The Ribos Operation

.Doctor WhoThe Doctor’s TARDIS is diverted to an unknown place. Upon landing, the Doctor meets the White Guardian, a being more powerful than even the Time Lords, who has chosen the Doctor to retrieve the six missing segments of the Key To Time, which will supposedly restore time and space to a more balanced state. With a new version of K9 up and running, the Doctor is keen to undertake this adventure alone, but again, the Guardian chooses a new companion for the Doctor, a Time Lady named Romanadvortrelundar.

The search for the first of the Key To Time’s six segments leads the Doctor, K9 and Romana to an unlikely place for such an item: the backwards planet Ribos. The natives are wrapped up in superstition and tradition, and they’re largely unaware that their planet is being targeted for takeover by the mad exiled warlord Graff Vynda-K. But even the Graff is being targeted on Ribos by a pair of con men who hope he’ll pay handsomely for directions which will supposedly lead him to a lost mine containing enough of the mineral jethrik to fund his operation. And when everyone’s plans are exposed, they believe the Doctor and Romana are the responsible party.

Season 16 Regular Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (voice of K-9)

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Robert Holmes
directed by George Spenton-Foster
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Iain Cuthbertson (Garron), Nigel Plaskitt (Unstoffe), Paul Seed (Graff Vynda-K), Robert Keegan (Sholakh), Prentis Hancock (Captain), Timothy Bateson (Binro), Ann Tirard (Seeker), Cyril Luckham (White Guardian)

Broadcast from September 2 through 23, 1978

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The Pirate Planet

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Romana learn that the second segment of the Key to Time is on Calufrax, a planet described by the Doctor as an uninviting place. After the TARDIS inexplicably fails to land, it brings them to a world which is nothing like Calufrax – instead, it’s inhabited, prosperous (at least on first glance), and unbelievably rich. But the prosperity is a thin charade; the Captain lords over the planet with an iron fist, while repeatedly bringing his subjects new epochs of prosperity with alarming regularity. And a group of rogue telepaths called Mentiads wander the wilds of the planet, drawing the wrath of the Captain and suspicion from everyone else. The Doctor discovers that this world is hollow. And whether it is by his own hand in the name of restoring the Key to Time, or by the hand of the Captain – who isn’t as in charge of the situation as it appears – the planet Calufrax is doomed.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Douglas Adams
directed by Pennant Roberts
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Bruce Purchase (Captain), Andrew Robertson (Mr. Fibuli), Rosalind Lloyd (Nurse), David Sibley (Pralix), Bernard Finch (Mentiad), Ralph Michael (Balaton), Primi Townsend (Mula), David Warwick (Kimus), Clive Bennett (Citizen), Adam Kurkin (Guard), Vi Delmar (Queen Xanxia)

Broadcast from September 30 through October 21, 1978

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The Stones Of Blood

Doctor WhoThe search for the Key to Time brings the Doctor and Romana to modern-day England, very close to a stone circle being studied by Professor Amelia Rumford and her friend Vivien Fey. Romana is alarmed to see real evidence that a live animal may have been sacrificed at the stones very recently, but is told by Professor Rumford that it’s probably just the work of an overenthusiastic local group of Druid recreationists. But it’s not just would-be Druids who are moving around the circle – Professor Rumford is convinced that the stones themselves are moving. The Doctor and K-9 witness this for themselves, as an unknown force uses an apparition of the Doctor to lure Romana over the edge of a cliff. The stakes are higher now than anything that the Druid afficionados could imagine – one of the galaxy’s most feared criminals is hiding out on Earth, using the rock-like Ogri to enforce her will…and hide her identity.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by David Fisher
directed by Darrol Blake
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Susan Engel (Vivien Fay), Beatrix Lehmann (Professor Rumford), Nicholas McArdle (De Vries), Elaine Ives-Cameron (Martha), Gerald Cross (Megara voice), David McAlister (Megara voice), James Murray (Camper), Shirin Taylor (Camper), Gerald Cross (voice of the Guardian), James Muir (Druid), Ian Munroe (Druid), Margaret Pilleau (Druid), Judy Crowne (Druid), Decima Delaney (Druid), Mike Mungarvan (Druid)

Broadcast from October 28 through November 18, 1978

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The Androids Of Tara

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Romana arrive on the planet Tara, searching for the fourth segment of the Key to Time, but this time around the Doctor feels he’s entitled to some vacation time. Romana goes on to find the fourth segment herself while the Doctor does some fishing, but this places them both in danger. Romana encounters the conniving Count Grendel of Gracht, a duplicitous duke who aspires to Tara’s throne, and he promptly takes her prisoner, apparently believing her to be an android. The Doctor, in the meantime, is found by a small band of men loyal to Prince Reynart, the rightful heir to the throne, who is in hiding due to Grendel’s machinations. Reynart has one defense – a perfect android replica of himself – which isn’t working. The Doctor accompanies Reynart’s men and his newly repaired android to the prince’s coronation while the prince himself waits in seclusion. But it gets much more complicated than that when each side tries to outfox the other with android replicas – and Count Grendel may hold the winning piece, for he intends to replace Princess Strella, unwilling to be forced into a marriage to Prince Reynart, with her identical twin: Romana.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by David Fisher
directed by Michael Hayes
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Peter Jeffrey (Count Grendel), Neville Jason (Prince Reynart), Simon Lack (Zadek), Paul Lavers (Farrah), Lois Baxter (Madame Lamia), Declan Mulholland (Till), Martin Matthews (Kurster), Cyril Shaps (Archimandrite), Mary Tamm (Strella)

Broadcast from November 25 through December 16, 1978

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Power Of Kroll

Doctor WhoArriving on the third moon of Delta Magna, the Doctor and Romana are forced to leave K-9 in the TARDIS as they explore the swampy marshes in search of the fifth segment. The Doctor runs afoul of human miners who seem to have mistaken him for the notorious gun runner Rohm Dutt, while Romana is abducted by the displaced indigenous population of Delta Magna. Dubbed the “swampies” by the employees of the human mining colony, the natives have contracted with Rohm Dutt for weapons and training, hoping to boost their fight to free themselves from servitude to the human interlopers. The swampies worship Kroll, an enormous, squid-like being measuring almost five miles across, though the miners don’t believe a word of it…until it appears. When the Doctor and Romana learn that Kroll isn’t holding the fifth segment, but is the fifth segment, to say that they have a large problem on their hands is a bit of an understatement.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Robert Holmes
directed by Norman Stewart
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Neil McCarthy (Thawn), Philip Madoc (Fenner), Grahame Mallard (Harg), Glyn Owen (Rohm Dutt), John Leeson (Dugeen), Terry Walsh (Mensch), Carl Rigg (Varlik), John Abineri (Ranquin), Frank Jarvis (Skart)

Broadcast from 23 December 1978 through 13 January 1979

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The Armageddon Factor

Doctor WhoIn one of the better stories of the late 1970s, the Doctor, Romana and K-9 stumble into the middle of a fierce interplanetary nuclear war. The Atrios war effort is faltering, its population demoralized, because unknown to them, the Zeon war machine lives up to its name in the most literal way. Zeos is controlled by a computer, and there are no Zeons, just remote controlled attack ships. Somewhere in the darkness between the two planets lurks a third party, pulling the strings of both sides in the war. The hand of the Black Guardian becomes visible in moving the pieces in this game, and the Doctor is horrified to discover that he will have to take a life to complete the Key to Time.

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Bob Baker & Dave Martin
directed by Michael Hayes
music by Dudley Simpson

Guest Cast: Lalla Ward (Princess Astra), John Woodvine (Marshal), William Squire (The Shadow), Ian Saynor (Merak), Davyd Harries (Shapp), Valentine Dyall (Black Guardian), Barry Jackson (Drax), Ian Liston (Hero), Susan Skipper (Heroine), John Cannon, Harry Fielder (Guards), Iain Armstrong (Technician), Pat Gorman (Pilot), Stephen Calcutt (Super Mute)

Broadcast from January 20 through February 24, 1979

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The Auntie Matter

Doctor WhoThe Doctor, having set the TARDIS’ randomizer to send the timeship to a thousand planets under the supervision of K-9 in order to throw the Black Guardian off his scent, settles down in 1920s England to relax. Romana reluctantly joins him, finding little to stimulate her intellectually. She happens upon Reginald Bassett, the heir-apparent of a local estate, and is stunned when he seems to demonstrate a more-than-passing acquaintance with quantum theory. She’s even more stunned, however, when he pops the question unexpectedly, asking her to marry him and insisting upon introducing her to his aunt, a sinister matriarch whose interest in Reggie’s choices in women is more than mere family concern.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Morris
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), Julia McKenzie (Florence), Robert Portal (Reggie), Lucy Griffiths (Mabel), Alan Cox (Grenville), Jane Slavin (Ligeia)

Notes: Both Earth and the Doctor himself are described as “harmless… well, mostly,” a nod to Earth’s “mostly harmless” status in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, which was written by Douglas Adams. His earliest produced Doctor Who scripts were part of the 16th season, which introduced Romana.

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The Sands Of Life

Doctor Who: The Sands Of LifeIn the time vortex, the TARDIS registers the presence of a swarm of life forms numbering into the billions; one of them telepathically contacts Romana as it passes, with its only message being “the sands of life.” The TARDIS materializes on Earth, which is the swarm’s eventual destination. Both newly-elected Earth President Sheridan Moorkurk and a ruthless industrialist named Cuthbert are already aware of the swarm’s approach, and are preparing in their own ways. The approaching swarm has already fouled one of Cuthbert’s R&D projects, so he’s keen to eliminate the creatures, whatever their intention might be, while President Moorkurk quickly learns, in her first day in office, that Cuthbert’s influence runs deep within the government she’s inherited. The Doctor and Romana are captured, and the arrival of two aliens ahead of the swarm arouses more than just a little bit of suspicion. Romana is taken into custody by the military, and General Vincent plans to make use of her ability to commune with the approaching creatures. The Doctor is handed over to Cuthbert, who wants to put the Doctor’s knowledge and intuition to use for his personal gain. And finally, the first of the Laan reaches Earth. A large, whale-like species whose domain is the time vortex, they have some to the Sahara Desert to spawn in the “sands of life.” The birth of each group of Laan pups releases an enormous amount of both kinetic and temporal energy – enough, the Doctor surmises, to do serious damage to Earth. Is Cuthbert right to want to declare war on the Laan?

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Richard Fox & Lauren Yason

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (K-9), Hayley Atwell (President Moorkurk), David Warner (Cuthbert), Toby Hadoke (Mr. Dorrick), Jane Slavin (The Laan), Duncan Wisbey (General Vincent)

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War Against The Laan

Doctor WhoAfter Cuthbert’s forces capture a live Laan, Cuthbert decides he no longer needs the Doctor’s reluctant expertise, and leaves the Doctor and Romana to their fate – a fate that isn’t as fatal as Cuthbert expects, thanks to Romana’s telepathic rapport with the Laan. The two Time Lords demand an audience with Earth President Sheridan Moonkurk, and the Doctor insists that she put an end to the slaughter. But Cuthbert has plans that he does not intend to bring to a stop – not for any government and not for any life form.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Richard Fox & Lauren Yason

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), Hayley Atwell (President Moorkurk), David Warner (Cuthbert), Toby Hadoke (Mr. Dorrick), Jane Slavin (The Laan)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Justice Of Jalxar

Doctor WhoRomana is dismayed when, in the course of the TARDIS’ supposedly randomly-selected travels intended to throw the Black Guardian off the Doctor’s tracks, the timeship once again lands in London. But this era is one the Doctor has visited in the past, and he even has friends there, namely forensic pathologist Professor Litefoot and theater impresario Henry Gordon Jago. They regale the Doctor with tales of a mysterious vigilante wandering the streets of London, intriguing the Time Lord enough that he decides to help them investiage. When the Pugilist finally shows his face, dispensing with a felonious cabbie who tries to rob Jago and Romana, it’s quickly apparent that this would-be Victorian superhero is using technology that shouldn’t exist on Earth in this time period. When the Doctor tries to intervene, the Pugilist and his companion, a robot that scans the minds of suspects and determines their guilt or innocence, decide that the scope of the Doctor’s past actions demand that justice must be done.

Order this CDwritten by John Dorney
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (K-9), Trevor Baxter (Professor George Litefoot), Christopher Benjamin (Henry Gordon Jago), Mark Goldthorp (Bobby Stamford), Rosanna Miles (Mary Brown), Ben Bishop (Stone), Adrian Lukis (Harvey Marsh)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

Phantoms Of The Deep

Doctor WhoAs the Doctor, Romana and K-9 continue blazing a random trail through the universe to avoid the Black Guardian’s wrath, Romana is dismayed when the TARDIS once again lands on Earth. The Doctor, seeing that the time machine has materialized in the depths of the Marianas Trench, the deepest point on the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean, is less worried – until the TARDIS is grappled by a mid-21st century submarine on a deep sea expedition. Needless to say, the sub’s crew is astounded to discover a police box on the ocean floor, and they’re even more surprised when time travelers emerge from it. But when the sub encounters what may be a new species never before seen on Earth, the Doctor immediately senses that it is something that doesn’t come from Earth’s oceans. When the Doctor and expedition leader Patricia Sawyer pay a visit to a sunken shipwreck, they find a wide-eyed midshipman who has apparently been kept alive for a century. As they help him escape, something assumes control of K-9 and ejects Romana and another member of the sub crew into the ocean – where they miraculously survive thanks to the technology of the aliens. But who are these visitors from another world, and is their vested interest in the human race entirely benevolent?

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Morris
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (K-9), Alice Krige (Dr. Patricia Sawyer), John Albasiny (Chris Fleming), Charlie Norfolk (Terri McCulloch), Gwilym Lee (Jack Hodges)

Notes: Guest star Alice Krige is best known to Star Trek fans as the Borg Queen, a role she played twice (1996’s feature film Star Trek: First Contact and the 2001 Star Trek: Voyager series finale Endgame.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Dalek Contract

Doctor WhoStill concerned about the migration of the Laan, the Doctor tries to follow their trail, and finds himself in the Proxima system; too late, he learns that the TARDIS has not followed the Laan, but has instead tracked down Cuthbert’s Conglomerate headquarters, where Cuthbert is pressing forward with the same illegal experiments that ensnared the Laan before. But this time, Cuthbert is meeting with local resistance on Proxima Major, and he has done a deal with his business associates, the Daleks, to quell that uprising. Romana and K-9 are captured with some of the resistenace fighters, and once the Daleks realize they have companions of the Doctor in their custody, they’re less concerned with being Cuthbert’s subcontractors than with capturing their deadliest foe.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Alistair Lock

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (K-9 / Tollivun), David Warner (Cuthbert), Toby Hadoke (Mr. Dorrick), Dominic Mafham (Chidak), Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks), Jane Slavin (Halka), John Dorney (Sterris)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

The Final Phase

Doctor WhoTo save Romana and K-9, the Doctor gives in to the Dalek Supreme’s demand that he hand himself over… but naturally, this is part of the Doctor’s plan, and the Dalek saucer sent to collect him winds up under his complete control. Romana and K-9 get a glimpse of Cuthbert’s top-secret R&D project at last: a tear in the fabric of space-time, which Cuthbert has harnessed and turned into a dimensional gateway to explore (and, more likely, exploit) “the glories of the past.” Romana quickly realizes that this is the only reason why the Daleks are cooperating with Cuthbert: they intend to commandeer the gateway for their own purposes. The Daleks converge on Cuthbert’s space station to claim the gateway for themselves, forcing Cuthbert’s private army to join up with the Proximan rebels to fight off their common enemy. The Doctor arrives to make “adjustments” to Cuthbert’s dimensional gateway, over the corrupt businessman’s protests, but the choices on the table are wiping out the Dalek threat… or annihilation for the entire universe, Daleks and all.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Alistair Lock

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (K-9), David Warner (Cuthbert), Toby Hadoke (Mr. Dorrick), Dominic Mafham (Chidak), Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks), Jane Slavin (Halka), John Dorney (Security Man / Warrior)

Notes: This was Mary Tamm’s final performance as Romana before her death in 2011.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Continue reading

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