Pierrot Costume of Death

An alternate Programme Guide by Charles Daniels

The One Hundred and Twenty-Fourth Entry in the Charles Daniels
Unauthorized Programme Guide O' Stumps

Serial 6A - Pierrot Costume of Death  -

The TARDIS arrives at a train station in 1925, where the Doctor and his
companions are given a warm welcome by the local gentry. The Doctor plays
a game of cricket and is then invited to a masked ball that is to be held
that evening.  The Doctor's decides to wear his Pierrot costume to the

 Later that evening a man in a Pierrot costume murders a servant
and attacks a young socialite.

 The Doctor is blamed for the death, but a local investigator is convinced
by the Doctor that someone else must have had a Pierrot costume and
committed the acts of violence - in an elaborate frame up.

 The investigator gives the Doctor full authority to investigate the
crime, question witnesses, and collect evidence on his behalf.
The next day the investigator is surprised that no one at the party
has yet been interviewed by the Doctor, and that none of the local
costume and novelty shops in the area have any records of any other
Pierrot costumes being sold or rented out that night.

 The investigator proceeds to the guest home where the Doctor and his
companions were staying, but they have vanished.  The investigator
is so deeply troubled by this that he pays no attention to reports
from the local train station that a large blue box disappeared into
thin air, in plain view of over 100 witnesses.

Book(s)/Other Related - Dr Who & The Lost Weekend

                        Whodunnit - The Doctor Who Murder Mystery

                Detective Handbook: 101 Reasons NOT To Hand Over Your
                Investigations To Men Who Claim To Be All Powerful Beings
                From Outerspace

Fluffs - Peter Davison had a special glint in his eye for most of this
         story, which seemed bizarrely out of character

Goofs - Fans often complain that police boxes did not exist in the 1920s,
        so there would no way for the police to recognise the TARDIS.
        However, on a personal level, I'm more thrown by all the
        Duran Duran music at the fancy dress party.  I'm pretty sure
        'Girls on Film' wasn't a chart topper in 1925.

Fashion Victims -

Technobabble -

"I say!  Is that narrow-gauge Welsh steam train?"

"OH YES!  It's the 14:05 Talyllyn train from Nant Gwernol.  Heading
for Tywyn Wharf. Very rare sight these days, narrow-gauge Welsh steam

Links and References -
Sir Robert claims that he was once in Traken, which he reckons is
near Cleethorpes, and Lord Cranleigh claims to have visited
Alzarius, New York on a business trip to America.

Untelevised Misadventures -
The story hints, but never confirms, that every 121 years, 6 months,
and 23 days the Doctor arrives in a small village and murders several
people.  If this is true then we can expect approximately six stories
previous to this one where the Doctor *WAS* guilty and cleverly framed
a villain.

Groovy DVD Extras -
A segment where Blue Peter shows how to make your own Pierrot Costume
and medieval dagger.

Dialogue Disasters -

Doctor: I am older than the stars, a being of unimaginable power..
        and yet...for all my power...I still can't bowl this bastard out.

Dialogue Triumphs -

 Adric: So what is a railway station?
Doctor: Well, a place where one embarks and disembarks from compartments
        on wheels drawn along these tracks by a steam engine - rarely on
Nyssa: What a very silly activity.
Doctor: You think so? As a boy, I always wanted to rob one.

         Tegan: It's fancy dress, isn't it?
Lord Cranleigh: Yes.
         Tegan: Well, we haven't got any costumes.
Lord Cranleigh: You mean, you ALWAYS dress like a member of Human League?
                It's not sanitary!

Viewer Quotes -

"A lot of this story was spent creating the mood of the 1920s. In the
first episode we have a total party atmosphere, a leisurely trip back in
time.  Then, the Doctor just kills people.  So...I'm not sure what
the hell that was about."  - David Crimson (1982)

"Pierrot Costume of Death marks the return of the pure historical story -
although it does not really have all that much in common with the classic
historical stories of sixties Doctor Who. Instead of having an adventure
set around a particular event in Earth's history, here we have the
Doctor senselessly murdering someone, and what annoys me about this,
is that he's murdering someone in 1925 - FOR NO REASON!  The story doesn't
justify why this HAS to take place in 1925.  The Doctor could just as
easily kill someone in 1982.  It's things like that which really get to
me."                           - Anthony Shreve (2001)

"You know, officially, I'm not suppose to say this, and all.  It
sort of goes against the OFFICIAL teachings of our lord I suppose.
But personally, I mean, come on.  Who hasn't wanted to kill a rich person?
They're just begging for it."   - Father James O' Maley (1982)

Psychotic Nostalgia -
"Pierrot Costume of Death?  I must have missed that one.  I missed
a few because I started taking night classes at the local college....
Well.......I wasn't really TAKING the night classes.  I was just
stalking people.  And that took up most of my evenings."

Peter Davison Speaks!
"I never liked 'Pierrot Costume of Death' to be honest with you.
I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because I spent a lot of the story
dressed as a clown.  And there was a big misunderstanding, a dire
miscommunication throughout the whole production.  In the script,
and when I talked to John about it, it was OBVIOUS that I was meant
to show off my costume as the Doctor, as for once it would look correct
as I was actually playing cricket.  But the director and the designer
just knew I was suppose to be in *A* costume.  And they assumed I
was meant to be in the clown costume the whole time.  And it was
just a disaster as the entire time I was playing cricket it was
in this silly clown outfit.  Not to mention we were filming this
on a typical English summers day, so it was raining the whole time.
My clown costume kept getting wetter and wetter. And as an actor
I'm thinking to myself - 'Alright, I know that unless the rain is
incredibly heavy it won't show up on film.  So am I suppose to
play this like a clown pitching cricket balls in the rain?  Or
am I suppose to play the entire scene as if it's not raining and
for some reason I've just chosen to wear a very damp clown outfit
while playing cricket?'.  So yes, the entire thing was a disaster."

Rumors & Facts -

 John Satan-Turner was heavily involved with the special K-9 And Bitches.
Due to this his time was incredibly stressed and things did not get better
when he realised that, in haste, he had forgotten about two episodes of
Doctor Who that he had the obligation to make.  The writers of the
other stories begged that these two episodes be alotted to lengthen
one story to a six parter or two stories into five parters.  This
was undeniably a good idea, and the best possible use of these episodes,
but unfortunately other people had made the suggestion to JST before
he'd thought of it first.  So, to show them who was in charge, he
demanded that a special two-part story be comissioned.

 The rest of the production office was annoyed by this request as it
would mean hastily finding a short script and developing it for
After going through many submitted materials, the production office
came across "Doctor Who Snuffs the Aristocracy".  The production staff
tracked down the writer of the script, a radical neo-communist living
in Brighton, and finalized permission to use the script.  It was hoped
that JST would read the script and change his mind, and due to the
lack of time remaining, allow for a six parter or two five part stories.

 However JST was also in the midst of a nervous breakdown, as his OTHER
Doctor Who spin off series "Sonic and Company" had been rejected flatly.
JST was busy penning a second episode of the K-9 And Bitches series that
would introduce the sonic screwdriver as the wacky neighbor.

 Therefore, when John Satan-Turner recieved the script he read as far
as "Doctor Who.." on the title page and stamped it approved.  In an
attempt to make it look like he'd read more than the first two words of
the title, he demanded that the title be changed.  Which was he did
with every single serial anyway.

 When the production office recieved the approved script, they were
floored.  They were now committed to making "Doctor Who Snuffs the
Aristocracy".  The only thing the production office had left to do
was change the title.  A member of the staff had mentioned that
"Noun of Death" would be typically appropriate title, and so they
searched the script for the first noun that leaped out at them which
was "Pierrot Costume".  There was some debate that perhaps they
should look for another noun, and that actually the title
"Cricket Bat Of Death" had a better ring to it.  However everyone
admitted that the title was hardly going to matter in a story in
which the Doctor befriends a polite group of 1920s socialites and
then goes on a murder frenzy.  So the issue was dropped and the
title "Pierrot Costume of Death" stuck.

 This unfortunate title lead the director, Ron Jones, to focus
entirely on the Pierrot Costume.  It was his decision that, as the
title character, the Doctor should appear in the Pierrot costume
throughout the story.

 Not surprisingly, Mary Whitehouse was upset by this serial.