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Published on May 5th, 2012 | by Christian Cawley

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

Starring Sylvester McCoy, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy is one of the more popular serials from his era. First broadcast in 1988, it is the final story Season 25, and is notable for many reasons, not least its overcoming of BBC industrial action by filming in a car park.

Written by Stephen Wyatt, the episode stars McCoy as the Seventh Doctor with Sophie Aldred as Ace. Jessica Martin appears as Mags with Ian Reddington as the Chief Clown and one-time Adrian Mole actor (and latterly real-life psychiatric nurse) Gian Sammarco as the “satirical” Whizz Kid.

Although Ace hates clowns, the Doctor decides to take his companion to the Psychic Circus on the planet Segonax. There they find a group of scared performers who live in fear of the sinister and creepy Chief Clown.

But what is so dangerous about this particular circus, why is there such a small audience and will Ace be able to overcome her fear before it’s too late?

Doctor Who - The Greatest Show in the Galaxy stars Sylvester McCoySpecial Features

  • Commentary With actors Sophie Aldred (Ace), Jessica Martin (Mags) and Christopher Guard (Bellboy), writer Stephen Wyatt, script editor Andrew Cartmel and composer Mark Ayres. Moderated by Toby Hadoke.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Model Effects Unused model effects shots originally intended for the story.
  • The Psychic Circus A music video set to a song written by Christopher Guard and featuring vocals by Christopher Guard, Jessica Martin and TP McKenna. Produced by Mark Ayres.
  • ‘Remembrance’ Demo Two scenes from Remembrance of the Daleks re-scored by Mark Ayres.
  • Tomorrow’s Times – The Seventh Doctor The on-going series looking at the press coverage of Doctor Who reaches the Sylvester McCoy era. Presented by Anneke Wills.
  • Victoria WoodDoctor Who sketch from Victoria Wood – As Seen on TV.
  • Coming Soon Trailer
  • The Show Must Go On Cast and crew look back on the making of this story.
  • Radio Times listings (DVD-ROM)
  • Programme Subtitles
  • Production Information Subtitles
  • Photo Gallery
  • Digitally remastered picture and sound quality

Released on July 30th, 2012, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy can be pre-ordered from Amazon for just £14.99.


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

4 Responses to The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

  1. avatar Gavin Noble says:

    This is my second favourite story of the McCoy era (only Remembrance of the Daleks tops it) and I can’t wait to see it on DVD. The production is top notch, the characters are well rounded and it is quite creepy at times – and not just because of the clowns! The extras look to be a varied bunch but I think it’s a shame that McCoy has not been involved much with the commentaries on the stories that have come out on DVD.

    • avatar Mugen Pharoah says:

      Yeah, that sucks – it’s so they can flog another version of it in a few years’ time as a ‘revisitation*’ with Sylv’s contributions.

      * = shameless cash-in

  2. avatar Matt says:

    “one of the more popular serials from his era” My Spidey sense detects damning with faint praise! Leave off the 7th Doc era, last two series, this story included, were full of top notch Who.

    • *Faint* praise for the Seventh Doctor? From me?

      Best get to the Spidey doc and get your Spidey sense fine tuned, Matt!

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