Doctor Who (1963–1989)
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The Temple of Evil 

The TARDIS arrives on Earth landing in 16th century Aztec society. Barbara goes off exploring - despite the Doctor's orders not to wander off - and is taken away by the high priest Autloc ... See full summary »


John Crockett


John Lucarotti

On Disc

at Amazon




Episode complete credited cast:
William Hartnell ... Dr. Who
William Russell ... Ian Chesterton
Jacqueline Hill ... Barbara Wright
Carole Ann Ford ... Susan Foreman
Keith Pyott ... Autloc
John Ringham ... Tlotoxl
Ian Cullen ... Ixta
Margot Van der Burgh Margot Van der Burgh ... Cameca
Tom Booth Tom Booth ... First Victim
Dave Anderson Dave Anderson ... Aztec Captain (as David Anderson)


The TARDIS arrives on Earth landing in 16th century Aztec society. Barbara goes off exploring - despite the Doctor's orders not to wander off - and is taken away by the high priest Autloc who believes she is the reincarnation of the goddess Yetaxa. They believe it is a sign that the rains - which are late - will now come. The high priest of sacrifice Tlotoxl recruits Ian to lead their army but he finds he has a rival in Ixta. Ian is less than comfortable with his role when he learns that they are to deliver the human sacrifice to the high priest at the rain ceremony. The Doctor emphasizes that they must not interfere with Aztec rituals, something that does not sit well with Barbara. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 May 1964 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first episode of a four-part story commonly known as "The Aztecs". See more »


William Hartnell oversteps his mark during the first scene in the temple's main chamber after Barbara is deemed to be the spirit of Yetaxa. He delivers his subsequent dialogue with almost all of his face obscured by Barbara's headdress. See more »


[first lines]
Barbara Wright: Look at that!
Susan Foreman: I am.
Barbara Wright: It's an Aztec mask. He must have been a priest.
Susan Foreman: Oh, the Aztecs were Mexicans. We must be on Earth again. I wonder what year it is?
Barbara Wright: He must have died around 1430 I should think.
Susan Foreman: How do you know that?
Barbara Wright: All these things belong to the Aztecs' early period.
Susan Foreman: Now that's what I call really knowing your subject!
Barbara Wright: Ah well, that was one of my specialties, Susan.
See more »


Featured in Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

The Aztecs
9 July 2008 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

"The Aztecs" has an unbelievably good reputation amongst Doctor Who fans. It is praised for quality characterization, thrilling drama, and other things. I have seen "The Aztecs" nearly fifteen times since its initial video release and have always wondered what everyone saw in it. It's certainly not bad by any means but I find the characters flat and one-dimensional, the companions used rather predictably, and outside of the wonderful visual qualities- the sets and costuming especially, really just a solid but completely unremarkable Doctor Who story.

John Lucarotti's "Marco Polo" is an absolutely excellent Doctor Who story. It is wonderfully well-written with a group of interesting and varied supporting characters. Still, its strength primarily lies in its characters and dialogue, not in its plot or the quality of the drama (which in "Marco Polo" is only dramatic due to the characters, the novelization of the same story is really very boring due to the same characters being poorly-written). Take excellent characterization and dialogue out of a John Lucarotti script and you end up with something like "The Aztecs": watchable, entertaining for the most part, but completely forgettable and to be honest, at just four parts in length, not very tightly-woven at all.

In fact, I find "The Aztecs" begins to drag quite a bit in its latter half as it moves toward its inevitable, obvious, and unbelievably predictable conclusion. The villain gets more cookie-cutter villain-ish than he already was and the emphasis on the actual plot becomes stronger. The first two episodes weren't great by any means but they were really rather good, fun episodes as we discovered the situation at hand. The rest of the story is really just 'above average'.

I'm sure I come off as hating "The Aztecs". I really don't. I just find it to be one of my biggest disagreements with Doctor Who fandom, and a solid but completely unremarkable tale from start to finish. Wonderful design, solid direction, and excellent acting. The rest I don't think is especially worth discussing at length.

Episode 1: 7/10, Episode 2: 7/10, Episode 3: 6/10, Episode 4: 6/10.

Average: 6.5/10

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