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TARDIS Index File

Season 18

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Season 18
28 episodes comprising 7 stories
starting with The Leisure Hive
PDVD 008
Doctor: Fourth Doctor
Companion(s): Romana, K9, Adric, Nyssa, Tegan
Key crew
Executive producer(s): Barry Letts
Producer(s): John Nathan-Turner
Script editor(s): Christopher H. Bidmead
Series details
Start date: 30 August 1980
End date: 21 March 1981
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 Eighties, JN-T: The Life and Scandalous Times, About Time 5
Key documentaries about the season: Lalla's Wardrobe, The Boy with the Golden Star
Relevant Myth Makers interviews: John Leeson, Sarah Sutton, Peter Grimwade, Tom Baker, John Nathan-Turner, Christopher H. Bidmead
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The eighteenth season of Doctor Who ran between 30 August 1980 and 21 March 1981. It was Tom Baker's final season. It was also the first season of John Nathan-Turner's producership. Many of the changes he brought in during this season would continue throughout the 1980s — some to the end of Doctor Who's original run. Amongst the more obvious changes during the season were: a new logo, a reworking of the theme tune, fully electronic incidental music, a raft of new writers and directors and the introduction of the question mark motif on the Doctor's clothing. Finally, it was Barry Letts' swansong on the programme. He had returned for this one year to executive produce.

Overview Edit

Season 18 consisted of seven stories and twenty-eight episodes. It was the last season of the original series to have an autumn-to-spring broadcast schedule and the last to have an autumn start until Season 23. After this season, the number of episodes per season began to decline, after a relatively stable episode count for the whole of the 1970s.

From Full Circle onwards, the season featured a story arc involving E-Space and the return of the Master. The stories were darker and more adult in tone than those during the Graham Williams era. They also attempted to emphasise science, much to the satisfaction of both script editor Christopher H. Bidmead and executive producer Barry Letts. (REF: The Fourth Doctor Handbook)

From a ratings standpoint, it sits right at the very nadir of Doctor Who history. It is easily the worst-ranked season of Doctor Who, with 17 of its 28 episodes outside of the top 100 shows. Indeed, the 9 lowest-charting episodes in Doctor Who history come from this season. Full Circle's second episode remains the worst-charting episode of Doctor Who. Its paltry 3.70 million viewers were only good enough for what was, even by the season's low standard, an extremely anaemic 170th place during the week of 1 November 1980.[1] In terms of pure ratings, as opposed to ranking, it was not quite the worst of the lot. But it was easily the least-watched Tom Baker season, with an average of only 5.8 million Britons watching each episode. (REF: The Fourth Doctor Handbook) The decline in ratings has been attributed to direct competition from ITV. The first half of the season was up against Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, an American import with considerably better production values. (INFO: Full Circle)

Television stories Edit

# Title Writer Episodes Notes
1 The Leisure HiveDavid Fisher4 The Doctor's new outfit is introduced.
2 MeglosJohn Flanagan
Andrew McCulloch
4
3 Full CircleAndrew Smith4First appearance of Adric. First part of the E-Space story arc.
4 State of DecayTerrance Dicks4 Second part of the E-space story arc.
5 Warriors' GateSteve Gallagher4Final appearances of Romana and K9 Mark II. Final part of the E-space story arc.
6 The Keeper of TrakenJohnny Byrne4First appearance of Nyssa; the Master reintroduced, gains a new body. First story part of the the Master story arc.
7 LogopolisChristopher H. Bidmead4Final appearance of the Fourth Doctor and introduction of the Fifth Doctor. First appearance of Tegan Jovanka. Second part of the the Master story arc.

Notes Edit

  • Season 18 stands as one of only two seasons in Doctor Who history in which all stories of the season have been the same number of episodes - 4 episodes each, the other being Series 7.

Cast Edit

Recurring Edit

Stories set during this season Edit

Adaptations and merchandising Edit

Home media Edit

VHS Edit

DVDs Edit

All serials of season 18 were released individually between 2004 and 2011.

Serial name Number and duration
of episodes
R2 release date R4 release date R1 release date
The Leisure Hive 4 × 25 min. 5 July 2004 7 October 2004 7 June 2005
Meglos 4 × 25 min. 10 January 2011 20 January 2011 11 January 2011
The E-Space Trilogy:
Full Circle (4 episodes)
State of Decay (4 episodes)
Warriors' Gate (4 episodes)
12 × 25 min. 26 January 2009 5 March 2009 5 May 2009
The Keeper of Traken
Only available as part of the New Beginnings box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Available individually or in the box set in Region 1.
4 × 25 min. 29 January 2007 7 March 2007 5 June 2007
Logopolis
Only available as part of the New Beginnings box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Available individually or in the box set in Region 1.
4 × 25 min. 29 January 2007 7 March 2007 5 June 2007

Novels Edit

External links Edit

Footnotes Edit

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