I was pretty sure this was Tom Baker (Doctor #4), but haven't been able to find the episode. Some race or group had developed a time machine or time-cabinet type of device, but exposure to the time vortex would horribly destroy any who used it. A sample was needed from a Time Lord to resolve the issue, which the Doctor did not want them to have.

If I remember correctly, he suckered them with a tiny sample that was basically good for a single trip before degrading.

  • Do you remember the companion(s)?
    – Tony Meyer
    Commented Aug 21, 2011 at 21:29
  • 1
    No it was definitely "The Two Doctors", I've seen that episode. Although there could have been other episodes with a similar plot.
    – David Good
    Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


This sounds like the Colin Baker episode "The Two Doctors", where the time machine will be safe if "the Rassilon Imprimatur" is extracted from the Doctor. The plot synopsis (I haven't watched the episode since it originally aired) says they did sucker the villans by giving them enough to let Peri travel in time safely once.

  • THAT sounds like it... I accepted the previous answer thinking I was crossing two episodes.. But the Rassilon Imprimatur and the thin sliver of it, basically, clinch it.. That's the one!
    – K-H-W
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 19:40

The 4th Doctor serial "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" doesn't quite fit, but it's maybe close enough if you're not remembering perfectly? (There's a detailed description of all six parts on this page).

The story features a "time cabinet" from the 51st century (era of the Time Agents like Jack Harkness), which is based on the unstable "zygma energy" and that has disrupted the DNA ("split open so that more and more cells are being absorbed") of the villain, Magnus Greel, who needs to regain the lost cabinet in order to live.

The villain has a machine that he uses to extract the "life essences" from young women to keep himself alive in the meantime (I don't recall the Doctor being threatened with this, but Leela is nearly killed by it).

The end doesn't really match your description, though: the Doctor throws Greel into the machine, which causes him to disintegrate, and he destroys the key to the machine (a "Trionic Lattice"), ending the "Zygma Experiment".


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