Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

The Return of Doctor Who

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As we reported last issue, the last 74 episodes of Doctor Who that feature Tom Baker in the title role have at last reached American shores. Now STARLOG readers can catch up on all they've been missing since the Doctor departed his home world of Gallifrey at the finish of "Invasion of Time," leaving his companions Leela and K9 behind. Here then, is a sneak preview of some of the new Who adventures to come.

When we last saw the Time Lord, he was about to unpack K9 Mark II. In the first new serial, "The Ribos Operation," the Doctor is assigned by the White Guardian of Time to locate the six segments of the Key to Time. These segments are hidden about the universe and are disguised in different forms. The Doctor will search out one segment in each of the first six serials of the new package. To help him in his quest, the Doctor is assigned a young Time Lady named Romanadvoratrelunder (played by Mary Tamm in the first six serials). A great deal of friction develops between the two because the Doctor refuses to stay out of local affairs on each of the planets he visits. He also insists on calling her just Romana. "It's either that or Fred," he tells her.

After the final segment of "The Armageddon Factor," the last in the Key to Time sequence, Lalla Ward takes over the role of Romana. (A point of interest here is that Lalla Ward appears in another major role as Princess Astra in "The Armageddon Factor" along with Mary Tamm as Romana.) Ward makes her debut as Romana in the "Destiny of the Daleks," a serial that not only marks the return of the Doctor's most feared enemies, but marks the departure of John Leeson as the voice of K9. David Brierley takes over as the voice of the superpup for the next five serials until Leeson's return in "The Leisure Hive."

Another continuing sub-plot appears in three of the last six serials of the new package, when the TARDIS is trapped in "Exo-Space." We are also introduced to some new characters and say good-bye to some old friends, as Romana and K9 and the new characters of Adric, Nyssa and Tegan enter the TARDIS.

The last six serials (which represent the BBC's 1980-81 season) also feature a new look. The Doctor's costume has more of a uniform look, although his floppy hat and endless scarf remain. Peter Howell of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop has arranged a new version of the late Ron Grainer's theme for the opening tides and composed the incidental music. The famous Doctor Who logo has also been done away with in favor of the new one seen on this page. All these were changes implemented by the current series producer John Nathan-Turner (all other series in the new package were produced by Graham Williams).

When Nathan-Turner took over the series in 1980 rumors spread fast and furious that he was planning to junk K9. Last February, the BBC officially announced that this was not so and that K9 would return. This announcement followed a massive letter writing campaign by fans to the Beeb.

Among the familiar faces who will guest star in the new Doctor Who serials are Prentis Hancock, Iain Cuthbertson ("Ribos Operation"), Julian Glover, Catherine Schell, John Cleese ("City of Death"), Adrienne Corri ("Leisure Hive"), and Philip Madoc ("Power of Kroll").

Up until March 18, Doctor Who was being syndicated by Time/Life Television, but because Time Inc. has dissolved its film and TV divisions, it is not known who will be selling the series after the March 18 deadline. Therefore there is a chance that many areas will not see the 18 new' serials until a new syndicator is selected to handle BBC products.

It will depend on the ratings as to the future of Doctor Who in America. Time/Life was planning to bring over episodes starring the other Doctors, should the Baker episodes meet with success. This is still possible, but as always, it's how many are watching that counts.

(A complete episode guide of all the Doctor Whos starring Tom Baker appears in volume one of STARLOG's new TV Episode Guidebook which can be ordered from the ad in this issue.)


Caption: Romana (Lalla Ward) and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) aboard the TARDIS.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Hirsch, David (number 47 (June 1981)). The Return of Doctor Who. Starlog p. 53.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Hirsch, David. "The Return of Doctor Who." Starlog [add city] number 47 (June 1981), 53. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Hirsch, David. "The Return of Doctor Who." Starlog, edition, sec., number 47 (June 1981)
  • Turabian: Hirsch, David. "The Return of Doctor Who." Starlog, number 47 (June 1981), section, 53 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=The Return of Doctor Who | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Return_of_Doctor_Who | work=Starlog | pages=53 | date=number 47 (June 1981) | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=30 May 2020 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=The Return of Doctor Who | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/The_Return_of_Doctor_Who | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=30 May 2020}}</ref>