Season 16 of Doctor Who ran between 2 September 1978 and 24 February 1979. It starred Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Mary Tamm as Romana I and John Leeson as K9 Mark II. The season opened with The Ribos Operation and concluded with The Armageddon Factor.

Overview Edit

It consisted of six serials and twenty-six episodes. This season saw the introduction of the Black and White Guardians as well as the companion Romana I who became the first Time Lady companion since Susan. This season is sometimes colloquially known as The Key to Time season after the story arc involving the Key to Time. Although not the first season to consist of linked stories (Season 8 in 1971 was the first, as all the stories that year featured the Master), it was the first to be recognised as having a series-long arc. Although multi-serial arcs would occur again, such a full-season experiment wouldn't be attempted again until Season 23. The arc has a number of similarities to the Season 1 story The Keys of Marinus. The storyline was originally proposed for Season 15, but it required more planning.[1]

Season 16 marked a triple milestone for Doctor Who: the hundredth story (The Stones of Blood), the five-hundredth episode (episode 1 of The Armageddon Factor) and the fifteenth anniversary of the first broadcast, on 23 November 1978.

A number of publicity photos for the season show Tom Baker sporting a very obvious bandage on his upper lip; this was due to his being bit by a dog shortly before filming for the season began. The resulting lip injury is visible to varying degrees throughout the season.

In 2002 (Region 1) it became the first Doctor Who season to be released to DVD in its entirety in a single box set; it remained the only "classic series" season to be available as a single set until the release of Season 23, The Trial of a Time Lord to DVD in 2008.

Tom Baker decided to leave by the end of this season, but he was persuaded to stay.[2]

Television stories Edit

# Title Writer Episodes Notes
1 The Ribos OperationRobert Holmes4First appearance of Romana. First appearance of the White Guardian.
2 The Pirate PlanetDouglas Adams4 First story to written by Douglas Adams and the only televised story where he received sole credit.
3 The Stones of BloodDavid Fisher4 Marks Doctor Who's one hundredth television story. Part four aired during the fifteenth anniversary of the series. First story to be written by David Fisher.
4 The Androids of TaraDavid Fisher4 Parody of The Prisoner of Zenda. Mary Tamm plays four different roles in this story; Romana, Princess Strella, and android doubles for both characters.
5 The Power of KrollRobert Holmes4 K9 is absent during this story due to his prop's inability to manoeuver in the swampy location of the episode.
6 The Armageddon FactorBob Baker
Dave Martin
6Final appearance of Mary Tamm as Romana; first appearance of the Black Guardian; Lalla Ward's first role in Doctor Who. Final story on which Anthony Read was script editor and the final story to be written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, although Baker would write a solo story the following season.

Cast Edit

Recurring Edit

Guest Edit

Notes Edit

Stories set during this season Edit

Adaptations and merchandising Edit

Home media Edit

VHS Edit

DVD Edit

This entire season was released with minimal restoration and extras in region 1 only on 1 October 2002 as a box set and was available individually. A limited edition box set with full restoration and expanded extras was released in region 2 on 24 September 2007. This limited edition version was later issued as the 7 November 2007 region 4 release, the 3 March 2009 region 1 "Special Edition" release (these were also available individually), and the 16 November 2009 non-limited region 2 re-release.

 Download/streaming availability Edit

Serial name Amazon Video iTunes
The Ribos Operation (4 episodes)
The Pirate Planet (4 episodes)
The Stones of Blood (4 episodes)
The Androids of Tara (4 episodes)
The Power of Kroll (4 episodes)
The Armageddon Factor (6 episodes)

Novels Edit

Target Books was unable to come to an agreement with Douglas Adams to novelise his script, The Pirate Planet. It was finally adapted by BBC Books in 2017.

Footnotes Edit

External links Edit

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