Delta and the Bannermen

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146[1]Delta and the Bannermen
Doctor Who serial
Delta and the Bannermen (Doctor Who), 1988.png
The Bannermen, preparing to attack.
  • Don Henderson – Gavrok
  • Belinda Mayne – Delta
  • Richard Davies – Burton
  • Stubby Kaye – Weismuller
  • Morgan Deare – Hawk
  • David Kinder – Billy
  • Martyn Geraint – Vinny
  • Sara Griffiths – Ray
  • Hugh Lloyd – Goronwy
  • Ken Dodd – Tollmaster
  • Brian Hibbard – Keillor
  • Johnny Dennis – Murray
  • Leslie Meadows – Adlon
  • Anita Graham – Bollitt
  • Clive Condon – Callon
  • Richard Mitchley – Arrex
  • Tim Scott – Chima
  • Jessica McGough, Amy Osborn – Young Chimeron
  • Laura Collins, Carley Joseph – Chimeron Princess
  • Robin Aspland, Keff McCulloch, Justin Myers, Ralph Salmins – The Lorells
  • Tracey Wilson, Jodie Wilson – Vocalists
Directed byChris Clough
Written byMalcolm Kohll
Script editorAndrew Cartmel
Produced byJohn Nathan-Turner
Incidental music composerKeff McCulloch
Production code7F
SeriesSeason 24
Length3 episodes, 25 minutes each
First broadcast2 November 1987 (1987-11-02)
Last broadcast16 November 1987 (1987-11-16)
← Preceded by
Paradise Towers
Followed by →
Doctor Who episodes (1963–1989)

Delta and the Bannermen is the third serial of the 24th season of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which was first broadcast in three weekly parts from 2 to 16 November 1987.

In the serial, aliens called the Bannermen track down the Chimeron Queen Delta (Belinda Mayne) to a Welsh holiday camp in 1959 so they can kill her.


On an alien planet the genocide of the Chimeron by the merciless Bannermen led by Gavrok is almost complete. The last survivor, Chimeron Queen Delta, escapes clutching her egg, the future of her species. She reaches a space tollport where the Navarinos, a race of shape changing tourist aliens, are planning a visit to the planet Earth in 1959 in a spaceship disguised as an old holiday bus. She stows aboard, meeting Mel, while the Seventh Doctor follows in the TARDIS. The Doctor and Mel won the trip as a prize for arriving in the Navarino spaceport in time to be declared the ten billionth customers. As the tourist vehicle departs, the Bannermen arrive to hunt down the fugitive, and they kill the tollmaster.

The holiday vehicle from Nostalgia Tours collides with an Earth satellite and is diverted off track, landing at a holiday camp in South Wales rather than Disneyland. They reach the Shangri-La holiday camp, led by camp director Burton, played by Richard Davies. Delta's egg hatches into a bright green baby that starts to grow at a startling rate. The Chimeron Queen supports this development with the equivalent of royal jelly given to bees.

Delta captures the heart of Billy, the camp's mechanic, to the chagrin of Ray, who loves Billy herself. Ray confides her situation to the Doctor, and they stumble across a bounty hunter making contact with the Bannermen to tell them of the Chimeron's whereabouts. Gavrok and his troops soon arrive. Delta and Billy head off for a picnic while the Doctor busies himself coordinating things back at the camp. Meanwhile, the Bannermen have destroyed the Navarino bus with all its passengers.

Two American CIA agents, Hawk and Weismuller, appear on the scene, tracking the missing satellite. Gavrok booby-traps the TARDIS in an attempt to kill the Doctor. A battle ensues with Gavrok and his Bannermen against the Doctor and his crew: Ray & Billy, Goronwy, Mr. Burton and the two CIA agents. The Bannermen are foiled by honey, Goronwy's bees and finally by the amplified scream of the Chimeron child Princess—a sound which is painful to Bannermen.

Goronwy explains to Billy the purpose of royal jelly in the lifecycle of the honeybee, provoking the mechanic to consume Delta's equivalent that she has been feeding her daughter, in the hope of metamorphosing into a Chimeron.

As Gavrok and the Bannermen attack Shangri-La, the amplified scream of the Chimeron princess traumatises the attackers, including Gavrok, who becomes so stunned that he falls into the booby-trap he placed on the TARDIS and is killed. Delta and Billy leave together with the child, the two agents watch on with surprise and Goronwy winks knowingly as the Doctor and Mel slip away.


EpisodeTitleRun timeOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [2]
1"Part One"24:472 November 1987 (1987-11-02)5.3
2"Part Two"24:239 November 1987 (1987-11-09)5.1
3"Part Three"24:2216 November 1987 (1987-11-16)5.4


Working titles for this story included The Flight of the Chimeron.[citation needed] The eventual title is a reference to the British band Echo & the Bunnymen.[3]

The character Ray was originally created as a new companion for the Doctor as Bonnie Langford had announced she would be leaving the series at the end of the season.[4] The serial, with the working title, The Flight Of The Chimeron, was originally scheduled to end the season. However, as the serial neared production, Langford had not decided whether she would leave at the end of Season 24 or during Season 25. That fact plus the rescheduling of Delta and the Bannermen to earlier in the season and the decision by script editor Andrew Cartmel to create another replacement companion named Alf (later renamed 'Ace'), led to the abandonment of the idea of Ray as a new companion.[4]

Filming and post-production[edit]

The scenes at the Shangri-La holiday camp were shot on location at Butlin's Barry Island in Wales.[3]

The soundtrack of this serial contained a numerous recognisable pop songs; all were re-recorded by "The Lorells", a fictional group created by the show's incidental music composer Keff McCulloch.[5][6][7] The songs featured in the serial were: "Rock Around the Clock"; "Singing the Blues"; "Why Do Fools Fall in Love"; "Mr. Sandman"; "Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite"; "That'll Be the Day"; "Only You"; "Lollipop"; "Who's Sorry Now?" and "Happy Days Are Here Again".[8]

McCoy can be seen wearing his glasses in certain long shots of him riding a motorcycle.[3][8] The motorbike itself a Vincent, made by British manufacturer Vincent Motorcycles.[3][8] The guitar McCoy is seen hugging at the end of the story is a Squier Stratocaster by Fender, although the model is not one available at the time the story was set.[8]

Cast notes[edit]

Features guest appearance by Ken Dodd, Don Henderson, Hugh Lloyd, Richard Davies, and American stage and screen actor Stubby Kaye.[3][9] Morgan Deare later played Senator Waldo Pickering in the audio play Minuet in Hell and Arthur in the new series episode "Rosa".[10]


Simon Brew of Den of Geek thought the story was "fun nonsense."[6] Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping enjoyed the serial, describing it as "confident, slick, and hugely enjoyable from beginning to end". They praised Bonnie Langford's performance, found Ken Dodd to be "OK" but thought Don Henderson played it too straight.[3][11]

David J. Howe and Stephen James Walker found the serial to be even more whimsical than the preceding story but more successful, "all in all, a highly enjoyable romp."[3] Radio Times' Mark Baxton declared: "It's mad as cheese and about as scary as an episode of Play Away. It doesn't feel like Doctor Who for a second. But just once in a while the show can afford to go mad."[12]

In 2015, Steven Moffat endorsed the fan theory that Goronwy is a future incarnation of the Doctor, and said that the idea fit well with the Doctor's line about retiring to become a beekeeper in "The Name of the Doctor".[3][13]

Commercial releases[edit]

In print[edit]

Delta and the Bannermen
Doctor Who Delta and the Bannermen.jpg
AuthorMalcolm Kohll
Cover artistAlister Pearson
SeriesDoctor Who book:
Target novelisations
Release number
PublisherTarget Books
Publication date
19 January 1989

A novelisation of this serial, written by Malcolm Kohll, was published by Target Books in January 1989.[14][15]

It was released on audiobook, read by Bonnie Langford.

Home media[edit]

Delta and the Bannermen was released on VHS in March 2001 in the UK[16][17] and June 2002 in North America, but music clearance issues prevented the release of the serial in Australia.[18] A DVD edition was released in the UK on 22 June 2009.[9] This serial was also released as part of the Doctor Who DVD Files in issue 62 on 18 May 2011.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ From the Doctor Who Magazine series overview, in issue 407 (pp26-29). The Discontinuity Guide, which counts the four segments of The Trial of a Time Lord as four separate stories and also counts the unbroadcast serial Shada, lists this story as number 150. Region 1 DVD releases follow The Discontinuity Guide numbering system.
  2. ^ "Ratings Guide". Doctor Who News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Delta and the Bannermen - Details". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  4. ^ a b "DOCTOR WHO: A Companion's Companion – Season 24 | Nerdist". Nerdist. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  5. ^ Bensalhia, John (24 March 2011). "Doctor Who complete reviews: Delta And The Bannermen". Archived from the original on 28 March 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Doctor Who: Delta And The Bannermen review". Den of Geek. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  7. ^ Campbell, Mark; Newman, Kim (1 April 2011). Doctor Who: The Episode Guide. Oldacastle Books. ISBN 9781842436608.
  8. ^ a b c d Burk, Graeme; Smith, Robert (1 October 2013). Who's 50: The 50 Doctor Who Stories to Watch Before You Die—An Unofficial Companion. ECW Press. pp. 270–276. ISBN 9781770411661.
  9. ^ a b "'Doctor Who': 'Delta And The Bannermen' DVD review". CultBox. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  10. ^ "19. Minuet in Hell - Doctor Who - The Collected 8th Doctor - Big Finish". Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  11. ^ Cornell, Paul; Day, Martin; Topping, Keith (31 October 2013). The Doctor Who Discontinuity Guide. Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 9780575133181.
  12. ^ "Delta and the Bannermen". RadioTimes. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  13. ^ Moffat, Steven (May 2015). "Ask Steven Moffat". Doctor Who Magazine (485): 4.
  14. ^ Lofficier, Jean-Marc Lofficier; Randy (8 May 2003). The Doctor Who Programme Guide: Fourth Edition. iUniverse. ISBN 9781462098965.
  15. ^ "Doctor Who: Delta and the Bannermen". Goodreads. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Doctor Who: Delta And The Bannermen [VHS]". Archived from the original on 17 September 2009.
  17. ^ Clough, Chris, Doctor Who: Delta And The Bannermen, BBC, retrieved 23 March 2017
  18. ^ "Delta and the Bannermen @ The TARDIS Library (Doctor Who books, DVDs, videos & audios)". Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Doctor Who DVD Files Issue 62". The Doctor Who Site. Retrieved 23 March 2017.

External links[edit]

Target novelisation[edit]