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"The Forest of Fear"
Written by Anthony Coburn

Broadcast: 6 December 1963
Duration: 23 minutes 38 seconds


DOCTOR: Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, It’s all my fault. I'm desperately sorry....
SUSAN: Oh, don't blame yourself, Grandfather.
DOCTOR: (Noticing something.) Look at those, look at them…

(A skull lies next to them…with a hole smashed in at the top of its head….)

IAN: Yes, they're all the same. They've been split wide open.....


(Late night. The entire tribe is asleep. Tribes-men and women are piled on furs and blankets, lying next to each other for precious warmth. One stirs - the OLD MOTHER. She gets up, looks around, and slowly sneaks toward the sleeping ZA. She leans down and takes his sharp stone knife.)


(IAN is using one of the many small rocks on the floor to try and saw away at BARBARA'S binds. SUSAN crawls over to him, carrying another rock.)

SUSAN: I’ve found another piece with a rough edge....
IAN: (Eases off with a sigh of relief and takes the rock.) Oh, thank you.

(He tries it on BARBARA'S bonds, then groans and tosses it aside.)

IAN: Oh, it's no good! It keeps crumbling....
DOCTOR: Oh, it's hopeless. Hopeless. Even if we do get free, we shall never move that stone.
IAN: (Scanning the cave with his eyes.) There's air coming in here from somewhere....
BARBARA: (Excited.) Yes, there is! I can feel it on my face!
IAN: It may only be a small opening. Don't count on it....
DOCTOR: Oh, you obviously are.
IAN: Well, of course I am! Any hope is better than none! Don't just lie there criticising us, do something! Help us all to get out of here.

(He tries BARBARA'S bonds again, then throws the rock away.)

IAN: Oh, the stone's no good!!
BARBARA: Well don't give up, Ian. Please.
IAN: (After a pause.) All right.

(He starts searching the ground again.)

DOCTOR: No, no, don't waste time. Try those bones. They may…t-they're sharper, perhaps.
IAN: That's a good idea.
SUSAN: Oh Grandfather, I knew you'd think of something!
DOCTOR: We must all take it in turns and try and cut his hands free.
IAN: But surely we should get the girls…
DOCTOR: No, no, no, we've got to free you first! You're the strongest, and you may have to defend us.


(The OLD MOTHER starts to sneak out of the cave. But she doesn't go unnoticed - HUR stirs just long enough to see her leave.)


(A strong wind is howling as the OLD MOTHER walks out of the cave opening, passing a group of spears stacked against the rock and tottering off into the night.)


(The DOCTOR, using a fragment of bone, is starting to make progress on IAN'S binds. He stops, panting.)

DOCTOR: (Handing the fragment to SUSAN.) Susan, you have a go. My arms are tired.
SUSAN: All right.

(She starts on the binds as the DOCTOR lays back with a groan.)

DOCTOR: And don't think of failure.
DOCTOR: Well, try to remember, if you can, how you and the others got here. Concentrate on that please.
BARBARA: Yes, yes, I'll try. (Blinks, realising something.) You're, you’re trying to help me.
DOCTOR: Yes. Well, fear makes companions of all of us, Miss Wright.
BARBARA: I never once thought you were afraid.
DOCTOR: Fear is with all of us, and always will be. Just like that other sensation that lives with it.
BARBARA: What's that?
DOCTOR: Oh, your companion referred to it. "Hope." Hope, Miss Wright.


(HUR snaps to full awakeness. She jars ZA awake.)

ZA: hmmm.....?

(She silently motions to where the OLD MOTHER was, and then at the cave opening. She also indicates that his knife is missing. Without a word, ZA seizes up his stone axe and walks out, follows closely by HUR.)


(BARBARA is working at the cords on IAN'S hands now. SUSAN'S trying to bite hers off. Her gaze falls upon a hollow in the cave wall - She cries out in alarm. Some bushes and twigs in the hollow are moving, with a shadow visible within. With a grunt of effort, the OLD MOTHER pushes aside the small portcullis of branches that had covered her secret entrance. She stares at the four.)

OLD MOTHER: You......will not.......make fire.


(ZA and HUR walk out into the night air. Nearby an animal roars.)

ZA: Now tell me.
HUR: I saw the old woman take your knife.
ZA: Why did you let her? She is old, you could have held her.
HUR: (More to herself than ZA.) Why did she take it...?
ZA: (Looks out at the night horizon.) Hm. She has gone into the forest.
HUR: (In realisation.) No. She's going to kill the strangers.
ZA: Did she say this?
HUR: No..... but she took your knife. She is afraid of fire.
ZA: You should have stopped her!
HUR: (Intense.) Kal was in the cave! Leaders are awake when others sleep. The strange tribe will not be able to show you how to make fire if the old woman kills them.
ZA: (Thinking.) Uh huh......if I stop her from killing them, they will give fire to me, and not to Kal.....

(He walks toward the Cave of Skulls, but stops.)

ZA: The woman could not have gone into the cave. The great stone is still there!

(In a rage, he shoves HUR down with one hand and raises his axe.)

ZA: Why do you tell me this…
HUR: No!

(Suddenly, they both freeze…they hear voices on the other side of the stone. They scramble up to the rock and listen hard. HUR almost laughs. ZA'S face grows even darker.)

ZA: Huh, the old woman is talking to them!


(Inside, the OLD MOTHER continues talking to the bound-up party...)

OLD MOTHER: I will set you free, if you will go away and not make fire. Fire will bring trouble and death to the tribe.
DOCTOR: (Nods.) There will be no fire.

(Suddenly, grunting sounds come from outside…)


(With every ounce of their combined strength, ZA and HUR try to push the great stone aside. After a long moment of strenuous effort, HUR is the first to weaken, sagging against the rock.)

HUR: No, we, we cannot move...the great stone....
ZA: The old woman is talking to them! (Pushes HUR away from the rock.) I will move it!

(He puts all his strength into it, shoving against the rock's side...)


(The four travellers are freed from their bindings, SUSAN last of all.)

OLD MOTHER: Hurry. Hurry!! You must go across the top and into the trees...

(The four climb through the secret entrance. As the OLD MOTHER starts to follow, ZA frees the stone and runs in through the main entrance, hauling the OLD MOTHER back into the cave and seizing back his knife. HUR runs in and sees the secret way out.)

HUR: She set them free!
OLD MOTHER: They would have made fire! They would have made fire!

(ZA starts into the entrance. With her feeble strength, OLD MOTHER tries to stop him - he pulls free, snarling…)


(She starts to haul him back and ZA finally loses his temper. With a yell, he flings the OLD MOTHER hard into the ground. She groans in pain, and goes limp.)

ZA: They have gone into the night.
HUR: They have taken fire with them.
ZA: The beasts will kill them. They will kill us if we follow.

(ZA is weary with resignation. He looks down at the moaning OLD MOTHER. HUR picks up his axe and thrusts it before him.)

HUR: Now you are Leader. You are as strong as the beasts. You will be stronger still when you learn how fire is made. Stronger than Kal.

(Her words have their intended effect and ZA runs out through the secret entrance, axe in hand. HUR quickly follows. And behind them, the OLD MOTHER strains to get back up. But her old body gives up on her, and she slumps back to the ground, exhausted.)


(Through the dark forest maze, the four travellers run toward the TARDIS and safety. BARBARA leads, with SUSAN and IAN following and the DOCTOR bringing up the rear. But the old man's losing breath, and he sags against a tree. )

DOCTOR: Stop…stop...just a minute...let me get my....
IAN: We can't stop here!
DOCTOR: Just a moment....
IAN: Look, we've got to go further on.
DOCTOR: I know, I know that but I must get breathe...I must breathe...
IAN: Try, try! I shall have to carry you.
DOCTOR: Oh, there's no need for that! Don’t be so childish - I'm not senile - just let me get my breath for a moment....

(SUSAN moves to take the DOCTOR'S arm over her own and help him on his way.)

SUSAN: Oh, Grandfather, come on....
DOCTOR: Yes...I'm not so young, you know.....
SUSAN: I know.

(As they start on, a very nervous BARBARA gets by IAN).

BARBARA: Are you sure this is the right way?
IAN: Yes, I think so.
BARBARA: (Voice shaking.) I can't remember. I…I simply can't remember....

(She breaks down, sobbing on IAN'S chest. IAN pats her back reassuringly.)

IAN: We're free, Barbara! Think about that. Free!!
BARBARA: Yes.....

(She calms back down. Still holding on to her, IAN starts back after the DOCTOR and SUSAN - but an echoing bellow stops the two schoolteachers’ cold. They force themselves to go onward.)


(The travellers are dirty, sweaty, and exhausted. Yet still they force themselves through the thickets. And their pace is growing ever more uncertain.)

SUSAN: I'm sure I remember this place...but we didn't come round it. We went across it.
BARBARA: Yes, th-th-there was a sort of trail....
IAN: If that's true, we must be quite near the ship. (To the DOCTOR.) How are you feeling?
DOCTOR: (Waving him away.) Oh, I'm all right. Don't keep looking upon me as the weakest state of the..

(BARBARA suddenly stops, gasping in terror. IAN grabs her, looking where she is looking.)

IAN: What‘s the matter?
BARBARA: I don’t know. I don’t know. Something over there, in the bushes…
DOCTOR: (Trying to hide his fright.) Oh, what nonsense!
BARBARA: (Going hysterical.) The bushes moved! I saw them! I saw them! Oh, we're never going to get out of this awful place! Never, never, never…

(IAN hugs her, trying to calm her down.)

SUSAN: (To the DOCTOR.) What do you think she could have seen, Grandfather?
DOCTOR: No! Sheer nonsense, child. Imagination.
IAN: we won't. We're going to get back to the ship, and then we'll be safe.
BARBARA: (Sobbing.) Oh Ian, what's happening to us?
IAN: Look, Barbara! We got out of the cave, didn't we?

(A growl rumbles through the forest.)

SUSAN: I’m so cold.
DOCTOR: (Mopping his head with a handkerchief.) Oh, I'm hot with all this exertion.
IAN: We’ll rest for a couple of minutes.
SUSAN: Oh, good. Is there any chance of them following us?
DOCTOR: I expect so.
IAN: Yes. That's why I don't want to stop here too long.
DOCTOR: Do you think I want to?
IAN: No. We'll change the order - you and Susan go in front, Barbara and I will bring up the rear. Susan seems to remember the way better than any of us.
DOCTOR: (Snorts.) You seem to have elected yourself leader of this little party.
IAN: There isn't time to vote on it.
DOCTOR: Just as long as so you understand that I won't follow your orders blindly...
IAN: If there were only two of us, you could find your own way back to the ship!
DOCTOR: Aren’t you are a tiresome young man!
IAN: And you’re a stubborn old man! But you will lead, the girls in between, and I'll bring up the rear because that's the safest way! Barbara was probably right. I thought I heard something when we stopped back there.
DOCTOR: Oh, sheer imagination.
IAN: (Exasperated.) Why are you so confident about it!?
DOCTOR: Cos I won't allow myself to be frightened out of my wits by mere shadows. That’s all!
IAN: Oh alright!

(He storms away from IAN and back to the two huddled women who are sat on the ground. IAN follows.)


(ZA and HUR race through the forest, their every sense trained on the ground ahead. HUR stops and points downward.)

HUR: Look! There is a branch broken!
ZA: They have strange feet...
HUR: They wear skins on their feet.
ZA: (Points along the ground.) There are marks here.
HUR: They’ve gone this way.

(A cacophony of animal noises rumble through the forest. ZA and HUR look up, slightly disturbed.)

ZA: It was wrong to do this. We should not have followed them.
HUR: We cannot turn back now.

(A look of agreement from ZA. The two set on through the forest.)


(The travellers are still resting. IAN gets to his feet.)

IAN: I think we'd better get going. Doctor, will you lead?
DOCTOR: (Still fanning himself with the handkerchief, gets up.) Yes, yes yes yes.
IAN: Come on, Barbara.

(He helps her up but as they start onward, BARBARA stumbles and falls with a groan upon a bush. Right in front of the blood-splattered warthog.)


(BARBARA'S scream can be heard where ZA and HUR are.)

ZA: Down here! That was one of the women, huh!


(IAN helps a distraught BARBARA to her knees, and holds her.)

IAN: Barbara, Barbara.....
SUSAN: (Touching the creature gingerly.) A dead animal.
DOCTOR: Its just been killed. And by a larger animal too!

(ZA and HUR are almost in reach of them. The rustling of branches alerts IAN.)

IAN: Shhh. That must be them. They've followed us - quick, quick, over there!

(The party rushes across the path and out of sight. A few moments later, ZA and HUR appear. The travellers are perched behind a tree, watching the two cautious tribes-people.)

IAN: Keep down, and not a sound....

(ZA and HUR turn in a complete circle, scanning the shrubbery for any sign of the four strangers. The sound of a growl can be heard. HUR squints at something, and starts forward…)

ZA: (Stops her.) Wait! There is danger. I will go.

(Hefting his axe, he starts in the direction HUR had indicated. He moves slowly, toward a rustling bush that suddenly moves -- Both tribes-people scream as the creature pounces on him. The travellers watch in horror as the sounds of struggle and terror reach them. They climb as one to their feet....)

IAN: Quick, now's our chance! Let's get away! Run!

(BARBARA grabs at IAN. She won’t leave ZA wounded. They all argue at once.)

BARBARA: I don't care what they've done!!
IAN: Barbara!

(HUR is sobbing nearby.)

IAN: Barbara, come on!
BARBARA: (Shakes her head violently.) I think he's dead…there isn't any danger.
IAN: Barbara! For heaven’s sake!

(She rips free of IAN and runs towards ZA and HUR, IAN lunges after her.)

SUSAN: I’m going too…

(The DOCTOR tries to hold SUSAN back.)

DOCTOR: Susan, you stay here with me…
SUSAN: No, Grandfather, we can't le…
DOCTOR: Silence, we're going back to the ship!

(She also pushes herself towards the wounded tribesman.)

DOCTOR: What are you doing!? They must be out of their minds!!

(The battle is over, and the creature has retreated back into the wood. ZA lies prone, moaning, his chest criss-crossed with jagged claw wounds. HUR is hunched over him, howling sounds of grief. She reacts as IAN approaches, knife in hand .)

HUR: No, keep away!
IAN: Let me look at him.
HUR: No!
IAN: I am your friend, you understand? Friend. I want to help you.

(HUR looks uncertain.)

HUR: Friend....?
IAN: I want water.
HUR: Water.....
IAN: Go and fetch some water for his wounds.
HUR: (A moment, decide and points behind her.) Water is there.
BARBARA: Please, show me. (To IAN.) Give me your handkerchief.
IAN: (Getting handkerchief out.) There you are.

(BARBARA takes it and leads HUR with her out of view. IAN opens the caveman's furs wider to take a better look at the wounds. The DOCTOR still stands by their hiding spot. A pleading look from SUSAN finally brings him up to the party. HUR and BARBARA return with the now wet handkerchief.)

SUSAN: Is he all right...?
IAN: I think so.

(He pulls the stone axe out of ZA'S hand. The stone blade is noticeably missing.)

IAN: He must have buried his axehead in the animal.

(He takes the handkerchief from BARBARA.)

IAN: Thank you.

(He squeezes it over ZA'S chest, dripping water down on the wounds. BARBARA has wet down her own handkerchief and uses it on ZA's forehead.)

HUR: (Amazed.) Water comes out of the skin!
IAN: (Laughing.) Yes.

(He wipes away at the chest wounds.)

IAN: I think most of this is the animal's blood.
SUSAN: Oh, good.
BARBARA: There's a scar on the side of his head....
IAN: Well, we've lost our chance of getting away. (Amused - to BARBARA.) Your flat must be littered with stray cats and dogs...
BARBARA: They are human beings, Ian.
IAN: Yes.

(He touches a raw spot, making ZA moan loudly. The two schoolteachers try to keep him still as HUR whimpers.)

DOCTOR: (Stepping forward.) What exactly do you think you're doing?
IAN: Have you got any antiseptic in the ship?
SUSAN: Yes, lots.
DOCTOR: One minute ago, we were trying desperately to get away from these savages --
IAN: All right. Now we're helping them. You're a doctor, do something!
DOCTOR: (Scoffs.) I'm not a doctor of medicine.
SUSAN: Grandfather, we can make friends with them.
DOCTOR: Oh don't be ridiculous, child!
BARBARA: (Angry.) Why? You treat everybody and everything as something less important than yourself!?
DOCTOR: You're trying to say that everything you do is reasonable and everything I do is inhuman. But I'm afraid your judgement's at fault here, Miss Wright. Not mine. Haven't you realised if these two people can follow these, or any of these people can follow us, the whole tribe might descend upon us at any moment?
HUR: The tribe is asleep!
DOCTOR: And what about the old woman who cut our bonds, hmm? You understand?

(HUR thinks about it but can't add it up...she looks at IAN in confusion.)

IAN: He's right. We're too exposed here. (Gets up.) We'll make a stretcher and carry him.
DOCTOR: (Aghast.) You're not going to take him back to the ship?
IAN: (Taking off his coat.) Take your coat off, Barbara. Susan, try to find me two poles. Long ones, fairly straight.
BARBARA: (To the Doctor.) The old woman won't give us away. She helped us.
DOCTOR: You think so? They have logic and reason, have they? Can't you see their minds change as rapidly as night and day? She's probably telling the whole tribe at this very moment!


(The OLD MOTHER stirs, starting to pull herself up. But KAL is there and roughly grabs at her.)

KAL: The creatures....where? Where?
OLD MOTHER: (Weakly.) Gone…
KAL: (Motioning to the entrance.) The great stone...they did not move it.
OLD MOTHER: (Weakly.) Za moved it.
KAL: Za has gone with them!
OLD MOTHER: Za...and Hur...went after them...
KAL: There were skins around their hands and their feet. They could not move!

(KAL'S hand clamps down on the weak old woman's neck.)

KAL: Za helped them get free....? They have gone with Za to show him fire?
OLD MOTHER: (Shakes her head.) They will not make fire....there won't be fire anymore....

(KAL tosses aside. She sits on her knees, swaying. He seizes her by the scruff of her neck and pulls her head back toward him. He unsheathes his stone knife, aiming it at her heart.)

KAL: Old…helped them....


(The efforts to construct a makeshift stretcher continue, but…)

IAN: It's not going to work like this....

(SUSAN gets up and takes off her own coat. Bundling it up into a pillow, she starts to put it under ZA's head .)

HUR: (Jumps at her.) Nnnoo! He is mine!

(SUSAN jumps back, yelping. She huddles near IAN.)

SUSAN: I was only trying to help!!
IAN: She doesn't understand, Susan. She's jealous of you!
HUR: I don't understand what you are doing! You are like a mother to the child. Why do you not kill??
IAN: How can we explain to her? She doesn't understand kindness, friendship....
BARBARA: (Slowly and gently to HUR.) We will make him well again. We will teach you how to make fire. In return, you show us the way back our cave.

(HUR is uncertain. She looks down at ZA.)

ZA: (Very weak.) Listen to them. They do not kill...

(HUR thinks again. IAN decides not to wait for the answer.)

IAN: Come on, let's get on with this stretcher. Let's try the sleeves inside....that's it.....
ZA: (Hoarse.) Water.....

(HUR murmurs in the affirmative to him. She gets up, only to face the haughty stare of the DOCTOR. Matching the stare, she goes on toward the pool.)

IAN: (Notices.) How about giving us a hand, Doctor?

(The DOCTOR turns his back on the party.)

SUSAN: He's always like this if he doesn't get his own way.

(Unseen, a faint smile whispers across the DOCTOR'S face. He turns to face the party again.)

BARBARA: Well, the old woman won't give us away. And now that we've got these two on our side, we should get back to the ship.

(The DOCTOR kneels down, picks up ZA's stone knife - IAN’S hand seizes the DOCTOR’S wrist.)

DOCTOR: Get your hand off me!
IAN: What are you doing?
DOCTOR: (Stammering.) W-well, I-I-I was going to get him to draw our way back to the TARDIS.

(Glaring suspiciously at the DOCTOR, IAN lets him go.)

IAN: We've been too long as it is. Is the stretcher ready?
IAN: All right. (To the DOCTOR.) You take one end of it.
DOCTOR: You don't expect me to carry him, do you?
IAN: Do you want the women to do the job for you?
DOCTOR: (Snarling.) Oh, very well!!

(The party gathers around ZA.)

IAN: Right, move him over very carefully....

(ZA groans as they turn him. HUR cries out in sympathy.)

IAN: Now, back again, gently...
BARBARA: Carefully…

(They deposit him on the stretcher, using one of the furs to wrap him in.)

IAN: Good, good. Right, now Susan, you get in front with her.


(The whole tribe is awake and astir. KAL addresses them.)

KAL: They have gone! Za with Hur have gone with them and we must go after them.
HORG: Hur would not help them to get away!
KAL: She has gone with them!
HORG: The old woman sleeps in the cave too, and she has gone!
KAL: The old woman is in the Cave of Skulls.
HORG: Hur would not go with them!
KAL: Ask the old woman. She will tell what is done!


(The party is making halting progress with the stretcher -- IAN, BARBARA and SUSAN on one end, HUR and the DOCTOR on the other.)


(The OLD MOTHER sits with her back to the tribes-people. KAL nudges her.)

KAL: She will tell.

(The old woman falls on her back - dead. There are murmured gasps from the gathered tribe. HORG kneels down Beside her and looks up at KAL.)

KAL: My eyes tell me what has happened. As they do when I sleep, and I see things. Za and Hur came to free them and find a way to make fire. The old woman saw them. Za killed the old woman!

(The crowd mutters. HORG looks stricken.)

HORG: The old woman is dead. (A groan issues from the tribe.) It must have been as your eyes said it was.
KAL: (Gets up and addresses the tribe.) Za has gone with them, taking them to their cave! Za takes away fire! (Shouts.) Now, I - Kal - lead!

(The crowd roars in approval. KAL tears out of the cave, the tribe following closely.)


(The party has finally reached the end of the forest.)

IAN: Hold the branches back, Susan.

(SUSAN pushes away the last of the tree branches, to a welcome sight....)

SUSAN: The TARDIS! There’s the TARDIS!

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

IAN: Back! Get back!

(They turn - to face KAL, several cavemen at his side. BARBARA screams…)

Next Episode

Dr. Who

Ian Chesterton

Barbara Wright

Susan Foreman

Old Mother





Special Effects by
the Visual Effects
Department of the BBC

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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