The Seventh Doctor (1987-1989)
Season Twenty-Four 
(1987) Season Twenty-Four (1987): Clowning Around
First appearance of Ace.
Season Twenty-Five 
(1988) Season Twenty-Five (1988): Unfinished Business
The silver anniversary season.
Season Twenty-Six 
(1989) Season Twenty-Six (1989): Journey's End
The original Doctor Who series is cancelled.
Special (1993) Special (1993): Echoes Of Former Glories
The thirtieth anniversary special.

Season Twenty-Four (1987): Clowning Around

The Doctor
The Seventh Doctor

Sylvester McCoy played the Doctor from Time And The Rani in September 1987 to Survival in December 1989 and resumed his role in Doctor Who (1996) in May 1996. He also appeared in Dimensions In Time in November 1993.

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 November 1993.


The Production Team

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.

The Stories
Time And The 
Time And The Rani by Pip and Jane Baker, directed by Andrew Morgan
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.
The Doctor is mortally wounded when the Rani captures the TARDIS, regenerates for a sixth time.
Paradise Towers by Stephen Wyatt, directed by Nicholas Mallett
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.
Delta And The 
Delta And The Bannermen by Malcolm Kohll, directed by Chris Clough
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.
Dragonfire by Ian Briggs, 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.
Mel decides to travel with Glitz, while Ace opts to see the wonders of time and space with the Doctor.

Making History

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 Business

The Stories
Of The Daleks
Remembrance Of The Daleks by Ben Aaronovitch, directed by Andrew Morgan
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.
The Happiness 
The Happiness Patrol by Graeme Curry, directed by Chris Clough
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.
Silver Nemesis by Kevin Clarke, 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.
The Greatest 
Show In The Galaxy
The Greatest Show In The Galaxy by Stephen Wyatt, directed by Chris Clough
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.

Making History

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 End

The Stories
Battlefield by Ben Aaronovitch, directed by Michael Kerrigan
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 Worlds.
Ghost Light by Marc Platt, directed by Alan Wareing
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.
The Curse Of 
The Curse Of Fenric by Ian Briggs, directed by Nicholas Mallett
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.
Survival by Rona Munro, directed by Alan Wareing
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.

Making History

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 Glories

The Production Team

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.

The Story
Dimensions In Time
Dimensions In Time by John Nathan-Turner and David Rodan, directed by Stuart McDonald
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.

Making History

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.