The Doctor Who Ratings Guide: By Fans, For Fans

Exploration Earth

Title Dates Length
Ep. 3: "The Time Machine" Radio 4: 10/4/76 19:39

Tom Baker, Elisabeth Sladen, and John Westbrook as "The Megron, a High Lord of Chaos."

Part three of a four part educational series on Radio 4, featuring Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen as the Doctor and Sarah.

Read the script at The Missing Scripts.


A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 14/10/98

This foray into the Doctor Who universe was part three of four programmes entitled Exploration Earth and was broadcast in 1977 on BBC Radio 4 just after part one of The Hand of Fear. Featuring Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen, the third part, subtitled "The Time Machine", saw The Doctor and Sarah witness the beginning of creation through to the present day. Also featured was a character called The Megron, a High Lord Of Chaos, who seeks just that everywhere he appears.

As a children`s educational programme, Exploration Earth: "The Time Machine" works, proving to be relatively entertaining. As a piece of Doctor Who, it also works, not contradicting established continuity, and keeping The Doctor and Sarah very much in character. In fact Tom Baker seems to relish the opportunity to play "tour guide" to Sarah and the audience, as he reveals the history of creation. This could easily be a simple adventure the two of them had between stories. Although it does feel a little inconsequential, it remains entertaining.

A Review by Richard Radcliffe 19/7/02

I had a few minutes to spare the other day, and I decided to visit this spin-off from the 70s. There have been some laughable attempts to combine fiction with fact in Doctor Who. I recall the Search Out Science series with Peter Davison on the cover. The Doctor taking us to meet Dinosaurs, but then we got a Doctor meets Alien Species book - and the factual stuff clearly was out of the window.

This is a strange attempt to bring Science Fact into Science Fiction. Many other programmes have attempted to keep up with Scientific circles, notably Star Trek. They produce books like the Real Science of Star Trek, and I laugh at the explanations of Warp Drive, and Dilithium Crystals. Star Trek is a Fictional creation, same as Doctor Who - I hate this Factual stuff presented as Fiction. It's why I don't watch Soap Operas, they are too real, and Fantasy and Science Fiction is not. I like to escape from the World, not have it's negativity blown up out of all proportion.

Sorry, got a bit preachy there - I'm supposed to be reviewing Exploration Earth! Having the Doctor and Sarah-Jane teach us about the formation of the Earth might have seemed a good idea at the time. Send the TARDIS back in time, have the Doctor show Sarah-Jane how the world evolved. "Look at the size of those Volcanoes, Doctor" - lines like that really.

But you see Doctor Who is a fictional programme, and even the writer of this so-called factual piece cannot resist putting the Doctor where he belongs. Yes I am speaking of The Megron. This husky, evil voice, that dominates the Earth's atmosphere in every time period the Doctor visits. The Doctor even challenges him to a Mind Dual - that's more like it, that's the Doctor we know and love, not some Time Travelling Encyclopaedia full of dubious facts.

I am probably being harsh on this strange little bit of Whodom, but Doctor Who is laughable when it goes into Science too much - witness Season 18, and its curtailing of the Doctor's charm. This is no new adventure, it's one of those strange attempts to use Fictional Characters to give Facts - give me Fiction anyday! 5/10