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The seventh season of Doctor Who ran between 3 January 1970 and 20 June 1970. The debut series of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor, it was the first series produced and broadcast in colour and the first set entirely in one time period and almost entirely on Earth. Although the series did not have an overall story arc, it did feature a recurring subplot of the Doctor trying to adjust to life as an exile while trying to circumvent the restrictions placed upon him by the Time Lords. Beginning with this series and continuing for the next few years, most storylines involve the Doctor working with UNIT.
It consisted of four serials and twenty-five episodes. It was the shortest series of Doctor Who to date (and had the fewest number of serials until Season 23). It has the distinction of being the earliest Doctor Who series to exist in its entirety (though not completely in colour, with the monochromatic copies of episodes later subjected to various recolourisation techniques) in the BBC archives. This is also the first series (other than the first one) to not feature any returning monsters from earlier stories.
Beginning with this series and continuing through the Pertwee era, the BBC changed the show's scheduling with new, shorter series from this point beginning in either January or very late December, rather than Autumn as had been the previous format; the series would return to an Autumn series start in the Tom Baker era. The new scheduling reflected the change from around forty to forty-five episodes a series to more or less twenty-six per series, though the length of the episodes remained the same.
Production-wise, this season was a rather prominent transitionary period for the show, accentuated by a year-long hiatus following the conclusion of The War Games. With the 1960's coming to a close, this season saw the last two stories to be filmed during the decade: Spearhead from Space and Doctor Who and the Silurians, both of which were filmed in late 1969. Additionally, as mentioned before, the series made the leap from monochrome to full-colour, crossing paths with the arrival of Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. Having done away with the entire main cast at the end of the previous season, Season 7 also built up a new team for the Doctor, consisting of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart & Sergeant Benton (both of whom had previously appeared in The Web of Fear and The Invasion) and Dr. Elizabeth Shaw. This also saw the only time in the classic series where there was no defined producer for a time, with Barry Letts only taking up the role midway through production of Doctor Who and the Silurians. With the show amassing a considerably larger budget this season, Letts gave the show many technological achievements that came with its new colour presentation, most notably Colour-Separation Overlay, and stories began to feature a greater amount of on-location filming and action sequences than before. Overall, the seventh season marked the departure of several staples of the 1960s seasons, while introducing many more elements that would become prevalent for the rest of Doctor Who's run.
Television stories Edit
|1||Spearhead from Space||Robert Holmes||4||First appearances of the Third Doctor, Liz Shaw, the Nestene Consciousness and the Autons; first colour episode; and only one of the 1963-89 serial episode completely produced on 16mm colour film.|
|2||Doctor Who and the Silurians||Malcolm Hulke||7||First appearance of the Silurians; final episode to be shot during the 1960's.|
|3||The Ambassadors of Death||David Whitaker|
Trevor Ray (uncredited)
Malcolm Hulke (uncredited)
|7||Debut of the Doctor Who cliffhanger "sting"; also features UNIT in futuristic uniforms unique to this story.|
|4||Inferno||Don Houghton||7||Final appearance of Liz Shaw who, in a rare move, leaves without a proper departure scene; first multiverse story.|
- The Third Doctor - Jon Pertwee
- Liz Shaw - Caroline John
- Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart - Nicholas Courtney
- Sergeant Benton - John Levene
Stories set during this season Edit
- PROSE: Who Killed Kennedy (during all serials of season 7)
- PROSE: The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back (short story) (between Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Ambassadors of Death)
- AUDIO: Old Soldiers (between Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Ambassadors of Death)
- AUDIO: Shadow of the Past (between Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Ambassadors of Death)
- AUDIO: The Last Post (contemporaneously with Spearhead in Space, Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Ambassadors of Death)
Adaptations and merchandising Edit
Home media Edit
- Spearhead from Space (1988) (edited movie format)
- Spearhead from Space (1995)
- Doctor Who and the Silurians (1993) (colour restoration)
- The Ambassadors of Death (2002) (partly in black and white)
- Inferno (1994) (poor colour restoration; also including in episode 5 a scene cut from the original UK transmission but retained for overseas screening)
- The Pertwee Years (1992) (Inferno episode 7)
|Serial name|| Number and duration|
|R2 release date||R4 release date||R1 release date|
|Spearhead from Space||4 × 25 min.||29 January 2001||12 September 2001||11 September 2001|
| Spearhead from Space – Special Edition|
Only available as part of the Mannequin Mania box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Not yet available in Region 1.
|4 × 25 min.||9 May 2011||2 June 2011||TBA|
| Doctor Who and the Silurians|
Only available as part of the Beneath the Surface box set in Regions 2 and 4.
Available individually or in the box set in Region 1.
|7 × 25 min.||14 January 2008||5 March 2008||3 June 2008|
|The Ambassadors of Death||7 × 25 min.||1 October 2012||3 October 2012||9 October 2012|
|Inferno||7 × 25 min.||19 June 2006||6 July 2006||5 September 2006|
|Inferno - Special Edition||7 x 25 min.||2013||TBA||TBA|
Download/streaming availability Edit
|Serial name||Amazon VIdeo||BBC Store||BritBox||Google Play||iTunes|
| Spearhead from Space|
| Doctor Who and the Silurians|
| The Ambassadors of Death|
|Inferno (7 episodes)||✓||✓|