50 Years of Doctor Who: The Tom Baker Era (1974-1981)


“Well, of course I’m being childish! There’s no point being grown-up if you can’t be childish sometimes.”

Jon Pertwee felt as though he’d lost a family.  Roger Delgado, the first actor to play The Master, died between the fourth and fifth season of his era.  Katy Manning left the show after “The Green Death.” And Barry Letts, who had been like a father to him, was stepping down as producer.  (He was allowed to help hire the next successor, however) Originally, Letts wanted to have an older Doctor, but the new head of serials, Bill Slater, suggested Tom Baker.  The Fourth Doctor’s era had begun.

About Tom Baker

Tom Baker was born in Scotland Road, Liverpool.  He left school at age 15 t0 become a Catholic monk, but left after six years because he had lost his faith.  In 1955, he began two years of service in the Royal Army Medical Corps, taking acting as a hobby at first before turning professional in the 60’s.  In the 60’s, he was part of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company.  He got some movie roles, but was soon unable to make ends meet.  In fact, when he became the Fourth Doctor, he wasn’t even acting!

Tom Baker’s era is the longest so far.  During his tenure, Doctor Who began airing in both the US and Australia.  Before David Tennant, Tom Baker was the most recognizable actor in the role.

After his tenure ended, Baker played Sherlock Holmes in a BBC adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. He also made an appearance on the acclaimed BBC comedy Blackadder.  He played Puddleglum in their adaptation of  C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair. He also had a small role in the so-bad-it’s-good Dungeons and Dragons movie.  He was the narrator on Little Britain and recently became the last Classic doctor to play his character in 2009 for Big Finish’s audio dramas.


  • Tom Baker had three producers: Phillip Hinchcliffe was influenced by the Hammer horror films, causing much controversy.  In 1977, Graham Wilson took the show in a lighter direction.  In 1980, John Nathan Turner began his tenure as the show’s longest-serving producer. Because his changes resulted in Tom Baker’s departure, I’ll talk more about him next time.
  • Final use of the tunnel opening.  In 1980, Turner proposed a new “starfield” opening that was used, with modifications, well after Baker left.
  • After Baker’s fifth season, six-parters were no longer broadcast.  The final six-parter that aired was “The Armageddon Factor” (It would’ve been “Shada”, but a production strike halted it after it was only halfway complete. The story can still be viewed on the BBC’s Classic Doctor Who website, with Tom Baker narrating what’s missing.
  • First appearance of Davros:  “Genesis of the Daleks”
  • In “The Deadly Assassin”, we learn that the Master has used up all his regenerations.  This sets up events in “The Keeper of Traken”, in which Anthony Ainley becomes the new actor for the role.


Tom Baker is my Doctor.  He was the first Doctor I ever watched.  I instantly loved how witty and clever he was, always ready with a snide remark. For instance, when he encounters a rather hammy villain in “The Pirate Planet”, he asks him “What would you want with the Earth? You wouldn’t know what to do with it, besides shout at it.” He had a childlike glee, possibly fueled by too many jelly babies, which he would constantly offer to friend or foe alike. He even offered one to Davros in “Destiny of the Daleks”! I do enjoy the others, but for me, none will ever top Tom Baker.

The Companions

Sarah Jane Smith

Instead of repeating what I said last time, I’ll explain why Sladen left the show. As her time went on, Sladen noticed that her character arc had downgraded. In her words, she had become a “cardboard cutout.” She was tired of constantly being kidnapped or hypnotized.

Dr. Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter)

First Appearance: “Robot”

Last Appearance: “Terror of the Zygons”

(note: made a guest appearance in The Android Invasion)

Dr. Harry Sullivan is boring.  Part of the problem is that he was cast before Baker, when they were going for an older actor. Sullivan was originally meant to be the person doing the action scenes. But Baker was actually capable of doing stunts (until he broke his collarbone in “The Sontaran Experiment”). Instead, they decided to make him a bumbler.  It’s sad when the most memorable thing I can think of that he did was cause the Doctor to shout “Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!”

Leela (Louise Jameson)

First Appearance: “The Face of Evil”

Last Appearance: “The Invasion of Time”

Leela comes from a race of primitive humans called the Sevateem.  The first time she met the Doctor, she was frightened of him because he resembled their god of evil.  When she learned she had nothing to fear, she joined him out of curiosity.  I thought it was neat how the Doctor constantly took her aside in attempts to educate her to rely on science rather than superstition.

K-9 (voiced by John Leeson in every appearance except in episodes filmed between 1979-1980, in which David Brierly voiced instead)

First Appearance: “The Invisible Enemy”

Last Appearance: “Warrior’s Gate”

K-9 the robot dog is probably the most recognizable companion, since he’s almost the mascot of the show.  He can fire lasers, scan the area and provide info the doctor. He can even play chess!

K-9 was not without problems. It’s radio signal was on an AM band and interfered with the cameras.  It would often careen into objects or people.

There were actually three K-9s, all played by the same prop.  The first one, Mark I, left in “The Invasion of Time” and was replaced by Mark II in the same story.  Mark II left in “Warrior’s Gate”. Mark III appeared in the failed pilot for K-9 and Company.

Romana I (Mary Tamm)
First Appearance: “The Ribos Operation”

Last Appearance: “The Armageddon Factor”

Romana is a Time Lady fresh out of the Gallifreyan Academy when she is appointed by the White Guardian to assist the Doctor in finding the fragments of the Key to Time. I liked her smug attitude and she had such great chemistry with the Doctor. One of my favorite scenes is when the Doctor suggests that her Gallifreyan name, Romanadvoratrelundar, was far too long.

The Doctor: By the time I’ve called that out, you could be dead! I’ll call you Romana.

Romana I: I don’t like Romana.

The Doctor: It’s either Romana or Fred.

Romana I: All right, call me Fred!

The Doctor: Good. Come on, Romana!

Romana II (Lalla Ward)

First Appearance: “Destiny of the Daleks”

Last Appearance: “Warrior’s Gate”

In “Destiny of the Daleks”, Romana grew tired of her body, so she decided to regenerate.  This Romana had mannerisms similar to the Doctor’s.  She also had great chemistry with the Doctor, so much so that they were married in real life–for sixteen months.

Adric (Matthew Waterhouse)

First Appearance: “Full Circle”

Last Appearance: “Earthshock” (w/5th)

Adric is probably one of the most hated companions ever.  In my opinion, he doesn’t deserve it. Yes, he was smug and a little bratty.  But he was also very intelligent and very good at outsmarting villains by pretending to side with them.  I think he was a great character, just poorly written at times.  I’ll explain more about him next time.

Nyssa (Sarah Sutton)

Fist Appearance: “The Keeper of Traken”

Last Appearance: “Terminus” (w/5th)

Nyssa wasn’t originally intended to be a full-fledged companion.  However, the writers liked her character so much that they decided to keep her around. I’ll keep her around for next time.

Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding)

First Appearance: “Logopolis”

Last Appearance: “The Resurrection of the Daleks” (w/5th)

John Nathan Turner created Tegan because of the show’s popularity in Australia.  (Although to me, Janet didn’t sound very Australian) Since I consider her more of a Fifth Doctor’s companion, I’ll save her for next time as well.
Best Stories:

Genesis of the Daleks (6 episodes)

This is the episode you must watch if you watch any story from the Classic period.  It was, according to Russel T. Davies, the “first shot of the Time War”. It’s an excellent introduction to Davros.

Pyramids of Mars (4 episodes)

One of Robert Holmes’s best stories. The Doctor encounters Sutekh, a Martian pharoah.  Sutekh is a bone-chilling villain, all thanks to Gabriel Woolf’s voice.

The Brain of Mobius (4 episodes)

This story was a great twist on Frankenstein, with a scene that was quite controversial for its time.

“The Robots of Death” (4 episodes)

I had a hard time selecting just one Leela story. I finally chose this one because it’s an excellent homage to Isaac Asimov.

The Key to Time Arc:

The Ribos Operation (4 episodes)

The Pirate Planet (4 episodes)

The Stones of Blood (4 episodes)

The Androids of Tara (4 episodes)

The Power of Krull (4 episodes)

The Armageddon Factor (6 episodes)

This is the introduction of Romana, who was appointed by the White Guardian to help the Doctor locate the fragments of the Key to Time.  To really enjoy the story, you should watch all six stories I listed above.  This is the highlight of Tom Baker’s era.

City of Death (4 episodes)

Before Douglas Adams wrote his magnum opus, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he was a script editor and occasional writer for Doctor Who. This story is almost universally hailed as one of his best.

The E-space Trilogy

Full Circle (4 episodes)

State of Decay (4 episodes)

Warrior’s Gate (4 episodes)

This is actually part of a larger arc themed around the concept of entropy.  The stories are quite cerebral, but well-handled. You really need to watch the entire trilogy, that’s why I picked all the stories in it.

The Keeper of Traken (4 episodes)

Anthony Ainley’s version of The Master debuts in this story and it’s an excellent introduction.  The story is well-paced and excellently written and Sarah Sutton’s small role as Nyssa is an example of great acting.

Logopolis (4 episodes)

This is it, the grand finale for Tom Baker.  It’s one of the best finales ever, with a great battle between him and the Master.

Worst Stories

The Creature From the Pit (4 episodes)

Oh, dear God, this story SUCKS! The script is weak and the monster is terrible, even for its time. Oh, and it was originally intended for Mary Tamm’s version of Romana, not Lalla Ward’s.

The Horns of Nimon (4 episodes)

This story had a weak script and budget restraints and was on the verge of the strike that halted “Shada”.  It was basically a recipe for disaster.


One Faith Many Paths: Linda Terry



This time around, I decided to interview my new unofficial editor, Linda Terry!
1. How long have you been a Christian and which denomination are you? Tell me about your journey as a Christian so far.

I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the time I was a toddler. There was no specific aha moment, just a growing confidence in Jesus Christ as my only Lord and Savior. My mother took us to non-denominational churches, and I eventually moved as an adult back to the Presbyterian Church, which my family (Cherokee and Scotch-Irish) had been for generations. I was fortunate that God brought me to Himself when I was so young. I was spared from rebelling, which so many church-raised kids experience. My life, because of chronic illness, has been difficult. But God has remained faithful, and has used everything to mature me. Saying that, I still have a good ways to go!

2. What reason would you give as a claim for God’s existence?

Personally, my relationship with Him and His interaction with me is what compels my confidence in Him. And the sheer complexity of the universe, and our planet in particular, the interaction of so many intricate systems in our eco-system…makes it hard for me to even consider that it was all just serendipity. As for the Bible being the Word of God, the more I look at nature, the more I see an intelligence in it that mirrors the mind and spirit I respond to in the Bible. I don’t worship Nature, but I do see it as a likely creative effort of Jehovah, of Jesus.

3. Is there anyone in your life who inspires you to be a better person? If so, who and why?

Right now, I would say my friend Heidi. She has only been a Christian for 6 years and she exhibits so much spiritual maturity, so much understanding of God’s Word, has a fearless and intelligent dedication to reaching people with the Gospel of Christ, has endured incredible trials of faith with courage and patience, and yet is always transparent about her own battles with doubt and frustration…heck, I wish everybody had a Heidi in their life! Just watching her has humbled me and encouraged my faith in the power of God to transform a life. I thank God for her!
4.You come from an environment (liberal California) that does not seem to look favorably on Christian doctrine. How have you dealt with this?


Christians are not a minority here in California. The politics are liberal-dominated now, but the impression of California being a completely liberal state comes mostly from Hollywood and the wealthy in Los Angeles, both of which are highly visible to the rest of the world. Ronald Reagan was our governor at one time, and no one was more conservative than him. Personally, I don’t make a big fuss over those statements against Christianity unless they are directed to me, and then I avoid the us versus them/I’m right and you’re wrong attitude. I’m more interested in presenting the Gospel, living like Christ and encouraging people to consider Him. As far as debating theology with people who too often don’t even understand our position, I try to clarify it with gentleness.

5. What occupations have you had and what do you do currently?

I have a rather patchwork resume! I started out working for a childcare agency. I was for four years a writer/researcher/asst. editor at Thru the Bible Radio. Over a five year period I was the legal assistant at a firm of lawyers and worked in the Appeals department of NC Medicaid. And as an avocation, I worked for seven years part time at Carolina Tiger Rescue as a feeding team leader, tour leader, etc. At present I am retired because of illness, but I am active in my church in prayer and Bible study groups. I also am a member of one book club and a Jane Austen Reading Circle.

6. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.”

7. You are an avid fan of Sci-fi and fantasy. Why do you feel the writers of this genre seem to paint Christianity, if not religion in general, with an unfavorable brush?

I don’t see this as a universal antipathy toward Christianity or religion. Each writer and producer is unique. And many Christians write or perform in sci-fi and fantasy productions. The power structures in Hollywood and New York do hold sway over the entertainment world and publishing. And both have agendas that are worldly and threatened by Christian doctrine. So yes, there is a promotion of negative attitudes. What astounds me is how often atheistic and agnostic writers will echo biblical themes without realizing it. I think this puts the lie to their anti-biblical stances.

8. Who is your favorite character in the Bible besides Jesus?

That is a really hard question. There are so many great characters! I admire Joseph, Daniel, Ruth, St. Paul. I’m a Barnabas, myself, my gift being that of encouragement. So I most identify with him.

No Cure For Autism

There’s a term I’ve learned from other aspies (I highly recommend Jason Hague’s blog and Thautcast, which is on my blogroll to the right of your screen). It’s “Curebie”. A Curebie is someone who thinks autism should be cured.
If you were to ask me if I”d like to be “cured” of my autism, I’d probably say “Sure, and while we’re at it, cut off my left hand.” You see, I’m left-handed.  If I were to lose my left hand, I’d be unable to feed myself or do many other things. Sure, I could relearn and build up the strength in my right hand, but it’d be difficult if not impossible.

Yes, I understand that there are different degrees of severity in the autistic spectrum.  I have a cousin whose son is much further down the spectrum than I. He can’t even go to the bathroom properly. He can’t even speak.  So, yes, I’m aware that not everyone with autism is as “functional” as me. But that’s not my point.

We are all born with a defect: original sin. People with handicaps shouldn’t be seen as burdens.  They should be seen as people.  And by helping them, I don’t mean “throw money at them or reduce them to a status that will make them more complacent so they’ll vote for you.” That’s what politicians seem to think. No, I would rather see disabled people get a hand up, not a hand out.  I learned this in my years I spent in Special Education classes in school. I was in Special Education classes from third grade until my junior year in high school.  But even after I was “mainstreamed”, I still retained what I learned from socializing with the students in those classes.  I didn’t treat them any differently, as I had seen my peers do.

I don’t see myself as useless.  Yes, my autism causes problems. I can speak and socialize with others, but I have difficulty seeing what is acceptable.  But there’s little I can’t overcome. So, please, don’t focus on what I can’t do and what limits me. I am a person. That’s all that should matter.

Harry Potter and the Christian Muggle: The Goblet of Fire

The Goblet of Fire is the book that changes everything. Before, the books were  light-hearted romp. Now, it began to get darker.  The first “on-screen” death.
New characters continue to be introduced. In fact, it seemed as if Rowling was introducing at least one new character each book. But this time, we’re introduced to quite a few who have considerable impact on the story as a whole: Rita Skeeter, Viktor Krum, and Mad-Eye Moody. (for those of you who say “What about Cedric?”, he was introduced in the previous book. This is just where he becomes a more important character. He’s more what you call an “Chekov’s Gunman”)
I’m convinced Rita Skeeter was created as a stab at those who were making outlandish claims against the series. Like them, Rita is prone to write lies in her articles, rather than actually researching the events. This has dire consequences in the later books as her articles become accepted as gospel by the masses.
Viktor Krum is one of the contestants in the Triwizard Tournament, which is the central focus of the story. The Triwizard Tournament is an event in which three wizards from the top three schools in the Wizard World are given a series of tasks to test their abilities. This is a formula that has been used several times, most notably in the story of the Greek demigod Heracles, who had to complete twelve labors as penance. We meet Viktor before the tournament when he competes in the Quidditch World Cup at the beginning. There is much suspicion of him because his school, Durmstrang, is well-known for its prowess in the Dark Arts, but the reader quickly learns he’s not to be feared. He even has a brief fling with Hermione.
Finally, we have Mad-Eye Moody. Moody is the most famous Auror, which means it’s his job to track down dark wizards. So naturally, he’s paranoid. He becomes the newest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and is immediately attacked by the book’s secondary villain, Barty Crouch Jr. Barty then impersonates him with the help of a Polyjuice Potion.
Following Cedric Diggory, Harry is entered in  the tournament because Voldemort enchants the Goblet of Fire. (By the way, Cedric is named after Cedric Diggory in The Magician’s Nephew, the sixth book in CS Lewis’s Magician’s Nephew.) Draco is enraged that Harry is picked and starts a campaign, making students wear buttons showing their support for Cedric rather than Harry. In spite of this, Harry and Cedric actually work together to achieve their goal, but this costs Cedric’s life. I have to admit, I was  floored when I saw Cedric die.
So, what lessons are in this story? I think the biggest lesson is when Dumbledore tells Harry “We must face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Why is it the detractors completely miss this wonderful line? Many times in our lives, the right move is often the hardest to discern.
Another lesson is when Hermione starts a campaign to liberate house-elves. Harry and Ron reluctantly help her and receive scorn from their peers, but they stick with her out of loyalty. This shows that we should continue to support just causes, even if we are mocked or misjudged by peers.
The Goblet of Fire is my all-time favorite book in the series. It shows that Rowling is willing to take chances and give children a dark story.

50 Years of Doctor Who: The Jon Pertwee Era (1970-1974)

this post is dedicated to the memory of Caroline John and Elizabeth Sladen.dw3dw3l1dw3l2

“Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know.  It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”

The 70’s began the transition from black-and-white to color.  A new producer, Barry Letts, had signed on. He would be considered one of the show’s best producers.  I should also note that he was a Buddhist, and many stories from his tenure were influenced by this.  All that was needed was a new Doctor.  And thus, the Jon Pertwee era began.

About Jon Pertwee

Pertwee was born in Chelsea, England.  Acting ran in his family–his father was actor Roland Pertwee, and his cousin Bill was in the comedy Dad’s Army. There’s even a connection to Doctor Who: Pertwee’s godfather was Henry Ainley, father of Anthony Ainley, the fourth actor to portraytThe Master!

Pertwee was also an officer in the Royal Navy, and was one of the few survivors of the HMS Hood after it was sunk in WW II.  This was also when he acquired the tatoo that can occasionally be seen on the Third Doctor. After the war, he became a well-known comedy actor.  He also appeared in The Navy Lark, which also became one of his most famous roles.  He was also a spy! Quite fitting, considering his era seems like a serialized James Bond movie.

During his era, Pertwee felt a familial connection with the cast and crew, especially Katy Manning, Barry Letts, and Roger Delgado, the first actor to portray The Master.

After he left Doctor Who, Pertwee took the title role in Worzel Gummridge, which earned him fame as well.  He also did voice work for SuperTed and video games based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books.


  • Pertwee’s era had two openings. The first was the final use of the howlaround. In his final season, the first tunnel opening appeared, beginning with the episode “The Time Warrior.” There was also a disco version of the song, complete with Pertwee “singing” lyrics.

and here’s the disco version

  • During the 60’s, a typical season ran around 40 episodes. In the 70’s, this went down to 25-26. Beginning with Pertwee’s second season, no Doctor Who serial lasted longer than 6 parts.
  • First story arc was used, linking five stories featuring The Master
  • First appearance of the Autons: “Spearhead From Space”
  • First appearance of the Silurians: “The Silurians”
  • First appearance of the Master: “Terror of the Autons
  • First multi-doctor story: “The Three Doctors
  • First appearance of the Sontarans: “The Time Warrior
  • First usage of “regeneration” when the Doctor dies and first mention of Gallifrey: “Planet of the Spiders


I love the Pertwee era!  It’s so much fun! The cars (“Bessie” and the “Whomobile”), the Master, and even Sarah Jane Smith’s earliest appearances are all great to witness.  They tried making the Doctor something akin to an action hero, even having him do “Venusian” aikido.  And best of all–no missing episodes!  True, some of the restorations of what was originally lost are in black-and-white, but it’s better than nothing.

The Companions

Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney)

First appearance: “The Web of Fear” (with 2nd)

Last appearance: “Battlefield” (with 7th) note: also appeared in the Sarah Jane Adventures episode “Enemy of the Bane

I love Lethbridge-Stewart!  He’s the perfect foil for the Doctor because their philosophies are so opposed.  And yet, they still maintained a great friendship.  I should also mention that when Courtney died in 2011, the episode “The Wedding of River Song” worked it into the plot as a memorial by revealing that the Brigadier had died in his sleep.  I thought it was a fitting memorial to such a great character.

Dr. Liz Shaw (Caroline John)

First Appearance: “Spearhead From Space

Last Appearance: “Inferno

Shaw was a scientist who worked with UNIT and was nearly as smart as the Doctor himself.  This created a problem because Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks felt that she was difficult for the audience to relate to.  (John herself also felt she should leave the show as well because she had become pregnant with her first child.  In spite of this, I thought she was a great character. I should also mention that Shaw appeared in the Doctor Who spin-off PROBE.

Jo Grant (Katy Manning)

First appearance: “Terror of The Autons”

Last appearance: “The Green Death”

When I first saw Jo, I was displeased.  She was such a klutz!  Thank God they developed her character and turned her into a courageous woman. And I loved her guest spot in the Sarah Jane Adventure “Death of the Doctor”. It’s revealed in that episode that she married the man she met in “The Green Death” and they had a family. They now travel around the world as protesters.

Sarah Jane- Smith (Elizabeth Sladen)

First appearance: “The Time Warrior”

Last appearance: (in classic period) “The Hand of Fear” (with 4th Doctor)

(in reboot) “The End of Time”

(in Sarah Jane Adventures) “The Man Who Never Was”

Sarah Jane is everything you could want in a companion: feisty, courageous, witty, and pretty! She’s my all-time favorite companion and I was pleased to see how she started out, as I was only familiar with her run with Tom Baker. I’ll talk more about her next time, but for now I want to say that I really miss Elizabeth Sladen.

Best Stories

Inferno” (7 episodes)

The Doctor accidentally travels to a parallel world where Britain is is fascist. (and the Brigadier is now a Brigade-Leader and wears an eyepatch). This story is paced so well, I felt more like two and a half hours had passed instead of three and a half.

The Daemons” (5 episodes)

I can sum up the awesomeness in one sentence: The Master summons demons!  (okay technically they’re demonic aliens, but it’s still awesome) And I love the scene where the Brigadier nonchalantly orders a soldier “Chap with wings there, five rounds rapid” when they spot a demon.

The Curse of Peladon” (4 episodes)

The Doctor is forced to travel to the planet  Peladon to change a key event in their history. It’s an excellent use of a formula that has served the show well. The story has some great twists and the BBC gives it high marks on their Classic Doctor Who era website.

The Sea Devils” (6 episodes)

The Master and the Sea Devils, “cousins” of the Silurians, join forces in the most epic battle of Delgado’s tenure.  Also contains a great swordfight between the Doctor and the Master in which the Doctor actually eats the Master’s sandwich!

Frontier in Space” (6 episodes)

This is Jo’s shining moment–she actually manages to defeat the Master’s hypnosis by mentally reciting nursery rhymes.

The Time Warrior” (4 episodes)

This is Sarah Jane’s first appearance and a great introduction to my favorite companion.  It’s also written by my favorite writer for the classic show, Robert Holmes.

Worst Stories

The Time Monster” (6 episodes)

The Master invents the TOMTIT (stop snickering back there!), a device he hopes will conjure a monster named Kronos, who will give him control over time itself.  I have two problems with the episode. First, the TOMTIT’s appearance looks like something Sigmund Freud would’ve dreamed up. Second, it feels like they stretched it out too slowly and it would be better suited as a 4-parter.

“Invasion of the Dinosaurs” (6 episodes)

This story proves that dinosaurs aren’t always awesome. The story moves way too slowly and the dinosaurs look awful. I know I shouldn’t expect Ray Harryhaussen-level designs, but they should at least look decent. And while I like the way the Whomobile looks, it should actually contributed something of value to the story.

50 Years of Doctor Who: Patrick Troughton (1966-1969



There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things. Things which act against everything we believe in. They must be fought.

The time had arrived. Hartnell wanted to move on from the Doctor, but the ratings were great. So, the producers hatched a plan. The Doctor would continue, but renew as a completely different person. And thus began the Patrick Troughton era.

Troughton was born in 1920 in Middlesex. He attended the Embassy School of Acting and later joined the Tonbridge Repertory Co. Fun fact: in the TCF production “Escape”, he starred alongside William Hartnell! Two of Troughton’s most famous pre-Doctor Who roles were in Robin Hood (the first to play the title character on TV) and in Jason and the Argonauts (yes, that one, with the Ray Harryhausen monsters and everything).  He left the show after four years for fear of typecasting, creating the so-called “Troughton Rule”.  In fact, it turned out he was right–all of his roles after Doctor Who were in sci-fi and related genres. The most famous was in The Omen.


  • New producer: Innes Lloyd
  • New opening and “howlaround”. This was also the first time the Doctor’s face appeared in the opening.
  • First appearance of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart: “The Web of Fear”
  • First appearance of sonic screwdriver: “Fury From the Deep”
  • First appearance of UNIT: “The Invasion”


I’m frustrated by the Troughton era.  Not because I don’t like it, far from it.  There’s just so little available.  Troughton is considered the “Doctor’s Doctor.”  He’s the one all the succeeding Doctors attempt to emulate. His ability to outsmart the enemy made him fun, along with his mannerisms. I still say he’s worth checking out, in spite of the amount of what you can see.

The Companions:

(Note: I’m skipping Ben Jackson and Polly and the Brigadier because all their episodes are missing. The Brigadier will be featured in my coming article on the Pertwee era)

Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines)

First Appearance: “The Highlanders”

Last Appearance: “The War Games”

McCrimmon is a Scottish Highlander (no, not that Highlander), and stays with the Doctor the longest.  His behavior is that of a gentleman, always protective of the Doctor and any allies.  He is an enjoyable character, with his tendency to charge into battle, and I can see why he was so popular.

Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling)

First Appearance: “Evil of The Daleks”

Last Appearance: “Fury From the Deep”

Victoria hails from the 19th century and became a companion when her father was killed by Daleks.  There isn’t much I can say about her because the only story I’ve seen her in is “Tomb of the Cybermen”. She didn’t seem interesting to me.

Zoe Heriot (Wendy Padbury)

First Appearance: “The Wheel in Space”

Last Appearance: “The War Games”

Zoe is the first in a long history of intelligent female companions.  She supposedly comes from our century (or at least how the 1960’s portrayed it) I love her personality and I’ll admit, she looks great in that catsuit.  A refreshing change from the bland or screaming women of Hartnell’s era.

Best Stories

Instead of giving you stories to avoid, I’m going to go ahead and recommend all the Troughton stories I’ve seen.  There’s less available from the Troughton era than the Hartnell era, and I feel I can’t give a fair assessment of his era.

“The Tomb of the Cybermen” (4 episodes)

The Cybermen are accidentally resurrected by a scientist named Eric Klieg. I love how hammy Klieg is. The Doctor takes apart his plan wonderfully. I enjoy this dialogue between them:

The Doctor: Don’t you see what this is going to mean to all the people who come to serve Klieg the all powerful? Why, no country, no person would dare to have a single thought that was not your own. Eric Klieg’s own conception of  the way of life!

Eric Klieg: Brilliant! Yes, yes, you’re right. Master of the world.

The Doctor: Well now I know you’re mad, I just wanted to make sure.

“The Mind Robber” (5 episodes)

The Doctor and friends meet the Master. (no, not that Master), who has been given the ability to bend the Land of Fiction to his will.  This is Troughton at his best, turning his enemy’s flaws to his advantage.

“The Seeds of Death” (6 episodes)

This story is written by Terrence Dicks, one of the show’s best writers.  It also features the only enemies from the Classic version who haven’t returned, the Ice Warriors. After seeing this episode, I’d love to see them return.

“The War Games” (10 episodes)

This is the grand finale, which introduces the Time Lords and Gallifrey.  It’s another excellent Terrence Dicks story.  The story sets the stage for the Pertwee era by exiling the Doctor in the 1970’s.  The story does lag (it’s over 4 hours long), but still very entertaining.

One Faith, Many Paths: Amanda Sebra

This time around, I’m talking with Amanda Sebra. She is a mother diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder who also has a child. She is also a member of Fans For Christ.

1. At what age did you learn you were autistic?

At age 6 they ran a battery of tests on me but were unable to come to a definate diagnosis. Years later after my son was Diagnosed I decided to be tested after doing some self testing and I wondered if I was.  Physician officially diagnosed me shortly after my son

2. How long have you been a Christian?
20+ years
 Raised Catholic I consider myself Fans For Christ now.
4. What was your childhood like?
Single mom.  Lived with mom and grandparents in home owned by grandparents until age of 14.  Grandparents ran a foster home for teenage girls until 1994.  After 1994 lived with mom and stepfather.
5. I once signed up for a forum for autistic people called Wrong Planet and found it to be a place that was not only mostly atheist, but also opposed to Christianity.  Why do you think some autistic people have an opposition to the Christian faith?
 I think most aspies had a bad experience in the past with the church that “left a bad taste in their mouth”  that they sworn off Christianity altogether.  Also the social aspect can be hard to handle.
6. When did you find out your son had Asperger’s?
About 3 years ago when I and his great grandmother had concerns over being non verbal and his lack of fine motor skills.
7. Is there anyone in your life who inspires you to be a better person? If so, who and why?
Liane Holliday Willey or Rudy Simone, 2 female aspies whose books are very helpful and hit a bit close to home.
8. Do you have a favorite Biblical passage?
Why? I can’t think of a specific passage but I remember studying and memorizing Esther for Bible Quizzing. Esther 4:16 where she fasts and prays then goes to speak to the king which could equal the death penalty for a woman in those times stuck with me.
“Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.”
9. What advice would you give to other autistic people or parents of autistic children?
Parents always make a little time for yourself, even if its 5 minutes alone in the bathroom.
Aspies: No matter how many times you hear no, keep yourself to the goal