Saturday, 23 March 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 14 - 1975

It's a bit late but here is:


"You may be a doctor but I am THE Doctor.  The definite article you might say."
 - The Doctor, Robot, episode 1

On Screen
For the first time in some years, Doctor Who was on TV for the majority of the year.  Since 1970 each new season had traditionally began in January (or occasionally late December) and then ran for about 6 months or so.  This was also the case with the Season 12, Tom Baker's first season.  However the decision was then made that Season 13 would start in August 1975 and run through to early 1976.  What this meant for the production team was a very quick  turnaround between seasons in 1975 which caused a few headaches.  For the viewers it just meant that they didn't have to wait as long between seasons.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Season 12 began with the imaginatively titled 'Robot', written by out-going script editor Terrance Dicks.  In this story the new, unfamiliar Doctor is surrounded by familiar characters and situations, intended I assume to give the viewing audience the chance to adjust to the new Doctor without being too overwhelmed.  So the Brigadier, Benton, Sarah Jane and even the Doctor's car Bessie are all present and correct as the Doctor investigates a group of rogue scientists who are looking to control the world using, amongst other things the titular robot.

The Giant Robot

It's all in a day's work for this Doctor who, compared to his predecessor, seems to have a far more laid back attitude to danger.  He seems to take everything in his stride greeting the danger with a big smile.  Even when the robot is accidentally turned into a giant, the Doctor doesn't panic and quickly rustles up a handy  chemical solution that shrinks the robot back down to size.

There is one other new addition to the regular cast in this story, Surgeon Lieutenant Harry Sullivan, UNIT's chief medical officer who initially takes care of the Doctor after his regeneration.  He also proves to be a handy spy, going undercover to infiltrate the group of rogue scientists.  At the end of 'Robot' the Doctor offers to take the sceptical Harry on a trip in the TARDIS with himself and Sarah Jane.  And so Harry becomes the latest of the Doctor's travelling companions.

Harry joins the team

The remainder of the twelfth season has something of a arc running through it.  Perhaps appropriately the arc beings with 'The Ark in Space', which sees the Doctor, Sarah and Harry travelling to the far future to an space station orbiting the Earth.  The space station is called the Ark and it contains a group of sleeping humans who have left an Earth that has been devastated by solar flares.  However, as the TARDIS crew discovers that an alien insect race known as the Wirrin have also been on board the Ark and laying their eggs in some of the humans...

This story marks the beginning of the 'Hinchcliffe era' - the period of Doctor Who that was overseen by new producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes. The two of them were looking to take Doctor Who in a different direction to that taken in the Pertwee era.  Hinchcliffe and Holmes wanted to take the Doctor away from present-day Earth and UNIT and, perhaps most importantly, wanted to make the series scarier than it has been before.  Thus, this era of Doctor Who is seen as the 'gothic horror' era and, although it will become more obvious in future seasons, we see the beginnings of that era here.  There are some genuinely horrific moments here, particularly when lead human, Noah, begins to mutate into a Wirrin,

At the end of 'The Ark in Space' and with the Wirrin vanquished, the Doctor, Sarah and Harry beam down to the abandoned planet Earth to see if it's safe for the remaining humans to return home.  This leads into a short, two episode story called 'The Sontaran Experiment'.  Here, the travellers find that Earth is now a bleak desolate world inhabited by a few stranded space travellers and a lone Sontaran warrior who is conducting some nasty experiments.

Made on the cheap and filmed entirely on location in Dartmoor, this story is particularly notable as Tom Baker broke his collar bone during filming, requiring a cunningly disguised stuntman to double for the Doctor in a lot of the more energetic scenes.

Having taken care of the Sontaran, the Doctor and his friends appear to beam back up to the Ark but instead they are transported by the Time Lords to planet Skaro in order to witness the 'Genesis of the Daleks'.

'Genesis...' is rightly called a classic story by many fans.  Not only do we witness the creation of the Daleks themselves but we also meet the evil genius by which all future evil geniuses will be measured, their creator Davros.  The crippled genius who when we first meet him is already half way to being a Dalek himself is mad, bad and dangerous and is not above wiping out his own people in order to give his new creations a chance to live.

Davros and his right-hand man, Nyder

The Doctor's mission from the Time Lords is to stop the Daleks' creation, leading to a much quoted scene where the Doctor debates whether he has the right to wipe out an entire species.  In the end, of course, he doesn't wipe them out but he does set back their evolution somewhat and Davros finds himself on the wrong end of a Dalek gun.  Invevitably, Davros would prove too popular to stay dead for long.

Finally, in 'Revenge of the Cybermen', the Doctor, Sarah and Harry return to the Ark using a Time Ring supplied by the Time Lords.  However they arrive back at an earlier period of time than they left, when the Ark wasn't an Ark but merely a space station called Nerva Beacon.  The crew of the Beacon are being wiped out by a mysterious disease which the Doctor discovers is being caused by the Cybermen who are looking to take over the Beacon.

Inside the Cyber-Massage Parlour

It's here that we first discover that the Cybermen have an aversion to gold as it turns out that the Cybermen want to use the Beacon in order to launch an attack on Voga, the planet of gold.  The Doctor and his friends manage to prevent the attack and defeat the Cybermen.  Finally they are reunited with the TARDIS and head off back to Earth to answer a call from the Brigadier.

Originally, the next story 'Terror of the Zygons' was to end Season 12 but, when it was decided to move the debut of Season 13 to August, the story was moved to the beginning of that Season.  This meant that Season 12 ended on something of a cliffhanger.  What was the Brigadier calling the Doctor for?  Where has he summoned the TARDIS crew to? All would be revealed.

However urgent the Brigadier's summons was it would appear that the Doctor felt that he had time to introduce an episode of 'Disney Time' in the break between seasons.  For those too young to remember, 'Disney Time' was a children's programme where a celebrity host would introduce a number of clips from classic Disney animations and films.  Tom Baker introduced the edition of the programme shown on 25 August in character as the Doctor.  In a neat bit of continuity, at the end of the programme is handed a note "from the Brigadier" requesting his assistance.  And so the Doctor heads off to answer the summons. 

(Video supplied by noisyheart)

Five days later on 30 August, the Doctor was back for Season 13 and the held-over 'Terror of the Zygons'.  This has always been a popular story amongst fans and the Zygons have been popular monsters despite the fact that this was their only TV appearance.  One of the main reasons for their popularity is their look which is, it must be said impressive, particularly when coupled with their hissing voice.

The story itself though is also very memorable.  Set in Scotland close to Loch Ness, the story sees the Doctor and co investigating the destruction of oil rigs by a huge beast.  Yes, this is the story with the Loch Ness Monster in it.  The monster has actually been created by the Zygons who are destroying the rigs. In addition, the Zygons themselves are shape-shifters and are using their abilities to try and take over the world.  The whole thing climaxes with the Doctor confronting the Loch Ness Monster who has appeared in the River Themes and sending it back to Scotland.

Just in case you weren't sure, they're in Scotland

This is also where we bid goodbye to Harry Sullivan, who decides that he's rather take the train than travel in the TARDIS again.  It won't be quite the last we see of him as he does appear briefly later in the season.  The same is also true of Sergeant Benton.  As for the Brigadier, who has been such a regular presence since the late 60s, we won't see him again until 1983.  This definitely does feel like the end of an era.

For the Doctor and Sarah, though their travels continue.  In 'Planet of Evil' they travel to the far future and a distant planet where a group of scientists have discovered traces of anti matter.  Unfortunately the anti matter causes one of the scientists to transform into an anti matter monster and the Doctor has to defeat it.

The story is strongly influenced by 'Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde' in the transformation of a scientist into a monster.  It won't be the last time that this era is influenced by classic novels.  In the next couple of year's we'll see homages to 'Frankestein' and 'Phantom of the Opera' while the very next story 'Pyramids of Mars' pays tribute to classic horror movies.

'Pyramids...' is another of the most popular Doctor Who stories.  Set in 1911, it sees the Doctor and Sarah trying to stop an Egyptian 'god' from being released from his prison all the while trying to avoid the Egyptian mummies that are stalking the grounds of an English country house.

It's hard to sum up what makes this story so good.  As with most popular stories it's usually because everyone (writers, directors, designers, actors etc) are on the same page and manage to make everything come together perfectly.  For me, the highlight is the main villain Sutekh the Osiran.  He's not really an Egyptian god - he's just mistaken for one - but he's immensely powerful and immensely evil.  With some villains and monsters it's easy to believe that they have some morals.  Even the Master wasn't all bad.  But Sutekh has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  He even says to the Doctor at one point "your evil is my good."  And his voice is perfect.  Played by Gabriel Woolf, he is quietly menacing and doesn't rant and rave like, for example, Davros.  And for someone so powerful why should he need to rant?  In a way, it's a shame that Sutekh doesn't appear again in the series but perhaps this is one case where less is more.

Finally, in this mammoth year of Doctor Who on TV, we come to 'The Android Invasion' - written by Dalek creator Terry Nation and directed by former producer Barry Letts.  This is a rare non-Dalek story from Nation and, to be honest, it will not be regarded as one of his better works.  The androids in question are robotic replicas of human beings that have been created  by the alien Kraals in their attempt to invade Earth.

This story is particularly notable for being one of the last appearances of UNIT.  The Brigadier himself is absent in Geneva and one Colonel Faraday is deputising for him.  Benton and Harry Sullivan (or at least android replicas of them) also make their final appearances.

After this story, Season 13 would take a break for Christmas, returning in January with 'The Brain of Morbius'...

Harry and Benton's last appearance

 On Audio
Once again nothing this year.

In Print

The Target novelisations continued apace with seven books published this year.  Terrance Dicks wrote four of the books, including an adaptation of the first Fourth Doctor story 'Robot' (re-titled 'The Giant Robot') which was published just two months after it had been shown on TV.  He also authored, 'The Three Doctors', Terror of the Autons and 'Planet of the Spiders'.

Joining Dicks was Malcolm Hulke, who novelised 'The Green Death', former script editor Gerry Davis who novelised Second Doctor story 'The Moonbase' (retitled 'The Cybermen') and Brian Hayles, who novelised his own scripts for 'The Curse of Peladon'.

Other books published this year was the standard Doctor Who Annual as well a Dalek Annual for the first time since the 60s. Finally, November 1975 saw the publication of the Doctor Who Monster Book, a non fiction book that contained information on a variety of monsters and villains from the series' history.

In Comics

The TV Comic strip continued throughout 1975 with the new Doctor taking centre stage alongside Sarah Jane - the first time a TV companion had been seen in comic strip form since the Brigadier and Liz back in 1970.

Just in case readers had forgotten, the opening instalment of 'Death Flower', the first 4th Doctor strip, included a brief write-up of 'Planet of the Spiders' to remind people of why Jon Pertwee was no longer starring in the strip.

The new Doctor in the strip is very unlike his TV counterpart, somewhat moody and patronising towards Sarah Jane.  Part of the reason for this, I suspect, is because the early strips were being written before Tom Baker had made his first full appearance on TV so it was probably almost impossible for the writers to judge what sort of character this new Doctor was going to be based on just a few publicity photos.

In notable highlights from this year's strips, we see not one but two appearances by the Daleks, a trip back in time to the nineteenth century and the returns of a villainous race that was last seen in the strip when it was being published in Countdown in 1972 - the blue-skinned Mekon lookalikes the Vogans. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 13 - 1974

"A tear, Sarah Jane? Don't cry.  Where there's life there's..."
  - The Doctor, Planet of the Spiders episode 6

On Screen

And so all good things come to an end.  Jon Pertwee's final season continued with 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs' which, as it title suggests, sees London being invaded.  By dinosaurs.

Actually the dinosaurs are fairly incidental to the story.  The Doctor and Sarah have returned to present-day London to find it empty as a result of the aforementioned dinosaurs suddenly appearing out of nowhere.  Investigating these mysterious appearances they uncover a conspiracy that seems to implicate almost everyone they meet.  Including Captain Mike Yates.

Yes, for I think the first time in Doctor Who we see one of our heroes suffer a fall from grace.  Yates has thrown in with the people behind 'Operation Golden Age', a secret project that wants to make the world a better place by taking it back to the past.  Mike's job is to ensure that no one (including the Doctor) gets too close to discovering the truth.

Of course Mike doesn't know the whole truth himself which is that those behind Operation Golden Age literally want to take the world back to the past by turning back time and wiping out almost every living person.  Once he realises that he's been lied to, Mike helps the Doctor to save the day once more.

The next story, 'Death to the Daleks' sees Sarah's first trip to another and, to be frank, it's a bit of a dump. I'm also not entirely sure what the relevance of the title is.  Sure, there are Daleks in it but no one seems to wish death on them.  Admittedly they do come out of the story having taken a bit of a battering but that's standard practise for most of their TV appearances so why appear to draw attention to it in the title?

As mentioned above, the Daleks have returned once again but, in an interesting twist, they are forced to work with the Doctor rather than trying to kill him.  The reason for this is that the Daleks, along with the Doctor, Sarah and a group of space-faring humans, are stranded on a primitive planet which has somehow drained every machine of power.  With no weapons at their disposal the Daleks are forced to rely on others. to ensure their survival.

Naturally the Daleks alliance with the others doesn't last long (not even past episode 2 in fact) but for a few minutes it's interesting to see how Daleks react when they realise that they're no longer the toughest kids in the playground.

'The Monster of Peladon' is, perhaps not surprisingly, a sequel to 'The Curse of Peladon' and sees the Dcotor, with Sarah rather than Jo this time, returning to the planet last seen in 1972. King Peladon is dead and his daughter is now Queen.  However fan favourite character Alpha Centauri is still present as are the Ice Warriors, in what would be their final appearance on TV for almost 40 years. 

And so all good things must come to an end.  'Planet of the Spiders' marks the end of the Third Doctor;s era and, quite fittingly, the story draws on elements and characters from throughout the Pertwee era to create a fitting finale.

When Jo left to get married the Doctor gave Jo a rare blue crystal from the planet Metebelis 3 as a wedding present.  Here, she returns the crystal to the Doctor claiming that it's been bad luck.  How right she is as it turns out the crystal is wanted by the current rulers of Metabelis 3, a group of giant spiders.

The Doctor with the crystal returned by Jo
The Spiders come to Earth to reclaim the crystal and arrive in a Buddhist retreat deep in the English countryside.  It just so happens that this retreat is currently home to former UNIT Captain Mike Yates.  Mike, having been discharged from UNIT following his actions in 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs', is here given the chance to redeem himself by assisting the Doctor one more time.

Also resident at this retreat, in what must be a huge coincidence, is the Doctor's old mentor from Gallifrey and whom the Doctor had previously spoken of back in 1972's 'The Time Monster'.  Going by the name K'Anpo Rimpoche, the Doctor's old teacher has chosen to leave Gallifrey and has set himself up as Abbot of this retreat.  It is he who makes the Doctor realise that everything that has happened during this story is the Doctor's fault.  It was the Doctor who originally stole the crystal from Metabelis 3  and who set events in motion that led to the Spiders coming to Earth.  The Doctor realises that only he can put things right and that he may have to sacrifice himself in the process.

The final confrontation
What follows is a trip to Metebelis 3 to confront the Great Spider who is an absolute giant.  In the process of defeating the Spider, the Doctor is exposed to huge levels of radiation.  Dying, he returns to Earth and the inevitable happens...


And so the dashing, dandy Doctor is gone to be replaced by.. well we'll have to wait and see.  Doctor Who would return at the very end of the year with Season 12 but with just one episode showing before we bid farewell to 1974, I shall leave any analysis of the Fourth Doctor until we reconvene for 1975

On Audio
Nothing released this year

In Print

 In addition to the annual treat that was the, well, Annual, readers could now also enjoy more novelisations of a number of the TV stories.

As you'll recall, in 1973 Target books re-released the three First Doctor novelisations from the 1960s.  They decided to follow this up with further novelisations of some of the more recent stories.  All they needed were writers.  Enter: Terrance Dicks.

Dicks was still acting as script editor for the TV series when he wrote his first book, the novelisation of 'Spearhead from Space' which was retitled 'The Auton Invasion' when it was published in January 1974.  At the time he little knew that this little book would open up a whole new career for him.  Suffice to say, his name will come up on a regular basis throughout this blog.

Later in the year, Dicks would also write novelisations for 'Day of the Daleks' and Second Doctor story 'The Abominable Snowmen'.  However, Dicks wasn't able to write all the books that Target were asking for.  His friend and fellow Who script writer, Malcolm Hulke, was drafted in to assist and novelised his own scripts: 'The Silurians' (retitled 'The Cave Monsters'), 'Colony in Space' (aka 'The Doomsday Weapon') and 'The Sea Devils'.  Even Producer Barry Letts got involved, novelising 'The Daemons'.

And so, the staple reading diet of young Doctor Who for years to come began...

In Comics 

 Perhaps not surprisingly, 1974 was the final year of regular Third Doctor comic strips.  Throughout the year he encountered a variety of different alien menaces, including metal eating insects, the Lords of the Ether and, once again, the Daleks.

The final Third Doctor comic strip, entitled 'The Wanderers' coincided with the first full on-screen appearance of the Fourth Doctor.  From early January 1975 there would be a new face in the comic strip. 


December in the world of theatre usually means pantomime.  But, for the Adelphi Theatre in London, December 1974 meant Doctor Who.  Yes, for the first (but not the last) time, Doctor Who was treading the boards.

The play was called 'The Seven Keys to Doomsday' and was written by the ever-busy Terrance Dicks.  It was originally written with Jon Pertwee in mind to play the Doctor but with Pertwee having just left the TV series and Tom Baker yet to debut fully, the role of the Doctor fell to Trevor Martin.

Martin had previously appeared in Doctor Who playing, rather appropriately, a Time Lord. In this play he was effectively playing an alternative version of the Fourth Doctor.  A regeneration was re-enacted on stage to explain the presence of this new Doctor.  He was then joined by two young people from the audience who became his companions for the duration of the play.  The two youngsters, Jenny and Jimmy, were, of course, actors planted in the audience.  Interestingly, Jenny is played by Wendy Padbury who previously played Second Doctor companion Zoe.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Doctor Who 50-50: Part 12 - 1973

"It's been left up to me and me and me"
 -The Second Doctor, The Three Doctors

On Screen

They're back!  No, not the Daleks this time (although they do appear again this season) but the First and Second Doctors.

It's perhaps worth at this point considering just how momentous this must have been at the time.  Nowadays, in the wake of 'The Five Doctors', 'The Two Doctors', 'Time Crash' and even 'Dimensions in Time', Doctor Who fans are pretty blase when it comes to multi Doctor stories.  Indeed, for many fans, it's more or less expected that, where there's an anniversary, they'll be a multi-Doctor get together.  

But back in 1973 there was no such precedent. Most viewers probably never even considered that they'd ever get to see the past Doctors again, let alone in colour.  I can only imagine the anticipation and excitement that must have greeted the announcement of 'The Three Doctors'.

Of course it didn't all go as planned.  William Hartnell was too ill to play a full role in the story and only made a few brief appearances on the TARDIS scanner.  That said, despite everything, he still manages to give a surprisingly good performance, and get some of the best lines, in what would be his last acting role.

A story that features all three Doctors needs a suitable powerful enemy that can only be defeated by their combined abilities.  Enter: Omega, one of the Doctor's own people who was directly responsible for giving the Time Lords the power to travel in time.  Omega had been long thought dead but he was, in fact, sent into an anti-matter universe.  Now an insane Omega is using a black hole to drain the Time Lord's own power and return to our universe.  With the Time Lords powerless it's up to the Doctor, the Doctor and the Doctor to stop him.


Once Omega has been defeated, the Time Lords decide to reward the Doctor (that is, the current Doctor) for dealing with such a major crisis.  His exile is lifted and he can travel through time and space once again.  This isn't actually as big a deal as it seems, given that every other story the previous year featured the Doctor and Jo travelling in the TARDIS anyway - exile or no exile.  Nevertheless, the Doctor is now officially free and this marks the beginning of the end for UNIT as a regular presence in the series.

The first trip for the Doctor and Jo post-exile is seemingly straight back to Earth, albeit the Indian Ocean in the 1920s rather than UNIT HQ circa 1973.  However all is not quite as it seems as they aren't on Earth at all but inside a sort of futuristic peepshow on a distant planet.  Alongside them in this 'Carnival of Monsters' (as the story is called) are a number of other creatures and monsters including a very brief cameo from a Cyberman and some very vicious creatures called Drashigs.  The Doctor inadvertently causes the Drashigs to get loose and cause havoc and has to deal with them.

A Drashig on the loose

Following 'Carnival of Monsters' comes two linked stories: 'Frontier in Space' and 'Planet of the Daleks', although the link between them is only obvious at the end of the first story.    'Frontier..' begins with the Doctor arriving in the middle of an escalating conflict between the empires of Earth and Draconia. It quickly becomes clear that someone is trying to drive these two forces into war.  When our old chum the Master appears halfway through everything seems to fall into place.  But then we come to the final episode and it turns out that the Master is working for someone else.  Who can it be?  Why, only the Daleks!

The Doctor and some Draconians

All this leads into an exciting cliffhanger.  The Daleks are off to their secret base to prepare an army of Daleks to invade the galaxy.  The Doctor plans to pursue them but before he does so is shot by the Master.  The final shot of the story sees an injured Doctor call on the Time Lords for help.

'Planet of the Daleks' takes up the story and sees the Doctor and Jo travel to the planet of Spiridon to find the secret army of Daleks.  Not only does this story see the return of Dalek creator Terry Nation to writing for the series, we also meet a group of Thals, a race not encountered since their first appearance in the original Dalek story back 1963-64, as well as the first mentions of original companions Ian, Barbara and Susan since the Hartnell era.  Whether intentional or not it seems appropriate that we get these little references to the earliest days of the series during what is the 10th Anniversary year.

And so the Doctor and Jo return to Earth for the season finale, 'The Green Death'.  For a large number of fans of a certain age this will always be knows as 'the one with the maggots'.  This story sees the Doctor, Jo and UNIT visit Wales to investigate a chemical factory which is pumping chemical waste into the coal mines and causing the maggots to grow.  Just for a change the villain of the piece isn't an alien but a giant supercomputer called BOSS.  Think WOTAN from 'The War Machines' but with a personality and a liking for Wagner and that's pretty much BOSS in a nutshell.

Aside from the maggots, 'The Green Death' is notable for a few other things.  Mike Yates gets to go undercover and is hypnotised into trying to kill the Doctor; the Doctor dresses up as a milkman and cleaning lady and Jo Grant falls in love and decides to get married.

The man that Jo falls for is one Professor Clifford Jones, who is leading the fight against the chemical factory.  At one point Jo tells the Doctor that the Professor reminds her of a "younger you."  So did Jo ever secretly have feelings for the Doctor?  Did the Doctor have feelings for Jo.  From his actions at her engagement party, it's hard to say but he is most certainly heartbroken by Jo's decision to leave and the final shot of the season is the Doctor forlornly driving off alone into the night.

In December of 1973, the series was back for Season 11, Jon Pertwee's final season.  It kicked off with 'The Time Warrior', a story that would introduce three new important additions to the series.  The Sontarans (or to be more precise one Sontaran) make their first appearance in the series, although the Doctor has evidently encountered them before off-screen.  Also in this story the Doctor's home planet is given a name for the first time: Gallifrey.

But most significant of all, this story marks the first appearance of one of the most popular characters to have ever appeared in the series, Sarah Jane Smith.  Investigative reporter that she is, Sarah ends up stowing away on the TARDIS when it takes the Doctor to the Middle Ages.  The Doctor is looking for some missing scientists who have been kidnapped from the present day and taken to the past.  This is where he finds the stranded Sontaran, Linx, who needs scientists to repair his spaceship. This story concluded in the first week of 1974 and then the Doctor takes Sarah home to London but, as we'll see, things aren't quite how they left them...

On Audio

Not a thing this year.

In Print

Aside from the now obligatory Annual, we also have the first Doctor Who Colouring Book in years.  It does lose points for including a picture of the 'pudding bowl' TARDIS from 'The Time Monster' though.

In addition to these books we also have the early days of the Target Books series of novelisations, something that was required reading for all Doctor Who fans of a certain age in the Seventies and Eighties.

For those who don't know, Target was the imprint of a smallish publishing company called Universal-Tandam (later WH Allen).  Target specialised in childrens' books, often re-printing books that had been out of print for some time.  Three such books re-printed in 1973 were the Doctor Who novelisations that had previously been published in the mid-Sixties: 'The Daleks', 'The Crusaders' and 'The Zarbi'.

It was assumed that the books would sell quite well but no one anticipated just how good the sales would end up being.  Certainly they were good enough that the editors at Target decided to approach the Doctor Who production team about novelising further stories.  The production team agreed and script editor Terrance Dicks put himself forward to write the first new novelisation, little knowing what was lying ahead for him...

Finally, I must mention another important publication, the Radio Times Doctor Who 10th Anniversary Special.

This was published towards the end of the year, to tie in with anniversary and was one of the first (if not the first) episode guide to the entire series.  It looked quite stunning with a number of specially shot photographs of various companions from the past.  It also previewed the upcoming season 11 and gave us a early glimpse of new girl Sarah Jane.

Jamie and Victoria in the Radio Times Special

In Comics

Change was once again in the air for the Doctor Who comic strip and, sadly not for the better.  TV Action + Countdown became the snappier TV Action in an attempt to boost sales.  The comics editors also changed the format of the comic.  What this meant for Doctor Who was that, every few issues it would be given 7 pages, rather than the usual two or three, in which to tell a longer story.  It would then go back to it's regular 2-page format for a few weeks and then get another 7 page story and so on. One such 'Big Story' as they were called saw the return of the Daleks, while the more standard 2-page strip saw the first comic appearance of the Master.

Alas for TV Action nothing seemed to work and the comic came to an end in August 1973.  The good news though was the Doctor Who comic strip would continue.  The bad news was that it returned to the pages of its former home, TV Comic, where inevitably it would be aimed at a younger age group again.

 Arguably the first major death in Doctor Who's long history occurred on June 18 1973 when Roger Delgado died.  He had been in Turkey preparing to work on a film when the he car he travelling in crashed, killing him instantly.

That tragic accident robbed the world of very good actor and, by all accounts, a fine gentleman.  From the standpoint of the TV series, it also meant that viewers never got to see what was planned to be the final meeting between the Doctor and the Master in season 11.  The Master of course would return but Delgado had set a very high bar for all the actors who were to follow him.

Roger Delgado: 1918-1973