Happy 47th Anniversary Doctor WhoNovember 23, 2010
As it is the 47th anniversary of Doctor Who, I thought I’d find out what the 47th story was. In itself it is not a particularly memorable one and isn’t one of the most fondly remembered stories but it is memorable for one very important reason. The story is THE KROTONS and it was the first Doctor Who script written by Robert Holmes.
The second Doctor’s era was a time of bases under siege and recurring aliens but the season in which this story finds itself is a season of change. Only the Cybermen and Ice Warriors made reappearances and one BIG change was around the corner, but first there was a second story from Robert Holmes called THE SPACE PIRATES (notable for being the only story that is missing from the archives from this season [alright, two epiosdes of THE INVASION are missing too but have been animated wonderfully by Cosgrove-Hall]). Then came the epic finale to the Patrick Troughton era, THE WAR GAMES, when the Doctor would return to his home planet to stand trial.
Sadly, Robert Holmes died in 1986 but he has left his mark on new Doctor Who too.
When Doctor Who was introduced to a new generation of fans, the first alien menace that the Doctor faced was a Robert Holmes creation, the Autons. These aliens made their memorable debut in another major change in Doctor Who’s history, the first colour episode SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE. The Autons returned a year later in another Robert Holmes story where a memorable foe made his debut, The Master.
Robert Holmes was the script editor for Doctor Who during the first few years of the Tom Baker era, a time that was reminiscent of the first Doctor’s era in that there was no over reliance on recurring aliens. Only the Sontarans, Daleks and Cybermen had appeared in previous stories (and they appeared in three of the first five stories).
It should also be noted that two of the most popular stories in the history of Doctor Who, namely THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG and THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI, were both written by Robert Holmes. He has also left his mark on the history of Gallifrey having named it in THE TIME WARRIOR and revealing it to be a less than perfect society in THE DEADLY ASSASSIN. And when the Doctor found himself once again on trial, Robert Holmes was also involved in the writing….
At tea time on the 23rd November 1963, a new children’s television show came on the air. A time travelling crew consisted of a crotchety old man, his grand-daughter and two school teachers. And how do they travel through time and space on their wonderful adventures? A battered blue Police Box. I am glad that there were those at the Beeb at the time who took a chance on this strange idea. There certainly hadn’t been anything like it on television before. I am extremely thankful for all those who have worked so hard to overcome limited budgets and limited scripts to create a show as limitless as the imagination.