Season 26 of Doctor Who ran 6 September 1989 and 6 December 1989. It starred Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace. Season 26 was also the final season in the original run of the TV show. The season opened with Battlefield and concluded with Survival.
The season consisted of four stories and fourteen twenty-five-minute episodes. It was the final season of the "classic" series; the BBC announced in 1990 that it would not be producing a 27th season. However, Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred reprised their roles as the Doctor and Ace respectively for a special episode of Search Out Science entitled Search Out Space, which aired that year. A one-off Children in Need special, Dimensions in Time, appeared in 1993, after which a television film, co-produced by an American network, followed in 1996. The series finally returned in 2005. However, the BBC chose to restart the season numbering with Series 1. Season 26 featured the return of Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier and the last televised appearance of Anthony Ainley as the Master. Unusually for a Doctor Who season, aside from some scenes in Survival, all the stories took place on Earth. Apart from Battlefield, the stories followed a loose character arc, as Ace came to terms with her past. As for the Doctor, he had become darker in personality, treating others as pawns in the battle between good and evil while dressing in dark clothes to match his personality change.
|1||Battlefield||Ben Aaronovitch||4||Reintroduction (and final appearance in Doctor Who) of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart; first UNIT story since 1976 and last appearance of UNIT in the original series.|
|2||Ghost Light||Marc Platt||3||Last story of the original series ever filmed.|
|3||The Curse of Fenric||Ian Briggs||4||Debut of Fenric; heavily examines Ace's past and reveals the origins of the time storm.|
|4||Survival||Rona Munro||3||Final appearance of Ace and the Master portrayed by Anthony Ainley in the original series; last serial in the original series. Story arcs which ended here would be picked up by both Virgin New Adventures novels and Big Finish Productions, with varying degrees of validity and interchangeability.|
- Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney
- Winifred Bambera - Angela Bruce
- Doris Lethbridge-Stewart - Angela Douglas
- Morgaine - Jean Marsh
- Ancelyn - Marcus Gilbert
- Josiah Samuel Smith - Ian Hogg
- Lady Pritchard - Sylvia Syms
- Redvers Fenn-Cooper - Michael Cochrane
- Dr. Judson - Dinsdale Landen
- Kathleen Dudman - Cory Pulman
- Rev Wainwright - Nicholas Parsons
- Paterson - Julian Holloway
- Karra - Lisa Bowerman
- Midge - William Barton
Adaptations and merchandising
- Battlefield (single episode version) (1998)
- Ghost Light (1994)
- The Curse of Fenric (single episode version) (1991)
- Survival (1995)
All serials of season 26 were released individually between 2003 and 2009.
|Serial name|| Number and duration|
|R2 release date||R4 release date||R1 release date|
|Battlefield|| 4 × 25 min. |
1 × 96 min.
|26 December 2008||5 February 2009||5 May 2009|
|Ghost Light||3 × 25 min.||20 September 2004||3 February 2005||7 June 2005|
|The Curse of Fenric|| 4 × 25 min. |
1 × 104 min.
|6 October 2003||11 February 2004||1 June 2004|
|Survival||3 × 25 min.||16 April 2007||6 June 2007||14 August 2007|
|Serial name||Amazon Video||iTunes|
|Battlefield (4 episodes)|
|Ghost Light (3 episodes)||✓||✓|
|The Curse of Fenric (4 episodes)|
|Survival (3 episodes)||✓|
Behind the scenes
- The producers had already outlined basic plots for the next season of Doctor Who when the programme's cancellation hit. In that season, it was proposed that Ace should leave, and a new companion should join. Also planned was that the entire season should do more to explore the darker side of the Doctor. While the scripts never saw a TV screen (and in some cases did not exist beyond a rough outline), they were eventually completed and produced as full-cast audio plays in Big Finish Productions' collection The Lost Stories.
- This is the last series not to feature the Daleks.