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Doctor Who story number 6

The Aztecs is another story written by John Lucarotti, who this time draws on his fascination with the Aztec culture (He used to live in Mexico). He uses two charcters, Autloc, High Priest of Knowledge, and Tlotoxl, High Priest of Sacrifice, to illustrate different aspects of the society, turning out another excellent story.

John Lucarotti

This story has 4 episodes with individual titles:

  • The Temple of Evil
  • The Warriors of Death
  • The Bride of Sacrifice
  • The Day of Darkness

Plot Overview
The TARDIS materialises in inside the tomb of Yetaxa, a former high priestess of the Aztec people (Sometime around 1450). The tomb locks itself as they leave, cutting them off from the TARDIS once again. Babara is hailed as the reincarnation of Yetaxa, as she is wearing the high priests bracelet from the tomb.

Barbara wants to use her new position to end the practise of human sacrifice, putting her at odds with Tlotoxl, who keeps a strong power base in the city, and The Doctor, who dissaproves of meddling in hostory. Ian in the meantime is at odds with Ixta, the head warrior, and Susan refuses marriage to the Perfect Victim, winding up in jail for two episodes.

As events move to a head, the Doctor courts the eldery lady Cameca, trying to learn of another way into the tomb. He then carves a pulley to use to open the other, counterweighted, door. Autloc approves of the end of human sacrifice, and Tlotoxl has him killed so he can continue the practise.

The Day of Darkness occurs, and the sun is swallowed to await the sacrifice that will return it. The travellers flee the soliders of Tlotoxl, and as they work to open the door at the summit of the ziggurat Ian fights Ixta, who falls to his death. As they flee the Doctor makes sure to take the pulley, which the Aztecs never invented, and snatches up the brooch belonging to Cameca. The story ends with Tlotoxl sacrificing the perfect victim as the travellers leave.

Main Cast

  • Keith Pyott - Autloc
  • John Ringham - Tlotoxl
  • Ian Cullen- Ixta
  • Mergot van der Burgh - Cameca
  • Tom Booth - Victim
  • David Anderson - Captain
  • Walter Randall - Tonila
  • Andre Boulay - Perfect Victim
  • Notes

    • Susan spends two episodes in jail mainly because Carol Ann Ford was due for two weeks off during the filming
    • The costumes are reasonably accurate, even for the BBC of the 60's, though one writer says they would be too hot for Mexico and another claim is that they were correct and NOT made more covering than they should be for decencys sake. They still look good though

    I made some cocoa and got engaged... - The Doctor

    The Aztecs is the first Doctor Who historical adventure that exists in a complete form, with the earlier Marco Polo existing only as stills and audio. Like every episode in the first season, it would contain the germs of many ideas that we are still seeing played out fifty years later. And that is despite the fact that the the shooting budget and production values are close to ridiculous by modern standards.

    When I started watching classic Doctor Who, I was expecting to have a condescending attitude, viewing it mostly for historical interest. But "The Aztecs", like almost all of the first season, is a great story in and of itself.

    Two of the major things I was expecting in a television show from 1963 were racism or sexism, of varying degrees of explicitness. I found this story to be surprisingly free of either. The Aztecs are portrayed respectfully, as a society that was working under the conditions it had evolved under. Although there is one scenery chewing Aztec villain, that is probably out of dramatic need rather than cultural stereotyping. As far as sexism goes, Barbara Wright, instead of being a follower or victim, boldly sets about trying to reform Aztec society, with the goal of making them more resistant when the Spanish come. Both the character and the actress playing her come across as a strong, intelligent woman.

    This is also the first Doctor Who episode that deals with the issue, still under discussion about the morality and possibility of interfering with history.

    "You can't rewrite history, not one line!"
    The Doctor tells Barbara, trying to dissuade her from reforming and saving the Aztecs. It is unclear whether that was true at the time, or whether The Doctor didn't understand how time worked, or whether he was intentionally lying to Barbara. Whatever the answer to the question was, this was the first time that this question would be asked in Doctor Who.

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