wind continues.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh! If I ever get home.
DOCTOR WHO: You will. You will. Come on - back to the TARDIS.
(There is the same whooshing sound heard earlier.)

(The sound of the TARDIS interior console room can be heard in the background.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh! So much for the beginning of Earth. It was frightening!
DOCTOR WHO: Now, I think we should beam steadily on the same track, and follow the progression trail of the developing Earth. Wait a bit, while I free us from this pull.
(We hear a stream of low bleeping sounds.)
DOCTOR WHO: Cosmo retrozine should do it. Ah! It's done it. Movements.
(SARAH JANE SMITH sighs as there is the sound of the TARDIS dematerialising.)

(After this we hear the jingling sound of an alien atmosphere like the sound of the Time Vortex, culminating in a rapid electronic warbling.)

(The sound of the TARDIS interior console room can be heard in the background.)
DOCTOR WHO: We've stopped again. We're caught in the pull of a huge force.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh Doctor, not again.
DOCTOR WHO: Yes, again. But you should be happy. You're millions of years Earth-time nearer home. Come on.
(DOCTOR WHO's voice as though he has moved into the capsule again.)
DOCTOR WHO: Let's see what's happened to your Earth in the meantime. Into the capsule.
(The whooshing sound starts again. This time the wind sound has changed.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh, it ... it's smaller.
DOCTOR WHO: Yes. Your Earth's progressing. That huge fiery mass is much smaller now, isn't it?
SARAH JANE SMITH: It's much smaller.
DOCTOR WHO: Yes. Nearer the size of the Earth you know.
DOCTOR WHO: Sun action. It's eroded away all the hot gas mass, and see - the young planet has begun to solidify.
SARAH JANE SMITH: It needs to solidify before I set foot on it.
(The sound continues.)
DOCTOR WHO: It's magnificent. There's progress. Order is coming to this planet. A vast and lovely process.
(There is the sound of eruption.)
DOCTOR WHO: See how the surface quakes. See how it opens yawning wounds of fire, those shimmering lakes of molten rock. The Earth is being forged, moulded.
(There is a louder explosion, and the faint sound of a distant echoing voice.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: What was that?
DOCTOR WHO: Lightning, that's all.
(There is the sound of a flash of lightning, but the lightning is making a quite different sound.)
DOCTOR WHO: But look. Look. The first crust is forming. I expect it's basalt, that sharp, hard rock.
(The sound of lightning continues.)
DOCTOR WHO: Earth is in the making.
(The deep echoing voice, THE MEGRON, now calls out clearly.)
THE MEGRON: Who are you?
DOCTOR WHO: What was that?
THE MEGRON: Who are you?
(More indignantly)
THE MEGRON: Who are you? Tampering intruders. Why are you here?
DOCTOR WHO: Well, we're travellers.
THE MEGRON: Be careful in your answers. I am the Megron, High Lord of Chaos - Chief of the Karions, Lords of Chaos.
DOCTOR WHO: Oh yes, of course. The Megron moving in. Don't strain - I can hear you. I'm a Time Lord.
THE MEGRON: Ah! A Time Lord. The Time Lords have been enemies of the Karions down the endless ages. So - you come interfering again. Know then - I, the Megron, have taken over this hot mass of chaos. Nothing can alter its disorder. So it is, so it must be, beyond the reach of Time.
DOCTOR WHO: You're very confident, aren't you, Megron? But always remember, the noisier they are, the harder they fall.
THE MEGRON: You are trivial. Listen, and learn. This is a kingdom of chaos. Sacred, unchangeable.
DOCTOR WHO: Loose thinking. Everything's changing all the time. Look. Don't you see? Already rock crust is forming, gas from within the planet is replacing space gases. Out of this torment, out of this tumult is coming order.
(THE MEGRON roars indignantly.)
DOCTOR WHO: Yes - order.
(THE MEGRON roars louder. DOCTOR WHO laughs.)
DOCTOR WHO: You're vain. This is a mere transit, part of a progression. You think this is chaos, but a beautiful and fruitful planet is destined to come.
THE MEGRON: Impudence! Heresy! You defy true knowledge. You will be punished. Punished...
(The voice starts to fade away.)
DOCTOR WHO: We've heard that before.
THE MEGRON: Punished...
DOCTOR WHO: Haven't we heard that before, Sarah?
SARAH JANE SMITH: Don't provoke him, Doctor.
THE MEGRON: Insolent ignoramus. Take that.
(There is a sudden crack of thunder and lightning.)
DOCTOR WHO: He's iresome, isn't he? Shall we go?
(The whooshing sound starts up as there is another peal of thunder.)

(The sound of the TARDIS interior console room can be heard in the background again.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh! That was close.
DOCTOR WHO: Let's get out of here.
(TARDIS dematerialisation sound, followed by the jingling sound of the Time Vortex, culminating in rapid electronic pulsing sounds.)

(As before, the sound of the TARDIS interior console room can be heard in the background.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: We're slowing.
DOCTOR WHO: Yes. We're some millions of Earth years onwards. Another stage. Yes. We've stopped. Now, I think that...
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh, now, don't say any more. Just, er ... let it surprise me.
DOCTOR WHO: Come on. Into the capsule.
(The air is injected again.)
DOCTOR WHO: That's it. Ready?
(We hear the whooshing sound again. This time there is the sound of a fierce howling wind.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh no, it ... Oh, it's horrible, Doctor. The Earth is being torn apart - those horrifying volcanoes! Oh...
DOCTOR WHO: Marvellous, aren't they?
(The sound of an eruption.)
DOCTOR WHO: Now, look hard. I'm showing you this through the compressive tele-sight. It lets the events of millions of years pass before you in minutes. It's letting you see the passage of forces that forged and fashioned the planet you call home.
(The volcanic eruptions continue.)
DOCTOR WHO: See the vast cauldron of the volcanoes, boiling the rock till it runs like cream.
(The noise of eruptions continue amid the howling gale.)
DOCTOR WHO: See how the body of the planet is split by the force of enormous earthquake shocks.
DOCTOR WHO: Shuffling and rearranging the materials of it, wrenching and ripping and moulding the Earth...
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh ... Oh - oh Doctor, I feel sick.
DOCTOR WHO: Yes of course you do, Sarah, but look. Look.
(The explosions rumble.)
DOCTOR WHO: Global tidal waves, raging, sweeping, drowning continents.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Well - well don't sound so happy. Even you must be frightened!
DOCTOR WHO: Oh, stop wittering, Sarah!
(The rumbling continues amid the howling gale.)
DOCTOR WHO: Look at that huge plain.
(The steady rumble continues.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: It's shuddering.
DOCTOR WHO: Like always. It's lifting, you see? Before your eyes, hills rising higher, higher, becoming mountains.
(The steady rumble continues as they speak.)
DOCTOR WHO: Rearing up, a great mountain range finding its birth. Thrust up, towering to the skies from the plain.
SARAH JANE SMITH: But - it must be as high as Mount Everest.
DOCTOR WHO: Everest? A slag-heap. I wonder where the Megron is? Him and his chaos. But look, Sarah, look - there's progress. The forming of order.
(THE MEGRON roars suddenly.)
THE MEGRON: Order will never come. Order will never come. Order will never come.
DOCTOR WHO: That's him.
THE MEGRON: Never! Never. See how the tortured body of this planet is racked and torn by the awful horror of its volcanoes, like a vast plague of boils.
(The rumble amid the howling gale continues to be heard.)
THE MEGRON: See how, as it tries to take solid form, earthquakes tear into eruption and chaos. There is no air for creatures to breathe - only gases to choke and smother.
DOCTOR WHO: Oh, hello, Megron, are you still around? I thought perhaps you'd given up. Order.
(THE MEGRON again roars at the word. DOCTOR WHO laughs.)
DOCTOR WHO: If you want to ask a question, please put your hand up.
THE MEGRON: You think you will impress me because you are a Time Lord. But say what you will, I am High Lord of Chaos, and chaos still rules.
DOCTOR WHO: Oh, no. No, Megron. Look again at this planet.
(There is a hissing sound amid the sound of chaos.)
DOCTOR WHO: You see? It's no longer using space gases. It's generating its own Earth gases, and already there is a little oxygen - just a little, but it's a sign of what's to come.
THE MEGRON: No, no, no! You lie! There is no oxygen. There can be no life.
DOCTOR WHO: Wrong, Megron, wrong again. Don't you see a firm granite crust for this Earth is already forming out of the fury of the volcanoes? They melt and re-melt the rock, and that forms the granite. Progress. Order.
(THE MEGRON roars again, much to DOCTOR WHO's amusement.)
DOCTOR WHO: A future is the destiny of this planet. Not you, or all the Karions can stop it. Chaos is passing. A glorious future is coming. Life, Megron, life will take over this planet.
THE MEGRON: Impudent upstart! Ignoramus!
(The voice fades away.)
DOCTOR WHO: Come on, Sarah. Into the TARDIS.
(The whooshing sound is heard again.)

(As before, the sound of the TARDIS interior console room can be heard in the background.)
DOCTOR WHO: Not a good loser, the Megron, is he? Let's move on.
(The TARDIS dematerialisation sound is heard, and then the jangling sound of the Time Vortex, and then the sound of the TARDIS materialisation starts up.)
DOCTOR WHO: Ah! Sarah, do you feel the TARDIS changing? Slowing?
DOCTOR WHO: We've stopped. But not just stopped, Sarah.
(The dematerialisation sound stops completely.)
DOCTOR WHO: Can you feel? We've landed!
DOCTOR WHO: Yes, Sarah. Open the door. You can go out.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Well ... if you say so, but ... Is there atmosphere?
(This time there is peace, no howling wind, and the sound of a sheep bleating.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh! The sweet air!
(She inhales.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh, it's flooding in!
(Birds can be heard tweeting.)
DOCTOR WHO: Out you go, Sarah.
SARAH JANE SMITH: Oh ... Doctor, it's so beautiful.
(We can hear occasional sounds of sheep bleating and bird tweets.)
SARAH JANE SMITH: The gentle sunshine, shining over this lovely landscape, and trees and flowers everywhere, all sorts of colours. Hey, can't you smell them, Doctor? Look at this - on this leaf, it's a butterfly. What's happened, Doctor?
DOCTOR WHO: Well - we've skipped through millions of years, and a very important thing has happened. There's lots of oxygen. All those green things - trees, flowers - they make it from sunlight. That's why it's possible for you to live on Earth.
SARAH JANE SMITH: But what happened to the Megron?
THE MEGRON: I am still here! Still here! You thought I was no more.
DOCTOR WHO: You are persistent, aren't you? Come on, Megron, time for you to be beaten. We must fight. Pit our strengths by telepathic will deployment.
SARAH JANE SMITH: What's that, Doctor?
DOCTOR WHO: Not now, Sarah, I'm busy.
(Amid a peal of thunder, there is a humming and pulsing sound which gradually rises in intensity. There is a boom of thunder.)
DOCTOR WHO: Megron, High Lord of Chaos, you are banished from planet Earth.
(The humming and pulsing ceases, there is another boom of thunder and THE MEGRON cries out, its cries fading away amidst rumbles of thunder.)
THE MEGRON: I am going, going! But I live on. Chaos can come again. Come again!
(The echoing voice and thunder fades away.)
DOCTOR WHO: Bye-bye Megron. Bye-bye chaos. Bye-bye. Say bye-bye, Sarah.

(Tom Baker's closing Doctor Who theme, composed by Ron Grainer.)
ANNOUNCER: That programme was written by Bernard Venables. Those taking part were Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen and John Westbrook. The special sounds were by Dick Mills of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. The production was by David Little.

Transcribed by David Tait

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