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"The Firemaker"
Written by Anthony Coburn

Broadcast: 13 December 1963
Duration: 24 minutes 28 seconds


IAN: Back! Get back!

(Several of the tribe rise from places of concealment, their spears ready…)


HORG: (Gazing into the night.) They are coming.

(All around him, the entire tribe is assembled. The DOCTOR, SUSAN, IAN, BARBARA and HUR are herded in, carrying ZA's stretcher. No sooner do they set it down than tribes-men seize the travellers from behind. BARBARA screams. HUR kneels by ZA's side.)

KAL: Za and the woman went with them. I, Kal, stopped them!
HUR: They saved Za from death near the stream!
KAL: They set them free from the Cave of Skulls and went with them!
HUR: (Shouting.) The old woman cut them free!!
KAL: (Looking down at ZA.) Za is so weak, a woman speaks for him.
HUR: (Jumps to her feet and confronts KAL.) It was the old woman!! She showed them a new way out of the Cave of Skulls!
KAL: The old woman does not speak. She does not say she did this, or did that. The old woman is dead. Za killed the old woman!
HUR: (Hearing the tribe's murmurs.) No!
KAL: Za killed the old woman with his knife!
HUR: No!

(KAL moves to ZA's side and pulls out his knife, holding it aloft.)

KAL: Here! Here is the knife he killed her with!!

(The DOCTOR leans over and takes a good look at the knife.)

DOCTOR: This knife has no blood on it.

(KAL looks alarmed at him but makes no answer.)

DOCTOR: I said, this knife has no blood on it!

(KAL is momentarily stuck for an answer, but…)

KAL: It is a bad knife.

(He throws it down on the ground.)

KAL: It does not show the things it does.

(The DOCTOR scoops the knife up and shakes it at KAL.)

DOCTOR: It is a finer knife than yours.
KAL: I, Kal, say that it is a bad knife.
DOCTOR: This knife can cut and stab. I have never seen a better knife.
KAL: (Stung.) Then I will show you one!

(He pulls out his own knife, which is still covered in the OLD MOTHERS’ blood. The DOCTOR takes it smugly.)

DOCTOR: This knife shows what it has done. (Waves it around at the tribe.) There is blood on it!

(The tribe murmurs. The DOCTOR presents the bloody knife to a now sitting-up and recovering ZA.)

DOCTOR: Who killed the old woman?
ZA: I did not kill her…
DOCTOR: (Turning to face KAL.) You killed the old woman!

(KAL looks round with a mixture of fear and defiance.)

KAL: Yes! (The tribe gasps.) She set them free. She set them free. She did this - so I, Kal, killed her!

(The tribe sound angry. The DOCTOR addresses them loudly.)

DOCTOR: Is this your strong leader? One who kills your old women? Hmm? Huh?? He is a bad leader!! He will kill you all!! Hmm, oh!

(The tribe is plainly angered. The DOCTOR leans close to IAN and whispers.)

DOCTOR: Follow my example.

(He leans down, grabs a rock, and flings it at KAL.)

DOCTOR: Drive him out! Drive him out!!
IAN: (Grabbing a rock.) Yes, drive him out!! He killed the old woman!!

(IAN flings his rock at KAL. The unhappy tribe quickly grasp the idea, and starts seizing rocks from the ground and throwing them at KAL. With a howl of fury, KAL jumps at HUR, but gets intercepted and pushed back by a pair of tribesmen. He's thrown back by the missiles towards the cave's entrance. Finally, with the crowd's cries of “Drive him out!” ringing in his ears, he turns and runs out into the night. IAN watches the tribe disperse and then walks up to ZA.)

IAN: Remember.....Kal is not stronger than the whole tribe.

(ZA nods, and shouts at the tribe.)

ZA: Kal is no longer one of this tribe. We will watch for him. We will all fight Kal if he comes back. We will watch for him. (He gestures towards the time travellers.) Take them to the Cave of Skulls.

(They are seized again.)

IAN: Take us back to the desert, and we will make fire for you.
ZA: (Turns to a caveman bearing a spear.) The great stone will close one place, and you will stand by another. I will show you.
DOCTOR: (To IAN.) Don’t struggle!

(The travellers are thrown back into the Cave of Skulls. The great stone is rolled over the entrance.)

ZA: They are inside the cave. If you see them come out, kill them.


(KAL is alone, a freezing wind blowing. He gazes at the cave from behind a tree.)


(The four travellers walk across the cave. SUSAN stumbles, hurting her ankle. As she cries softly, BARBARA helps her to one side.)

DOCTOR: This place is evil!


(ZA is lying against the stone wall of the cave, gently touching his chest scars. HUR sits beside him.)

ZA: Tell me what happened after I fought the beast in the forest.
HUR: You were stronger than the beast. It took away your axe in its head. You lay on the earth and I believed you were dead.
ZA: Tell me what they did.
HUR: The young man of their tribe came towards you, but...he did not kill.
HUR: He told me his name...
ZA: Name?
HUR: Yes. His name is "Friend."
ZA: They come from the other side of the mountains....
HUR: (Scoffs.) Nothing lives there.
ZA: There are other tribes there! This new tribe must come from there. Tell me more of what happened.
HUR: I did not understand them...their…hands moved slowly and their faces were not fierce. It was like a mother guarding her baby....
ZA: (Nods.) Ah. They are a new tribe. Not like us, not like Kal. The young one whose name is Friend....spoke to me.
HUR: Do you remember it?
ZA: (Grunts in the affirmative.) He said, "Kal is not stronger than the whole tribe."
HUR: (She shakes her head.) I do not understand...
ZA: (Seeing the point.) The whole tribe drove Kal away with the stones. The whole tribe can collect more fruit than one. The whole tribe can kill a beast where one of the tribe would die....
HUR: (Hesitantly.) Do you think they come from Orb?
ZA: No. They are a tribe who know how fire is made... (Angrily.) but they do not want to tell us.
HUR: Then you will not kill them?
ZA: Horg says the Leader must know how fire is made. I do not want to be driven into the forest like Kal....I must make fire, or they must die as the old men say. (Jumps to his feet along with HUR.) I will speak with them. I must hear more things to remember. The Leader would have things to remember.

(He walks resolutely toward the Cave of Skulls.)


(The DOCTOR is looking at a skull. IAN and BARBARA are quickly gathering a group of sticks and twigs. SUSAN is scouring the cave, and finds a flat piece of rock that she eagerly takes to IAN.)

SUSAN: I think this is what you want, Mr. Chesterton!
BARBARA: Here are some leaves and some dead grass.
IAN: (To SUSAN.) Thank you. (To Barbara.) Yes, well spread them around the hole. Don’t put them inside.

(He puts a branch in the middle of the pile, and places a smaller stick end-first atop it.)

IAN: Hope this is going to, spread them around a bit more...yes, that's it...

(He puts the stone atop the smaller stick to steady it, placing his palm over that. He takes a second stick that he's tied onto the first stick. The shoestring is wrapped bow-like around the first stick, and tied to the second at both ends. He starts moving it back and forth, creating friction as the string rubs against the first stick...)


(The guard is standing by the secret exit. ZA walks up.)

ZA: I will speak with them. You wait here, huh?

(He takes the guard's club and walks into the secret entrance. The guard picks up a spear from the cave's side. And from nearby, a figure watches in hiding...)


(The attempt at fire making is progressing well.)

SUSAN: (Getting excited.) I can smell something....
BARBARA: Yes, so can I!
SUSAN: It's burning!! It's burning!!
IAN: Oh, it's a long way off yet.

(ZA enters the cave from the secret entrance. All eyes turn to him. He stares down at the pile as IAN continues to work.)

ZA: What is this?
DOCTOR: (Getting up and standing by ZA.) We are making fire.

(ZA looks down at IAN.)

ZA: You are called Friend?

(IAN stops, looks up with a smile.)

IAN: Yes....
DOCTOR: (Harsh whisper.) Don't stop!

(IAN gets back to his task.)

ZA: Hur said you were called Friend. I am Za. You are the leader of your tribe?
IAN: No. (He nods at the DOCTOR.) He is our leader.

(A smile of appreciation passes from SUSAN to IAN. The DOCTOR, his role confirmed, stares at ZA.)

SUSAN: (To ZA.) Are you going to set us free?
ZA: The tribe say you are from Orb, and that when you are returned to him on the Stone of Death, we will have fire again.
BARBARA: But that's not true!
ZA: (Kneeling by the would-be fire.) I think you are from the other side of the mountains. If you show me how to make fire, I will take you back to the foot of the mountains. If you do not show me, I cannot stop you dying on the old stone.
IAN: (To BARBARA.) Put some more leaves and grass round it. I think it's beginning to work.

(BARBARA does so.)

DOCTOR: (Slowly, to ZA.) Do you understand? We are making fire (He points at ZA.) for you!
ZA: I am watching.
IAN: The whole tribe should be watching. Everyone should know how to make fire.
ZA: Everyone cannot be Leader!
IAN: No, that's perfectly true. But in our tribe.....the firemaker is the least important man.
ZA: Ha! I do not believe this.
DOCTOR: He is the least important, because we can all make fire!
SUSAN: (Smiles, whispered aside to IAN.) I hope he doesn't make Grandfather prove that.
IAN: Look! I think it's beginning to work!

(A wisp of smoke is rising from the bottom of the stick where it meets the branch. The smoke thickens, building...and a flame flickers from the mass of leaves and twigs.)

IAN: Susan, Barbara - blow. Gently.

(They do so. The flame grows, catches onto the twigs and leaves. The small fire rises into a fair-sized one, as IAN finally relaxes.)

IAN: Yes, that’s it!
SUSAN: We've done it!
IAN: Yes!

(BARBARA pushes the unlit twigs into the flame. ZA’S eyes seem to mirror the flame. He leans in close to the flames in amazement and wonder.)

ZA: Fire...Fire!


(The tribe has gathered as the sunlight filters into the cave.)

HORG: Orb strikes the old stone, and Za does not bring them out.

(The tribe start to murmur “Gone away”)

HORG: We have no meat, and no fruit from the trees, and no roots. Za is no leader!

(The tribe grumbles in agreement)

HUR: Za will kill you if he could hear you! He is talking with them in the Cave of Skulls. (Coldly and quietly to her father.) You should lie on the old stone ‘til your blood runs into the earth!

(HORG is not even listening to her.)

HORG: (Wildly.) Za is letting them go away, just as the old woman set them free!

(The tribe shouts in agreement.)

HUR: (Trying to make herself heard.) Za told one of us to watch and guard them until he came out of the Cave of Skulls!


(The guard outside the Cave of Skulls paces. Suddenly, he is attacked from behind. An arm is flung across his throat and the life is choked out of him.)


(The fire is blazing away. Suddenly, there is a strangled gasp from BARBARA - at the secret entrance, KAL, axe in hand, walks in and stares in amazement at the fire. Then he goes straight at ZA, but ZA avoids the swipe. KAL leans down next to the fire, entranced. He reaches a hand toward the flame - and yanks it back with a yelp. He returns his attention to ZA, making a long swipe with his axe, which ZA easily avoids. The travellers pull themselves against the wall of the cave to escape the battle. ZA has reclaimed his club. KAL swings. ZA ducks under the swipes and grabs KAL’S arms. The two wrestle, rolling to the ground. ZA tries to grab KAL’S axe, and KAL takes a huge bite out of ZA's forearm. Howling, ZA tumbles off him. KAL rolls on top of him, and ZA kicks him off. They regain their feet, and their weapons. A long overhead slash from KAL - the axe is buried in the dirt - ZA swings down - the axe is broken! ZA flings his club at KAL, who scrambles to avoid the blows - ZA smashes a skull instead - KAL grabs a rock, lifts it over ZA's head and stabs ZA's arm. ZA screams.

KAL slashes at him again but ZA gets him in another grapple, rolls back, flings him over his head, rushes at him, pulls him up and flings him across the cave. He flings him again, and kicks his face; the travellers look on in disgust. ZA grabs KAL from behind, his arm around KAL’S neck, KAL screams, SUSAN looks away in horror. ZA throws KAL down - He's hurt, but not dead yet - ZA looks around, panting. He grabs a boulder, raises it up with a growl - and smashes it down on KAL’S head. The battle over, ZA seizes KAL’S feet, and drags him across the cave, laying him against the wall. He clutches his arm in pain - the roars of the tribe can be heard outside…)


(HUR is being held from behind, shaking her head and crying "No!" as the crowd howls for blood.)

HORG: Orb is above us, and there is no fire! Bring them out from the Cave of Skulls, and Za as well!

(The tribe heads for the Cave of Skulls.)


(Inside, they all hear the tribe calling ZA’S name out. IAN thrusts a branch into the fire - it catches fire. He lifts it and offers it to ZA.)

IAN: Take this and show it to your tribe!

(ZA takes the torch and starts across the cave.)

ZA: You…stay here.
IAN: We will come with you…
ZA: No! You will stay here!
IAN: I will come with you…

(With a roar, ZA waves the torch at Ian’s face. IAN backs off. The DOCTOR moves to pull IAN back.)

DOCTOR: Give him a chance, give him a chance! Let him show the tribe fire, establish himself as leader, and then he’ll let us go!
IAN: But we ought to go with him now…


(ZA walks out of the Cave of Skulls, fiery torch carried proudly before him. The tribe goes silent.)

ZA: Fire!

(There is a moments stunned pause, then…)


(They all crowd around ZA and his torch, in awe. He stands by the freed HUR.)

ZA: Kal is dead! I give you fire! I am leader!

(Led by HORG, the tribe roars in agreement. ZA walks to HORG.)

ZA: We will give food and water to the new tribe in the Cave of Skulls!
HORG: There is no meat!
ZA: I will go into the forest and get meat!
HORG: (Grinning in remembrance.) Yes...I remember how the meat and fire join together!
ZA: Uh huh.... good! (Hands the torch to HORG.) Watch the new tribe. They must be here when I return!

(He runs out of the cave. The tribe hold their cold hands up to the torch.)


(The campfire is still burning. The travellers are despondent. IAN rips off his tie in disgust.)

IAN: Ahh! It didn't work. They're going to keep us here.

(HUR walks in, a hunk of fruit in her hands. She sets it down before the fire.)

IAN: Why are you keeping us here?
HUR: Za has gone into the forest to find meat. (She notices KALS’ corpse.) There will be more food later.
BARBARA: But why can't we go outside?

(HUR walks across the cave, and kneels by KAL’S corpse.)

SUSAN: (Sobbing.) Please let us go.... it’s terrible in here....

(HUR stares at her.)

HUR: Za is Leader.

(She gets up.)

SUSAN: But we helped you. We gave you fire.....
HUR: (Staring her down.) Huh. We have fire now.

(She walks out.)

IAN: Yes.....and I was the fool who gave it to you. Why didn't I wait?
BARBARA: Well, at least we're alive. We wouldn't be if we hadn't given them fire.


(A roaring fire now proudly sits on the boulder, with the entire tribe joyously gathered around it cooking meat.)


(IAN is dozing on the floor of the cave. BARBARA nudges him awake.)

IAN: Hmm...huh?

(He gets up. SUSAN hands him a piece of meat, skewered on a stick.)

SUSAN: They brought us some meat.
BARBARA: Yes, and the Doctor found a hole, a stone with a hole in it and they filled it with water.
IAN: (Sardonically.) All the comforts of home.

(An uncomfortable silence. IAN suddenly senses a presence behind him, and looks up. ZA stands before them.)

ZA: The animal was hard to kill.

(He receives no answer.)

ZA: The meat on it is good?

(Still silence.)

ZA: They have brought you fruit. And water has been put into a stone.

(The travellers won't even look at him. ZA pushes IAN aside, and picks up the makeshift bowl.)

ZA: Is this the stone? (He pauses.) Has anyone hurt you?
DOCTOR: (Quietly, after a pause.) When are you going to let us go, hmm?
ZA: You will stay here. I have the meat, and I have the stick. And the piece of skin, I can make fire now. Your tribe and my tribe will join together.

(Looks of disgust are exchanged through the group.)

IAN: We don't want to stay here!
ZA: Why? There is no better place the other side of the mountains. Do not try to leave here.

(He takes the water bowl with him.)

DOCTOR: (Muttering.) If only we could get the fire away from him...scaring him somehow...

(SUSAN grows thoughtful. She lights a branch from the fire, and picks up a skull. She slowly, carefully puts the skull over the top of the torch. Her face lights up.)

SUSAN: Hey, grandfather, look!

(All eyes turn to the flaming skull torch.)

SUSAN: It's almost alive!

(IAN jumps up to SUSAN'S side.)

IAN: Not alive, Susan...almost dead! We're going to make four torches - we'll find the sticks and we'll use the fat from the meat, and then…
SUSAN: Then.....?
IAN: Then, to all intents and purposes - we're going to die!


(HUR roasts a piece of meat over the fire. She takes her skewer and starts for the Cave of Skulls.)


(The travellers have taken cover behind a jutting rock formation.)

IAN: …when I give the sign…

(He points at the opening. They nod. The cave looks empty, except for the four torches set into the floor, each with a flaming skull atop it. HUR walks in, takes one look at the flaming skulls, drops the spit of meat, and falls to the ground screaming. The other tribes-people run in, and gasp at the horrid sight. They also fall to the ground in supplication.)

SUSAN: What are...

(BARBARA clamps a hand over SUSAN’S mouth. IAN waits a second, then points. The DOCTOR runs through the main exit unnoticed, followed by SUSAN, BARBARA, and IAN last of all.)


(They run through the main cave as fast as they can, past the roaring fire)


(The tribe continues to wail in terror at the sight in front of them.)


(This time, the travellers know which way to go, and race at full speed.)


(One of the skull torches falls over, provoking a scream from the tribe. But they fall silent as they realise the trick played against them. ZA approaches it.)

ZA: Look! (He seizes up the skull.) It is nothing but fire, and the bones of the dead! They have gone! While we look at their fire, they have gone!
HUR: Into the night - the dark will hide them...

(ZA picks up a burning stick.)

ZA: With fire...It is day!

(The tribe rises to give chase…)


(BARBARA trips and falls full-length on the ground. The DOCTOR and SUSAN continue running. IAN helps her up, and the race continues...)


(The tribe light torches as fast as they can grab branches...)


(The four time travellers run as fast as they can through the forest, ignoring the branches and leaves as they hit their faces. Not far behind, the tribesmen, torches aloft and in full cry, pursue. Finally, the travellers reach the darkened desert at full pace. SUSAN runs into the ship first, followed by BARBARA, IAN and finally the DOCTOR who quickly glances back one last time before slamming the door shut.)


(Inside, IAN and BARBARA are exhausted while SUSAN waits at the console. The DOCTOR leans against the closed doors, getting his breath. IAN grabs him and pulls him toward the console.)

IAN: Come on, Doctor, get us off! Get us off!
DOCTOR: Yes, yes, yes!

(The DOCTOR leans against the console, working buttons and switches with SUSAN - the cylindrical column starts to rise and fall - the dematerialisation noise fills the air…)


(As the tribesmen run up to the ship and start to throw their spears, the police box, its top lantern flashing on and off, goes transparent...and fades out of sight. The tribe, ZA especially, are stunned at what they've just witnessed...)


(The dematerialisation sound continues. BARBARA is resting on a chair, while the others crowd around the console.)

DOCTOR: (Reading dials on the console.) Yes, it's matching up.
SUSAN: We're beginning to land.
DOCTOR: Oh, how I wish....
IAN: Have you taken us back to our own time?
DOCTOR: You know I can't do that. Please be reasonable.
IAN: What!?

(BARBARA, hearing this, jumps out of the chair and runs up to the DOCTOR. )

BARBARA: Please, you must take us back! You must!
DOCTOR: (Waves her away, points at the console.) You see, this isn't operating properly... (He walks around it.) or rather, the code is still a secret. Feed it with the right data, precise information to a second at the beginning of a journey, and then we can fix a destination. But I had no data at my disposal!
BARBARA: (With contempt.) Are you saying that you don't know how to work this thing?
DOCTOR: No, of course I can't. I'm not a miracle worker.
SUSAN: You can’t blame grandfather. We left the other place too quickly, that's all.
IAN: Just a minute. Did you try and take us back to our own time?
DOCTOR: Well, I got you away from that other time, didn't I?
IAN: That isn't what I asked you.
DOCTOR: It's the only way I can answer you, young man.

(The sounds of the ship slowly quieten down...and the column comes to a stop.)

DOCTOR: (Turns a few dials.) we shall see.

(The scanner shows a jungle setting, almost invisible through a thick mist.)


(The white, gnarled trees rising from an ashy soil do not resemble anything on Earth.)


DOCTOR: It could be anywhere. Dear dear dear dear, i-it's no help to us at all! Well, I suggest before we go outside and explore, let us clean ourselves up.
SUSAN: Oh, yes!

(The DOCTOR takes up his coat and points at an instrument on the console)

DOCTOR: Now, what does the radiation read, Susan?

(SUSAN looks at a dial on the console.)

SUSAN: It's reading normal, Grandfather.

(The travellers walk off into another section of the ship. Behind them, the needle on the dial suddenly moves...into the "Danger" zone - a warning light begins to flash…)

Next Episode

Dr. Who

Ian Chesterton

Barbara Wright

Susan Foreman





Fight Arranger

Title music by
with the
BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Incidental Music by

Story Editor


Associate Producer


Directed by

(c) BBC tv

Transcribed by
Christopher G. "Nightowl" McElroy

Updates / Corrections by


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