|Season Twenty-Four (1987): Clowning
|Companions and Recurring Characters|
Ace was a troubled teenager from Perivale
in London who met the Doctor after an accident teleported her to
Iceworld in the far future.
Sophie Aldred played Ace from Dragonfire in November 1987 to Survival in December 1989. She
returned for Dimensions In Time in
A replacement was finally found for Eric Saward in the form of Andrew Cartmel, who took over the script editor reigns
at the start of the season. The team of Cartmel and John Nathan-Turner
would remain in place throughout the remaining three seasons of the
original Doctor Who series.
|Time And The Rani
The Rani lures the TARDIS to Lakertya, where she requires the Doctor's
aid to complete a device which will draw on the intelligence of history's
greatest geniuses to help her reshape the universe to her own design. To
this end, she drugs the newly-regenerated Doctor and masquerades as Mel to
gain his trust. The real Mel, however, allies herself with the native
Lakertyans, who have been suffering under the rule of the Rani and her
bat-like Tetraps. It is up to Mel to rouse the Lakertyans to rebellion,
and free the Doctor from the Rani's clutches.
by Pip and Jane Baker,
directed by Andrew Morgan
The Doctor is mortally wounded when the Rani captures the TARDIS,
regenerates for a sixth time.
The Doctor and Mel go to Paradise Towers for a holiday, only to find the
famed complex in ruins. Long ago, the adults went off to fight a war and
never returned. Left behind are the Kangs, gangs of wild teenaged girls;
the Rezzies, cannibalistic old women; the Caretakers, who ostensibly
look after the Towers; and Pex, who was too scared to go to war. But
also lurking is Kroagnon, architect of Paradise Towers, who has taken
mental possession of the Chief Caretaker and the cleaning robots in an
attempt to rid his creation of human life forever.
by Stephen Wyatt,
directed by Nicholas Mallett
|Delta And The Bannermen
The Doctor and Mel win a vacation on a time-travelling tour bus to a 1950s
holiday camp. Also on the bus is Delta, the last of the Chimeron race, who
is being hunted by the genocidal Bannermen and their brutish leader,
Gavrok. When a mercenary on the bus alerts Gavrok to Delta's whereabouts,
it is up to the Doctor and Mel to stop the assassins and find a way to
give the Chimerons a new lease on life.
Kohll, directed by Chris Clough
The TARDIS lands on Iceworld, an enormous shopping complex on Svartos.
There, the Doctor and Mel meet up with a time-displaced teenaged waitress
from Earth named Ace and their old friend Sabalom Glitz. Glitz is
searching for the treasure of the legendary Dragon which is supposed to
dwell beneath Iceworld. But when the Doctor joins Glitz in his quest, they
discover more than they bargained for, unearthing the millennia-old secret
of Kane, Iceworld's murderous ruler.
by Ian Briggs, directed by
Mel decides to travel with Glitz, while Ace opts to see the wonders of
time and space with the Doctor.
Despite intense criticism from some sectors of fandom, Sylvester McCoy was
praised by BBC management as the man who saved Doctor Who. The show
was back in the good books -- for now.
|Season Twenty-Five (1988): Unfinished
|Remembrance Of The Daleks
Two factions of Daleks arrive on 1963 Earth via a time corridor. They are
in search of the Hand of Omega, a powerful and ancient Gallifreyan stellar
manipulator the Doctor was hiding prior to his first inadvertent trip with
Ian and Barbara. With the help of the British army, it is up to the Doctor
and Ace to defeat both of the warring Dalek factions, even as the Daleks'
human allies infiltrate their party.
Aaronovitch, directed by Andrew Morgan
|The Happiness Patrol
Terra Alpha is under the steel fist of Helen A and her executioner, a
sadistic robot made out of sweets called the Kandy Man. Joy is perpetual
on Terra Alpha, because to be unhappy invites the wrath of Helen A's crack
police force, the Happiness Patrol. Allying themselves with Terra Alpha's
repressed natives, the Pipe People, a former Happiness Patrolwoman named
Susan Q and blues player Earl Sigma, the Doctor and Ace must end Helen A's
reign of terror.
by Graeme Curry,
directed by Chris Clough
In the year 1638, the Doctor sent a statue called Nemesis -- made out of
deadly living validium, which was once Gallifrey's last line of defense
-- into orbit around the Earth. In 1988, the Nemesis statue's orbit
decays and it returns to Earth, where it is pursued by three factions:
the Cybermen, a Neo-Nazi named De Flores, and the mad, time-travelling
Lady Peinforte, who nearly gained possession of the statue in 1738 and
who knows the darkest secrets of the Doctor's past.
by Kevin Clarke, directed
by Chris Clough
|The Greatest Show In The Galaxy
Despite Ace's protestations that she hates clowns, the Doctor takes the
TARDIS to Segonax to see the famed Psychic Circus. But there they
discover that the self-styled Greatest Show In The Galaxy has become
something sinister: its founder, Kingpin, has disappeared; the callous
Chief Clown deals violently with anyone who tries to flee; and
prospective Circus stars must entertain an enigmatic family -- or die.
The time travellers learn that the Psychic Circus has fallen under the
influence of the evil Gods of Ragnarok, and the Doctor's next
performance may be his last.
Stephen Wyatt, directed by Chris Clough
Doctor Who marked its silver anniversary in 1988, and, as if in
celebration, its ratings took a turn for the better. With Sylvester
McCoy now playing the Doctor in a darker, less cartoonish manner -- an
outlook much favoured by Andrew Cartmel and the new crop of writers he
was working with on the show -- Doctor Who had entered a period
of stability the likes of which it had not enjoyed in five years. It
would not last long.
|Season Twenty-Six (1989): Journey's
The Doctor and Ace discover that a UNIT platoon has come under assault
whilst transporting a nuclear warhead. The attackers are knights from
another dimension led by the legendary sorceress Morgaine, half-sister
of King Arthur, whose magical powers appear to be real. The Doctor
learns that one of his future incarnations will become Merlin, and bury
Arthur beneath the waters of a nearby lake. With Brigadier
Lethbridge-Stewart at his side one last time, the Doctor must confront
Morgaine, who has summoned a demonic entity known as the Destroyer of
by Ben Aaronovitch, directed
by Michael Kerrigan
The Doctor takes Ace back to 1883, to a house called Gabriel Chase she
burned down in the present day. In the 19th century, Gabriel Chase is
the home of amateur scientist Josiah Smith, who is conducting research
into evolution against the wishes of the Church. But Smith is really an
alien who has spent millennia adapting to humanity, and now intends to
assassinate Queen Victoria and seize the British throne. Meanwhile,
buried in the basement is Smith's former master -- a powerful entity who
intends to halt all evolution on Earth.
by Marc Platt, directed by
|The Curse Of Fenric
The Doctor and Ace land in England during World War II, at a secret
seaside base which houses the Ultima Machine, a powerful codebreaking
device. But disturbances plague the installation: Russians are trying to
steal the Ultima, mysterious Viking runes are found in a church crypt, and
vampiric Haemovores are rising from the ocean. The Doctor discovers his
ancient foe, Fenric, has manipulated events in order to gain his freedom.
And central to Fenric's schemes is none other than Ace.
by Ian Briggs,
directed by Nicholas Mallett
Ace returns to Perivale to visit her friends, only to find many of them
have gone missing. The Doctor discovers that they have been abducted to an
alien planet by a race called the Cheetah People. Pursuing them, the time
travellers find the Cheetah People are being controlled by the Master, who
is trapped on the planet, and is slowly turning into a Cheetah Person
himself. The Doctor must find a way off the planet, before they all
succumb to the dying world's savage influence.
by Rona Munro, directed by Alan
With ratings dipping lower than ever for Season Twenty-Six, the decision
was finally taken to place Doctor Who on hiatus, indefinitely.
Despite persistent promises from the BBC, however, the hiatus was
effectively a cancellation, with the programme's production office closing
down soon thereafter for the first time in more than a quarter of a
century. But that would not be the end of Doctor Who...
|Special (1993): Echoes Of Former
For the thirtieth-anniversary special, John Nathan-Turner returned one
last time to his old job. Due to the nature of the project, no separate
script editor was retained.
|Dimensions In Time
The Fourth Doctor transmits a distress call, as the Rani kidnaps the
First and Second Doctors. Ensnared in a time loop, the Seventh Doctor
and Ace find themselves in Albert Square, Walford. As they bounce back
and forth between 1973, 1993 and 2013, the Doctor's regeneration and the
identity of his companion become unstuck in time. The Rani is assembling
a vast intergalactic menagerie in order to harness the power of a time
tunnel and control galactic evolution. The final ingredient needed is a
human -- and one of the Doctor's companions will be her victim.
Nathan-Turner and David Rodan, directed by Stuart McDonald
Dimensions In Time was the BBC's
effort to celebrate Doctor Who's thirtieth anniversary on November
23rd, 1993. Reuniting all the surviving Doctors together with many past
companions and villains, Dimensions
aired in two short installments during the 1993 Children In Need telethon.
It was filmed via a new process which, with the use of special glasses,
permitted the viewer to watch the story in 3-D, without impeding audience
members who did not use the glasses. Dimensions In Time was also a crossover
with the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders, being set in the same
location and featuring several cast members from that show as well.
Meanwhile, there had been activity behind the scenes in trying to
revive Doctor Who, either as an ongoing series again or as a
feature film. BBC Enterprises (shortly to become BBC Worldwide) wanted to
make a direct-to-video movie celebrating the thirtieth anniversary,
entitled Lost In The Dark Dimension (or simply The Dark
Dimension), featuring all the surviving Doctors. The Daltenreys group,
with various partners, had been trying to raise funds for a big-screen
version since 1987. Several groups, most famously a collaboration between
Dalek creator Terry Nation and Cyberman co-creator (and former Doctor
Who script editor) Gerry Davis, tried to acquire the rights to produce
Doctor Who independently, though no deals were ever finalised.
Interest even came from across North America, where Philip Segal of
Columbia Pictures made inquiries about a British/American co-production.
And although Segal's initial efforts bore no fruit, they would lay the
groundwork for greater developments in the near future.