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TARDIS Index File

Season 16

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RealWorld
Season 16
26 episodes comprising 6 stories
starting with The Ribos Operation
Doctor Who diamond logo
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Romana, K9
Key crew
Producer(s): Graham Williams
Script editor(s): Anthony Read
Series details
Start date: 2 September 1978
End date: 24 February 1979
Premiere network: BBC1
Typical episode length: 25'
More info
DWMSE: 9, 16
Key reference books about the season: The Discontinuity Guide, The Fourth Doctor Handbook, The Seventies, About Time 4
Key documentaries about the season: A Matter of Time, There's Something About Mary
Relevant Myth Makers interviews: John Leeson, Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, Elisabeth Sladen, Graham Williams
Memorable moment
You Shall Die for This! - Doctor Who - The Armageddon Factor - BBC03:43

You Shall Die for This! - Doctor Who - The Armageddon Factor - BBC

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The sixteenth season of Doctor Who ran between 2 September 1978 and 24 February 1979. 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. 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.

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.

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 written by Douglas Adams.
3 The Stones of BloodDavid Fisher4
4 The Androids of TaraDavid Fisher4
5 The Power of KrollRobert Holmes4
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.

Cast Edit

Recurring Edit

Notes Edit

Stories set during this season Edit

Adaptations and merchandising Edit

Home media Edit

VHS Edit

  • The Ribos Operation
  • The Pirate Planet
  • The Stones of Blood
  • The Androids of Tara
  • The Power of Kroll
  • The Armageddon Factor
  • The Tom Baker Years (excerpts from all stories)

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.

Novels Edit

Target Books was unable to come to an agreement with Douglas Adams to novelise his script, The Pirate Planet, leaving it one of only a half-dozen classic-series episodes never adapted as a book.

External links Edit

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