It’s Italian Hamlet with sprinkles of The Daemons and a strange, hay-bearing lake
While showing Sarah Jane Smith around his brand new Newbery-Box TARDIS, fully equipped with winding corridors, boot cupboard and wood-panelled second control room, The Fourth Doctor pulls up the view screen and, lo and behold, right there is the Mandragora Helix. A mysterious spacial energy swirl, the Helix sucks them in and transports them through time to Renaissance Italy.
There, Italian Hamlet, Giuliano has just lost his father, the Duke of San Martino, to a strange and unexplained sudden death, allegedly foretold by Hieronymus, the court astrologist and lackey of Giuliano’s uncle’s, Federico aka Italian Claudius.
Federico is a pretty awful chap, who’s plotting to usurp the throne when he’s not killing peasants. In fact, he murdered his own brother to gain the Dukedom for himself and enlisted Hieronymus to provide him with an alibi.
Hieronymus himself, meanwhile, transpires to be a high priest of the cult of Demnos, who’s beset by Mandragora to take over the world, and whose fellow acolytes are preparing to ritualistically sacrifice Sarah Jane Smith. And to top it off, Federico’s soldiers are about to behead The Doctor. If only they could escape somehow and join forces with Giuliano to out the traitorous uncle, undo the Helix Energy and save the day…
We briefly discuss the Brachacki (v2) and Newbery TARDISes in this episode. Here’s a quick comparison between the two: