Doctor Who (William Hartnell) – The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve


This week’s journey in the TARDIS, was written by Donald Tosh and John Lucarotti. This story aired in four parts, War of God, The Sea Beggar, Priest of Death and Bell of Doom, from 5 to the 26 of February, 1966.

This one, once again watched as a reconstruction, is one of the historical tales, as we find ourselves with the Doctor (Hartnell) and Steven (Peter Purves) in Paris during the 16th century during the religious conflict between the Huguenots and the Catholics.

This one was interesting in two regards, both of them centering on Hartnell. The Doctor’s appearance in this story is almost non-existent, having gone off to meet an encourage an apothecary named Preslin (Erik Chitty), but he does appear as his doppelgänger, the villain of the piece, the Abbot of Amboise, working for Catherine de Medici (Joan Young).

Steven believes the Abbot is actually only the Doctor is disguise and is suitably upset when the Abbot is killed. He mourns the Doctor, but is also afraid he will now be stuck in the 16th century to live out his days. Happily the Doctor reappears in the final episode much to Steven’s delight.

This tale serves more of a history lesson, bringing to life the treachery, the massacre, and the politics involved in this religious conflict, and by the story’s end, it also serves as the almost swan song for yet another companion, as Steven threatens to take his leave.


He is angry that he and the Doctor were unable to stop the 10,000 deaths that occurred during the massacre, including a young woman, Anne Chaplet (Annette Robertson), who he had become friends with. The Doctor reminds him that they can’t interfere with time, and set events.

There’s a quiet moment then as the Doctor sits and reminiscences about all those who have come into his life, and left… the lonely Doctor indeed.

When he storms off the TARDIS at their next landing, happily in England of the 60s, and encounters the very next companion, Dodo Chaplet, short for Dorothea Anne Chaplet (Jackie Lane), the descendant of the Anne Steven knew in the Paris of the 16th century.

This story marks the halfway point of Season 3, and we’re drawing closer and closer to the first regeneration, and I’ll be honest, something tells me I’m going to enjoy Patrick Troughton’s Doctor quite a bit. I’ve only seen a few moments with him, and every time, I have enjoyed it immensely.

Until then, I will continue to enjoy the travels with Hartnell’s Doctor,and grin knowing some of the future events that await!

Next week, we travel far into the future and encounter The Ark.



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