Doctor Who - Galaxy 4 Air Lock (c) BBC
Doctor Who – Galaxy 4 Air Lock (c) BBC

Galaxy 4: Air Lock

First Broadcast September 25th 1965 @ 4.50pm (11.3 viewers)

‘Air Lock’, the third instalment of this First Doctor adventure, is sadly the only episode which survives in the BBC archives. Luckily it was found and returned to the BBC in 2011, missing only the last few seconds of action and the credits. An extended clip from the first episode ‘Four Hundred Dawns’ also still exists thanks to its use in a Lively Arts programme ‘Whose Doctor Who’ in 1977. All this footage has been pieced together with audio and still photographs to create a reconstructed version of the story found on ‘The Aztecs’ special edition DVD. Despite the two year wait from the episode’s return to the DVD release, it was worth the wait as now fans can enjoy a really good version of ‘Galaxy 4’ including the complete third episode ‘Air Lock’.

Doctor Who - Galaxy 4 Air Lock (c) BBC
Doctor Who – Galaxy 4 Air Lock (c) BBC

Although not exactly a groundbreaking story in Doctor Who it offers plenty of interesting features. The Chumblies are quirky little creations. Not likely to rival the Daleks in terms of weaponry they are at least a successful non-humanoid entity. In contrast, the Drahvins are striking female humanoids but with a twist. A clone race they have neatly subverted the gender issues which we encounter on Earth. Whether inspired by or predicting, the Drahvins clearly reflect the changing attitudes of the mid-Sixties and offer an interesting alien race. A rigid class system which females of the species dominate.

Memorable Moment (Spoiler Warning)

The Rills are a curious monster for Doctor Who. Resembling hideous walrus-type creatures which breathe ammonia gas instead of oxygen. The inventive twist is that they are not the bad guys, they’re actually very amiable, providing a lesson to children not to judge by appearances. Unfortunately prior to 2011 the only image we had of a Rill was from a lone publicity still. Thanks to the rediscovery of Air Lock, the Rills are finally revealed and can be appreciated as a Doctor Who monster no longer lost in time.


Doctor Who – William Hartnell
Steven Taylor – Peter Purves
Vicki – Maureen O’Brien
Drahvin One – Marina Martin
Drahvin Three – Lyn Ashley
Drahvin Two – Susanna Carroll
Maaga – Stephanie Bidmead


Director – Derek Martinus
Producer – Verity Lambert
Writer – William Emms

Also First Aired On This Day…

  • The Masque of Mandragora: Part Four


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