DOCTOR WHO - The most memorable cliffhangers of the 70s

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Wil continues his look back at some memorable cliffhangers from Doctor Who. This time it's the turn of Doctors Three and Four.


The 1970s saw the introduction of that little cliffhanger sting that preceded the theme tune and show credits. When placed at the perfect time it really added a level of excitement to the closing seconds of Doctor Who, and guaranteed that millions of children across the country would be running in from the garden to get themselves in front of that bulky wooden Rediffusion television set at 5:15pm the following Saturday.

We just had to know how the Doctor would escape last weeks predicament, didn't we?

Well I did, that's for sure. This is the era that got me addicted to Doctor Who. I may have been too young to appreciate what was going on half of the time, but I knew an exciting bit of television, and that's exactly what we were watching.

So without further ado, here are my most memorable cliffhangers from the Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker years.


Inferno - Episode 6
After the alternate Brigadier is shot by alternate Liz, the Doctor escapes from the alternate Earth. This leaves us to witness the destruction of the entire planet, as hot molten lava burns everything alive. Now there's a tea-time treat for you, eh?


Terror Of The Autons - Episode 3
I think that when you're a kid it's moments like this in Doctor Who that are the most terrifying. It's easy to separate the 'monsters' from reality but when it's a everyday object it's always just that bit creepier. Episode 3 of Terror of the Autons finished with the Master activating a device to bring the Doctor's telephone cord to life. It wraps itself around him and starts strangling him. I couldn't look at a telephone in the same way for ages.


Colony In Space - Episode 4
Here's another Jon Pertwee cliffhanger that I'll always remember. The Master usually had some devious scheme going on, but at the end of episode 4 of Colony In Space it seems he's had enough of the fun and games and just decides he'll shoot the Doctor and Jo instead!


Genesis Of The Daleks - Episode 5
Harry and Sarah Jane wait outside the incubator room whilst the Doctor lays explosive charges. After a while Sarah calls out to ask if he's alright. Out stumbles Four with a Dalek embryo attached to his neck. "No I'm not bloody alright Sarah Jane", he may have said if he wasn't being strangled that is.


Brain Of Morbius – Episode 3
Oh, lovely stuff this. Such a suspenseful story, and never more so than at the end of episode 3 when a blinded Sarah Jane is stumbling around the lab, her eyesight returns just as Morbius rises behind her.


Pyramids of Mars - Episode 1
Strangulation number three on our list today! One bad guy get's killed by another even worse bad guy, who still isn't the main bad guy! Plus there's organ music...




The Deadly Assassin - Episode 3
The Deadly Assassin has two great cliffhangers, the train track one from episode 2, and this now legendary Mary Whitehouse infuriating cliffhanger from episode 3. As the Doctor and Chancellor Goth are fighting in a swamp, Goth grabs Four and holds his head underwater. The closing shot is of a seemingly drowned Tom Baker. Unsurprisingly it was deemed too much for the little kiddies, and was trimmed for future showings.


City Of Death - Episode 2
This is possibly the most "Whuck?" type cliffhanger Doctor Who delivered, until maybe "Introducing John Hurt as the Doctor", which was a major game changer too. So what's going on? It seems no-one knows. The Doctor wants to know why, in 1979, Count Scarlioni has 7 authentic Mona Lisa's, fortunately our hero can travel in time so why not ask the man who painted them. Off the Doctor pops, back to the 16th century to speak with Leonardo da Vinci. However da Vinci is not 'home', and the Doctor gets captured and prepared for interrogation by Captain Tancredi. Much to the Doctor's surprise the Captain is the Count. Whuck???


The Keeper Of Traken - Episode 4
I'm cheating a bit here as I know this isn't a 70s story, but i wanted to keep all of Tom Baker's era together, plus it's my list so it's my rules!
It's quite rare outside of 60s Who for a story to end on a cliffhanger, but then I guess The Keeper Of Traken, Logopolis and Castrovalva actually told one long story. But the closing moments of Traken were great, finally a new body for the Master. It's a pretty shoddy effect, even by standards of the day, and I'm not sure how his attire changed too, but Anthony Ainley was always such a joy to watch as the Master that I can't help but always remember those first few seconds when we saw him in the role.

Well that's my memorable cliffhangers from the 1970s, what ones always spring to mind for you?

Previously
The 80s

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