Doctor Who: The Aztecs (S01E006)

; Date: Wed Jul 25 2018

Tags: Doctor Who

The TARDIS lands in a tomb which the Doctor and Companions quickly determine is in the Aztec Empire during the 1400's. This is the height of the Aztec empire, and Barbara is accidentally identified as the reincarnation of one of their Gods. The Companions are unable to return into the tomb to escape in the TARDIS and thus ensues an adventure through a slice of Aztec culture as the Doctor and Companions attempt to work out how to get back into the tomb so they can escape in the TARDIS.

Barbara has an interesting reaction to the setting. The Aztecs had many aspects to their civilization, a high degree of learning, awareness of astronomy etc, but they also performed human sacrifice. Barbara has a specialty in Aztec civilization (she's a teacher) and wanted to take the opportunity of being a God to attempt to sway the Aztec civilization to end their practice of human sacrifice.

Another thread of the story is marriage-making. The Doctor took a liking to a lady in the gardens, and ended up engaged to marry her.

All the times I've seen this I can't shake how unauthentic the weapons looked. The sets and clothes and settings, they look like they came straight from the paintings of Aztec buildings etc. But the weapons look completely wrong, but maybe it's the goofy ass fighting style. In any case it's clear they wanted this to be a serious portrayal of Aztec civilization but there are things like the goofy looking "weapons" which detract from this for me.

The most key point perhaps is the Doctors insistence that they cannot change history. The Doctor tells Barbara "You can't rewrite history! Not one line!" Yet, isn't that what Time Lords do, modify lines of history? But at times throughout Doctor Who it's been asserted some pieces of history cannot be changed. An example is in the modern ( Father's Day episode where the Doctor and Rose rewrite Rose's history, and that little bit of modification causes all you-know-what to break loose.

This is a question which runs through many science fiction works and is a speculation of scientists. But as we do not have good knowledge of the operation of Time, we cannot tell whether "You can't rewrite history! Not one line!" is actually accurate, or not.

The reincarnation of Yetaxa - Doctor Who - The Aztecs - BBC

Barbara finds her status somewhat elevated when the Aztecs believe her to be the reincarnation of the high priest, Yetaxa. Could this provide the opportunity for the Doctor and his time travelling companions to enter the tomb?

The element of surprise - Doctor Who - The Aztecs - BBC

Ixta's rather impressive lancing skils are somewhat overshadowed by Ian's more subtle and surprising means of attack, much to the bemusement of Tlotoxl.

The Doctor quizzes Cameca - Doctor Who - The Aztecs - BBC

In this clip, a rather besotted Doctor again meets with Cameca in the garden and quizzes her about features of the mysterious temple.

You Can't Rewrite History! | Doctor Who | The Aztecs | BBC

Back in Aztec times, Barbara has been appointed a goddess and intends to stop a ritual sacrifice. But the Doctor pleads with her not to interfere. You can't rewrite history.

Human sacrifice to the rain gods - Doctor Who - The Aztecs - BBC

A bloodthirsty Tlotoxl begins a ceremony in which a man will be sacrificed to appease to rain gods. But will Barbara, incarnated as Yetaxa, step in to spare his life?

The Doctor Gets Married | The Aztecs | Doctor Who | BBC

The First Doctor reveals to Ian Chesterton that he made some cocoa and got married when they arrived in the Aztecs.

Ian gets trapped - Doctor Who - The Aztecs - BBC

The Doctor and Ian gain entrance to a dark tunnel leading to Yetaxa's tomb, but Ian gets trapped inside when a guard replaces the entrance stone.

Tlotoxl questions the Doctor - Doctor Who - The Aztecs - BBC

In this clip - aware that the Doctor wants to get inside the tomb, Tlotoxl quizzes him about his motives in the gardens outside the sacred tomb.

Ian vs Ixta - Doctor Who - The Aztecs - BBC

Ian's unwilling conflict with the Aztecs' 'chosen warrior', Ixta, ends in a fight in which the latter falls to his death from the temple roof. Classic clip from the 1964 four-part story 'The Aztecs' starring William Hartnell as the Doctor.

About the Author(s)

( David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.