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Treasure Flap (Pillaging “The Smugglers”)

Treasure Flap (Pillaging “The Smugglers”)

In the new series, it’s customary to offer freshly onboarded TARDIS crewmembers a choice: Would you like to go to the future or the past? Back in the ’60s, there was no choice involved — the Doctor didn’t have the first clue how to steer his time machine, something he states explicitly in The Smugglers to accidental companions Ben and Polly. But if he had the goal of showing them just how brutally violent traveling through time can be, he couldn’t do much better than this mostly forgotten “pure historical” about pirates plotting to ransack large parts of Cornwall while making off with a secret treasure. So why not just have another go at popping into the future, and leave them to it? It’s all about “moral obligation,” the Doctor says, which isn’t as catchy as not being cruel or cowardly, but it's a rarely mentioned moment that captures his philosophy nonetheless. There are surprising treasures you can find when you’re not even looking.

Commentary on The Smugglers begins at 17:15.

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Story Essentials

  • Season 4, Serial 1

  • Writer: Brian Hayles

  • Director: Julia Smith

  • Producer: Innes Lloyd

  • Aired 10 September - 1 October 1966

Pull To Open: The Smugglers

  • Season 4

  • Episode 13

Hosts: Pete Pachal and Chris Taylor

Music: Martin West/⁠⁠Thinking Fish

Pull To Open
Pull To Open
There are many Doctor Who podcasts. Only one dares review the entire show... in entirely random order!
Join journalists Pete Pachal and Chris Taylor as they summarize stories in record time, play the Whomoji game, enter the History Corner, answer the Four Questions to Doomsday, and cower in fear before the almighty Randomizer.
New episode every Saturday!