What Was the Raston Warrior Robot?
Virtually unknown by anyone but a hardcore Doctor Who fan, this fast-as-lightning and stealth-camouflaged robot featured in the twentieth anniversary special episode of the BBC’s longest-running and most famous sci-fi series, Doctor Who (1963-1989). Although not a regular feature in the series, it deserves a mention because it spectacularly wiped out a whole group of Cybermen before they even knew it was there. For a single robot to wipe out a group of eight or nine near-invincible mechanical humanoids who were experts of ambush and fighting is magnificent.
The origins of the Raston Warrior Robot are unknown and it is unclear whether it was a single entity or if there are more of them. All that is known is that it is a tall, thin, human-shaped silver robot with a shiny silver head shaped like an egg. It is also the most perfect killing machine ever devised and can move like lightning. The robot was encountered by the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith in the Death Zone on Gallifrey guarding the enterance to an underground system of passages leading to Rassilon’s Tower. Equipped with circular blades, razor-sharp javelins, thick rope-like thread that could wrap around its victims and incredible in-built sensors that could detect the slightest movement or sound, the Raston Warrior Robot would use its stealth camouflage to render itself invisible and instantly re-appear in a different location before firing one of its blades or javelins at the source of sound or movement. These bizarre but marvellously effective weapons were contained unseen within the robot’s arms and seemed limitless in number until the Third Doctor and Sarah Jane used the Cybermen’s timely distraction to find an alcove nearby that was filled with more of the weapons. Any counterattack would instantly be detected by the robot’s sensors and it would vanish and re-appear elsewhere.
The first five incarnations of the Doctor had been taken out of their respective time streams by a forbidden Timescoop and dumped in the Death Zone - a huge and deadly games arena where various alien races fought to survive for the amusement of the Time Lords on Gallifrey. However, the Fourth Doctor had become trapped in the time vortex and the survival of his previous and future incarnations depended on the remaining four Doctors. Each Doctor was accompanied by a companion from his respective time stream and realised that the dark tower at the centre of the Death Zone - the tomb of Rassilon, the founder of Time Lord society - was where they were meant to be heading. Also in the Death Zone was the Doctor’s arch enemy the Master, sent by the Time Lord High Council to help the Doctors, a Dalek, a Yeti, a group of Cybermen and the Raston Warrior Robot. All but the Raston Warrior Robot were destroyed through various means. The Fifth Doctor found himself at the High Council when he used the Master’s teleportation device to escape the Cybermen, but developed a deep mistrust of President Borusa. With good reason, as Borusa turned out to be the unknown operator of the Timescoop and wanted the five Doctors to enter Rassilon’s Tower and enable him to achieve immortality by wearing Rassilon’s jewelled ring. As each Doctor made it to the tower, they realised that whoever asked the spirit to Rassilon to grant him eternal life would find it by becoming one of the many living statues of immortality-seeking Time Lords around the base of Rassilon’s tomb. With the Master also out to seek immortality (not knowing how exactly this would be achieved), the Doctors had to allow Borusa to wear the ring and ask the spirit of Rassilon to grant him his wish. When he did however, Borusa became one of the eternal statues around the base of the tomb. The Doctors then departed back to their time streams with their respective companions ('The Five Doctors' 1983).
The Raston Warrior Robot was created by former Doctor Who script editor Terrance Dicks, writer and co-writer of dozens of Doctor Who episodes and author of over fifty novelisations, for the twentieth anniversary special, 'The Five Doctors,' in 1983.
'The Five Doctors' (1983) Written by: Terrance Dicks. Directed by: Peter Moffatt. The Doctors played by: Richard Hurndall, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison and William Hartnell (pre-credits scene only). Companions played by: Carol Ann Ford, Nicholas Courtney, Elisabeth Sladen, Lalla Ward, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson. The Master played by: Anthony Ainley. President Borusa played by: Leonard Sachs. Cyberleader played by: David Banks. Cyberlieutenant played by: Mark Hardy. Dalek operated by: John Scott Martin. Raston Warrior Robot played by: Kieth Hodiak.