Doctor Who: Earthshock (Story #121)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Dead Adric

Gets a little long in the middle


Adric, you aren’t a joke…jokes are funny. You’re annoying…

Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) feels he hasn’t gotten the same respect as Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) from the Doctor (Peter Davison) and now he wants to return home to his planet of Terradon in E-Space.  A journey to Earth could give Adric a chance to prove himself.  Earth is being menaced by one of the Doctor’s greatest enemies and it could mean that Doctor and his companions could pay the ultimate price.

Doctor Who:  Earthshock aired during the nineteenth season of the long running BBC series.  The serial aired in four parts from March 8, 1982 to March 16, 1982.  It features the final regular appearance of Matthew Waterhouse as Adric.  Following Doctor Who:  Black Orchid, Doctor Who:  Earthshock was collected as Story #122 (or Story #121 depending on how you count the unaired Tom Baker serial Doctor Who:  Shada).  The individual DVD of Doctor Who:  Earthshock is currently out-of-print.


Hey guys, we can use this machine to watch better episodes!

The later Doctor serials were always a little weak.  He had bad companion and bad stories.  Despite this, Doctor Who:  Earthshock is one of the better entries…mostly due to the death of Adric who is often considered one of the Doctor’s worst companions.

Doctor Who writers had pushed for younger companions and Peter Davison was forced to team-up with three young actors for his companions.  It sometimes felt like he was running a daycare in comparison to smart companions like Sarah Jane or Liz Shaw.  The younger companions didn’t make for better stories however.

Adric was the worst of these young companions.  He was whiny and obnoxious.  This serial does help try to restore him by having him grow up a little (after another whiny start).  The writers gave the viewers what they wanted…Adric died a rather horrible death.  Once again the whole “rules” of the Doctor don’t make much sense.  I don’t understand why the Doctor sometime in the future couldn’t have sent the TARDIS onto the ship to save Adric from his doom (and give him back his precious medal).


Hmmm…the Doctor was really insistent I stay on this ship. He couldn’t be trying to kill me…

The serial also has the return of one of the Doctor’s best enemies.  The Cybermen hadn’t been seen since Doctor Who:  Revenge of the Cybermen (Story #79), and it is good to have them back.  These Cybermen are a bit more humanistic and have a leader with some personality.  I prefer the all robot Cybermen, but it does change up the stories.

Doctor Who:  Earthshock is a fun serial.  I like that Adric is doomed and that the serial ties in the death of the dinosaurs (I love dinosaurs so I can kind of blame the irritating Adric for that as well).  It is pretty rare for a Doctor’s companion to die, and Adric’s death is one of the best.  Doctor Who:  Earthshock is followed by Doctor Who:  Time-Flight.

Preceded By:

Doctor Who:  Black Orchid (Story #120)

Followed By:

Doctor Who:  Time-Flight (Story #122)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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