Season 17 of Doctor Who ran between 1 September 1979 and 12 January 1980. It starred Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Lalla Ward as Romana II and David Brierley as K9 Mark II. The season opened with Destiny of the Daleks and concluded with The Horns of Nimon. The season was supposed to conclude on Shada, but that story would not be finished until over 37 years after Season 17's conclusion.
It consisted of five stories and twenty episodes, plus the incomplete Shada, unfinished as a result of an industrial strike. Lalla Ward joined as Romana II, and the season is notable for the involvement of Douglas Adams in the writing department. This was the last season to use the traditional Delia Derbyshire "Doctor Who theme" arrangement.
A trailer for this season was released.
|1||Destiny of the Daleks||Terry Nation||4||First appearance of Romana II. Final script to be written by Terry Nation.|
|2||City of Death||David Agnew (aka David Fisher),
|4||First story to include filming outside the UK. Part 4 has the highest viewing figures in the history of the series. Last televised story to be credited to the Pseudonym of "David Agnew".|
|3||The Creature from the Pit||David Fisher||4||First serial to feature David Brierley as the voice for K9 Mark II. Final story to be directed by Christopher Barry.|
|4||Nightmare of Eden||Bob Baker||4||Final story to be written by Bob Baker. First serial to have its model effects recorded on video instead of film.|
|5||The Horns of Nimon||Anthony Read||4||Last aired vocal performance of David Brierley as K9. Final aired serial to use the Delia Derbyshire arrangement of the series theme and the Fourth Doctor credits designed by Bernard Lodge, Last story that composer Dudley Simpson worked on.|
|Never completed due to industrial action and never broadcast; the story was finished in 2017 and released as a home video. Final serial to feature David Brierley as the voice of K9, with John Leeson returning to voice the character next season.|
- Tyssan - Tim Barlow
- Commander Sharrel - Peter Straker
- Agella - Suzanne Danielle
- Lan - Tony Osoba
- Davros - David Gooderson
- Dalek Voices - Roy Skelton
- Count - Julian Glover
- Countess - Catherine Schell
- Duggan - Tom Chadbon
- Kerensky - David Graham
- Hermann - Kevin Flood
- Soldier - Peter Halliday
- Art Gallery Visitors - John Cleese, Eleanor Bron
- Adrasta - Myra Frances
- Karela - Eileen Way
- Torvin - John Bryans
- Edu - Edward Kelsey
- Ainu - Tim Munro
- Organon - Geoffrey Bayldon
- Rigg - David Daker
- Tryst - Lewis Fiander
- Dymond - Geoffrey Bateman
- Della - Jennifer Lonsdale
- Stott - Barry Andrews
- Fisk - Geoffrey Hinsliff
- Costa - Peter Craze
- Soldeed - Graham Crowden
- Sorak - Michael Osborne
- Seth - Simon Gipps-Kent
- Teka - Janet Ellis
- Voice of the Nimons - Clifford Norgate
- Professor Chronotis - Denis Carey
- Skagra - Christopher Neame
- Chris Parsons - Daniel Hill
- Clare Keightley - Victoria Burgoyne
- Wilkin - Gerald Campion
- Voice of Ship - Shirley Dixon
- Romana I regenerates off screen, appearing in her new form at the start of Destiny of the Daleks.
- Season 17 had David Brierley replacing John Leeson as the voice of K9. Leeson would return in Season 18 and all subsequent guest appearances and in the reconstructed video version of Shada.
- This would be the final season not to feature the Master until Season 24.
- This is the only season/series of Doctor Who not to have any episode even briefly visit the United Kingdom. The only story to be set on Earth in this season was City of Death which was set in Paris, France. However, the ultimately uncompleted Shada was to have been set in Cambridge.
Stories set during this season
- PROSE: The Lying Old Witch in the Wardrobe (concurrent with Destiny of the Daleks)
- COMIC: Victims (After Destiny of the Daleks)
- PROSE: The End of Now (Between City of Death and The Creature from the Pit)
- PROSE: The Romance of Crime (between The Creature from the Pit and Nightmare of Eden)
- PROSE: The English Way of Death (after The Romance of Crime)
- AUDIO: The Beautiful People (between Nightmare of Eden and The Horns of Nimon)
- PROSE: Festival of Death (Set between City of Death and The Horns of Nimon)
Adaptations and merchandising
- Destiny of the Daleks (1994/2001)
- City of Death (1991/2001)
- The Creature from the Pit (2002)
- Nightmare of Eden (1999)
- The Horns of Nimon (2003)
- Shada (with extra post-production work and linking narration of unfilmed sequences) (1992)
- The Tom Baker Years (extracts from all stories) (1991)
DVD & Blu-ray releases
All serials of season 17 were released between 2005 and 2013.
In 2017, Shada was officially completed using newly recorded dialogue from the surviving original cast and specially animated footage to fill in the unfilmed missing segments. The animated sequences were completed by the same team that undertook the 2016 animated edition of The Power of the Daleks. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray as a feature-length edition of the story in the UK on 4 December 2017. It was later released in Australia on 10 January 2018 and in the US on 4 September 2018.
The complete Season 17 was released on Blu-ray on 13 December 2021 as the tenth entry in The Collection Blu-ray range. This included the animated reconstruction of Shada, presented as six individual episodes for the first time as well as in its previous feature-length form.
|Serial name||Number and duration
|R2 release date||R4 release date||R1 release date|
|Destiny of the Daleks
Available individually or in The Complete Davros Collection box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
|4 × 25 min.||26 November 2007||6 February 2008||4 March 2008|
|City of Death||4 × 25 min.||7 November 2005||1 December 2005||8 November 2005|
|The Creature from the Pit||4 × 25 min.||3 May 2010||1 July 2010||7 September 2010|
|Nightmare of Eden||4 × 25 min.||2 April 2012||3 May 2012||8 May 2012|
|The Horns of Nimon
Only available as part of the Myths and Legends box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Only available individually in Region 1.
|4 × 25 min.||29 March 2010||3 June 2010||6 July 2010|
Part of The Legacy Box set.
|1 x 25 min.
4 x 18 min.
1 x 14 min.
|7 January 2013||9 January 2013||8 January 2013|
|Shada (2017) - Animated Edition
Reconstruction with animated sequences.
|1 x 138 min.||4 December 2017||10 January 2018||4 September 2018|
|The Collection - Season 17
Released as Tom Baker: Complete Season Six in the US.
|26 x 25 min., 1 x 138 min.||13 December 2021||TBA||TBA|
|Serial name||Amazon Video||iTunes|
|Destiny of the Daleks (4 episodes)|
|City of Death (4 episodes)|
|The Creature from the Pit (4 episodes)||✓||✓|
|Nightmare of Eden (4 episodes)||✓||✓|
|The Horns of Nimon (4 episodes)||✓||✓|
|Shada (1 episode)||✓||✓|
- Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks
- City of Death
- Doctor Who and the Creature from the Pit
- Doctor Who and the Nightmare of Eden
- Doctor Who and the Horns of Nimon
Target Books was unable to come to an agreement with Douglas Adams for novelising the televised story City of Death (which Adams co-wrote) and the untelevised Shada. An agreement with Adams' estate eventually allowed BBC Books to publish an adaptation of Shada in 2012. City of Death remained one of a handful of classic-era serials that had still to be officially novelised; however, in October 2013, Gareth Roberts confirmed on Twitter that he was currently writing a novelisation of City of Death, with a release date of 14 May 2015. One year later, in October 2014, Roberts announced (again via Twitter) that the book was now instead being written by James Goss; the novelisation was eventually released on 21 May 2015.